I’m currently enjoying a revival of interest in Neverwinter, both as a duo game with my partner and as something for me to do as a break from WoW raiding. Looking back through my post history I can’t see why I stopped playing the game back in the summer. I think at the time leveling two characters in parallel was too repetitive. I also suspect that playing both Neverwinter and Guild Wars 2 was too much ‘action combat’. Now that GW2 is on hiatus I’m finding Neverwinter fulfills the same niche in my gaming schedule very well.
There’s also the difference between now and then in the Foundry system rewards. I remember trying a couple of Foundry quests with our cleric/wizard duo and the quantity and quality of treasure was very poor. I think the complexity and polish of those earlier modules was also lower. Running Foundry quests now and we’re seeing a high drop rate on general loot from killed monsters, this makes them a lot more attractive as an alternative to the main storyline for alt-leveling. Naturally there are so many more quests available, some with very elaborate plots and settings, that the experience is generally more enjoyable.
So on my new ranger character, which may well replace my wizard as my solo character of choice, I’ve taken him through the tutorial and almost immediately dived into the Foundry. Surprisingly missions are available to play once you reach Protector’s Enclave. My ranger isn’t high enough to do the Foundry Daily quest yet for bonus rough astral diamonds. But I can time doing one when there’s a Foundry bonus XP event on to make the leveling even faster.
The one problem with running Foundry quests at very low level is that your character is missing certain key abilities at that point. The auto-scaling of the quests monster encounters does not necessarily take that into consideration and I’m sure the designers of quests do not as well. I’ve found some quests very difficult to complete, the ones that have an in-game mechanism to allow you to select an ‘easy’ mode for the module are well suited to a character lower than level 10, I find.
I’ll come back to a proper look at the ranger class when I’ve levelled him some more, the short time I’ve played him (now level 7), does make me think it’ll be a class I’ll enjoy – even the basic split shot attack has an interesting mechanic where delaying the release gradually narrows the arc of fire but increases the damage dealt. I do not yet have access to the class defining ranged/melee hybrid so that’s something I look forward to seeing soon.
I’ve mentioned recently that I look forward to more class releases, I think it’s intrinsic to D&D inspired games that you level different classes to try out different play styles. The forums seem to agree that warlock is most likely next, a class I’m totally unfamiliar with as it was never a core class in earlier editions. Personally I want to see a paladin added or at least a more melee-focused cleric.