High Level Priorities
You have now reached the highest level in the game. Congratulations ! Now the real game starts !
- Immediate Priorities
- Total Item Level (TIL)
- A Guild
- Most Important Campaigns
- Epic Companions and Mounts
- 15 Rare Insignias
- Rank 8-10 enchantments/runestones
- Weapon and Armor Enchantments
- A Mythic Debuff Artifact
- An Artifact Set
- Short Term Goals
- Long term goals
These are the bare minimum things to have to be able to do random queues and obtain your 100k daily AD. With these priorities in mind, you're up for a good start and a steady progression.
Total Item Level (TIL)
Total Item Level is one of the most important thing in the game (until 35-45k). It boosts your HP and your Damage, and it unlocks content (note that to unlock many dungeons and trials, you also need to complete the associated campaigns, on at least one character). Here is the Item Level required to be able to enter some content :
- Undermountain : 20k-24k
- Elemental Evil : 24k
- The Dwarven King : 26k
- The Maze Engine : 28k
- Acquisitions Incorporated : 30k
- Tyranny of Dragons : 21k
- Dread Ring : 21k
- Storm King's Thunder : 21k
- Icewind Dale : 21k
- The Cloaked Ascendancy : 22k
- Jungles of Chult : 23k
- Ravenloft : 24k
- Descent Into Avernus : 26k
- Path of the Fallen : 30k
- Sharandar : 40k
Random Queues :
- Dungeons : Level 5, no item level required (joke on you if you go there before level 20)
- Skirmishes : 20k
- Advanced Dungeons : 30k
- Trials : 40k
Note that Item Level is scaled in almost every dungeon, which means that if you have a higher Item Level than the scaling, it will be decreased to the scaling level, which results in Damage and HP being reduced (Stats remain the same). On the other hand, if you go there with a lower item level, you will be significantly weaker than everyone else. Here are the maximum scaling levels for each queue :
- Dungeons : 24k
- Skirmishes : 24k
- Advanced Dungeons : 36k
- Trials : 48k
- Adventures, Campaigns, Vault of Stars (dungeon), Tower of the Mad Mage (trial), Zariel's Challenge (trial) : not scaled
Reaching 24k TIL is an absolute priority, to be able to farm Undermountain Expeditions, Dungeons and Skirmishes, which will give you a good amount of Astral Diamonds. Joke on Cryptic for locking new players away from the Trial Queue, which only required 24k to be at "full power" before they reworked Demogorgon... Half of the daily AD you could get easily is now gone if you do not have at least 40k Item Level...
Reaching 26k Item Level is the next step, to be able to farm Juma Bags in Avernus, and get random companions and mounts (occasionally), and some more AD.
Then you need 40k to unlock all the content, and 48k to be really relevant pretty much everywhere. But keep in mind that your Stats and bonuses make more of a difference than Item Level at this point, especially when you are scaled down (in which case your Item Level is meaningless).
Note that there are items that improve item level and do not give enough stat points to maintain your percentages at the same level (when stat points / 15 + combined ratings are lower than item level). Item Level alone is beneficial in regular content until about 35k TIL, at which point it starts being detrimental to you (it would be better having nothing equipped than anything that only gives item level, to actually gain Damage and Survivability). These items are specifically Mount Collars, Summoned Combat Companions, Companion Enhancement Power, Armor and Weapon Enchantments, and most of the Utility Enchantments. Not all of them are actually bad (as they all give some stats, though not enough, the point at which they become fully detrimental is way above 35k total item level), but they will decrease your stats to the point that the item level you get from them can make you weaker, especially in scaled content (or if your item level is very high). Depending on their bonuses, you may consider unequipping them or keeping them.
In regular content, item level makes less and less of a difference as your Total Item Level gets higher (compared to stats and damage/mitigation bonuses). So if you are an end game player, it's very possible that some of the pieces you have can be replaced by lower item level gear with better bonuses, even in regular content and not just in scaled content.
Joining a high level Guild is a huge advantage. People are generally very helpful and will not hesitate to give you advice and help through content you're struggling with. You will also benefit from Guild boons, which give up to 3k item level and many useful bonuses. So if you do not have a proper guild yet, find one right now !
Adventures are series of quests which you can complete in one go and will reward you quite well at the end. They are pretty quick to do, and should be your priority as soon as you reach Level 20. Here are the rewards you'll get :
- Undermountain (20-24k item level) : 5 Boon Points, different sets of armor (Sentinel [choice between 2 pieces with 700 or 1050 item level], Gambler [choice between 2 pieces with 735 or 1075 item level], Traveler [choice between 2 pieces with 770 item level], Martyr [choice between 2 pieces with 805 item level], Fallen Guard [choice between 2 pieces with 840 item level]... yes, it makes no sense, just pick the 1075 item level pieces early on, everything else is only for the skin if you like them, none of them have equip bonuses anyway so you'll change them soon enough), and a total of 9000 rAD, 13 Black Opals (for refinement points), and 535 Seals of the Fallen (you can buy better pieces than with Seals of the Adventurer with them). Most importantly, it gives access to Expeditions, which reward rAD, Companion Gear, Artifacts, and pieces of equipment.
- Elemental Evil (24k item level) : 4 Boon Points, fashion weapons (Drowned, Earthen, Burning, Howling), different sets of armor (Alliance, Elemental Alliance, Elven, Elemental Elven), and a total of 4500 rAD, 5 Black Opals, and 225 Seals of the Fallen.
- The Dwarven King (26k item level) : 5 Boon Points, fashion weapons (Twisted), Dusk armor set, 100k rAD.
- The Maze Engine (28k item level) : 4 Boon Points, Dwarven Battlerager companion, fashion armor (Replica Battlerager), 100k rAD.
- Acquisitions Incorporated (30k item level) : 5 Boon Points, 5 Swag Bags (random “wondrous” items), Gallant armor set, 100k rAD.
Once you complete Undermountain, you get access to Expeditions, which reward equipment, good artifacts, companion gear, rough AD... quite a lot of good stuff ! Make sure to do them with 1 rune, and farm them every day, at least until you've got proper companion gear.
Aim for double offense slots companion gear to be able to slot Indomitable Runestones. You can get a piece of companion gear with the stats of your choice with the Stardock questline (unlocked once you complete Undermountain).
The other Adventures are good, mostly for the Boon Points and rAD they reward.
Most Important Campaigns
Campaigns are like Adventures, but with repeatable quests you need to do for a while in order to unlock the next steps, until you can complete them. Most of them have Weekly quests, but a few of them have Daily quests. Overall, each campaign takes about 1-2 months to complete. Storm King's Thunder, Jungle of Chult (which is actually 2 campaigns combined), and Sharandar, are the longest ones. Sharandar being the most horrendous of all... Ravenloft is the most acclaimed.
Each campaign rewards different pieces of gear, so you may prioritize a couple of them for the items. Campaigns have stores, which you can access directly from their page (it's very easy to miss). Also, campaigns generally give you access to dungeons, and their associated keys :
- Tyranny of Dragons (21k item level) : rewards 7 Boon Points, possibility to craft Mystic Dragon Key (Shores of Tuern, skirmish) and Dragon Queen's key (Tiamat's Trial).
- Dread Ring (21k item level) : 5 Boon Points, possibility to craft 30 Vanguard Scripts (used to buy Thayan Lair keys in the campaign store, to get enchanting stones rank 5 on the proper days), and Valindra's Tower key (dungeon).
- Storm King's Thunder (21k item level) : 7 Boon Points, possibility to craft Ancient Runic keys (Fangbreaker's Island or Master Spellplague's Cavern), keys for the Assault on Svardborg trial are in the campaign store.
- Icewind Dale (21k item level) : 5 Boon Points, possibility to craft Kessel's Retreat keys (skirmish).
Tip : take all of the quests, and complete them in one area, the next day complete them in the other area (instead of doing both every day). You'll do as many quests with half the traveling time.
- The Cloaked Ascendancy (22k item level) : 4 Boon Points, unlocks Spellplague Cavern.
- Jungles of Chult (23k item level) : 8 Boon Points, possibility to craft both Chultan key and Merchant Prince's key (for Tomb of the Nine Gods, dungeon, and Merchant Prince's Folly, skirmish, respectively), or Omuan key (for Cradle of the Death God).
- Ravenloft (24k item level) : 4 Boon Points, possibility to craft Strahd's key (for Castle Ravenloft, dungeon).
- Descent Into Avernus (26k item level) : 4 Boon Points, possibility to craft Hellfire key (for the Infernal Citadel dungeon).
- Path of the Fallen (30k item level) : 4 Boon Points, possibility to craft Celestial key (for Zariel's Trial).
- Sharandar (40k item level) : 11 Boon Points, Twinkling key for the Vault of Stars dungeon in the campaign store.
There are campaigns that matter more than the others :
In Dread Ring Lairs, you can acquire Enchanting Stones rank 3 to 5 on certain days (talk to Sergeant Knox to know the days, and remember that the day resets with the event timer and not the daily reset, so it may very well be Tuesday for you but Monday for the Lair if you are too early : wait for the events to reset, a few hours after the daily reset). Enchanting Stones are necessary to upgrade Artifacts, including Weapons, Belts and Necklaces. You can also use them to upgrade enchantments and runestones, but that's a waste of materials in the current state of the game.
In Descent Into Avernus, you'll be able to farm Juma Bags, which reward random mounts and companions (up to Epic quality), a couple of good pieces of equipment, and some rough AD. You can also rarely get tokens to upgrade your companions, and wards (even coalescent ones if you are super lucky !).
The other campaigns are less important, and unless you specifically want something from them, do them on your down times. Farming rAD is much more important for your progression !
Epic Companions and Mounts
Your 10 best companions and mounts participate at boosting your item level. It is essential that your summoned companion and mount powers are at least at Epic quality, as they are the most important ones.
You can buy an Energon companion from the Auction House if you do not have one yet. It's not the best summoned companion, by far, but it's Epic, super cheap, and its power gives HP, which is very useful early on. It comes from the Dread Legion skirmish and has a pretty good drop rate.
You can get random mounts and companions (up to Epic quality) and upgrade tokens from Juma Bags in Vallenhas. These will give you some bolster (improving your mount Combat and Equip Powers, or your companion's damage), and fill your stable to be able to equip up to 15 insignias.
And you can get mounts and companions regularly during events. So, do not miss them. Apart from a couple of them, events are generally very accessible and have nice rewards.
15 Rare Insignias
Rare Insignias can be obtained in dungeons. Insignias are slotted into mounts in your stable. Depending on the combination, you get access to different bonuses. Insignia bonuses stack 3 times with half the returns on the second and a quarter of the returns on the third. Your main priority is to fill all of the slots to get a total of 750 item level. Ideally, it's best to have access to the following bonuses : Wanderer's Fortune (for more refinement points), Gladiator’s Guile (for movement speed), and Warlord's Inspiration (for companion's damage, though this one is bugged and it's best to have 2 of them, not 3, the third actually diminishes your companion's damage...).
Rank 8-10 enchantments/runestones
Enchantments and Runestones are pretty much useless at boosting your stats (a max rank enchantment improves one stat by a maximum of 0.28%, as long as you are not capped, and this is at the cost of your other stats; a max rank runestone has double the effect). So fill your slots with cheap enchantments and runestones for the item level alone. You get 100 item level for a rank 10 (200 for a rank 15). So with full rank 10 enchantments and runestones you gain 2400 item level, for a very small cost. You can then forget about them for a while. Just remember to slot them on the new pieces of equipment you'll get. You can remove them for some gold (which you can farm with crafting).
Weapon and Armor Enchantments
With mod 21, you get a free rank 8 Weapon Enchantment while leveling. Choose it well ! Use it until you can afford a max rank one that is not bound. Everything changes regularly, so if you want to be able to sell your enchantment when it becomes obsolete due to chaotic development, do not focus your resources on stuff that's bound.
You can also buy a cheap Armor Enchantment. I particularly recommand a rank 7 Soulforged enchantment to start with (because it will revive you automatically if you die, which is great to learn mechanics in dungeons). Soulforged enchantments are pretty much as good at rank 7 as at max rank (contrarily to most of the other enchantments that are really subpar at low ranks, but get much better later).
Note that, from time to time, there are choice packs for max rank Weapon and Armor Enchantments in the Zen Market, generally during big sales. They are sold for 4200 Zen, which is 3.15m AD, much cheaper than what you can find on the Auction House (and much cheaper than upgrading them). So if you can wait a bit, get these rather than upgrading your current enchantments.
That said, Weapon and Armor Enchantments are detrimental to your stats. Above 35k TIL and in Scaled Content, the item level you get from them will not be enough to compansate the loss of stats. So, be careful to use enchantments you can really benefit from, otherwise they will only be a burden for you (especially true for Weapon Enchantments that are not Vorpal or Holy Avenger for a Healer). Lower rank enchantments decrease your stats less than high rank ones, that's why a rank 7 Soulforged can still be great at that point (though a max rank Barkshield or Negation enchantment can make more of a difference if you use them well).
A Mythic Debuff Artifact
While the stats of Artifacts do not matter much, their Active Power is very important. And there's nothing better than a Debuff Artifact to help your party. Same Debuffs do not stack, so make sure you have different Artifacts in your party. Use your Artifact at the same time as everyone in the party to boost your Daily Power and Tunnel Vision to huge numbers !
An Artifact Set
You can get very nice bonuses by having an Artifact paired with a Belt and Necklace from the same Artifact Set. The Music Box set, for instance, boosts your damage after using your Daily Power, so use your Debuff Artifact with everyone, use your Daily Power, use a super boosted Tunnel Vision, then use all of your Encounter Powers, to deal tons of damage ! There are also good sets for Support characters to help your team deal more damage : Tanks are great with the Vistani set, and Healers with the Apocalypse set. But these are only options among many others.
Artifacts, Belts and Necklaces, will give you the full set bonuses as soon as you equip them. No need to upgrade them if you do not have the resources (it makes almost no difference in scaled content anyway). Upgrading them is mostly for the item level in regular content.
Short Term Goals
Let's be honest, these "short terms" goals will take at least 6 months. But once you've completed them, you'll be as strong as you can be in scaled content, and will have a proper item level for almost any content in the game (except very end game stuff).
A Mythic Mount
Your first Mythic Mount gives you a total of 3300 item level. It is highly recommanded to get an Epic mount with the Combat Power "Tunnel Vision" and to upgrade it to Mythic. You can look at the List of Mounts to know which mount has this power.
A Mythic Summoned Companion
Your first Mythic Companion gives you a total of 3150 item level (1650 from being summoned, 750 each for the Enhancement and Equip Powers). This is purely for the item level, as you will lose 1% to 1.2% to all of your percentages with a Mythic companion summoned. Companions deal the same damage whether they are Uncommon or Mythic, but they gain damage with your Bolster (not a priority, but good to keep in mind), and they use your stats (so the stronger you are, the stronger they become). The quality of your summoned companion determines the quality of your Enhancement Power (though it's responsible for the majority of the loss of stat percentages I talked about just above, it's fairly potent if you use a good one).
5 Mythic Companion Equip Powers
Companion Equip Powers are the most important items in the game, as every of them will boost your item level and combined ratings by 750 (so you gain a total of 3750 item level without losing stats), and they generally increase your percentages by 7.5% each (at Mythic Quality). Not all of the powers give stats, some give more than the others with conditions...), or increase directly your damage against specific types of monsters or in specific conditions by 11% (at Mythic Quality). They are one of the main ways to boost your stats/damage without any drawback in any situation (scaling has no effect on them). It's very expensive to have 5 good companions at Mythic, but it's very worth it. Do not upgrade companions that you will not keep, as that would just be a waste of precious resources on the long run. Plus they will help with Bolster (which reduces your stats percentages a bit, but increases your companion's damage... yeah, having 100% bolster effectively reduces all of your stats by up to 0.225% when you have a combat companion summoned...).
If you are playing regularly, VIP is the most important investment you can do in the game. It comes from the Zen Market. You get many different bonuses with VIP :
- 1 key a day for lockboxes : get Mythic/Legendary mounts, Tarmalune Trade Bars (to get rank 15 enchantments/runestones), and tons of other things. That alone will get your AD back.
- up to 3 reroll tokens (for dungeon chests), and 5 potions, every day for every of your characters.
- 15% bonus Astral Diamonds
- Teleports to the Moonstone Mask tavern, and to the Workshop, in Protector's Enclave, and to any area of the game.
- 2k bonus HP for you and group members
- Invoking your god from anywhere (and not just campfires or safe areas)
- Summoning Seal Vendor and Profession Vendor
- Access to the mailbox and bank from anywhere
- Immunity to injuries
- No posting fees at the Auction House (means you don't need to have AD to post anything, and you won't lose anything if it doesn't sell). This is very important if you're selling expensive stuff.
- Up to 25% reductions in the Wondrous Bazaar (which add up to 40% when there's a 15% sale)
These bonuses are unlocked as your VIP rank increases, up to VIP 12, when you buy 12 months of VIP. Your VIP rank is updated as soon as you buy months of VIP and never decreases, so you can get all of the benefices of VIP 12 instantly by buying 1 year of VIP. And if you have a gap between 2 months of VIP, it will remain at the same rank (you just won't get the benefits during the gap).
The cheappest way to get VIP 12 is to buy two times the 6 months pack during a 30% sale (at the Anniversary in June, Black Friday in November, or New Year's), for a total of 2 x 3570 = 7140 Zen (2 x 2,677,500 = 5,355,000 AD). You can alternatively benefit from a 20% coupon you can get by invoking your god, it would cost you a total of 2 x 4080 = 8160 Zen (2 x 3,060,000 = 6,120,000 AD).
To obtain the Zen to buy VIP, you can exchange AD at a rate of 750 AD/Zen (otherwise it won't be processed). It takes a long time to exchange AD to Zen, due to the demand : expect a wait time of about 6 months on PC, a couple of months on consoles. You can only put a maximum of 5 offers for a maximum of 5000 Zen (3.75m AD) each, so do not put small offers or you will have to wait for your offers to be processed, or cancel them to place bigger ones (which will reset your place in the queue : offers placed first get the Zen first). So if your goal is to get VIP, put an offer big enough for at least 6 months of VIP at a time (at least 3570 or 4080 Zen, depending on whether you wait for a sale or not). You can also buy Zen with real money if you feel like supporting the game.
It's expensive, but it's very worth it !
Long term goals
Now let's see what you need to max out your character. It's going to take a couple more years, but once you're there, you will have tons of account-wide items. You'll have maxed-out enchantments and runestones, which are transferable between characters. You will be able to do very end game content on one character. And all you will need for toons to get at the same level is to do your campaigns and get them proper equiment (most of which can be farmed with your main character).
All the Campaigns
Campaigns are storylines that you'll want to do to unlock some content, including the access to many dungeons.
Campaigns reward boons, which are very small bonuses that can add up to 4% Power, 4% HP, 1% in multiple stats, and some other bonuses including movement speed, better potions, and a Master Boon which can help a bit. Overall, these are nice to have, but far from game breaking. So focus on doing your Daily Queues to get your 100k AD a day before worrying about campaigns.
Most of the campaigns take a couple of months to do, and take about half an hour a day, or a couple of hours a week (depending on whether they have daily or weekly quests). You can do as many campaigns as you want at the same time.
Companion Bolster improves the damage of your companion (and reduces your stats a bit). Its damage is doubled with 100% bolster, so it's not bad. Upgrading an Epic Companion to Mythic gives you 75 item level and 7% Bolster, for 270 tokens (or 2.5m AD but don't waste your AD : be patient, exchange it for Zen and buy tokens during a sale or with a coupon). So it's fairly expensive. Focus on companions that you will really use, otherwise that's just a waste of AD.
Mount Bolster improves your Mount Combat and Equip Powers. So it's very nice, especially if you are using a Debuff Combat Power (which you should if you are a Healer or a Tank). Upgrading an Epic Mount to Mythic gives you 150 item level and 7% Bolster, for 350 upgrade tokens. Again, that's very expensive, so do not worry about it too much. You can buy cheap Mythic mounts as they get released with new lockboxes to get many options for all of your characters. It's slightly more expensive than upgrading Epic Mounts, but if you have more than 2 characters, it will be very worth it ! (character slots are very cheap, so do not worry about having only 2 or 3 at first)
Legendary Insignias can be obtained during the Hell Pit and Harvester of Nightmares events (2 or 3 per event), so you can get them for free, or you can buy them for cheaper on the Auction House during these events. These events come back regularly.
With Mod 21, there will be Mythic Insignias... and well, they will give 500 item level (300 more than Legendary ones)... Upgrading them will cost 7500 insignia powders each (obtained by breaking 10 Legendary ones, so you need to break a total of 150 legendary insignias)... So let's hope that we get more ways to obtain insignia powders otherwise you will never get all 15 Mythic insignias.
Also, because of the way the stat system and upgrades work, upgrading insignias is going to disrupt your stats and you will need to rebalance them... So it won't be as easy as just upgrading the ones you have, you may need to change many of them. If you have capped stats and upgrade your insignias mindlessly, you will end up with an overcap of 5850 points (would be +5.85%, but ends up being nothing) in two stats and a deficit of 900 points (-0.9%) in all of the others... You'll get 4500 item level from them, which is good for regular content, totally useless for scaled content, but your stat percentages will just be rebalanced, not improved.
Max Rank Enchantments/Runestones
Upgrading all of your 18 Enchantments to rank 15, from rank 10, will give you a total of 1800 item level (+100 each, from 100 to 200 item level), at the cost of everything you have. Apart from the item level, they will modify your percentages very slightly reducing most of them to improve one or a couple of them by a tiny amount. It's actually more annoying than anything, because that means no consistancy with your percentages and you'll have to rebalance your stats constantly. And that's basically useless for scaled content.
Upgrading all of your Runestones to rank 15 from rank 10 gives you 600 item level, but if these are Indomitable Runestones, they will also boost your companion's damage by about 30-38% (depending on you using Warlord's Inspiration Insignia Bonuses, assuming they fix them...). So that's pretty nice, especially if your Companion Bolster is high.
You can obtain rank 15 enchantments/runestones with Tarmalune Trade Bars, obtained mostly from lockboxes, which you can open with keys. Buying keys is probably not worth it (though it could be with the current state of lockboxes), but you can also get 1 key a day with VIP (at a way better price than buying keys)... and VIP is very worth it ! You can get all of your Enchantments and Runestones at rank 15 with 1 year of VIP. So, get VIP as soon as you can to get your max rank enchantments and runestones !
Mount Collars are very stupid. As they do not give enough combined ratings, past about 70k item level (we're not there yet but we will in a couple of mods), most of them become fully detrimental to you. And they already are fully detrimental in scaled content (regardless of itemization and scaling). As a Damage Dealer, it's worth using a Sturdy Barbed (to boost at-will damage) or a Sturdy Crescent (to boost encounter powers), and kinda worth using a Wayfaring Barbed (for Critical Severity) or Wayfaring Crescent (for Recharge Speed). As a Healer, it's kinda worth using a Supportive Regal (to boost Outgoing Healing). As a Tank it's barely worth using a Unified Regal (to boost your Incoming Healing)... But with the current state of the game, forget about the others.
It's been more than half a year that these shitty items are in the game. They have an abysmal drop rate to force you to buy them from the Zen Market. It costs about 1 year of daily AD to upgrade them... and they make you weaker... DO NOT WASTE YOUR AD. These are the proof that Neverwinter does not have proper game designers, does not have anyone testing anything, and does not have anyone listening to the community... That's the sad reality of things.