Guide to Special Events: Winter Festival

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Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:26 pm  

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This post will be updated each time a major event takes place in Neverwinter.

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Sun Dec 18, 2022 10:15 pm  

Winter Festival!

New official page reviewing event details and new gifts page.

Guide Quick-Links

Why this event may be the best Neverwinter has!
  • Every day you get a Stronghold quest that is easy to do and provides coffer donation vouchers!
  • Every day you get a Starlight Parcel, which gets better with each one you open. Can drop purple mounts, companions, and other rare items! Even a Forgehammer!
  • Some years include special gits in the Claims Agent or Zen store, such as reroll tokens, companions, mounts, or vanity pets.
  • First Parcel contains an artifact, which you can level with event items and then increase with normal refinement.
  • All Parcels contain a Gift of Simril, which is used in a party. When others use theirs, you get event drops, including a chance at another Starlight Parcel.
  • Daily quick quest to look through a telescope, providing a buff item. (See benefits below)
  • 3 optional repeatable events: Fishing, Monsters on Ice, and Twilight Run bobsled can all provide drops, and completing all 3 completes a quest, but you can totally skip these if desired.
  • Get one of several green companions/mounts/fashion skins (Frost Mimic, Fawns, and Sprites are great companions) for doing the daily quests throughout the event. And, get a Demon Sled for gathering Flakes of Blackhead drops. Even a purple sled!
  • Special rewards and campaign advancement through fishing for IWD, Sharandar, Dread Ring, Tyranny.
  • Special refinement stones, which can be used to refine any item!

Note on 2022 Changes: The zen store may or may not have a Winter Wolf Companion (Companion Tab of Zen Market, added in 2021), Winter Wolf Mount (Mount Tab of Zen Market) and Snowflake Vanity Pet (Supplies Tab of Zen Market). Some won't appear if you claimed them before.

Fishing has changed further. As with the 2019 changes, fishing is as it is in the Sea of Moving ice, and you can do a quest to get started and get a rod and bait. Your old rod is no longer used, though you can trade it in to the Fishing Merchant and he gives you Light Clusters. A maple Fishing Rod costs 16 copper and you can buy bait for 4 copper. The Simril Lightcrafter merchant will take that rod and 6 Light Clusters and upgrade it to an Elm Fishing Rod. Or, an Elm Fishing Rod and 24 clusters gets you the purple Ash Fishing Rod. You also now have to equip the rod in a potion tray slot. Starting in 2022 they sped up the fishing process as fish bight faster. They also added 4 fish vanity pets (red, blue, green, gold) you can potentially catch (or buy/sell on the AH).

Note that the Simril Lightcrafter replaces the old profession tasks, so you can still get Hero's Feast, Flakes of Blackhead, and the like, but now through the merchant.

New items include:

  • Frozen Gorgon (blue mount, Star of Fortune Trader)
  • Baby Displacer Beast (companion, Light of Simril Trader)
The Broom of Twilight and Slugs Vanity Pet are still available. Older items are in the Zen store.

Stronghold Quest:
Every day, grab the Refugee Recruitment quest from the Builder in our Stronghold. Then go to Twilight Tor (Wintersday event area) and follow your quest marker. In that area you will find several refugees. Talk to them, then return to the Builder for your reward. Over the course of the event, this is a huge boost for our Stronghold, so please do this quest daily!

Daily Voucher: Star Stuff and Starlight Bags
Talk to the Mayor in the center of the Wintersday town, and he gives you three daily quests. Star Stuff asks you to visit the Starlight Giftmaster nearby. Double-click the voucher she gives you and it launches the Zen store. Get the free Starlight Parcel, then open it. It will contain a free artifact the first time you open it. It will also contain 1 Gift of Simril and some Wintersday items (fireworks, etc.) which you can sell for a few AD or use for fun. Finally, it contains 1 other item which varies depending on how many boxes you have opened. The drops can include purple mounts and companions, so you really want to open these and do the daily quest every day!
Tip: Each Starlight Parcel you open leads to better drops (mouse-over to see the tiers). You want to get to 20 rewards for the really great gifts. Both Starlight Parcels and Starlight Bags advance the same counter. However, the Starlight Parcels have a greater chance at unbound rewards. You may wish to hold some of those until you reach the 20 count mark so you gain better unbound rewards. A great tactic is to save a few stars each year, turn them into gifts, use those in gift parties, and when you hit 20 then you open your free gifts with unbound drops so you get the best rewards in unbound form. (An unbound Forgehammer is millions of AD.)

Artifact: Beacon of Simril
This begins as a green artifact. You add the event refinement items (or other refinement) to slowly increase it in rank. It provides decent bonuses. The special power is a bit weird, so it likely won't be your primary artifact. This is a great item if you don't already have all your artifacts.
Tip: If the calendar (seen in the screen you get by pressing the "K" key) shows a double-Enchant weekend, save any bags containing these items and obtain all your refinement at double efficiency on that day!
Big Tip: You can get all the event refinement needed to get it to purple. To do so: A) do the daily quests, B) use the profession as needed to create refinement items, C) Get and share lots of gifts (when people launch gifts you will get tons of refinement drops - see below).
Big Tip: The event refinement items now convert as all other refinement stones do, so you can use them in any refinement item. Even if you don't want the artifact, the stones are valuable.

Gift of Simril and Starlight Bags - And Which To Open When

What not to open:
There are two types of bags.

Starlight Bags = You get these from other players when you are part of a gift exchange. The items you receive in these are bound. You can open these whenever.

Starlight Parcels = You can buy these in the Zen store, and you get 1 free each day. These items are UNBOUND. Because the gifts get better when you have opened 20 gifts, only open Starlight Bags until you reach the 20-count. Then and only then, open Starlight Parcels.

How to avoid opening parcels? Do your daily quests to get Stars, and turn the Stars into Gifts of Simril (the lantern-looking items) so you can do gift exchanges. Open the Starlight Bags you get until your counter on bags/parcels reads 20. You can then start opening parcels. Near the end of the event, save 10 or so Stars or Bags for next year so you can repeat the process.

The gift exchanges function this way: You equip the gifts (they look like blue lanterns) in your potion tray, form a party, and take turns pointing at party members and using your potion tray to cast the gift into the sky. When you use a gift, everyone else in the party gets rewards and you do not. When they use gifts, you get refinement points (safe to turn into RP immediately) and might sometimes get a Star of Fortune or a Starlight Bag. Stars can be turned into gifts at the vendor, and opening a bag provides a Star, so it can take a while to go through all your stars. Bags and Parcels contain mounts, companions, preservation wards, and more, so they are worth collecting and if you do it right many can be unbound.

Now, the details!

Each day you receive a quest to look through the telescope. This grants you a Star of Fortune, which you can turn into a Gift of Simril, which you use in the gift parties. (Stars can also purchase other things, such as the yearly special mount, so you may or may not want to save some for that.)

Each day you also get a quest that lets you grab a free Starlight Parcel (purple gift package) through the Zen store. This is just like the Starlight Bag that can drop from gift exchanges... but most of the drops are unbound.

Because the drops get better when you have opened 20 gifts, what you want to ideally do is to turn Stars into Gifts and join gift parties, and open enough Starlight Bags (drops from parties) to reach 20 opened bags/parcels. At that point, you can safely open your Starlight Parcels and receive unbound companions/mounts/wards/etc.

That is probably the biggest trick to the event. If you can reach 20 gifts before opening your Parcels, you get your best gifts as unbound!

This works especially well if you have multiple characters on your account. You can rotate across several winters! One year, character 1 collects gifts and stars, but doesn't open anything. The next year, that character will have enough stars to cash in for gifts and immediately join gift parties, reach the 20 gifts opened threshold, and get awesome unbound drops. if you are with friends/guild/alliance you can even receive gifts on one character (the one that wants to receive bags to open) ad the other character uses stars to give gifts but doesn't receive anything.

Huge Tip: Our guild usually does exchanges once the festival reaches its zenith, in case drops are doubled. A 2x enchant event would also be a good time for our guild to open these. Use our Guild chat or Discord channel to coordinate!
Huge Tip: You can convert Star of Fortune into gifts, 1:1! If you look at the items you can buy with Stars, they are cool... but not as cool as some of the rare drops you can get from a parcel. And, in later years you might already have the items you can buy with Stars. Go to the Fortune trader and you can buy a Gift of Simril for 1 Star! This can easily provide 20-30 extra gifts of Simril over the course of the event, which could very well land you 2 or so rare items. And, often all those gift parties will give you more stars or more parcels, so you get extra chances! I probably had 2 purple, 2 green, and 2 blue weapon skin drops, on average, from doing this in 2016 and more in 2017.
Huge Tip: Give yourself time! It takes a long time to get in groups, do exchanges, convert Stars, etc. Don't wait until the last day to do exchanges. Start once the festival reaches its zenith (and potentially a 2x event) and then start doing some trades so you don't run out of time.

Omens of the Stars: Telescope
Go to the big telescope and look through it. It shows you one of the constellations from the sky of Toril. You can then talk to the Astrologer to complete the quest and receive the Star of Fortune. Mysterious Fortune, and a few refinement drops. The Star can be traded for a green Frost Mimic companion, green sled mount, refinement, or a Gift of Simril (also, see above for the huge tip on converting them to Gifts). The Fortunes can be opened to get a consumable item that buffs your stats. You can also sell the fortunes for a decent amount. One of the new ones increases your Guild Marks earned, which can be a nice buff when you do a bunch of Stronghold quests and are about to turn them into the coffer (it doesn't change what the coffer receives, just the Guild Marks you get for your donation).

Simril Celebration
Completing all three event quests the mayor gives you will reward you a Light of Simril, which is traded to a Simril merchant for fashion items, a green Dappled Riding Horse, or green companions (Fawn of Shiallia, Snowy Fawn, Ice Sprite). The fawns are pretty good healer companions. You can do the three event quests at any time, but the zone will have competitions for one event at a time. Even token participation will give you drops at the end of the quest, so it can be worth it to wait until the competition is taking place before doing the event.

Tip: You can get thousands of these fairly easily. Each event contest gives them. You can use the Profession to get them. And, a gift party will yield lots of them. Setting some goals up front on what you want can help you figure out just how many you want to earn. You can turn a Star of Fortune into Lights, but that's a big price to pay, since it could be used for a gift, which would have a chance to drop a Starlight parcel and will also drop some Lights and refinement. It can be worth doing if you know you need a certain amount of Lights, such as to turn into Blackflake to get the Demon Sled.

Winter Sled
Green mount, Costs 10 Star of Fortune. This is the original sled first provided by the event.

Demon Sled
One of the Refugees in the cemetery area offers a quest to tell you about Blacklead flakes. If you gather 200, you can get a green mount. It operates at legendary speed inside the Wintersday area! Blacklead flake can be earned by participating in the Monsters on Ice event, or through fishing Sickly Marimo and using the Simril Lightcrafting profession to turn them into Blacklead Flake.

Tip: It isn't easy to earn this. You need 200 Blackflake, and a typical Monsters on Ice event awards 2-6. Fishing rarely produces the Marimo. You do need to do these activities to get the sled, but you probably also need to convert Lights into Blackflake via the Light vendor. There is a coffer of 8 Blackflake for 350 Lights. If you get desperate, you can convert Stars of Fortune to Lights!

Blue Mount: Winter Flail Snail
The 2019 mount is a blue Winter Flail Snail. Costs 18 Star of Fortune.
(The 2018 blue mount was the Starlight Yeti - a yeti that puts you on its shoulder!)

Star of Simril companion
From 2018, this is a green Augment companion with three offensive ring slots. That makes it a very cheap companion if you want an augment. Costs 14 Star of Fortune.

Frozen Winter Sled
From 2017. Blue mount, requiring 5,000 Light of Simril to purchase (binds to character). This item has been moved to the Zen store in 2018.

Royal Sled
From 2017. Purple mount, +500 Power and Defense, +250 Power and Defense to party members within 50'. Costs 14 Star of Fortune. This item has been moved to the Zen store in 2018.

The Frost Mimic and Frozen Throne are now also in the Zen store.

The Three Events
As part of the Simril Celebration quest (see above) you run three events. The events are always running, but one at a time will become active as a competition. Doing it while it is active and remaining in the instance until it finishes will reward you with event currency. Each even offers different currency (useful for gaining the Demon Sled, advancing professions, etc.)

Twilight Run
In this event, run or use a mount to go through a bobsled course. Going through small gates is just 10 points, so don't get hung up on those. Instead, try to get the gold or silver bags if you see one (present only during the competition and appear at random times and can be taken by other players). And, it is important to go through the big gates (100 points each) and to finish with a good time. Faster mounts do offer an advantage, and especially the event mounts with a "winter tread" - make sure to turn it on from the mount screen, but running isn't bad. Sometimes there is a bug and your mount moves slowly... in this case drop your mount and just run.

Monsters on Ice
Kill 10 monsters for the daily quest, or more to try to place higher in the competition. The monsters are fairly easy for a lev 70 if you fight them in individual groups. The slippery ice makes it harder on melee characters. There are two large bosses... hitting these gives you points, not just defeating them, so it can be worth hit to battle them. They do sometimes go after lanterns and it can be better for you to get them. The lanterns give a bonus similar to the artifact. The event completion gives you Blackflake, which is used for the Demon Sled. If you are serious about the Sled, this is a key event to do.

Ice Fishing
Fishing has changed to work more like the Sea of Moving Ice, and to use that rod if you have it. Your old rod is no longer used, though you can trade it in to the Fishing Merchant and he gives you Light Clusters. A maple Fishing Rod costs 16 copper and you can buy bait for 4 copper. The Simril Lightcrafter merchant will take that rod and 6 Light Clusters and upgrade it to an Elm Fishing Rod. Or, an Elm Fishing Rod and 24 clusters gets you the purple Ash Fishing Rod. You also now have to equip the rod in a potion tray slot, and it takes a lot longer to complete the daily fishing quest... plus the bait costs copper! For these reasons, many people completely skipped fishing in 2018, and even skipped all three of the monster/fishing/sled quests.

As of 2016, fishing can also drop special treasures matching campaigns (Tyranny, IWD, Dread Ring, Sharandar). Gather enough and then convert for the campaign currency you need!

Zen Store, Notes, Recommendations, and Synergies

Zen Store
"The Simril Starlight Pack contains 20x Starlight Parcels and 14 Days VIP time (no rank increase). For those looking to catch up on ToA gear, the Simril Care Package offers Pilgrim Gear Pack, Pilgrim Artifact Weapon Choice Pack, and the Chultan Hunter Companion."

- If there is a 2x Enchants/Runes weekend, this is a really good time to gain more refinement from this event.
- This festival has a Zenith: a time when some reward payouts are doubled. This makes it hard to figure out whether you can or can't earn special items, but the way I treat it is as a bonus. Try to do your best to qualify normally, then use the Zenith to clinch your goals and maybe get something extra.
- Note: There will be no last Chance Vendor so make sure to claim and redeem all your prizes and rewards before the event ends!

- This is the best event Nevewinter offers in terms of payout (though the new Protector's Jubilee is a contender). You can come away with a half dozen excellent items and use them or sell them! The key to this is the Gifts of Simril. Do your daily quests and turn Stars into Gifts, then join Gifts. Be kind with your gifts and others will likely be kind back to you.
- There is a lot you can earn, so figure out what you want the most with Stars, Lights, the Sled, etc. Setting goals can help if you need to shift your approach a bit to get a particular currency.
- Make sure to do the daily Stronghold quest, as it helps us significantly!
- See above for the tips on leaving your free gifts for last, so you get the best gifts as unbound gifts.

Synergies and Exploits:
- Some characters are better at certain tasks. A purple mount is a huge boon for Twilight Runs. A big damage dealer is key for Monsters on Ice. Anyone with a purple rod can rock Fishing. Focus on your synergies if they will get you to your goals. If you have several characters, split up duties. My GWF did lots of Monsters, collected Blackflake, and got the Sled. My weaker warlock did the other two events and bought account-bound stuff for my Cleric.
- Turn Stars into Gifts! It is an amazing way to get great drops.
- Getting items one year helps for the next, especially the purple rod and the demon sled with its 140% speed boost!
Dagdra Deepforge: Dwarven Cleric
Garla Shieldbreaker: Half-Orc Great Weapon Fighter
Zendra Soulseeker: Moon Elf Warlock
Jalazea Shieldborn: Tiefling Paladin
My Dungeons & Dragons blog can be found here!

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