Disclaimer: Before fully going through this page, it's important that you know your class, what build you're following, and what endgame gear you're looking for. The information on this page covers all the various areas a fresh level 70 can look at to raise their Item Level and gear to get stronger, but this page does not give recommendations on what endgame gear is best in slot. You will want to look at a website like https://nw.mmominds.com/ or the reddit page at https://www.reddit.com/r/Neverwinter/ for help with what is best in slot for your build and class. Keep in mind how frequently Neverwinter changes, so take note of what Mod the game is currently on, so you don't find an old, outdated build. Always look for a build for your class that is for the most recent mod.
So you finally reached level 70. Congratulations! Now the real game begins, as you've just opened up the majority of the campaigns.
At this point, you aren't going to be looking at raising your level anymore, as much as your Item Level, which you can see on your Character Sheet. Your Item Level represents the total 'score' of the gear you have obtained. The 'better' a piece of gear is, the higher item level it will have. This is the rule in a general sense, but can also be misleading. Just because a piece of gear has a higher item level does NOT mean it is always better for you. An example of this would be a DPS class. Say a piece of gear with item level 440 has Power and Crit, two stats that are important to a DPS class. Now say they find a piece of gear that is Item level 480, but the stats on it are Defense and Deflection. In this case, this DPS character switching their item level 440 for the item level 480 would be getting Weaker overall. Sacrificing key stats for sake of an item level increase is always discouraged. This is why it's important that you know what you're going for, what's good for your build, and what you should be looking at. Item level in general allows people to get a good idea of where your character is in endgame progression, but it can sometimes be misleading if you are just raising it for the sake of a higher number. Be very careful about this.
That being said, a raised Item Level is necessary in order to access endgame content, such as Epic Dungeons and Epic Trials, so this page is designed to point you where you need to look to get that boost between finishing the story and beginning all the endgame content that contains achievements. By now, you should have a reasonably hefty amount of Astral Diamonds saved up, if you have been praying and doing your random daily dungeons while leveling. You're going to need to be spending some if you want to get a boost in gearing. Endgame 'Best in Slot' items are always the most expensive things on the market. Don't expect to jump right to the end with your character unless you plan on putting significant real money into the game.
The first place to look for raising your item level is your Mounts. In Neverwinter, you are allowed to have 5 active mounts in your stable. All blue, purple, and orange mounts come with three insignia slots. There are multiple types of insignia: Regal, Crescent, Illuminated, Enlightened, and Barbed. Out of these types of insignia's. Each active mount in your stable has the potential to give you some type of 'insignia' bonus. Which bonus a mount can give you depends on the types of insignia's it accepts, meaning each mount has the potential to give you different types of bonuses. For example, if a mount accepts a Regal insignia and 2 Enlightened insignia, it will give you the bonus 'Assassin's Covenant'. 2 Barbed insignia and an Enlightened insignia will give you the bonus 'Magistrate's Patience'. When you're choosing what mounts you want, you want to take these insignia bonuses into account, with what is best for your class and your build.
In addition to the insignia bonuses, each insignia gives you additional Item Level and stats. Each insignia will have a 'Insignia of X' to it, where X is something like Skill or Dominance. This tells you what stats are on that insignia, such as Dominance means power, Skill means Crit. Blue insignias are typically very cheap, and a good way to balance what stats you need and raising your item level. Having a stable full of blue mounts with blue insignias can give you a pretty good jump to your item level without a high cost in Astral Diamonds. There are several different types of mounts that go pretty cheap, so when you search for mounts in the Tarmalune Trade House, just choose Rare as filter, and sort by Buyout. Typically, cheaper blue mounts might not have the 'Best in Slot' mount powers that you're looking for, but they're a good place to start.
Better rated mounts also have the potential to give you other bonuses, but are more expensive. A purple mount will give you an Equip Power, depending on the mount. This equip power will also give you Item Level, and a pretty decent combination of stats if you pick out the one that works for your build. An Orange mount, known as a Legendary mount, will give you an even better Equip Power, as well as a Combat Power. These mounts are very expensive, however, so don't anticipate getting one unless you're lucky and pull it from a lockbox, or put a significant amount of money in the game.
By now, you would have learned about companions through progression of the game, and you likely have one or two by the time you hit level 70. Companions have several different features to them that make them one of the most important things in the game to your build. There are five different colors for companions: White, Green, Blue, Purple, and Orange. The better the color, the better the item level. You are allowed 5 active companions at any given time. You may have significantly more unactive companions, but only the five you have made active will count. Within those 5 active companions, you will have 1 Summoned Companion. This is the companion that's out all the time and goes along with you. This is your most important companion. When you are looking through a guide for your build, the guide will typically suggest 5 companions to use, and there's different things to look at.
Each companion has what's called an 'Active Bonus'. This is a perk that the companion grants you if you include it in one of your 5 chosen Active Companions. For 4 of the companions, not including your Summoned Companion, all that matters is their Active Bonus. For the 4 that are active but not your chosen summoned companion, all you can get from having them be active is increased Item level (depending on the rarity of the companion). You can put gear on these companions, but that gear won't be counted towards your Item Level or your stats. All that matters there is the Active Bonus. (This changes when you get your companion to Legendary. More on that later).
For your Summoned Companion, you still get the active Bonus, but you can also start putting Runestones and Equipment. As a general rule, for almost all builds and classes, your companion will want to have three bonding runestones. Your summoned companion will have some combination of Offense and Defense slots for their runestones. A DPS, for example, is going to want a companion with three offensive slots. Your summoned companion can also hold three different pieces of equipment. The best companions, currently, are typically ones that can have the most 'Ring' equipment slots. This is because the quality and level of stats on rings usually surpasses the quality and level found in other types of equipment, like necklaces and talismans. Your companion can not have Artifact Equipment. Any Item Level of equipment that you put on your companion will count towards your characters total Item Level. So if you have a companion with two ring slots, and you grab a couple very cheap IL 440 rings and put them on your companion, your IL will raise by 880. Just the same, any enchantments you put in any enchantment slots in those rings will also count towards your IL.
A quick note about Bonding Runestones, and why Companions are so important. If you look at a Bonding Runestone, you will see that it grants you 'Companion's Gift' when the companion attacks. At Rank 14, this bonding Runestone gives you 65% of your companion's stats for 30 seconds when your companion attacks. All those stats on the equipment you put on your companion, your enchantments, your runestones, those are stats for your companion, and each bonding transfers 65% of the stats to your character when the companion attacks. If you have 3 Bonding runestones, this percentage stacks, granting you 195% of your companion's stats! This is why gearing out your summoned companion is usually very important, as with the bonding runestones, you'll see a sizeable return on the investment than if you were just keeping the gear on yourself. A good rule is that when refining your enchantments, prioritize doing the ones on your companion first, and raise your bondings first.
Another thing to note about companions is what happens when they become Legendary. When you get your first Legendary companion, either by upgrading them with AD or Companion Tokens, or buying them outright from the market, you will see an additional Legendary Bonus. This bonus automatically transfers an additional 16% of your summoned companion's ratings directly to your character. That bonus increases if your other active companions are legendary as well, all the way up to a maximum additional bonus of 35%. When upgrading your companion, focus on making your summoned companion legendary first.
You've definitely seen this already by the time you've reached level 70, but another place to look for stats and Item Level is your enchantments. Higher level gear always has enchant slots in them, whether it be one slot or two. There are three types of enchant slots: Offense, Defense, and Utility. Likewise, each enchant has three different corresponding bonuses it can grant you, depending on what slot you put the enchantment in. The general rule with enchants is that an enchantment that gives you two of a stat, such as a Brutal giving you Power and Crit, is typically better than an enchantment that only gives you one type of stat, such as an Azure giving you only Crit. This is not always the case when you start getting close to limits, such as 100% Crit, where you might only want the Power a Radiant gives instead of both. Still, it's a good general rule. Getting rank 5-7 of an enchantment is typically fairly cheap on the Trade House, with the higher ranking enchantments getting significantly more expensive. A lot of endgame progression has to do with leveling up enchantments.
An enchantment can be refined and upgraded, which increases the stats it rewards and increases the item level. Each level requires a certain amount of Refinement Points, and a certain amount of Enchanting Stones. Typically these are 'Marks of Potency', most frequently seen in the Greater, Superior, and Ultimate ranges (Gmops, Smops, and Umops). As Enchantment upgrading is universal among all classes, these marks are frequently bought, traded, and consumed. Each level of an enchantment has a different type and amount of enchanting stone required. Each enchantment also has a percentage 'success' rate, indicating the chance of a successful upgrade. This chance decreases the higher level an enchantment is. To manage this chance, there are also items called Wards, both Preservation Wards and Coalescent Wards. When used, a preservation ward helps ensure that your enchanting components aren't consumed on a failure to refine the enchantment. A Coalescent Ward, on the other hand, guarantees a successful upgrade when used, by ensuring the attempt is 100%. There are two important rules to remember when using wards:
- A Preservation Ward should only be used if the value of the Preservation Ward in AD (Either from the Zen Market or the Trade House) is lower than the value of a summation of all enchanting stones required. Typically if an enchantment requires a Greater Mark of Potency or above, a Preservation Ward should be used during any refinement attempt.
- When using a ward, a Coalescent Ward should only be used when the chance for successful refinement is only 1%. All other times, use a Preservation Ward.
The reason for this is mainly math. When it comes to market value, 100 Preservation Wards is the same value as 1 Coalescent Ward. When you look at the values of both, it is cheaper overall to attempt refinement on all enchantments using preservation wards instead of a coalescent ward. For example, if your chance at success is 5%, and it takes you 40 preservation wards to get a success, you are still saving considerable AD then if you had bought a Coalescent ward just to guarantee the success. The Only time this is no longer the case is when the success chance lowers to 1%. At that point, It's mainly 50/50 as to whether you're going to save money using preservation wards for a success, or lose money using preservation wards over just buying the Coalescent. So follow the two rules above, and you will save AD overall. The following is a good chart of what is required to refine an Enchantment and the corresponding success rates:
Cheap Basic Gear
Upon reaching level 70, there's a good chance that your gear is all over the place. You might have a purple or two, but you probably have more greens and blues than anything else depending on what you've picked up. If you're looking to quickly improve some pieces of your gear, it's worthwhile to look on the Tarmalune Trade House and search for better equipment. Do this by going to the Trade House from the Main Menu, and go to the Equipment tab. Under Filters, select Choose Class/Level. Select what class you are, and enter a number for 'Min Item Level'. (As of July 2018, a good number for this would be 400). When you search, hit select to change Default to 'Buyout' so it's sorted in a proper way. At this point, you can see pretty cheap options for quick upgrades to your gear, and if you want to be more selective, you can go to 'All Equipment', and start selecting specific item pieces, like weapons or neck or belt. You can get some quick and cheap upgrades that way to raise your item level before you start diving into the Campaigns. Keep in mind that artifact equipment, mainly new weapons that you might find, are rarely, if ever, best in slot. Don't waste resources refining these items up unless you're sure you're going to be using them for quite a while. These items are typically only to jump your item level up and give you a boost before you start your campaigns. Odds are that when you start doing whatever the most recent campaign is, that you'll get better gear from that then you will from the Trade House. Even still, this can be a good and cheap method to jump your item level up so you can access things like Epic Dungeons and what not.
Either before this, or after doing this step, you'll be more familiar with what Artifact Equipment. Artifact Equipment works just like Artifacts and Enchantments, in that you can raise their rating and stats they give by using Enchanting Stones and Refinement points to upgrade them. When they reach a certain 'level', you can refine them to the next color and increase their stats. You should really only upgrade Artifact Equipment once you know it's best for your build.
Artifacts are another place where you can gain item level. Artifacts come in different colors, but follow a progression of green-->blue-->purple-->orange-->silver (Mythic). They are upgraded just like artifact gear, by using refinement points to level them up, then upgrading them when they reach a certain level. Each artifact has three potential stats it can affect, with one stat being displayed on green, two stats being displayed on blue, and three being displayed on purple. The stats are fixed to each artifact, and you can look up the artifact online to see what three stats are on it. Typically, most artifacts have two stats that are good, and a third stat that might be good but less so. An example of this would be for a DPS where an artifact gives an increase to power, critical strike, and then control resist. The third stat is usually not one of the main stats, but there are exceptions to this, such as with the Fragmented Key of Stars. Artifacts can also have set bonuses on them, which usually get paired with a waist and a neck piece to give some type of set bonus that your class might desire.
Each artifact also has an activate power of various types. While you can hold four artifacts on your character sheet, only one can be activated. This timer has a 2 minute cooldown, however when the artifact is upgraded to Mythic, the cooldown becomes 1 minute. It's usually recommended that you upgrade your main artifact, the one you use an activate power on, at a higher priority than the other artifacts.
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