The Salvage and and Dungeon Key changes were one of the first things that got announced for Module 15 and naturally quickly became a hot topic. Whenever players see something taken away from them, there will be some sort of outrage. This is a pretty classic example. There is a lot of discussion of the system’s impact, but in my opinion this definitely projects as a nerf. Some comments in the preview thread indicate that dungeons still hand out a nice amount of RADs, but the missing currency from other activities will definitely hurt and the new sources don’t seem to cover what you make with Salvage right now.
Nerfs are Never Great
I guess we’ll do some math in our upcoming preview article, but logically it doesn’t make sense that the devs change the AD economy to hand out even more currency to players. It would surprise me if this wasn’t a designed nerf for some players. Those that do benefit are non-VIPs because they can now run dungeons and always get a free chest. That group, which probably isn’t that small in a casual game like Neverwinter will definitely profit. Everyone else however will have an overall harder time to get to the daily cap.
Even if you don’t mind the change, nerfs are never great. It’s tough to sell them to players and they do, to some extent, hint at a design failure or not anticipating the development of the economy properly. Sometimes stuff happens, but the devs struggling to adjust to the players’ ability and creativity to find ways to maximize RAD earn rates is almost comical. The only solution Cryptic seems to have is nerfing the best possible way of amassing wealth. Nerfs are indeed an effective way to generate results. But after countless tweaks in the past it’s valid to ask whether you might be fighting symptoms only. There are obviously other ways of devaluing ADs. You could strengthen ZEN, or add meaningful sinks. So either that has been discussed internally and discarded, or the devs just like to take the fastest possible route.
It Might Not Be Too Bad Long-Term
Either way, we have to live with the change. And good news, it could also turn out to be an asset for the game going forward. Sure having less RAD sucks for now, but the system definitely has some upsides. I already mentioned the free chest and its benefits for non-VIPs, but separating AD and gear progression makes sense as well. It might sound like a made-up argument that the devs now can more freely hand out gear, but it’s definitely a factor.
Also, if taking away RADs from players means that the game might be moving towards more unbound loot from dungeons, I’d be all for it. At least the re-roll tokens seem to be a system that would naturally support that. Sure, prices for items like Ultimate Enchanting Stones will just plummet because people have so many tokens to spend from leftover keys. But once that’s over, I think real rewards from dungeons could become more of a possibility. It also seems like the devs want to make RAD something that you accumulate doing a wider range of activities while Salvage, not only made it a necessity to focus on dungeons, but also keep them farmable. Without that, you could move into a different direction for content, like challenge. Not that it’s super likely, but shows that the system will be more flexible.
More Changes Need to Be Done
This definitely sounds promising, but comes with the caveat that Cryptic is historically slow to follow-up on their systems and mechanics. The Salvage and Dungeon Changes for now simply seem to be a nerf and need more fine-tuning and additions to turn into something beneficial for the players. When that’ll happen is completely up for speculation and I can totally understand those that are naturally careful with being overly optimistic. But the changes could definitely become a solid foundation for a more flexible and advantageous reward structure.
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