Encouraging: Neverwinter’s User-Created Content

By Nathan Grayson on September 25th, 2012 at 6:00 pm.

In this mission, you play from the perspective of a torch that spends all of eternity watching heroes pass, never acknowledging the crucial role it plays in their journeys.

I’m still feeling pretty on-the-fence about Cryptic’s Neverwinter MMO-that-wasn’t-but-then-was-again – primarily because 1) it’s another fantasy MMO and 2) Neverwinter Nights was kind of the greatest. But, if nothing else, Neverwinter’s looking to at least preserve a bit of the BioWare build-o-tron classic’s spirit. That is to say, you can make anything your heart desires – so long as your heart desires an MMO mission that can be designed within Neverwinter’s (impressively robust) Foundry toolset. Follow a user-created web of lies, deceit, breath-taking plot twists, intrigue, and charmingly rogue-ish quips after the break for precious, precious details.

So, on one hand, the Foundry’s based on a number of the tools Cryptic’s using to design Neverwinter’s canon missions. But, on the other, it sounds like the net’s being cast fairly wide. In other words, the toolset might hit a wall before your imagination does, but you’ll at least have a little wiggle room. Cryptic explained:

“Using The Foundry editor, you’ll be able to create your own maps, and set the adventures that take place within them. More importantly, you’ll be able to do this right away, with very little experience with the tools.  Whether you want a simple delivery type quest, or intend to create your very own, with multiple hand created maps, a plethora of customized NPCs, pages of dialog, and a truly epic story, you can.”

“The interface is a series of fairly simple to use drag and drop style editors. This doesn’t mean that mastering The Foundry is easy. While you can dabble, and be successful, much of the full potential of The Foundry takes some time to fully grasp. The tools and your quests are really as simple, or as complex, as you wish them to be.”

The part that really has me hopeful, though, is Cryptic’s end goal with all of this – namely, that it’d like you to be “hard pressed to distinguish a player authored adventure from one that Cryptic’s own development team has created.” Apparently, you’ll be able to select from the game’s full suite of NPC’s, objects, and monsters, and finding other players’ creations will be as simple as perusing job boards or mouse-tickling certain quest-givers until they giggle out pertinent information.

Cryptic also added that it has no problem with stories that involve its world “as little as the author wishes,” which is the sort of thing that should have both aspiring creative types and Internet miscreants cackling with glee. What I’m trying to say is, even if it’s not possible to accurately recreate Gangnam Style inside a swords ‘n’ sorcery role-playing game, someone will find a way.

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30 Comments »

  1. Hug_dealer says:

    i would absolutely love this mmo more, If it wasnt labeled DnD.

    It goes against the basics of DnD. DnD was never about stacking gear or huge 1000 point damage numbers. But honestly that is what it takes now, because people like to brag about huge numbers, and if a huge number in DnD is 40 points of damage, and wow you are dealing 1000s at a time, well you kinda get lost.

    DDO pulls off DnD fantastic, and i doubt that Neverwinter will have that same feeling.

    Classes also worry me. DnD is all about customization of your character, You could build your warrior a dozen different ways and it all plays differently, same goes for other classes. But We are being forced into specific roles such as guardian, who is basically a tank.

    SIGH. I am sure its going to lots of fun, but i hate what they have done to my favorite RPG.

    • Stitched says:

      “DDO pulls off DnD fantastic, and i doubt that Neverwinter will have that same feeling.”

      And DDO is free. *winces* Even WoTC admits 4e rules failure. Who is the market for this?

      If you *are* spending money on an MMO, would people pick this over GW2? The User-Generated tools would have to be amazing.

      • stupid_mcgee says:

        If the editor is good, I might actually give this a go. If not, then I really have no desire to play it. Even with the editor, I doubt I’ll actually spend much time playing it. But, yeah, I’d love to sink my teeth into their toolset.

      • JasonBaur says:

        Neverwinter will be free too (and by that I mean actually free, since much of DDO’s content is gated behind either a sub fee or cash shop purchase, and Cryptic says Neverwinter won’t charge for content). So there’s no barrier to entry at all.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      At best, this is a “spiritual” step-child of the unintended NWN persistent worlds.

      The DnD background is probably the last thing they were interested in compared to the NWN name (and even then, NWN played somewhat loosely with the implementation of DnD’s rules in order to fit the real-time cRPG frame).

      • AgamemnonV2 says:

        >At best, this is a “spiritual” step-child of the unintended NWN persistent worlds.

        Oh God, Avlis…So many memories. I hope the people in charge of that project make their way to NW. This whole concept sounds exactly like the Aurora engine for NWN. I could forgive anything and everything it would betray about the ruleset if it was a role-player’s paradise.

    • Everyone says:

      It goes against the basics of DnD. DnD was never about stacking gear or huge 1000 point damage numbers.

      Heh.

      D&D was all about what ever people wanted it to be about. I knew plenty of people who played D&D just like WoW is played; they went after phat l00ts and big numbers (monty haul adventures, yay!). I knew plenty of people who played highly political intrigue ridden campaigns where barely a sword was swung. I knew plenty of people who were just happy with a dungeon crawl. This is to say nothing of rules lawyers, lesbian stripper ninjas, Mary Sues, obsessive character builders and many other odd obsessions and play styles that D&D spawned. D&D to you may never have been about big numbers but to a lot of people that’s just what it was about.

  2. Sheng-ji says:

    “hard pressed to distinguish a player authored adventure from one that Cryptic’s own development team has created.”

    Either they are underestimating the capacity for players to create maps in the shape of crudely drawn penis’ or they don’t have much faith in their content creation team

    • Hug_dealer says:

      look at the quality of mods in skyrim. Alot of them are above Bethsoft quality.

      I see no reason if the tools are good enough that we will see better things from the community.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        I realise that, but Maya or Max are not accessible, thus the only people producing content are those who have learnt these or similar complicated software packages. Also, have you seen some of the creations for Skyrim, it’s all well and good to say some content is better than Bethesda’s but equally have you seen the lowest end?

        Neverwinter is planning to make anyone able to produce content, even that guy who stands on top of a questgiving NPC’s head dancing. I don’t doubt some content will be great, but the more accessible the modding, the more dirge one has to sift through to find the gems.

        • Hug_dealer says:

          there is a rating system in Neverwinter.

          So you can see how other people have rated the adventure. so no need to sift through bad ones.

        • elevown says:

          I dont think you meant dirge. Thats a funeral march type music- dark and morbid etc. Drose would work though i dunno what word you were shooting for.

          And on your point, yes ofcourse as well as amazing creations there will be lots of detritus, the issue will be their rating and filtering systems. If they can be rated and searched well, you can avoid the crap and find the great mods.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Dirge is also a Cornish word meaning silage ;) Sorry, I forget my dialect isn’t as widespread as pure queens English at times

          • InternetBatman says:

            Dross.

    • dE says:

      It’s not like they’re having a point of reference for these things. Like let’s say, the modern Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2 Toolsets and the countless mods and modules that were made for those. Many of which were far superior to the official campaigns, some of them even surpassed the DLC Expansions.
      Yeah, there were idiotic maps. Sure, why not? If they were funny, they got a laugh out of people. If not, they ended up buried pretty quickly.
      Oh and let’s not forget that other point of reference, Star Trek Online – which uses the Foundry Content Creation System. Although that point of reference has me concerned, it somehow manages to be even more unstable than Aurora.

      /Edit:
      To prove my point, pick the Neverwinter Vault. If we go by the standard games journalist meter of rating, let’s consider everything below a 9 out of 10 rating utter unplayable crap.

      http://nwvault.ign.com -> NWN1 Modules -> Top Rated
      Holy shit, there are still over 350 adventure modules of top quality. Hardly a huge amount of crap to wade through.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        And how many of those adventures had zero custom imported assets? Because you won’t be allowed to import your own models, sounds or anything.

        • Hug_dealer says:

          how critical is it for custom assets, when they can use ones from the game? The quality and well written and scripted story would be just as good.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            One would imagine that if not one single one of the top 1000 NWN custom modules has no custom imported assets, that it is quite important.

            Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for this inclusion – I wouldn’t have expected it and it is a pleasant surprise, but I am simultaneously frustrated by the limitations.

          • InternetBatman says:

            Extremely. Sound for one plays a fairly large role in atmosphere. Custom character portraits or models are hugely important to establishing atmosphere. Custom weapons, which require models and possibly sounds, can make a game very different.

        • elevown says:

          Actualy quite a few had none or little user content especialy in the earlier days. I remember adam millers amazing series (forgot name) that had no HAK pack and were top rated for the first few years.

          Admitedly all the very best stuff does have added stuff. How much added stuff will be missed depends on how big the base game content is- maybe it will have alot more resources at launch than nwn.

          • InternetBatman says:

            Adam Miller’s later series modded the engine very heavily, and all of his second series have Hak packs.

            http://www.adamandjamie.com/mod/nwn_downloads.aspx

          • elevown says:

            Yup i remember that- but the first series that made his mods famous didnt- just great story telling.

            Mods with alot of great new content are alot better for it ofcourse- but you CAN tell a great adventure without it if you are good- and the toolset isnt TOO limited.

          • stupid_mcgee says:

            A lot of Hugie’s stuff didn’t require HAKs either. Hugie’s adventures were well done, well paced, and were of rather high quality that fit in rather well with the standard BioWare quests.

            As for Adam Miller’s original no-HAK NWN works, you’re thinking of the Shadowlords campaign. Dreamcatcher and Demon both had HAK packs. Shadowlords did have movie files you could download, but they weren’t necessary.

  3. rawrty says:

    “mouse-tickling certain quest-givers until they giggle out pertinent information”

    Now I want a game that’s just centered around doing that.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Add some Black&White style slaps and belly-rubs as well… depending on which action you use, you could generate different types of quests.

  4. InternetBatman says:

    I doubt they’ll be able to successfully juggle the need for control an MMO requires with the ability to allow creative freedom. Many of the best NWN modules required hefty hacking to the game (Dark Waters II put in a card playing game, bookworm adventures, and guitar hero). Instead I think we’ll get something similar to the Spore Adventures toolset: tools of limited utility that don’t draw the best creators.

    It’d be nice if Project Eternity released some level creation tools, because that would be a truer successor to NWN.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      Er… I’m not sure what you mean by “level creation tools.” AFAIK, you won’t be able to import custom models, sounds, scripts, etc., but you can certainly create your own “levels.”

      “Using The Foundry editor, you’ll be able to create your own maps, and set the adventures that take place within them. More importantly, you’ll be able to do this right away, with very little experience with the tools. Whether you want a simple delivery type quest, or intend to create your very own, with multiple hand created maps, a plethora of customized NPCs, pages of dialog, and a truly epic story, you can.”

  5. Blackcompany says:

    Here is an idea: make a single player game with robust mod support. Tons if pc sales follow, ticking down over years.

    Then some comes along & makes a high fantasy zombie survival sandbox mod, and you’re back on top of steam sales 3 years later at Zero cost to the devs or publisher.

    Seriously, why the MMO obsession? It has a success rate of what, 0.1%?

  6. Dr I am a Doctor says:

    If this is anything like Second Life I’ll finally be able to swim in a sea of dicks as a smiley face

    And in the game too