A few weeks have passed since the launch of Neverwinter’s Module 7: Strongholds and I think it’s time to quickly look what has changed for PVP in the game. The general challenges for the gamemode haven’t really changed over the months, it has always been about balance and bugs, but Strongholds did introduce a few new toys and changes that players slowly starting to adopt as well.
First of all, the new node capture system is grand. I’ve been a longtime supporter of faster PVP matches, because two-hour long encounters don’t match Neverwinter’s action-based and fast-paced combat system. In the contesting era three players could theoretically prevent the opposing team from getting any points, now some node for some team is (most likely) always scoring, setting the duration of a competitive game at about 45 minutes. Besides the general change to strategy that comes with it, speed becomes an even more important component and adds to the variety of builds and classes that are viable.
Sadly, that’s it for the pros. The devs said there is no balancing pass coming with Module 7 so the larger issues like Perma Stun HR’s, only to name a popular one, remain. New items added to the challenge and make true balance an uphill battle for the devs. The new Stamina Wards seems to develop into a must-have and even more AP effectively morph dailies into an additional encounter, from which some classes profit more than others.
Additionally the devs messed with the queue system so that 5on5s have become a true gamble. More likely than not one team will start the match undermanned, making it a complete waste of time. One patch already addressed the issue, but according to some forum posts it hasn’t fixed the issue at all.
Add that low-level twinks can still equip some level 70 equipment, a broken Leaderboard, the PuG vs. Premade problem and you have a pretty big mess. PVP probably would need mod-sized attention, but the upcoming Module 8: Underdark is a story-focused PVE once again and no further plans have been revealed yet. The good news is that the arrival of the Strongholds PVP update will reroute the attention to a new flashy game-mode. It would also be a good time to tackle some general issues. But I wouldn’t bet on it, which could leave Domination as dysfunctional as ever for the time being.