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Basic Ranger Build for M16 Preview (archived)

Hunter was tested by @viraaal, not me, so if you wish to field any questions for this class, direct them at him, including if you should live stream Owlbear before your NDA has ended.  🙂

Single Target Hunter:

  • Longstrider’s Shot
  • Marauders Escape
  • Commanders Shot
  • Rapid Shot
  • Careful attack
  • Disruptive shot
  • Aspect of the Falcon
  • Aspect of the Pack

The rotation is Disruptive shot, Longstrider’s Shot, Gushing Wound, Marauders Escape (while jumping to remove the movement effect but keep the damage), Marauders Rush, Commanders Shot, Disruptive shot, Careful attack, Rapid Shot until Longstrider’s Shot is 1s off cool-down, and then repeat animation cancelling Disruptive shot with Longstrider’s Shot

Area of Effect Warden:

  • Throw Caution
  • Boar Charge
  • Marauders Rush
  • Storm Strike
  • Clear the ground
  • Snipe
  • Seeker’s Vengeance
  • Aspect of the Pack

The rotation is Split the Sky, Marauders Rush, 4 at-wills, Throw Caution, 4 at-wills, Boar Charge, Snipe, 2 at-wills. Repeat with Marauders Rush and using Split the Sky only at the start of a new rotation when its off cool-down (the at will you use depends on either single target or Area of Effect).

Single Target Feats:

  • Commander in Chief
  • Stillness of the Forest
  • Predator
  • Longshot
  • More than Disruptive

Area of Effect Feats:

  • Focused
  • Storms Recovery
  • Blade Hurricane
  • To the Wind
  • Enhanced Conductivity

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


Basic Paladin Build for M16 Preview (archived)

This was written by @greyjay1 as he tested OP, so if you have any questions, I recommend fielding them his way.

Solo (Oathkeeper):

  • Valorous Strike
  • Radiant Strike
  • Smite
  • Sacred Weapon
  • Circle of Power (optional)
  • Divine Judgement
  • Justicar’s Charge
  • Composure
  • Divine Justice

Smite all the way, Sacred Weapon + Radiant Strike for AoE, Circle of Power to regain Divinity.


  • Shielding Strike (Oath Strike for AoE)
  • Radiant Strike
  • Smite (Templar’s Wrath for AoE)
  • Sacred Weapon
  • Absolution
  • Divine Justice
  • Divine Shieldberer

Smite (TW) all the way, Sacred Weapon + Oath Strike for AoE, block to regain Divinity.


  • Cure Wounds (rarely used)
  • Radiant Strike (or Divine Fulmination)
  • Divine Touch
  • Divine Shelter
  • Circle of Power
  • Lay on Hands
  • Healing Font

Divine Touch as standard Power, Divine Shelter to counter pressure and after the Feat procced, CoP for +healing and +Divinity, Healing Font as HoT.

Solo Feats:

  • Free Blessing
  • Divine Weapon
  • Keeper’s Wrath
  • Guarded Prayers
  • Radiant Banner

Keeper’s Wrath is the important Feat here.

Tanking Feats:

  • Sacred Shield
  • Absolute Shield
  • Bound to the Land
  • Vigilant Defender
  • Bulwark of Faith

Tanking Feats are not so important
Healing Feats:

  • Free Blessing
  • Divine Weapon
  • Lasting Bond
  • Guarded Prayers
  • Intervening Light

Free Blessing is the important Feat here.

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

Basic Cleric Build for M16 Preview (archived)

The healing path is still in flux (see note at the end of this article), so for now here’s the DPS path:

Single Target Arbiter:

  • Bastion of Health
  • Prophecy of Doom
  • Forgemaster’s Flame
  • Lance of Faith
  • Sacred Flame
  • Hammer of Fate
  • Light of the Scales
  • Holy Fervor

This rotation is a little bit strange compared to what you would usually be used to for DPS. The feat Mendicant’s Judgement will build stacks of Judgement, which you will use to refresh divinity. You start by using 6 Sacred Flames, then you cast Prophecy of Doom, Hammer of Fate, then Forgehamer’s Flame, then 6 Sacred Flames, then Forgemaster’s Flame. Repeat whenever you have divinity to use Forgemaster’s Flame. When you are out of divinity, use Bastion and target the most allies possible, then briefly channel divinity to consume all stacks. Repeat until full on divinity, then start the rotation again.

Area of Effect Arbiter:

  • Bastion of Health
  • Sunburst
  • Searing Light
  • Lance of Faith
  • Sacred Flame
  • Celestial Prominence
  • Light of the Scales
  • Holy Fervor

The rotation is similar to the one for Arbiter, but instead of using Prophecy you use Sunburst and instead of Forgemaster’s you use Searing Light.

Feats (Both):

  • Piercing Light
  • Heavy Sun
  • Mendicant’s Judgement
  • Smoldering Light
  • Critical Sun

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

Reflecting on Tales of Old (updated)

With the first round of the Tales of Old event, the Lair of the Mad Dragon, behind us, now is a good time to reflect and capture our thoughts. If you missed our coverage of the event, you can check out that blog.

  • Hugely successful nostalgia win by bringing back an old dungeon!
  • Great dungeon layout design, such as optional rooms for the chance at additional loot, i.e. not every room was mandatory.
  • Great dungeon mechanics that allowed group success to be directly related to their ability to work as a group, without forced interrupts/immunity phases for bosses, or push/pull insta-kill mechanics.
  • Level scaling was generally successful. We know from the Mod 16 information just released that they are continuing to work on scaling.
  • The rewards, at this point in time, feel appropriate to inspire event participation. Update for The Frozen Heart: The gear was increased by 5 (five) IL, which makes the gear much less competitive compared to the gear coming in Undermountain.
  • A great mix of rewards, from gear you want to chase to fashion items and a vanity pet inspired by the event.
  • The availability of time and life extensions in the dungeon was generally successful, but at times not forthcoming. Specifically, some cycles through the dungeon seemed to drop mostly time extensions and very few extra lives.
  • The progress and mechanics of the disadvantages and difficulty modifiers felt balanced and provided a differentiated experience.
  • The penalty to the group for having a team member get disconnected (legitimately for poor internet, which definitely happens) or having a real-life emergency endangers the entire group investment, and needs to be re-worked.
    Update for The Frozen Heart: While this was adjusted, the ability to re-join in the Frozen Heart versus being booted out to PE is haphazard and unpredictable.
  • Allowing consumables before going into the dungeon, even though some could not be used during, is a great way to reward players for thinking ahead.
  • Allowing the use of temporary buff items like the Chain of Scales during the dungeon was a great design choice.
  • The dungeon design was excellent for companions. There was maybe a single instance where companions needed to be re-summoned.
  • The week long duration to achieve enough rewards to fully participate in the event seemed reasonable, however, the number of characters you were able to achieve full participation with was limited by having to participate in real life. One character was certainly reasonable and two manageable. Three characters felt like real life sacrifice was needed.
  • Great design with the availability of the artifact even if not enough Coins were earned to gain a Fabled Chapter. Many players, however, seemed to adopt an all-or-nothing strategy where gaining a Fabled Chapter was top priority. Perhaps if there was an opportunity to gain a Fabled Chapter through some other mechanism more players would have participated in the event to earn the artifact and few power ups. We definitely have disappointed Alliance players who could not reach the required Coins/runs to obtain the Fabled Chapter either on their main or all their desired characters.
  • Interesting decision by the developers to not place a Zen item in the store that would buff the amount of event currency earned through participation. The Tales of Old event seems to differentiate from campaigns in this regard, as well as even Strongholds, where the Stronghold Cleric buffs Influence earned.
  • Several players had passionate discussions about what characters they wanted to bring to a group given the week-long time limit and their availability to play. While many Alliance members have characters who can fill roles like damage, control, healing and tanking, players, for example, would refuse to run their damage, control or heal class due to the need to prioritize their tank. Perhaps running the event for two weeks would alleviate this tension around group forming.
  • Groups seemed to form for two reasons: to farm Trinkets or gain Coins. I believe this was due to the large amount of time needed to target both goals during runs. Another potential reason for avoiding Trinket gathering was perhaps the chance of a mimic getting lucky and killing a party member.
  • A larger-than-normal time commitment is needed, save for the highest performing groups, even if the team is focusing only on Coins. This likely required many players to change their regular Neverwinter gaming schedule. For many Alliance members, participation in the event superseded all other activities like random queues, weeklies, campaign progress, etc.
  • The 16k Item Level requirement meant that for some players, alt characters did not participate. If Coins were account bound, the Tales event could help alt characters gain an artifact that would help them progress.
  • The server or network performance appeared to cause massive lagging when many players were running the event initially. This issue seemed to disappear during the middle of the event, but Alliance members reported performance issues again in the final hours before the event end. Update for The Frozen Heart: This issue has manifested again in a big way. When groups are affected by lag and rubberbanding, the affect can be game-breaking.

Basic Barbarian Build for 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 preferred playstyle, gear, and stats.

Barbarian Notes: Forget your old GWF altogether, the Barbarian in many regards is a completely new class. The class is reasonably balanced, does great damage, and is a fantastic tank due to its threat pull capabilities.

Make sure you check out Lord Willow’s Barbarian build video for a deeper understanding of the build information presented below.

Blademaster DPS Barbarian for leveling
Barbarian Sentinel Tank for leveling

Barbarian build for level 80

Notes: This build is focused on the DPS Blademaster Barbarian. You can check out Lord Willow’s video for some discussion on the Barbarian tank. Lord Willow and others tested the At-Wills and found that Relentless Slash, even for single target, outperforms the other At-Wills, especially with Steel Blitz slotted. He thus slots single target Encounters and uses Relentless Slash instead of Axestorm for AOE damage. Make sure you check out his video to understand more about the viable variants of this build, including the pros and cons of the Bloodspiller/Bloodletter variant or the combination of Not So Fast/Relentless Speed/Relentless Slash.

DPS Barbarian build for level 80

If you want, you can always check out our old Barbarian basic build blog for M16.

Preparing for Mod 16

Mod 16 is still on the preview server but some suggestions on how best to prepare can be drawn based on what we see now. Big caveat: this is still the preview server and everything is subject to change. If there are things you need to farm for Mod 16, you’ll have an easier time now than the day Mod 16 goes live when you’re going to send a good amount of time rebuilding your character.

Lord Neverember gives you a chest full of Undermountain gear to begin your journey!

Once you copy your character over to the preview server (see our homepage for instructions on how to do this), start Mod 16 by heading to the Moonstone Mask and head into Lord Neverember’s private meeting (enter and make the first two right turns). Then you’re on your way down the storyline.

We’ll try and update our recommendations here as the devs continue to make changes and as we continue to learn more about Mod 16 and Undermountain!

We’ve broken our recommendations down into things to do (aka “Do”s) and things that are not necessary (aka “Don’t”s).


  • Farm wards for enchantment and runestone upgrades.
  • Farm UES; they’re needed for Rank 15 upgrades.
  • Farm companion gear from Merchant Prince Folly; companions can only use companion gear. You’ll need companion gear to start Mod 16 but new companion gear drops from Undermountain.
  • Save healing potions, but they are readily available in the Yawning Portal if needed.
  • Save mount Insignias; you need Insignia feeders to upgrade to Legendary Insignias.
  • If there are easy campaign boons you can obtain, complete those now; if you have Genie’s Gifts, consider using those.
  • Save Azure enchants, Insignias of Prosperity (the Insignias have lost their XP bonus) and gear that provides XP gain to accelerate the move from level 70 to 80. the Master of the Hunt skirmish drops a neck piece (Huntmaster Cloak) from the chest that gives +8 XP. That bonus currently carries forward into Mod 16.
  • Save Tomes of Experience; they may only get you from 70 to 71, however.
  • Save companions. You can now keep many more companions and their abilities are their player bonuses are no longer tied to the companion, similar to the ability to choose separate mount combat powers.
  • Max out seals on as many characters as possible. UPDATE:Seals just got nerfed and even Crown Seals won’t get you any of the new level 80 gear in Mod 16.


  • Don’t spend Crown Seals. The new Spy gear will be available for Crown Seals as soon as Mod 16 drops. UPDATE: This got nerfed. Spy gear is now only available for Mountain Seals.
  • Don’t buy player gear for companions; companions can now only use gear specifically for companions.
  • Don’t sell weapon and armor enchants; an exchange will be available
  • Don’t sell runestones; an exchange will be available
  • Don’t spend Tarmalune Trade Bars if you’d rather use them to buy the new Mountaineer weapon set that drops the day Mod 16 goes live. UPDATE: The Mountaineer weapon set no longer appears available in the Tarmalune Trade Bar store.

Stronghold Professions Vendor Schedule

Building occurs after weekly maintenance on Mondays, per Cryptic US timezone Monday. Week 1 starts 25 February 2019.

M16, Undermountain, brings major changes to game mechanics

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

Links to Neverwinter Content Online

The Unblogged site used to do a weekly roundup of Internet content related to Neverwinter. With that practice ending, we decided to capture frequent Neverwinter content creators as a starting place to explore what’s available.

Video & Stream


Nyv’s Workshop | Visualize raw materials needed for masterwork commissions






MMOMinds | Neverwinter Build and Strategy Guides


mia andersson (@mi_ah_90) | Twitter


Additionally, the Unblogged site had an excellent link to Tools and Resources, both their own tools and external guides. Rather than risk losing those links, they have been duplicated here.

Tools & Resources

If we’ve missed anything you feel should be captured here, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

A Website.

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