Why I am not playing Neverwinter…

No Game for You
No Game for You

This has been happening for a few weeks, now. The game has trouble connecting me to their account server. Eventually I get in, but if I ever return to the character selection screen, BAM. Eventually I can’t connect again. This can happen sometimes even when I do manage to log in.

Neverwinter tech support sent me a tip sheet that was meant to help if I couldn’t connect at all. Even though I explained that wasn’t the problem.

Sooooooo…. I’m in FFXIV now. I miss building adventures with the Foundry.

Ding 66, and I’ve left Fiery Pit.

Ding 66, and I've left Fiery Pit for awhile to return to Reclamation Rock. Leveling up is going fairly slowly. There's a lot of grinding going on. Almost all the old level 60 content has been bumped up to level 70. This means that we're all doing a lot of work just to get back to doing the content we've done before. I have reminders to go check out Sharandar and Dread Ring again.

I haven't received any gear upgrades. I was fairly well-geared before, but I was hoping for one or two new items on the way up. I haven't seen any blue items drop at all. I've seen lots of green items, but… they all went to leveling up my artifacts. The new item level stuff means that artifacts and all my other gear are no longer headed to the scrap bin. I was worried about that.

Of course, this could all change once I hit 70 and start working on the new gear. As long as it doesn't require grinding dungeons with pickup groups, because that isn't happening. Three or four hours spent to ultimately fail in a dungeon with people dropping out left and right — that's what pickup groups are like in Neverwinter.

Still unsure what to do with my pets. My purple pets all can level to 35 now, and for just a trivial number of astral diamonds — merely a million or so — they can unlock legendary status and a new level cap of 40. Since a 40 pet level is equivalent to an 80 adventurer level, this could end with pets more powerful than their owner. That could be a game-changer for some classes.

If level 40 unlocked a new pet skin, well, I'd be down with that. But for now… I might upgrade Pauli the Powrie, but then, her mega-attack is really slow and usually too late. My Mod 6 pet, the water elemental Aquafan, is powerful, but he's blue, and it would cost 700K AD just to get him to purple before I could then pay 1MM AD for the legendary.

Libre, here, might be my best option, after all.

I'm not sure what's up with that little whirlygig that keeps flying around me. Does everyone get them during this Wonders of Gond event, or is this a new thing because I have a Doohickey equipped? I guess we'll see after tomorrow, once the event ends. I hope it does stick around.

Weekly Foundry Reviews — February 18, 2015

Based on a suggestion last week in the forums, I went through the 159 quests that we have reviewed (we played many more before I first thought to write about them) and compiled them in a spreadsheet based on the one I kept for the Cult of the Dragon foundry contest.

With that information, I’m able to suggest quests similar to the quests we review :)

The link to the spreadsheet: http://goo.gl/XbV9hj

And… onto this week’s reviews.

Hallow’s Thicket by @scmiller

You might remember, when you were a child, the stories your parents told you to keep you scared beyond any ability to scream, about “the demon who steals, Diagoraith, and the raggedy puppet Gorrot”. I’m not sure telling your kids about a monster who will kill them if they don’t go to sleep will have the desired effect… but then, I wasn’t a Neverwinter kid. Even so, I think I’d prefer the other bedtime story Neverwinter tells its children, about the wish-giving temple of riches far beneath the city streets.

But, that’s not the quest we’re playing. We’re playing the one where we confront our childhood fears… and kill them for xp and loot. Well, this is a foundry, so just xp. Well, this is a foundry, so just…. 

With the map to Diagoraith’s home, Hallow’s Thicket, in our possession, we set out to find the reality behind the scary stories… and it was a little different than we were told.

This was a fairly decent quest, nothing too special. We enjoyed the whole confronting childhood fears aspect, and the NPCs were nicely askew. We didn’t particularly enjoy the constant zoning. For such a short quest, it really got annoying. The English was okay, with a few misspellings and some weird funnies — wolves run in packs, not herds, leading us to wonder if maybe they were were-cows or something… We ended up giving it three stars.

If you enjoyed this quest, you might like to try “Horror in Halavar” by @juravian.

Pros: Nice backstory and an interesting concept.
Cons: Too much zoning, misspellings and grammar issues mar an otherwise excellent story.

Save the Theatre by @mochakimono

It’s the same story, again and again. Someone wants to open a community theatre, but the actors are divas, the orchestra are bleeding to death, the crew have been replaced by monsters, and the public just isn’t showing a lot of interest in your avant-garde interpretation of Lathander and Lace.

All you can honestly hope for is that some dim adventurers will stumble in the door and fix all your problems for peanuts. Except, maybe they have a nut allergy, so better not get ahead of ourselves here with promising them peanuts.

“Save the Theatre” is a cute, short adventure with a refreshingly weird premise and the most bizarre NPCs I’ve had the pleasure of being attacked by in a long time. And, Guard Frinko FINALLY shows his true colors!

Unfortunately, the maps are kind of basic and need a little polishing and better set dressing. I loved the terrified orchestra. Kasul loved having to go out and coerce people into coming to the show opening. And we both loved beating the crap out of Guard Frinko.

We felt it came in just short of four stars. It’s also short in another way — at an average playtime of 14 minutes, it just misses being eligible for the Daily Foundry credit.

If you liked this quest, you might enjoy “The Frosty Proctologist” by @labmouse43– an equally bizarre little adventure.

Pros: Actually funny. Bizarrely weird.
Cons: Better maps could really improve things.

ILT1: Newly Bought Home by @Alaynia

An interesting concept — a home built for roleplaying has a double purpose as the starting point for an interesting excursion into the past of the Underdark. After spending an enjoyable few minutes looking around the exquisitely decorated home, we took the suggestion to head into the attack, discover the home’s deed, and come face to face with its owner, an illiterate drow.

Once upon a time, she eventually reveals, she was a nobleman’s daughter, when her House was wiped out by a rival’s attacks. Only she and her faithful slave made it out alive. Her faithful slave… was you.

Fifteen years ago, she begins… and then you’re in the story.

The problem with flashback quests is that they really take the agency away from the player. Can’t say I enjoyed playing the slave, and it felt creepy when the little girl drow told me to take my pleasure with another slave of my choice as a reward for doing her a service. And there was no refusing.

For all that, it was a decent story. The maps were incredible, the story well-told, and the English was perfect. The author, a non-native speaker, got a native speaker to clean up the language, and it turned out great.

Kasul and I both gave it four stars. If you enjoyed this quest, you might enjoy “The Bone Idol” campaign by @Kithlis.

Pros: Great maps, stories, and NPCs.
Cons: Story flashback takes control of your character.

Watcher’s Grounds by @topwicz

This is the direct sequel to “Sharandar’s Defense”, winner of a “Judge’s Choice” award in last year’s Cult of the Dragon foundry contest. In the previous quest, you climbed an incredibly tall tree, among the branches of which was an elvish city under attack, to defeat a powerful, undead dragon. In Watcher’s Grounds, we learn that that dragon was survived by five even more powerful progeny.

We were summoned to continue our fight against ancient dragons by the usual method of handing important messages to random street children. It’s a mystery to me that nobody ever trusts the actual mail.

Soon we were whisked away to a small village outside Icewind Dale, that had become the unfortunate home of the dragon Anashaa, who had adopted a human form in order to more completely bring the area under her power before anyone could really suspect she was there.

The quest has stunning NPCs and @topwicz’s trademark super-detailed maps. The final fight against Anashaa was truly epic. However, the English was terrible. Kasul and I felt that it needed more work to rise to the standard set by Sharandar’s Defense, so I rated it 4 and he went for 3, to average out at 3.5. We would love to play it again once it’s done. It currently sits in the For Review tab and needs just one more review to make it onto the New tab.

If you enjoy this quest, and have already played the previous one in @topwicz’s“Return of the Dragons” campaign, you may enjoy “The Road South” by @echelon31

Pros: Great maps and characters
Cons: Terrible English, plot is fairly standard.

#Neverwinter   #Foundry  

Weekly Foundry Quests — February 11, 2015

After running into Ian Darksword entirely by accident (Guard Frinko will back me up on this!), he agreed to help us run through a few foundries this week. Bringing some much-needed insight into Forgotten Realms lore to our lore-less duo :)

The Redcap Snatchers by @hustin1

Who doesn’t still wake up in cold sweats with “WITHER YOUR LIMBS!” ringing in their ears after finishing that Sharandar campaign? I know I sure do. It’s why I hired a powrie companion to follow me around, hoping that familiarity and the sudden draining of all my action points at random times will dull the pain.

It was with a little trepidation that we accepted the quest to go see why those little Redcaps were still dying in such numbers, long after adventurers had moved on to killing purple-adorned kobolds in more lucrative zones.

Because — just what sort of life are we giving back to these malicious little fiends? It’s like saving a cockroach nest from a nest of hungry birds. Whoever’s taking these redcaps is probably doing those Sharandar elves a solid. But, for some reason, they’re growing concerned.

Kasul, Ian and I set out to find the problem and fix it, so we could just turn around and kill them in vast numbers once again.

Nobleman Butthead sent us to a small Fae village well off the beaten path where we found the Redcaps in a panic — ‘twas goblins! We want to kill goblins, even more than redcaps, right? 

We sure did!

The redcaps were hilarious, the maps custom, the story — well, it’s a story about saving one group of pests from another group of pests, so that’s it. There was a lot of running back and forth that none of us really enjoyed that much. And with all these custom maps, there didn’t seem much reason to have it. That was probably the only flaw in this quest. Kasul and I both gave it four stars. Not sure about Ian’s rating.

Pros: Surprisingly good writing, characters, and maps. Adjustable difficulty in spots.
Cons: Lots of running. Third map is particularly bad with this.

Skullport (Trial By Fire) by @redrickking

Skullport, Ian Darksword told us, is a city in the Underdark, deep beneath Waterdeep, which, I guess, makes the river that flows past Skullport, Waterdeeper…..

Seriously? Nobody? Fine.

A particularly inept pickpocket accidentally placed a note INTO our pockets while we were handing a quest in to Sergeant Knox. Following the directions in the note, we made our way to Next Map, a small trading establishment with a direct connection to Skullport in its basement. Despite free access to this portal, the proprietor, “Arr Bromwin Greenglade”, has never once been to Skullport. However, via mysterious means, the mayor of Skullport has indicated to her that he wants to meet with us, so we head into the basement and soon find ourselves in the underground metropolis of Skullport.

The author considers the sparkly trail a crutch that, besides, doesn’t work in a completely hand-crafted map such as Skullport. Most of the challenge in this quest lies in figuring out where to go.

The actual plot deals with collecting components in order to help some dwarves re-open the Moonstone Mine, which forms the economic backbone of Skullport. Mayor Nillsing feels we could help. Because… Skullport is a major center of smuggling and filled with dark magic and generally evil stuff.

Well, we saved all those evil redcaps. I guess the Mayor must think that we have no moral objections to ANYTHING anymore.

The maps were the real high point of this adventure. Unfortunately, the “wall of text” dialogs, full of run-on-sentences and scarce on punctuation, were difficult to read. NPCs who start their sentences with a conversational “Arr” just got a chuckle from us. Kasul and I gave it three stars. Ian agreed that the maps were amazing. As our resident Forgotten Realms loremaster, he would know.

This quest is followed by two others that expand on the story of the Sword Coast’s most mysterious city.

Pros: Great maps, a real explorer’s quest.
Cons: Dialog is hard to read.

Never all in One Basket by @qualinaar

Alrica, the Pie & Bread Lady in the Seven Suns market, is in a panic because her precious black dragon eggs were stolen from her caravan in the deadly Brachenfell Fen. Could dragon cultists have taken them? It’s up to us to get them back because….. the world needs more black dragons? Or something?

Why are we continually helping the bad guys lately?

Alrica mentions that the caravan had a sole survivor.

Guard Frinko.

FRINKO!!! CURSE YOU!!! The ONE TIME he gets off his duff and leaves the city, he bungles the whole thing up.

Frinko brings us to the Fen, then scurries like a scared little redcap back to his do-nothing post in Neverwinter.

What follows is a fairly straightforward romp that ends abruptly. Kasul enjoyed playing it, I was hoping for a little more than I got. Between us, we gave the quest 2.5 stars. There wasn’t really anything wrong with it. It was just a short adventure with a little story, a little combat, and Guard Frinko.

Pros: Perfectly serviceable quest.
Cons: Fairly short.

Pt 1: Answer the Raven’s Call by @trishani

The first quest in the “Threads of Fate” campaign, though there is no follow-up quest. This quest was featured a year and a half ago; we opted to play the original, mindful of the issues we had with an undead featured quest that had been killed by foundry changes yet couldn’t die because it had been featured.

A young girl has been attacked by a pack of werewolves, and will soon succumb to their dark curse. The third quest in as many weeks that doesn’t know that lycanthropy is hereditary in Forgotten Realms. This is the ONE PIECE of Forgotten Realms lore I know, and gosh darnit, I’m going to bring it up every time I can.

A luckily nearby orc shaman is willing to help; all we really need to do is to kill the werewolf pack leader and poof! She’s better! So, like vampires now? Maybe? Unfortunately, we’re not allowed to kill the werewolf leader, because we’re not strong enough.

It’s at this point that I felt we should be given a chance to fight the werewolf leader and be defeated, and THEN go on a quest to become stronger to meet and beat him (or her, who can tell) and save the girl. But, the orc sized us up, pronounced us weak, and sent us on a quest to make a potion and get the blessing of a spirit raven in the spirit planes.

And… it’s at THIS point that I want it explained why, if ghosts are ghosts in the material plane, would they still be ghosts in their home plane, the spirit plane? Not sure what lore says about that. Seems to me they’d be substantial in the spirit plane. Anyway, maybe it was someone who died in the spirit plane, because we discover at least one ghost there whose grave is right there, in the spirit plane — and it had been robbed! By adventurers! Who were selling the gear in a cozy little market there in the spirit plane! Capitalism WILL follow you into the afterlife, it’s clear.

Anyway. The maps were decent, with a few moving parts. The plot was fairly linear. We went with the hard mode when we had a choice, but didn’t really feel challenged by any of the combat. Combat, though, wasn’t really the point. Kasul and I both gave it four stars.

Pros: Nice maps, custom encounters, and characters
Cons: The story was a little weak. Was weird when the orc shaman cursed by Veeshan’s breath. Isn’t Veeshan… EverQuest? Maybe this was actually a “Pro” ;-)

Thanks again to Ian Darksword for accompanying us Monday night!

#Neverwinter   #Foundry