Neverwinter Diary: Tales From The Sword Coast Part 2

I have apparently taken leave of my entire personality, and am engrossed in an MMO. Worse, I’m *playing with others*. This is about how I came to such a place.

Something’s wrong with me. I’m… I’m doing things – things I shouldn’t want to do. I’m – and please be understanding – I’m playing nicely with others. For crying out loud, I’m running a guild.

As I’ve raged at length, repeatedly, on RPS, I don’t like multiplayer. I don’t like it because of the pressure, because of the invasion, because of the judgment, because of the responsibility. I enjoy playing games on my own, where I can mess up as much as I like, claim all the success for myself, and not find myself surrounded by sneering corrections or irritants.

So what the heck am I doing teaming up with RPS readers, even complete strangers, in Neverwinter?

As I’ve said recently, I can’t justify why it is that Neverwinter has hooked me, when I just bounced off Guild Wars 2 and many, many other very good MMOs. Neverwinter is superbly well made, but it’s not as if it’s another The Secret World, especially designed to hook me in with stories and characters. The closest this game has to a character is Sergeant Knox – a quest giver who seems to have a different ridiculous voice every time you speak to him. And could this be the worst Scottish accent of all time?

The Liverpudlian region of Scotland.

I’m just hooked by the process. Get new mission strand, run to new area, do first three questions, get three more, go in a dungeon, come back, get two more quests, and maybe an extra side-quest, and then fight a big boss. And repeat. It does almost nothing to disguise the routine, and yet the routine is what is so compelling. Yes, each time through it’s a completely new set of bads, and a new bunch of hokum guff about why you’re doing it. But there’s something madly comforting about simply completing the process, and being so frequently and abundantly rewarded with trinkets as you do. Or as I do. You may be sneering in horror. As would I if you’d told me I’d occasionally need to team up.

Because I’m writing about the game for the site, I’m somewhat obliged to at least take a look at the partying. So it was that I “queued” for my first dungeon, and played alongside a collection of silent other players who may as well have been well-informed NPCs. The queuing was relatively simple (press K, opt in, and when there are five of your ready it offers a prompt to teleport you there), the process entirely harmless, and on this occasion the results rewarding. Interesting.

What I can’t excuse is the next time. Neverwinter can almost entirely be soloed. You and an AI companion character are enough to take on most of what it has to offer – even the main quest bosses most of the time. But these occasional dungeons really need five players to be possible. Believe me, I tried soloing one. I got about three steps in. But crucially, they’re entirely optional. The game won’t hold you back from moving forward through its “plot” if you don’t participate in them, and in fact I’ve a few times found myself having accidentally levelled beyond their entry criteria before I’ve reached the queue front. (You can still complete them, but you need to find willing chums, rather than the automated queuing system.) You can get from level 1 to 60 without ever entering one, and you’ll only miss out on some random loot and speedier access to XP.

But they’re so tempting. They can last 45 minutes. 45 minutes of big, sprawling dungeons, packed with secret areas and bonus things to complete. Heading off in the opposite direction the sparkly lights encourage often means encountering entirely different bosses, guarding tasty treasure chests, and finding alternate pathways through. And I get to feel useful. As a rogue, I can clear away traps! I mean, no one cares or notices. But I feel useful. And for the first time in an online game, I don’t feel like the interfering hanger-onner, muddling my way through with the people who know what they’re doing. I mean – that absolutely still is the case, but I don’t feel like it here. Sometimes I even run in front.

But where I’ve really crossed a line is this guild business.

I thought it would be a good idea to set up an RPS guild in the game, since people were interested in playing, and since it was free anyway. I wouldn’t actually participate in it! I’d get it running, and hand it over to whoever wanted the thing, and carry on in my misanthropic adventures. But that hasn’t happened. I’m… I’m reading the text in the guild chat channel. I’m taking part. I’m volunteering answers to questions. I’m in charge of the Guild Bank, and spend time going through it and tidying it up, fusing the piles of enchantments into more powerful ones, and throwing away the nothing loot that some silly people keep putting in there. I’ve written guild mail. I’ve – I’ve asked people in the guild to team up with me for quests.

I don’t even recognise myself in the mirror any more.

Just today, at lunchtime (see?), I found I was unable to kill a giant wolf creature at the end of a long mission chain. I had four goes, and each time did a little better, but was still destroyed by the stupid numbers of mobs she kept spawning. I just wasn’t the right build for this fight, and my noble phoera (a bird made of fire whom I have called Stravinsky because I am VERY CLEVER) just didn’t have what it takes to support me through that. Then five minutes later I’m in a party of four, two other RPS guilders, and a stranger who was hanging around outside the quest clearly in the same position I had been, and we WHOOP HER WOLF ASS. High fives, disband, success.

A couple of days ago I was expressing confusion about why I couldn’t queue for a dungeon in my mission list, and found out that this was because I’d accidentally levelled too high. “I’ll join you for it though,” said one guild member. “Yeah, me too,” said another. And then suddenly we’re a party of five, and we’re off on a 45 minute adventure together – the kind where it feels a bit sad that you all go separate ways afterward.

I’m feeling a twinge of sadness about leaving groups.

I’m sure it won’t last. Well, I know it won’t last in Neverwinter because I’ll inevitably have another big game I have to dedicate time to soon enough, and this one will slip away. But heck, I’m level 50 in it already – I’ve never been level 50 in any MMO ever. But I’m sure it won’t last in gaming in general. Surely it couldn’t? Other people are RUBBISH!

Except RPS readers aren’t, I’m pleased to report. A lot of my negative experiences with multiplayer have come from the intolerance of those I’m playing with. Intolerance for being bad at something, making mistakes, being daft. It’s underlined for me that playing alone is always superior. Hell, I’d argue that I’ve even experienced bullying in multiplayer, back in the days of PlanetSide – that was the game that put the nail in my multiplayer coffin. When I think back to it my lip curls. But The Rotten Realms Of RPS guild in Neverwinter has been a peculiarly healing experience (especially ironic when I’m of course such a notoriously bad healer).

I really don’t write this to lamely patronise readers. I’m genuinely delighted to discover what a really excellent bunch of people have congregated in this game – generous, quick to help, and fun. Just watching the pile of “Hello!”s that appear when a new member first appears lets you know there’s a lack of complacency, rank or that foul notion of them-and-us that terms like “newbie” generate. If you’re interested in joining in, details are here.

I don’t know who I am any more. But I like the company I keep.


  1. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    I tend to play solo myself. Nature of the beast that I generally feel more at ease doing things on my own. Leveling, exploring, crafting, whatever. However, I do very much enjoy co-operative play as well. A good guild or set of friends can heighten ones enjoyment of.. well.. just about any game.

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      If you like MMO RPG’s then I have it on GOOD authority(from people who can afford to play all day) IT’S A GOOD UN’. ‘Fookin toppah!’ was one of the quotes, must have been good because one of her unbrushed teeth nearly hit me in the face in a moment of unbridled exclamation!

      Edit: Seriously, friends who are palying this are saying GOOD!!!, Foundry???, WTF, apparently that’s good too, MEH!!

      • 11temporal says:

        Neverwinter does manage to stand out among the many clones made since wow invented the genre ten years ago. It’s quality is pretty high and it has decent animations and fight mechanics.

        Unfortunately it’s pay to win model gets pretty discouraging once you get to level cap. All the best gear is boe and is being sold on ah for real money. Since people roll on everything gearing up without spending cash is painfully slow.

        • Everyone says:

          Um, MMO(“RPG”)s have been around longer than just WoW which itself is a clone~evolution of other games.

        • semout12 says:

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          (Go to site and open “Home” for details)

        • strangeloup says:

          It took me a minute to realise that ‘boe’ was ‘bind on equip’ and not some weird derogatory slang term I wasn’t familiar with. Like, “Ugh, all this gear is boe, and it costs way too much.”

  2. Otter says:

    HAHAHA! First taste is free, as we like to say… I’ve hung around Atlantica for over 4 years because of the social interaction. It’s addictive, ain’t it?

  3. Veritaas says:

    What you’re describing sounds like a completely different experience than I had.

    Then again, I only played the game for about 3 hours. The combat was slightly better than an average MMO, but still felt worse than the average action-RPG. The questing/gameplay was a boring stream of inconsequential fedex, kill enemies, or loot object quests. The fact that I never came even remotely close to death made it even worse.

    For players who have played past the first few hours: Is there any reason to continue playing? I feel like the game described in this article was completely different from the one I played.

    • Obc says:

      i think he described it pretty much the same as you have: its easy besides that stupid wolf ass, each area has some few quests that lead you into a dungeon towards the end. he didnt mention anything out of the norm in the game. (there is probably something different in this game compared to other mmorpg, but the article didnt mention them clearly)

      the only thing he mentioned that was good and new to him was how he found that playing with OTHERS can be fun, whodathunkdat?

      • Brun says:

        Indeed. The same can be said of other multiplayer games with supposedly “toxic” communities – League of Legends and DoTA 2, for example. Playing with a group of people you know makes a world of difference.

    • Jerodar says:

      That’s a bit of a weird thing with Neverwinter.
      I’ve played a lot of mmo’s after I got tired of WoW but none of them sticked with me.
      But Neverwinter does, and I have not a clue why.
      It’s easy to point out some of it’s flaws, cause boy does it have them.
      But there is something about the pacing, the setting and the combat that makes it just feels good.
      Offcourse the fine folk of the guild help a bit with that as well :P

      • MercurialJack says:

        Same here. I played WoW for a good few years from launch through to just before WotLK came out, then I quit. I’ve tried several MMOs and similar games since (Warhammer Online, GW2, Tera, POE if that counts a bit) and none of them have grabbed me at all in the same way that Neverwinter has.

        But I can’t for the life of me explain why. It’s incredibly formulaic in its nature in respect to everything it does, and yet it just seems to feel more engaging or fun for some reason. But I’m only level 32 currently, so I’m interested to see how my interest continues to be held, and whether any paywalls come into play later on.

  4. Obc says:

    so you basically have come to appreciate comeradery in a multiplayer rpg and used the options it provided to do something with OTHERS, the main reason why one would even venture into a mmo.

    so it has finally clicked for you ;)

    • AngoraFish says:

      I’m still playing solo. Call me antisocial.

      • Anders Wrist says:

        You’re missing out, no matter what you keep telling yourself. And this goes for any mmo, really.

  5. DiamondDog says:

    It’s kind of weird to see someone so surprised that online communities can be friendly. I don’t think I’ve ever struggled to find a nice bunch of people to play online with through my whole gaming life. Plus, it makes it very, very easy to side step the nasty elements when you find a good guild/clan/group to hang out with.

    It’s a bit sad that you’ve ended up thinking the only way to play games is alone. What you’ve experienced with Neverwinter isn’t a one off. Most of us are quite nice, you know.

    • Kronikle says:

      Something tells me you haven’t played a MOBA game.

      • nrvsNRG says:

        It isnt hard to make friends in mmo’s and join clans that play multiple games. Its a buyers market out there for freindly communities.
        This is why ive never understood the irrational hatred some ppl have for multiplayer games and mmo’s.

      • DiamondDog says:

        Well you’re wrong.

      • noilly says:

        Dota 2 is the only game I’m currently playing and I’d have to disagree. If you’re in a public game, as long as you’ve given the other 9 players the courtesy of learning (read a couple guides) and practicing the game (either alone or co-op v. bots, private lobbies, etc), people are generally neutral or friendly. The occasional foul-mouthed or bad-mannered player can be swiftly muted and reported.

        • msd23 says:

          I used to enjoy dota2 a lot, until this one game. It was 30 minutes of constant hatred, griefing and moaning about my play style, from some singaporean kid with two backers. I’m not a pro, but i played many matches before, and imo i played well in this game as well (we crushed the other team).
          The guy got banned i think, but i never really wanted to go back to the game. This kind of experience can ruin all the fun you have with the game for good.

    • Phendron says:

      It’s not always a case of naughty or nice. The greatest point of favor for solo play is that you are the conductor. No one is cracking the whip for you to row to someone else’s beat.

  6. burben says:

    FOR THE ENDLESS BEAR! Good times being in the guild, John…Jennifer..John-iff-er…?

  7. Choca says:

    And, that, was the whole point of MMOs from the start.

    Not getting some stupid epic mount. Not rolling for phat loot. Not pressing a button, getting thrown into a team of random mutes and finishing a dungeon as if you were playing with AI controlled bots. Not going through the game as if it was a mediocre single player RPG until you get bored to all hell.

    Once you have the community, it doesn’t matter that most (if not all) MMOs have pretty rubbish gameplay because the people can make up for it.

    It’s just that most of the time they don’t.

  8. Brun says:

    Genuine question for John (no snark intended):

    What, if any, was your prior experience with MMORPGs – more specifically, if you played prior MMORPGs, how social were you? I can understand your take on some of these things if you had always kept to yourself in previous MMO outings, and this is your first foray into the more social side of things. Needless to say that if that’s the case it’s hardly endemic to Neverwinter – similar experiences (such as you killing the wolf) have been available in WoW and other MMOs for nearly a decade now.

    I continue to play the game occasionally because it’s a nice change of scenery from leveling an alt in WoW and the combat is pretty satsifying, at least as a CW. But it is *very much* a traditional MMO, with some slightly more modern gameplay systems and good dungeon design. The good player-made quests/dungeons are also a plus.

    EDIT: Also, timezones are lame, since they mean that I usually end up not being able to play with most of the UK folks.

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      Ha’way man, MMORPGs when soup/ingamecharcterlikes is/are available with real and I mean corporeal, as in people, phft! What would you chose (unless you had to review) DON@T ANSWER THAT!!

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      Sir, you jest! Roll a d6

      Edit: for suprise so any adjustments can be added

    • John Walker says:

      I have mostly soloed MMOs, primarily for the exploration. That was how I approached WoW for a good long while – an explore-em-up.

      But I have had a social experience with an MMO before – City Of Heroes – although that was playing with Kieron, Jim and Alec, years before RPS was even a twinkle in our eyes. I still preferred soloing in that a lot of the time though. Especially because Kieron was so RUBBISH at being healed.

      • Obc says:

        so many comments and it had to be yourself to provide us with the running gag

      • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

        *doffs cap* proper cap doffing!! Sounds like the ‘good ol boys’ with the Uncle Jesse figure sayin’ ‘you know what’

        Awww but Jessse we just want to shoot some peeps not go writin’ stuff ‘n all

  9. Calculon says:

    I gave it a try – and I’m sorry to say I couldn’t stand NW.

    I have now gotten heavily invested into Darkfall Unholy Wars. Sure, its not as pretty or polished as NW nights, but its got a very open world, full of nasty PvP and unsavory characters ganking each other for fun and sport, and the Crafting is overboard win.

  10. Didden says:

    6 months from now John will be in a Wigwam getting in touch with his spirit guide after realising his addiction to Neverwinter ruined his life. Heard it here first :)

    • Phendron says:

      He’s going to be in for a disappointment when he learns he doesn’t get a sweat tent to himself.

  11. analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

    Maybe running a Guild is the bit that is to like in a button mashing MMO. It’s all about drops and collecting and crafting, the game that is. You have discovered the aspect of this genre that is enjoyable, ADMINISTRATION!

    Keep it quiet otherwise everyone will want to run a Guild!

    (Disclaimer: friends who lose days in this sort of shit(IMO) recon it’s a good un!!)

  12. xsikal says:

    Having a guild of friendly people always makes a big difference in MMO games.

    Doing pick up groups with silent strangers, most of whom are competing to

    (a) get to the chest or harvest node first (since many are only lootable once per instance)
    (b) end up on top of the DPS chart at the end of the dungeon (by running ahead and ignoring everyone else)
    (c) use as many knock-back abilities as possible to make life hell on the melees in the group
    (d) all stand on top of each other to make targeted healing damn near impossible

    …is less fun. I like NW, zen market (and general uselessness of in-game coin) aside, but the dungeons can be an exercise in frustration if you don’t have a good group to do them with. Not that this is different from other MMOs, but still disappointing.

  13. analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

    I feel guilty for brewing my own fine ale(to compete with the other beer, cheese, etc!), adding spray dried malt, expensive hops etal ;-) for the D&D crew, they should be out meeting people rather than playing a dice game with friends.

    There is now an option :-(

    I think it’s just me who finds online role play gaming communities really fuckin sad!

    The die is dead, LONG LIVE THE DICE!
    Meet up, tune in, roll up!

    • Strangerator says:

      Haha, you remind me of my DnD buddy who has 4 casks in his house, usually aging some form of rum or port. One particularly epic night we just played a dungeon crawl with a twist… each player was given five pennies to represent “heal everything” potions. The catch was, in order to use one on your character, you had to drink a random potion IRL. Random because the “potions” were a rack of test tubes filled with some form of liquor or liquer with food coloring added to disguise the contents. No investigatory sniffing allowed either. Things like that are hard to arrange in an MMO.

      • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

        Great idea my friend GREAT IDEA

      • nitehawk says:

        Fantastic Idea. Along the same lines a friend of mine has a chess set made up of shot glasses. Take a piece, take a shot.

        Also reminds me of chess boxing, actually.

  14. porps says:

    i gave it a try, but couldnt shake the feeling that i would be better of playing tera again. Mind you i only played for perhaps an hour. Shouldnt a game hold my interest longer than that though?

  15. says:

    I suppose in general it’s like with rl people – you expect people gonna be asses, and they most probably will be. You expect (but not hope – really genuinely, subconsciously expect) them to be nice and “normal”, and they will probably be like that. Of course there are exceptions like viral LOL chats, opposed to nice RPS-like communities, but generally what you think, you’ll get.

    For me it was SWtor, cause I loved SW and KotOR in general. Before that I couldn’t imagine playing with others – they’re people!

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      I was running aroung getting ‘bashed te fuck’ and randoms were healing me, seems like the D&D boys are out in force to me!!!

  16. Lambchops says:

    Wow . . . that accent is incredible.

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      Nor lad NOR!, that’s how the wee men, the followers of Dialysis speak!

    • trooperwally says:

      Liverpudlian? I’m not so sure. Sounds like this Dwarf was born and raised in the Geordie area of Scotland and educated at the School of Our Lady of the Faltering Ennunciation.

  17. aliksy says:

    My sole interaction with a stranger in NW was some jerk burning the cargo I needed to burn five of, but then I burned the next few that he wanted to burn. Take that, other guy!

    NW uses really dated, counterproductive question mechanics.

    • Yosharian says:

      Yeah that’s one particularly critical thing that I noted, brings back nightmarish memories of fighting over mobs in wow.

  18. daphne says:

    The sentiments you’re describing reminds me of my magical first encounters with World of Warcraft back in 2005. It looks like you’ve been bitten by the MMO bug anew. Maybe the difference is in how you’re approaching it… with Guild Wars 2 and other MMOs, you are a games journalist first and player second. Your gaze is filled with decades of jade, disinterest and critical thought ready to dissect the game’s systems, analyze its strengths and shortcomings, and provide a verdict on how it stands as a marker on the neverending path of genre progress. Fun is secondary to all that, perhaps it is just another metric.

    But here? Here, you had no expectations. You just want to bullshit through this MMO that looked mildly interesting, to kill some time. And that, combined with other people — again, representing a welcome break from the adversarial position the burdensome, politically correct discourse requires you to hold — has made all the difference.

  19. Rumpel says:

    i played and enjoyed the game, right up until the point where i was in a dungeon and ppl kept dying on an easy mechanic. so a guy in my group spent 10 dollars on “mass resurrection scrolls”. they have a cooldown of maybe 20seconds, can be used infight and bring back all dead players. 1 dollar per scroll. he used 6 of them on this single fight.
    you can also use these scrolls when soloing if you died. you get the option to use such a scroll or get ported to the nearest respawn point.

    since its hard to find a more obvious example of pay to win, i bitched about it in the rps guild chat, quit the game and never logged in again.

    as great as this game is in many regards, knowing i could literally buy invincibility broke its hold over me in an instant.

    • SwobyJ says:

      Very true, but you do remember that one can:
      1)Raise enough AD to convert to Zen, and then buy those scrolls yourself without spending a dime.
      2)…pay real money for Zen, to get these scrolls (which you can then keep, or sell to #3 players)
      3)Buy with AD, those scrolls being sold on the Auction House at a reasonable enough price, from #2 players.

      Neverwinter isn’t strictly P2W, even if it skirts the line VERY closely. It’s P2AdvanceFaster. One can play the market on EITHER side (AD or Zen) to their own advantage, breaking the ‘4th wall’ of MMOs (where only time played and player skill was supposed to affect the game), but not demolishing it.

  20. kirkkh1 says:

    Your blog is great. I no longer frequent joystiq or kotaku (unless I’m desperate). And, you’re awesome. Well written. Delightful.

  21. Wedge says:

    Everything you said is the same as any other competent MMO, so I’m not sure what got you into this. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of logic to why people attach to certain ones though.

    • Strangerator says:

      I’ll venture a stab at that one. He mentioned that most dungeons can be solo-ed, which would imply the focus is not on providing the kind of frustrating challenge that turns players towards the kind of annoying “optimize other” behaviors that John also mentioned he hated. So grouping up in this case was more for the enjoyment and not some hardcore necessity. And of course, it probably doesn’t hurt to be running a guild and being bossman with guildmates who are likely fans of RPS. The key ingredient is always camraderie in any case. Hell, I spent a good 6 or so years playing a MUD with some buddies of mine, though its mechanics were as dense as quark-gluon plasma.

  22. trjp says:

    Not to be snarky, but it’s not an MMO – it’s a ARPG

    and it’s quite a good one if you can duck/dodge and sideslide the endless BUY ME stuff ;)

    • Bashmet says:

      Nah, it’s an MMO.

      Thousands of players: Check
      Virtual World: Check
      Virtual Economy: Check

    • MobileAssaultDuck says:

      And why can’t an ARPG be an MMO.?

      Does it have a massive amount of players online at the same time in one world? Yes. Then it is an MMO.

      You know Planetside is also an MMO and it controls like a shooter.

      The title MMORPG has no connection to any specific game mechanics.

    • mondomau says:

      Poppycock. The genre is defined by the nature of the game as a whole, not just the combat mechanic – This game has way more in common with a traditional MMO (Mass player participation, crafting, grinding, raids) than even the most sociable hank’n’slash loot-engine.

  23. Yargh says:

    So far I have found the RPS readers I have teamed up with to play various game to be people of the most excellent calibre.

  24. BarbaraRedding27 says:

    up to I looked at the bank draft which was of $9929, I didnt believe that…my… friend actualie receiving money parttime at there labtop.. there sisters neighbour has been doing this for less than 12 months and resantly took care of the morgage on there condo and bought a new Bugatti Veyron. this is where I went,

  25. Yosharian says:

    This is interesting and all but I just can’t see what’s so different/better about Neverwinter that makes all this stuff warranted. I mean you say it’s a superbly made MMO but I don’t see why, just seems like a standard knock-off WoW clone.

    DDO for example is a far more interesting take on a D&D MMO but it gets no love, dunno why.

    • MobileAssaultDuck says:

      Try playing the game dude, this game is more like DDO than it is like WoW. The combat system is nothing like WoW, the class design is nothing like WoW, the game’s entire mechanical background is nothing like WoW.

      The only thing it has in common with WoW is stuff DDO also had in common with WoW.

    • SwobyJ says:

      Neverwinter may be a watered down version of many games, but a WoW clone it aint’.

  26. arioch says:

    You pretty much described exactly how I felt about WoW 8 years ago… :)

    Managing to find a group of friendly like minded people to chat to while playing really makes all the difference…

  27. kaloth says:

    I had an interesting experience the other day, that I’d never seen anywhere else.

    I joined a random group for a dungeon and the client took about 20 minutes to download and “patch” files for the dungeon. Then it crashed. All up it took me almost 30 minutes to get into the damn dungeon. When I finally did, the rest of the party had just rolled along without me and welcomed me back and was surprisingly graceful in accepting my apology and explanation of what happened.

    Had this happened in any other MMO I had ever played I would have been booted or reamed out on my return.

    • Rumpel says:

      not to burst your bubble or anything, but the lfg system is crappy as hell. you can kick players, but you can neither rejoin the tool to find a replacement nor manually invite a friend to fill the open spot. thats probably why they didnt bother kicking you out

  28. solidsquid says:

    That actually doesn’t sound like all that bad of a Glaswegian accent, it’s hammed up a little bit and tweaked to be more understandable, but definitely recognisable

  29. aircool says:

    There’s a lot wrong with this game, the horrendous accents being only the tip. However, it is lots of fun to play. I tend to solo in mmo’s for the same reasons as JW, but Neverwinter has got something right, I just don’t know what.

    Dwarf Guardian Fighter.

  30. Koozer says:

    “They can last 45 minutes. 45 minutes of big, sprawling dungeons, packed with secret areas and bonus things to complete. Heading off in the opposite direction the sparkly lights encourage often means encountering entirely different bosses, guarding tasty treasure chests, and finding alternate pathways through.”

    Ahh, like the old days of WoW, or even Galaxies, before everything got ‘streamlined.’

  31. Uthred says:

    Was really enjoying the game until I saw a detailed post on Reddit laying out how blatantly “Pay to Win” the game is, totally killed my interest

    • SwobyJ says:

      And the Reddit post is mostly correct, except it exaggerates aspects, and seems to forget that there’s an AH that YOU can sell things on, for Astrals.

      Playing PvP? Got the PvP currency but don’t want anything from its vendor? Well buy the set anyway and put it on the AH. Boom, you’re on the way to being an Astral Diamond millionaire already.

      The Reddit post seems to neglect that whole part of the economy, focusing on the daily grind. Which is silly.

  32. MobileAssaultDuck says:

    I was playing a Cleric and finding it kind of boring due to how a Cleric is like a walking god in that game, then I switched to Guardian Warrior.

    Total difference. You have to play smart and block effectively or even easy pulls can drop you. When you’re tanking in a group, it takes real skill to mitigate damage.

    This isn’t some game where you stack dodge/block/defense, this is a game where you must actively dodge or block the attacks and holding hate requires some actual thought and coordination.

    This could be the best tanking game I have ever played.

    • SwobyJ says:

      Another interesting thing about tanking is that as the leveling progresses in dungeons, as a tank, you will NOT be able to hold every enemy. Even probably with an off-tank around.

      You can solo tank that giant dragon, but those tons of adds that spawn will need to be crowd controlled by a Control Wizard, and killed quickly by Great Warrior Fighter AOE attacks, or else the healer gets aggro and you’re quickly overwhelmed.

      Sure, these kinds of mechanics might get old after a while, but it’s a very strong basis for the game at launch/’open beta’. Hopefully more mechanics are elaborated on, especially with new classes released, etc.

  33. engion3 says:

    Do I need any experience with the Neverwinter world to enjoy the game? I’ve never played anything Neverwinter. GW2 is the most recent mmo I played and somewhat enjoyed it but then lost interest. Considering this is F2P I guess I don’t have anything to lose.

    • MobileAssaultDuck says:

      All previous Neverwinter related games took place in 3.0 or 3.5 D&D Neverwinter.

      The MMO takes place a century or two after that time period in 4th edition Forgotten Realms (the campaign setting the city exists in) so even if you had played Neverwinter, the world has gone through an apocalypse and is much different.

  34. Outsider says:

    I jumped in and gave this a shot. It made me realize, coming off of a heavily modded Skyrim, that I think I just don’t like MMOs anymore. Too many tiny walled off and empty areas linked together for the purpose of killing x monsters or collecting x items. Then while in a city looking for things to buy, getting run over by players riding horses at a full gallop up and down stairs. It just occured to me it’s not my thing anymore. Sadly.

    Though I’ve not gotten to try GW2, not sure if that would change my mind or not.

  35. Time4Pizza says:

    Let me explain to everyone EXACTLY why it has you “hooked, yet you can’t figure out why”. It is a new MMO. There it is. For people who like MMO’s, the newest shiniest one with the least familiar monsters and atmosphere will feel AWESOME… for about 2-4 weeks.

    Once the honeymoon wears off no longer will the article say “I don’t know why I am hooked”. It will say “this is a completely formulaic MMO, just like all the rest of them, and now that the honeymoon period is over I realize that this game does not particularly excel in anyway”. It happens with every shiny brand new MMO. SWTOR, GW2, etc. For the first month everyone rushes to play it, gushes about all the new cool things it does, and then promptly stops playing when they realize it is just WoW without eight years of content and polish.

    Skip the “can’t figure out what I like” phase and just say “I probably won’t play this game ever again in another month”.

    • darkChozo says:

      I’m going to go ahead and guess that that’s not the case, considering that half the article is about how he usually doesn’t particularly like MMOs.

      • Time4Pizza says:

        Tell me if you’re playing in a month when this game does exactly the same things as every other MMO. I’ll bide my time and wait for WildStar, an MMO that looks like it at least made a token effort to differentiate its game from every other single MMO out there.

        • darkChozo says:

          I… what? I wasn’t even defending the game, I was saying that responding to “I don’t usually like MMOs but this one really hooked me” with “that’s because it’s a new MMO, everyone likes new MMOs” is inherently nonsensical. It’s like you picked out half a sentence from the article (mind you, the other half literally says that he’s bounced off other MMOs) without reading anything else.

          • nrvsNRG says:

            He wasnt referring to John, it was aimed at all the ppl saying how much they love the game.

          • Time4Pizza says:

            Seriously. Thank you nrvs. There are a bunch of comments on this board saying people like this game even though it is so formulaic.

            If you want to parse words from the article, then also parse words from my comment go ahead. But it is obnoxious. The spirit of the article is that he likes the game, and my reply is it not a very good game. Furthermore, your reply is defending the game and his article, even if you don’t come right out and say it.

            But hey, if you want to troll and act like these comments are some sort of legal document in which every turn of a phrase must be broken down and taken at 100% face value, have fun.

          • darkChozo says:

            Okay, either I’m blind or you edited your post, but I don’t remember there being a “to everyone” in your OP originally. If that was me being an idiot, I apologize.

            Regardless, I don’t really see what’s so confusing about assuming that a comment on an article that quotes the article is talking about the article. I mean, you quite literally refer to it in your OP (“Once the honeymoon wears off no longer will the article say “I don’t know why I am hooked”.”). I guess that could be some sort of elaborate metaphor, but it seemed rather explicit to me.

            And I’m pretty explicitly defending the article, or rather pointing out that what you’re saying doesn’t apply very well to what John’s saying. I’m in a similar situation, in that I’ve enjoyed Neverwinter thus far despite not liking the vast majority of MMORPGs. It may or may not lack longevity, but honestly, I don’t care. If I’m not playing it in a month, then it joins the exclusive club consisting of 99% of the games I’ve ever played.

  36. TWChristine says:

    I’m in the same boat as John.. while I know there’s nice people to be found in online games, my experience is that it’s sometimes hard enough to come by that I just won’t bother. Getting in a guild usually cuts down on the crap, and honestly that was a big pull for me to even try the game when I saw we had one. Even then I tend to do most stuff on my own. I think part of it is just being so used to it, and also that I akways feel a little self conscious playing with others. I did however do a dungeon tonight with some guildies and really had a lot of fun! Though still feeling akward at my lag causing me to frequently hit at empty air :/

  37. -Spooky- says:

    Let me say: FR Lore ftw! And they are enough lore pieces to gather. ;)

  38. Kirjava says:

    The first, last and only MMO I had played prior to Neverwinter was City of Villains (and still heartbroken it’s gone). I am enjoying Neverwinter. I cannot explain it, but for different reasons than John it seems. My experience with randoms has been ambivalent- for every decent chap or lady who has a friendly natter in party chat, there’s the deafening noise of the Zone channel where people will merrily spout nonsense that drives me to want to kill myself. It is now almost permanently disabled, so that’s that.

    But yes, I am loving Neverwinter and I’m not really sure why. I have to give a quick “thanks” to John and RPS for writing the first part of this series, as that was how it came to my attention and I might not have dived in otherwise. Now the real trick is getting five of my mates online at any one point so we can form a guild- harder than it sounds!

  39. sinister agent says:

    Oh no, they got to John Walker :’-(