Is it worth going back to Neverwinter?

Shroud of Souls, the newest content drop for Neverwinter, is now live. Of course, I haven’t played much on the PC since the Dread Ring was a new campaign some years back. I’ve only played around a little bit on Xbox to check out the warlock and paladin classes, but never got very far with them. So why make a return to Faerun now? Honestly, I got a code for a free month of VIP and an upgrade to level 70 emailed to me. I figure why not give it a try and let you all know how it goes. Now I’m spending more time with it than anything else, so that probably means it’s good, right?

Neverwinter is a free to play MMORPG that I’ve played in the past, so I should have known what kind of a grind I was signing up for. I guess I’d hoped for something more streamlined for reasons that I can’t fathom anymore. I feel more compelled to play than entertained. It’s like sitting at a slot machine because I’m expecting it to pay out. It’s pretty much just button mashing ad nauseum, but I’m sure if I do it just a bit more, I’ll get that glorious payout. (The payout in this case is a pair of magical pants from a chest at the end of a dungeon.) If I spend every waking hour of my spare time playing, I can even roll the dice on getting a $10 item from the store for free every six days.

The problem with boosting from the previous level cap of 60 to the new cap of 70 is that my gear didn’t level with me. I was turned into goo by every golem, bitten in half by every bulette, and torn asunder by trolls. I remembered my rogue being a bit more of a suave and stabby badass. Luckily, my time grinding the Dread Ring and Sharandar campaigns back in the day allowed me the luxury of buying some decent blues that helped me survive long enough for my lesser soulforged enchantment to cool down most times. I missed a ton of content during my time away and I’m finding it more necessary than merely useful to go play through it. Not having the boons from these other campaigns is a detriment that feels nigh insurmountable in my current state. So as you might have guessed, I haven’t actually started playing Shroud of Souls yet.

The other thing I’ve realized after coming back is that I’m such a digital packrat–my bags and bank were entirely full when I logged back in. It’s that fucking 99 elixirs problem, frankly. I save up everything because I envision this nightmare scenario when I’ll need EVERY ITEM EVER. There’s shit in my inventory that seems to be red vines and nachos. WTF? Not to mention the near encyclopedic collection of rune shards filling up my vault. I’m not even remotely sure why I was saving all of this stuff, so clearly I can’t get rid of any of it until I figure that part out. Unfortunately, an unreasonable amount of space is being occupied by various lockboxes that I’m NEVER GOING TO OPEN.

I’ve been back in Neverwinter for about ten days now and I’ve been saving up the free daily enchanted keys. I played the in-game market back in the day; buying zen on the exchange, using that to buy enchanted keys, then selling them on the auction house for an astral diamond profit. I used that profit to occasionally buy myself a set of enchanted keys and take a stab at the lockboxes. Lockboxes, in my opinion, are a complete rip-off in any game. If I’m paying real money to buy something in a game, I should know exactly what I’m getting. I may compare running the dungeons to gambling, but this really is gambling and I detest it.

Am I going to keep playing for the twenty days remaining on my free VIP? You bet–I’m once again hooked by my digital tabletop proxy. I’ll stream it on Mondays just because I can do so without having to put too much thought into it. At this point, most of my time is spent running between demon-based heroic events to gather materials so I might eventually get more boons and own a set of Drowcraft armor. Not that I contribute much besides helping to fill out the body count. My artifact weapons are barely leveled into the double digits. I haven’t hit the point where the grind is just for the sake of the grind; I feel like I’m progressing in some way. For now, the rewards are rolling in steadily enough that it’s fueling my desire to keep stealthing and stabbing. I’m sure one day they’ll stop and so will I.