Neverwinter Invites You To Look At Its Dungeons

By John Walker on July 18th, 2012 at 11:00 am.

That sure is D&D.

If you can ignore the bizarre choice to spend 30 seconds showing the faces of a crowd looking at a screen showing Neverwinter footage you can’t see, then the video below will eventually show some “pre-alpha” (which I always thought meant drawings on a whiteboard) in-game content for the Cryptic MMO.

The aim here is once again to emphasise that it’s fast-paced action combat. Got that? Fast-paced action combat. It’s not DDO. Okay? It’s different. It’s fast-paced action combat.

You can currently sign up for the beta, although there’s no date yet for when that may start. And there’s quite a push on the site to get you to link up your Perfect World account (you have one of those, right?) with your Cryptic account, since the former bought the latter last year. When it eventually releases, it’ll be free-to-play.

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52 Comments »

  1. President Weasel says:

    Cryptic, you say?

    Pshaw.

    • Lobotomist says:

      Made by Cryptic …
      This should be posted as warning.

    • spectone says:

      Cryptic is just a hand puppet these days, Perfect World is the hand. I did try to enjoy STO but the recent changes are just silly. I won’t try this either now.

    • DarkFarmer says:

      This is why non-indie, “AAA” often usually sucks: underperforming studios are allowed to continue to exist and rarely die, producing shoddy games into oblivion.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      “Cryptic MMO”

      This game is doomed from the start.

    • lexoneir says:

      I thought they died.

  2. Valvarexart says:

    I really like your posts, RPS crew, I really do. But please link the original trailers and not re-uploads! Thanks!

  3. Drake Sigar says:

    “Neverwinter is truly a Dungeons & Dragons game.” – bullshit!

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      Sure it is. Why, I often roll for over 1,000 points of damage.

      I really wish someone would make a new proper NWN. Y’know, with a toolset and all. NWN2 wasn’t bad, just horribly unoptimized.

      • SanguineAngel says:

        Given that the focus of NWN was supposedly the campaign creator (obviously not now), I would REALLY love to see them create NWN with a creator that is genuinely a breeze for even the most novice of novices to use. Someone with the creative nouse to put together a campaign does not necessarily possess the programming skills required for previous versions.

        I would possibly kill someone for such a thing.

        • stupid_mcgee says:

          I very much understand that desire, but I can tell you, from experience, it simply isn’t going to happen. You’ll never be able to just click, click, click your way to making an RPG. RPGs tend to be rather complex, and even the RPG Maker series, which is aimed at the novice, can be a bit overwhelming. You tend to have a lot of data that needs to be managed. However, the NWN2 is actually very novice friendly. Much more so than the NWN1 toolset.

          Honestly, NWN2′s toolset is probably one of the easiest I’ve ever used that still manages to be very robust. I haven’t touched RPG Maker in years, but I’ve heard they opened that up a bit to allow for more complex coding. But, for NWN2, there’s so many automated wizards in there for building quest structures, managing actions and conditionals, even animating dialog, that it’s pretty well automated and really pretty stunning. It does require some understanding of basic RPG structures and design, but it’s very intuitive and if you know the basics you can certainly crank things out fairly quickly. Hell, they even have a lip-sync tool in there!

          My biggest problem is that, once again, it’s very poorly optimized. No DX10 support, poor dual-core performance, not optimized for 64-bit, etc. Obsidian really did a fantastic job with the toolset, but the engine itself just wasn’t there. They used a heavily modified Aurora Engine, NWN1′s engine, and it just didn’t seem to like the changes they had made.

          • Arglebargle says:

            Regardless of any of this, (Irregardless of it as well!) the user interface in NWN2 was so screwed up for me, that I eventually uninstalled and went back to playing NWN1 games. The camera was just awful. Every single thing in the game became a pain.

            User interface is real important to me. One that I cannot set to be comfortable gets the game deleted, despite any other qualities.

      • InternetBatman says:

        I laughed.

        I actually have a system in my d&d campaign where the wild mage can keep on rolling the d20 for higher damage when he gets a 20. One time he did get six twenties and it was enough to blow up the person they were facing and half the boat they were on. But its not like that happens often.

        • Claidheamh says:

          You roll d20s for damage? That seems a bit unbalanced.

          • Harpsichord says:

            He probably means he was rolling the attack dice again and again.

      • wodin says:

        Me too. I agree. Also it have an amazing single player experience aswell. Oh and not third or first person. Old school Iso please. These days iso with todays graphic power we could have some really amazing looking Iso games. With superb animations etc etc.

        I’m waiting for someone to come along and really revolutionise party based single player PC RPG games. I’d love to see it with amazing Isometric viewpoint graphics and really as I said give it some great animations and lots of them to add immersion. Then do something revolutionary with the game mechanics and story elements. Not sure what though, but I think something radical can be done with them. Something that will change the way the games are played for a long time to come. Similar to what Baldurs Gate and Fallout did back in the day or bards Tale even further back or the Ultima games. We need something as revolutionary as they where. With processing power and memory size and all that jazz we have I think something truely amazing could be done. Roguelike elements and living world comes to mind, but even more again, I feel ISO view would help with living world and more open world gameplay (which I’m not sold on at the moment as it has some serious shortcomings) as we would have an excess of graphic power due to it not being full on thrid or first person.It needs a damn good designer who can think outside the box.

        • stupid_mcgee says:

          While I have my issues with the game, I felt Dragon Age did a fairly good job of harping back to the olden days. I think people should have the option to zoom in and play 3rd person, or whatever, if they like, but I liked that in DA:O you could easily zoom in to watch action up close and then pause and zoom out to issue more tactics. IIRC, you could also do this in KoTOR.

          I think the thing I miss the most is how expansive and full of hidden nooks and crannies the old RPGs were. BG2 had a lot of depth and there was TONS to do, even in just the first chapter. DA:O is horribly dwarfed by the scope of BG2, not to mention the gameplay complexity. It seems like the focus is being shifted more to graphics and model animations, lip syncing, etc. rather than focusing on providing robust gameplay.

          TBH, The Elder Scrolls is one of the few modern WRPGs that I feel is actually expanding their gameplay in the right direction, while a lot of others seem to be regressing to simply provide more flash and twitch gameplay.

      • morgofborg says:

        The player quest creation tool in STO was supposedly created as a prototype for a similar function in Neverwinter, where player-written adventures will apparently be a pillar of the game.

        • stupid_mcgee says:

          I had heard that, then I heard it wasn’t going to be in. I don’t know. I think that could be pretty fun, but I would honestly prefer a toolset dropped into the more traditional NWN model of singleplayer with multiplayer elements.

          Actually, all I really want is the NWN2 toolset dumped into a more optimized and modernized engine (some new lighting techniques and such). Even if all of the assets are the same, I don’t care. I just want the engine to not be a clunky, chugging resource hog.

  4. Screwie says:

    So… this is an MMO again? I thought Cryptic had changed their mind and started turning it into a non-MMO co-op game of some sort.

    Regardless, part of the appeal of DDO comes from how the game has adapted the pen and paper (3.5) rules, which resulted in an atypical play experience. In straying from DnD staples to a “fast paced action game” with all the MMO gubbins are they not just ultimately genericising it?

    EDIT: Although thinking about it, DDO managed to be lively enough as it allowed movement during attack animations and targetless combat. Aside from a dodge move, those characters in the video above look pretty static in comparison, actually. Maybe it’s just the way they’re being played.

    • Valvarexart says:

      It looks pretty similar to DDO except not with D&D abilities but rather standard MMO abilities.

    • President Weasel says:

      I like DDO.
      As in, have genuine affection for. I went back to it last year and played it with some RPS forum types for a while, and had a fun old time. They’ve got the feel of Dungeons and Dragons, they have the ‘MMO stuff’ working nicely, there’s already a playerbase, it’s free to play (apart from, I believe, they recently released their first paid expansion in literally years)….

      Why in the name of all the gods would I want another, less dungeons’n'dragonsy, take on a Dungeons and Dragons MMO, made by Cryptic who have a track record (and two in a row definitely counts as a track record) of making extremely disappointing, one-dimensional, desperately short of content MMOs?

      The MMO market is crowded with decent, half-decent, and sub-par-but-with-advertising-budgets-the-size-of-a-central-American-country’s-GDP MMOs, including one that already does what this one promises to do, but does it competently and in a way that is more likely to please the core fanbase.

      Seriously, why would anyone pay money for this thing, ever?

  5. Nim says:

    Neverwinter Age 2?

  6. MadTinkerer says:

    “Truly a D&D game.”

    Nope. No, no, no it isn’t. Not with those kinds of numbers. And what the heck is “unstoppable” supposed to mean?

    If you want to tell me it’s 4e-ish, with Delves = Instances and mages being explicitly “controllers”, okay that’s fine. 4e is the edition where they retrofitted MMO concepts onto D&D, after all. (And in some cases they were concepts that MMOs had taken from D&D in the first place, such as Roles, just made more explicit.) But Neverwinter is most definitely not based on any particular existing D&D ruleset.

    This is an MMO with heavy D&D flavor to it. But it is not “true D&D” any more than the Syndicate FPS is a true Syndicate game.

    Granted, I don’t think Neverwinter looks like a bad game, I’m just irritated at the particular hype here given what’s happened with D&D4e. (i.e. it was rendered unplayable in an attempt to make it ever more like an MMO on the tabletop, and now WotC are desperate to fix it. None of which is this game’s fault, but still…)

    EDIT: Actually, if you want to say that it’s a true D&D game because the monsters are authentic Monster Manual canon-ish monsters, then that makes the Wizardry, Ultima, Might & Magic, Diablo, Dragon Age, and Final Fantasy series, and even World of Warcraft true D&D games as well.

    My, I’m grumpy right now.

    • Screwie says:

      Good point on those damage numbers, that is ridiculous.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      I do have some issues with 4e, but I don’t think it’s bad. I actually like how combat has been a bit more streamlined, that it’s easier to get into for new players, your roles are more easily defined, the skills were reasonably condensed, and that they made spell casting more fun to play. But I don’t like that it often feels very restricted and cookie-cutter. Yes, one can homebrew rules, but that can be annoyingly time consuming and problematic to do.

      Overall, I think 4e made a step in the right direction in a few key areas, but I feel that they could benefit from looking back to 3e for some greater freedom and a bit more complexity in certain areas. If I want a hybrid character that can do some controlling and striking, I shouldn’t be forced into a role or specific class. Naturally, some classes are going to lean one way or the other, but I think defining classes/roles as purely this-this-or-that stifles player complexity without really adding much except dumbing down build options.

      • Screwie says:

        I’m a 4e player and DM myself, and I love how easy it is to set up and run a game in 4e compared to earlier editions. For once, the combat is equally engaging for all classes and the wizard doesn’t overshadow everybody else in the later game. It’s certainly not without its problems, but it has some great merits.

        • BooleanBob says:

          Bring back quadratic wizards, I say!

          I mean, yes. They’re kind of game breaking. But collapsing the classes makes everyone essentially a different flavour of wizard, because now everyone has seven or eight Really Cool Powers With Overwraught, Non-Literal Names at their disposal – spells, to all intents and purposes.

          While that helps the game in terms of mechanical balance, I feel like it hurts the fiction, as it undermines the concept of magic and dilutes the distinction between characters that goes beyond the broadest archetypes of Healer, Tank and so on. I realise that for 80%+ of interested people this is a trade-off well worth making, but I guess I just fall on the other side of that divide.

          • Screwie says:

            I’m not going to argue on flexibility – there is certainly more WotC could have done with multiclassing in 4e and not every class benefited from the role structure equally. Wizards suffered a bit, but bards gained, warlords were invented and fighters were finally interesting to play for the first time ever.

            I don’t miss their quadratic-ness but I do miss the wizards’ specialisations. My 3.5 fave was abjuration, which is impossible to recreate in 4e to this day. :(

          • InternetBatman says:

            I think the divide is a lot more even than 80-20.

            There has be a middle ground between third edition useless at low levels, godlike at high levels, brokeamancers and Fourth edition’s “pew-pew, I’m a mage.” The expanded spellbook feat helped that out a lot, but more could be done.

            I also think they need to do a far better job explaining their power sources, and altering a classes feel to meet those power sources. I think they did an alright job of that in 4e, but it could be better.

            Most of the other classes are great though. There’s more difference between them, and their powers have way more difference between each other. A few, like Runepriest, end up with the same powers every level, but most are much, much better.

          • Harlander says:

            The idea I liked the most from 4th edition was ritual spells. Long casting times, skill checks involved, and a more sensible way of doing magic out of combat than the “pre-execute and install usermode hooks” of spells in earlier editions to my mind.

            Its execution wasn’t perfect, but as an idea I think it’s got legs. And 5th edition is being worked on now. (I’ve actually got one of the playtest docs, but spectacularly failed to either play or test it)

        • InternetBatman says:

          I’m also a 4e player and DM. I love the game, but I really wish they would provide just some guidelines for how abilities affect terrain, and better out of combat skills. It seems less like a flaw in their vision, but more that their vision was incompletely realized.

      • Lobotomist says:

        Just another : “We dont really get what D&D is all about” game

        Nothing to see here …

        As for 4E , it does few things right ( mainly by making combat faster and easier to cope with ) but fails in most other aspects ( versatility of “i can build any character i want” 3e and ad&d had )

    • spectone says:

      I think “unstoppable” is from games like Quake 3 Arena and Unreal Tournament, where if you play in a certain way ‘kill others without dying’ it says you are unstoppable or other phrases. Why on earth that FPS term is in a RPG only heaven knows.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Don’t get the obsession with the nuts-n-bolts of D&D rules, especially as defining element of the series. Those rules were Always Awful. As the editions came out they were bound by the poor designs of the previous versions until the whole thing became a gigantic, inconsistent, murky, haphazard, mash up.

      4th Edition finally tried to fix that, though if you don’t care for a return to the Chainmail/Gurps really-a-miniatures game roots, it certainly won’t please you.

      D&D: It’s fine to prefer it, but it’s still not brilliant design.

  7. affront says:

    Stupid music! SCREENSHAKE! ACTION COMBAT! EPIC BOSSES! FAT LOOT!
    It’s only missing BLOODY SCREEN and it would be a tacticool “we want the CoD audience”-equivalent of MMOs.
    In a DnD game. I can’t stop shuddering.

    Hilarious how the “action combat” doesn’t look any faster than WoW ever did, by the way.
    I wish anyone but Cryptic would make this… well, maybe not Funcom.

    At least it seems like 30+ button quickbars with multiple groups of 5 spells that have the same effect with different graphics/description, all on their own cooldown, to enforce stupid rotations as an illusion of “difficulty” has fallen out of favor even with the less capable developers out there.

  8. MikoSquiz says:

    Wait, wasn’t this supposed to be a non-MMO co-op? Argh! What have they done?!

  9. Gentlemoth says:

    Truly a D&D game you say?

    I don’t play D&D games or tabletop for its action-filled combat. I play it for a good story, a tactical experience, and roleplaying. This seems to offer about as much of it as Daggerdale does.

    Although I don’t think this is entirely their fault. I don’t think Wizards of the Coast has given out permission to use their rules system for anything. Back in the days, the rules used to be open to use by anyone(technically that editions rules still are), so developers could happily integrate them into their games. I’ve not seen a single game with proper D&D rules, and I think Wizards is trying to emulate Games Workshop a bit in that they don’t want anything on the PC to overshadow their tabletop game.

    Which is stupid, I know so many people whom have gotten into roleplaying games just because of the PC games, and have learned the rules even there. I hope with the upcoming 5th edition D&D Wizards will change their attitude towards this and offer a more open experience once again. From what I understood, 4th edition was not the commercial success they want it to be.

  10. aliksy says:

    I like DDO because you progress by doing interesting instanced dungeons with stories, traps and secrets. You don’t just kill monsters repeatedly. Also the combat is fairly engaging so you can run around instead of standing still while mashing 1,2,3,4.

    I dislike DDO because D&D 3.x isn’t a good system, and it’s worse when ported away from tabletop. Specifically: Fuck spells per day, fuck “save or die” effects. Fuck quadratic wizards, too. Fuck hit point bloat, fuck “AC as dodge chance”. Fuck how it encourages “builds”.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Yep. A lot of the legacy stuff grandfathered into D&D rules were terrible. Really, the inconsistant rules of the early D&D sets led to a generation of game designers, because you absolutely had to develop your own house rules. Their was no way around it.

  11. Jim9137 says:

    It has dungeons and dragons.

  12. namad says:

    that gameplay looks identical to DDO gameplay, way to betray turbine, whoever it is that makes D&D licensing deals, way to betray turbine after all they did was make a good and profitable game for you.

    • InternetBatman says:

      It doesn’t look identical to Turbine though. Turbine has things besides combat, and that’s what makes DDO great.

      • Torgen says:

        The best thing DDO did?

        XP is awarded for quest completion, and secondary goal completion. XP is NOT awarded for killing mobs. Their system greatly promotes working together, instead of fighting each other to kill the most mobs.

  13. Hug_dealer says:

    knock it for not being you stardard DnD game, but the fact is it is quite fun.

    Also dont forget that d20 is broken to begin with so, a simple port of the the rules would not work well.

    Ill play it for the same reason i played DDO, it is different from other MMOs.

  14. ziusudra says:

    After Baldurs serries, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter and Torment, this is what happened to D&D videogames? Dark times indeed. Flashy combat and stupid concept art.

  15. Tetragrammaton says:

    This ‘turn franchise X into an uniinspired bland MMO’ thing needs to die

  16. lexoneir says:

    That doesn’t seem to be a d20 system. those numbers are ridiculously high.

  17. hurleybird says:

    Companies like Cryptic need to learn that treating your customers like shit has repercussions. Hopefully word of mouth has spread sufficiently far to ensure that this and future games that Cryptic puts out fail.