Remembered Realms: Neverwinter’s Beta Starts Today-ish

Neverwinter goes into a proper open beta very soon (today in fact, for those with the head start, 30th for the plebs), and we’ll finally be able to have enough time with it to properly get to grips. The all-too-short beta weekends have shown a game that’s definitely bursting with potential, not least because of the Foundry in which users can create their own in-game quests and campaigns for others to play. Also, today is the day that Perfect World release the one billionth trailer for the game! Congratulations all involved.

This one’s all about devils. They don’t seem to be very nice.

So those who’ve paid for the Hero Of The North Founder Pack should get beta access today. Those who got the cheaper Guardian Of Neverwinter Founder Pack get in on Saturday. And then the hoi polloi can pile in to the free-to-play game on Monday. Of course those packs aren’t cheap – like, crazy not cheap. To get in today costs $200, also getting you a bunch of unique in-game stuff For Saturday it’s still a hefty $60, along with some different in-game guff. But, as they recently pointed out, playing the game could save you tens of millions of dollars! (They are joking, irony sufferers.)


  1. Drayk says:

    That advertisment is pretty funny…

    But i am disapointed that mages don’t get fly or spider climbs spells…

  2. BwenGun says:

    Hmm… I must admit I am tempted to try this when the free beta arrives. But having not played any of the Beta Weekends I have virtually no idea what the game is going to be like (i.e. is it fun). So, anyone whose played the Beta weekends have any insight into what the game is like?

    • derella says:

      I only played it for a few hours before I felt myself wanting to play something else. The content is very Cryptic Studios — quests are essentially a mixture of open world(collect x, kill x) and instanced stuff(systematically clear generic halls/rooms of trash until you get to the end and fight a slightly tougher enemy), presented by forgettable NPCs with AWFUL voice acting.

      The Foundry sounds like it has a lot of potential, but I don’t know how much freedom creators have while using it.

      Despite that, I do plan on giving it a more thorough go once I’m done with what I’m currently playing.

      • Snidesworth says:

        I had exactly the same experience. I played the beta weekend for a few hours and it pretty much did nothing to keep me interested. The combat felt meaty but everything else was standard clunky MMO fare.

    • Humanji says:

      As others have said, it’s fun, but so far doesn’t have that much of a hook to keep you wanting to play. The Foundry could be what sets it apart from other games. It’ll take a couple of months before users are comfortable enough with it to be making any really epic quests, but even the ones presented in the Beta weekends show that it’s got potential.

      It’s a perfect game if you want something light and don’t have the time of patience to sink years of your life into.

  3. Drachasor says:

    Why would anyone give this the time of day? It’s by Cryptic Studios! They make crappy MMOs that are focused mostly on bleeding you of money for minimum content.

    I’ve been rather shocked RPS hasn’t mentioned how the most recent games they made were Champions Online and Star Trek Online — two horrible games.

    I suppose it is possible they could suddenly change their stripes, but I doubt it. I wouldn’t touch this with a 10′ pole.

  4. Blackcompany says:

    Disclaimer: I HOPE I am wrong, this time.

    But man. $60 – $200 to get into Beta. Perfect World. Cryptic. Wizards of the Coast and their parent company Hasbro. And of course their IP Dungeons and Dragons.

    No offense to fans, but this reads like a whose who list of companies fresh out of ideas where game design is concerned. PW are, well…they’re perfect world. When have they done something original? And the same goes for Wizards. They’ve been remaking the same mechanics in MTG for a decade now. And D&D, well….the last thing online video games need, are more table top mechanics and hidden die rolls in the background determining the things we should be determining with our own skill and precision.

    As I said, I hope I’m wrong. But you put this list of companies on a project, and frankly I don’t see how it could be any good.

    • Humanji says:

      The game is free, so it’s not like people are losing out by giving it a try to find out for themselves.

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        Well… If they pay $200 to get in, they are losing something. They’re losing $200 to be specific.

        • Humanji says:

          Only if they think it’s a waste. And if you’re paying €200 for that pack, then you obviously don’t think it’s a waste, otherwise they wouldn’t be paying it.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            Even if you think it’s worth it – you’ve still lost the $200.

          • Reefpirate says:

            “Even if you think it’s worth it – you’ve still lost the $200.”

            That’s not how trading works. You exchange your $200 for something that you value more than $200. So you come out ahead so long as that valuation holds up (ie. if you like the game that much).

    • Derpa says:

      “same mechanics in MTG for a decade now.”

      Um what? How exactly have they?

    • Reefpirate says:

      You had me until you pulled that ‘hidden die rolls vs. human skill/precision’ funny bit. There are good and proper places to use ‘die rolls’, or randomization, to simulate the abilities of a character rather than test the fine motor skills of the user.

      Whether or not I can click on the right place on the screen at the right time is often a lot less exciting to me than seeing whether or not a particular character with a particular set of skills and attributes can succeed in damaging, out-maneuvering or out-thinking some other character with particular attributes.

      • Blackcompany says:


        I actually agree with you regarding die rolls and hidden numbers having their place. I play XCOM and now the King’s Bounty series of Turn based games. Likewise, I cannot wait for Wasteland 2. And I actually wish Obsidian, with their writing and world building skills, could return fallout to turn based, party based RPG glory. I thoroughly believe that, in the right games, hidden numbers, die rolls and spreadsheets, even, have their place – and I am not being sarcastic.

        However, I also believe that “their place” is not in my action game. And this game has already stated its desire to utilize an action oriented combat system. I just hope they stick to their guns there, instead of trying for the truly awful hybrid system of action + die rolls + stats that action RPG’s sometimes go for (I am, honestly, looking at Bethesda on this one.)

        And as for MTG…how many more times can they sell you “Add a +1/+1 counter when…” before you start to see that they really, truly, are out of ideas for that game. And this is, sadly, coming from someone who loved MTG to an unhealthy degree for years on end. In the last 5 – 10 years the only truly new “mechanics” they have added were Planeswalkers, which helped to ruin the game for anyone on a reasonable budget, and mythic rares, which finished nailing the coffin closed for people who like to pay their bills each month.

        And…and the Werewolf flip cards. FIRST you make playing without sleeves annoying if not impossible, and THEN you go and completely drop the ball on the whole transformation part of the mechanic. Day/Night should have been a global thing, and all the cards flipped accordingly. Add in cards to change the time, and a single counter to track it. But no, my opponent got to decide what my cards did for 6 months. And that was there ONE new mechanic in recent memory….except it was really only a remake of “flip” cards from Kamigawa.

        It pains me to say it, but Wizards really is fresh out of ideas.

  5. Siamese Almeida says:

    Yet *another* MMO that looks exactly like WoW. I don’t give half a remote fuck what the gameplay is like if they insist on perpetuating this uninspired cartoony crap visual style.

    These are worlds you’re supposed to spend months — nay — years in. Where’s the atmosphere? How am I supposed to get immersed in this? I got nothing against cartoony visual styles per se, but there’s a pretty distinct disconnect between the setting and the visuals here. Also, if you’re gonna do cartoony, at the very least try to be original and don’t just make another carbon copy of WoW.

    May well be I’m full of shit though. Maybe the designers of these games know exactly what they’re doing. Just saying that there’s possibly an untapped chunk of the audience that would be willing to try out MMOs if only they didn’t all look like bubblegum wrappers.

    • Grey Ganado says:

      I’m pretty sure the cartoonish art style is based on the other Neverwinter games that have a cartoonish art style.

      • bubblewraps says:

        Grey Ganado, Neverwinter Nights 1 had *simple* graphics rather than cartoonish, and NWN 2 went for a realistic look. That siad, Neverwinter doesn’t look that “cartoony” to me, really.

  6. Ezhar says:

    I’ve played around some with the beta and wasn’t impressed. Graphics were okay, and while the storyline was mildly interesting, progressing it consisted of a series of boring run-around tasks with some dull combat thrown in. Plus a lot of “spend $$$ to extract this crafting resource” kind of stuff.

  7. corinoco says:

    Could the MMO fad do us all a favour and die sometime around June? Thanks.

    I’d love a new NWN, but MMO? Nah, sorry.

    • Reefpirate says:

      I don’t know how you can call it a fad after they’ve been around and making big money for more than a decade now.

    • Kronikle says:

      Oh cool another person on RPS who hates MMOs. Thanks for your contribution!

  8. Crosmando says:

    It saddens me greatly to see the once great D&D being used for an MMO ARPG, we are talking about one of the oldest and most well developed turn-based systems around… why

    • -Spooky- says:

      Coz DDO sucks?

      • bubblewraps says:

        Having played both this and having played DDO extensively, I am of the opposite opinion. DDO is the far superior game both when it comes to D&D elements and when it comes to gameplay and character building.

    • aliksy says:

      D&D/d20 3.x is a horrible system. Absolutely horrible. I think earlier versions are also kind of bad, but I don’t know them very well. Same for 4e.

      • Claidheamh says:

        This is true, but Next seems to be a huge improvement.

      • Arglebargle says:

        D&D has always been a slap-dash designed affair. Probably the reason so many game developers, ah, developed, is due to them having to fix the gaping holes in the D&D system for their local campaigns. The 2nd Edition may be the best (or at least most versatile) system. However, 4th Edition at least was well organized and made some sense, even if its genesis in MMO design is not to your liking.

        Loads of other PnP mechanics systems handle things better. That said, NeverWinter is somewhat tertiary in relationship to 4th Ed.

  9. -Spooky- says:

    And haters gonna hate. I read no rly constructive critics here. *lol* Only some pub babblefish.

    • Sigh says:

      Hi Spooky,

      Thanks for stopping by to share your constructive criticism. I enjoyed reading your contribution.

  10. razgon says:

    Fun game, with lots of neat things to explore. It has a lot in common with many other MMO’s, but then again, thats the genre.

    Personally, I can’t wait for more foundry quests, since the ones I’ve seen so far (Player Generated content) were VERY good.

    • bubblewraps says:

      Yes, the Foundry is one of the more interesting elements to the game, but it’s hidden away beneath and behind so many bad things.

      I would not recommend Neverwinter to anyone expecting a D&D experience, but I’m sure it has an appeal to a lot of other players. We’ve yet to see just how much PW will nickel and dime the players six months after launch, too.

  11. Lagwolf says:

    Didn’t get in the beta so no idea about this title. Reactions to it seemed to be mixed however.

  12. vanosofmanos says:

    Having played this, I’ve got to say I enjoyed it quite a bit. For those arguing that it’s not a D&D experience, I’m going to have to say they’re flat out wrong. It’s a very good translation of D&D 4th Edition, and plays like I’d expect a game based off that rule system to play. That is, perhaps, part of it’s problem though: it’s coming out at a time when the D&D fan base is still kind of fractured over 3rd/4th Edition, while there’s already a MMO out there that caters strictly to the 3rd edition part of the fan base.

    I’m kind of excited for is the Foundry content. The idea of being able to essentially level through the game by entirely doing player generated dungeons/storylines is very cool. I kind of think I’m more interested in messing around with the Foundry tools than actually playing the game, which fits my tabletop tendencies.

    The one thing I don’t like is how they’re calling their actual game release “Open Beta”. My bullshit-o-meter detects that as code for “Game’s not finished, but we’ve got to launch it to make some money and we’re calling it open beta so no one can be angry at us for putting out an unfinished game. Because we didn’t. Because it’s Open Beta, not Release!” It just seems really disingenuous and shady to me, but that’s probably because I’m very leery of game launches after being burned so many damned times. Especially after this year so far…

    • Kronikle says:

      I’m glad at least someone has something nice to say about this game instead of the usual “MMOs need to die!”, “This looks like WoW so it sucks!”, or “Cryptic? This game sucks already even though I’ve never played it!”. I’ve played in two beta weekends and absolutely adore this game. I have some gripes with it like the limited number of starting classes for now and not being able to equip similar gear on different classes, but overall my experience has been nothing but positive. The combat in the game is better than any other MMO I’ve ever played. It just feels so satisfying right from the start and it only gets better as you learn new skills. I’m also really excited for the Foundry and the creative endeavors that will come from it. In the limited time during the beta weekends that people were able to use it, I got to experience some really solid, engaging campaigns that players created. I can only imagine how awesome the scenarios are going to be when people actually have months to work on them instead of days.

      • Drachasor says:

        Honestly, I heard some people say the same thing about STO before it came out. That it was great and awesome. Fact is, the combat was mildly good, but repetitive, and the overall game was far, far more repetitive and shallow.

        Ignoring what company is making a game is not a wise move. Cryptic makes shallow games that have little depth and hence grow old very quickly. They don’t update the content very well. Now they are trying to get the player-base to do content for them, but given STO, the abilities here are likely to be severely limited.

        But some people will always be taken in by the flash and bang. But the sort that would play STO for a year or more are not the vast majority of consumers, even MMO consumers. And there’s nothing unreasonable about pointing this out or pointing out Cryptics horrible history of game development. If anything, it is negligent reporting to not mention how a developer has such a justifiably terrible reputation.

      • Arglebargle says:

        NeverWinter will live or die on the success of The Foundry. The rest of the game is just there to provide the setting, but there’s not enough of it to provide serious investment.

        I was kinda impressed with the quality of names of characters playing in the Betas. Some serious D&D alts there, and not a lot of dumbass stuff.

        • Drachasor says:

          It’s called cashing in on the IP. STO was similar. Cryptic likes to use an IP to sell their games, since otherwise they’d be total flops.

  13. nrvsNRG says:

    I played in 2 beta weekends and was really unimpressed tbh.(got given keys by freind who has bought the $60 pack)
    The lack of polish, the game breaking bugs and the extremely laggy server may be fixed over time ( i woundlnt count on it tho), but the combat, quests and look of the game just feels cheap, and the cost of items is ridiculous unless you feel like farming forever.
    Really crappy basically.

  14. Firesaber says:

    After how Cryptic does the bare minimum amount of work in Champions and Star Trek Online I think I will be skipping this one and probably anything they ever make again.

    I got to try the Foundry in STO, and its ok, but its VERY VERY limited in what you can do. It kept me busy a week or two and then I ran into the artificial limitations and ceiling and that was that.

    Also its REALLY annoying that Cryptic have a tendency to make their environments 2-3x larger in scale to characters. You make a custom level that never looks right IN game compared to in the Foundry.

  15. imralizal says:

    Cryptic’s work is not entirely without mechanical merit. The combat looks fun, if derivative. The (space) combat in STO is also fun, and considerably more novel and sophisticated besides. But as with all Cryptic games, every interaction that involves money will leave a bad taste in your mouth. You have to pay to change your character name or to respec, as it seems you would have to here, even as a subscriber. As of the new expansion in May it seems you’ll have to pay to alter any detail of your avatar. But that’s just the window dressing. They want $20 per ship most of the time, $50 other times, plus whatever ships you buy just to take their special abilities, plus untold hours of grinding the same handful of missions to come up the requisite 700 different types of currency required to purchase anything. If you could just buy the game outright it might be worth the purchase if you were into that sort of thing, but the fact that it is a free to play MMO that has to sell you stuff to exist is evident from every aspect of the design. It’s enough to put me off free to play games altogether. Power creep and the resulting lack of balance undermine the only thing that (sometimes) works in STO (combat), as I guarantee it will here (insert grumpy old person complaint about how this “Star Trek” game is entirely about perpetual intra galactic space war). Don’t be a sucker. It’s shocking how much money they can get out of you before you realize it. Comparing it to how much I spent on beautiful games like Bastion or many other games that I got on steam sales, it makes me a little sick inside.

    • Drachasor says:

      In my experience even when their combat has novel elements, it tends to be poorly balanced and still have a huge amount of repetitive elements. And of course, their combat systems have been good maybe once, and otherwise haven’t been all that great. STO ground combat in particular was horrible.

      • imralizal says:

        I completely agree. STO ground was horrible and has since been upgraded to merely unremarkable. I haven’t played enough of ground to say what the balance is like for PVP, but it would be bad, because it always is. And while space combat is fun, it is like you said, the balance is really quite terrible there too. Many ships are almost completely useless in PVE or PVP, and barely good enough to run the single player missions. There’s like a million abilities bound to unique consoles that you can only acquire by buying them. Even the classes themselves don’t really work all that well. But I digress.