This last weekend was another Call to Arms event in Neverwinter, the Defend the Temple event set in Ebon Downs. I’ve done this skirmish in normal mode but since I took a break soon after launch I’ve not yet seen all the Call to Arms versions of the skirmishes (Call to Arms skirmishes auto-scale everyone to the cap and have extra rewards).
One of the big attractions for Call to Arms events is the rare chance of a companion as part of the end reward. They’re green quality so not much good at end game but still sought after by collectors. Personally I would love a Helmite Ghost Paladin companion from the Straight to Helm event, which I presume will come back around this October.
Grinding the skirmish on the off-chance you get one of these is an example of a long-term goal in-game. I could easily buy a chunk of zen with real money and then use that to buy this companion off the astral diamond auction house. But that’s a slippery slope to ‘whaledom’ and besides it’s actually nice to have some longer-term goals. I’m not really a gear-oriented player, especially as I’m not likely to be running the epic mode dungeons that much. Collecting different companions is a fun goal to have though and taking the ‘hard’ road to get them means I’ll actually have motivation to play longer – if I simply bought the ones I want with my credit card then I’d be bored with the game that much quicker.
Long-term goals centered around events is nothing new of course. World of Warcraft (or LOTRO, Rift, etc) have long had annual events with associated grindy tasks that were difficult if not impossible to achieve during your first experience of the event. I generally like these events if there are gaps in-between without anything (Rift!) so you can get on with normal gaming and use the events as a change of pace.
Neverwinter has the PVE campaign system as an end-game activity so I have plenty to do even on my capped wizard character. But it’s nice beyond the campaigns to have the collecting of new companions as another activity. So far I have a mimic from the Simril/Winter festival event and an orcish wolf companion from the last Call to Arms. There’s still plenty more to do even for a casual player like me!