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Neverwinter Mod 17 Uprising

Here’s some of what we see. (from preview check out the new Lord Willow M17 overview!)

  • New PVP map with new rewards and a new PVP season; rewards include PVE useable items like Rank 10, Weapon, and Armor Enchantment Choice Packs; Rank 5/6 Stones, and Marks of Potency.
  • New PVP gear; Zen store now has IL 1000 (in PVP) gear
  • New Gith race (+2 Dex, +2 Str or Int; 2% Stamina gain; +1500 CA)
  • One new weapon set (Lionheart Set) – best new base damage
  • New Rings of Undermountain (IL 1010) – drop from the new Tower of the Mad Mage trial
  • New Shirts (IL 1010)
  • New Pants (IL 1010)
  • New Artifact (Halaster’s Blast Scepter), Belt and Waist gear from the trial
  • Parts of Protector’s Enclave has been visually upgraded
  • New Companion Gear (IL 1010) dropping from the M17 Master Expeditions
  • New Appearance tab on character sheet with a fashion system overhaul
  • New Tales of Old event
  • New Lockbox
  • New M17 campaign “Uprising”
  • M16 Campaign Completion token
  • New location: Stardock, which provides access to a “dimension shift” replica of Undermountain for Uprising.
  • A modified Master Expedition experience called Warden Master Expeditions; a new third zone and new bosses.
  • Class changes: Repel Wizard damage has been reduced and temporary hit point, from any class, now overwrite any previous temporary hit points. Previously, temporary hit points aggregated.
  • Professions changes have yet to hit live server. The new recipes have nothing to do with masterwork.
Up we go into Stardock

New Trial: Tower of the Mad Mage

  • New 10 person trial against Halaster Blackcloak, the Mad Mage himself
  • Requires 2-3 tanks; 2-3 healers; 4-6 dps; IL requirement is 24K IL
  • New enemy stats (30k) in new trial force player stats to increase (80k; CA 130k)
  • New trial against Halaster has very difficult mechanics; dps checks; heal checks; mandatory aggro management
  • New Artifact, Belt and Waist gear drops from the trial
  • Need 370k HP to avoid the one-shot mechanics in the trial, and that’s on top of receiving some damage mitigation

How do you get started?

Talk to Three Strings on the first floor of the Yawning Portal and he gives you a quest called Shadows and Space. After you get that quest, Kavatos appears in the Yawning Portal on the third floor with a new Expedition quest titled a Light in The Sky. Every day you get 2 investigate activity quests. Every 2nd day you will be rewarded with Warden Expedition (WE) quests so you can collect your Stardock Rod sections. Once you have 3 of the same rod section, you will be rewarded with the new Fragment Expedition (FE) quest to acquire a fragment. Once you have collected the four fragment pieces, this should unlock the new 10 man TOMM (12 days of questing).

Highlights

New Story: Uprising
Kavatos has a lead on a new disturbance, thanks to the mysterious appearance of a githzerai envoy. Follow this fellow to a newly-discovered location in the realm-twisting depths of Undermountain, find out more about the githzerai and their storied past, and lend your aid in a war against the illithid menace.

New Trial: Tower of the Mad Mage
Halaster’s not too happy about bands of old foes newly encroaching on Undermountain, and it’s up to you to bear the brunt of his wrath and to strike back. This 10-player Trial is the most challenging yet. Can you stand against the reality-shaping powers of Halaster the Mad Mage?

New Player Race: Gith
Not only can you help the githzerai in their fight, you can play as one, too! During Uprising‘s time on NeverwinterPreview, players will be able to create gith characters of their own, and aid Neverwinter just as Neverwinter’s heroes will aid the gith. Further information will come later on unlock requirements post-launch.

Appearance System
Our new Appearance System allows players to add any Armor or Dye acquired in the game into a library of Appearance options available for your character. Players now will be able to choose items and colors from their library to override the appearance of any gear or fashion slot, rather than needing to transmute individual items. No matter what your armor really is or how often you change it, it will always look like the appearance override that you’ve chosen.

Early-Game Content Touch-ups
The opening chapters of the game have been smoothed out for a more engaging introductory experience. Please let us know how you feel about it!

Protector’s Enclave Remodeling
Lord Neverember has invested more gold into Protector’s Enclave’s appearance, hoping to attract more wealth and commerce to the area. Certain textures have been improved, including the sky. The mount display area has been moved to the town crier’s area that previously held the job boards, and the event dais is now more central to the market area, where the mounts display area used to be.

Notification Improvements
There will be less spam when others gain lockbox rewards! There is now a pop-up element that defaults toward the top of the screen, but can be moved in the Rearrange HUD menu (in the ESC menu). In addition, there is now a “Notification Settings” button in the ESC menu that allows players to set whether certain information gets sent to chat at all, or shown on the screen as visible notifications. Chat channel filters are still where they used to be; the Notification Settings can control whether specific notification types get sent to chat at all.

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Guild Class and Membership Data

This time of year I conduct a non-scientific review of our guild membership. As an additional caveat, I have absolutely no formal training in data or statistical analysis. I review our guild data simply out of curiosity and my analysis is not complex. I use data from the Cloak guilds only because I do not have access to the data for the other guilds in the Cloak Alliance. Between July 2018 and July 2019, Spiritcloaks joined the Cloak guilds. Therefore I do not have comparative data from last year for Spiritcloak accounts so my account level comparison begins with only Greycloaks and Blackcloaks.

Account Data

Let’s take a look at accounts by the numbers:

This time last year, Greycloaks and Blackcloaks had 268 members out of 292 possible members. We always save room for returning Cloaks and never cap our guilds at the 149/150 account limit. We gained more new members (119) than those who stayed (112) to continue playing from 2018 to 2019. I can’t conclude that the slightly fewer number of accounts this year is due Neverwinter’s overhaul in Mod 16. We could easily be at 2018 guild membership levels if we did active recruiting, which we have not done. The fact that our guilds are Level 20 Strongholds, Greyhastur and Beckpetal streaming, and our web presence seems to attract a good number of interested players passively.

Now let’s include Spiritcloaks in the account analysis to generate a view of retention and new accounts based on the “Guild Join Date” included when you export your guild list from the Neverwinter server.

Why is this analysis different from the prior? The “Guild Join Date” is not a reliable measure of tenure of an account in the guild. Many guild members may leave or get trimmed due to inactivity and re-join the Cloaks later. My saved files from year to year allow me to see the farthest back an account has been with the Cloaks since I’ve been collecting data.

The graph above shows that we have three accounts still in the guild (again, they have never left or been trimmed) since 2014. Clearly we’ve had the largest number of new accounts join us in 2019, which is to be expected. What’s new is that in comparison to 2018 (see the historical chart below) the 2019 new players represent 50% of our population, up from 43% in 2018. New players to the game represent a 7% increase in population compared to this time last year.

Interestingly, the largest number of players to leave us were those who joined us in 2017. We have the lowest number of retained players in that year (excluding 2014 and 2015). Our guilds were full in 2017, which was the year of Mod 11 (The Cloaked Ascendency) and Mod 12 (Tomb of Annihilation).

Historical Cloak chart from 2018

The historical chart shows that a year ago in 2018, players who joined us in 2017 were 30% of our population. This year, they are only 9%. Maybe those 2017 players were the ones who chose to leave with Mod 16, but I don’t have departure data to draw that conclusion. With that said, our 2014, 2015 and 2016 retained player numbers have remained consistent; these are truly our veterans.

I know we had a huge influx of new accounts in 2018 (June) with Ravenloft and we’ve retained a good number of those who joined us then. These are our new veterans and do a great deal to help transfer game knowledge to our 2019 members.

Who knows what all this means? Maybe giving away a full set of gear in Ravenloft helped retain those players since they didn’t feel so big of a gap compared to long term players?

I’d have to do a separate data comparison to see if the 2017 players we lost have come back, or if they’ve left the game all together.

Class Data

Now let’s look at class data. First we’ll see what classes players chose when they joined our guilds, over time.

Going back in history, our three (3) 2014 classes are the Warlock, Cleric and Fighter (yes, I’m using the post M16 class names even though these were not the class names at the time). Tyranny of Dragons in May 2014 brought the Warlock and one of our guild members never looked back, but the Cleric and Fighter might be as old as 2013.

2015 saw the rise of the Cleric, with that class generating the largest numbers. 2016 was fairly even across the Wizard, Ranger and Cleric, but 2017 saw the Barbarian pull ahead as the most toons created. 2018 is a fairly even spread, with the poor Rogue getting sandwiched down behind even the Fighter. 2019 sees the Wizard, Barbarian and Ranger currently neck and neck. The Rogue is seeing a resurgence in popularity.

Perhaps the almost even spread in 2019 across the classes shows that class balance was successful? Or maybe everyone is creating each class to re-learn the game and find what class they want to play in the post M16 era.

I know what you’re saying: “Faze, even a first year data scientist can tell you that just because someone chooses to create a class doesn’t mean that they play the class”. With Mod 17 on the horizon, I figured everyone has had a good amount of time to level the classes they’re interested in playing (they’ve even had time to invoke to Level 80 if the class is invoked every day), so now would be a good time to look at the Cloaks by class, by level:

Wizards, while having the largest number of toons, seem to have the largest number of toons relatively stuck getting out of the gate even thought they also have the highest number of Level 80 toons across our three guilds. Specifically, Wizards have the highest level of toons still not past level 69. Yes, I know that some of them may be leveling to 80, but I didn’t do the data science to draw any conclusions on that scenario.

There might be a bunch of leveling going with those 27 Clerics between level 70 and 79, however. You’ll see that Clerics are almost tied with the Ranger for the number of toons between levels 70-79. The Ranger (especially the melee Warden) is living up to the DPS role and that’s probably a factor motivating those 26 toons moving through the level 70s on their way to Level 80. There might be an upcoming wave of Paladins as well, with 20 toons moving through the level 70 to 80 grind. More tanks or healers will benefit everyone in our Alliance.

Fighters, Rogues and Warlocks seem similar in popularity. While the Rogue is still the smallest population overall at 70 toons, the number of Level 80 Rogues beats the number of Level 80 Fighters just by a hair and ties the number of level 80 Warlocks at 48.

One special note about Rogues and Fighters: they are the only classes with more toons than immediately prior to Mod 16, despite our lower membership numbers. Here’s a chart with class count right before Mod 16 hit preview:

Historical class count from before Mod 16 hit preview.

You’ll see in the historical chart that every class has taken a hit in the total number of players save for Fighter and Rogue, who have increased 2 and 5, respectively.

The Barbarian falls behind only the Wizard in the total number of Level 80 toons, but there’s a large group (24) leveling between 70-80. I wonder if those toons are invoking to 80 while the players have fun exploring the newly revised classes (maybe they’re checking out the Rogue??) or if this is still one of the more popular classes to try for new players. If the latter, that would mean Barbarian appeal extends beyond just doing damage since the Barbarians are no longer designed as a dedicated, Cryptic-defined DPS class (e.g. Ranger, Rogue and Wizard).

I hope you’ve enjoyed the latest periodic analysis of our three Cloaks guilds, Greycloaks, Blackcloaks and Spiritcloaks. If you’re interested in trying any of the classes you’ve never played before, check out Lord Willow’s YouTube channel for great guild videos. If you’re looking to join us, we’ve got plenty of space and would love to have you! You can contact us in game or post on our wall at the Cloak website.

Basic Boons for M16

While there’s some variation in boon choices, to start M16 Undermountain, boons can be class agnostic and simply aligned to roles.

DPS Boons

Undermountain Expeditions

Here’s a primer on M16 Undermountain Expeditions. There are two types of Expeditions:

Leveling Expeditions

  • Done during the campaign; used to advance the campaign and open new areas in Undermountain
  • Drop gear associated with leveling (green gear); gear comes from the campaign quests rather than boss drops (which happens in Master Expeditions)

Master Expeditions

  • Done once the Undermountain campaign has completed. You must complete the last task in the campaign tree to participate in Master Expeditions. Obaya Uday (the same NPC in the Yawing Portal that has been giving you the Leveling Expedition quests, gives you a quest called Master the Depths. This is your first Master Expedition. After you complete that quest, you can complete the campaign task and you receive the 3-times-a-day quest for Master Expeditions. You must turn in and renew each of the three Master Expeditions with Obaya Uday.
  • Drop purple gear that you will want to equip. This gear is like the Chultan gear that comes with equipment power like “Gain X Power for each ally in your team” but much, much higher in Item Level (around IL 850 – 909). The Alabaster weapon set comes from turning in the Master Expedition quest, but is gated behind RNG.
  • There’s more about attuning Runic Crystals below, but if you do not attune Runic Crystals in a Master Expedition, the chest at the end cannot be opened.

Common Expedition Elements

  • All Expeditions seek to collect 9 pieces of magic relics in 3 areas
  • Boss fights in Expeditions drop the new Seals, which allow you to buy gear in the Yawning Portal
  • Boss fights can drop gear (including weapons) in Master Expeditions. Leveling Expeditions do not drop gear. Gear comes from turning in quests during Leveling Expeditions
  • You can initiate 3 Master Expeditions a day, but can be in a party supporting a group for more than 3. If you have the Master Expedition quest (one of your three daily quests), you can open the chest at the end. If you are just supporting the Master Expedition, you can still get drops from boss battles.

Expedition Mechanics

Master Expeditions are akin to Hunts in Barovia. You can use Crystallized Resonance (think of those like Tarokka Cards) to attune Runic Crystals (think of the three slots Madam Eva gives you during Barovian Hunts) to increase the difficulty and reward of the expedition.

Resonance

Resonance is the “building block” of attuning crystals for Master Expeditions. Resonance can be obtained running Runic Encounters (RE) (think about these like Heroic Encounters) in Undermountain. Runic Encounters that spawn in Undermountain drop all types of Resonance. In order to collect Resonance for the first time, you must complete the quest from Runemaster Sinye in the Yawning Portal called Boundless Runic Corruption. During that quest, you will collect three types of each Resonance type and an unrestored piece of Artifact gear that you will need to turn back in to Runemaster Sinye to complete the quest after you restore the Artifact gear with the Resonance you just collected.

Resonance is also used in the process to restore Apprentice gear. If you don’t want to grind all the Resonance to restore the Apprentice gear, the gear that drops from the bosses in Master Expeditions (or from an attuned Master Expedition chest) is more than adequate.

If you’re level 80, and you’ve completed the Boundless Runic Corruption quest mentioned above, to acquire Resonance simply enter the Runic Encounter (you will see the area underneath a transparent half circle dome inscribed with Runic symbols) and as you fight and kill enemies, Resonance will drop into your inventory. Resonance comes in five forms: Chaos, Balance, Empowered, Rage, Sacrifice. You need 10 Resonance of the same type to create Crystalized Resonance to attune Runic Crystals in a Master Expedition.

Attuning Runic Crystals is a two step process which can only be done in the first chamber after entering the Master Expedition. First, you sacrifice 10 Resonance to create the Crystalized Resonance (menu item #2), then you use the Crystalized Resonance (menu item #1) to attune up to three Runic Crystals. You must interact with each pedestal in the chamber individually to attune more than one crystal.

When you attune Runic Crystals, which can only be done by the party leader (just like Tarokka cards with Madam Eva), the challenge of all creatures increases on the Expedition (think about the Tarokka cards that increased enemy stats to Epic dungeon stats, like the Donjon High Card) and Runes will appear in the Expedition that have negative effects when any player walks into the space where they are hidden. The effect may give you a damage over time effect, or slow you, etc. but you will see a message on screen that the runic energy has been triggered. Each runic energy cannot be triggered a second time but there are multiple in a Master Expedition run.

When you attune Runic Crystals, you have a chance to gain Rune Etchings (see below) from Master Expeditions in the final chest.

Each of the Crystalized Resonance (as a reminder, that’s 10 Resonance) add the following rewards when used to attune Runic Crystals (just like the bonuses from the Tarokka Cards):

  • Chaos: 3000 Astral Diamonds
  • Balance: 8 Gold
  • Empowered: 1 piece of equipment, not guaranteed to be useable by your class
  • Rage: 1 piece of equipment, guaranteed to be for your class
  • Sacrifice: 4500 Refinement Points

Rune Etchings

After attuning the Runic Crystals and successfully completing the Master Expedition, you have a chance to acquire one of four Rune Etchings from the last chest in Master Expeditions. Dark, Pulsing, Swirling and Glowing Runic Etchings can be used for two things:
1. To buy Rune-Etched Orbs used in restoring the Apprentice gear (IL 965) – this is much like how we restored gear in Mod 10, Storm Kings Thunder, versus using the Ampules from CoDG in Module 12/13 Chult/Omu.
2. To purchase a chest from the vendor in the Yawning Portal with Level 80 Artifact equipment – this is much like the chests you gained from using Tarokka cards in Barovian Hunts that gave gear. These chests can contain the Mod 16 artifacts, vanity pets, AD and potions.

As a final note, restoring gear also requires Runic Energy Sealers, which each cost 100,000 AD. These can be purchased from the same vendor where you purchase Rune-Etched Orbs in the Yawning Portal, Runemaster Sinye.

Good hunting on your Runic Encounters! Hopefully you’ll get great gear and if you’re really lucky, new weapons!

Mod 16 is as easy as 1, 2, 3…

When you log into Neverwinter for the first time after Module 16, Undermountain, goes live, your see a message that says “Your Powers have been reset”, and there’s lots of gear that was formerly on your companion in your inventory, among other things. You might be thinking, “What is going on and what do I do now?”

Mod 16 Day 1 Guide

  1. Rework your character (Abilities, Powers, Feats, Boons) due to the forced respect
    • here’s additional information on ability scores. They are not the same as pre-Mod 16.
    • For convenience, here are the links to the Day 1 builds that cover Powers and Feats:
      Cleric
      Paladin
      Ranger
      Rogue
      Wizard
      Barbarian
      Warlock
      Fighter
    • Don’t fret too much about this respec; you’ll probably respec again after you experience gameplay at level 80 and define your new playstyle
    • If you want, focus on your solo play loadout for now since that will be what you use to level to 80

2. Check your companion for unequipped gear

  • gear for players, and enchantments, can no longer be used by companions and gets unequipped automatically
  • don’t worry about getting some companion gear if you don’t have any as the new gear you get from the intro quest starting the campaign includes blue level companion gear. Runestones are not included.
  • assign companion powers from those currently available; you don’t need to get any new companions before you hit level 80
  • check out our companion starter for more information

3. Start the Undermountain campaign

  • speak to Lord Neverember in the Moonstone Mask. You may see the quest automatically in your quest log or you may need to read the invitation on the table behind Sgt. Knox in PE.
  • Lord Neverember will give you new gear in the Moonstone Mask; equip that gear as needed

4. Work up to Level 80

After Day 1/At Level 80

  • Respec based on preferred playstyle; analyze loadouts for solo and party play
  • Continue Undermountain campaign to get level 80 character and companion gear
  • Analyze your stats for balance; check out our starter on targeted stats
  • Create plan to upgrade runestones, mount insignias, enchantments based on your analysis of the stats
  • Analyze companion strategy and powers;
    • are there better companion powers you don’t already have?
    • How do you use companions? For example, augment companions have proven to be good for team play, while combat companions have been good for solo play
    • get new companions to implement your strategy

Basic Build for Warlock Mod 16 + Level 80 Build

Basic Build Notes: These guides are not meant to be comprehensive “bibles” on how you must build your class, but offer solid alternatives to get started in the new mod. Each of these builds should offer a solid foundation for you to start playing the new mod, but do not necessarily represent “BiS”, as that can depend on your prefered playstyle, gear, and stats.

Warlock Notes: For level 80 Warlock build information, make sure you check out Lord Willow’s new Warlock build video. For Hellbringer leveling, use the Level 80 Build Hellbringer information screenshotted below and discussed in the Warlock build video.

Soulweaver Warlock Heals

Level 80 Build

DPS Warlock build

For information on the principles behind the build, plus information on gear (the Lostmauth set plays a big role), boon and companion information, make sure you check out the video by Lord Willow.

Soulweaver heals Warlock build


Basic Barbarian Build for Mod 16 Preview (archived)

As of the writing of this blog, the tank path for the Barbarian, the Sentinel, will be undergoing changes in the next patch. Therefore our coverage of the Sentinel will come at a later time.

The following selections are for the DPS path for the Barbarian, the Blademaster.

The idea behind the basic build is to build rage as quickly as possible and then to use your encounters while raging.

Basic Build Choices as of March 10th, 2019

At Wills: Sure Strike and Brash Strike
Encounters: Punishing Charge, Frenzy and Axestorm
Dailies: Savage Advance, Crescendo
Class Features: Steadfast Determination, Steel Blitz
Feats: Mighty Blade, Rampage, Steel Reaper, Overpenetration, Offensive Recovery

Thanks to Lord Willow for contributing information for the entry.

Basic Wizard Build for M16 Preview (archived)

Note, this is taken, almost entirely from Sharpedge, so….  credit where credit is due here.  This is based on the current build and may not be valid once this hits Live as there are bugs to be fixed.

Single Target Arcanist:

  • Entangling Force on Mastery
  • Ray of Enfeeblement
  • Disintegrate
  • Imprisonment
  • Passive: Storm Spell
  • Passive: Arcane Power Field
  • At-will: Magic Missile
  • Daily: Arcane Empowerment

Start with Imprisonment then Arcane Empowerment, Ray of Enfeeblement, Entangling Force, then Disintegrate. Try to cycle encounters as quickly as possible, then use Magic Missiles when they are off cool-down.

Area of Effect Thaumaturge:

  • Entangling Force on Mastery
  • Fanning the Flame
  • Icy Terrain
  • Conduit of Ice
  • Passive: Critical Conflagration
  • Passive: Evocation
  • At-will:Chilling Cloud
  • At-will:Oppressive Force
  • Daily: Furious Immolation

Most of the damage from this build comes from smolder, The goal is to trigger Critical Conflagration as much as possible. The order you use powers in is not so important, so long as you group as many enemies together as possible and play aggressively. The more enemies you pull, the more damage you will deal.

Single Target Feats:

  • Spell Twisting
  • Assailing Force
  • Chaos Magic
  • Striking Advantage
  • A Step above Mastery

Area of Effect Feats:

  • Smoldering Recovery
  • Glowing Flames
  • Shatter Strike
  • Critical Burn
  • Directed Flames

5 Known Bugs (as if this writing):

  • Elemental Reinforcement only working on the first hit.
  • Storm Pillar dealing excessive damage.
  • Chaos Magic – Quick Action giving half of the intended action points.
  • Striking Advantage does not scale.
  • Directed Flames deals 50%, not 75%.
  • Empowering Flames does not function.

**Mod 16 is still being tested and subject to change at any given moment

 

Basic Rogue Build M16 Preview (archived)

Single Target Assassin:

  • Lashing Blade
  • Assassinate
  • Deft Strike
  • Oppressive Darkness
  • Tactics
  • Duelist’s Flurry
  • Gloaming Cut
  • Shocking Execution

Whenever you use stealth, you want to use it to buff Lashing Blade. The rotation with this build is to wait for Skullcracker to trigger, then use Deft Strike, Stealth, Shocking Execution, a few Gloaming Cuts until stealth is almost depleted, then Lashing Blade and Assassinate. When your encounters are on cool-down, simply hold down Duelist’s Flurry.

Area of Effect Whisperknife:

  • Smoke Bomb
  • Blitz
  • Path of the Blade
  • Tactics
  • Razor Action
  • Whirlwind of Blades

Use stealth on Blitz, in order to lower cooldowns. As a result of this it is usually the last power used. Path of the Blade, Smoke Bomb, Stealth, Blitz, then at wills when your powers are on cool-down.

Single Target Feats:

  • Assassin’s Target
  • Knife’s Edge
  • Skullcracker
  • Hastily Sharpened Blades
  • Shadow’s Flurry

Area of Effect Feats:

  • Shady Preparations
  • Dark Reimbursement
  • Shadow of Demise
  • Shadowy Opportunity
  • Last Moments

Known Bugs:

  • Duelist’s Flurry Bleed does not deal damage if you hit enemies who are on a different level of terrain elevation to you.
  • The hit that triggers Shadow of Demise counts 50%, not 30%.
  • Shadow of Demise double benefits from debuffs.
  • Shadow of Demise counts damage dealt to all enemies, to the single enemy.
  • Back Alley Tactics significantly reduces your damage, as it is not capped to the domain and thus leads you to deal on average 40% less damage.
  • Knife’s Edge triggers per target hit, for example, it reduces your cool-downs by 20 seconds if it triggers off of 5 targets hit by Whirlwind of Blades.
  • Knife’s Edge does not trigger on Bloodbath.

**Mod 16 is still being tested and subject to change at any given moment

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