Encouraging: Neverwinter's User-Created Content
I'm still feeling pretty on-the-fence about Cryptic's Neverwinter MMO-that-wasn't-but-then-was-again - primarily because 1) it's another fantasy MMO and 2) Neverwinter Nights was kind of the greatest. But, if nothing else, Neverwinter's looking to at least preserve a bit of the BioWare build-o-tron classic's spirit. That is to say, you can make anything your heart desires - so long as your heart desires an MMO mission that can be designed within Neverwinter's (impressively robust) Foundry toolset. Follow a user-created web of lies, deceit, breath-taking plot twists, intrigue, and charmingly rogue-ish quips after the break for precious, precious details.
So, on one hand, the Foundry's based on a number of the tools Cryptic's using to design Neverwinter's canon missions. But, on the other, it sounds like the net's being cast fairly wide. In other words, the toolset might hit a wall before your imagination does, but you'll at least have a little wiggle room. Cryptic explained:
"Using The Foundry editor, you’ll be able to create your own maps, and set the adventures that take place within them. More importantly, you’ll be able to do this right away, with very little experience with the tools. Whether you want a simple delivery type quest, or intend to create your very own, with multiple hand created maps, a plethora of customized NPCs, pages of dialog, and a truly epic story, you can."
"The interface is a series of fairly simple to use drag and drop style editors. This doesn’t mean that mastering The Foundry is easy. While you can dabble, and be successful, much of the full potential of The Foundry takes some time to fully grasp. The tools and your quests are really as simple, or as complex, as you wish them to be."
The part that really has me hopeful, though, is Cryptic's end goal with all of this - namely, that it'd like you to be "hard pressed to distinguish a player authored adventure from one that Cryptic’s own development team has created." Apparently, you'll be able to select from the game's full suite of NPC’s, objects, and monsters, and finding other players' creations will be as simple as perusing job boards or mouse-tickling certain quest-givers until they giggle out pertinent information.
Cryptic also added that it has no problem with stories that involve its world "as little as the author wishes," which is the sort of thing that should have both aspiring creative types and Internet miscreants cackling with glee. What I'm trying to say is, even if it's not possible to accurately recreate Gangnam Style inside a swords 'n' sorcery role-playing game, someone will find a way.