Understanding the Shroud of Souls Item Level Changes

The Shroud of Souls update that is scheduled to hit next Tuesday on PC is coming with a revision of the item level system. What is being changed and how does it affect players? Let’s dive into the topic in this post!

A change to item level was needed

I think we can agree that the item level system needed to be changed. In case you’re interested in some of the numbers, please read this excellent piece by our MinMax. It clearly shows how many areas of progression are misrepresented in the item level system, or entirely missing. One very obvious example is Bonding Companions. Those are able to generate a sizeable amount of stats, but do not add anything to item levels.

The players have long adjusted to that fact. Most do not only request an overall item level for their runs, but also Bonding Runestones of a specific rank. It was also a wide consensus that Boons needed to be included given the impact they can have on a character’s power.

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And well, the devs listened and have done just that. Pretty much everything that adds to a character’s stats now has an item level attached to it:

  • Boons
  • Active Companions
  • Summoned Companion’s Gear, Runestones and Enchantments
  • Insignias

Also some other changes were made. The item levels of Armor pieces, which were largely underrepresented in the system, were tripled, while those of Reinforcement Kits or Gems, which were slightly overrepresented, stayed the same. All in all, the devs made a good job balancing the new item levels based on the flaws of the current system. Item level can never be perfect, but it should now give a much better impression of character power.

So we’re back to Gear Score then?

It’s actually funny that the new item levels come close to values that we know from it’s predecessor, the Gear Scores. To get a good impression of your new item level in Shroud of Souls you simply need to multiply the current one by three. It’s not quite the values from back in the days, which went as high as 20k if I’m not mistaken, but it’s nonetheless noticeable that the devs went back to their old approach, or at least combined the best of both systems.

Generally players that have a higher gear score than someone else should still be superior in Shroud of Souls. There might be some cases though in which it can shift. If you really heavily favored progression in areas that directly contribute to item level, you might fall behind someone who chose a more balanced approach and brought up Companions, Bondings and Mount Insignias as well. But then again: It should be this way, because it properly represents power.

Dungeon requirements

One thing that obviously also needed to be adjusted were dungeon requirements. Just like armor, those have roughly been multiplied by three. The devs however did raise the bar slightly (and think about even higher reqs for public queues):

  • 1,600 content becomes 6,600
  • 2,000 content becomes 7,600
  • 2,500 content becomes 9,000
  • 3,100 and 3,200 content becomes 10,600

You’ll notice that this is an upgrade of old item level times three plus X. The plus X now has to be achieved in areas that are currently not represented in the item levels, Companions, Boons and Mount Insignias. Normally you should still be able to run the dungeons you were able to before Shroud of Souls. In very limited cases where players barely matched the requirements, this might however not be the case. But this is also a welcomed change as we can probably agree that the entry bar was a little bit too low.

Still some problems

Despite the fact that the new system should be vastly superior to the old one, there are still issues left. Augment Companions can theoretically generate the same item levels than Bonding ones and Insignia Bonuses do not come with their own ilvl although they can add a lot to the character’s power. Additionally there’s no antidote for players that simply slot what gives them the most item level, regardless of the actual usefulness within their build. Overall however Shroud of Souls should present a major upgrade to the system.

What’s your take on the improved item levels? Do you like it or still think the flaws are too obvious? Share you sentiment 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.