Hands On: Neverwinter Beta

Cryptic’s Neverwinter had its first beta weekend these last couple of days. I jumped in, rolled a young half-elf, and had a look around for a couple of days. With the game still without a fixed release date, there’s clearly still a lot of time for change. But as it stands, here are my hands-on impressions of the game so far.

Neverwinter is a game that comes with many expectations. It’s yet another fantasy MMO in a struggling field. It essentially follows on from creations of BioWare and Obsidian, the most respected RPG developers there are. It’s a D&D game, with all that accompanies that legacy. It’s from the creators of City Of Heroes.

What’s interesting, after having taken a character to level 21, is how much it seems to have dragged me in despite failing to meet so many of those anticipations. Neverwinter should have been the fantasy MMO where storytelling was first and foremost, but in this area, at this point in the beta, that’s a mess. Yet I was up until 2am playing.

Every MMO must take its own unique approach. Here the emphasis is on being an action RPG, seemingly simplifying your attacks to a Diablo-style left/right mouse button, with a few specials chosen from an ever-increasing pool. This absolutely does hugely improve combat from the number key tapping dreariness that has plagued for too long. But in the end, you are still firing off your specials in a very MMO fashion, except here with your access to them somewhat limited.

I do find myself wishing for a halfway point, the excellent instant attacks on the mouse, but the MMO-style full pool of my skills available on my keys. But importantly, it does feel different, very quick, very much more like playing an ARPG than a trad MMO, and I’m grateful for it. Beyond this, things are pretty recognisable.

Rolling a character is exactly as you’d hope it would be, letting you pick the obvious (race, class, appearance) along with the D&D elements (rolling ability scores, choosing your background, the god you worship, and letting you write a biography). So Cholorobi is a Half-Elf Trickster Rogue, from the Grey Vale, worshipping the lord of knowledge and thought, Oghma. The character designer is the most intricate I’ve seen, if not the most effective in results. You can change the length of your fingernails, but the final result still doesn’t look particularly unique. And then on arriving in the game… well, nothing really.

Perhaps it’s still to be added in, but arriving in the enormous main hub of Neverwinter, there’s nothing. Your character pops up sharing the same spot as the other three people to spawn at the same time as you, you run forward to the first person with a ? above their head, and you run where they tell you to. Your brain enters MMO Mode, you run where you’re told, scan the brief, un-voiced text, and follow the instructions.

I should say, never in all the time I’ve been playing has the game asked me to kill 10 of anything. It’s turned out that killing 10 of something inadvertently has gained me some XP, but it’s never flagged up, never the goal. This is far more focused on finding missing items, helping captured people, and delivering news. But why? There’s no sense of a cohesive whole, a meta-narrative that links this altogether, in the fashion you might expect from a Neverwinter game. Instead I experienced a few threads of stories, each focusing on the naughty antics of an individual, ultimately culminating in biffing them to death. And all were fine, all had me wanting to trigger the next section and keep pursuing, but none has stuck in my head.

The larger story, such as it is, is set one hundred years after the Spellplague – something that appears to have been a large event in the Forgetten Realms universe. And, really, that’s all I can tell you. Something happened ages ago, and, um, yeah.

Progression is swift, which always helps alleviate the sense of grind. However, the most important lesson from City Of Heroes still hasn’t been learned, even by the team who made it – levelling up really doesn’t feel significant. They come thick and fast, but new abilities are added on a fixed, linear skill tree, and more often than not are just upgrades of the skill you already had, with no appreciable difference when you use it next. With no ability to shape your character’s class, at least not in the first twenty levels, getting to spend some completely unexplained skill points on something I never figured out means little. Much more interesting is the ARPG item and armour gathering, giving a much better sense of progress than the ticking number in the top left corner.

This is all perfect, letting you grow attached to a weapon or hat at the exact moment a new one comes along. And everything you’d want from your Torchlight/Diablo is here, with slottable armour, upgradeable enhancements, identify scrolls and agonising over the attributes of two different rings. The mouse-over comparisons are good, and rather helpfully will flag up a “recommended” when one is significantly better than the other. The issue at this point is its inability to comprehend dual-wielding or wearing more than one ring at a time – I assume that will be fixed by the time the game’s finished. /Looks sternly over his glasses./

Companions are in there, and despite most being human, the game rather oddly refers to them as “it”s. As a melee-focused rogue, I picked a wet fish of a healer to accompany me, which is nice to have. There’s not even a glimmer of an attempt to give them a personality however, so hopes of something properly RPG-y here should be abandoned. You can’t speak to them, nor instruct them to be more useful – they really are just pets. Or indeed, “it”s.

Also rather pleasant are the Events. Attached to your minimap (and bloody-mindedly refusing to ever stay collapsed) are the next three world events taking place. You can ask to be reminded when they’re happening, then happily ignore them even if you’ve signed up. But maybe during that time the world will be scattered with certain objects to find, or perhaps you’ll be participating in some PvP. It’s as quick and easy as the party finding for the early raids, which also was a painless experience and let me enjoy a bigger dungeon without the awfulness of commitment.

And here’s the thing. I confidently believe that Neverwinter is going to get better once the community starts doing a better job than Cryptic of telling stories. Via something called The Foundry, which I didn’t have time to have a go at this time (that’ll be the next beta weekend for me), players can create their own quests and campaigns. Essentially it’s the way to be a GM, the tools allowing people to create their own scenes, characters, dialogue and fights, which provide other players with loot and XP.

What’s in the game at this point isn’t particularly impressive. By far the most highly rated campaign is a series of four quests that have you chasing down an ancient artefact, that is told with some really impressive effort and depth. Far more depth than any of the official campaigns I’ve played so far. But also with plenty of typos, some really terribly rendered levels, and a demonstration of just how important careful lighting is. But the potential here, when people have enough time to craft something elaborate and amazing, is huge. It’s an MMO that guarantees it’ll never run out of pre-endgame content, and user voting will filter the best stuff to the surface. It’s this, more than anything else, that makes me enthused to stick with Neverwinter.

But it’s not that alone, I really need to stress. While so many of my expectations aren’t met by the beta in its current form, what’s really surprised me is that what I wasn’t expecting is what’s pulled me in: just doing a basic MMO really well. That hook, that thing that made us excited the first time we played WoW, is here. It’s uncluttered, and it dangles that carrot in front of you pretty expertly. That I was able to get my first horsey within a weekend’s playing (and a more concentrated effort could have done it in a day) was also enormously gratifying.

It’s bewildering that the effort hasn’t gone into a proper BioWare/Obsidian-style overall narrative (and I don’t mean a Secret World/KotOR-style story-based game – just a larger sense of purpose). But as I say, there’s still time for that to be gently laid over the top. At the moment, you’re a part of a much smaller story, little threads that you follow along, meandering through more driven by the desire for a new pair of boots than learning whether the latest blatantly nefarious evil wizard is evil or not. I’m concerned that they’re being a touch hubristic going with just beta weekends, rather than a more extensive beta for the many glitches and issues to be worked out. But the one expectation I didn’t have was to be drawn in by the traditions of MMO afresh, and that’s what happened.


  1. Skamberin says:

    From the videos and other articles I’ve seen the game look rather good. The combat alone is what’s appealing to me. Grounding players and removing the stupid floaty zero contact bullshit of WoW and other MMOs seems to be the best direction they could have taken.
    Also hilarious ragdolls affected by the strength of a killing blow is always a plus.

    • Danarchist says:

      The first time I blasted a guy out a window with a killing blow I actually giggled. It is an odd thing to hear a 40yr old 250 lb man giggle, especially if you are that man.

      I had pretty much the same mind as our RPS brain master here, I started playing and thought “Oh great, WoW clone…” but a few hours later I was still playing. I cant put my thumb on it exactly, but there is something here that draws me in. Especially once I figured out how to turn bloom off.

      Some of the models are insanely well rendered and voiced while the majority seem to be place holders. I remember a elven fighter of some sort around when I was fighting orcs having quite a bit more detail than other characters I had seen so I am hoping that’s what everything will look like eventually.

      I obsessively made content for Neverwinter the previous, I can’t wait to port some of those campaigns over to this one :) My sentient golem campaign is still being played by people today, I get emails every now and then on my old hotmail account asking for new stuff hehe.

    • Shooop says:

      But is it powerful to send her flying through a window?

      • t1gerdog says:

        Your sister made $69 an hour on the last thread about gaming too! I’m sold!

        • utharda says:

          I dunno, assuming no withholding of any kind, she still had to pull more than 255 hours last month to make that much money at $69 an hour. That is a little over 63 hours a week. To net, past the tax man you’re looking at more like 80 hour weeks.

    • Maxheadroom says:

      I’m going to keep an open mind, but i’m just so tired of elves, dragons and beardy wizards in my MMOs
      What I really want to see is something like Neocron or Secret World but, y’know, good

      • iucounu says:

        Or in any fantasy setting. I really can’t take much more elf, dwarf, orc stuff. I was profoundly disappointed that Project Eternity is apparently sticking so close to that template.

      • Azovyr says:

        I have the opposite opinion here. I grew up reading traditional high fantasy novels and collected Warhammer miniatures, played pen and paper and all the rest. Yep I am a nerd…. and I greatly prefer the familiar races and settings that I can identify with – even if they are done again and again so long as they are done well, I love em. If they keep making orcs and undead I get to bash them. That’s never a bad thing am I right?

    • Dachannien says:

      Tell her to get back to work, or she’s fired again.

    • Godsmith says:

      $69 an hour and $17633 means approximately 8.5 hours a day sitting in front of the computer. That’s more than a few hours.

  2. Terry Wogan says:

    I’m half looking forward to this, but being completely free to play I’m worried it’ll be pay to win.

    • Tuskin38 says:

      Check out their other two F2P MMOs, Star Trek Online and Champions Online.

      Star Trek Online has a less advanced version of the Foundry mission maker that Neverwinter has.

    • Choca says:

      Cryptic free to play MMOs so far are not so much ‘Pay to win” as “Pay if you ever want to get some new content someday”.

      This one will have no subscription plan whatsoever though, so it might be different.

      • tyren says:

        They’ve said a sub won’t be required, which is true of their other free-to-play games, but I don’t think they ever said there would or wouldn’t be a subscription option. They’ve been pretty quiet about their business model in general though. Honestly their cash shop will probably be what determines whether I give the game a chance or not.

        • Choca says:

          First time they showed us the game, Jack Emmert insisted that this was their first full free to play MMO and that they would never add a subscription option.

          I would not be surprised if they did at some point though.

  3. Strangerator says:

    Player created content sounds pretty excellent. Also like the “not staring at hotkeys”.

    • shamblemonkee says:

      but inevitably player generated content always reduces down to the most popular being the following;

      *something rubbish and/or bring but nets a high xp efficiency
      * SEX!!!!!!11
      * both of the above

      • Marinetastic says:

        Rescue the busty elf wench B’oobs Begiant and her brother, the slutty bard Richard, from the grasp of Exxp the magical loot pinata

      • Durkonkell says:

        Actually, Star Trek Online’s top rated foundry missions are pretty much always the ones with the best written or best told story, with additional points for actually being star-trekky rather than MMO-y. Don’t be so cynical.

        • rusty5pork says:

          He has every right to be cynical, because that’s what killed City of Heroes. It all depends on the kind of community that grows around the game.

      • Choca says:

        Actually, you’d be surprised by what is popular in the Star Trek Online Foundry. It’s mostly narrative heavy, little to no fighting stuff that gets higlighted.

        The whole “Quick XP” thing gets pointless fast in a game where getting XP is already absurdly fast in normal conditions.

      • Strangerator says:

        Pull a lever, massive boulder falls on a dragon’s head, full exp all around!

        I’d imagine it would be better if there were some kind of approval process whereby actual in-game benefits would be withheld until the content was approved by somebody at the company. Someone looks at the highest rated ones played by over XXX number of unique players and makes a decision to possibly upgrade the quest to canon status, and allow the quest with any rewards it has in place. If the developers deem it to be smut or otherwise unworthy of their game, they could ask the maker to take it down or change it.

        • aliksy says:

          I hope that most of the players would move on from the “fast XP!!” dungeons after a short while. I mean, what’s the point? It’d be like playing Tetris with a “only straight pieces” hack. Fun for a little while, but quickly boring.

        • mackster2289 says:

          Actually, I read in some preview about the Foundry (don’t remember where sorry) that they plan on having a review board of sorts for each submitted quest. Something like 5 approved users play through it first to make sure its not exploiting anything or ridiculously offensive or something.

  4. PoulWrist says:

    MMOs in the typical modern formula, free to play ones in particular, lose all sense of setting, generally becoming a hollow game. The overtly gamey attempt at building a world makes things absurd and flat. The always poor attempt at mixing a singleplayer campaign into a multiplayer setting, completely seperate from the other players is no help at all.

    This? It’ll be no different. It’ll suck. It’ll probably make some money and have some rabid fanboys. But it’ll still suck, because it’s a genre that has left behind everything that made it special.

    • John Walker says:

      Well, I spent a weekend playing it, and it didn’t suck.

      • PoulWrist says:

        Perhaps you enjoy this “new” way of handling things more than I do. The old MMOs and the way they handled world building was far preferable in my opinion than what we have today. I can’t play any new MMOs for more than a few minutes before the whole experience collapses around me and every tiny bit of suspension of disbelief is lost. For no other reason, apparently, than it’s what is expected of the genre.
        To make an attempt at looking like it’s trying, but not really. For instance, The Secret World undermines itself completely by being an MMO, so much so that it almost turns around and becomes an ironic statement on the genre… but it doesn’t quite, and instead it’s just a sucky game that could’ve been great had it not been an MMO and burdened by the terrible, terrible run-of-the-mill design that they all follow.
        There’s all the “oh FPS these days are just CoD clones and they all suck” etc., but MMOs just keep coming out even more generic than the latest CoD clone, and they don’t even have the scandalous properties of the likes of Medal of Honor, no, they’re just bland, dull, mealy tasting experiences without any real impact on anything anywhere.

        • Strangerator says:

          I share your frustrations. There is a market for games in which the world feels genuine, and even though the market is smaller, people are willing to pay ridiculous amounts of money for the privilege. Click below if you dare.

          link to play.net

          That’s a text-based game, you’ll note. And yes, that’s 50 dollars per month. People actually pay for it. It released February 1996, and since it is graphics-less (except for the pictures in your head), it is just as good now as when it released (better arguably, development is continuous). Regular subscriptions are around what you’d pay for any other MMO, although they are developing an introductory level “free to play” that caps your level.

          Most MMO’s are like movies in which the characters CONSTANTLY look at the camera. What’s more, the movies are all so wonderfully horrible that nobody cares when 95 percent of the theater is talking to one another about work, swearing loudly, or even screaming at the top of their lungs. If you go to movie with the intention of watching it, people actually insult and ridicule you for being so stupid. That’s about how I feel about the modern MMO’s process of immersion. The idea isn’t really to immerse anyone into anything. They are all totally self aware, and practically beat you over the head with the fact that they are “only games” and not actual worlds you should care about.

          “But, they ARE only game worlds, so why shouldn’t they be able to be ultra-gamey?” Again, I feel like a person in a world where the industry standard is actors looking at the camera, arguing for the concept of not breaking the fourth wall. “Why shouldn’t they? People know they’re in a movie. What’s the harm in reminding them?”

          There is a sizable untapped, albeit currently niche, market for people who want authenticity (and many more who do not yet know that they want authenticity). These people pay exhorbitant sums for text-based online games, and would likely be drawn into an enforced-roleplay single shard game. “But, you can roleplay in any online game if you want, just form a special group.” It doesn’t change the fact that you are still being stared at by the actors and people are still acting like jackasses in the theater around you.

          In fact, an authentic MMORPG would almost have to target a smaller audience from the start. No microtransactions, maybe a slightly higher monthly sub fee. But let people have a month free, and make it so damned unapologetically authentic that people will either run screaming in terror for the comfort and coddling of other MMOs, or be completely absorbed and converted for life. And yes, there must be a way to permanently die, but make it so that it only happens if you are really irresponsible or you are doing it intentionally.

  5. darkChozo says:

    As someone who hasn’t really had any interest in MMORPGs to this point, this actually looks rather interesting. The more ARPG-style combat looks rather fun, and it’s refreshingly meaty-looking for an MMO.

    Also, this looks like it could be a game that would bridge a gap between me and some of my not-so-hardcore-gamer friends without boring me to tears. So yeah, interesting.

    • f1x says:

      ARPG combat is a welcome thing, specially for regular MMO players,
      after playing Tera for example is hard to go back to “normal” combat (WoW style)

      And its F2P (which is not a good thing usually) but means at least I could give a try and if its sucks.. well …nothing lost

      • socrate says:

        For me ARPG isn’t that fun…it usually feel like a hack and slash more then an RPG,with strategy and element of tactic to it almost removed or really dumbed down usually you tend to lose on both tactic and strategy for the sake of making it more action oriented…sure you dodge and thats really really fun but the part about you doing the same thing over and over just bring us back with the same problem usual MMO have…its being that they get repetitive quite fast.

        The thing out of many many that bother me with this is that it look actually more plastic and cartoony then D&D should ever look and quite frankly the more stuff from D&D that keep coming out the less im interested in any D&D game at all with the way they keep screwing up and making horrible move.

        Cryptic also are quite frankly rubbish and just in it for the quick cash in so far,i have yet to see them put any real effort and dedication on their MMO and they keep always mass making them non stop with no real devotion to them…most of them should actually be single player game cause they almost all end up being horrible Multiplayer experience and im not going to even go with the MMO since they don’t at all represent that industry well at all…they tend to make them cheap and mostly use copy+paste of existing thing with nothing really interesting other then a new paint job which isn’t that incredible to start with…i mean at this point why not go back to WoW,Tera or GW2 since they do pretty much everything better and you might aswell in the case of WoW and GW2 pay for it.

        Also to me player made content in these game usually mean “we don’t have time and money or imagination to make cool content so we let the player make it’ and how will it turn out do i have to actually buy stuff with money to make my dungeon more unique and interesting then other player?….will it turn out that the most efficient dungeon is the more popular one?

        For me so far F2P usually mean cheap and crappy in MMO…Tera is meh so far but not that much more…feel extremely asian still and grindy in the end to a point were i miss WoW sadly….the thing is WoW feel like the only MMO these days because it feel actually like im not alone unlike these other “MMO” and it also feel like im not restricted and yeah sure it was dumbed down to a brain dead point but really thats not blizzard issue its the player skill issue of gamer these days….you teach them to be stupid twitch gamer with no brain…what do you expect?game are more and more for stupid people…so people with some brain adapt

        The problem ive seen in ARPG is that 99% of the people ive seen in WoW don’t even know how to decently dps or to tank or heal…and then they ask for more action oriented combat?….from what ive seen they whine about this then they try stuff like Tera and GW2 and realise that they suck even more at dodging hit and being actually good compared to following a simple rotation that they can’t even follow in the first place…and worst then this they won’t even admit it they will just say “this game is bad ” or “WOW this suck” instead of admiting that they are the problem and that they won’t put the effort in improving themself and blame the game for it,ARPG doesn’t “FIX” MMO for people like this thats what dev need to understand…people are moron,im not saying WoW as perfect combat…im just saying its just a different combat system that as been tested and proved to work and that you can input LOAD of interesting fight with this system…its different its just that.

  6. Choca says:

    They really shot themselves in the foot by calling the game Neverwinter.

    All I heard during the public beta week-end were people complaining that this wasn’t using D&D 3.5 and people puzzled for some reason that it was not a sequel to Neverwinter Nights.

    I’m not sure anyone realizes that the game is actually based on the latest series of Drizzt O’Boring books by R.A. Salvatore.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Ugh. D&D rules were always haphazard and murky, thank goodness they don’t have to try and shoehorn 3.5 into a computer online setup. I sure hope the Salvatore source material has better world building in it, because the first couple of books of his I tried to read were real duds. Though that was mostly just laughable characterization.

      Maybe the NeverWinter thing will bite them in the butt, but investors are like frightened children when it comes to plunking down money for anything that is not an established ‘Name’. Could be that the money guys don’t have much grasp of quality anyway, so possibly that reasoning isn’t completely wrong.

      I do like hearing that various folks found it drew them in. More good games = good.

  7. Tei says:

    Looks like DDO 2.0, and thats not a bad thing. But is good enough to be good?

    • Choca says:

      I don’t know if that makes sense but DDO was more “playing D&D in a MMO” whereas Neverwinter feels more like “playing a MMO in D&D”.

    • DK says:

      The Combat is fantastic. It does action MMO combat even better than Guild Wars 2 did. Suprisingly by making most attacks lock you in place instead of letting you run all over the place while hitting/casting.

      That, combined with the fact you can cancel the startup of all your animations with your class-specific dodge move (or block in case of Guardian), means combat is incredibly tactical. You can dodge enemy attacks by taking a step back. Or running behind them while they wind up. But because you have the same limitation it’s a matter of combat awareness – do you want to hit that guy, knowing you might get hit back? Do you focus on dodging (manually and with the stamina limited dodge move) and whittling down the minions?

      And most importantly, all of that matters because health does not regenerate.

      Oh yes and it has the best hit animations I’ve ever seen in an MMO. You’ll see the enemy visibly getting staggered from whatever direction you’ve just whacked them from – and your killing blow makes them go ragdoll, which is great fun.

    • -Spooky- says:

      D&D: O = Eberron // Neverwinter = Forgotten Realms .. In fact: Both CAN´T be the same.

  8. Erithtotl says:

    I haven’t paid much attention to this but the fact the whole foundry thing might change everything for me. It’s essentially the dream of the high end graphical MUD that old MUD players have dreamed of for decades. maybe.

    Will have to check it out.

  9. derella says:

    Cryptic haven’t impressed me with their more recent work, but because it is F2P I will definitely try it out when it is released. If I had to buy it, I would not.

  10. TsunamiWombat says:

    I’m still bitter that it’s not the original Neverwinter Nights, an MMO maker in a box complete with a DM client.

    • Harlander says:

      You’re far from alone with that one.

      (Remember how customisable the original NWN was? I remember playing in a Firefly mod.. We shan’t see the like of that again soon)

  11. Brun says:

    I’m not sure how trading “hotkeys” for left and right click and a few other abilities a la Díablo is really a trade at all. So I’m trading the 1 and 2 keys for LMB and RMB? Explain how this is a huge improvement over typical MMO combat.

    Maybe it’s because in WoW I played a class with a short global cooldown and a fast damage-dealing rhythm (Cat Druid), but I’ve never understood the hate for hotkey-based combat, because you can boil almost every RPG and Action game down to pressing buttons to kill stuff, which is exactly what hotkey combat is.

    EDIT: Also, really annoying that I can’t say Díablo without it getting filtered as spam. WTF is up with that.

    • aliksy says:

      Complaining about “hotkey combat” isn’t really complaining about the control scheme, usually. It’s more a complaint about detached gameplay where you press keys, watch animations, but don’t have a lot of involvement. Sometimes the animations are completely detached from what “happens”- that’s your bullets turning 270 degrees or your giant meteor strike not phasing people. In most MMOs you can’t dodge the slow moving missile that’s tossed at you. You certainly can’t dodge a melee attack. And on top of all that, most fights are somewhat deterministic based on your stats rather than player input.

      Compare to other games (what I jokingly refer to as “real games”), where you can win or lose by playing smart. Look at Dark Souls or Magicka. That’s the opposite of what I think of as “hot key combat.”

      Let’s look closer at Magicka. You could say it’s hot key combat. You’ve got 8 elements bound to 8 keys , and then 4 keybinds for how to cast. You do things like hit ‘f’ and then right click to make a flamethrower, E and right click to make a shield. Seems like hotkey combat when you say it like that, doesn’t it? But that doesn’t capture how quickly you can enter new spells, how they interact, how you can dodge and teleport and interrupt. You’re never standing there pressing ‘d’, then ‘d’ again, then ‘f’, then back to ‘d’. There’s no ‘rotation’ to follow.

      edit: All of that said, I have no idea if this neverwinter MMO is ‘stand there and watch your moves’ or not. I’m hearing it’s less so than typical MMOs.

    • ffordesoon says:

      Yeah, it’s the feeling of disconnection from your character in an ostensibly real-time environment that’s irritating.

      Also, LMB and RMB are much easier to press than hotkeys, which are in a relatively uncomfortable place given the importance of their job.

  12. BigJonno says:

    Crappy story, but with a strong chance of being worth it thanks to player-created content? Sounds like Neverwinter Nights to me!

  13. Suits says:

    From the way i heard the devs talk, i really got the feeling they got how players want to be treated, so i’m looking forward to trying this for myself. And i guess Perfect World isn’t the worst publisher

  14. Geen says:

    Why do people in MMOs seem unable to wear shirts/bras/pants -.-

    • DK says:

      They specifically have a shirt and pants inventory slot in Neverwinter. The stuff you wear under your armor that has the stats.

      • Josh W says:

        Magical underwear! That’s perfectly logical given concerns about functionality vs cosmetics, which makes it even more amusing to think of people hunting through dank dungeons for it.

  15. imralizal says:

    I find myself surprisingly interested in this. Fantasy MMO / RPG’s seem a dime a dozen, and WOW didn’t draw me in at all, but this seems like classic D&D, which I have soft spot for. The combat looks really fun. I really like the move away from dozens of redundant abilities to a more streamlined, tactical approach. Cryptic seems to be really good at designing systems. I’m still kind of shocked how much more interesting and enjoyable space combat is in STO versus EVE. Your mileage will vary, of course, but while I dropped EVE after 9 months and have not had even an inkling to ever return, I still find myself popping into STO on a semi regular basis because it’s just a lot of fun to play. And to their credit, Cryptic are continuing to greatly improve the game year after year, adding or overhauling entire systems, not just tweaking the inventory window, so I’m certain that this game will improve as time goes on as well.

  16. Snargelfargen says:

    The best reference for this is the persistent worlds from Neverwinter Nights, which Cryptic seem to be trying to recreate in true MMO form. Some of the community content was really good, so there’s a potential community already there and it isn’t all Skyrim monkey-cheese and anime boobs. The first Neverwinter game also had a piss-poor campaign which was basically only there to give purchasers something to do and as a sort of proof of concept for what would later be developed.

    That said Neverwinter’s persistent worlds could also become really weird and insular. It’s going to be interesting to see how this turns out.

  17. Moraven says:

    How was the mission builder in CoH? I imagine since this will be 3rd generation of the utility you will be given more. (Played CoH for the first year of release)

  18. goettel says:

    The obvious question seems to be: “will this kill off DDO” ?

  19. empty_other says:

    Im just happy there is finally an MMO i dont have to keep holding down my mousebutton (unless Planetside 2 counts as an MMO, in which case this is the second game with this feature).

  20. Rollin says:

    “Your character pops up sharing the same spot as the other three people to spawn at the same time as you, you run forward to the first person with a ? above their head, and you run where they tell you to”

    Sounds so exciting. They’ve really innovated here.

  21. paddymaxson says:

    This is quite heartening!

    I’ve been umming and ahhing about whether I liked the look of it (there’s a bit difference between watching some gimp do a livestream and plying a game yourself) and it looked kind of unfun to watch, having it described by someone on RPS certainly makes it sound a bit better than it looks.

    Those combat animations are still mostly abysmal though (that spear of light Clerics have is disgusting).

  22. floweringmind says:

    After playing Neverwinter MMO for quite some time, my excitement for the game is beige. About as exciting as dead grass.

    The only interesting things in this game are the adventure creation and the npc vendor who suggest equipment to wear. The fact that it touts being a D&D game and then finding out there is no, none, nothing that is D&D, well that doesn’t bode well. I could understand dumbing down some of the D&D mechanics, but gutting the system to the point of hey we will give you 2 die rolls for stats are almost meaningless, sucks the fun out of it. You do see a speck of D&D by the use of words such as drow.

    This proceeds into more meaningless character creation that is all looks and no substance. Here let us give you the appearance of having lots of skills, but sorry we are kinda of control freaks and you can only choose a couple of pointless skills after 10th. These skills also have almost nothing to do with your character class. I don’t know why classes are even in this game. Because every class can solo to their hearts content. Basically you have the fighter, the fighters brother, and finally the fighter. All the classes are the same.

    I say this because the cleric isn’t a cleric because I had to use heal potions to heal myself. Self healing is almost useless. If anything you are fighter mage.

    The thief is by far the most interesting, but once again you aren’t a thief. There is nothing thief like except for flipping around the screen in cool ways. I never once found myself disarming traps out of a real need or being finding it useful to sneak past creatures or picking locks because I was blocked. There just isn’t a need for the thief, just like the cleric. It is just fight this and fight that.

    Sure the game looks kinda of pretty, but try talking to any of the npcs walking around. YOU CAN”T. It is a dead world. But that is the way the entire game is. Pretty appearances with nothing underneath. I could almost play the game blindfolded. You click on this npc, go from point a to point b, fight some creatures, hit some traps that can’t be disarmed and really aren’t deadly, because everyone has heal potions (another reason no one needs clerics), and fight a boss monster. Do it again and again.

    Usually the one thing that saves many MMOs is character creation, but in this game you don’t notice it. None of the quests were really that interesting. Nothing encouraged me to group up with anyone. D&D is all about the group, yet this has none of it.

    The storyline is fluff and meaningless. I never once felt like a hero, just some idiot who did what he was told. The begining makes it out like Neverwinter is under attack and for the first 10 levels, there is nothing going on. Just silly task quests.Why aren’t you first involved in saving the city before you go on all these stupid quests??

    I really thought cryptic might have learned from it’s old mistakes, but no. I even thought, hey Turbine has a great D&D game, even though the graphics are getting outdated and maybe they would take some cues from there, but no. Then there is GW2, maybe they would get innovative with that, but no.

    The game isn’t really bad, and it isn’t really great and it isn’t D&D and it isn’t really anything but beige and bland. Go try RaiderZ which is by perfect world and it is a million times more exciting and is free to play as well. The character classes are great, the story is great and the combat is way more exciting.

    The combat in this game is like you are stuck to the floor with honey and it is struggle to move out of the way. The red areas that special attacks land in often hit you even if you have jumped out of the way (maybe this is a timing issue they haven’t fixed). Eventually it almost seems pointless when you can land a few more attacks and kill the creature and pound down a heal potion. Also sometimes it also seem pointless due to the sheer number of red circles that they put down. You jump out of the way only to land into another red area. I never once felt threatened or scared. I mean my 12th level cleric could take down a 19th level ogre with no problem. This game just babies the hell of you to the point that you aren’t even challenged. It almost makes you want to play Wizardy Online for to feel of being challenged again.

  23. Shooop says:

    Can we get more in-depth with the combat?

    Is it still a game of having enough people attacking a boss monster at a time to carve through its insane amount of hit points or will there be some finesse required?

  24. syndicatedragon says:

    Does this have implicit co-op i.e. exp sharing etc. like GW2 or does it have the rather annoying model of “owning” kills?

  25. Atrak says:

    I wonder how long until the first Cryptic/Perfect World Entertainment brand (no)chance™ boxes appear with dragon mounts and vorpal swords in them?