The Refining System Is No Longer About Refining Points

In this article I’d like to talk about the refining system a little bit, because I think it’s an interesting example of how systems can change over time in a way that the players (and the devs) might not have expected. The current instance of the refining system was build around three major components:

  • Refining Points
  • Reagents
  • Wards

Farming refining points is the grind aspect of the system. You need millions over millions to upgrade all of your enchantments and investing more time directly nets your more RPs. Reagents were sort of the AD sink, and an additional way to control the speed of the upgrade process. The RP market was always kind of vulnerable to botting, so having another limitation makes sense. And Wards as ZEN Market exclusive obviously connected the real-money currency to the system.

Refining Points Were the Bottleneck

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For the longest time refining points had been the bottleneck of the system. You mostly had enough Wards and Reagents, or could restock them when necessary, but had to wait for enough RPs. That’s why, over the months, players always wanted the devs to hand out more RPs in dungeons and such. That might still be the case for new players and casuals, but definitely changed for the endgame community. Nowadays players usually get enough refining points from Quartermaster’s Enchants, Lockboxes, x2 events, and dungeon crawling while waiting for a major ZEN or Wondrous Bazaar discount to restock the Reagents and Wards.

It’s certainly an interesting development that already started in Module 10. The devs giving the Relic Artifact Weapons their own Reagents and RPs was no coincidence. Back then players already had enough RP lying around to instantly get any new set to legendary in a hurry. So you needed to gate the new stuff behind Svardborg and the a separate mark grind to give the players enough incentive to run the content.

Ultimate Enchanting Stones and Rank 14

Mods 12 and 13 then brought the next tier of Artifact Gear and Rank 14s to spend gems on. But once again only gating the system behind refining points wasn’t sufficient as players had stashed away more than enough. So the Ultimate Enchanting Stone made it to the game, and lower upgrade percentages put an even heavier focus on Wards. This now has led to a situation in which you are no longer capped by refining points, but the amount of Reagents and Wards. You have to assume that was a deliberate effect, because the devs could easily have made Rank 13 and Rank 14 require a lot more refining points.

I’m not saying it’s a worse system now, but illustrates how the a game has to adjust based on the market. Refining points are somewhat of a constant income for players while playing the game. Additionally botting unfortunately also always played a major role in the oversupply. It means that if you’re not constantly adding items on which the points can be spend on, players hoard a surplus and the currency gets devalued. The market hasn’t really crashed, but is surely on a slow decline since months. That’s because players sell RP they don’t need for themselves.

No Obvious Solution


I think there is no obvious solution to the problem, maybe it’s not even one. Over time refining points got more obtainable, either through content, or lockboxes, or players selling stuff they do not need. It’s a natural process. Most have their setup of Artifacts for example and, if at all, only need to change their active one every so often. You also can’t simply introduce much more stuff to refine. It’ll only help for so long and just makes it harder for casuals to keep up. You also would need to make sure the new items outperform existing choices, leading to a power creep just to control the RP market.

I think what you could do is introduce more events that use refining points in a different way. The Wonders of Gond is a nice example because you can spend RPs to get a chance at a mount. Maybe you could find similar ways and I wouldn’t actually mind the devs looking into options. That however also depends in the long-term plans. If we’re close to a level cap raise or something and progression gets wiped soon anyway, this might not be as much of an issue for too long anyway.

So the approach of putting a heavier focus on Reagents and Wards for now is not actually bad. But it’s still interesting that the refining system is no longer as much about refining points.

What’s your take on refining? Do you like its current state or would you rather go back to a system that’s more about the refining points? Share your thoughts and experience on our social channels, in the comments below, or visit the corresponding thread on our message board!

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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.

4 thoughts on “The Refining System Is No Longer About Refining Points

  • July 29, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Refining is not the problem, it’s the upgrade. That always need marks and wards and at the highest ranks it needs Ultimate Enchanting stones only obtainable via AH from BS players who have farmed end-game content.

    But it always has been the upgrades being the problem rather than the RP. I always over-refined on 2xRP and upgraded when I had the marks and wards. I never used to sell RP on the AH, I’d wait for double RP or Enchants and Runes to open my leadership bags. At least I don’t have to burn a rank 7, 8 and 9 several times to make a rank 10 anymore. But the AD cost for weapon and armour enchants to rank 11 and 12 is vastly greater than it was, just for the marks. This is weighted at the higher end, making it easier for new players upgrading from Shards or Lessers.

    And the RP we get back for converting an artifact or weapons set is pitiful.

    But maybe the day will come when end-game players realise the game isn’t designed around them anymore. Maybe PWE want to gain and keep new players who will follow on the journey to BIS and not worry about keeping BIS players. I think Kali Rust Bucket got it exactly wrong in her Twatch. No one “looks up to” players like her.


  • July 29, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    I don’t think its a coincidence that RP has been devalued so much. It was another direct nerf to leadership. So much so many people don’t even bother with leadership anymore. It does make it easier for newer players to get end game viable much easier/quicker. However, one reason there is always a zen backlog is the minimal incentive to convert zen to AD. The game needs to have more than UES as an incentive to convert zen to AD.

    In theory you want to balance the demand for newer players converting zen to AD to level up and older players converting AD to ZEN for cash shop goods like wards. Getting paying players to convert zen to AD is still a means get RL$ spent on zen. I’m not sure cryptic grasps that. When the game started, it wasn’t uncommon for P2W players to convert zen to AD so they could by armor for example; however, that source of income has been killed for a very very long time.

  • July 29, 2018 at 3:51 pm

    Good topic Joshi.
    No easy solution.
    Raise RP cost to rank thing up, but lower reagents needed?

    • July 30, 2018 at 1:22 am

      I don’t think we need to invent imaginary solutions to fictitious problems. Otherwise the pendulum will swing and we’ll need real solutions to actual problems.

      Despite screwing older players out of AD sources, multiple times, they also already did several HUGE favours for new, F2P players:

      * the new refining system weighting things at the higher end and making it easier lower down;
      * talk to Neverember, go to Barovia, claim your free level 460 gear and rank 8 enchants;
      * talk to Neverember with an Alt, go to Barovia, claim your free level 460 gear and rank 6 enchants;
      * use that gear to get boons and get into RIQ or salvage it;
      * Epic Mounts just for logging in every day and talking to NPCs in several annual events
      * Epic mount with Wanderer’s Fortune several times a year at the Siege
      * sources of free Pres Wards at annual events
      * free lower level enchanting stones, Marks and RP from Invoking bags
      * free RP, Pres Wards and a chance of a Coal from Celestial Coffers from invoking
      * free RP and Marks from Leadership, if you can be bothered

      If they want, they can play for absolutely nothing.

      If they want VIP 12 NOW and to upgrade their enchants much past rank 9 in less than a year, let them spend cash on Zen.

      Certain higher level, long-term players MAY have a problem with too many AD and too many RP. But so what? Why should Cryptic care a whit? I think this is an “issue” only for those with a single main.

      How many end-game players have more than a single set of Unparalleled and rank 14 enchants and runes?

      How many are trying to get every single weapon and armour enchant to Unparalleled and a set of 15 enchants of every type at rank 14, for different classes and builds? If more people tried to max several classes, maybe more AD and RP will be poured into AD Sinks and on enchant upgrades? And companion upgrades? But most of my friends who are 17 to 18k, they play only the one character and mostly don’t even Invoke on their Alts any more, and never do any professions. that’s their choice. They do make AD from making and selling rank 10 enchants, though.

      Maybe they could make drops BoE so they can be sold on the Auction House again? That might work since they finally made parties auto-disband so no one can be kicked before the loot roll. About 3 years too late!

      But I don’t think they like the price gouging we used to see. Everyone with half a brain knows it’s players who exploit and over-price things, not Bots. Only idiots think price inflation is due to Bots. Bots are the ones who wold put multiple stacks of 99 dirt cheap. Those days seem to be gone.

      At the moment, I am still quite happy with the amount of RP I get. It’s the AD I want more of again. Just running one character through multiple RBQ, RIQ and RAQ for 3 or 4 days to get the Seals has stripped them of their 100k bonus AD pool, and the alts that do the salvage are also severely depleted. After doing that on 2 GFS and a DC, I can now start doing it on my OPs.

      I really don’t think my HRs, TRs, CWs and SWs will be able to do FBI at 12k, and my GWF will not be a dps machine. But the tanks and DCs can do it. Just about.


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