Neverwinter Review: Welcome to D&D Infinite

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Neverwinter Review: Welcome to D&D Infinite

Neverwinter may be linear, but brutal combat and great group mechanics make every minute enjoyable.

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Out of curiosity, what did he mean by 4th ed D&D being too linear? I thought that would be entirely up to how the DM runs the campaign.

The only problem with this game is too much damn wow, not enough dnd. By a long mile. Does this article need a sponsored by tag? ;)

Yeah, the cost to respec is rather annoying, especially while in a beta state. It means players won't be able to try different builds to see what works and what's bugged/OP/UP. It's fun but character progression takes a hit from this, especially since there's only one Paragon path for each class so even fewer choices to be made.

the banner image for this article on the escapist main page is from elder scrolls online *facepalm*. who's in charge of this place?

Being an old time sto player, i have a hard time seeing why they swung so far out with the respecs, other than sheer greed. Used to get a respec every rank up in sto they go "free" to play and now you do not get any at all.

Other than for greed, they should give at lest one respec hell i might even argue 2 of them over the course of leveling up. Especially with their habit of nerfing stuff at whim leaving peoples builds out in the cold.

Must of been a different game I played... the Neverwinter I played had like 5 classes with very limited skill and spell selection, a pretty generic tank and spank PvE, and standard DPS is OP PvP with AFK farmers galore.
It was a pretty game and reasonably fun initially but it quickly showed its greedy side ...

... want to change your pets name : 5000 diamonds
... want to remove a jewel from a slot : xxxx diamonds
... want to buy some scrolls to id items you found : xxxx diamonds.

To be fair everything, including the real money currency ZEN could be earned in game so it is totally possible to earn everything via gameplay, its just that literally every action had a price tag slapped on it and earning diamonds , marks , seals , celestial coins , etc etc etc was slow and quiet frankly very repetitive.
You also had to ensure you did your daily invocation to your deity or you would lose you deity coin (whatever) ... damn things would vanish with 24hrs of your last invoke.

Game itself is not bad but very repetitive, a typical run through the dungeons is much like a WoW dungeon finder run for epics... race through the trash mobs so fast you cant see the scenery, tank and spank the bosses, fight over loot (typical need / greed system but no limiting need to the class... so basically everyone just needs everything).
Single player PvE has its moments especially in the instances where you aint getting dragged about by a party of farmers, the Dungeon creation system is decent and the devs do deserve some praise for the effort of encouraging players to use player created dungeons.

Short ver. a decent but grind ridden repetitive MMO lite with limited customisation and a whole lot of paywalls, the paywalls do however have means and ways in game to legitimately bypass the walls if you are willing to really hit the old grind hard.

I would of given the title 3 ... 3.5 rather than 4 stars.

Not sure I entirely agree with this review. When I played the beta, I came away with a resounding feeling of 'ehhhhh'. I honestly spent twice as much time creating a mission in the foundry than I did in the game itself.

"Neverwinter may be linear, but brutal combat and great group mechanics make every minute enjoyable."
Wait.. since when was cryptic under EA, i thought only games like dragon age 2 would get these sort of reviews.

Honestly I wonder if the reviewer has even played the game. Well I have let me set something straight its dull weightless story with no sense of engaging the player. Futhermore the combat is even worse since it is repetitive and unimaginative. It lacks any sort of punch or strategic in it, in truth it is the most pure meaning of the word button masher. Not only that but it also manages to take one of the coolest settings NWN/forgotten realm and turn it sterile and meaningless. It spits on the franchise, it has laughable nonsensical DND mechanics shoved into it, in the hopes that it will trick its user into thinking that it has anything meaningful to offer. Like randomly rolling for stats which was already canned by the 3. edition randomly put into a 4. edition game.

I rarely get offended by a game but this game manages to take something that is beautiful and wonderful and completely destroy it. The game makers should be ashamed, it is an abomination of a game one that should have been killed in its infancy but has been allowed to grow and fester into this mess of game. The worst part is that the game had so much potential but it had no guts no will of its own, it was directionless and wasted all of its potential on designing really stupid looking casting animations.

I can't really agree with this review much, if at all. Here's what I think (because, clearly, that's far more important! :P ).

Well.... in short : Unimpressed. Uninstalled. Too many other things that I'd rather spend time on (I'm so far behind atm, that I'm only just picking up Dishonored and Skyrim now!).

In long:

Intro
Overall, it isn't a bad game, it really isn't. It's just not for me. The gameplay is interesting, the action-y stuff is better implemented than GW (haven't played GW2, so can't comment there), and the combat is significantly more engaging than the facerolling, button-mashing of WoW and all the various clones thereof. The story is relatively interesting and the Foundry is the same as player-created content everywhere (i.e. nuggets of awesomeness buried in seas of trash). Unfortunately, I doubt that it'll be able to maintain that same level of immersiveness, I found the game overall to be fairly shallow, and I utterly despise the particular F2P model they've clearly built the game around.

Pro's
The action combat is more engaging than most other MMO's (Eve excluded). You can get a nice mix of abilities, twitch/reaction skills are helpful and you can avoid damage by the simple expedient of not being there when it arrives. Depending on your class, you can stack various combo's and effects to make yourself more powerful, meaning that there is going to be moderate differences in the quality of teammates based on the knowledge and experience of the player behind that character.

The world is good looking and the graphics are well up to Cryptic standards (although that could also be a Con, depending on your opinion of Cryptic graphics - I know their art style doesn't appeal to many). Still has the whole "most of the world is just pasted onto polygons" problem though. Most of the stuff is non-interactive fluff.

Fairly faithful to D&D and the Forgotten Realms as a whole (if you're a lore-buff who cares about such things). Although there are a few jarring disconnects here and there, it quite clearly picks up after NWN2 (sorry folks... looks like there will never be a NWN3 ).

Con's
a.k.a. the stuff I like to talk about because con's always play a bigger part in my gaming decisions than pro's - something I can't stand has much more power than something I want!

The game is based on 4th ed D&D and, as such, character creation is significantly less versatile. Each class has a "role" that it fulfils, and if you play anything but that role, you're going to be drastically less effective. Compared to WoW (where a mage could be pure DPS "flame" spec, control "ice" spec or utility "arcane" spec) you get "The Control Wizard". Who does crowd control. You can try for DPS, but you're basically gonna suck. Instead of allowing classes to choose their focus, they've implemented the various roles/kits as completely separate classes, hence we have the Guardian Fighter (tank) and the Great Weapon Fighter (DPS), so you can't even respec if you want to switch role. And they only have 5 classes - Guardian Fighter, Great Weapon Fighter, Trickster Rogue, Devoted Cleric and Control Wizard. Hope you like one of those roles, 'cause that's all there is for now. Shallow.

Some of the race selections are a bit... odd. They have Drow (for pre-orders, everyone else can purchase it in like 3 months) and Tieflings, but no Aasimar or Gnomes. Seriously... who leaves the gnomes out?! Shallow.

A lot of D&D's dungeoneering aspects have been watered down. Most traps are visible if you're paying attention. Who needs rogues/trapmonkeys. "Secret" areas show up on the map - you just need to find the lever that opens them. Who needs elves/dwarves. Non mission-specific loot has been watered down into 1-2 class-based nodes scattered throughout the dungeon. Who needs Spot / Search. When you run a dungeon, the only things you can interact with in any way are enemies (who drop coins and the occasional item), reward chests (after each boss/miniboss), the "puzzle" items (but since they're the only things you can use, it's more hide'nseek than puzzles) and your 1-2 class-specific supply nodes. And the "dungeons" are basically more like "corridors". Shallow.

Actually... I could point stuff out individually, but what my biggest problem comes down to is this : The game model is actively designed to make you play more and play more often. I'm OK with that, but it's also designed to punish you if you don't. This is the kind of game that I'd be quite prepared to play very casually (like, once a week, tops), dropping a bit of money on it every so often when something cool is in the store. But since playing like that will actively gimp me, I honestly can't be bothered to play at all.

From the crafting (where you have a certain number of slots and you can start a new project every few hours) to the in-game stores (where certain currencies require you to log on every day or you lose them), from the payment models (which either require you to pay significantly more than a normal sub, or to be logging on every day) to the quest system (many, many daily "activities"), it's absolutely clear that this is a game which tells you to play every day, for hours at a time. HTFU or GTFO.

I don't like my games to tell me when, where or how to play, so this game simply isn't for me. If you're OK with that, most of the major concerns I've got will go away (apart from normal issues that most MMO's have - which, if you want an MMO will be irrelevant anyway).

Conclusion
Neverwinter looks OK. Regardless of the action-y combat, it's still a pretty standard, WoW-style, MMO-grinder. If you're going to make it your main game, playing it every (or almost every) day for an hour or two, it might be alright. But given the relatively shallow aspects of the game, I can't see that it could sustain that level of play, and the design of the rest of the game actively penalises casual play. Neverwinter is not for me. Maybe it's for you. Give it a shot... it's F2P after all. If you enjoy it, drop some money on the devs and have a great time!

It is most certainly pay to win:
You can level up your henchmen to level 15, then the only way to go forward is to buy higher grade henchmen for zen and that's it. Grinding for hours just to get 6 or so inventory slots is not appealing too. Hours and hours spent on gateway.planeverwinter to develop your crating skills so they're 20 levels or more behind stuff you can use is horrible.
You can get around this with money but I won't bother because it's a very bad way to artificaly restrict players and I don't support trash business solutions like these.

umbraticus:
the banner image for this article on the escapist main page is from elder scrolls online *facepalm*. who's in charge of this place?

There was a mix up with the art. It's been updated now. Sorry about that!

Greg

warhammers, clubs, staffs, maces, shields... These are the things I think of when I roll my cleric.

Not a ranged fighter. Never a ranged fighter. You get in, mix it up, and heal when needed. Turn when needed. Sometimes call on Deity power when needed... You're not a freaking Medieval SAW.

Stripped down weapon choices, bland-ish story, weird idea for clerics (didn't pick the other classes because they never interested me).... D&D was always about choice. Did not feel that when I was playing.

Nah. I'll stick with Turbine's Dungeons & Dragons Online for all my D&D MMOG needs. This one is way too WoWish for me.

I spent $60+ dollars for the guardian pack of this game....played it in the beta weekends, and about 4 hours once it launched. I did get to see all the levels of characters through alpha play as well (so got to see mid and high level chars of each class, and all the areas).

The problem with the game is it is impressive when you first start playing it. The combat, at first, is action packed and new....and at least initially you don't notice how set in stone advancement is....or that equipment does't really change how your character plays etc.

After playing 10+ hours though, the combat doesn't change and starts to get stale. Once you play the higher level areas and see that it's all pretty much the same.....that feeling grows. In addition, the fact you can't change how your character progresses at all, or even alter it's combat style etc with equipment.....makes it almost pointless to play the game at all. Your just basically walking through a set path. Once you have walked through that set path with any character...there is no real reason to do it with another.

I walked through the entire games "set path" with more then 1 character in the Beta weekends and Alpha tests. Even though I had tons of astral diamonds from my pre-order....and all 5 character slots (bought the other 2 with zen from trading in my diamonds)....I couldn't bring myself to play more then 4 hours or so once the game went live.

Total waste of $60.

I love to support D&D games. I'm a long term fan of D&D online for instance and have given them thousands of dollars...paying for a monthly sub for many, many months when I wasn't actually playing. That game....even with it's flaws...is well worth supporting.

Neverwinter Online though is just plain and simply a dissapointment...and is NOT D&D in any shape or form...at least not the D&D I love. I have not played 4th edition, but I can't imagine that all equipment is the same in it, that all characters progress the same way, and that there is no way to differentiate your character from any other of the same class/archtype whatever.

I tried to help shape the game in the Alpha and beta...I posted about the fact characters needed to have some form of customization etc. Sadly it didn't help and to me, the game is just a waste of $60....and another dissapointment. I have not had much luck with games that I have been waiting a long time and pre-ordered in the last year or two. I was very sad how D3 turned out...and now NO also underwhelmed greatly. I hop hope hope, that Shadowrun Returns is good to great...as I am starting to get very discouraged.

uguito-93:
Out of curiosity, what did he mean by 4th ed D&D being too linear? I thought that would be entirely up to how the DM runs the campaign.

He means character progression. The characters in 4th edition tend to grow into a set form that is put before it, so one person's wizard is going to be very similar to another person's wizard, as opposed to earlier incarnations of the game where it was a little more customizable. It's basically the difference of this:
image

and this:
image

I know those two games have nothing to do with D&D, but the differences in their character progression hopefully get across what I'm trying to say.

klaynexas3:

uguito-93:
Out of curiosity, what did he mean by 4th ed D&D being too linear? I thought that would be entirely up to how the DM runs the campaign.

He means character progression. The characters in 4th edition tend to grow into a set form that is put before it, so one person's wizard is going to be very similar to another person's wizard, as opposed to earlier incarnations of the game where it was a little more customizable. It's basically the difference of this:

I know those two games have nothing to do with D&D, but the differences in their character progression hopefully get across what I'm trying to say.

Hey Klaynexas3,

Thanks for the illustrative example. That's a great side by side comparison of part of how I see the problem. The other major problem that I see with 4th- at least in terms of linearity - is that the 'encounters' mechanism defeats what I understand to be the classic dungeon-crawling experience. I'm much less interested in a string of encounters tied together with narrow hallways than I am in a multi-level, living and breathing complex that the players have the opportunity to explore and attempt to understand. Some great D&D blogs have written about this subject as well. I find this game-structuring to be a weakness in the system, as I find it to be destructive to exploration and role-playing. That said, I have played in many games involving, and know of many players who prefer to use this style of play. Ultimately, it's a player and designer content choice, and while this is a preferable model to some, I get the feeling that it will ultimately lose out to a more open, sandbox-style game.

The main thing I want from a D&D-based game is freedom to explore a character concept within a growing and changing world environment. Unfortunately, Neverwinter isn't that experience, but I find it to be a really enjoyable railroad game in a setting that I've been in love with for years. I have enjoyed my game time until this point, and look forward to continue enjoying it with friends.

Played over 80 hours since open beta started as a big D&D fan. And that's it. There's just no more than 100 hours in this.
And the environments are all samey, brown and grey grit.

I still login regularly, but this is pure pay to win.
Except, there is so little content, you are done before you really need to pay up if you are wise.

All the quests are the same, boring stuff.

Bottom line: Play for free for 2-3 weeks straight, then forget it and move on to something with color and personality.

P.S.
Worst thing; combat with more than 1 player (events, PVP, dungeons) is SUPER chaotic.
Everyone flashes about the place and looks the same.

Three21:

Hey Klaynexas3,

Thanks for the illustrative example. That's a great side by side comparison of part of how I see the problem. The other major problem that I see with 4th- at least in terms of linearity - is that the 'encounters' mechanism defeats what I understand to be the classic dungeon-crawling experience. I'm much less interested in a string of encounters tied together with narrow hallways than I am in a multi-level, living and breathing complex that the players have the opportunity to explore and attempt to understand. Some great D&D blogs have written about this subject as well. I find this game-structuring to be a weakness in the system, as I find it to be destructive to exploration and role-playing. That said, I have played in many games involving, and know of many players who prefer to use this style of play. Ultimately, it's a player and designer content choice, and while this is a preferable model to some, I get the feeling that it will ultimately lose out to a more open, sandbox-style game.

The main thing I want from a D&D-based game is freedom to explore a character concept within a growing and changing world environment. Unfortunately, Neverwinter isn't that experience, but I find it to be a really enjoyable railroad game in a setting that I've been in love with for years. I have enjoyed my game time until this point, and look forward to continue enjoying it with friends.

Would you have a recommendation of an MMO that might emulate that sort of freedom in character progression? I've been stuck on the look out for a good MMO for the past few years, and the idea of getting to make a bit more of a unique character seems like it could be a good footing for getting me to stick with a game.

klaynexas3:
Would you have a recommendation of an MMO that might emulate that sort of freedom in character progression? I've been stuck on the look out for a good MMO for the past few years, and the idea of getting to make a bit more of a unique character seems like it could be a good footing for getting me to stick with a game.

Unfortunately, I have not. Other games that look like they will grant this kind of freedom are WildStar (to a small extent), and Pathfinder Online, which looks very promising. Though the game is still 1-2 years at least from release, the Pathfinder team has released some exciting initial content, but as always, we will need to wait until more information is released. I have heard good things about Tera, but have not played it myself. RIFT has a very popular multi-class system, but I do not know what people think of it now that it is free to play.

Three21:

Unfortunately, I have not. Other games that look like they will grant this kind of freedom are WildStar (to a small extent), and Pathfinder Online, which looks very promising. Though the game is still 1-2 years at least from release, the Pathfinder team has released some exciting initial content, but as always, we will need to wait until more information is released. I have heard good things about Tera, but have not played it myself. RIFT has a very popular multi-class system, but I do not know what people think of it now that it is free to play.

I've been thinking about giving Tera a try again, as the combat itself was relatively fun, I just never made it that far in it. And I've tried Rift, and maybe it gets better further on, but so far it feels just like a WoW clone, except I haven't put enough investment into the lore for me to care about the world enough to be able to continue playing past the first few levels.

I kind of enjoyed Neverwinter, but I was particularly excited about the Foundry. I wonder if it's just a matter of time before Blizzard develops something like that since they have the perfect vehicle for it in scenarios.

klaynexas3:

I know those two games have nothing to do with D&D, but the differences in their character progression hopefully get across what I'm trying to say.

The first one reminds me of FFX. Is it from a final fantasy game?

LetalisK:
I kind of enjoyed Neverwinter, but I was particularly excited about the Foundry. I wonder if it's just a matter of time before Blizzard develops something like that since they have the perfect vehicle for it in scenarios.

klaynexas3:

I know those two games have nothing to do with D&D, but the differences in their character progression hopefully get across what I'm trying to say.

The first one reminds me of FFX. Is it from a final fantasy game?

No, the first picture is(I'm guessing an old version of it now that I take a better look at it) the skill tree from Path of Exile. It's a singular skill tree for all six classes in the game, it's just each class starts at different points on the skill tree. However, it makes it to where you can make you class basically whatever you want it to be. For instance, the progression I was going to go for was based off a singular passive on the tree called Chaos Inoculation. Basically you're immune to chaos damage, however, you are reduced to one health, so you would have to invest heavily in shield passives in order to make up for the lack of health. It'd make for an interesting play through.

ASnogarD:
fight over loot (typical need / greed system but no limiting need to the class... so basically everyone just needs everything).

They have at least fixed that. It's no longer possible to need on something you can't use. In my experience lots of people pass on loot they don't want, especially unidentified green items. I do - your limited bag space means that it's just not worth the hassle.

I looked at it.

And wanted to stab my face with a fork thereafter. Not because of the gameplay, but because of 4e lore, it makes the whole thing unplayable for me. Whose idea was it to make drow a main race? And tieflings? Wat.

wulfy42:

I tried to help shape the game in the Alpha and beta...I posted about the fact characters needed to have some form of customization etc. Sadly it didn't help and to me, the game is just a waste of $60....and another disappointment. I have not had much luck with games that I have been waiting a long time and pre-ordered in the last year or two. I was very sad how D3 turned out...and now NO also underwhelmed greatly. I hop hope hope, that Shadowrun Returns is good to great...as I am starting to get very discouraged.

Yup did something similar, I was very disappointed as well with what Cryptic has done with the Neverwinter license. Heck character creation is so bland, so dry yet Cryptic knows better, they made Champions Online so they know about character creation variety. So much potential wasted. Even more I did not feel the D&D difference at all, feels like a generic F2P fantasy game that I downloaded to play for the weekend, forget about and then later uninstall wondering why I installed it in the first place.

Here is to hoping for better devs/publishers and the newer MMO's coming out soon : )

The problem with the game is having Perfect World as the publishers for the game. Everything that screams Cryptic is great about the game, but they had to include plenty of little things for the sake of PWE. And if there's one thing I've learned about PWE is that they're far more interested in creating a pay to win environment than an entertaining one.

I can't say I agree with the gushing reviews coming out for Neverwinter, I was bored with it before I even capped my first character.

Brutal combat? Are you kidding me? The combat feels stiff and awkward at times.

I have to disagree greatly with this review. Many things in this game are annoying at best and quite a few are just broken.

The pvp is basically unplayable. It's one of five ways to earn rough astral diamonds, but actually playing isn't a requirement, so there is almost always an afk person. In all the games I played, I never saw a 5vs5 match. Also the pvp is a capture the base type deal, but for some reason mounts are allowed. This means that people that have paid money for the faster mounts have a large advantage over the people playing for free.

The queues "work" but make no sense. A player can wait 30 minutes in queue to get into to a dungeon, only for the game to match 5 trickster rogues together.

The End Game is just the early game re-skinned. Once you finish the last quest zone you expect to be able to go to Castle Never for what I assume is some sort of conclusion to the story, but the dungeon is locked by a gear score. This forces you to play through the other "Epic" dungeons in order to get a good enough purple in each slot. The other dungeons though, are just the same dungeons you have already done at a higher level. All the secrets, enemies, and number of mobs are the same. Oh and I hope you are playing during dungeon delve! You see, every dungeon drops a certain slot of gear and there is no guarantee that anything of value will drop because the chest at the end of the dungeon is locked. It's only unlocked during an event called dungeons delves, which lasts for an hour and happens randomly.

The epic dungeons come in tiers, so once you get your first set of good gear you'll be able to do the next tier of dungeons...for a set of gear to enter the next set of dungeons >.>

Augmenting gear is a great concept but the way they implemented it feels like a boot up the bum. Runes can be placed in armor for free, but take astral diamonds to remove. The more powerful the rune, the more astral diamonds it takes to remove it. Runes, like the dungeons, come in tiers(10 in this case.) Crafting a new tier of rune takes four of the previous. So 4 tier 1 runes can become 1 tier 2, 4 tier 2s can become 1 tier 3 and so on. Combining runes doesn't always work though, there is always a chance that the crafting will fail. This percent of failure raises as the runes become higher tier and failure results in the loss of 1 of the base runes. Tier 1 runes have a 95% chance of succeeding, but tier 7 is only 30%. I've never attempted to make a tier 10 rune so I can only imagine what % it would be. There are also epic runes, which have an even worse rate of success. These losses can be prevented by, you guessed it, real money. Certain wards can prevent loss of runes in the case of failure or even force the synth to succeed. They can be purchased for Zen or there is a very small chance to receive one from your deity every seven real life days.

The crafting >.> Leveling one craft to max level can either take forever or an hour, just depends on how much real money you'd like to spend. Hiring an asset takes 18 real life hours, and they come in tiers... Four tier ones make one tier 2, does this sound familiar? You can buy assets for real money of course. You can also trade them, which helps a lot if you are working on a second craft. Each synth takes anywhere from 5 to 50 minutes normally to complete. Unless you buy the Zen craft materials, which in that case the synth is finished in 10 seconds and gives vastly more experience.

That's really the problem, everything is saturated in Zen. Inventory, bank slots, companions, mounts, gear, respecs, crafting materials, and assets can all be bought with Zen and in most cases are best bought with Zen. A player can farm for days for a bag to increase their inventory that is only half as good as the one in the Zen market.

The foundry and to a lesser extent, the combat are this game's saving grace. The foundry has some great player made content that I was happy to play through at first. But the game doesn't mark which one's you've done, so I hope you are keeping track. Some of the stories are really interesting, but as with all player made content, they are a mixed bag. I once started a quest that led me to an inn bursting with bad guys and I do mean that literally. The creator had placed so many hostile mobs in the rooms that they were glitching through the doors.

The combat is varied and interesting between the classes, everyone feels different. Guardians block, the two handed fighters sprint, rogues dodge roll, wizards teleport and clerics electric slide out of the way of attacks. The problem is that it can become a mess very fast. Enemy aoe attacks appear as red circles on the ground. Clerics use several aoe buffs and heals that appear as a different color on the ground. Control wizards have spells that can throw enemies around or lift them up into the air. Rogues can leave shadow images of themselves strewn about the battlefield. Several daily abilities cause the color scheme to be filtered to for example just red and black. Boss mobs can spawn tons of adds, destroy terrain and fling players about like rag dolls. Now imagine all of those things happening at once...because that's almost every boss battle past level 35.

When a player falls in battle, they can be revived by a party member for a short period of time. If a party member doesn't get to you in time or you've fallen too many times you'll die and be forced to respawn at your last campfire, with an injury. In the case of bosses, this means you're out of the fight til your party succeeds or they wipe. Don't worry though! When you die, for 30 seconds, the game gives you the option to buy a raise for yourself or your entire party for real life money! No game, I don't want want to pay $3 to get back up. I'll take my $3 and buy something useful, like an ice cream cone or a set of dice so I can play more D&D.

klaynexas3:

Would you have a recommendation of an MMO that might emulate that sort of freedom in character progression? I've been stuck on the look out for a good MMO for the past few years, and the idea of getting to make a bit more of a unique character seems like it could be a good footing for getting me to stick with a game.

Though they often do things in the game that seems to break characters, I haven't hit a more character progression open game than Turbine's 7 year old 3.5ed D&D: DDO. Not just that their race(8)/class(13) matrix is huge (with no restrictions), but throw in up to triple multi-classing, feats/skills open to most classes, their added enhancement system and a 11-choices destiny system for epic levels. You'll only find cookie-cutting characters because people followed someone else's build design (or it's the semi-exploiting flavor of the month). Though one thing that allows so much variability is complete focus on PVE design. When I want flashy PVE I go Planetside2.

They're also adding what I would call "subraces" (but they call Iconic characters) which are based off one of the current races but with different starting stats, slightly different creation-looks, and some "lore'ish" benefits to one specific class, e.g. the Bladeforged Paladin (which many of us have rolled as a sorc - because they get a charisma bonus).

Though the game is in a bit of a bug-phase right now. They're changing their enhancement system to go from list selection to graphical selection which means they have to maintain two systems at once and it's caused quite a few bugs to hit live servers.

If you like building different characters this is the place for you. Even if you do it wrong, there's 4 to 7 levels of difficulty per quest so your great-axe-wielding wizard/rogue can still run through their game master voiced quests and very few of their quests have role-requirements. (Well the raids have role-requirements... but they're rarely particular about which class fills that role).

-GratchDDO (I was thinking about suggesting NWN2 but it's too olde and DDO is in my name).

So a MMO clone, based on a pen and paper role playing game, where all the characters are essentially clones of each other with different damage sources...

Thanks, but no.

Dungeons and Dragons, this is not.

It's a heavily instanced themepark ride with a gloss of D&D 4.0 paint over it. From what I've played so far of the game, "class skills" play little more than a source of loot and a money sink for characters (tool kits) because of it, specially since if the priest does their religion check on an alter, no one else benefits from it, so everyone else better hope they have a Religion kit or else no stuff. And the combat, while decent, isn't entirely that strong, neither is the skill system which corrals you to pretty much buy every skill within the first 20-30 point range or else.

I also rather completely disapprove of the paragon paths not even being fully implemented by launch. They say more to come, but as far as I'm aware of, you'll have to completely respec your character just to try the others out. Which costs money.

It's an alright game, if you take out any connection to D&D from it, otherwise it's just a let-down on the namesake, and pales compared to Turbines offering in terms of depth and choice. Combat is even somewhat similar between the two. Except, of course, you can't jump hundreds of feet to crash down on people.

Buuuuuuut.... That's what Aerial Assault is for with my Mythic Champion in Pathfinders! And he's not restricted to a two-handed weapon either!

I think it's funny that a lot of the stuff he said is what people like in D&D is not even close to what I enjoy in D&D. I guess that's why I thought 4th Edition sucked.

Having not come from a D&D background, but rather an MMO background, I'm liking this game so far. It has the linear quest paths of WoW mixed with the more mobile, varied combat like GW2. I fully admit that I'm not a D&D lore hog so i might be missing something huge, but judging the game purely based on the game and not the source material, I'm finding it fairly enjoyable. Some games should be played like some movies should be watched - not as direct translations of the material they're based on but as an artistic interpretation of that material. This will be a nice addition to my library of MMOs that I play off and on every day. For your basic 25m raids with their set roles and uniform player choices / damage rotations, I have WoW. For dynamic events, responsive, fluid combat, and regular content updates, I have Guild Wars 2. For those games that fall between the two, I have The Secret World, LOTRO, and now Neverwinter. I need more hours in the day.

Three21:
Neverwinter is an MMO that knows exactly what it wants to accomplish, and does so very well. The developers of Neverwinter at Cryptic know what makes people (especially Dungeons & Dragons nerds) able to play the same game for hundreds of hours without flagging: gratifying, crunchy combat, and a permanent sense of purpose. Neverwinter takes the most satisfying aspects of D&D's 4th edition in terms of combat and development, and turns it into a D&D adventure that left me squeeing with the joy of seeing my favorite monsters and mechanics.

Neverwinter succeeds at making each class' gameplay unique and pulpy

Any idea where I can get a copy of this? Because the version released to the general public appears to be a completely different game. Utterly generic fantasy MMO with no connection whatsoever to D&D, the slowest, clunkiest, most incredibly unsatisfying combat ever, and every class is essentially identical with exactly the same mechanics and progression (and nothing to do with any D&D class or mechanics).

I can't say it's the worst game I've ever played. After all, it may be incredibly boring and generic, but everything at least works. But no matter which part of it you look at, there's another game that does it better in every way. And with most of those other games also being F2P (or at least pay once for GW2), I can't imagine why anyone would want to waste their time with this crap.

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