Neverwinter goes gothic with a new Ravenloft expansion

Neverwinter: Ravenloft

Cryptic’s free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons-lite MMO Neverwinter is one of those fun-looking games that I’ve only found the time to sink a couple hours into. As such, I’m a little jealous of the folks playing through some of the game’s newer high-level modules, including a jaunt through the Underdark and a recently added jungle filled with undead dinosaurs. This week’s module – the fourteenth to be added to the game – has my attention, as this one’s based on Ravenloft, the ridiculously bleak and gothic D&D setting.

Sadly, Neverwinter being more of a D&D-styled theme park with areas inspired by a multitude of settings, they’ve not committed fully to the Ravenloft experience. Rather than dive deep into an entire dimension of gothic grimdarkness, it’s more of a Castlevania-esque situation. Players are called to save the humble little land of Barovia; a place of tall trees, taller monsters, terrified villagers and a bloody great mountaintop vampire castle looming over everything. (Un)Living up there is Count Strahd von Zarovich, and having him as a landlord really bites.

Not that making a few nods to Castlevania is a bad thing. The Ravenloft module’s new land of Barovia brings a variety of monster-hunting quests to help players stretch their legs before the main event, as well as a new cast of NPCs to natter with. Of course, what everyone’s shooting for is Castle Ravenloft itself, which looks to be one of the more exciting dungeons in the game, and it looks like the final battle against Strahd himself has a few interesting twists to deal with as you chip away at his health bar.

Neverwinter’s Ravenloft expansion is out now, although you’ll probably have to be fairly well caught up with the game in order to put much of a dent in the new enemies, even with the game’s generous level scaling on your side – something they’ve tuned up even further in this update. You can see the full patch notes for Module 14 here.

Neverwinter itself is free to play and can be grabbed on both Steam or direct via Perfect World’s launcher app, Arc.


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    Drib says:

    That’s the new expansion to Raveloft. We don’t go there anymore.

    But Halflife 3 confirmation aside, Ravenloft was always a fun setting to get away from Greyhawk. Or in this case Forgotten Realms.

    Is Neverwinter any good? I recall the old NVN RPGs being fun, but this is more an MMO, and those have certain tendencies away from actually playing a character in a changing world, and I don’t know if it’s just grimmer, D&D-flavored WoW or what.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      I’ve only played a little bit, but Neverwinter is more of a co-op action RPG than anything. Faster and more movement-oriented than World of Warcraft, and focused more on straightforward chains of adventures.

      It’s like D&D Abridged. A bit hollow solo but there’s generous level scaling so playing with friends is easy.

      • aepervius says:

        There used to be also adventure people created with the assets which were rather nice, some I liked enough to tip the few free currency i got from the game. In fact I found the best adventure made by player, better than the adventure offered by the game…

      • SaintAn says:

        “Cryptic’s free-to-play Dungeons & Dragons-lite MMO”

        “Neverwinter is more of a co-op action RPG than anything”

        Why’d you call it an MMO in the article if you know it’s not?

        • TheAngriestHobo says:

          Don’t be pedantic; it absolutely is an MMO. He was describing the general style of gameplay.

          • SaintAn says:

            How is it a Massively Multiplayer Online Game if a massive amount of players can’t play together in it? The game never had enough people playing together to be an MMO. Don’t be ignorant.

        • MisterFurious says:

          @SaintAn You’re an idiot.

    • SaintAn says:

      When I played at launch it was enjoyable if you avoid paying (I played a Cleric). It’s not worth any money and you don’t get anything worthy of money in return for spending money, so just avoid falling into their scam traps and it’s enjoyable. I got bored after a few weeks though because it’s shallow.

    • dskzero says:

      I wasn’t impressed. It was nice and pretty when I played it some four years ago but it was grindy once you got to max level and I can’t stand MMOs at all. The campaign was cool but once the grind cycle started I bailed.

      My friends kept playing but also weren’t impressed but if the game is still on after that time and releasing new content they might be doing something right. The atmosphere and general art direction is very good and enjoyable plus the combat was okay.

  2. BaronKreight says:

    Very nice D&D action game. Filled with microtransactions it is still enjoyable for hours without paying a penny. I havent played it in a while.

  3. satan says:

    Didn’t know the NWN MMO was still going…

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      Player counts have been slowly but steadily rising over the past year and a half. It’s not a hugely successful game, but comfortably stable.

  4. malkav11 says:

    Not sure that Neverwinter’s spammy, mass murder oriented gameplay really suits the Ravenloft setting, which was always more oriented towards dangerous fights with specific monsters or groups of monsters in an appropriately gothic horror sensibility. It’s a bit tough to work in horror when you’re doing the standard D&D meatgrinder.

  5. FaithfullyBound says:

    Neverwinter Customer Support seems to be ?overwhelmed? at the moment (no surprise there with the longstanding bugged “patchwork quilt” of a game) but I hope you can warn your readers to not pick up the quest “Collector’s Blinsky” as it is (Surprise) not completable…

    You will end up with “lots” of ugly permanent doll heads (forever in your bags) that can not be thrown away, sold or turned in to complete the quest….

    Totally Creepy, I know… but even more creepy is that any ticket you put into customer service about the particular quest bug, vanishes as if it was never submitted :-0 (Is this the newest way for support to fix games; make the tickets vanish instead of the problem???)

    Nevertheless, please folks, don’t pick up “Collector’s Blinsky” in Neverwinter Barovia… It makes your bags seem like a “Permanent Crime Scene” form a demented Chucky doll convention, and there is No Planned Escape!!!

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