The release of the newest expansion probably is about two months away, but since the devs have been severely upping the amount of information, it’s worth looking at what we know so far about Neverwinter: Strongholds.
I don’t think you need to beat around the bush: The main storyline and the growth of a Stronghold seems to be heavily build around farming Heroic Encounters and repeatable quests on the new map. You feed the process with dailies and sorts and the guild leaders decide which structures to build next. It’s certainly interesting that you can’t build all structures and get their benefits but have to choose between a PVE path with boons and a PVP path with enhancements to guild vs. guild battles. The system also is quite expendable. They can easily add new structures that complement future content.
The second category, Treasures, includes the various currencies earned by playing through Neverwinter’s four campaigns […].
With limited manpower, they still have to somewhat rely on content developed years ago. Some might call it recycling, but it also makes sense. Not every guild exclusively consists of fully geared 70s, so those that level up and have to complete campaigns anyway are still able to participate in the progress of the Stronghold. The Stockpile includes an AD and Gold sink, but also opens up the possibility of rewarding botting. Since all donations are converted to the category resources, it should be best to donate Enchantments as Stockpile before AD. And following our weekly botting report you should know that Rank 4 and 5 Enchantments are one of the most botted items currently. On a side note I hope that they’ll allow donating bound items. It would make a great deal of sense.
One thing that hasn’t really been touched is the mechanic of how to acquire all the unlocked goods. There will be a marketplace that offers more and better stuff as it ranks up and a new currency (Guild Marks) from the Stronghold activities to claim the items. Sounds easy for gear, but some buildings also offer boons and abilities (whatever that means) to characters in the guild. Do you only have access to those as long as you are in the guild or are they sort of unlocked for your character in a new campaign tree and can be claimed there (for currency) permanently?
The quality of these items and boons should also determine whether players are forced into guilds to obtain the newest BiS. Based on similar guild housing systems in other PWE/Cryptic games, most namely STO, players think that might very well be the case.
However, once a Guild unlocks gear, items, and mount vendors that is where the best stuff will be found. And when I say best I do mean best: even better than the stuff you can buy for real money in the Zen Market.
At the least: this is what happened in STO: $30 Starships (think Mount) aren’t even as good stats-wise as their Fleet versions that you can only buy from your Fleet vendor (and unlike the Zen Market stuff the Guild vendor versions are not account-bound.) And as for small guilds versus large guilds: yes the Larger the guild the more advantage they will have at constructing their Strongholds, no matter how hard the Devs try to balance that out.
At least regarding Mod 6 gear this stands in stark contrast to a statement of a dev in April noting that the Elven Elemental sets are hard to obtain and moderately priced, because they are to stay on the top for a long time. Also Community Moderator zebular mentioned that the devs took quite some heat about excluding solo players in STO. So it might change in Neverwinter.
That’s it for the quick summary, there’s surely plenty to unveil in the coming weeks and we’ll keep you posted!