Curse of Icewind Dale is the third major game update for the free to play Dungeons and Dragons MMO, Neverwinter. Delving into the very popular story of Icewind Dale and Akar Kessel, the developers at Cryptic have taken on the challenge to bring this much loved area to life. Curse of Icewind Dale is a story about the resurgence of Akar Kessel and his minions and the after effects of the Crystal Tower. The fragments of the Crystal Tower have given birth to strange and powerful substance, Black Ice. Black Ice can be found all over the zones of Curse of Icewind Dale. Mining it and crafting with it are a central theme to Curse of Icewind Dale and is what draws players to this new, well designed game update.
In this DDM’s Realm player guide and walkthrough we will help you navigate the many different currencies, locations, and factions. Use this player guide to make the most out of your time in Neverwinter’s update 3, Curse of Icewind Dale.
Players are going to need to have 10,000 gear score and rank 3 boon to be able to start Mod 3, Cures of Icewind Dale. Icewind Dale is harder content and at max level. Once you have these things you can talk to Sargent Knox and get the quest. Then head down near the southern exit in Protectors enclave and talk to the NPC who is recruiting players to come help. That NPC will not take you if you are not powerful enough. If you are, off to Caer-Konig you go.
Players should go through the few short mini quests to learn about the area before they spam the zone with how to do basic things. It only takes a few minutes to learn what you need to about where your quests are, where the NPC’s are, and how you can get decked out in Black Ice gear.
Don’t forget to do the quest at the Black Ice Forge for Urgus Battlehammer. Help him out and you will be able to get one Minor Black Ice Salve a day. These slow down the deterioration of Black Ice gear for an hour. This is a must for players that don’t want to spend all their time farming Black Ice to maintain their gear.
Ten Towns Faction
There are two main factions in Caer-Konig: Ten Towns and the Arcane Brotherhood. These are mainly here to set up the PVP part of the areas but each one also has a unique quest that can be done. Otherwise, each faction shares all of the other quests so it really does not make a big difference which faction you choose. In fact, you can switch back and forth if you choose to without any repercussions. If you are a player that wants to earn achievements you will need to play out both factions for a while to earn the Achievement of completing 100 quests for each faction.
Arcane Brotherhood Faction
The Arcane Brotherhood is the other half of the PVP factions here in Icewind Dale. This faction does have access to one different daily quest than Ten Towns, but it is nothing special. Otherwise you will be doing the same quests that the Ten Town faction is doing.
You can cancel your contract if you have not completed the daily quests. Otherwise it will reset the next day or if you remain logged out for 12 or more hours.
The Curse of Icewind Dale Currencies
Caer-Konig Reputation is the main currency, or thing, you have to earn to advance through the Curse of Icewind Dale campaign. Players can only earn 10 Caer-Konig Reputation a day by completing the Daily Quest the faction you are currently under contract with. This quest is to gather 300 Raw Black Ice and completing one Heroic Encounter. This is very easy to do. So make sure you do this quest if nothing else until Icewind Dale is unlocked. It will take 35 days to complete this.
Konig Coin is the next most important currency. It is earned by completing Daily and Weekly quest in Caer-Konig. You can also turn in Kessel’s Sigils at a rate of 5 Kessel’s Sigils for 1 Konig Coin. If you are interested in getting Black Ice gear as soon as possible, be sure to keep track of how much you earn. There is nothing worse than unlocking the ability to forge your Black Ice gear but being unable to do so because you do not have enough Konig Coin.
Kessel’s Sigils are the bounty item for Curse of Icewind Dale. These should mainly be used to get Konig Coin until you have enough. Then spend them on potions to reduce Black Ice decay. Once you have many of those, you can use them on gear or Seals of the Unicorn. Kessel’s Sigils are dropped by the enemies that you battle in the Curse of Icewind Dale zones, Icewind Pass, Dwarven Valley, and Kessel’s Retreat.
Auril’s Tears are the quest currency you will receive from doing quests in Icewind Pass. These will be needed to unlock many of the Icewind Dale campaign rewards.
Dwarf Gold is the last of the currencies players will collect. Dwarf Gold can be earned by doing quests in the Dwarven Valley. These will also be needed to unlock many of the Cures of Icewind Dale campaign rewards.
By unlocking the Auril’s Tears part of the Curse of Icewind Dale campaign, players can get access to a daily quest that will grant the player a Coalesced Potion of Agility or Defense. This will also unlock the next step in the tree, granting the player access to the Yeti Hunter Fashion Set at the Frozenfar Expeditions store.
A Need for Mead
By unlocking the Dwarven Coin side of the Curse of Icewind Dale campaign players will get access to a Daily Quest that will grant them a Coalesced Potion of Precision or Force. Also, this will allow you to take the second step in this tree to access the daily quest Need for Mead. It is a short (5 minute) quest that is very straight forward. The one kicker to this quest is that occasionally a yeti will spawn near the end. This yeti drops yeti treats which you can use to try to befriend the yeti outside the quest. If you are successful when giving it the Yeti Treat you will get a new defender yeti companion!
At 200 Caer-Konig Reputation, players will get access to another quest.
Neverwinter has introduced Heroic Encounters in Curse of Icewind Dale. Heroic Encounters are randomly spawned encounters that will appear in both Icewind Pass and the Dwarven Valley. They come in three strengths: Minor, Major, and Epic.
Minor Encounters can be accomplished with 1 or 2 players fairly easily. Heroic Encounters scale up to the Epic Encounters that will take at least 10 players to complete. The difficulty and deadliness of each type of Heroic Encounter scale as well. So be careful starting an Epic Encounter with only a few, as the mobs will be very tough. Each of these encounters will display objectives on them and are timed. If all objectives are completed before time runs out, every player involved will earn a reward for participating. Rewards will scale depending on the more involved you are in the encounter. With a fleeting presence you may earn a skimpy 25 Raw Black Ice but if were heavily involved them you may earn up to 180 Raw Black Ice, Black Ice Enchantments, Black Ice Crafting ingredients, Mod 3 potions, and epic gear.
There are many different encounters and they are all easy to figure out. Most involve killing waves of monsters. A few have extra steps such as reviving wolves or freeing prospectors that are being held prisoner.
Minor Heroic Encounter
On completion the rewards are usually 25-75 Raw Black Ice, Enchantments, and sometimes green or blue ingredients and potions. These can be solo’d most of the time. These will show a small orange pillar of magic in the distance to mark them. These are easy to farm but don’t expect great loot.
Major Heroic Encounters
On completion the rewards are usually 25-150 Raw Black Ice, Enchantments, any crafting ingredients, potions, and rarely epic gear. A full group of 5 players will be needed at minimum to complete one of these encounters. These will show a very tall white pillar of magic to mark them. These are not so easy to farm but you do get something nice on occasion.
Epic Heroic Encounters
On completion the rewards are usually 25-180 Raw Black Ice, Enchantments, any crafting ingredients, potions, and sometimes epic gear including black ice gear. Two full groups of 5 players will be needed at minimum to complete one of these encounters. These will show a very tall and broad purple pillar of magic to identify these. These are crushed pretty fast when they spawn since they have the best drop rate for all of the good player items. Get in there and get helping so you can have a chance at the great loot.
When approaching a Heroic Encounter, be cautious. There might be enemies that have wandered out of the area. If people are fighting the encounter, help them out. If there are a couple of people looking at the encounter but nobody is starting it, charge on in! Soon you will have many people helping you. I often start encounters and always have people join in. It is a quick and easy way to get lots of Black Ice and crafting ingredients as well as other more rare items. Players can purchase most of the Black Ice gear in Caer-Konig at the smith but they will need to get their main hand weapon as well as their bracer/hand slots from Major or Epic Heroic Encounters.
Now, there are TONS of rumors about how to game these encounters. Don’t believe them. Unfortunately players are looking way too closely at the randomness of loot here. Some players are saying there is some kind of “hidden game rule” that is working against them. That’s not the case. The only thing really working against players is statistics. It really is pretty simple: just help out the best your class can and you will get your items, and likely before you finish grinding through the 35 days to craft them! I was able to get 2 full sets on a Hunter Ranger and Control Wizard long before I was able to finish off the Tier 3 pieces. Have some patience and you will get your items from these Heroic Encounters.
This is the snow-filled valley that leads through Icewind Pass. This is the area where players will begin the grind through Mod 3, Curse of Icewind Dale. It is a pretty fun game zone that is planned and laid out well.
To the south west up on the mountain is the giant area and where Biggrin’s Tomb is. There is a weekly quest to go into Biggrin’s Tomb. It is a short 10 minute quest that should be solo able by most players.
To the east and down in the valley is the area that is filled with bears and wolves. In the center of the map is a small outpost where a few quests are linked. This is also where you will respawn if you die.
In the north east corner is the barbarian encampment. Be careful in this area because there are lots of groups of wandering barbarians.
In the north west side of the map is the PVP area. There is a bridge that crosses the PVP area and is worth a look. Just don’t linger on the rails or you will get flagged for PVP. More on this later.
The zones of Curse of Icewind Dale are dotted with chunks of Black Ice. You should have gotten a pick doing the newbie quests in Caer-Konig. Use that pick on these nodes to mine your own Black Ice. And when I say mine your own, I mean mine your own. If another player goes to the effort to clear out an area so they can get to the Black Ice, let them have the few Black Ice they will get for their efforts. Don’t zip in and take it. That is just bad form. If a player helps, then they are fine mining the node. But if they don’t, common courtesy and gamer respect say to let the one who earned it, mine it.
When a character earns enough to unlock the map to the Dwarven Valley, a second Curse of Icewind Dale zone becomes available. This can be done by earning 50 Caer-Konig Reputation, 30 Caer-Konig Coins, and 30,000 Astral Diamonds.
This zone is an eclectic mix of snow in the north, a scar in the middle where the corrupted dwarves are mining Black Ice, and a forested area to the south, which is full of undead. This area seems like they were trying to do too much with it. Trolls can be found in the north and central parts along with dwarves in most of the Dwarven Valley.
This “rough around the edges” feel is exacerbated by the quests here. Most of the quests in Icewind Dale are designed to encourage players to work together to complete them. That is not the case in the Dwarven Valley. Here players can easily steal quest mobs, objectives, and otherwise mess up the work of other players. This makes for a very frustrating and irritating zone. I would suggest looking for a group to do the Daily solo quests. This way you should be able to overpower and outmaneuver all of the thieves here. Neverwinter has generally done a good job with most of its quest areas to discourage this type of behavior. Unfortunately they seemed to have overlooked this design mandate here.
I would urge all of the players of Neverwinter to play nice, work together, and show their fellow players the respect they deserve. When that fails, use the tactics I suggest above to get through the quests in the Dwarven Valley. Then once you have earned the Dwarven Gold Coins, you need to unlock what you want for the campaign, go back to Icewind Pass and enjoy your grind there.
At 200 Caer-Konig Reputation, players can get a few more quests here in the far south to get through those Dwarven Gold Coins.
Keep an eye on your inventory when adventuring in the Dwarven Valley. A quest item drops, Hammerstone Hammer. Double click it to get a quick quest to kill the corrupted dwarven queen. This is a very fast and easy quest to do. Players get a good amount of Black Ice and some crafting ingredients for completing this Weekly quest. The entrance is a mine entrance under the large keep on the east side for the Large and Epic Encounter spawning location. (1692,1221)
Kessel’s Retreat Skirmish
Kessel’s Retreat is a fairly straightforward skirmish. The biggest thing is that it is not forgiving of bad tactics or bad groups. It is tougher than most other Skirmishes out there. Players should be paying attention and on top of their game to make it through without issue.
Here are some basic rules everyone should follow for success in Kessel’s Retreat:
- Group mobs up so they can be affected by area of effect spells and abilities.
- Do not loot anything when your party is fighting. The loot window pops up in front of everything. It gets in the way of what you should be doing, killing things before they kill you.
- Know your role and fill your role.
Killing Akar Kessel
When fighting Alar Kessel, players will want to do a couple things to be successful. I like to type these tips in party chat just before a battle. Just in case a player doesn’t know. This seems to smooth out that last fight significantly.
- Concentrate fire on beholders until they get to 10-15%. They then will turn and fight Kessel. Do not help Kessel kill them after this point!
- Kill golems in corner until Kessel kills the beholders. Then kill the golems by Kessel.
- Avoid the Black Ice Pillars and the black balls of doom! A character should be able to survive one hit. But if a pillar pops up next to a player then they are sure to take 3 or more blasts at once, meaning certain death for anyone. So keep an eye out and get away from pillars when they pop. Also try to dodge perpendicular to their path and not parallel to it. You can and will take damage multiple times if you get hit, and then dodge back into its path!
Using these tactics, it is a pretty easy, fast, and fun skirmish. Pound it out until you get all the gear you want. Also keep an eye out for when Skirmishes give a bonus and hit it hard then.
Player Versus Player in Icewind Dale
Neverwinter’s Curse of Icewind Dale update introduced open world Player Versus Player, or PVP. Beforehand, Neverwinter had certain PVP instances you could enter to PVP. But this is the first area to introduce PVP to a regular game zone.
The way it works is that you have to sign a temporary contract with either Ten Towns (TT) or the Arcane Brotherhood (AB). By selecting this contract you also assign yourself to that side of the PVP battles. PVP is strictly voluntary and you do not have to worry about it if you are not interested. I have said many times before that Dungeons and Dragons is not designed to be a good PVP game for certain game defining reasons. Regardless of how good Dungeons and Dragons is at PVP there is a huge group of players that like PVP, hence it is part of Neverwinter.
To enter PVP a player just needs to enter a PVP area. Once they enter they are then flagged for PVP. This means that that can fight anyone of the opposing faction that is also flagged for PVP anywhere in the zone, not just the designated PVP areas. This flag is removed when you die or when you approach the zone exits, campfires, or relog. So it is easy to remove if you want to get out of PVP. It’s easy to recognize someone that is flagged for PVP because their contract symbol over their character will be brightly colored instead of gray.
In the PVP areas of Curse of Icewind Dale players will find the PVP specific quest objectives. These quests can help the player earn a little more XP and coin. There are NPCs and other items in these areas so players can complete quests. Players just need to keep an eye out as other PVP players can attack while you are doing these other quests.
Players who mine Black Ice in the PVP area will earn more than the safer areas outside of PVP. The base for each time a player mines is 60 in a PVP area as opposed to 50 outside of a PVP area. If nothing else, it’s worth stocking up on raw black ice in the PVP areas.
- Complete 1 Icewind Dale PVP Task = 3000 Black Ice
- Complete 4 Icewind Dale PVP Tasks = Boon to increase Black Ice by 3% from everything.
- Complete 5 Icewind Dale PVP Tasks = Black Ice Belt
If players wish to participate in the PVP pieces of the daily grind they should either do them first or last. It is not a good idea to bounce in and out of PVP unless you do not mind dying and frequently or unexpectedly, loosing whatever buffs and potions you have used. Personally I like to finish up my questing with PVP once everything else is done.
Final Thoughts on Curse of Icewind Dale
All in all I think Curse of Icewind Dale for Neverwinter is a fantastic addition to the game. It adds a lot of nice touches. Caer-Konig and Icewind Pass are very well done and are not bad at all running around in for hours and hours on end. Chasing Heroic Encounters really seems to help break up the monotony of grinding through the daily quests.
The Black Ice gear is really nice and looks pretty good for most models. This should give players a good amount of things they can do to stay occupied while upgrading their characters. Even though the Black Ice Armor deteriorates it does not cost that much to keep it at T3. This is especially the case if you do more than the bare minimum and use the decay potions.
Introducing zone wide PVP was a nice touch to the PVP players of Neverwinter. Though I personally do not enjoy Neverwinter PVP, it was good to add it to the game to make this a complete update.
Curse of Icewind Dale for Neverwinter is a lot of fun and adds a lot of fun content for the end game. The grind for the gear and campaign may be more than other updates, but it is much more enjoyable. Cryptic did very well when creating Curse of Icewind Dale for Neverwinter, staying true to a beloved area and lore of Dungeons and Dragons.