It already starts with completing the introductory quest line into Barovia, where any level 70 toon is gifted with item level 460 gear (Vistani Rewards) and an Artifact Weapon set of the latest tier (Vistani Dagger). This might not sound like much, but considering that the “budget” gear of Chult was 420, it’s a considerable raise. And again: No grind involved, just complete the first quests in the story line and get the package on any character.
But it doesn’t stop there. Mobs in Barovia drop up to item level 520 when the best endgame gear a mod earlier was 510 (Vivified Primal). Just get a SHE train in the River District and buy yourself a set of full Primal gear within hours. The same grind took weeks in Mod 13. It almost feels like the “bis” of last mod turned into the budget version in Ravenloft.
Where’s My Investment?
This obviously already has caused complaints from those that went through the full grind in Chult and now see their time investment diminished. I get what those are saying, but this is the world of an ever-evolving MMO. Stuff gradually gets easier to obtain and what was “bis” yesterday might be trash tomorrow. The endgamers also have new stuff to strive for. So while other are catching up, you can already get the next latest stuff. I’m however still amazed by the jump the devs made here in terms of baseline item levels.
So where’s the catch? The truth is: Maybe there isn’t one. Ravenloft is a highly popular D&D setting and the devs have to make sure new players can instantly hop into the latest content. Because chance is that they installed the game just for that. They hand out item level 460 so you can do the basic dailies and since the new budget gear is considerably better,
Level-Cap Raise Coming?
Making Ravenloft available to everyone (and general MMO progression) is probably the reason for the obvious catch-up mechanics. There is however also a slight possibility that we’re witnessing the last hurrah of the current stat progression. Most endgame toons are capped since Mod 10 or 11. The devs raised the ArPen cap twice to stall the inevitable death, but we’ve long been at a point where only Power and HP really can add to a character’s strength. The last time this was the case? In Module 5, months before the level cap raise to 70.
It’s clear a wipe of some form has to happen, even if it’s not a classic increase of the max level. So maybe the devs figured they might as well let most players enjoy what the game has to offer before pulling the plug. This of course is complete speculation, but it’s interesting to theorize about. I guess we’ll find out soon(tm)!
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