An in-depth look at all the new stuff
On August 11, Perfect World will be releasing the latest expansion to their Dungeons & Dragons-based MMO Neverwinter, Strongholds. With its action-based combat, fantastic locations, and relatively simple mechanics, Neverwinter managed to hold me enough to get to the endgame, but unfortunately it was there when I stopped playing. Fortunately, with Strongholds I might finally have a reason to get back to the game. I was shown about 30 minutes of gameplay, and walked through it by Neverwinter’s executive producer Rob Overmyer.
Strongholds’ main focus is on the guild system in the game. Guilds will be able to make a keep to share and work together to upgrade. Strongholds have been a part of Dungeons & Dragons since the original release, allowing players to create and own their own space. This feature was then improved upon for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, introducing large-scale combat. AD&D is the basis for the Strongholds expansion.
The premise sounds familiar to World of Warcraft players, as the latest expansion Warlords of Draenor introduced guild housing as well. However, Rift, Guild Wars 2, and WildStar have all had an increased focus on their guild mechanics recently too. Perfect World argues Neverwinter Strongholds is more part of a big change in the MMO as a genre, rather than simply following in WoW’s footsteps. Whether you believe that or not is completely up to you, and I personally believe if there is a big change in MMOs right now, Draenor was the spark.The article continues below. Login to skip ads, get faster mobile, and dibs on betas
Building your Stronghold
With the goal of providing “interesting and meaningful experiences to guilds”, the process of creating and upgrading your guild’s stronghold is at the heart of the expansion. All buildable structures and upgrades are ultimately decided by the leaders of the guild, but those goals are worked towards by every member through the “Coffers” system.
Coffers are the total resources available to a guild to help build up their stronghold, and they’re separated into three categories: materials, which are found in the lands surrounding your stronghold such as lumber; treasures, which are earned by playing through the campaign zones of the wider game such as the Dread Ring campaign; and stockpiles, the normal loot, gold, and astral diamonds players earn throughout the game.
Finding these resources ensures creating a good stronghold for your guild isn’t just a case of the leaders fiddling with the UI; every member of the guild would have a role to play, be it collecting resources or planning out where structures will go. Once there are enough resources to build a new structure in the stronghold, or to upgrade an already existing one, the guild leaders can then start the work of upgrading, while also setting the next goal for the guild to work towards.
However, the amount of upgrades you can apply to a structure depends on the overall level of the guild’s keep. While structures have a maximum level of 10, the keep can grow up to level 20. However, structures can’t out-level the keep, so sometimes an effort must be made to upgrade the keep rather than simply rushing for all the new and shiny buildings.
As players donate these hard-earned resources to their guild’s coffers, they are awarded guild marks with which they can buy new gear and items for themselves at the marketplace. It’s a way of incentivising altruism among the guild, and is one of the few times in the game players can make decisions for themselves that aren’t directly linked to the decisions of their wider guild.
Another way the guild must coordinate in building their stronghold is in the new added boons. Boons are passive bonuses granted to players, and in Strongholds, structures can be built to grant the entire guild specific types of boons. There are currently four categories: offense, defense, utility, and Player vs. Player (PvP).
The catch is not every type of boon would available for a guild at the same time, as there are only a limited number of boon structures that can be made. This requires decisions to be made about how players within the guild will be buffed. An example given would be a raiding guild may put more emphasis into PvP or offensive boons to increase their power. The boons in each category would be optional for each individual player, however what type of boon is available is up to the guild.