Neverwinter Diary: Tales From The Sword Coast Part 1

By John Walker on May 1st, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

I don’t entirely know how to justify why I’m enjoying Neverwinter quite so much. Why I’ve found excuses to play it nearly the entire weekend, stay up late playing it this week, and even get annoyed that they were doing server maintenance at 8am when I tried to sneak in half an hour before starting work. There’s no question that it’s very good – it’s a superbly made MMO, predictable ongoing server teething problems on launch aside (I’ll get to those at the end). It’s enormous, jam-packed with so very much to do, extremely approachable, but elaborately complicated if you want it to be. I suppose its biggest crime is to be traditional in its structure, and it turns out that was exactly what I was looking for.

As someone who far prefers to solo MMOs, Neverwinter is gamely supporting my misanthropic ways, while allowing all the more sociable people around me to engage in D&D-style groups of five. With its companions, excellent scaling, and generously capable individual classes (although I hear concerns about Great Weapon Fighter), I’m having a whale of a time bumbling my way through its quests, grouped into separate stories with beginnings, middles and ends. I’ve even… I’ve even grouped with strangers to complete 45 minute dungeons. What is becoming of me?!

The structure is as traditional as it gets. You arrive at Neverwinter according to the origin you picked, and then are very quickly meeting Captain Rhix who gives you your first couple of quests. Head on out to the places he sends you and you’ll meet a clutch of other quest givers for that area, hoover up the chains they offer you, collect your XP and winnings, and then back to Rhix to be sent off in the next direction. It never feels quite that mechanical – your progress nicely organic, and the carrot dispensing machine attached to the top of your head feeds them to you just often enough to keep you satisfied but with room for more.

The quests are very obviously bulked out with “Kill 10 of those”, but these are generally put in areas you’ll be crossing anyway to get to a more significant dungeon quest, something to do along the way. They’re still a pain in the bum when you’re left scouting around for that one last Skellington Commander to ding things and head back, and the other players keep getting to them first – but that’s rarely been a big obstacle for me. And while the dungeons rarely offer more than killing lots of mobs on the way to killing a big boss, they tend to be nicely involved, with hidden secrets, buckets of loot, and lore to discover.

The voice acting is rather dubious. Rhix seems to have about three different voices, leaping between them every other sentence, none particularly well delivered. And most others are. clearly. reading. from. the. script. During the beta weekends I had assumed they were placeholders, but now it’s live to all I’m a touch disappointed to still hear many of them left in. It’s quite a relief that the hilariously bad tutorial voiceover disappears almost instantly, as that one felt like a parody.

The writing is also fairly uninspired. None is bad, certainly, but sitting all the way through a mission’s description is pretty unlikely. While a lot of that is because of the D&D setting, Avellone showed in Neverwinter Nights 2 that’s not something that necessarily prevents fun or surprise. Here I’ve yet to encounter either. And while that may seem a strange thing to criticise an MMO for – hardly a genre famed for its compelling storytelling – when you’ve got the Forgotten Realms license that BioWare has defined in gaming, there are expectations in place. It’s never knuckle-chewing, or really anything below average, but average it is when it comes to explaining its motivations.

Combat is much more interesting, thank goodness. Far closer to offline action RPG, as MMOs finally seem to be now achieving, despite the way it limits how many powers you can have accessible at any time, there’s a good degree of variation. My Trickster Rogue can mix up the rapid stabby standard attacks with some pleasingly powerful cool-down effects, and most importantly further complicate matters by occasionally being invisible. It’s been interesting to learn the most effective methods of stringing all these together, and each time I’ve mastered it (read: got bored of it) it’s offered me a new skill to put in there.

The levelling is decent too, and that’s pretty crucial for holding my interest in an MMO. I want a sense of progress, but I don’t want it to feel meaningless. The very experienced Cryptic have this entirely sussed, and the pacing is pin-point. There’s also far more choice about your abilities as you level up than has been the trend in some MMOs of late. It’s nothing like the variation of The Secret World, but by around level 20 you’ve got an interesting pool to pick from, and indeed to have individually levelled with your favour. Actual stat changes are very rare – every 10 levels I believe – and very limited, as of course they should be for the license. But there’s enough else going on for you to twiddle with to not let that make you feel held back.

But what about the begging? It’s a free-to-play MMO, so there’s got to be some, right? Well, really, no. While the game has the most ridiculously complicated muddle of financial systems (there are at least six different currencies in there, each used for different things, and bemusingly overlapping), but only one of them is a direct conversion of your actual real life cash. That’s Zen, and it’s not used for a great deal.

By far the most tempting reason to put some money in are the special dropped boxes. These Nightmare Lockboxes occasionally appear when you down an enemy, but can only be unlocked for a Zen payment. They work out to about £1.30 each, although that’s all obfuscated by buying Zen in Euro, and then spending it in silly arbitrary amounts like 125 at a time. And they can contain anything, from a decent chunk of loot, to an epic rare mount. They are, essentially, a gamble. But when they’re in your inventory, and you know they might have something amazing inside, the temptation is strong.

However, because of the elaborately confusing currency collection, you can’t make Zen too easily in the game. It’s never dropped, rewarded, or exchanged for in-game goods. If you sell items to the regular storekeepers, you’ll get paid in the basic copper/silver/gold currency, used to buy basic goods, weapons, armour and mounts. But if you sell something in the auction house, you get paid in Astral Diamonds. These, also received by worshipping your chosen deity, can be spent via different shopkeepers for more specialist items, as well as the gems for augmenting equipment. But they’re also used to speed things up, like companion training, or the Profession doings. (Like I said, it gets complicated if you let it.)

Why an in-game currency is used to expedite such deliberately irritating waits, and not Zen, is peculiar. But welcome! You can generate Astral Diamonds for yourself, so if you don’t want to wait for your companion characters to take half an hour to train up a level, you’re still not spending real-world cash to have them join you straight away.

There is a crossover, however. Merchants at the auction house (which oddly isn’t a house at all, but open air) allow players to buy and sell Zen and Astral Diamonds from each other. It’ll be very interesting to see how those exchange rates play out.

And that’s not even mentioning the Seals, the weird bar things, and the coins given by gods. I’ve yet to fathom them all.

What I think really stands out as a shame about Neverwinter at this point is how many of the far-too familiar traits of MMOs have been put in here. The horribly complicated chat system, with eighty-million channels of noise and a muddle to clear it up, or choose which you’re talking in. And not being able to cut and paste into it is ridiculous. There’s the usual issues with windows popping up in stupid places, and not remembering where you put them, the idiocy of not being able to see your character screen when in a shop, unnecessarily slow character movement, and mounts only adding small incremental changes to this… (Oh, and last night’s attempt to set up a guild hit another of its stupid walls. After first being told I needed a party of 5 to form one, once I’d gathered that it then revealed that the entire party had to be level 15+, or a Founder, or have spent Zen – thanks, game.) Its traditional ways are some of its biggest strengths, but also some of its primary irritations.

But none are enough to put me off wanting to play the entire time. I’ll be level 30 soon! Something might happen at that point! And if it doesn’t, something might at 35! Indeed, I’m hooked in the mouth and through the cheek – but critically, apart from a nosey peak at what those epic chests might contain, I’ve not felt any inclination nor expectation to spend a dime.

And I haven’t even mentioned the Foundry! This is where any player, once they’ve reached level 15, can start generating content of their own. A single dungeon or an entire chain of quests, this allows the game to become infinitely big, with the means by which they’re offered to you allowing the cream to rise to the surface. Clearly it’s not so hot just yet, but as the carefully created projects start appearing, Neverwinter could become incredibly special for this alone.

Since it’s free, and since it offers quite so much for that low, low price, I cannot think of any reason not to recommend it. But I am quite tempted to suggest waiting a few days before you do.

I have written this entire article while waiting in a queue to start playing this afternoon – a line that began at over 10,000 and has very slowly fallen, although occasionally leaping up to a terrifying 195,435. Clearly a bug, but still. They obviously desperately need to add some more servers to their three shards and significantly increase initial capacity, and they need to do it very quickly. This is a very transient market, and if people hit a wall with a free game, they’ll bounce off and find the next one since they invested nothing in that failure. It’s pretty dismal that this is happening, and it’s an enormous shame that it may put people off a genuinely great MMO.

So indeed, there’s still no RPS Guild. I’ll post and tweet as soon as it’s sorted.

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143 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    DrScuttles says:

    Concerns about Great Weapon Fighter? Typical; having not played an MMO since UO I’m just getting to grips with this and my ginger ‘stached Great Weapon Fighter.
    What have people found to be good classes for the avoidant player?

    • Palindrome says:

      Supposedly the Guardian can have the best non single target DPS in the game with the right skills.

    • Choca says:

      The Great Weapon Fighter has a hard time at the low levels, which is why everyone is crying that it’s horrible right now. Once you hit 30-35, it turns into a murder machine so it evens out.

      The Rogue is absurdly strong at low levels and loses a bit of momentum, while staying a very solid class, towards the end.

      The Guardian has a lot of issues with aggro, which is obviously a problem, but does very good damage for a tank and is pretty much immortal if played well.

      The Cleric is a great healer, a pretty good damage dealer and, surprisingly, a decent tank as well, which is good because healing aggro is off the charts so he’ll take most of the hate in dungeons.

      The Control Wizard is good but can be annoying against bosses because most of them are immune to control spells, which turns the wizard into a magic missile turret for the entire fight. It’s my favorite class to solo with, so much going on at once.

      • solidsquid says:

        Huh, so they actually coded “gank the healer” in the aggro mechanics?

        • Ringwraith says:

          Many MMOs actually have healing spells generate aggro, at least a few I’ve played, hence the need for a tank even when you’ve got everyone refraining from attacking for whatever reason.

        • jackofcrowns says:

          in your traditional trinity mmo paradigm, healing spells generate more aggro than damage spells, point for point. it is one of the mechanisms that make the tank-healer-dps system tick.

    • VA1N says:

      I always play ranged so Control Wizard was my only choice. So far though, I’m having a blast!

      • Choca says:

        The Cleric is also ranged and can be built into a devastating caster since his AoE abilities are far more powerful than those of the wizard. The downside is you get the stupid “surfer slide” dodge.

        • Fenriff says:

          You say stupid, you mean “incredibly awesome.”

          • Choca says:

            Well I’ll be honest, I like it a lot more on my Dwarf than I used to on my first Human cleric but that’s probably because dwarves are awesome.

    • Premium User Badge

      DrScuttles says:

      Some useful information there. Thank you everyone!

      • Sheng-ji says:

        While it is really useful information, it makes me so not want to play the game – but seeing as I spend the last 24 hours downloading it and wasted well over an hour trying to create an account, can I ask: can you get by in the game by purely roleplaying and without having to min max the whole time? I’m not talking about end game content or pvp, just the pve stuff!

    • markelven08 says:

      up to I looked at the bank draft that said $5552, I be certain that my mom in-law truley making money parttime at there labtop.. there brothers friend has been doing this 4 only about 17 months and just now paid for the morgage on there mini mansion and got a great Volkswagen Golf GTI. read more at wow65.com
      (Go to site and open “Home” for details)

    • Blodyavenger says:

      Great Weapon Fighter + Cleric as a companion is awesome for solo play. You can do almost anything without using health potions.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Lacero says:

    I played a foundry mission last night, it was good enough to completely negate the bland writing in the actual game. It’s solid without it, and doesn’t feel as…raw..as cryptic mmos often do, but with the foundry I can see this being absolutely brilliant.

  3. Palindrome says:

    I have only managed to get to lvl 5 before the envitable 4 hours maintenence this afternoon (semi localised servers would be great given that the servers are down in European prime time, as usual for Cryptic games).

    It is very similar to traditional MMOs, 3rd person persepective, collect 5 X and/or kill 10 Y quests etc, but the real selling point of these game is the combat. It is very dynamic; there is no such thing as attack speed that I could see, every click of the mouse launches an attack and only certain special abilities have a cool down while others can be used anytime and are assigned to the left and right mouse buttons. It plays very much like a 3rd person ARPG rather than the traditional static MMOs and its actually quite fun.

  4. Meat Circus says:

    Even the mighty John Walker prose couldn’t help Neverwinter rise above its painfully doomed generic MMO template?

    I’m never going to play another MMO, but I sometimes hope that it might be possible to make MMOs *seem* interesting. But that hope is always dashed.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      it is generic (set voice to zero, tap escape during dialogue), but the environments are interesting,(far more then GW2), the combat is fun, and progression is addictive and meaningful.

      • jackofcrowns says:

        GW2 had beautiful environments. that’s a pretty bold statement. I think they’re close enough that it is purely a matter of taste.

    • frightlever says:

      To be fair, I bounced off it when I tried it. No real interest in going back. However, if it is generic, and it is, it’s a genre which Dungeons and Dragons pretty much created with their party-based dungeon-delving.

  5. wodin says:

    Why is combat in MMO’s the way it is? Why isn’t it like Skyrim or any other online FPS game. I hadn’t tried an MMO until Secret World and the demo..the combat instantly put me off,,,,really don’t like it. I never knew combat was played out like that in MMO’s until then.

    • nekoneko says:

      Because if combat was based on actual skill, then bad players wouldn’t be able to progress and they’d quit the game, and really good players would clear all your content in a couple of weeks and then quit the game.

      That’s why they make everything a by the numbers spreadsheet.

      That said, TSW is not a very good representation of the modern MMO. GW2 (and apparently Neverwinter) have made things much more fluid and dynamic, and while everything is still ruled by numbers, skill can and will make a difference in how well you do in fights.

      • Premium User Badge

        darkChozo says:

        Um, no. MMO largely have had simplistic combat systems because the MMO format is inherently difficult to make happen, technologically speaking, and therefore other mechanics have to be stripped down to allow for more players and a bigger world. That’s why text-only MUDs existed well after graphics did, and why the MMOFPS is only slowly becoming a thing (and have fairly shitty gameplay-performance ratios by modern online FPS standards).

        There’s not much about WoW-style gameplay that necessitates lack of skill (compare to say, Domobata-style combat, or any complex numerically-driven game). That being said, WoW combat is close to being a solved problem, which takes out a lot of the skill, and WoW clones tend to have WoW-style combat but often aren’t designed as well. And lots of MMOs are WoW clones because of the industry’s general follow-the-leader syndrome.

        • Brun says:

          That being said, WoW combat is close to being a solved problem

          +1, insightful.

          This is really the deal with WoW. With a community as big and as active as WoW’s the optimum strategies, gearing, and techniques will be worked out relatively quickly. Those of us who remember the early days know that it wasn’t always like this – it’s just the result of the game’s popularity. There was a lot more variety in the very earliest days of WoW because the optimum builds hadn’t been definitively worked out yet.

          • Jorum says:

            The early days were glorious, especially as a warlock.
            Everytime I’d group people would be asking what the green stones I gave them were, and what the hell was happening with half the spells I cast.

            And when seed of corruption came out was brilliant – huge chain explosions and cries of “WTF just happened”

        • Faxanadu says:

          Neocron tried, Global Agenda tried, Firefall will fail… The first MMORPGFPS to pull it off perfectly is going to be BIG, lemme tell ya’ll. A streamlined world with PvP and PvE and FPS is the be-all and end-all of games. Thus I have prophesied!

          Bots aimhacks and all that stuff? Just make every single weapon a slow projectile one. Good luck making a script predict stuff.

      • frightlever says:

        I didn’t find the Neverwinter combat remotely as fluid as GW2’s dodge-based combat. While positioning is important it does still feel like everything is happening to a typical beat.

        (And Skyrim combat? Argghh. Spare me that. I have 300+ hours in Skyrim, DESPITE the combat).

        • Machinations says:

          Funny, I felt the opposite.

          GW is sitting here, and my 40ish Norn Necromancer collects dust while I play Neverwinter.

          GW has dodges, and area effects, yes – but everything you are doing is based on a cooldown, and is more or less instant hit – there is no aiming, just whether you are in range, other than template area effects. The combat has no weight, no oompf.

          Neverwinter gets the oompf right. It might be shallow, but it plays well, like a good ARPG should. Its fun despite itself, if that makes sense.

          Neverwinter the MP ARPG and roll-your-own servers would have been so much more exciting.

  6. Lobotomist says:

    You have to hand it to them : they nailed the combat right.

    Story is also surprisingly good compared to rest of pathetic excuse for a game. Any game , not only MMO.
    Lets just say that it would be sold as budget game even if it was singleplayer RPG. Its just so shallow.

    But hey…its Forgotten realms , d&d … and combat is fun

    • RobinOttens says:

      About that story. Is it set in the DnD 4 version of Forgotten Realms? With the spellplague, merged worlds, the underdark being exposed to open air and funky things like that?

      I have little interest in actually playing the game, but I am curious what they are doing with the setting in this. Given that DnD 5 (or whatever they end up calling it) is right around the corner.

      • tyren says:

        It’s set in the 4e version of Forgotten Realms, yes. Neverwinter’s in anarchy after the Spellplague aside from a few safe pockets of the city. (I haven’t gotten to the point where you actually leave the city yet.) The lore bits I’ve seen still mention the Underdark being underground, though.

    • khomotso says:

      Really, really don’t get this. Just tried it for about 15 minutes, and combat was completely awful. No oomph factor or physicality, just some tinny chiming as my toon mimed attacks. Found it really off-putting, and am about to uninstall as yet another uninspired outing.

      • hyzhenhok says:

        15 minutes. You sure put the game through its paces, didn’t you? I’m sure it was enough to convince you the horde of people buzzing about how this is an MMO where the combat is actually fun are all just blind, stupid blighters who have no taste in video games.

        • khomotso says:

          So how many minutes do you suggest playing in order to encounter the amazing physicality? If physicality takes a few hours to start to recognize, doesn’t that kind of make the point?

          • zildjian says:

            Have you played MMOs before? If so, name one successful MMO where your character isn’t inherently weak during the first 15 minutes of play. 15 minutes is not long enough to form an opinion about a game, and chances are you didn’t even make it through the tutorial.

            Maybe try an hour and if you still don’t like it at all, feel free to move on.

          • Notso says:

            15 minutes is long enough to find out if you like the feel of the combat or not. Playing an hour or 15 minutes won’t change how much momentum it feels like is behind your standard attack; if I understand the OP’s point correctly, this is what he was talking about [he wasn’t talking about how quickly things die]. That said, to me it felt like there was quite a lot of weight behind attacks, so maybe I did miss the point.

          • Machinations says:

            I’m just struggling to understand how anyone could play any amount of Neverwinter – even 15 minutes – and not feel the weight and fun in combat. Its possible you are heading in with preconceived biases? Everyone I have spoken to finds the combat very satisfying. I myself thought the game, like nearly all MMOs, was going to be shit, and found myself pleasantly surprised.

            I dont think the feeling will last, as all good things come to an end and it doesnt have the open world pvp and tension WoW had at launch as a result, so I imagine the enjoyment may be relatively short – but hey, YMMV.

            Now if we could get a game that plays like this, but with sandbox mechanics like EvE and a subscription fee, I’ll be happy.

  7. Darth Fez says:

    There are people in the general / zone chat demanding that everyone else speak English. So, yes, it very much is a F2P game. Perhaps my largest gripe, in the short time I’ve played the game, is that I can’t get rid of those lockboxes. I shall presume that this is a bug.

    Still, as the articles states, one can’t really gripe about the price to value ratio.

    • Choca says:

      Keep the lockboxes, they’re usually temporary offers in Cryptic games and will sell for a fortune once they can’t be dropped anymore…

      • unangbangkay says:

        More that whatever’s IN the boxes will sell for a fortune.

        • Choca says:

          No, selling what’s inside the boxes is too risky since their content is random and that you have to pay to open them.

          Sure, if you are lucky enough to get the very rare mount on the very first opened box, you’ll sell it for far more than a locked box, but you could also open a million boxes and never find anything of value to sell inside.

          Selling the boxes will bring you a more steady and reliable income down the line.

          • nekoneko says:

            IF they become an item you can’t get later on down the line. Since you buy keys to open them, I’m going to assume they’re more along the line of the Black Lion Chests in GW2, which now go for a whopping 3 copper on the AH, since they’re a pretty common drop and keys are so rare.

          • Choca says:

            The main difference between Cryptic lockboxes and Black Lion chests in GW 2 is that they usually switch the boxes after a while.

            In Star Trek Online, you would get Dominion lockboxes for a few weeks/months then they were removed from the loot drop tables because it was time to introduce Andorian lockboxes and so on. Each type of lockbox having a small chance to contain some new unique rare drop, obviously.

            Once a type of lockbox is removed, its price skyrockets.

            Also, in GW 2, you sometimes can and will get keys by gameplay only without having to spend anything. In Cryptic games, you have to buy keys on the in-game store or from other players through the auction house.

          • unangbangkay says:

            Not really. STO’s had the lockboxes for the longest time of all Cryptic’s games, and even the “rarest” lockboxe don’t sell for much more than you’d get hawking random loot. By comparison selling even one of the rarer drops from a current lockbox nets enough cash to buy boxes by the hundred.

            Not that I’m advocating opening them necessarily, just that wasting bank space stocking them up in anticipation of selling them later isn’t especially efficient – at least not in STO.

            Instead, those willing to trade the special currency for Zen via the exchange can make a pretty penny using farmed Zen to buy the KEYS to open the boxes, then selling the keys.

          • Choca says:

            Trading the special currency for Zen right now would be an horrible idea. The Zen to Astral Diamond ratio is capped at 1:500 and the market is currently flooded with Astral Diamond millionaires who are too happy to buy Zen at that maximum price.

            Now is the time to sell Zen, not to buy it. You can’t lose in the trade if you sell at 1:500 since there’s a cap and once the ratio drops to 1:300-250 (or even lower) you’ll double up on your investment.

            Also, selling lockboxes in the hundreds in STO is obviously not sufficient, you have to sell them in the thousands to start making efficient money.

  8. Meat Circus says:

    The zen payment is quite a clever idea. Exploitative, amoral and obnoxious, like all MMOs. But at least clever.

    It takes advantage not only of their MMO’s unhealthy manipulations of addictive behaviour, but adds into it a similar manipulation of gamer insecurity to make them pay real cash for the mere *possibility* of a number getting bigger.

    So, it somehow manages to be more exploitatively vile than other MMOs, but I sort of admire it for being at least an interesting new way of manipulating the neuroses of the player.

    • John Walker says:

      Okay, and that’s all we have time for at this week’s MMO Anonymous. Remember, if you feel the need to play, call a sponsor, and we’ll see you all next week.

      • Choca says:

        Yeah I don’t really get all the hate about Zen since you can buy it with in-game currency.

        Sure it’s going to take some time to buy a lot of it but what’s the hurry anyway ?

    • Renfield says:

      Permit me the obnoxious nitpick, but why is that ‘Zen’ is clever and does not get people mad despite providing an RNG-based gear advantage for real money (if I read John’s post right) via those lockboxes, while e.g. the Old Republic’s purely-aesthetic Cartel Packs are immoral abominations, if the internet is to be trusted?

      I freely admit to playing SWTOR, and intending to try Neverwinter, yet I am honestly curious.

      Edit: Unless Zen does get people mad, and my sampling of the above comment and John’s non-mad impressions was insufficiently representative.

      • unangbangkay says:

        There are many things wrong with TOR’s approach to freemium (paying to equip purples being the most obvious offender), but personally I’ve never read complaints about the Cartel Packs that aren’t the same as boilerplate complaints about the whole lockbox concept. Maybe the people you’re reading haven’t played any other game than TOR and are assuming the move began with that game?

        If nothing else, I feel Cartel Packs are actually slightly better value in TOR, since nearly all of their contents can be sold to someone else. Not everything in STO or Champions’ Online’s versions can be sold.

        • Renfield says:

          Yes, that’s my view as well, re: Cartel Pack value. They’re one of the better parts of that system. But you make a good point on lacking a basis for comparison. And it may also be a case of lumping the packs together with the rest of the F2P implementation that leads to some of the more perplexing vitriol.

          I look forward to seeing what Cryptic have done with Neverwinter!

          • unangbangkay says:

            However, it IS worth noting that playing “the gamble” of opening any kind of lockbox does bring in certain expectations of worth that may or may not extend to gameplay. Not everyone regards a super-rare mount or outfit that is otherwise merely cosmetic as worth the kind of investment needed to buy and open however many boxes it takes.

            On the other hand, in STO some of the game’s most powerful ships come from the boxes, or can be bought with a special item that comes with every box (a consolation prize for frequent box-openers), so that’s a strong motivator. It’s not COMPLETELY “pay-to-win” because builds and skill matter more than raw gear values in typical competitive play, but it certainly does amount to an advantage of sorts.

            And for what it’s worth, don’t the Cartel Packs all promise at least one piece of high-end random gear as well?

      • tyren says:

        The epic rewards a Nightmare Lockbox can give the lucky are:

        -A mount
        -A combat companion
        -A weapon enchantment
        -An armor enchantment
        -A runestone (basically enchantments for your combat companions)

        I don’t see that as game-breaking, personally. Granted that I haven’t messed with enchantments or runestones, I can’t imagine they’ll be all that imbalancing.

  9. The Dark One says:

    I hadn’t been paying too much attention to this game, and had assumed it was another slow-motion train wreck like The Old Republic or Elder Scrolls Online. Good to see that at least one well-established non-MMO RPG is able to handle the transition smoothly.

  10. Yosharian says:

    You say it’s interesting, then describe it as a generic MMO… I’m not getting it

    • trjp says:

      Clearly not – which is really more your loss than anyone else’s? :)

    • RobinOttens says:

      It’s an interesting generic MMO? Generic MMO that has interesting bits? Interesting despite being a generic MMO? Take your pick.

    • Yosharian says:

      Structure is traditional, quests are bulked out with ‘kill 10 of these’, writing is uninspired, VA is poor..

      And it’s a hotkey mmo so the combat will be boring as fuck…

      Sorry, I’m just not seeing a decent game here.

      • Choca says:

        If by hotkey MMO you mean “tab targetting, auto attack, press button in order and snooze” then you are completely wrong. If anything, the game plays more like an Action-RPG or an hack and slash.

        There is no targetting, each attack is a click and each click is an attack, the hotkeys are merely there to activate your special powers.

        • Yosharian says:

          Yeah I got told the same thing about GW2, got burnt there too. Alright, maybe the combat isn’t too bad.

          • Brun says:

            See my post below. GW2 tried the dodge thing but it was just more efficient to ignore it since you almost always pumped out more damage than regular mobs and your health would just regenerate out of combat. Neverwinter has no regenerating health so unless you want to burn through lots of health potions you have to actually use the dodge mechanic.

            EDIT: Oh God, terrible split infinitive. Don’t tell Lord Smingleigh.

          • Choca says:

            It’s free, can’t hurt to try it.

          • GamerOS says:

            It’s more like a mix between Tera and GW2 if you ask me.

          • Machinations says:

            GW2 is hotkey, though they made it seem like it wouldnt be. The combat is generally boring.

            This is not, boring that is. I really feel suckered on the 60$ I spent on GW2, its less fun than NW, which has cost me nil.

  11. trjp says:

    I don’t mind traditional – I finally got into Rift courtesy of the ridiculously good Raptr freebie deal and I’m loving it to bits.

    Yes, it’s WoW with a better UI/tutorial
    Yes, it’s WARs public quests done far far far better
    Yes, it’s a trad. MMO in combat terms
    Yes, the story is forgettable hokum

    But I love it to bits – it’s quickfire, rewarding there are PEOPLE playing it (GW2 – we’re digging at you)

    • MisterFurious says:

      Well, you may like playing the same crap over and over again, but some of us would like to see some innovation in the genre instead of the same tired formula.

      • Choca says:

        Is it just me or have people around here been really angry for no reason recently ?

        • BooleanBob says:

          Man, people have been angry since Ugg started rubbing sticks instead of banging rocks to make fire. And rightly so! Where does that fucking Ugg think he gets off, like rocks are too good for him all of a sudden?

      • trjp says:

        and what have the ‘some of us’ done about this required innovation then?

        I play the games people offer – I don’t sit around waiting for a game to arrive which matches something inside my head.

        If I enjoy the game, that’s great (and believe me, I’m enjoying Rift a LOT) – if not then I just move along.

        If MMOs don’t appeal to you now – odds are they never will.

        Cars mostly have 4 wheels – odds are not many cars will come along with 6 or 3 or square ones – waiting for that is silly.

    • iridescence says:

      What’s brilliant and original with Rift is one of the best leveling system I’ve ever seen in any RPG. I love being able to build a character pretty exactly to my specifications rather than having to choose “DPS or crowd control build”. I think Rift is a better game than WoW by far. Unfortunately, I’m just sick of that type of MMO. Or too sick to pay a sub in any case.

      Unfortunately Neverwinter suffers from exactly the kind of “pick one out of 3 builds” problem that Rift got away from. Combat is boring button-mashing and enemies are always spawning right on top of you which is a major pet peeve of mine. Its positives are that I like the Forgotten Realms, the graphics are decent and it’s free but I’m already feeling the fatigue with the gameplay start to set in.

      .

  12. Pryde says:

    Queue is pretty terrible, that’s for sure. I couldn’t get in game even once. If same happens tomorrow I’ll most likely just uninstall the client, that’s a shame =(

  13. Premium User Badge

    daphne says:

    Do the systems of this game resemble those of AD&D in any of its editions (preferably 3 or 3.5)? With the various classes/prestige classes, six attributes, feats and all? Or is it an original system wrapped in D&D lore?

    • Hug_dealer says:

      4th edition, which is nothing like the older.

      4th ed is basically an MMO styled Table top game.

      Not nearly as in depth as the older versions, and not nearly as customizable either. Int serves no purpose for a fighter, its all about stacking and stacking stats like str etc.

      • Ansob says:

        Bar your first sentence, nothing of what you have typed is true. Go you!

      • vecordae says:

        Given the large amount of DnD I’ve played of all editions, I find everything Hug_dealer said to be fundamentally true. Where 4E works better than the older editions is that its combat mechanics are more interesting for group play in exchange for giving the player fewer overall options. 4E is not a bad system, but it bears almost no resemblance to AD&D except in terms of broad thematic strokes. Eberron Online, the OTHER DnD MMO uses a modified version of 3E that is far more mechanically interesting and provides a great deal of customization for one’s character. Both are free to play, so take your pick.

        • vanosofmanos says:

          All of what Vecordae said and more. 4E IS definitely scaled more towards video game mechanics, but I seriously don’t think that’s the bad thing many 3/3.5 purists claim it is. In practice (at least for me, with 3 campaigns under my belt at this point), it allows much more interesting party interaction, and the game’s combat is perhaps the most interesting of any previous edition as far as group dynamics is concerned. The individual player customization of 3.5 is gone to a great extent, but the ability to create absolutely insane synergy in a group is greater than ever before, especially with things like Marks and Zone spells.

          The combat plays closer to D&D’s roots, in my opinion, which is a tactical wargame. Maybe mixed with a bit of Magic: The Gathering as far as power loadouts could be considered similar to a deck of spell cards. 4th Edition’s greatest strength is the ability for a group to actually function like a group. The people who seem to like it the most are those who enjoy working cooperatively, without worrying as much about their individual character power levels. At least in my experience.

          • Hug_dealer says:

            I play pathfinder, which has greatly even out the balance flaws that were found in 3.5.

            Is 4th edition bad, not really, but it lacks a lot of the tactical depth of 3.5 and pathfinder, which i found very interesting, along with building characters outside of mold. They have fixed some of that with the expansions, but I will always enjoy Pathfinder and 3.5 more enjoyable.

  14. aliksy says:

    “..scouting around for that one last Skellington Commander to ding things and head back, and the other players keep getting to them first” – unacceptable in a modern MMO. The designers should be ashamed of themselves.

    I played it for maybe 2-3 hours last night, and got bored really quickly after killing 100+ monsters that were in no way a threat to me. Oh look, the skeleton hit me… for 7 damage out of my 600 hp. A giant boss! I better dodge his telegraphed and clearly-marked-on-the-floor attack. Yawn. Plus the “quest” thing was really just “walk down these hallways and kill the mooks that wait for you to show up.”

    Also, who thought having semi-random stats was a good idea? They should also be ashamed of themselves.

    Maybe it gets better later (doubt it), but I’m not going to invest hours trudging through garbage to get at some hypothetical good parts. I’ve got other games to play. Games with an interesting story, decent run speeds, things that actually challenge me.

    • 11temporal says:

      Skeletons are trivial but once you get to Nasher Rebellion in black lake district it get’s much more challenging (not sure what level you first get there, around 8 i think)

  15. serioussgtstu says:

    All of my problems with this game stem from servers not speaking to each other and launchers not launching. But it’s free so who am I to complain, at least I’ve been able to play it. Oh no, two days and I’ve yet to be gifted a place on their servers.

  16. Ansob says:

    Honestly, who builds a 4E game and then doesn’t include the Warlord? That ought to be a crime.

    • vanosofmanos says:

      Or the Warlock, though that’s supposed to be the next class in. I’m more annoyed that they only have one Paragon Path per class in game, though in previous livestreams they said this open beta/soft release/launch would have three per class. A tad bit of a problem, as it makes the classes even more cookie cutter than they already are.

      • TormDK says:

        Or the Paladin!

        How they managed to get two fighter types in at release, but no Paladins is puzzling.

  17. vanosofmanos says:

    It would be awesome if I could actually play the game. Besides the normal release lag and server jumpiness, they still haven’t solved problems with server routing that have plagued other Cryptic Games. It doesn’t effect everyone, but people in certain regions get routed through a set of servers (owned by Cogentco) that cause them to have massive lag spikes and rubberbanding. It was an annoyance in Star Trek Online… every once and awhile your ship or captain would suddenly rewind backwards to where they were 10 seconds ago.

    In Neverwinter, it makes the game unplayable. For me, I get dropped by mobs that shouldn’t be more than a gnat, but one lag spike and random teleporting later, I’m dead. I’d hoped they’d have the problem solved by time Neverwinter released, but sadly it doesn’t seem to be the case. Bummer, too, because this was one I was really looking forward to, as I’m a big fan of Neverwinter as a setting.

  18. Outsider says:

    Thanks for this, John. I’ve been so skeptical about this title, so your impressions on it are valuable information to have. I think my wife and I will give it a go this weekend.

  19. Michael Fogg says:

    This is essentially Neverwinter Nights (the first) MMO Edition.

  20. Calculon says:

    Eh – so although Im very skeptical (I’m largely sworn off of MMO’s due to the boring, time grind/sink factor, Ive invested my time in EVE, Ever-Crack, and my very serious favorite – Ultimate Online) I decided to give it a try…..apparently however its going to take anywhere from 3 days to 2 years to download depending on when I look at the indicator….Not off to a stellar start already.

    • Calculon says:

      …..and Ive given up. 10 weeks to download. Sweet.

      • Taidan says:

        The official Torrent is the way to go with that fella. It was way better than the launcher for me, at least.

        Now, if only I could get the right combination of the servers being up and the launcher working to be able to actually play…

        • Vorphalack says:

          The torrent was as broken for me as the direct download, and I wasn’t the only one with that issue yesterday. The Gamefront .rar download was the only one approaching acceptable 1mb/s rate.

    • Michael Fogg says:

      Welcome to the Future! You haven’t heard? Digital distro straight from The Cloud! It’s Always online! Isn’t it swell?

  21. Low Life says:

    John, since you played during the earlier beta weekends do you feel that the combat has improved from those in responsiveness? My experience was that it every now and then forgot what was happening and then got back on track a second later. This was especially irritating with the control wizard’s channeled primary attack.

  22. Brun says:

    My impressions (Control Wizard Perspective):

    Yes, it is a hotkey MMO. However, I think the combat in Neverwinter is what GW2’s combat *should* have been. It’s superficially similar in that it shares many mechanics with GW2 – you have a limited range of abilities and dodging is a major mechanic. However, unlike GW2, I feel like dodging is a necessity from the outset, rather than something that you only have to do for bosses. The biggest reason for this (and thus the biggest thing that Cryptic did right) is that there is no regenerating health. The only way to heal yourself is to find campfires or to chug healing potions, thus creating an incentive for you to avoid damage when possible, even against packs of regular (non-boss) mobs. In GW2 your health regenerated, so standing there taking hits to the face was fine even for soft classes like my Necromancer – I never felt like I needed to dodge (or learn to dodge) until I started running Dungeons, and it was a very rude and frustrating wake-up call. I know it sounds like a very minor thing but the lack of regenerating health really makes the combat feel very different from GW2’s despite being quite similar mechanically.

    The animations and abilities are well-done, they lend a sense of impact and physicality to combat. Abilities like Chill Strike have convinced me that ragdoll physics should be mandatory for all MMO combat, watching enemies get flung backward by the force of your hits never gets old.

    The combat is definitely a strong point in this game, at least starting out. The quests are your standard MMO fare, not much new to see there. The real potential of the game is the player-created content, but it remains to be seen whether that can sustain an active community.

    EDIT: Also John, I think part of the reason so many activities are restricted to level 15+ is to try to cut down on spammers selling ingame currency. I’m not sure why they’d need to restrict guild formation, but I know the game wouldn’t let me whisper other characters until a certain level, and that’s a fairly standard with free or trial accounts on other MMOs.

    • TWChristine says:

      Probably a stupid question..but how does it work for spells? Does mana regenerate or do you have a finite amont of times you can cast (such as NVN)? Just wondering because with no health regen I would imagine healers are much more desired (although I wonder if that would make people treat them better or worse than usual..).

      • vecordae says:

        Being 4E-based, spells are timer-based rather than consuming a magic resource of some kind, be it spell points or spells per day.

        The wizards’ basic spells are all at-will and infinitely spammable, with more powerful spells having a recharge time and your heavy-hitters requiring much more of a wait. Playing through the tutorial levels will illustrate all of that for you without much fuss.

    • jha4ceb says:

      Health in Gw2 only regenerates when out-of-combat, not in combat. Most classes have a heal skill on a 20-30 second cooldown, but it usually only heals for 25-50% of HP.

      • Brun says:

        Health in Neverwinter does not regenerate at all, in combat or out. Some classes in Neverwinter do have healing spells but my Control Wizard hasn’t gotten one yet and when I’ve gotten randomly healed by passing Clerics it hasn’t been for a huge amount.

    • khomotso says:

      The animations and abilities are well-done, they lend a sense of impact and physicality to combat.

      Good Lord, I must have downloaded a different game. My first impressions are the exact opposite: utter lack of physicality to combat.

      • Brun says:

        Try a different class? This is from a Control Wizard perspective – my abilities fling enemies backward when they die on critical hits. I don’t know how you could give it a more physical feel.

        • khomotso says:

          I started with the rogue-trickster, whatever.

          I’ll try a more tankish character and see if that reveals the oomph factor other people seem to be experiencing.

  23. Lagwolf says:

    Ah wonderful… “you picked a really shit profession but it gets good over level 30.” Ugh, and yes the Great Weapon Fighter is about as fun to play as a slug. Yes I know it is beta but between the heinous queuing system/wait & the awful gameplay for the class I picked I think I will wait for a while. Maybe wait until there is an RPS guild. From what I have seen of the game it does not impress at all.

    And yes there is lag, rubber-banding and all sorts of glitches that make combat very unpleasant.

    You want to know fun combat? Try Marvel Heroes Beta… it is tad easy at times but it is actually fun and satisfying.

    • Machinations says:

      Um, most of the game is after 30…and a GWF just about beat my TR on total damage in the last dungeon, at level 26.

      So not only did he nearly match my damage output, he took way less damage. I felt I contributed less overall, other than on the boss fight, as it seemed his damage output was higher due to AoE – we didnt have a CW.

  24. Barberetti says:

    I’ve been told that the camera distance between you and your character is fixed. Is this true?

    • llubtoille says:

      As far as I can tell, yes the camera is fixed. This seems to be for combat purposes as the mouse controls your ‘crosshairs’. That bugged me (as I like camera freedom) but also the invisible barriers most of the cliffs seem to have. WoW and Skyrim have gotten me used to being able to climb anything and explore.

      • Barberetti says:

        Ah right, thanks. Yeah, invisible barriers that hinder the explorer in me piss me off as well. Hmm .. game is free so going to try it anyway, but not liking some of the stuff I’m hearing about it so far.

  25. joelreyes says:

    $85 an hour! Seriously I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening…And whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids. Heres where I went, http://www.hdcash1.com

  26. Calculon says:

    Im actually going to try the UOForever project. We’ll see how that goes. Most of the MMO’s are very disappointing these days.

  27. Premium User Badge

    theodacourt says:

    I’m going to try this out, and I’ve never played an MMO or Dungeons & Dragons game before!

    Any tips?

    • trjp says:

      Never played an MMO or anytihng D&D related before?

      MMO Tips
      Don’t try to understand everything at once – it will take EONS to do that – just jump-in and do stuff

      D&D Tips
      Think of the most generic and minutiae-driven fantasy possible – then double it and add dice…

      • arccos says:

        On the bright side, the game mechanics seem to have little to do with AD&D, which keeps play from bogging down.

        I would like to see some kind of turn-based AD&D game with authentic mechanics at some point, though.

  28. trjp says:

    Just installed this and the intro CGI is really REALLY nice in the visuals dept – but someone needs to sack the sound dept

    http://www.gametrailers.com/videos/5y58pd/neverwinter-exclusive-opening-cinematic-trailer (in-game one is a bit higher quality than that)

    The faces/body movement/fights are nice but the sounds are terrible – “generic stab”, “generic punch” – where’s the IMPACT, where’s the slicing/bleeding!?!?

    Someone needs to redub that ASAP :)

  29. InternetBatman says:

    “While a lot of that is because of the D&D setting…”

    Really John? Are we forgetting that Baldur’s Gate, Planescape Torment, and to lesser extent Hordes of the Underdark ever happened? D&D is a great setting, albeit Neverwinter less so. Even DDO had some decent writing.

  30. cloudnein says:

    Yes I would like to hear how it compares to DDO.

    I haven’t had time to play MMO’s in years but if I returned to the genre, DDO would be my first pick. Really seemed to have the “rollplaying” (dungeon crawling with puzzles, fights, and exploration that’s well balanced) more than other games I played.

    Given your impressions, I’m even more interested in going back to DDO rather than Neverwinter.

    • MaXimillion says:

      Neverwinter has nearly no customization in comparison to DDO, but the combat is a bit more fluid, and you don’t need to subscribe or buy adventure packs to unlock content. If you don’t mind a sub, and want proper character customization, go with DDO.

    • Machinations says:

      I kinda lean this way too. If I had a group of friends to play with that was interested in running the content, DDO is superior. The combat is still action based, with actual blocking (no hotkeys) just like NW.

      The big thing that has held me off, ironically, is their F2P model. I don’t want to buy missions a la carte.
      Turbine should have a more open structure – the game as it is doesnt work well as a free player – Id love to subscribe but I dont think there is an all-you-can eat option that suits me..

  31. Tei says:

    I have a rogue level 22. This game has some cool quest. somewhere in here inside the scheme of a f2p system there is a neverwinter 3 game. The quest is what made it,have this old tabletop feel to it, and cobined with the story works really well. the sum bigger than he parts and all that.

  32. Blackcompany says:

    Tried the game.

    For 15 minutes.

    And its truly terrible. At least at this point in its development.

    It starts strong. Excellent character creation; build your own origin story. Not that it matters. Because its still going to shipwreck you on a beach and funnel you into assisting against an Undead invasion. Never mind whether you wanted to explore; too bad.

    Still, that might be ok, given the real time action combat. I mean, funnel me toward fun combat? Sure. Go ahead.

    Except that combat isn’t fun. Lag is constantly causing me to get hit by enemies whom my last attack already killed. Even when my Rogue vanishes, to reappear above the head of an enemy and Daze them, I am getting hit. That’s right, my first special attack, leads me straight into getting hit while performing it. Which would not be so bad, if I could dodge. But I can’t. Or rather, with the atrocious latency, I can’t TIME my dodge. At all. Making dodge, of course, worthless. And since I am a rogue, I cannot block/parry, because, you know, classes – an RPG trope I wish would just die.

    Oh wait. It did die. Years ago. In quality single player games. But then Wizards and their IP’s have a thing for living in a past where they were actually enjoyable as opposed to facing their reality as also-rans in the gaming industry. And it looks like even Cryptic could not change that.

    TL;DR: Boring fetch quests. lag and latency making combat impossible. And all of the tired tropes you would ever expect to see from the genre.

    Its everything you would hope to avoid from the MMORPG genre at this incredibly late date in the tired game.

    • Time4Pizza says:

      I just don’t understand how time after time after time these WoW clones can come out and professional review sites can heap praise on them. SWTOR, Guild Wars 2, LOTR, and now Neverwinter.

      Neverwinter is, through and through, a complete WoW clone. It is the exact same game, minus the 10 years of polish and content. Any review which fails to mention that this is a right down the middle of the road MMO with nothing horrible about it yet nothing outstanding is completely missing the mark.

      I just want these review sites to stop giving these WoW clones positive reviews for the first two weeks. Can we just fast forward a month when user base declines and everyone suddenly realizes, “Hey, you know what, that was just another WoW clone and I don’t like it as much as I first thought!”

      • Machinations says:

        You are completely misinformed. I will correct you – were you to walk into a room of RPS commenters and proclaim this, you would be laughed at, despite our general dislike of MMOs.

        Why?

        Because NW is in no way a WoW-clone. Yes, its a theme park game, but the combat mechanics, crafting, levelling and other systems are completely different.

        Allod’s Online is a WoW clone. The Old Republic is a WoW clone.

        Saying WoW clone when you don’t have a clue what it really means is hipster idiocy. Youre parroting a phrase without knowing its meaning.

        Despite me thinking this game is ultimately going to be boring, it does provide more enjoyment (for free) than I have had from an MMO in a long time. More importantly, I needed to correct your assertion that NW is a ‘WoW clone’. It is not. It may or may not be a subpar theme park MMO, however, it is not a WoW clone.

        Try the term ‘theme park’ MMO – its more accurate. Apologies for deliberately excessive pedantry.

  33. imralizal says:

    I find this endorsement surprising. I tend to think Cryptic deserves a good tar and feathering for their money related practices in their games, but I guess (most) everyone else is more tolerant of this than I am, or maybe this game isn’t so P2W. I’m also surprised that everyone seems to like the combat so much, given that it’s apparently quite derivative of other games (that I haven’t played). Weird.

    • StorkNaDa says:

      Is it really cryptic’s money related p2w practices, or PWE’s?

      • imralizal says:

        I have no experience with Cryptic’s games pre-PWE, but I believe you’re correct. Not sure how that helps though. I know the F2P model is still developing, but I just don’t think their other games (STO) give you good value for money. I want to give money to games that I play, but paying to do a simple respec or change your avatar (especially if you’re a subscriber) just rubs me the wrong way. If I could just buy the game and have all the basics like that covered I would be a lot more receptive.

  34. Premium User Badge

    strangeloup says:

    I’m surprised that a lot of the folks in the comments seem quite down on the game. I downloaded it last night, promptly forgot that I’d done so, and just had about 90 minutes or so of a thoroughly enjoyable time with it. It’s a rare experience indeed to try a new F2P MMO that is not only not a giant bag of arse, but also impressive in its own right.

    Having played DDO somewhat I’m far more taken with Neverwinter in all respects, the combat in particular I found to be great fun and miles better than the hotbar-cycling of most other MMOs. I need to give it some more time, but initial impressions are very favourable, and if it carries on being as good as it is now, I’ll happily buy some random fluff on the cash store, if only to say “cheers for making a really fun game.”

    I was a bit thrown by the classes, though. They don’t seem to be standard 4th Ed ones, though I suppose they might be from a supplement I’ve not read (the ‘Power’ series, or something in the ‘Player’s Option’ line, perhaps). Nonetheless I’m very much digging Control Wizard.

    Edit: People with superior grognardery have determined how to make the Control Wizard in 4e, which leads me to suspect they’re original creations for Neverwinter; a bit surprising given Wizards are often quite controlling of their IP.

    • Josh W says:

      I don’t think that’s a response to the game; that’s thread is five years old. Although there will have to have been changes, because the different types in 4e aren’t broken down in terms of blaster/controller etc, but in terms of various different implementations of the same ideas, “do you want to be this or that style of wizard” with almost all of them able to do both blasting and control. To be honest, looking at how the wizard class has expanded, I can see why they might have wanted to focus things down!

    • Machinations says:

      its basically MMO hate from people who have burned out on the genre

      I dont particularly like MMOs either, being one of the aforementioned ‘bitter vets’ who can remember a time where there were NO DAMN KIDS ON MY LAWN.

      That said, I have had fun in Neverwinter. I like it. I don’t expect it to be a long time love affair, but its a fun little fling.

  35. 11temporal says:

    So far (level 14 great weapon fighter) I love it too.

    By far the best thing is that your health does not regenerate on it’s own which makes fights actually challenging and fun.

  36. -Spooky- says:

    Hit LvL 60 yesterday with my Scoundrel Rogue. Playtime till ding +- 2 days, 10 hours since Hero Founder Headstart. So let see:

    – D&D 4E works fine for a MMO
    – Feels like a better D&D Action RPG in the FR setting (*yay*)
    – Powers / Feats are all right and gives you a huge amount of possible builds.
    – “My dear companion. Please don´t die every single mob since LvL 50 ..”
    – Crafting. Nice to have and a nice “i´m not ingame” feature via Neverwinter Gateway (some kind of WoW Arsenal)
    – Foundry. Some good stuff inside and will bring us a huge amount of endcontent for the future.
    – We had a lot of fun and some “What da heck ..” moments
    – It´s free to play. You have nothing to lose, when you give it a shot.

    PS: DDO sucks. Why? No Forgotten Realms. ;)

  37. -Spooky- says:

    Hit LvL 60 yesterday with my Scoundrel Rogue. Playtime till ding +- 2 days, 10 hours since Hero Founder Headstart. So let see:

    – D&D 4E works fine for a MMO
    – Feels like a better D&D Action RPG in the FR setting (*yay*)
    – Powers / Feats are all right and gives you a huge amount of possible builds.
    – “My dear companion. Please don´t die every single mob since LvL 50 ..”
    – Crafting. Nice to have and a nice “i´m not ingame” feature via Neverwinter Gateway (some kind of WoW Arsenal)
    – We had a lot of fun and some “What da heck ..” moments
    – It´s free to play. You have nothing to lose, when you give it a shot.

    PS: DDO sucks. Why? No Forgotten Realms. ;)

  38. WarderDragon says:

    Tried it last night, was shocked at how bad it was. Then I remembered that it’s a Cryptic game and that I was a fool for believing it’d rise above mediocrity. Still, some things stood out – like how the game is released, but they still call it “open beta” to justify everything that’s broken. There are missing text strings all over the place, with [UNTRANSLATED] taking their place – in English. NPCs have speech animations to go with their awful voice acting, but it is only their mouths that are animated. There is no body language, no facial expressions. Animations in general are awful. Quests are boring and uninspired – it’s as if nothing has happened in the MMO genre since a decade ago.

    Oh well, it cost me nothing to try, and some people seem to enjoy it despite its many failings, so who am I to deem it a disaster?

    • Time4Pizza says:

      Amen brother. It’s the definition of a WoW clone. Plays exactly like WoW, with 5000% less polish. Any review that doesn’t say that is completely misleading.

  39. Time4Pizza says:

    I just don’t get where the positive reviews are coming from for this thing. So basically, we have another WoW clone? You don’t like the “traditional” elements, the story telling stinks, the combat is slightly more interactive… aaaaand basically it is a WOW CLONE. Right or wrong?

    How come every. single. time. one of these WoW clones comes out all the reviewers online sing it’s praises. They say, “yes, it maybe a WoW clone, but I love progressing in it anyway!” Then about a month later everyone comes to their sense and says, “hey, you know what, that game was a WoW clone and I don’t like it as much as I first thought.”

    Can we please start skipping the honeymoon phase where everyone heaps praise on these clones. SWTOR, Guild Wars 2, Lord of the Rings, Neverwinter, etc. etc. Reviewers can you please STOP giving positive reviews to these games and simply tell us that it is a WoW clone, and if you want to try another clone this one is satisfactory. That would be a lot more helpful than saying, “it plays just like any other MMO, but I LOVE it!”

    • derbefrier says:

      games don’t have to keep you entertained for 5 years to be considered good. If a game keeps me involved for a month or two I would say its pretty good and would recommend it to fans of that genre especially if its free. I find the combat pretty enjoyable (for an MMO) and it plays more like a 3rd person arpg than a hotbar MMO like wow and while the rest is pretty standard MMO stuff ,well,l so what? I just don’t get why MMOs are expected to reinvent the wheel with every new release while the same derivative indie platformers continue to get praise, same with first person shooters and pretty much every other genre. why are such ridiculous standards and expectations applied only to MMOs? MMO players are just weird and unrealistic in their expectations of the genre i guess but funnily enough cant seem to get enough of them even though they seem to hate them all.

      • Time4Pizza says:

        Absolutely, you are 100% correct. If you are still consistently playing in a month than the game is a success. But will you be? Same thing happens everytime, SWTOR, Guild Wars 2, etc. You’ll play for 2 weeks and realize you have already played this game before.

        I’ll never know the answer, but you keep score with yourself. If come June 1st you are still playing Neverwinter everyday you were right. If you have moved on because the game is just a bit too repetitive and familiar than I’m right.

    • Machinations says:

      Time4Pizza, for someone who doesnt like the game, you spend an awful lot of time ranting about it in the thread.

      Please, please, please drop the hipster tripe ‘WoW clone’ – its inaccurate and idiotic. Its the type of comment I would see on Kotaku, honestly.

      It’s a ‘theme park’ MMO, a much more accurate descriptor. The inner english professor in me is angered by your repeated use of the term ‘WoW clone’, like some kind of stake of inanity being driven, word by word, into my skull.

  40. transientmind says:

    Wow. Glowing praise like this article highlights just how much your mileage can vary.

    I levelled a Great Weapon Fighter to 10 (which apparently everyone is now saying was ‘the wrong decision’ – I’m sorry, if it was the wrong decision, why weren’t we bloody told that in character creation? “Warning! This class is a bit shit.”). Every painful level was an exercise in frustratingly latency-affected so-called ‘action combat’ (read: AoE the minions then run behind the enemy when he’s swinging and hit him a couple times with your nerf bat, followed by chugging a potion like the addict you are, or running back to the campfire at the start in what has become a jogging simulator), with no payoff.

    Well. No payoff except for a horribly generic ‘story’ as written by a 12yr old who just discovered fantasy novels, and voiced by his goofy aunt and uncle, incapable of anything but grating caricature. All illustrated with character models which would be embarrassed to appear in its competitors who are years older.

    It’s all just so very bland that I can’t find anything to ‘like’ about it, only tolerate. Which I am not compelled to do anymore.

    • Time4Pizza says:

      Exactly. Out of all the WoW clones out there, this one is the most blatent and boring of them all. It’s the exact same game, with absolutely none of the polish. I just can’t fathom where the positive reviews are coming from?

      • Machinations says:

        perhaps you don’t quite have your fingers on the pulse of quality gaming so much as you thought you did

        I entirely expect the game to get boring after a few weeks of play. That said, I am enjoying it now.

        I’m not evaluating t with an eye to keeping it as a life partner. Its fun, thats why it gets good reviews. It has decent combat, and I keep playing it. Its simple, but fun – it is shallow, but are you actually complaining about people liking the game?

        People have differenty tastes. Why do some people not like eggs, and some particular blasphemers wont partake of BACON! Taste. Different strokes, different folks.

        Objectively, the game has probably little longer term appeal, but is a fun ARPG romp.

  41. Premium User Badge

    ffordesoon says:

    Just wanted to pop in to thank John for recommending this game. Played it for a couple of hours today, and it really is remarkably fun. I don’t even feel the need to tack “…for an MMO” onto the end of that sentence, which is rare.

    The writing is pretty amateurish, and the VO ranges from awful to really awful, but that’s somehow endearing rather than tedious, and combat is a joy.