Review: Neverwinter

The generic races that you expect in MMOs are in Neverwinter like the human, elf, and dwarf. Theres also two half races which are half-orc and half-elf. Although not unusual, halflings are also available. The only unique races in the game are the Tiefling which look like a red skinned demon, and an exclusive race called the Menzoberranzan Renegade. All race picks come with three perks that slightly increase certain aspects of the character, such as 5% more dmg or 1% money gain.

There are currently only 5 classes to choose from though more will be available in the future. They are mostly generic, like the rogue and cleric, but the control wizard is probably the most unique one of them all. All classes are mostly designed to fit only one role in the game, but the control wizard can somewhat fill two since they get a lot of damaging spells as well as a lot of control spells to either freeze or debilitate even large groups of foes.

Your character has 6 attributes to roll points into, depending on your race and class. All races give bonus attributes, while your classes determines which ones are your primary and secondary stats. It is very important to get a good roll since these attributes give you vital base stats that you will always have. Appearance is of course customizable, and it is very thorough with being able to customizable pretty much everything about your looks. You can lastly choose a god to follow and your backstory, but this has nothing to do with your in game stats and is only there for roleplaying.

Most of your time spent leveling will be through doing solo dungeons following the main story, instanced areas that are made for one person while also teaching you how dungeons will be like. There aren’t any large open world areas that most MMOs have, though there are smaller “open” areas that have limited quest hubs but not anything spectacular. In between doing all of these, you will also be able to queue for PvP or skirmishes/dungeons, and PvP even gives experience which doesn’t happen in most of these types of games. Experience appears to be scaled when you do these and simply killing enemies don’t give a whole lot of experience on their own. This, along with the fact that PvP gives experience means that if you’re bored of doing all of the solo content you can just queue your way all the way to endgame fairly fast.

The crafting aspect in Neverwinter is one of the least crafting-like activity in any MMO. You have five to choose from, and they consist of mostly making queues to get something done, while sometimes actually requiring an ingredient to be used. Eventually you will be able to have 9 queues going on at once, and after you’ve done them for a while you will unlock some useful things to make.

Lore is told to you through the main quest chain that you follow while doing all the solo dungeons and small zones. The best thing about quests and lore in Neverwinter is that there isn’t a whole lot to read, and the actual important stuff is voice acted after you make it to certain points in the quests, so you can continue on fighting and exploring while it is being explained to you. People who just click through quests to get them done will actually be able to listen in on whats happening without completely missing out on everything.

Instead of a free moving mouse that you can use to click on everything, combat locks your mouse to a cursor and it is where you aim all of your abilities. All classes will only be able to use 7-8 abilities at a time, making combat less hectic but also less strategical. Except for a few oddities, most abilites and attacks will lock you in place so you can’t move around freely while attacking. Instead of mana and resource bars, you only have to worry about the cooldowns that abilities have, with some special requirements for others. You will have an action bar fill up from your abilities and when it is full you can use one of your powerful abilities once until you fill it up again. Depending on your class, you will have a special bar that will fill or deplete when you use it, giving you even more ways to utilize your select few skills to use.

If you can’t think of what you want to do at the moment, you can check out what the current task is. Tasks are mini quests that cause certain activities to have better rewards such as more glory earned from PvP or extra money and experience from dungeons. There is only one of these active at a time, though there won’t always be one active at the given moment. These can encourage players to do more than just the same thing over and over.

Dungeons are the main focus of the PvE in Neverwinter. Whether you’re in a group or doing a solo dungeon, the base elements are still the same in both. The unique traits about dungeons here is that they instill a want to explore. They may be linear for the most part, but there are alcoves and tunnels leading to other areas that may contain secret chests or resource points that each class is able to get access to. Traps are another thing that you may run into, and they can sometimes do large amounts of damage if you’re not careful, luckily some classes can detect and even disarm them so you may pass. You will run into lesser bosses along the way in each dungeon, while the end boss is actually unique and has cerain strategies you will need to look out for to complete successfully. When you finally finish a dungeon, there will be a reward chest at the end with money and sometimes items.

This is one of the most unique things that separates Neverwinter from every other MMO that is out there. They have included a way for people to “mod” the game by giving you the tools to create your own story driven quests. Anyone can do this, but only the dedicated ones will bother with this and even then only a small amount of them will be of any worth. When a foundry quest has been completed by someone, they can put it into the game and anyone can play it while rating it for others to see. You will even get experience and othe rewards from completing these player made quests.

The most bare aspect in Neverwinter appears to be PvP. There is currently only one gamemode and a few different maps of it to go around. Capturing and holding points is how PvP is currently being played, and it will quickly go stale for most people unless they like the actual combat involved. Unless you’re level 60, when you queue for PvP you will be upscaled to the max level in your bracket, so if youre 23 you will be playing as a level 29. After winning or losing a match, you will gain experience and glory, which can be traded in for nice gear when you reach level 60. There is currently no special attribute on this gear that will make you better in these matches, though they do have high health ratings which also mean that you will see a lot of tanks wanting to get this gear.

Since there are currently no raids in Neverwinter, all you have to do is the tiered dungeons. These are all of the previous dungeons that you have done while leveling but set at a level 60 scaling, and simply harder in general as well. Other than these dungeons, you can start PvPing in level 60 only games as well as checking out the foundry for anything that would make a good endgame challenge.

More and more MMOs are getting rid of hotkeys and becoming more action oriented, especially when they add in dodge mechanics. Tera and Guild Wars 2 both share some similarities with Neverwinter. If you enjoyed the fixed mouse cursor and dodging in combat in Tera you will Like Neverwinter.

The basic options for these kinds of games exist, such as customizing how your ui looks. MMO graphics have never been the most amazing graphically when it comes to games, but they aren’t always ugly because of it. Neverwinter graphics are fairly standard when it comes to MMOs and there isn’t anything standing out about them. Everything has its sound effects and music, but the best part of the sound in Neverwinter is that almost all quest objectives are voice acted so you can continue to adventure while listening to the story, instead of sitting for a few minutes reading pages.

These are probably just beta complaints, but there are a few things that Neverwinter could do without. PvP is very plain and bare since theres currently only one game mode and a select number of maps to play it on. Class balance in pvp definitely needs to be looked at, since if a rogue is anywhere near a healer they are pretty much dead yet any other class a healer can safely live around. End game consists mostly of 5 man dungeons instead of raids, and being able to bring in your companions means that hardcore players won’t be as challenged as they would like. Crafting could be better like how it is done in other games, instead of a simple queue you start for something to get done. Although they are indirect ways, there are ways to make Neverwinter a pay to win game, such as unlimited revival scrolls or powerful companions. Only having a very small amount of abilities to be used at once during combat restricts all of the tactics that you might have otherwise been able to do, instead of just being able to do damage in different ways. When equipment drops in dungeons and you have to roll for it, anyone can need on any piece even if they can’t wear it, which means a lot of the time you won’t be able to get gear specifically for you even if you’re the only one of that class in the group. It being a beta isn’t bad, but when there’s still plenty of problems and exploits in it along with a real money store already, it makes it seem like they’re more focused on making money than making the game better.

Unless you’re doing endgame dungeons, you will have no problem with fitting in and learning how to do everything in Neverwinter. One thing that helps is that you don’t have many abilities to worry about while fighting, so you can pay more attention to the battle and not which of your 50 spells are on cooldown. The fact that you and everyone else in a group being able to bring companions makes even the hardest dungeons a lot easier, especially if you bring ones that heal you. PvP can be either hard or easy since it is all about who is on each team, and usually whoever has the most people in area will win. Skirmishes, PvP, and the solo dungeons that you do while leveling will take at most 20 minutes to complete. Fully fledged dungeons could potentially take an hour or even longer to do, especially if your group ends up dieing at the boss fights. So even if you don’t have time to do a dungeon on an evening, there is still other rewarding activities to do.

Other than the end game tiered dungeons, everything else is pretty easy. The dungeons that you run through while leveling don’t even require a tank and you can just have your companion tank it anyways, and since you can only use a max of 7-8 abilities PvP isn’t very deep strategy wise. Once again being able to bring in companions during any PvE content make 5 man dungeons feel like you’re doing them with 10 people. Just like every other mmo, there are tons of achievements to obtain from the different areas of gameplay. Other than that, there are five classes to master and many dungeons to run with lots of gear to gather.

Neverwinter is a completely free to play game, with the usual microtransactions that accompany these types of games. Since it is part of the Perfect World Entertainment line of games, their currency called Zen can be used within all of their games so you may already have some available. Zen costs rougly one dollar per hundred, and the most expensive items can cost up to 4000 zen, so be ready to spend 40 dollars on some items. If buying separate amounts of Zen is not your thing, you can currently buy one of the three available founder packages that contain lots of bonus in game items along with Astral Diamonds that you can exchange in game for zen. You can also exchange the Astral Diamonds that you earn in game for Zen with the exchange window in game, but the astral price per zen will slowly but surely go up over time.

There is barely any in-game advantage to buying items because 99% of it is cosmetics, though you could consider some things to give you an advantage. Mounts can be bought, and since you can use them in pvp you will be able to move around a lot quicker than others before they are able to save up 5 gold to buy their own. Enchanting items aren’t 100% guaranteed, but you can buy some expensive items in the store that can guarantee your item will be enchanted without destroying anything, meaning you can completely skip the RNG factor. Although only usable in PvE, you can buy some companions that will help you in battles and they have some mean looking stats. There are also scrolls of revival that you can get that will revive you on the spot, so if you’re rich you can just buy a ton of them and not worry about wiping on the hardest bosses. Overall though, there is no major reason to not play Neverwinter when it comes to being able to buy power with real money, especially when most of the advantages are in PvE content.

The founder packages range from 20 dollars, 50, and all the way up to 200 dollars. The 20 dollar package isn’t even worth looking at, since it just gives two items that barely help with leveling along with a bag that gives you 12 inventory slots, but nothing else at all of value. A better deal is the 50 dollar pack, since it includes a mount and dog companion that you get from the start, along with a ton of Astral diamonds (600000) and other little bonuses such as another character slot. Only bad thing about this pack is that the amount of diamonds you get is barely worth anything when you get into the inflated market, and it would actually be better to just purchase 50 dollars worth of Zen which will go a long way. The 200 dollar pack will most likely be too much for most people to spend on a single game, but if you are planning to play this game for at least a year this price is well worth it, since you get a ton of cool and exclusive mounts and companions along with 2,000,000 Astral Diamonds, with even more miscellaneous bonus items and perks. Probably the most exclusive thing about the 200 dollar founder package is that it will give you exclusive access to the Menzoberranzan Renegade playable race, which look like a type of elf.

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