The 21st module for the Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG Neverwinter will bring big changes for both new and current players, including the addition of a new class. Developer Cryptic Studios' goal for the update was to remodel Neverwinter gameplay to align more with traditional Dungeons & Dragons mechanics. This includes quality-of-life improvements like a new leveling system and a focus on content accessibility for every player.
The level system overhaul in Neverwinter is a game-changer for anyone building a new character or picking up the game for the first time. Originally, the maximum level cap for Neverwinter was 80. This made accessing epic-level content a grind and created a large gap between new players and veterans. Now, with Cryptic Studios taking inspiration from traditional D&D mechanics, the maximum level cap has been set at 20. This means players can quickly access everything the game has to offer, increasing playability for those who didn't have time to work their way through the previous level system.
The quality-of-life improvements included in Jewel of the North are also designed to make playability more streamlined and enjoyable. The New Adventures Feature allows players to easily find objectives and track progress during gameplay. The Training Room is a space designed to help players master their D&D combat skills in a controlled environment. Without the restrictions and penalties of an encounter to create a safe space for practice, this resource is a good way for players to branch out and try new classes they may have avoided previously due to the learning curve. Tutorials have also been updated which has made the introduction to Neverwinter smooth and enjoyable. This update comes with improved graphics to main missions, modernizing outdated visuals and making the experience fresh.
One of the most anticipated additions to Neverwinter via Jewel of the North is the Bard class. Popular in Dungeons & Dragons for versatility and creativity, the Bard class is an important addition to Neverwinter gameplay. Currently, players can choose between several iconic D&D classes including Fighters, Barbarians, Wizards, and Clerics, among others. However, the flexibility of the Bard has been missing from Neverwinter since its launch in 2013. The introduction of this popular class puts an interesting spin on combat, allowing players to use music to do damage or cast buffs.
The Paragon Paths available to the Bard class are the Songblade and the Minstrel. Songblade Bards have the ability to use swords, magic, and music in combat. They have a rogueish aesthetic and even their in-game walk-cycles have a unique rhythm. Neverwinter's Songblade Bard is a good fit for those who enjoy all the danger of close-combat, but also offers the benefit and dramatic effects of magic and music. The Minstrel Bard is more likely to stand back and offer buffs during combat, focusing on the musical mechanics introduced with the Bard class. Minstrels are good healers and can do psychic damage with illusions and mental attack magic.
To use music in battle, players will hit the "TAB" key. This opens the Performance mode and the menu of prepared songs the Bard has access to. Using the number keys, players will quickly play a song or they can use the "Q" button to autoplay a song for a greater Performance cost. To use magic in battle, players will need to amass enough Performance. This purple meter can be seen during combat without being in Performance mode. Another Performance mode that can be used by Neverwinter Bards outside of battle is called Free Perform. While not shown during the preview, Free Preform is described as allowing players to craft their own songs at their leisure. This mode can be accessed outside of battle by selecting "F12". In Free Perform, players can craft songs using the 8 base notes, octaves, and accidentals. This mode will allow players to fill the streets of Neverwinter with music.
The Jewel of the North module is an important addition to Neverwinter gameplay. Whether playing for the first time, or starting a new adventure as a veteran, the ability to sing, play, and dance through the challenges presented in Neverwinter as a Bard is an exciting addition. The choice to reflect traditional Dungeons & Dragons mechanics in Neverwinter's updates revitalizes gameplay and puts a fresh spin on old adventures.