It’s notable in Neverwinter the role that consumable items, especially healing potions, have on game play and your chance of success. I recently did the ‘artifact’ quest on my Control Wizard solo and it was beyond tough. I’d already outlevelled the quest, or so I thought, as I’ve gained several levels during the Simril Winter festival.
I’ll note upfront that I would expect a quest for an artifact to be difficult (artifacts being the rarest of rare magical items in any Dungeons & Dragons game). But looking at the bare mechanics of this MMO, expecting a cloth-wearing wizard (in a game with a very limited ability pool) to take on multiple elites with immunity to crowd control effects is not particularly fair encounter design. I imagine my cleric could do the same quest with relative ease in comparison.
I did succeed and get the artifact, but only by kiting monsters almost constantly in circles while my one damage over time (conduit of ice – wiki link) spell slowly, ever *so* slowly, whittled down their health. To stand still long enough for my heavier damage spells was to invite a quick death. Even with me dodging as much as possible and moving almost constantly I still was taking damage a lot from ranged attacks or summoned minions. That’s where we get to the ‘consumable to win’ aspect of this post. I really felt like I was in a quest designed to deplete my healing potion stock.
Downing healing potions to overcome challenging fights isn’t necessarily anything new, it was possible in Dungeons & Dragons Online to do dungeons without a dedicated healer *if* you brought enough self-heal items like potions or wands of cure spells. That rather predates the free to play conversion of the game. However I have also noticed a proliferation of newer convenience heal items in Lord of the Rings Online since the conversion to free to play, when I first started playing I had the distinct impression that the Athelas essences (healing potions) were rare items worth treasuring. Now my pockets are stuffed with all manner of healing potions.
Does having these items offer a wider set of tactical options than shouting “looking for healer” in a global chat channel? Do they represent the monetisation of solo-friendly play through an abundance of recovery consumables and quests designed to encourage their use?