Word has come down that Neverwinter’s "launch day" (June 20) will bring major balance and gameplay changes. This coincides with the 1-month-after-launch massive patch that every MMO always does to address issues that arise after launch. To me, this also seems to be the time when the developer actually implements a lot of the feedback they got from their beta period. They hardly ever change anything but major breaking bugs between beta and launch.
A lot of people are giving them grief for holding back these changes instead of rolling them out in hot fixes as soon as they are addressed. Chill out, guys. They are doing this thing that grownups do called a "controlled software development process." The hot fixes we see throughout the month are only going to be super critical issues, and/or very limited in scope. Possibly even server-only changes, with no effect on the client. They aren’t going to release major gameplay changes in a hot fix, and nobody should expect them to.
In reviewing the patch notes (http://nw.perfectworld.com/news/?p=907501), I don’t see anything but improvements. The community, however, went crazy about every little detail of it. "Why this? Why not that? What are you thinking? Nerf! Flames! Hate! Rabble!"
If you take anything from the forums as real, all healers are basically quitting the game, because they expected the DC to turn into something it was never intended to be: A dedicated healer. The DC is not a dedicated healer. At best, the DC "assists" a party with indirect heals and buffs, and there is nothing in these notes to change that. People who want direct heals are still going to have to drink potions. Personally, I never, ever rely on the cleric in the party to keep me alive if I’m in trouble. If you die, it’s always your fault. Even the DC.
My take on class changes is as follows. CW: Tweaked. DC: Tweaked. GWF: Buffed. GF: Buffed. TR: Tweaked, with the possibility of Nerfed. All sensible changes. Threat issues seem to have been addressed, though I don’t think the changes will be as dramatic as everyone wants.
"Companions now deal much greater damage to enemies with significantly higher level than their Rank, but a close level to their owner." Rank 15 companions will actually be useful after level 30, if I’m reading that right. Not for tanking, though. Just damage.
"Neverwinter Fields: Private Wilfred’s voice has changed." I like how that’s marked as a major change. I guess the community was in an uproar about it. Now I’m going to have to redo the tutorial to hear the new voice of poor Private Wilfred. He did sound a little … um … cartooney before.
"Storming the Keep: Malus Blackdagger now has the appropriate amount of health." Oh thank god. That guy took *forever* to kill. I just hated that skirmish.
"Lair of the Mad Dragon: The boss now spawns fewer adds in Normal Mode. Lair of the Mad Dragon: The boss no longer spawns a Shocktroop Devil. It now summons an Erinyes." Thank ya jesus. I think there’s also another note somewhere about dragons having fewer hit points, too. I suspected they had accidentally put the epic stuff into the normal dungeon. :)
"The caldera of Mount Hotenow is no longer blocked by a giant rock. Questing in this area is now much, much more possible." Glad to hear that. I sure hope that will improve the sparkly trails.
"The best asset for a given task is now automatically slotted into the Required Asset slot. It can still be switched out manually." They read my mind! Still doesn’t make professions terribly worthwhile, though.
"When some party members accept and some party members decline a queue offer, the whole party is properly removed from the queue." I have a feeling that this, along with being able to fill empty slots again, will improve the queue times for everyone. At least I hope so. (So far, the best way I’ve found to get into a queue quickly is to play a guardian – it pops instantly every time.)
"If a player has seven Celestial Coins, a confirmation dialog pops up when the player tries to Invoke." This will definitely help me. I’ve wasted tons of celestial coins by invoking when I already had seven of them. Not a big deal though, since those rewards are mainly directed toward hardcore players.
"The ESC menu now has a Change Character button." Yes! That should be bolded and underlined as one of the most important new features.
"The Character and Professions buttons now glow more strongly when players have Power Points / Feats / Attribute Points to spend or completed Professions tasks." That’s handy. I often had no clue when profession tasks ended (back when I thought professions did something useful). I assumed they did that on purpose to steer you toward spending AD to finish tasks quickly.
"The "Need" button is now disabled for items your class cannot use." A lot of people are going to rejoice about that, but personally I only rarely found it to be a problem before.
"The "Notes" column has been removed from the "Ignored" tab." That was my bug report! I kind of wish they would make the Notes work, though, instead of getting rid of it. I would have liked to put in why I ignored someone.