As you might know the new Module “The Cloaked Ascendancy” will introduce new sets of Weapons that are on the same item level as the Relic ones. It turned out said Weapons would become the first major point of contention in feedback discussions. The thread on the official message board exploded with several users going back and forth about whether it’s a good idea to invalidate Relic Weapons only a mod later. The new Ascended Weapons seem to be much easier to obtain and can be upgraded with old Marks. Combined with set bonuses that could be even better than Relics for some builds, users feel cheated.
Is grind only one side of the story?
Although Asterdahl delivered a statement to cool down everyone, the heated discussion carried on. I think it’s really the first time that opinions clash on such a big scale about item progression within the community. There have always been those that weren’t satisfied with this and that for various reasons, but that one half of the community breathes a sigh of relief while the other rages in disgust is pretty unique. So where is the tension coming from?
The easy answer to this is grind. There are simply users that refused to engage with Storm Kings Thunder because of its structure. That’s fine, I would agree with @weaver936 however that you cannot punish those that actually went to great lengths and grinded out the Weapons. Even if skipping the mod is justified, you still actually should miss a significant part of the progression and hope that the devs hear the feedback and do stuff differently the next time.
Some people will never see Relics
But I don’t think “skipping” and gleefully posting “I told you SKT was not worth it” is the main issue. It’s not about people that voluntarily skipped the mod but those that never came close to completing it. Let’s go back to Module 6: Elemental Evil for a sec. The Module truly had tons of flaws, but a major one was its progression gap. Fresh players coming out of the solo campaign were much too weak for the first tier of dungeons. Unfortunately they had to run those to get the next tier of Armor. This discrepancy was soon dealt with, but not fully solved until Underdark introduced more and easier content to earn Seals.
There could be a similar issue with Storm Kings Thunder. If you look at why people might never see Relic Weapons, it doesn’t stop with the grind. Getting toons to the required item level to run Svardborg is a major effort. I think between Castle Never and Fangbreaker Island / Svardborg there’s currently a considerable progression gap that cannot be closed by running content alone. You need a whole bunch of refining and grinding to get powerful enough, the transition is far from smooth.
Progression needed for lower levels
Casual players might never get there, especially those Altoholics. And that’s a problem. I get not all mods cater to all kinds of players equally (PVP anyone?), but exclusion is never a good idea. In World of Warcraft you might not be able to get to the highest item levels if you’re not a Mythic Raider, but you can still progress. In earlier Modules of Neverwinter it was the same. Even though best-in-slot was out of reach for most, everyone had something to strive for. Artifact Weapons were easy to obtain and progression defined by refinement, Armor Sets had low level alternatives. In Module 10 though, if you can’t run Svardborg (and Fangbreaker Island), that’s the end. The item progression takes place without you. The only lower level alternatives come from the cash shop.
Going back to our initial dispute that might be where the tension is coming from. There are simply some players that feel excluded and rightfully want to know how to progress instead. That’s why they are hungry for the Ascended Weapons and although it’s a balancing act, I think the sets could provide a necessary bridge. If you’re not strong enough to do Storm Kings Thunder, no worries, you can move straight to Module 11. It would indeed fix a major progression gap like Underdark did for Elemental Evil.
What’s your opinion on the Ascended Weapons? Do they fix progression for lower levels or are they an unwarranted shortcut for all those that skipped Storm Kings Thunder? Share your thoughts in the comments below or visit the corresponding thread on our message board!
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