First off, as a fan of old school pnp D&D (3.5 rules…like there is any other) it was hard not to be excited about Cryptic studios and Perfect World teaming up once again for another free rpg, this time an mmo set in Forgotten Realms! This setting has long been a favorite of many dungeons and dragons players, and is a far cry from Eberron (I’m looking at you DDO). Neverwinter Online is based on 4th edition D&D rules of which I am unfamiliar, so this game was going to be exciting and fresh to learn about…..when I actually got in game.
Launch day (open beta or not) = client crashes, launcher errors, frustration, and nerd-rage monsters on the official game forums. The one thing I think Guild Wars 2 had right was their ability to forsee massive influx of players on launch day and planned accordingly through “ghost servers.” This allowed players to log in game in an overflow server, buts that is another game and was another time. Neverwinter Online was shaping up to be just like any other game launch, so I was patient and finally got into the game after an hour or more wait in “Queue.”
SERVER SELECTION & CHARACTER CREATION:
3 Servers to choose from all highy populated, my guess is they’ll add more in the very near future. I give this a solid B, it has enough variation to make you feel like your character is unique but its really nothing fancy here.
CLASS & RACE SELECTION:
Being open beta on a very new game, I think the 5 class choices and 7 races are very different and good for a start up imo. Guardian Fighter, Great Weapon Fighter, Control Wizard, Trickster Rogue, and Devoted Cleric all have certain roles and I’m sure more will be added sooner or later. The races (all but drow, to be added later) are all native to Forgotton Realms. Human, Half-Orc, Halfling, Half-Elf, Elf, Dwarf, and Tiefling all have certain ties to starting stats so you’ll want to choose your class/race combo wisely. Example: An elven Guardian Figher tank might sound cool in theory, but they’re racial bonus doesn’t bode well with a tank class and you may end up dead more often than not.
GRAPHICS & GAMEPLAY:
The graphics for Neverwinter Online are stunning! There are many little nuances that I enjoyed looking at, water looks like water, shadows are in the correct places and the landscape is beautiful. Another thing I enjoy in games is to be able to jump around, you can freely do this in Neverwinter but the default controls are wonky (good thing there are keybind options). Movement is very fluid in Neverwinter and I had no lag at all, while you’d expect this from a partially intanced based game its still nice to see no rubberbanding. Basic attacking in Neverwinter is bound to your left and right mouse clicks, and the game features a new targeting system that I very much enjoyed. Its a target reticle working with a permanent mouselook mode, so it feels almost like a first person shooter set in a fantasy game. Its very different but I think revoluionary to an mmo experience.
There is a plethora of other things to cover in gameplay from encounter, daily, and at-will powers to power ponts, feats, endurance, crafting, guilds, friends, group-finders, and dungeons but only so much can be said from 3 hrs of gameplay and a lvl 7 character. Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon. If you want to try the game and start a band of nerd-brothers known as a guild hit me up on the mindflayer server, “Grux” is the name and my full game handle Grux@ginrummy1 is how you’ll find me.