# Neverwinter basics: Intro to basic agriculture and commerce

## Intro

This guide aims to cover some basic farming and trading activities common among Neverwinter players, aka “How people get AD”.

It is not practical to create an instructions guide “Do this and be rich in 21 steps”, as most of the trading and farming is bound to the same supply and demand. Whenever a group of players find some niche market it is only profitable for them as long as it is niche and not flooded.
Hence this is an overview of the methods used by many players and not a set of instructions, though I will try to provide some concrete examples.

I’m afraid veteran players will not find anything new here, but I hope it will help newer players to understand NW economy in more practical manner, help making AD and navigate the markets.

Also while making AD from playing the game is great, supporting the game via ZEN is what keeps the servers going.

## The peasants rough life – farming rough astral diamonds

In this part we will look at the most basic method: farming rough astral diamonds and refining them.

There are several important advantages to this method:

• It is very straightforward, “Do X, get RAD”.
• No speculation or risk involved.
• No requirement for initial investment.
• Not tied to market fluctuations.
• Available extremely early into the game.

With all that comes a disadvantage: A player can only refine 100k RAD into AD per day (for an entire account). This is a very important limitation and more information about the reason for its existence can be found in this guide.

### Random Queue

The main and probably the easiest source of RAD is the random queue system.

Running these queues will put the player in one of the dungeons, skirmishes or trials in the queue. The choice on the exact content instance is not truly random but based on the need to fill parties of other players who queued in the public queue.

Players may form a premade in this queue, and do not have to queue solo. Though unlike the private queue there are some role restrictions, here are the queues, their entry requirements, and the amount of RAD a player will gain on their first run (account wide). Any subsequent run still gives RAD but much less so, and usually it is much more beneficial to do multiple random queue types, for example random trial and random epic dungeon queue, than repeating a single one multiple times.

dps – Damage Dealers.

Except the role, item level and level limitations as listed in the table there are some others that are specific to the public queue in general:

1. Roles are locked – A player that queued in a specific role can only change loadouts with the same role. For example: A cleric that queued as damage dealer can change load-outs to various builds like Single target focused or AoE, but can’t change to a loadout with the healer role (Devout) paragon.

2. Leaver penalty – A player leaving the group after the run started will suffer a penalty – 30 minutes account wide restriction from queuing again to a public queue. A player may leave without penalty if the groups is not full (if another player left or was kicked before them) after 15 minutes into the run players may vote kick or vote to abandon the run (or after first boss?).
This penalty will also occur if the player swapped characters without leaving the queue first.

3. Kicking – The group leader can not remove (kick) players after the run begun. After 15 minutes into the run the group is allowed to vote kick a player (but not after the last boss was killed or during the fight), a player (account) may initiate a vote kick only once per 4 hours.

4. Inviting – In the public queue inviting players directly is not allowed. The queue leader may “request reinforcement ” and the queue system will add a person from the queue. If the queue is empty enough, a player can queue for the specific dungeon while their friend “requests reinforcement” to join them, but this is not assured.

### Weekly Quests

Some campaigns offer weekly quests that reward RAD directly:

• Sharandar – Arcane Reservoir.
• Dread Ring – The Red Wizards quest.
• Icewind Dale – Biggrin’s Tomb.
• Well of Dragons – Reclaiming the Hoard (Quest given by Elminster).
• Mantol Derith (Maze Engine) – Ballad of Baphoment
• Portal to Tuern (Quest granted by Harper Boward in PE)

### Campaign Currencies

Most campaigns have the option to buy RAD for the relevant campaign currency. This is probably the most wasteful method, as the same currency can be donated to a guild’s mimic and the guild marks put to better use and better profit (see crafting section).

This is NOT recommended!

### Other Sources

• Dungeon chests – Even in private queue the end chest in a dungeon gives about 6k – 12k RAD.
• Master Expeditions – Putting a Chaos rune will grant RAD at the end of the ME, also running with at least one rune of any kind will grant a Rune Etching, which can be traded at an NPC named Zok for a box that has a chance for various rewards like companion gear, and vanity pets, and has a guarantied reward of 5k RAD.
• Avernus zone – Chaotic Writings can be traded at an NPC named Juma for bags, that among huge table of bound items, includes companions, wards, companion upgrade tokens, and more, has a chance for 2.5k RAD.
• Dungeon seals can be converted into RAD.
• Guild marks can be converted to RAD at the SH store – not recommended! Check master crafting resources section for better use of guild marks.
• Overflow XP – after reaching maximum level (currently 80) each additional 125k XP grant a minor reward of some RP and RAD (used to be good chance for 30k but that was changed).

## The farmers toil – farming dungeons

Dungeons and trials, dark, dangerous, with evil lurking. Risk your life for the great rewards. Slay the dragon and claim its hoard. From a poor adventurer to a great hero upon the defeat of the great monsters of the realm.

Well, that is how it supposed to be, reality differs a bit. Run some content, repeatedly, until either RNG gives up, or your soul and sanity is completely lost. NW doesn’t excel in creating motivation for repeated runs beyond the basic needs for some gear and the Random Queues for the RAD.

Except the general repeat a dungeon and hope RNG drops something nice there are 3 farming “avenues” that are worth mentioning:

Mod 17 Tower of the Mad Mage returned to the table what existed up to mod5, unbound high end gear that can be sold. This made completion very lucrative. The caveat is that the jump in difficulty required either investment in time or in gear (or both) to make the runs smooth enough. Also most of the gear lost their value quickly, so to benefit of such content requires to be very fast about it.

### Cradle of the Death God (CoDG)

An older trial, made easy now, with boring elevator part, has two things, not bad loot table with Enchanting stones rank 6, and it is relatively short. Also the loot table drops random companions and mounts which are an added bonus. The best method is to create Omu keys in advance and run it repeatedly at the double enchanting stones event. This method will not make a player rich, especially with the significant drop in price for Enchanting stones rank6 (ES6), but can be a good way for newer players to make some AD.

### Phantasmal Fortress (PF)

Dread Ring mini dungeon that can be easily soloed. Drops enchanting stones rank 5, and while they are lower rank than the rank 6 from CoDG their value is usually higher, due to two factors, higher demand than rank 6, and farming solo PF is soul crushingly boring.
Make the keys (farming the Dread Legion skirmish can help with the currency in that regard), and repeat doing PF.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are fixed lairs that drop ES. Saturday and Sunday allow you to pick which lair and they drop ES. But you have to wait until after 5PM UTC. ( Note that the time resets are similar to event times and not daily quest resets )

These mini-lairs require keys to run, a key costs 10 Scrips. One run per day is free (without a key) via Sgt.Knox Quest.
The first run of the day gives a Cypher which can be traded for 15 Scrips. Each run also gives 3 Scrips.
Added together we get, daily, 2 runs at a costs of 1 key, that yields 21 scrips which is the enough to cover 2 keys. (Note: It takes 20 hrs to trade the Cypher) generating keys. This is important as a good amount of keys can be used during double enchanting stones event, which also doubles the Enchanting Stones to 2 when those drops.

In addition Onyx fragments can be traded 5:1, 5 fragments for one scrip.
As a bonus the lairs have 1 or 2 Red Wizards, meaning you can complete the weekly quest (the RAD one) just by running the lairs.

The difference between daily quests and server rest times creates a situation where a player can do 2 quests per day. Once with one quest for one lair, and a second for another. For example doing Dread Spire on Wednesday before 17:00 UTC will count as one quest, and then after 17:00 Death Forge will become available, due to them being different quests, on the same server daily quest day. This benefits mostly new players who can get 2 Cyphers per day and a third from Demon hunting, which accelerate their campaign progress.

All the 3 lairs are of similar difficulty, on the easy side of things. PF is often preferred as there is no need to click intermediate quest triggers

To go beyond the random run per day, and perhaps some more, efficiency plays a large part of this method. If for a group it takes over an hour and another 15 minutes (for example) for the same content, same chance of the same rewards, it will make the difference between waste of time and a stable income.

Part of this is the time that takes to form a group, if it takes an hour to form a group to run it for 15 minutes, it becomes simpler and easier to just form in 10, and run for 30 minutes.

Also it’s important to note that usage of scrolls and other consumables, can turn this into a net loss or just not worth it.

These overloads sell for about 50k AD (on PC), the parts are farmed in IWD/DV HEs or the skirmish “Kessel’s Retreat“, which can be done relatively fast. Created at the forge at Caer-Konig.
The black ice wedge which is one of the ingredients sell on their own and can be obtained in the Dwarven valley HEs at relatively good rate.

## The merchant’s risk – trading, risks, and short and long term investment.

This is predominantly how the rich become rich. In essence, it can be summed up as “Buy low, sell high”. This also one of the riskier ways, as every time a player invest into something, they can lose large sums if the item becomes cheaper instead of rising in price.
Be careful not to invest amounts you can’t stand to lose.

Let’s look at some ways it is done:

Using the ZAX (Zen AD eXchange) for profit differs based on the platform and economy, if the ZAX has backlog or not.

Without backlog the ZAX ratio fluctuates. Daily and weekly fluctuations, times when the population is at its lowest per day vs the highest, and so are weekdays vs weekend. The ZAX influenced, and in a few days a pattern can be spotted. Listing even couple of times per day, once to buy and once to sell, can become a steady source of supplement income.

Larger fluctuations can be caused by events and discount. Keep track of ZEN charge discounts and limited items in the ZEN store. A charge discount will usually bring the price down, a good time to buy, and limited ZEN store items, or new releases like new Mod packs (4 weeks before new mod) or new lockboxes will rise the price as more players use ZEN to buy those. Similar with some item sales, and large ZEN store discounts (Black Friday, Anniversary).

With the backlog there are not fluctuations but still there is a lot of profit to be made. When a player wants a ZEN item the backlog forces them into either buying it with real money, exchange ZEN in advance or wait for their turn in ZAX, or buy at the AH (Auction House) from people who have ZEN.

This creates two situations, the first is when people want some item immediately and willing to pay higher price over waiting a month. An example will be preservation wards, which are almost always sold at a higher price on the AH than their ZEN buy price (counting in various discounts), companion upgrade tokens, campaign completion tokens (not recently though). The downside is that it takes a constant price tracking, and not all items are a good investment. Also the AH 10% tax must be taken into account.

And mentioning the AH tax, common mistake when calculating the minimal price to sell is to increase by 10% the cost. The correct way is to divide by 0.9

Sell lower, and it’s a loss.

The second when there are limited time items at the ZEN store. Those who don’t have ZEN on hand, nor want to spend real money can’t buy those directly regardless of wait time, and will have to buy them at the AH. A good example will be new mod packs, legendary mounts, rare companions (Alpha Compy).

To facilitate this route of profit making, a player should always have ZEN stashed. Just in case there is some discount, or rare item appears. To make it efficient, the aim is to always have 5 maxed listings on the ZAX.

Invoke vouchers, discount events, are your friends. Also noting when to sell, for example double refine stones event will increase the demand for wards.

### Event items and long term hoarding

Some income avenues are only viable in the long term and require patience and storage space. In general there almost always some items in the loot tables that are not worth much, companions, mounts, insignia, and so on. At some point listing them for ‘pennies’ is just hassle for not much return, these items can be a good gamble for long term storage (bag and storage guide in the future), as their price can rise with some balance or meta changes. There is little investment and worst case those items are still worthless even after long time.

In some cases, some long forgotten sets and items sold for 10s of millions as transmutes, and some companions changed from useless to BiS and worth millions. Good example is the Batiri companion from Merchant Prince Folly – it was so abundant that the companion was worth less than 1k per one and many just discarded them. Now the price is around the 100k mark, a huge x 100 profit.

Should be noted that this rarely applies to gear items unless they have transmute value. Gear becomes obsolete relatively fast, especially after Mod 16, so hoarding gear items for the case they become useful usually not worth it. Artifacts, and art-gear set bonuses are an exception due to their bonuses where players may choose to take the stats hit for something beneficial like a debuff.

Another good long term items are events items. They are near worthless during the event but can be a stable selling items the rest of the time. Notable will be Watermelon Sorbet from the summer festival (and the rest of the consumables).

Similarly discount events offer an opportunity to buy items cheaply and store them until the price rises and stabilizes. A noteable example is off course the ZEN store discount, but some other very important are the Wondrous Bazaar (WB) discount, when players can buy marks of potency cheaply, Anniversary event which provides both major discount at the WB with the patrol vouchers, and direct discounts for ZEN items like 50% on bags, and Tarmalune Trade bars (t.bars) discount event which offers some companions for lower price and scrolls of mass life ( a player may not have t.bars, but it is a good time to buy those items on the AH).

Lockbox key discounts – Especially combined with ZEN charge promos encourage players to open lockboxes, also new lockbox releases, usually at new mods, which drops the price for the lockbox related items, especially for the secondary prizes.

ZEN store promotions – A noteable one is the Insignia pack which at limited times offers a chance to drop a legendary mount. During this promotion event there is a significant drop in price for high value insignia.

Similar to the ZEN item “flipping”, the minimal price an item must be sold without loss due to the AH 10% tax, is not item buy price * 1.1 (10%), but instead division by 0.9

### Patch notes, preview and meta changes

Tracking patch notes, Dev posts, and various meta shifts can be beneficial in both short and long term.

Fixes to forgotten items usually hikes the price up in the very short term as many people trying to invest in the item, and the price stabilizes down afterwards. Creating a loss to many players. A good time to sell said fixed item, if you hoarded it.

Preview and patch notes can indicate new items and what items will become obsolete or on the other hand items that can becomes complimentary, new set combinations, demands for debuffs, higher specific stats due to new content. Also new content and its difficulty can indicate a change in consumables price, for example on Infernal Citadel release, scrolls of mass life price jumped by 300%.

In the long term we can consider Devs intention and meta change, a good example is the intention that players will not be able reach the stats caps in all their stats. Meaning that there can be a shift from radiant to multi stat enchant that offer more stats, especially with ArP. Same with companions that near worthless now can becomes more valuable as stats become needed, for example defense and ArP.
A good example will be the price disparity between Black Ice enchantments and Radiants where the first is almost half price the second. With players able to cap stats from other sources the focus is on power enchantments, creating oversupply of BI from previous mods as player replace them to Radiants. This is likely to change in few mods when players will want to balance stats vs power and will shift to various stat based enchants (not single power).

While gold is not rare, it is used in crafting and to remove enchantments from gear. This creates demand. Gold as opposed to AD can be traded directly among players, so you can find players trading potency marks and other items directly for gold and back. From mod 16, gold bars can be bought at the NPC and posted on the AH creating a direct AD:Gold trad-ability among players.
Do not waste your gold, and sell those treasures and potions you get, they can be a complimentary source of income for a new player.

## The crafter’s folly – losing money in masterworks

The entire process of how to rank up the workshop, what artisans there are and what are the best for different tasks is out of the scope of this guide, so in short, crafting in NW can be separated into two types, regular and master crafting.

### Non Master Crafting

Lower entry level, without significant investment. Hence, can be done on multiple chars and on a large scope. Creating mostly RP (refinement points items), Kits, and some consumables. Due to the very easy availability and large production capability the gain is usually on the “not worth to bother with” scale. Artisans with negative crafting cost are a must due to low profit margins. Gold and guild coffer items can be also produced.

### Master Crafting

This is where the large sums of AD are made, or lost.Usually at new rank release with new recipes and sought after items, the resources and resulted crafted items traded for large AD sums. After a short time (couple of weeks), the price drops significantly and unlocking it at that point can become a huge loss.

Master crafting can be separated into two parts, the resource gathering and the crafting itself.

#### Resources

Many of the MW resources are gathered using Explorers maps, those are bought at the Stronghold Generalist shop for guild marks.

Activating a case grants a quest to collect 6 nodes on the relevant map. The explorers guild boons doubles the number of items per node, and the double professions event doubles this again, up to 4 resources per node.

This is available to everyone, very mind numbing but selling the resources can net large amounts of AD without risk except waste of time. Ask alliance and friends for temporary invite to a guild with the explorers boon (rank 6 boon and higher).

#### The crafting

Very high unlock cost, including the unlock tasks themselves, and optimizing the best artisans (which also take either time or cost to get), morale cost (you can’t wait days for the tasks, you will be out of the profit window), and with costly failure rate on the tasks means the crafter needs deep pockets to get over the hurdles on the way to the profit. Added to this, you will compete with established very very rich crafters.

The main advice, avoid this unless you know exactly what you are doing. If someone still want to go this route, prepare in advance, unlock, get artisans, prepare the spreadsheet – MW is the game of spreadsheets or use tools to calculate gain and loss, and then decide if it worth it or not.

One way to mitigate the risk and make it in time is cooperation, usually at a guild level, where multiple people gather resources, different people focus on different professions and at the end everyone share the profits.

## The finders fee – random stuff that you can sell

Several things most players ignore but can earn a bunch of AD:

### Campaign store items

Except the conversion to RAD, some campaigns offer unbound items, mostly artifacts. One example is the “Wyvern-Venom Coated Knives” Artifact that is still around 200k AD even over half year after release.

Bound or “free” upgrade resources being bound does not mean they hold no value or can’t be sold in a roundabout way. Some mistake that if they used some bound coal ward on 10% as “I don’t care, it cost me nothing”. It is not correct, it cost you the ward you will need later or the upgrade value of some enchantment. Coalescence and preservation wards from invoking, and different marks from the legacy store can be used to upgrade enchantments and sell the higher rank. Simply buy, for example, rank 10, upgrade to 11, and sell. Using up the bound resources.
Winter festival bound preservation wards are also a good resource to use for upgrading enchantments to sell.

Similarly, bound insignia can be used to create unbound legendary insignia.
If bound epic used as the upgrade source (the one you right click on) then the result will be bound. If the source is unbound then the result will be unbound even if the rest of the resources (1 more epic, 4 blue, 8 green) are bound.
As in all things, make sure to check the prices, in some cases, the legendary is cheaper than the parts.

### Bounty items

Leveling zones, and older campaigns have a “bounty” currency that drops, and an NPC that can trade those for random gear packs. Some of that gear is a rare transmute. Notable example is the hellfire armor from Mount Hotenow. It is probably not worth farming directly, but using up the currency can net a nice spare AD.

In the case of some campaigns, like Sharandar, it’s possible to convert those to other campaign currencies and use those to sell potions or other items.

## Invoking the gods of profit

Invoking, a game mechanic that intended to encourage players to log-in, both daily and multiple times per day. First unlocked at level 11 (via a short quest – to speak with “Aralynn the Pious”).

Each character can invoke the gods up to six times. The count resets at the regular daily server quest reset (11 am GTM / 2am PST), with a cooldown between subsequent invokes. 15 minutes between the first and the second, 30 minutes to the third, 45min to the fourth, 60min until the fifth, and 90minutes to the sixth.

By default you can see the invoke cooldown indicator, the Ardent & Celestial coins shop button and Celestial coins counter near the minimap

Invoking has several benefits:

### Ardent coins

Granted per char on the first invoke of the day. A character can have a maximum of 500 of those coins. Meaning 500 days of invocation.

With many players invoking on multiple characters and the store items remained as-is from the start of the game without any significant refresh, the items have lost value. Some AD can be gained by selling elixirs, or transmutes, but this is mostly beneficial on a very large scale, having a lot of alts to invoke as the coin gain is very slow, 1 per day.

### Celestial coins

Granted on the first invoke, and last. A character can have at most 14 coins.

Currently the Celestial reward store has 3 rewards, the Elixir of Fate and two almost identical Coffers.

The coffer has around 3% chance to have a bound to account Coalescent Ward. It is usually recommended to store the coffers and open them on double enchanting stones event to benefit from double the Enchanting stone rank 5, if they drop.

These coins are probably the most important part of why many players invoke on non-playbale alts. First invoke per day grants a Celestial coin, and skipping all the rest of the benefits of invocation and even the last invoke, a player will gain a coffer per 11 days.

This bonus doesn’t grant RAD or AD directly but it adds to a bonus pool that is used upon receiving RAD from any source (similar to how XP gain bonuses work).

A player can have at most 150k bonus points, and they grant 50% addon to the gained RAD. Meaning that, for example, a player who gained 10k RAD from a chest at the end of a dungeon run, will gain 5k (50% of what he gained initially) more RAD due to the bonus and 5k points will be deducted. If the player doesn’t have enough points they will be granted as much as they have up to the 50%.

So for example, a player running RTQ and getting 30k will get additional 15k if they have at least 15k bonus points. Making it easier to get large amounts of RAD.

Those bonus points can be gained, among other methods, with each invoke, with the first grants 300, second 500, then, 700, 900, 1200 for the fifth. This sums up to 3600 bonus RAD per day. 10% more with ViP rank 5+ ending up with 3960 bonus RAD. This is not much, but useful for players who alternate playing with different chars. Gather the bonus on one while gaining the RAD on another which has bonus points.

The amount can be found on the buff bar, the icon will show up if the bonus is above 0:

### Discount Vouchers

Another bonus hat drops with invocation, is a Celestial Bag of Refining.

Those bags have an RP item and a chance to drop ZEN store discount voucher

Those bags drop at the second and fourth invoke and with ViP rank 5 and higher also at third and fifth.

The various vouchers include:

• 20% discount on all items.
• 33% discount on mounts.
• 40% discount on an Enchanted Key.
• 25% discount on all packs.
• 33% discount on companions, voucher drop per companion types, striker, defender and leader, controller, and so on.
• 25% on a bag.
• 20% any refinement item.
• 25% RP pack.
• Also discounts for professions packs, and more?

Those vouchers are valid for one hour and will expire (disappear) after either the time is out or single use. Note that those vouchers do not stack with other discounts nor multiple vouchers grant larger discount.

### XP, XP bonus and Invocation Blessing

These bonuses are not beneficial in terms of gaining AD, but also part of the invoke package.

The invocation blessing is a consumable that grants a buff for 15 minutes.

The XP gain bonus works similarly to the RAD bonus pool, increasing the rate at which a character gains XP, adding 25% to the gained XP.

The XP direct bonus just grants a small amount of XP to the char. This can be very useful slowly leveling alts, or during the “Recruitment” Event where the goal is to level up two characters from fresh to 59 for the maximum event rewards. It is enough to invoke all 6 times (with some XP bonus gear) to complete the event in time.

## ViP

Vip offers many benefits, many of those are great Quality of Life improvements, like summoning the bank, and travel post, but for the economic side of things there are several very important perks:

Posting fee is 0 – without ViP, posting anything on the AH requires a deposit of 2% of the set price (lowest between a non-zero bid and buyout). This deposit is returned to the player if the item sold, but charged (not returned) if the player wishes to remove the listing or the listing has expired. Which creates a risk, and limits the ability to relist at a lower price.

Wondrous Bazaar discount – Up to a total of 25% discount, which becomes significant when buying marks of potency, also stacks with the WB discount event, which allows to buy marks for re-sale later, or use up as resources when upgrading items to sell, for example when getting rid of bound wards.

RAD gain bonus – ViP offers up to 15% RAD gain from all sources, so a random queue that rewards 34k turns into 39.1k with ViP saving time and allows reaching the cap faster, or gain more per day with the same runs.

Re-roll tokens – Allow to re-roll rewards using those tokens, instead of 5k per re-roll. Paying for re-roll usually not worth the cost, with perhaps an exception when farming something of high value and good chance to get it, early in the release cycle. Otherwise, these tokens offer “free” re-rolls that in practice increase the chance to get something better. Don’t waste those on outdated content with outdated loot tables (demogorgon for example)

More information and complete listing of ViP benefits can be found here:
https://www.arcgames.com/de/games/neverwinter/news/detail/9492533-neverwinter%253A-introducing-the-vip-program%21

Lockboxes – The one thing that almost every modern online game has. As opposed to buying the lockbox items when there is a rush to open them, a player can gamble (or ‘invest’) into opening them.

There are two sources of keys, directly buying at the ZEN store, either as key packs, or sometimes as added bonus to some other packs, like ViP + keys. And ViP which currently grants one key per day (per account).

The real gambling is buying large amount of keys to get the expensive prize, sell, and repeat, hopefully that with very large amount of lockboxes this will end up with profit.

The drop rates and lockbox items can be found on Rainers Youtube channel. And keep in mind, that like any gambling, this can be an easy win, but also a huge loss.

Keep in mind that a general rule in gambling, is that at the end the house always wins

## Thanks

Thanks to Pitshade, Eir, March, RJC9000, Guillaume and Aine for the add-ons, suggestions, corrections, and multitudes of grammar corrections.
Thanks to the Patrons, which help paying for the domain, and hosting, and add incentive to keep it all maintained.
Thanks to the Imaginary Friends, for just being awesome Imaginary Friends.

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