Neverwinter MMO: 1st Beta User Review

Neverwinter is a Forgotten Realms MMO developed by Cryptic and published by Perfect World Entertainment. It uses an action combat system, meaning that most attacks have to be aimed and can be avoided, blended with a sort of limited build system as seen in Guild Wars, meaning essentially that 123QERZX[TAB]Shift Lclick Rclick are almost all you need.

The first thing I'd like to say about it, because I've mentioned that it uses an action combat system and I've also mentioned Perfect World Entertainment, is that Neverwinter is not another RaiderZ. That is to say, it's not a low budget TERA knockoff with a shitty engine and miserable, bug ridden BAM encounters that serve only to highlight how woeful the hit-boxing and collision detection are.

Neverwinter is a big budget triple-A MMO. Its action combat is technically sound, fun to use and doesn't actually ape TERAs in any other way than 'also being an action combat system'. Combat animations are wonderful. Cryptic have packed a lot of detail into a relatively low number of frames, which can look AWFUL (see: Guild Wars 2 when it's not hiding the mess with blurs) but in Neverwinter's case serves to accelerate the pace without affecting readability.
The violence is sudden, savage, and there's a real feeling of impact strengthened by the way that dispatched enemies ragdoll with believable force in the direction they were last struck. The sound effects, from steel collisions to screams and roars are of high quality and add much to the goings on as well.

So what about content? Well, a significant detraction from the score of this game, and my keynote criticism of it, is that its story is as easy to overlook as any other MMOs. I wasn't reading quest boxes for more than five minutes before I started snapping my cursor over the green ticks and following the sparkling quest guidance as quick as I could. No doubt this is an almost impossible obstacle for any MMO to overcome, and clearly the effort that might have been spent trying has been spent making the game exceptional in other areas instead, but... this is a DnD game.
For me, DnD has always been about the stories that arise out of the sword-swishery. So I was in danger of drawing expectations out of that mindset and then being disappointed before I adjusted. If you're anything like me, you'll have to adjust too.

In terms of content delivery, Neverwinter repeats its combat act of taking established methods in its own direction. The results are not as fantastic this time, but not particularly offensive by the genre standard either. Kill quests and fed-exes are present, but they're brief, with low completion requirements and short distances to travel. This is because they're usually just a preamble to a private instance that resolves the hub and shuffles you along.
Most of these are solo affairs, but occasionally you'll find yourself using the (efficient and painless) queueing system. You'll get three DPS, one healer and one tank. An undocumented feature of auto-queue parties is THAT GUY*. There's at least one in every group- just like DnD tabletop.

* - In Neverwinter, THAT GUY just clicks Need on everything. So you'd better do the same from the start!

Graphically the game is a real contender. The quality of the textures is somewhere comfortably between Guild Wars 2 and TERA. Environments in particular, and urban environments most of all stand out because there's virtually no copy and pasting of walls, streets or anything else (I'm looking at you Velika, and you too Divinity's Reach). Protector's Enclave is from any vantage and in all directions a visually stimulating mismatch of different heights and materials; nothing is quite the same as anything else but it all has the same character. It's one of the best towns I've ever roamed in any game, MMO or single player. If the rest of the game's towns and enough of its dungeons follow suit then it's an unrivalled accomplishment in the MMOspace.

Neverwinter's player characters are also at the vanguard of MMO looking-goodness. The character creator is robust, there are many presets even in the beta and these presets can be significantly altered by many a slider.
Unfortunately however, this variety does not extend to the equipment you'll be collecting. Perhaps Cryptic didn't bother to spruce up the earlier arms and armour because you spend the first twenty or so levels racing through gear like an incontinent hyperhydrosiac. But even so, getting the same old daggers and leathers (speaking as a thief) for so long, with just a few rare exceptions, was disappointing.

The voice acting and music is where Neverwinter might have pleased me the most. The voice work in the urban areas evokes Amn and similar Baldur's Gates series settings, taking whatever it was that allowed their tracks to bring two dimensional backdrops and paper dolls to life and injecting it into environments that are- by virtue of modern tech and standards- far better equipped to show the player an equivalent illusion of life and hubbub.

The voice-work of NPCs is of a very reasonable quality, and also seems to be English for the most part. In my personal opinion, the reasoning for which I'll keep in a spoiler at the end of this review, that latter thing is pretty important and I'm not just glad of it, I'm relieved by it.

The music ranges from exciting and memorable at the login screen to being a good accompaniment for goings on during exploration and combat that sometimes becomes interesting in its own right. It never sounds cheap, and I personally didn't want to turn it down.

Overall, Neverwinter is free to play and good enough that I think even people who look set up for disappointment ought to give it a go (if you're looking for a faithful recreation of DnD 4e, or you prefer the traditional number colliding MMOs to this new-fangled "most attacks have to be aimed and can be avoided" movement, then I mean you).

8.5/10

***CUSTOMER WARNING****
Please be aware, that Perfect World Entertainment, a Chinese MMO company is known to defraud its customers. They also use sponsored players within their products to target and cheat customers. Also Note: The company currently carries a BBB rating of an (F). Which doesnt just mean "watch out". It literally means DANGER!! BUYER!! BEWARE!! Please see Facebook Page "Neverwinter Alert" for additional details. Thank you & God Bless. (I am not a troll, and I am not spamming. Notifying customers ONCE under EACH article does not legally constitute as spam).

"Legally constitute as spam"
I think that's more of a mod's opinion to decide.

These are the same people who have Champions Online and Star Trek Online. I've played and enjoyed both those games and when NWN2 goes F2P, I'll be trying it out.
I've never had problems in these games giving them my money or receiving the things I've purchased.

Now only if I could get in the Beta. Hah, like that will happen, even though I have been following this game since it was ever mentioned on the internet like 4 or so years ago, I think.

From the sound of it, the time spent on this game was probably well worth it and its shaping up to be something special to compliment their other Nerd themeparks.

yeah, I'll stick to Vin, Nexon might be run by imbeciles but least they price things reasonably (I'm looking at you $50 character slots in CO)

Yoon YoungJo:
Snip

Always nice when a guy with questionable grammar drops in to tout a facebook group of dubious foil-hatters. Thanks for that.

Lunar Templar:
yeah, I'll stick to Vin, Nexon might be run by imbeciles but least they price things reasonably (I'm looking at you $50 character slots in CO)

Champions Online has (or had?) some pretty unreasonable price tags hanging off its cash shop merchandise. I think this might be a reasonable neg, even though the Neverwinter cash shop hasn't been revealed. We'll see.

I am waiting to see if they invite me into the beta before i decide if I want to be a founder.

I already got burned really bad in the MWO founder program fiasco, so I will wait.

Must be said though, that spider mount is damn awesome looking.

 

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