A new mod is coming November 6th, and it is all about Acquisitions Inc!
New AI Storyline
I'm a huge fan of AI, which we have seen in the Day of the Dungeon Master special event. Acquisitions Incorporated is an adventuring company and business operating in the Forgotten Realms, and is in the real world the result of a collaboration between Penny Arcade (two guys who do comics and the huge PAX conventions for video game and tabletop) and Wizards of the Coast (the company making D&D). Together, WotC and PA have run a long series of games of D&D streamed live before a huge audience at the conventions. You can learn about AI and see the liveplay videos here.
Here are the preview patch notes, including discussion of the story and also the other changes.
The NWO site does a nice job of reviewing the new content. This includes:
The K-Team Challenge
You try to qualify for Acquisitions Inc's "K-Team" (as in, way below the B-Team) by doing a dungeon in hardcore mode. The whole team has only 1 life! If anyone dies, the team has to redo the entire dungeon. Current rewards are double AD, which may not make it worth it?
Manycoins Bank Heist Skirmish
Official Dev Blog
Prevent the Zhentarim from robbing the Neverwinter bank! There are new rewards, including new:
"Makos's Spare Travel Pants" (At the start of combat +1500 Power for 10 seconds; +469 ArPen, +110 Defense, +313 Regen, IL 500).
"Celeste's Ceremonial Shirt" (At the start of combat +1500 LSteal for 10 seconds; +1,563 HPs, +395 Crit, +110 Defense).
You also get refinement, 20 Seals of the Brave, RAD (one of the videos shows 2k RAD, several show 4k, another 6k), and 50 Wooden AI tokens (a new currency). One of the runs had Acorns, which I think is for the new professions. One run and reroll shows the end chest having a "Security Box" with a random wondrous item; in a video it is opened and an unimpressive single-slot IL 276 ring is within.
Tales of Old
Another new way to run dungeons. You run a single old previously retired dungeon (Frozen Heart, Dread Vault,Lair of the Mad Dragon, Throne of Idris). The event is time, and when you finish you immediately run the same dungeon again! Each time, the difficulty of the dungeon is increased. The "side areas" of the dungeon will have power-ups, encouraging you to diverge at times from the quickest main path. Your goal is to finish the dungeon as many times as possible before time runs out. It seems there will be a leader board of some sort, so that if your time compares well to other runs you may gain special rewards.
Rework of Mod 12/13 Trophy Drops
"There’s some good news for those that haven’t gotten to a capstone Hunt in Chult yet. It seems like in Module 15, all rare mobs and Hunts will always drop a Trophy. So getting to the King of Spines or Tyrant should be a hell lot easier in the “Heart of Fire”. This also means I would put all farming activities on hold for now and wait for the update."
Loot Drop Changes
Most loot that drops now is automatically picked up when the player runs over it. Need / Greed rolls still pop up as appropriate, and fewer treasure (vendor loot) items drop now, too. Overflow Rewards no longer drop XP tomes, and various other less-desired loot no longer drops. More to come when the detailed patch notes come out! Official feedback thread here.
- Walk over loot - general loot now picks up simply by walking over it. Where applicable this will also trigger group loot rolls.
- Reduced the number of junk loot items (items only worth gold such as platinum bowls) to 1 type per level range and also increased the stack size of junk loot to 100.
- Potions, Skill Kits, and Portable Altars were removed from general loot drops and moved to the general vendors available in most zones and PE
- Removed Gray and White gear from dropping in lower levels, the lowest rarity of gear that drops from critters is now Green.
- Experience Overflow Rewards now grant direct RP, RAD, and still grant Power Points. (My note: guess no stocking them for 2x weekend, rats!)
- HE rewards no longer grant gems and instead grant direct RP.
Today's blog post sets the general stage for the Professions Overhaul, and it's coming to Preview shards this week (which means we will have many more answers soon).
The devs are being good about answering questions and filling us in with official posts. It seems PE now has a place where crafters are found, but it isn't clear if you have to map travel there (it seems so, so maybe the whole profession window is going away).
From the new profession workshop (which is your personal workshop), you launch tasks to craft. Leadership tasks, such as getting resources and refining stones, are part of this. It isn't clear if the creation of gear has been changed.
You talk to your workers in the workshop and set them to do stuff. You can also tell them to repeat tasks, which is cool.
But, you have to be careful because your delivery box can fill up. You can apparently upgrade it (not clear how) to have more slots and therefore require less maintenance. Probably costs Zen?
There is a discussion thread on the official forums, and the following info.
- "Masterwork will continue to be a part of professions. Though almost all of the standard recipes will be completely gutted and replaced, those recipes earned via recipe books, such as masterwork and Chultan recipes will remain largely similar to what they are now."
- "though the recipes will remain similar the manner of interacting with them will be updated to match the rest of the system. You will slot a single artisan and a single tool, and those recipes will have a difficulty rating that determines their success rate; however, you will also now be able to create high-quality versions of those items with a higher item level and superior stats."
- "While I won't say we'll never make masterwork account wide, we currently have no plans to do so."
- The new professions system will be adjusted to span levels 1 through 70, the same as character levels. This should make professions easier to follow along, a level 65 recipe will make gear around player level 65, for example. Please note that this does not mean professions will take significantly longer to level up, the experience points granted from recipes has been seriously adjusted, the goal is that leveling professions is comparable or faster, and significantly less tedious.Every existing player's professions levels will be adjusted to the new scale. For example, if you are currently level 25 in a profession, your profession will now be level 70. Every level on the current ladder will be mapped to the appropriate level on the new ladder.
- Devs pointed out that Assets and Tools don't convert so easily, because you have now fewer of one worker (just one, instead of potentially 18), and you might only use one tool vs several. "So what does that mean for how assets convert over to the new system? Well, because for instance, one single epic artisan in the old system does not come close to being as valuable as a single epic artisan in the new system, you will be able to exchange your existing assets for a currency. That currency will allow you to purchase a comparable amount of assets in the new system, redistributing them however you please." "The same exchange process will be available for any materials that are no longer used in the professions system, this extends primarily to non-masterwork materials. You will now be able to convert those materials into most of the materials used in new non-masterwork recipes."
- The conversation does reveal that we still have different categories (Leadership = Gathering, still have Jewelcrafting, Artificing (or something similar).
- "In regards to the Forgehammer and legendary tools, those will be exempt from the standard conversion process, and instead convert 1:1 into an equally valuable tool of your choice in the new system. "
- "Upon reaching certain milestones in the professions quest series, you will unlock a remote recipe book and a sending stone which allow you to view recipes and place orders/craft items and empty the delivery box remotely. Anyone with professions already maxed out will be able to reach these milestones very easily."
- "Though crafting (rushing) an item instantly will cost a bit more morale remotely, and emptying the delivery box remotely will cost a small amount of morale, you'll be able to do so from anywhere if you can't be bothered to return to the shop. Morale replenishes at the start of each day and can be recharged for astral diamonds."
- "The only tasks that cannot be done remotely at all are hiring and firing artisans and adventurers, upgrading the workshop and assigning gathering tasks. However, whatever gathering tasks you have assigned can be set to continue indefinitely so long as your delivery box does not fill up completely."
- "Black Ice Shaping will be removed from the game." "As for the materials and black ice equipment itself, a new contact will be available at the black ice forge in Caer-Konig who will be able to "craft" items for you out of the materials."
- "mailsmithing and platesmithing are being merged under a single umbrella "Armorsmithing." You'll have an armorsmithing rank equivalent to the highest of the two and all masterwork recipes for the two will be merged together into a single book, regardless of which quest you completed or what quest you are on now."
- "weaponsmithing has been renamed "Blacksmithing." This is primarily to reflect that this profession now handles the creation of other items outside of weapons, for instance, blacksmiths will be capable of producing a wide variety of tools, from hammers and pickaxes to hatchets and scythes."
- "At least for the immediate future the forgehammer will still be the best tool available at mythic quality. Because there will now be more granularity in terms of what a tool is, you may see some tools that are between the old epic tools and the mythic forgehammer that are more reasonable to obtain, but the forgehammer will still be excellent."
- Can still make Stronghold crates of AD, Gems, Gold, Surplus, though some may not be in preview server version.
- "RE: RNG: Because we are introducing the concept of a success rate when crafting an item, you could say that more randomness is indeed being introduced. However, for leveling recipes, as long as you keep your artisans equipped with new tools (which are now obtained via in game means by simply crafting the tools or purchasing them from other players off the auction house) you should have a high success rate when crafting items. While leveling you will now be able to craft recipes up to 5 levels above your current level. When challenging these recipes you can expect a potentially difficult time, but if you have a good artisan and tool perhaps you can make the item and earn more experience points. Alternatively, you can stick to recipes close to or just below your level for a guaranteed success rate."
- "In the current system, you can send your artisans to gather raw materials, generating items passively and paying absolutely nothing in, except for the few seconds of time it took to slot them. (Here I am referring only to pre-masterwork recipes.) Then those artisans can turn those materials into a finished product, at most perhaps the recipe requires an item that can only be bought at a vendor as well for a few silver." "If leadership took on the role of providing gathering support for all professions, that makes it easier to support moving forward, and ultimately still provides those who care only to focus on leadership with a largely similar experience, dispatch some adventurers and they come back with goods you can sell."
- "Across the board, professions—including gathering—will now be more about investing an initial cost and adding value to it, as opposed to creating something out of nothing. We also aim to severely reduce the tedium of engaging in the system, no longer requiring you to open the window multiple times a session to reassign artisans. In the end, you'll still be able to generate refinement through professions, but you'll have to invest some gold, silver or copper to pay the commission cost for your adventurer to complete the task. Some artisans will have lower commission costs or higher gathering rates, so you'll be able to choose adventurers and artisans based on your goals."
- "Because gathering is now an important part of all professions, and anyone would naturally have leveled gathering alongside their crafting profession in the new system, we will be granting everyone a gathering level equal to their maximum profession level."
- "Masterwork materials are not changing, and masterwork recipes will largely require the same materials. At this time gathering will be unable to obtain masterwork materials, and the only way to obtain them will continue to be gathering them via explorer's charts."
- "For leveling and simple endgame tasks we are aiming for costs that are quite low and seem reasonable given normal play. Particularly with leveling tasks, we'd like you to be able to max out gathering and a crafting profession without having to stop to farm gold. That said, compared to current play where you may completely ignore selling items for gold, it may be good to pay attention to those items that sell for gold."
- "The initial preview build will not have final item levels for recipes, however, item levels on certain recipes, including masterwork recipes will be adjusted; and as all recipes—including masterwork—will now have normal and high quality results, there should be a variety of viable new equipment depending on your current item level. In regards to new recipes in the future, we plan to continue adding new recipes at more regular intervals. The professions system has been reworked in such a way that adding new recipes is significantly easier than it was in the past. In addition, the introduction of statistical requirements for recipes means we can add recipes of increasing difficulty without increasing the level cap of the professions system."
- "Bags of gems will be exchangeable for experience points manuals which boost XP gained by the task. A new slot is available on recipes for items called supplements which can be obtained via various methods, including being crafted by an alchemist. These supplements are optional items that will be consumed during the recipe."
- "Legendary tools will convert 1:1 with a new tool of your choice which are all bound to a specific profession."
- "The standard leveling materials that may be purchased via these structures (Guild temp traders) will be adjusted. Masterwork specific materials will remain the same."
- "gems will now be used in jewelcrafting recipes. For instance, black pearls and aquamarines can be used to make jewelry, with higher value refinement gems being used for higher level recipes."
- "We are also moving to a world where more equipment is shared between classes in some cases."
- "Those items required by masterwork professions quests will be adjusted. If you happen to be in the middle of that step on any of your professions, we advise you complete it before the changes, or wait for the changes to begin, as the items will change."
- "Morale functions as an intermediary currency for rushing, but you will get a certain amount for free every day. So in terms of an AD sink, if you're only rushing a few recipes every day, you should be spending less AD. That said, if you want to rush more, you can still spend AD. In addition, some artisans and supplements have a skill which has a chance to negate the duration of an order or the morale cost of a craft (rushed task.)"
- "The "catch" as it were, is that no task can be assigned with absolutely zero investment. Previously, a task to gather raw materials would require absolutely nothing. As all tasks now require at least some copper, silver or gold, you will need to at least provide that base investment to all of your alts. If you can do that, and wish to have them all run tasks, nothing will stop you from doing so."
- New raw refinement stones: "changing a raw stone into a refineable stone does not in and of itself require any refinement points. Jewelcrafters can now polish raw stones into usable refinement stones. Ultimately this gives jewelcrafters an additional purpose, and as gems are now used in some professions tasks, but are still stored in the normal inventory, you can store the raw gems in your professions materials bag and convert them as needed. The conversion cost won't be extreme, and if you're not interested in jewelcrafting, you can still sell the raw gems on the auction house. I understand that this will be a point of contention, but please check out the recipes and provide feedback."
- I asked if we are only partly through the progression (in my case, I've unlocked Recipes III but have not done IV) does it make sense for me to try to advance any now? Are there any cases (such as the way mailsmithing and platesmithing are being combined) where it makes sense for us to not advance a masterwork profession before the new system kicks in? Their answer is "Aside from the first quest which requires materials and items that are pre-masterwork, nothing will change."
- I asked if Leadership boxes would be converted, or their contents. "Nothing that you can open now will be converted differently whether you open it now or after the update. So if opening it now gave an item and that item can be exchanged after the update, opening it after the update will give the same item still able to be exchanged. Also, the exchange will be available indefinitely, so there's no rush. Your retainer in your workshop will handle exchanges."
- Armor reinfocements are still craftable.
- "We have provided a new item, a gold trade bar, which can be sold for gold to any vendor at the same rate as platinum bowls. So if you wish to, you can easily spend AD to buy gold from other players, craft recipes and earn AD from those sales, and reinvest a percentage into more gold to fuel your tasks. This is generally how crafting would work in an ideal situation."
- "The AD cost for refilling morale should not be notably different from the current rush cost of tasks. You will now simply be able to rush a number of tasks each day for free."
- "All tasks will require gold (not just gathering tasks) but there will no longer be a wide array of items which must be purchased for gold. The gold sink will definitely be larger on professions than it is currently. However, the main goal is to prevent the prices on certain items from maintaining absolutely no value due to requiring no investment."
Information from Devs after first Preview:
- "Overall, we intend for the new system to have longer periods of hands on and much longer periods of hands off, without needing to be micromanaged excessively. As such, we will be making further adjustments to task length and looking into the size of the delivery box."
- "The item level of equipment on preview is not final. Although I am not ready to share the final item levels at this time, the normal quality level 70 crafted equipment will match or exceed the item level of the Vistani equipment granted in the opening quests of the Ravenloft campaign. The high-quality versions of that equipment will exceed the item level of Vistani equipment."
- "In the current preview build, there are no high-quality results for masterwork recipes, however, high-quality results will be possible. Additionally, there will be adjustments to the focus and proficiency values on those recipes, as well as the introduction of tools cartable by masterwork recipes.
- "given the nature of these overhauls and the fact that basic level 70 crafted equipment will now exceed the potency of most masterwork items, we will be adjusting the item level of masterwork recipes such that there is a sensible progression for crafted recipes. That is to say, all masterwork equipment will have its item levels increased accordingly, with those items produced by the volume II recipe book exceeding those of the basic level 70 recipe's high-quality results, and volumes III and V equipment being increased further, accordingly. We debated on whether to make these adjustments to existing masterwork equipment, or to provide new items, and have decided to make these adjustments such that it affects existing masterwork equipment. Once the release goes live, all masterwork equipment's item levels will increase. For exact item levels, please stay tuned to preview. Please keep in mind that none of the existing masterwork items will be converted over to the high-quality or "+1" versions of the masterwork equipment that it will be possible to create after the update. Additionally, we will not be returning any masterwork equipment that has been salvaged, donated to a stronghold or otherwise destroyed.
They also provided a chart of how levels convert over:
Here's a chart of how the levels will convert over. Some minor changes may occur, but this should largely be accurate once the update goes live.
Here is a fan video walking through the professions rework.