Holy smokes, Mod 16 is coming and there are tons of changes! Not only do we finally get the often speculated Undermountain content, the game is changing in major ways.

  • The level cap is increasing to 80. The Undermountain adventure zones contain: new equipment ranging from level 71 to 80, new seal gear, new dungeon equipment, and even new higher item level artifacts for players to enjoy. Developer Blog: Jared Sears, Lead Systems Designer
  • The classes are being re-worked to align to Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition mechanics. Power Points are gone. Feat Trees are gone. The new feat mechanics are functioning like the older Boons (e.g. Tyranny of Dragons, Dread Ring, Sharandar), where you had two options and got to select one. Each Paragon Path has 5 feats choices. For each Paragon Path, such as Spellstorm or Master of Flame Control Wizard, you will have the following unique and shared powers to choose from: 2 At Will of 4, 5 Encounters of 10, and 2 Dailies of 4. Except for the Ranger, Wizard and Rogue, each class will have two options for entering queues, similar to how the current Oathbound Paladin can queue in a tank or heal slot. Developer Blog: Jared Sears, Lead Systems Designer.
  • Stats, and therefore powers affected by stats, will incorporate the concept of opposing roles. Opposing roles are in the game today with the interaction between Defense and Armor Penetration, so that concept is being applied across what the developers identify as Main Stats. Utility Stats still exist, but they are simply receiving a percentage increase. Critical Strike and Deflect cap at 50 percent and Combat Advantage caps at 100 percent. Lifesteal and Recovery have been removed from the game. There’s a ton of detail to take in here, so you’ll want to read the developer blog. Developer Blog: Jared Sears, Lead Systems Designer.
  • Item Level and level Scaling are both changing. Their goal in changing Item Level mechanics is to produce a result where ” if two players are 12,000 Item Level, they are very close in terms of their overall potential.” The mechanics behind Item Level allow them to make a first pass at better scaling. In their own words, with this change “it will be easy to tune to make sure that we can end up with ideal scaling moving forward “, so watch for potential smaller adjustments in this area. Developer Blog: Jared Sears, Lead Systems Designer.
  • Boons have been completely reworked. The boons themselves and the bonuses they give have been evaluated and re-worked. The user interface for boons has been re-worked. The way you acquire boons has been re-worked as well. The official release documents how boons are acquired and progressed, but does not detail the boons themselves. Developer Blog: Salim “Silius” Grant, Systems Designer.
  • Clerics are basically a whole new class. Divinity and empowered versions of powers are gone. You now have a divinity pool which allows you to cast and recharges using your tab or over time. Check out the developer blog or better yet, check out the class on the preview server. Make sure you check out our own Cleric build for Mod 16. Developer Blog: Asterdahl, Systems Designer.
  • Paladins lose their Divine Call ability and gain a new divinity resources similar to that of the Cleric. Divinity is used to cast many of the encounter powers. Divinity can be gained by blocking with the paladin shield. Check out the developer blog or the re-worked class on the preview server. Make sure to also check out the Mod 16 build for the paladin here on our site. Developer Blog: Asterdahl, Systems Designer.
  • Old campaign areas are now quest zones for weekly Challenge Campaigns. The Challenge Campaigns are the new K-Team weekly challenge. Completing the weekly Challenge Campaigns awards a Hero’s Medallion. The Hero’s Medallion store has the following items for sale:
    • Ultimate Enchanting Stone
    • Ultimate Mark of Potency
    • Superior Enchanting Stone
    • Superior Mark of Potency
    • 50,000 50% Bonus Rough Astral Diamonds
    • Companion Upgrade Tokens

The Challenge Campaign system allows you to choose one area of your own each week in addition to the Cryptic assigned choice of the week. Developer Blog: Jared Sears, Lead Systems Designer.

  • The Foundry is officially dead. The announcement came from Ambassador Kael.
  • The Guardian Fighter, now called he Fighter, loses their ability to mark opponents. Their shield now has Hit Points which is directly related to the amount of Stamina the fighter has. If your Stamina is full your shield has 100% of your Hit Points. As your Stamina decreases, so does the Hit Point pool of your shield. The new Dig In mechanic allows you to continuously block and regain small amounts of Stamina. As a Dreadnaught, you can build vengeance through the new Seethe mechanic, which increases damage. Check out the official blog for more details. Blog entry, Doug “Asterdahl” Miller, Systems Designer.
  • The Warlock Soulweaver is now an official healer whose powers are fueled by Soul Essence. In a jam, Warlocks can use Essence Drain to grab Soul Essence and restore their own Hit Points. The Soul Puppet is still available for the Hellbringer damage dealer variant of the Warlock. Information about the brand new daily, Soul Pact, can be found on the official blog. Blog entry, Jared Sears, Lead Systems Designer.
  • Companions have received a major overhaul and function more modularly, like mounts. Rather than document everything here, check out our coverage of companions or for a more lengthy description, read the official blog. Blog entry, Salim “Silius” Grant, Systems Designer
  • New level 80 gear is dropping. Apprentice Armor (IL 965) must be restored with runes and be found by running M16 Expeditions. Halaster’s Successor gear (IL 1014) drops by defeating the apprentices of the Mad Mage and can also be enhanced with restoration items found in Undermountain. Seals of the Mountain replace Seals of the Crown as the “standard” Seal currency and Seals of the Deep drop only from the Lair of the Mad Mage dungeon. There are five new Artifact sets with increased (IL 979 at Rank 60). The Watcher gear drops from rare monster in Undermountain. Enchantments are going up to Rank 15 and Insignias can now be Legendary. Blog entry, Chantelle Tatum, Systems Designer
  • The Great Weapon Fighter is now called the Barbarian. The Sentinel paragon path has been reworked to fulfill the tank role, complete with using your sword to block. The Blademaster is the damage dealing variant of the Barbarian with unstoppable now becoming battlerage. Taunting to gain aggro is gone. You have to deal damage to gain aggro. Blog Entry, Doug “Asterdahl” Miller, Systems Designer
  • The Trickster Rogue is now called the Rogue. The Rogue is a versatile and flexible combatant that rises to any challenge. The Assassin path seems inspired by the DnD class of the same name. Lots of damage from Assassinate and the use of poison both contribute to damage. The Whisperknife has a shuriken AoE and focuses on Stealth. Blog entry, Jared Sears, Lead System Designer
  • The Lair of the Mad Mage developer blog contains spoilers for the storyline so we’re not going to write anything for those who might want to discover the storyline for the first time during the Undermountain module. If you don’t mind storyline spoilers, check out the summary of the new dungeon. Blog Entry, Ryan “Wolf Fightmaster” Horn, Content Designer
  • Jason Marquez blogs about M16 from the art team perspective. He also sends best wishes to John McIntyre, a Cryptic Content Designer who worked on Undermountain but left Cryptic in January 2019 for Blizzard. Content Designer Elliot Minner stepped into John’s role to finish Mod 16. Jason gives us an insight into the process and tools they use to generate multiple new zones. The amazing grandeur of Undermountain definitely came at a price. Jason writes that their tools were stretched to their limit in the Undermountain artistic journey and that the Engineering team came to the rescue. For more details on how the impressive visuals behind Undermountain came to life, check out the official blog. Blog Entry, Jason Marquez, Environment Artist
  • The Ranger blog posting gives us an insight into the design intent behind the class rework. Specifically, that the Hunter can be played as a solely ranged damage dealer or optionally to engage in melee as well. The Warden is intended to boost party offense and defense. or can be tailored to play a melee only combatant. Blog entry, Jared Sears, Lead System Designer
  • The Wizard has two damage dealing options, the Arcanist and Thaumaturge. Noticeably, the Wizard now adds the iconic Fireball spell to the class. The Thaumaturge uses fire and colder for smolder and rimefire damage effects (i.e. the old Master of Flame class option) and the Arcanist feels more like the old Thaumaturge. The old Oppressor path is gone, as is the name “Control” from the class, but perhaps with all the control immune enemies in the game, this change was overdue. Blog entry, Jared Sears, Lead System Designer
  • Undermountain Expeditions feature a dungeon randomizer that challenged veteran Environment Designer Patrick Poage, who blogs about the experience and announces he is leaving Neverwinter for the Magic the Gathering MMO team at Cryptic. Patrick and Content Designer Ryan Horn were the two developers working on Expeditions and Patrick worked exclusively on the randomization of Expeditions, which uses 9 floors, 3 rooms, 3 corridors and 3 arenas. Patrick used color, light and atmosphere to provide each instance a unique feel. A big challenge was the 6 year old lighting engine and surprisingly, mushrooms. Blog entry, Patrick Poage, Environment Artist
  • The Expeditions content blog by Ryan Horn duplicates information from Patrick Poage’s art entry. The entry communicates that the Expeditions content is scaled and Survey Expeditions are necessary for Undermountain campaign progression. Master Expeditions can be done after the campaign is completed. Expeditions tasks are given by Obaya Uday in the Yawning Portal and up to three runic crystals can be attuned to increase the challenge and rewards of a Master Expedition. The Expeditions system is similar to Ravenloft Hunts introduced in Mod 14, for readers who are familiar with that system. Blog entry, Ryan “Wolf Fightmaster” Horn, Content Designer
  • As with each module, Undermountain comes with a new Lockbox. The Lockbox of the Mad Mage has a new Hellfire Engine mount and a Grung companion. Blog entry, Jared Sears, Lead System Designer
  • An introduction to opponents Arcturia and Trobriand comes in the blog entry from Ryan Horne, which gives us some insight into what to expect when confronting these opponents in the Lair of the Mad Mage. Arcturia brings dangerous attacks like the Cocoon of Death and we’re encouraged to maintain a healthy fear of butterflies. Trobriand the Metal Mage gets tougher over time and players can expect a shocking interaction with him. For those who best the dungeon, the blog promises “plenty of rewards”. Blog entry, Ryan “Wolf Fightmaster” Horn, Content Designer
  • As the master antagonist in Undermountain, Halaster Blackcloak gets a full developer blog entry on how he moved from being an iconic DnD figure to an in-game entity. Check out how the character creation team brings him to life. Blog entry, Chantelle Tatum, Systems Designer and Jonathan Nascone, Lead Character Artist
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