Neverwinter Review: Welcome to D&D Infinite

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It occurs to me that this game may not be (at least as of yet) for MMO people.
Most of the firnds that buckle down on these types of games really spurned Neverwinter, and their reasons make sense to me, but on the other hand I just can't stop playing it.

I really hope they open more RP options and expand on it, as I feel it's the games greatest strength.

I played Neverwinter for maybe a few days before giving up on it. I personally think it has the same problem as Tera with the combat, dynamic fighting systems seem like a good idea until you apply MMO grind to them. Then it's just hand cramps.

Also, what's with the ridiculous lack of races to choose from? 4th edition has pages and pages of player races, and Cryptic don't even have the excuse of huge development costs to make them since everyone starts in the same bloody place and have the same origin choices. I'd be less bothered about it if some of the races didn't already have models in the game, what's the point of not having kobolds as playable if you can have them as companions? Unless of course they're just going to sell them all through the cash shop at a later date, which wouldn't surprise me.

Neverwinter was the first game that truly made me believe that I'm getting too old for games(at 29).

Then I realized that it was trite as shit, generic, uneventful, repetative and plain old boring.

In case anyone takes offense at this, I'm sure it's fine for some and it doesn't make you a bad person or mean that you have bad taste, if you like it. I just can't stand yet another purposeless MMO that wastes my time for nothing.

I do think that the player created content is a stroke of genius and should've been implemented in other MMO's a very long time ago, to keep a game fresh. Other than that, I wouldn't recommend anyone wasting their time on this.

klaynexas3:

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.

Really, character depth has to take a hit in MMOs if they want to balance things out since the GMs have to be able to predict what the players can do both in terms of balancing endgame raid encounters and of course PVP. You see a trend nowadays towards increasingly less options both in PnP (4E D&D) and MMOS, because when you give players a toolbox the first thing they are going to do is set out to break the system for their advantage and then you have to run around with a nerf bat left and right. With less options that still happens, but it's less pronounced. Granted Cryptic took this to an extreme (though I will be honest in saying I like Neverwinter just fine, though I play it very casually, without much of an eye towards being particularly competitive).

That said, your best bet for customization in the MMO-sphere right now is probably going to be "Rift" by Trion worlds. It's also gone free to play and thus added "pay to win" aspects up the wazoo, but it probably offers the greatest degree of freedom in setting up a character right now. You have the 4 basic classes (Mage, Cleric, Rogue, Warrior) and while initially made to select a pre-set you can ultimately wind up customizing each class with three different souls which grant different abilities and then choose how to allocate your points between them as you level up. It also lets you have more than one role saved, and each role can have different souls and point distributions. So thus by being a mage in RIFT you could say have a Melee build based around "Vindicator" (a mage that focuses on getting in people's face and beating on them with energy channeled through their staff/dagger/sword), one based around using a pet built around an Elementalist/Pyromancer combo, and another built set up to heal based around say Chloromancer. When not in combat you can switch between your roles so if your in the mood to run around doing melee DPS you can do that, switch into a healer form for a dungeon, or go into a ranged DPS form.

That said at it's core RIFT is very much a WoW-clone and wasn't trying to be anything but, though it has it's own unique tweaks on the formula. I'm not a huge fan yet (been tinkering with it again now that it's FTP), but I will give credit where credit is do. If this is your #1 priority for a game, your probably not going to do much better for character options and freedom than this right now.

-

As far as Neverwinter goes, one point I think has been missing from the article and criticisms is exactly how limiting "The Foundary" is. While you can pretty much assign dialogue, layouts, and place monsters, the foundary creator has no real control over rewards and loot, which come from a random item roll at the end, and an astral diamond reward for doing a daily. What this means is that there is little incentive to really play foundary adventures as they don't do a lot to advance your character, since they are not going to provide competitive gear to say raiding Castle Never if your at that level of progression, thus the item at the end tends to generally be a junk reward for serious players. This means the only real benefit is the Astral Diamonds, and since your getting that through a daily you generally want these quests to be quick and painless. A "good" foundary adventure is thus less an exercise in genius design and good storytelling, but a matter of trying to make it as quick as possible while still squeezing past review to quality for daily quest credit.

The point here is that in theory the idea of everyone being able to make adventures and take turns DMing for each other (also present in "Star Trek Online") is great, but the nature of the game which prevents player-GMs from being able to assign rewards for fear of flooding the game with awesome stuff, tends to render this kind of pointless. Sure, some people might play for the storylines and to see a cool build, but honestly like in any MMO most people want to keep advancing their characters, and truthfully a foundry adventure is only worth a handfull of Astral diamonds, knocking off Foundry quests being only one of multiple dailies you need to knock off every day to get your diamond allotment which you can save towards something worthwhile.

Been playing it for... I think about 2 hours now.
Went BIG SWORD OVERCOMPENSATOR (for the fact that my character is a lady) and have been having pretty decent fun. It's just another dime-a-dozen MMO, but for a F2P its certainly enjoyable.
Character editor needs to be like in Champions Online though. GOOD GOD that editor was shockingly good (I know you cant edit a costume in Neverwinter anyway, but more options for your character in general would still be cool).

As soon as i tried the PvP i uninstalled it. I pretty much only play mmo-s for a good pvp system but my god is the PVP dumb in neverwinter. I don't understand the spell system, you can use like what only 7 skills? Compare that to my old warlock in wow that used around 50, 10 of them regularly in PvE and like 30 of them in PVP. And the dodge skill isn't even fun at all, couldn't even cap my char how boring it became

Steer clear of this game.

Neverwinter is basically a siren - it lures you in with superficial pleasures and then gobbles you up. When I first started playing it, it was great, and got steadily worse until I hit max level, at which point it became abominable.

You level up so quickly that it's practically meaningless, and often even harmful - you'll likely start groaning when you level up, because you get locked out of skirmishes (see below) and quests (some of which give important stuff, like a bigger inventory). Initially, you go through interesting, well-crafted questing areas of which each will entertain you for an afternoon. They look nice, but they're designed the same - a sequence of fields chock-full of enemies, connected by corridors, with 2-3 merchant/health regen stations in-between. If you do any PvP or invocation (XP-and-money button that you can use every hour), you'll overlevel and get locked out of stuff.

Each area has one skirmish (a 15-minute dungeon with one boss, most of which you'll skip because you'll overlevel) and a dungeon (40 minutes to 2 hours, linear sequence of rooms, 3 minibosses and 1 big boss). They are always optional. Even without doing much, you'll hit lvl60 in two weeks (I did, and I'm the ultimate pansy casual player).

And the endgame... just isn't there. Once you hit 60, you have no questing areas. You'll stay in the first and only hub area (Protector's Enclave), invoke, craft (which is busywork - you do it to upgrade your craft level, but you'll never get anything that you won't want to discard immediately), and - get this - do all the dungeons from level 1 to 60 again, except now they're "epic" variants (with harder monsters).

That's all there is to the endgame: doing the dungeons you've done already, again. And it's a complete waste of your time unless you do them at a specific time each day (during the "Dungeon Delve" event), when a chest after the last boss drops a rare, purple item. And unless you have four friends that'll come with you, you have to queue with random people for each dungeon. The party-leader has absolute power and can kick people out (they won't be replaced), and if anyone disconnects, you might as well all leave because doing a dungeon in 4 is suicide. If the leader disbands the party or kicks you all out after the boss is dead, he gets to keep all the loot, and you've just wasted hours of your time. Every enemy is a HP-sponge, and can be tackled by simply dealing the maximum amount of damage. Bosses are even worse - they are HP-sponges as well, but they'd be pushovers... except for their one mechanic (and every boss has it, in a completely identical fashion): spawning tons of monsters, each a HP-sponge, continuously, and a horde at certain fractions of its health. Every boss battle is an exercise in herding an army of imps and zombies, which are a bigger threat than the boss.

You can PvP too. There are two maps, each 5 vs. 5, with three points that you have to hold (domination/king-of-the-hill style). If the class balance wasn't screwed up, PvP might actually be fun, but there's really no different roles to the classes - except for the cleric, they all succeed by simply doing the most amount of damage possible; the "tank" is barely 10% more sturdy than the rest, and can actually be statted to do the most damage; clerics are dispensers of a single AoE healing power, Astral Shield, and nothing more; everyone else is a damage-dealer. Half the stuff you spend points in doesn't work (there is no disclaimer which feats are broken) and there is often a single "good" build and countless horrible ways in which you can make your character completely useless. Similarly, there is often one "good" set of equipment, the rest is there to sell. Oftentimes, a single thing makes-or-breaks your build - you can spend five points in a feat and get nothing, or 1 point in another feat to double your power, and if you don't know which abilities are best by concensus, then good luck.

They've just added "Gauntlgrym," the supposed endgame. It only works for guilds, can only be accessed at certain times in a day, and consists of three stages: a dungeon, a 20 vs. 20 PvP, and another dungeon. It also doesn't work, and it's been currently taken offline.

Anyway, fair warning. This game is the first 20% of a good MMO, and nothing else.

seydaman:
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.

Couldn't agree more. The changes to 4th edition forgotten realms basically killed the setting for me.

I agree the whole 'good guy drow' thing seems pretty silly to me-if you are going to have playable drow in a game, they should be evil, darn it. I think it's to capitalize on the whole Drizzt fandom thing-people who want to play 'badass' 'dark and edgy' characters without having to worry about the 'evil' baggage. annoyingly enough, they seem to have also gone this route in Star Trek Online, with the much requested Romulan (basically the closest Star trek gets to having dark elves) faction turning out to be basically the rebel alliance from star wars, complete with hokey 'evil empire attacks your homeworld' storyline, instead of the arrogant and backstabbing Romulans everyone had expected from such a faction.

It's just pandering to the lowest common denominator.

"Dungeons & Dragons fans will enjoy this game for the iconic feel that the game has, and for the huge host of favorite monsters that Cryptic has included"

Im almost level thirty and im really not seeing these huge hosts of monsters. every group of enemies is the same. humanoid species of marginally variable size, in groups composed of rangers, fighters and sometimes a caster. for the most part they even have the same animations and attacks, same model just reskinned with a rats head or whatever, and the boss fights are even worse.

all the boss fights are against a roid raging juggernaut brick-shithouse, with a rediculous amount of health and groups of the other three types of enemies that respawn every minute or so. either that or a caster boss which is basically the same, just without the brick-shithouse aspect.

i have yet to encounter an actual "monster" in this game. i looked through the achievements and the only one i could find that wasnt "kill x number of this type of dude" was for killing a dragon.

Oroboros:

seydaman:
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.

Couldn't agree more. The changes to 4th edition forgotten realms basically killed the setting for me.

I agree the whole 'good guy drow' thing seems pretty silly to me-if you are going to have playable drow in a game, they should be evil, darn it. I think it's to capitalize on the whole Drizzt fandom thing-people who want to play 'badass' 'dark and edgy' characters without having to worry about the 'evil' baggage. annoyingly enough, they seem to have also gone this route in Star Trek Online, with the much requested Romulan (basically the closest Star trek gets to having dark elves) faction turning out to be basically the rebel alliance from star wars, complete with hokey 'evil empire attacks your homeworld' storyline, instead of the arrogant and backstabbing Romulans everyone had expected from such a faction.

It's just pandering to the lowest common denominator.

Actually, there's a trope for that
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OverusedCopycatCharacter?from=Main.DrizztSyndrome

I know the author actually said that the syndrome is a problem, and it's rather unfortunate and really diminishes the idea of a good drow.

I'm unimpressed by NWO. Not saying it's a bad game, per se, but far too many annoyances detract from the overall experience. Most of the annoyances are personal opinions, so I won't bother mentioning them, but the two I think are relevant to most people are the rampant exploits and terrible customer service.

I'm sure everyone's heard about the (now nerfed) Foundry rewards and (supposedly fixed) auction hall negative bid exploits, but things like boss farming (where you reach a boss, kill it for the rares, reset the map, rinse, repeat) and PvP AFK farming (one side throws a PvP match just to make things faster) have plagued NWO since beta, but Cryptic has made no attempts to address it. Most of the PUGs I see advertising openly ask for people who know farming and/or bypassing exploits, and I see a fair number of PvP AFK farming requests as well; for a game that only takes a week to hit max level that's pathetic.

Then there's the terrible CS - or rather the automated CS. Have 20 people (easy for a decent sized guild) report a single player for spam and the chat server will automatically mute them for 24 hours. There are no GMs to review the reports, much less revoke unwarranted muting, and no limit to how many people your group can report. To make matters worse, just last month Cryptic introduced a new automatic banning system that permanently bans you if you mention gold seller names: it will block your first message, issue a warning through the same channel as lockbox spam (which can be muted, so you might not even get the warning), and lay down the ban if you repeat yourself. Everyone who automatically hits up and enter when their messages don't go through, raise their hands.

For a player who doesn't want to exploit the game or wind up getting muted/banned for saying the wrong thing by accident, the only solutions are to either only game with a small group of trusted friends or go completely solo without saying a word to anyone else (which is entirely possible with NWO's content), but at that point can it even be considered an MMO?

tl;dr: decent game, but Cryptic's handling of farming exploits and terrible chat system design choices make it unenjoyable as an MMO. Feels more like a single player game with an always-online requirement and the possibility of other players coming in to ruin your day with exploits. Might as well play Dark Souls.

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