Dungeons & Dragons Neverwinter is an MMORPG developed by Cryptic Studios. The game is based in the fictional Forgotten Realms city of Neverwinter. Neverwinter is a standalone game and not part of the previous Neverwinter Nights series. The game begins with the player being stranded on the coast after a Dragon attacks their boat.
The game offers a good variety of features in the character creation. First up, when you create a new character, you can choose between 7 races: half-orc, half-elf, human, halfling, elf, tiefling, and dwarf. After selecting a race, the player moves on to selecting a class. Currently there are 5 classes in the game: Guardian Fighter, Greatweapon Fighter, Control Wizard, Devoted Cleric, and Trickster Rogue. Soon the game will launch it’s 6th class, which is probably going to be the Archer.
After selecting a race and a class, the player can choose their origins and their backstory. Although players being able to select their own origins and backstory is a nice touch, it doesn’t have any real in-game benefits. After all that is out of the way, you can finally move on to customizing your characters appearance. The character customization isn’t very detailed- although you can customize your characters face, hair, tattoos and body type, there are only a few styles to select from.
Neverwinter has handled character naming very well. Character names are tied to the display name of the players account. That means player names look like this: Character Name@Display Name. So unlike in most MMO’s players won’t have to waste time trying to think of the perfect name for their character.
The controls feel very natural with the WASD movement and mouse controlled camera. There are 3 different kind of powers: at will powers, encounter powers, daily powers. At will powers are usable whenever the player needs them- they have no cooldowns. Encounter powers are the kind of powers we’re used to seeing in MMORPG’s- players have to wait a small period of time before using the skill again. The daily power is somewhat uncommon in the RPG genre- players have to collect action points to cast these skills.
After reaching level 5, players will start gaining Power Points. Power points can be used to improve existing powers or to learn new ones. At level 10, players will start gaining different feats, which are basically the same as talents in other MMORPG’s. Some of the feats include higher Crit. damage, faster stamina regeneration etc.
The combat in Neverwinter is very flashy- you have to do very little, to achieve great looking “combos”. Usually the player has to fight groups of enemies at the same time. Although that might look hard, it’s usually quite easy. Even though the battles aren’t usually that hard, the game has some great combat features. The players are given a small window of opportunity to dodge enemy attacks, when they see a red circle forming in the area where the enemy is going to attack. Combat advantage is another great feature that makes battles more versatile- basically combat advantage means that attacks that hit enemies in the back deal more damage.
Story and Quests
When you first enter the game, you will have a lot of pop-up tutorial quests. After completing the basic missions, learning about the basics of combat and inventory, pretty much all the missions are in instanced maps. All the quests in Neverwinter are voice-acted, moreover, players can just accept a quest and walk away, while the NPC keeps explaining the mission.
The gameplay is very quest-driven. Although completing the story-line one time can be quite fun, few people would want to do it again any time soon.
Unlike in other RPG’s, the quests in Neverwinter aren’t as straightforward as “kill 15 zombies”. The quests usually say something like “pick up 10 arrows” and while trying to pick up arrows, you end up killing 30 zombies.
The game has made following quests extremely easy. There’s a sparkly trail that always directs you to the next quest objective. Although the feature is great to have at some times, it is hardly ever necessary.
Perhaps the most unique feature in Neverwinter is the foundry. Although the feature isn’t anything new, a similar feature was used in Neverwinter Nights, it’s still a nice feature to have. Reaching level 15, players gain access to the Foundry. Foundry allows players to create, play and rate stories that have been made by other players.
While creating a mission in the foundry, players have a lot of control over the environment. They can create a map and customize all the monsters and quest objectives. The cosmetic monster customization is great- you can select their armors and gear and even the color of their gear, you can’t customize the monsters skills or create “super monsters”. The foundry also let’s you create patrols of enemies, triggered spawns, traps etc.
While creating adventures, the player is able to run their own mission as any class at any level, to see how the quest handles. Foundry missions don’t require a certain level to be played.
Since the game is free to play, some pretty big advantages can be gained by paying real money. Sometimes players can find special locked chests, that can only be opened with a key purchased from cash shop. Other advantages include companions, mounts, better items, more character slots, etc.
The cash shop isn’t exclusive to the players who pay real money though, the game also allows players to trade Zen for Astral Diamonds. Although real money gives players a big advantage, everything can still be done without spending a dime.