Dungeons & Dragons fans can finally return to the frigid realm of Icewind Dale - sort of.
Remember Icewind Dale? It's a wintry region of Faerun that Black Isle Studios turned into a CRPG hit back in the early-oughts with a pair of eponymous PC games and an expansion, Heart of Winter. They weren't my favorite of the Infinity Engine games - in fact, I'd put them well behind Baldur's Gate and Planescape: Torment - but the setting was grand and unforgettable.
And now it's back, after a fashion, in the free-to-play MMO Neverwinter as Curse of Icewind Dale, the third expansion module that's now open to the public. It's obviously not the old-time RPG we knew and loved but there's undoubtedly an air of nostalgia to it: Players can sign up as a mercenary in the employ of the Ten Towns as they battle the Arcane Brotherhood for control of Black Ice. (Of course, you can always opt to work for the Brotherhood instead, but what kind of neutral evil monster are you?)
The expansion will add new "heroic encounters" to the game as well as open-world PvP, new quests lines and PvE campaign, a new Paragon path for the Hunter/Ranger class and epic Black Ice gear, the most powerful equipment in the game. All of which is probably important to people who actually play the game, but I'm really here for the memories - I'm sure harvesting Black Ice is lots of fun but I think I'd rather just head straight to the Severed Hand and blow the day roaming around inside.
Neverwinter: Curse of Icewind Dale is live now at playneverwinter.com.