Has Storm Kings Thunder Introduced Another Major Progression Gap?

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?

Rest assured we will absolutely not be releasing ascended weapons in a state that obsoletes relic weapons. In truth, we will be aiming to ensure that relic weapons are still the optimal choice. asterdahl

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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j0Shi

j0Shi

j0Shi plays the Neverwinter MMORPG since the open BETA in 2013 and is a regular contributor to the blog and the whole UN:Project. Originally a Guardian Fighter, he has built up ALTs of all classes and plays on BIS/near-BIS level.

9 thoughts on “Has Storm Kings Thunder Introduced Another Major Progression Gap?

  • Avatar
    January 24, 2017 at 9:31 am
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    Firesoul set bonus really gives more % dmg than Shadewalker, and not have duration time in final mod 11?

    Reply
  • Avatar
    January 24, 2017 at 11:50 am
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    Well, I have been playing since day one and the game has its difficulties but I have to disagree that this is a problem. Ok, the peeps who just start now might have issues to get the required item level but although the make part of the community, who downloads a mmo two years or more after release and expects to be playing with the big guys… that’s crazy! And when I see a 1.8K gwf and sw asking for help to do their dailies in skt and sea of moving ice, I can tell they just started a few days or weeks ago cause if u go through all the modules and pick up all the gear that’s available you wouldn’t be at that item level. You can’t expect to start playing yesterday and go full on end game unless you pay your way in. Personally, I think it’s good we have some restrictions on some content for newer players cause there would be nothing worse than having a master svardborg run ruined because someone is either trolling or doesn’t know what they are doing, like it was many times in demo o edemo.

    Reply
    • j0Shi
      January 29, 2017 at 2:42 am
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      I wouldn’t disagree here, but think it’s two different issues. Nobody expects to get everything instantly, but it’s a problem that the latest tier of gear progression is out of reach for most of the players. It’s ok that Relics present challenge and grind for the endgame community, but you don’t want a situation where lower item levels hit a wall after Castle Never / the Underdark cycle and can’t progress any further unless they spend weeks and months of their time refining (boring and stupid).

      That’s why I think Mod 11 weapons close a gap. If you can’t immediately go for Storm Kings Thunder and Relics, you can settle for slightly inferior sets in Mod 11. What’s not to like? The BIS stays exclusive for 3k+, but others are no longer locked out.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    January 24, 2017 at 1:00 pm
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    One issue with this, is the fact that console players can’t see what the chests in Svardborg holds until they have opened them, like the PC players were able to.

    I imagine there will be quite a few upset console players down the line, when they see how many keys they will have to buy, and know that PC players didn’t have to waste any keys.

    And there are far, far more console players than PC, so it wouldn’t be very wise to have them feeling cheated out of BIS weapons.

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    • Avatar
      January 24, 2017 at 11:20 pm
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      Console players can also easily skip mod 10 with the knowledge that the mod 11 weapons are easier to get and marginally worse. I’d much rather be in the position of having skipped relic weapons, kept the AD I spent, and skipped the time I wasted on the campaigns and SVA. I’d be ahead at least 10 million AD.: \

      Reply
      • Avatar
        January 25, 2017 at 2:19 pm
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        “Console players can also easily skip mod 10 with the knowledge that the mod 11 weapons are easier to get and marginally worse. ”

        It definitely is what I’ll be doing. as one of those altoholics that has 6 toons at about 2.4-2.7, I will be taking the easier progression path and not set foot on mod 10 unless I actually feel like it. It’s not like there aren’t ways to buff your characters without the best in slot weapons and armour and the prospect of gambling my way into a weapon set is not appealing in the slightest. Hell, I am the guy who actually bought elemental artifact weapons from the AH because I had no patience for mote farming, so imagine how this new mod’s making me feel.

        Reply
    • Avatar
      January 25, 2017 at 7:18 am
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      This is one of the main issue at play here. All those who have gotten the relic set to legendary most likely got them while you could still peak into the chest. Players who did not have the time to run hundreds of MSVA are now cheated out of an easy and cheaper way of getting the marks, giving an unfair advantage to players who had more time. Now if I want the relic set I either have to spend ton of zen for keys or farm HEs/Dailies/Fishing for those hundred of runs.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    January 25, 2017 at 11:39 am
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    ” I would agree with @weaver936 however that you cannot punish those that actually went to great lengths and grinded out the Weapons. ”

    Well all you have to do is be a lurker on one of his channels for a little while to learn that he is completely self serving in what he says and does. Very big on letting everyone know how much hes ‘sacrificed’ though, which was no more of a sacrifice than anyone else who put together teams to play the content. He put together his teams and ran the content to get most of what he has while chests could be peeked, yet rails against it like it was the devil itself.

    That aside.. its bs looking at recent game history as well. Theres been a massive flow of people having to be warned off doing motes in my alliance (mostly newbies who see the quests in p.e.) now that they are available on the AH and to be crafted. How many thousands of people took the 2 weeks of casual play or spent the tarmulune $ to grind those weapons? ..yet now they can be had in 1/2 hour and some cheap mats. How many people go through any time using a basic fire elemental weapon set since the burning/howling/earth/air sets came out?

    Further this was the explicit goal laid out by the devs recently. To introduce new items with new mods that invalidate the old ones. The only thing this firestorm will do, like the keychanges, is delay what they were going to do anyway.

    There is an idea being floated in the forums that the new weapons wont be better, they’ll be different. Well they wont be worse than the elemental sets, and perhaps they wont be better than relic for straight damage. However like enchants and eq sets different in this game means 1 is better. There isn’t enough complexity to offer more diversity AND equality. 1 set WILL offer more dps, and that will be the bis.

    The thing is, if the new sets are even close to the relic, they will be good enough because that month of grind is ridiculous, and just not fun, there isn’t the content to support the time spent. And if there is 1 month to play SKT casually, 1 month to play the new stuff, 1 month to add refinement.. then you’re sitting at the time they’ll be starting the posts for mod 12. ..and likely something that takes out relic gear.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      January 25, 2017 at 6:00 pm
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      IMO it’s disingenuous to say that the grind for relic weapons is even comparable to the grind for motes. Relic weapons involve 3 months of campaigns, hundreds to thousands of HEs or millions of AD, and then even before the chest change 200+ runs of msva. Even if you weren’t stingy and bought a lot of your mats, used dragon keys etc. you were looking at least 150 hours of play time.

      Trying to say that they’re just “different” shows a misunderstanding of what makes Relic weapons good. They’re good because they’re 160 ilvl due to the stats (especially base weapon damage) that confers. Relic may offer more DPS but it’s around 5% if that. If the Ascendant weapons are still the same ilvl for all intents they’re just as good as the relic weapons because +5% damage on a DPS toon is a blip when you have good buffers.

      Also, the devs have explicitly said that they intend for relic weapons to be the optimal choice.

      Reply

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