By Pinpointerror @ June 20, 2013 at 8:59am
We sat down with the Neverwinter team to do a Q&A on some of the exciting new features coming in the next big Neverwinter update. Discussing topics like the new adventure zone, Weaponsmithing, Artificing, improvements to the Foundry editor, and updates to the companion system, we go into all the details you’ll need to know about the new content and experiences you’ll have the opportunity to explore in Module 1: Fury of the Feywild.
To start out, what factors led to selecting Sharandar as the setting for Module 1: Fury of the Feywild?
Answered by: Zeke Sparkes, Lead Designer of Neverwinter
One of the primary pieces of feedback we’ve received from players is that they want to visit areas that are completely and totally different from what they’ve seen before. So when we had the opportunity to work on a new module for Neverwinter, the first thing we wanted to do was let players experience a setting that was something they had never previously seen in Neverwinter. We felt that Sharandar’s lush, vibrant, dangerously beautiful, and even fantastical setting would be a great addition to the areas and landscapes they’ve seen so far.
From a design perspective, Sharandar is geographically close Neverwinter, making it a logical choice for players to venture out to.
Also: we went with the Feywild because it’s super cool.
What are some of the key Dungeons & Dragons-influenced areas that players can look forward to exploring in Fury of the Feywild?
Answered by: Zeke Sparkes
We think that players will be very excited to actually go into the Feywild. Areas influenced heavily by magic have always been an interesting destination for players looking for an immersive experience, and our artists have done an amazing job bringing it to life.
We’ll see parts of Sharandar that are influenced (well… corrupted) by the Fomorians. Additionally, aside from being able to venture out even further into the forests surrounding Neverwinter, players who are well versed in D&D campaigns might recognize some of the key destinations we’ve implemented such as New Sharandar, Malabog Castle, and the Fallen Tower of Celadaine.
When work started on Fury of the Feywild, what were some of the initial artistic goals the team chose to strive for?
Answered by: Matt Highison, Lead Artist on Neverwinter
One of the main requests we’ve received from players is: more visual diversity. The current version of Neverwinter definitely has an established look and feel, and our goal was to expand the creative elements of Neverwinter outside those current boundaries.
So, we’re adding a ton of stuff. New armor, new weapons, new weapon appearances, new terrains, and even new player models (see: Moon and Sun Elves). Essentially, everything that exists visually will be expanded upon.
Not only did we want to give players new things to see, but we also wanted them to have a way to make their max level characters feel more unique. With all the new weapon and armor models, we feel that each max level character will have a desirable number of options to choose from when designing their character’s end-game appearance.
For those who want a sneak peek at what some of these elements might look like, I can give a hint that our #1 source of inspiration is the D&D campaign books.
You mentioned that players will see a lot of new options when it comes to character gear. Do you have any examples that people might be excited to hear about?
Answered by: Matt Highison, Lead Artist on Neverwinter
Sure do! Those who prefer a more arcane/magical look will be interested in the equipment style of the Moon and Sun Elves. Players who are interested in the more foreboding, intimidating look will be happy to see what we’ve got in store for the Redcap-inspired gear. There will also be items that resemble the Fomorian look and feel, which appears more primal.
On top of the overarching themes, we’ll also have cool gear that is designed completely from scratch, not inspired by any specific NPC faction or area of content.
Moon and Sun Elves are coming! How do these races fit into the overall lore of Neverwinter?
Answered by: Randy Mosiondz, Lead Content Designer
Without giving out too many spoilers, we can say right now that the Moon and Sun Elves do integrate very heavily into the Fury of the Feywild storyline. Being the most arcane of all elves in D&D, the Moon and Sun Elves will play a major role in defending Sharandar in the Feywild. Many of the points of interest in Sharandar will be inhabited by Moon and Sun Elves, so expect to become heavily immersed in their objectives while progressing through the Campaign System.
One of the major gameplay updates in Fury of the Feywild is the new Campaign System, which allows players to complete an epic series of missions. What was the reason for choosing this system as a primary focus for Module 1?
Answered by Chris Matz, Lead Systems Designer
First and foremost, our goal was to provide our solo players with high quality, rewarding end-game content. Since the majority of the Campaign System missions are solo-friendly, we feel that this will be a good supplement to the already existing group PvE and PvP content.
How does the all-new Campaign System work, and what are some of the rewards that players can look forward to earning?
Answered by: Chris Matz
In Fury of the Feywild, Sharandar is broken up into three major neighborhoods. At first, players will only be able to access the first neighborhood, and will unlock additional neighborhoods as they progress through the Campaign system.
Not only do the new neighborhoods give players new areas to explore, they also provide opportunities to unlock higher level rewards than the previous areas. Along the way, characters will earn various pieces of gear and other rewards that will strengthen their characters combat potential. For anyone that is able to complete the entire system, we are currently planning on offering them the option to choose between one of six permanent passive buffs. Since the content will not be easy to complete, players who reach this level of achievement will truly stand out among their peers.
Players will definitely be excited to hear that they’ll be able to upgrade the quality of their existing companions. Would it be possible to hear some of the specific benefits one gains from utilizing this system?
Answered by: Lindsay Haven, Systems Designer on Neverwinter
Upgrading the quality of a companion increases its base stat, and provides the potential to increase the rank of your companion all the way up to 30, maximizing its end-game viability.
And of course, companions of higher rank gain access to cooler appearances!
What was the design direction behind adding a quality upgrade system alongside the already existing Blue/Purple companions?
Answered by: Lindsay Haven
We wanted to give players more options to earn high level companions without spending Zen or having to part ways with a high volume of Astral Diamonds. Rather than making a one-time purchase, players increase the quality of their companion using this process, which is more iterative and welcoming to players who prefer smaller, more spaced-out Astral Diamond investments.
Along the lines of what Matt said, we want players to have more diversity when it comes to creating a unique character in Neverwinter. Having more companion choices with more ranks and appearances will give players more choices when selecting a companion that best fits their play style and character concept.
What kinds of things will players be able to do in the new Professions: Weaponsmithing and Artificing?
Answered by: Kenneth Burd, Systems Designer
Weaponsmithing will allow players to create the physical weapons utilized by Trickster Rogues, Guardian Fighters, and Great Weapon Fighters, and Artificing will allow for the creation of magical weapons: Holy Symbols and Orbs.
As an added note, some of the feedback we received from players regarding our previous systems was that players generally out-ranked the items they could create, so the progression mechanics for these Profession systems have been tuned with the goal of allowing players to create items that are relevant to their current level.
Are there any incentives for crafting weapons through Weaponsmithing/Artificing, rather than running dungeons and purchasing items on the Auction House?
Answered by: Kenneth Burd
Most notably, Weaponsmithing will provide options for new weapon looks: Axes for fighters, and Shortswords for Trickster Rogues. While these weapons will behave the same as the current weapon types for these classes, they go along with our overall theme of providing more character customization.
For those who are interested in getting the highest tier weapons, both systems will be required. High level Profession gear will require end-game drops, so players will need to advance through both of these systems to earn the highest tier rewards.
Some of the primary enemies players will see in Fury of the Feywild are Redcaps and Fomorians. As these monsters come straight from D&D lore, what was done to ensure their design is kept true to what has already been established?
Answered by: Michael Edwards, Combat Designer on Neverwinter
Any time we implement a new enemy in Neverwinter, we always use the D&D manuals as our first source of information. Since Neverwinter is based on action combat, our goal is always to translate the enemy strategies and behaviors into concepts that are fun and action-oriented while retaining as many of the original design elements as possible.
Will Fury of the Feywild include any new and exciting boss fight mechanics?
Answered by: Michael Edwards
It definitely will! We’ve been listening to a lot of the feedback on boss fights, and are implementing some new mechanics to expand upon the boss fight mechanics in Fury of the Feywild.
For example, there is a mini boss that players will encounter early on that has been corrupting the forest. This boss will actually attack you using the forest. Vines will come out of the ground and out from the walls and attack you at the same time, and exploding flora will need to be avoided by those who wish to survive. Rather than focusing on adds, we’re introducing lots of level interactivity that will require players to remain mobile and be aware of their surroundings at all times.
Fury of the Feywild is slated to introduce a drag-and-drop 3D editor for the Foundry. What was the driving force behind deciding to add this new feature?
Answered by: Rob Overmeyer, Foundry Producer
This was purely based on player feedback. The goal was to give creative Foundry authors more control over map design, something people have been requesting for a while. Additionally, our hope is that this improvement will make the level design process feel more intuitive and in-line with other creative suites.
Thanks for checking out the latest changes in Neverwinter. If you would like to see more developer interviews like this one, let us know on the forums!
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