The elves are coming! The elves are coming!
Genres: Action, Adventure, RPG, Other
Developer: Cryptic Studios
MSRP: $Free to Play
Posted By Shaun K. about 7 months, 2 weeks ago
As our past roundtables can attest we here at Blistered Thumbs have been playing the MMO Neverwinter in closed Beta for sometime. As of today however the game has finally entered open beta so the whole world can join on the fun (and believe you me there is plenty of fun to had and fans of the much beloved and now gone City of Heroes in particular should give Neverwinter a try as it might just fill the void left by that game rather nicely) and this week we here at BT are celebrating first with an exclusive Q&A held with the developers at Cryptic Studios and followed by our third and final video roundtable set to go live this weekend. First though it is time for the answers you need to know before you head into the world of the Forgotten Realms. Enjoy and be sure to come back this Sunday for the final roundtable with myself, Skitch, Oda, and ChaosD1. It is going to be a lot of fun.
Considering the long video game history of both D&D and the Forgotten Realms brand in particular, did any past titles help influence development of Neverwinter?
I think certainly Neverwinter Nights I & II contributed a lot towards user generated content, storyline and location. Baldur’s Gate, too. A lot of games informed the “feel” of our version of Neverwinter.
What would you say to the D&D fan that only perhaps has a passing experience with MMOs in terms of how accessible and/or open they might find Neverwinter?
Neverwinter is accessible to people of all experience levels! I think dating back to City of Heroes, Cryptic Studios has always tried to create MMORPG’s that are for all sorts of gamers, not just hard core MMO fans.
In light of how crowded the MMO field is these days, what about Neverwinter will allow it to stand out and give players a chance for new experiences?
Neverwinter has three pretty defining characteristics. First, it’s an action MMORPG. That’s a term thrown about, but I think Neverwinter is the first title that really captures the essence of it. Players jump, slash, dodge and shoot in ways never seen before in a MMORPG. Second, Neverwinter boasts a full set of user generated content tools. Players can create their own adventures and even campaign settings! I hope that players can get together with friends and family to play a game of D&D on Neverwinter in the same way I sat at a dinner table 30 some years ago and played tabletop D&D. Lastly, Neverwinter is free to play. There’s no box to buy. No subscription to sign up for. And we’re not converting to free to play – we architected the entire game to be free during development. Heard something good about Neverwinter? Then go ahead and download it. There’s no cost at all. Try it and see if you’d like it.
Will any familiar faces from past Forgotten Realms stories (particularly say a certain drow of some renown) be playing a role or at least be referenced in Neverwinter?
Definitely! Remember, however, that a lot of time has passed since Neverwinter Nights II. A spellplague devastated the Forgotten Realms. Kingdoms have risen and fallen. Though familiar in some respects, players will find Neverwinter very different than they expect.
It has been said that combat in Neverwinter will employ a modified version of the Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition rule set. Can you layout how some details of how that will translate into actual gameplay?
The 4th edition ruleset inspired how we constructed our character classes and “critters” (i.e. enemies) throughout the game. For example, 1st, 2nd and 3rd edition D&D all had a Fighter as a primary character class. 4th edition continued the trend, but created two versions – the Great Weapon Fighter (damage dealer) and the Guardian Fighter (tank). These weren’t classes per se, but rather recommended ways of building a character through certain sets of power. These motivated us to create two actual classes.
What races will be available in Neverwinter at launch?
At launch, we plan on 7 races: Tiefling, Half Elf, Elf, Half Orc, Dwarf and Human. And right now, players can purchase a Heroes of the North package that allows them to play a renegade Menzoberranzan Drow. We’ll be adding new races with each major update after launch too.
Players will certainly find their favorite Paragon Classes are present. As players level up, they’ll open up new options for their character.
Is this new D&D free-to-play MMO a bountiful treasure or nothing more than a tomb of horrors?
One of BT’s most covered games is ready to go live on June 20th.
The casualization of D&D in this action combat MMO by City of Heroes creator, Cryptic.
You have Neverwinter questions and Cryptic Studios has the answers.
Posted By Shaun K. about 4 months, 3 weeks ago
The elves are coming! The elves are coming!
Posted By Gabriel B. about 6 months, 1 week ago
One of BT’s most covered games is ready to go live on June 20th.
While there is already one fairly successful Dungeons and Dragons MMO set in the Eberron campaign on the market, it is not surprising to see that someone else would give the idea a go. Chances are, if you consider yourself a gamer, you have at least heard of D&D and the Forgotten Realms setting in particular, which not so incidentally is the campaign locale that has had the most games based on it. So it only makes sense that a Forgotten Realms set D&D MMO would eventually be given a go and it comes from no less a company than Cryptic Entertainment, the studio that brought the world City of Heroes/Villains, Champions Online, and Star Trek Online. Basically, their MMO bona fides are well established, to say the very least.
|PROS||Gameplay, Controls, UGC capabilities, Visuals, Sound, Writing, Cash shop|
|CONS||PVP & raids, Character creation options limited|
|WTF?!||Seriously, stop recreating Drizzet, people! It’s gotten old already.|
Neverwinter is an MMO set in the world of the Forgotten Realms approximately two hundred years after both the original Neverwinter Nights titles and the most recent FR novels. Much has changed in the Realm since then, as one might imagine. The ravages of a disease known as the Spellplague, along with an attack from an all-powerful Primordial Fire Elemental, have left the city of Neverwinter a shell of its former self. As players enter the game, a war for control is being fought between the survivors of the city and the undead army of the Lich Queen Valindra, but this is only one of many threats that assail the land. It is up to players to pick a class and join the fight and in presenting this struggle Neverwinter’s central narrative does its source material proud. There are epic moments aplenty waiting, yet at the same time the game has a lightness and sense of humor to it that helps keep things from ever becoming too overstuffed or dull. It is good story overall in a genre where storytelling can often be treated as an afterthought at best.
Neverwinter bills itself as an action MMO, so those looking for some quality reticule time hunting mobs and slaying bosses for loot will not be disappointed. The game mixes strong moment-to-moment action with a larger, well implemented overall setup. In particular, Neverwinter takes great advantage of its action-packed approach to combat to help make each of its classes play dramatically different for the others. The game’s controls are also expertly set up and while this might sound like a no-brainer, more than one action MMO I have played has failed to dodge that particular trap in recent years. Finally, while the game does feature its fair share of zones with numerous players running around, for the most part this is a game that makes heavy use of instants for its quests. It is a good compromise between the feeling of being in a shared world with numerous other players and not having said players get overly in the way of the fun when trying to burn through some quests.
Further supporting Neverwinter as a free-to-play MMO with staying power is its user-generated content option entitled the Foundry. Obviously, UGC is nothing new from the creators of City of Heroes (and indeed Star Trek Online even has a Foundry of its own as well) and this clearly shows in terms of the Foundry’s interface and design. The process of creating missions feels not that dissimilar from using basic video editing software and while the Foundry certainly has a learning curve it is not so deep that only those with degrees in programming need apply. While the Foundry in Neverwinter is limited to using in-game assets, there is still a ton of flexibility present and already players have produced numerous impressive missions as a result. Even better, the developers at Cryptic have gone out of their way to incorporate Foundry content into the larger game with NPCs that direct players to original missions whose setting shares the area they are currently exploring. A full menu with reviews and popularity listings also exists for players who want to dig deeper as well.
Also, as with most free-to-play MMOs, Neverwinter does have a cash shop all its own, but thankfully the game keeps pricing reasonable and the focus mostly on cosmetic items and experience boosts. There are definitely some items available in the shop that will make play easier, but by no means is this a pay-to-win game. Indeed, there is even a secondary currency in-game that can be gathered without paying and traded with other players for the pay currency which means savvy individuals can still buy goods without spending a dime of real world money.
Visually, Neverwinter does enough to get the job done, but no one is going to mistake it for cutting edge next-gen material. For a free-to-play MMO this is probably for the best and Neverwinter should be able to run decently on even older and/or less powerful hardware. The game’s soundtrack is very listenable and does a great job of suiting the mood of a given area or sequence. The game does feature full voice acting and while it is hardly the best I have ever heard it also fails to reach the utter lows I have encountered in other MMOs either.
Neverwinter is a perfect game for those with only a minimum amount of time available to commit to an MMO or looking for a good secondary title to pass the time with as a break from their main title. Those who simply try to rush through to maximum level at the fastest speed possible may not find the game to their liking, since at the moment PVP and raid content remain distinctly secondary concerns. However, the game’s ever growing list of scalable Foundry quests should help keep even late level players going for a long time. Plus, Cryptic has already announced the game’s first major expansion will be released sometime later this summer and for free to boot. Put simply, Neverwinter is in an excellent title that embodies the strengths and potential of the free-to-play MMO setup as any game I have played. It is a strong addition to the crowded MMO field and will be perfect for those looking for something different, yet familiar at the same time.
A code for in-game currency & other items was provided by the developer for review purposes and the game was played for over 100 hours including time with the beta. The title is a PC exclusive.
Also, feel free to follow the reviewer on Twitter @bigred_13 please if you feel so inclined.