Neverwinter - All News
Tuesday - May 14, 2013
Neverwinter - Developer Journal
Cryptic Studios' Rob Overmeyer has written a new developer journal for MMORPG.com on Neverwinter.
There are very few limitations when it comes to the content an author can make in the Foundry. Whether it is a quick rescue of a drunken dwarf in the Chasm, or a deep delve into the history and lore of the Forgotten Realms, authors can create an array of different quests. We support this creativity with tools that allow you to customize the look and feel of everything, from friendly contacts to the critters players will fight. Our costume editor allows for nearly endless customization of every person or thing you’ll come across in a quest. Within the quests you can really tune the experience for players by having elements of your quest be special for players with specific skills. And this is just the start; there is so much more that can be done with the Foundry.
With the map editor, you can build both exterior and interior maps. Exterior maps come in a few varieties with lots of options to choose from. There are several sizes of detailed and prepopulated maps that are ready to be filled with content and some final details that support your story. There are also “canvas” maps that allow authors to customize every rock, tree, magic portal to Neverdeath, and blade of grass. The interior map editor allows for room-by-room customization of an instanced or interior map. You can build that unique tavern that has a secret door to the sewer that leads to a cave network that attaches to an ancient crypt that is under a castle and leads to the…well, you get the idea! There’s a lot you can build with the interior map editor, and you can add any detail pieces that you prefer, to make your quest feel areas exactly how you like them. In the map editor, you can also set the look of various background elements, like changing the sky or adding fog. You can even select the perfect ambient sounds for your maps to further customize your quest. There is so much you can do to make your world come alive and tell your story.
Every story needs a beginning, middle, and end. In video games, those points are often marked by encountering a contact, someone you might meet on your journey that changes your path. Our dialog editor allows for some truly amazing customization in this storytelling process. If you like, you can build a pretty straightforward dialog, but if you prefer something more complex, you can build an entire game within the contact dialog editor. Even better, this dialog can be ascribed to many more objects than simply a person or monster. You can place your dialog on any object available in the editor and turn your complex dialog into, say, a puzzle or riddle, that could potentially open a secret door. There is a lot of power in the contact dialog editor and we are eager to see what you do with it.
Monday - May 13, 2013
Neverwinter - Preview Roundup
Here are a few previews for the F2P MMO Neverwinter.
A game needs to be about far more than combat, especially one sporting “Dungeons and Dragons” in the title. Some of the most important staples of D&D are cool environments, extraordinary monsters, and epic quests. Neverwinter has all of these in spades. As you gain power, you’re given more important quests and missions to investigate. As you progress through the game, you begin to realize that the last dungeon you claimed was the coolest dungeon you’ve ever seen soloing (I’m looking at you Clocktower) is no longer the coolest...because the dungeon you’re in at that moment is now the coolest.
The further you go, the more monsters you encounter, each with their own special ways of dealing as much damage to your poor character as they can. I find myself regularly trying out different power combinations and methods of dispatching just as much pain and agony back at them. As you delve into Neverwinter dungeons, not only will you discover more methods of death, destruction, and dismemberment, you’ll be greeted by some old D&D classics. The Mimic and the enormous Gelatinous Cube that tried to eat me the other day were both brutal and welcome sights. They’re not overused and provide just enough flair and distraction to be a joy rather than an annoyance.
Questing in Neverwinter falls on the “kill 10 rats” / FedEx side of the MMO fence. There’s little reason to veer off the shining path except to find hidden caches of potions, enchantments, and money. I suppose that the game would feel much less linear if I turned off pathing but, then again maybe not. The quests and the lack of exploration will remain the same even if the sparkles are gone.
Oddly enough, quests in a party with like-leveled characters are not 'shareable' at times. For instance, Shelassa found a quest in a zone in which we were playing. She tried to share it and was unable to do so. This happened several times. I realize that there are quests that are class-specific but partied players should at least be able to obtain the quest, or simply see it, in order to tag along, if not to benefit.
In this phase for the Neverwinter Open Beta, marked the first time in the game where I participated in an event where I participated in back-to-back Cloak Tower dungeon runs. While the loot from the run was insignificant since other players forgot about the dungeon keys, the fact that I was grinding for Astral Diamonds felt like I had been playing this game for a very long time. It felt like second nature as I immediately picked up daily quests, which also yield some unique rewards. While I haven’t had a chance to really sit down and look at the Foundry, just the initial glance into the way that the built-in feature works is sure to excite die-hard Dungeon & Dragons fans as well as any kind of player wanting to step into the DM role.
Combat in the Neverwinter Open Beta, for the most part felt unchanged as I progressed through the same quests found in previous beta sessions. While quests seemed to have been altered and tweaked for various reasons, it felt easier transitioning through quests as the Guardian Fighter by slowly whittling down enemies by soaking damage. Much of the interface seems to be unchanged, as well as the tree for one’s abilities. While the buddy system still uses the Star Trek Online means of adding friends, it feels like a hurdle that becomes easier after the first time.
Neverwinter - Interview @ GamesReviews
GamesReviews has an interviw with Systems Designer Lindsay Haven of the F2P MMO Neverwinter.
Some of the biggest MMOs are dropping subscription fees but are taking on a single upfront cost. Can the free-to-play market continue to deliver AAA MMORPGs with no guarantee of money per person? Is there a better way of getting cash coming in?
We at Cryptic feel that free to play games are the future of MMOs, we wouldn’t have released Neverwinter as free to play and free to download if we didn’t feel that way. We also feel that free to play games can be AAA titles, we are looking to prove that with Neverwinter. It’s still too early to tell to if we succeeded or not, but we have a lot of faith in the model.
The battle system in Neverwinter seems so comfortable and intuitive. It seems crazy that it took so long for a developer to get rid of the more traditional 1-0 control system. Was it a big decision to go for something less traditional?
Yes, it was a big decision. We tried a lot of different control schemes, even developing multiple systems at the same time, knowing that some of the work wouldn’t ship with the game. But we don’t consider it a waste. It was important to explore all the options we had because there were many strong and valid pulls in different directions. It would have been easy for us to do the typical MMO style system, but with D&D a top down click systems seems so right, but we’ve been seeing the market move towards this action style combat for a while so it seemed right to explore that as well. In the end we went with what with action combat because we felt that made for a more visceral experience, which is something that players don’t get when playing table top D&D. To us it seemed the more innovative and wish fulfilment option we could take, and those things are a big part of the desire to play an MMO.
Were there things you wanted to do but couldn’t? How limited were you by the Dungeons and Dragons IP?
During development we didn’t feel very limited by Dungeons & Dragons. Like I said before, most of us are big fans of Dungeons & Dragons and so we were happy to work with the IP. If anything, there were things from Dungeons & Dragons we wanted to put in the game, but couldn’t because it didn’t transfer over to an MMO, real time combat, game well. For instance we couldn’t include a lot of the player power triggers and conditions, or use just the ability scores at a D&D scale. Those kinds are the kinds of things we struggled to get in the game, but eventually we felt like it just wasn’t going to work. Overall though, we are very happy with how the game came together.
I felt that the biggest fault of the beta was that the gameplay could become a little repetitive over time. Are you looking to try to eventually capture more general players, or is this one specifically for the folks that love dungeon running and loot?
While I do think that combat specifically shines in group content (both dungeons and PvP), many people find combat fun for PvE content as well. At lower levels can it feel a little slow because we wanted to give players enough time to get the hang of combat before putting out too many tough challenges, but as you gain levels monsters begin to challenge your reaction skills more and more.
Sunday - May 12, 2013
Neverwinter - Video Preview @ GameTrailers
Game Trailers has a four minute video preview of Neverwinter.
What should you expect from the new free-to-play Dungeons and Dragons MMO? We raided the Neverwinter beta to find out what sort of beast this is.
Saturday - May 11, 2013
Neverwinter - Keeping it Simple, Keeping it Fun
This time a new preview of Neverwinter comes from Games.on.net. The preview this time is more positive, but still states some negatives of the game.
Let’s face it, if you’re thinking about playing Neverwinter, then you’re in one of two boats. Either you’re a complete MMO tragic and pretty much jump at the chance to dip your toes in yet another virtual world, or you’re a bit of a DND fanboy, secretly harboring fantasies about shooting magic missiles and shouting “Huzzah!” while you adjust your wizard hat. The good news is that both boats won’t be disappointed to dock at this port — Neverwinter is a remarkably polished and well-designed playground. Very little has been promised, in terms of majestic sandbox elements or siegeable guild halls, and so as a result, you don’t feel gazumped once you realize that these are the same old quests, you’re the same old warrior and that red dude over there probably wants to skewer you with his long sword.
For a game that almost came out of nowhere with very little fanfare, I’m very pleasantly surprised with Neverwinter. It does little to overhaul or revolutionize the MMO roadtrain, but where it excels is within its challenging and strategic combat system, that encourages players to mix up their parties and reduces the traditional disadvantage of healing or tank characters. The addition of the Foundry makes this title almost mandatory for gamers who enjoy customising and building their own experiences, and offers it in a manner that is very polished, user friendly and accessible. Sure, the quests aren’t much and the road to endgame is about as non-linear as Call of Duty, but who cares?
Maybe MMO developers need to stop promising the world when they can only offer a city, and instead focus on making what they have just plain, good old fun for everyone.
Thursday - May 09, 2013
Neverwinter - Full of Disappointment, Lacking in Everything Else
Well this time we have a small preview of NeverWinter from GameSkinny. The writer is not happy with the game and writes why.
Everything in Neverwinter feels empty and useless.
The truth is that the game feels hollow. A fun combat system can't make up for a lack of depth, nor can it make up for a game-and-business model that aims to squeeze as much from the player as possible. Cryptic deserves no praise in this release.
I've played around 60 to 70 hours of the game since open beta began, and I'm still not clear why the standard copper, silver, and gold currency is included in the game at all. While there are certainly several items you can purchase from NPCs with gold, often you can get those same items with Astral Diamonds.
Astral Diamonds are, in practice, the game's primary currency. You use them to exchange for Zen (cash shop currency), buy and sell things on the auction house, and some items can only be bought with Astral Diamonds. Identification scrolls are one example that is completely baffling. Aren't they common enough to just keep to gold currency? Why should I spent my hard-earned diamonds on identification scrolls, when every other supply can be purchased with gold?
The above is not to say that the Astral Diamond currency isn't common, but you need such massive amounts for anything worthwhile that I just feel like I'm being ripped off in-game.
I got 600k for purchasing a founder's pack, but that 600k's worth is undeniably low in-game. It costs 300k to 600k on the auction house to buy a bag. A bag! And let me tell you, those people selling bags on the AH didn't get them from playing the game, they got them from the cash shop. How is this good, non-predatory game design?
It's hard not to feel like Cryptic and Perfect World Entertainment are taking us all for a ride. Their reputations in this field speak for themselves, and sadly Neverwinter has not proven to be the exception to the rule. The PvP is fun, but it's not fun enough to justify the mess that is the rest of the game. There is simply no excuse for the game's lack of depth, distinct void of challenge, or currency clusterbang.
The game had and has a lot of potential, but as it is now Neverwinter is not worth playing or investing even a few hours of time into. Five days in, I already found myself regretting the purchase of the Guardian of Neverwinter pack. This is not worthy of being related to Dungeons and Dragons, even the bastard child that is 4th Edition. If this is where the MMORPG genre is going, I think I may have to take a hiatus.
Monday - May 06, 2013
Neverwinter - Whispering Caverns Trailer
Perfect World and Cryptic released a two-minute trailer showcasing the Whispering Caverns.
Far below the city of Neverwinter are passages leading through the Underdark to the Whispering Caverns, an underground labyrinth of forgotten tunnels. The dark elves have returned here to reclaim their stronghold, evil dwarves work deep mines, and the illithid plot to unleash an ancient evil. Conquering the Whispering Caverns zone will be no easy adventure...
Saturday - May 04, 2013
Neverwinter - Foundry Spotlight In-Depth Video Walkthrough
TheKoalition.com has a three part video series with The Foundry's Producer at Cryptic Studios Rob Overmeyer.
Part 1 - Overview, Story Structure and Dialogue
Part 2 - Maps, Mapping and Maps
Part 3 - More Maps, NPCs and Final Questions
Saturday - April 27, 2013
Neverwinter - Two Reasons To Try Neverwinter
Forbes has a small editorial that gives us two reasons why we should play Neverwinter. I guess they couldn't find more than two.
The Homepage/Landing Page
It’s a simple concept, but it makes a big difference. With modern shifts in MMORPGs moving toward being able to find a group immediately and get right into an adventure beyond grinding or questing, the landing page gives players an excellent overview of what options they have at any given time.
Have around 10 minutes? Queue up for a skirmish. Have more time and want to go on a dungeon crawl with a group? Option is right there. Looking for a solo experience? Find an interesting quest to participate in. All of the day’s special events and popular Foundry quests are also available for perusal. It’s a great way to answer that quintessential MMORPG question of “What am I going to do today?” and provides a plethora of options that encompass play styles from casual to core.
We had a chance to see the Foundry at work and were impressed by the concept, but how does it really hold up? While we didn’t have a chance to get to run anything truly epic in scope during closed beta, the experiences that were available in Foundry play were every bit the equivalent to traditional questing and in most cases far more interesting.
Players are able to sort Foundry content by popularity and a number of other factors as well as leave ratings and reviews. The good stuff does rise to the top, and the system allows players to create multi-tiered adventures and quests that players can dive right into and completely eschew the “standard” game content if they so desire.
A single 20 minute Foundry quest had me taking on bandits in bar, driders in the darkness, and unraveling mysteries surrounding a cat. The Foundry lets players wield developer tools to craft content, and once the game enters open beta there’s no doubt that talented and dedicated mapmakers will be putting their skills to work.
Thursday - April 25, 2013
Neverwinter - Lead Designer Talks Micro-Transactions & Lessons Learned
Gamereuphoria has an interview with Zeke Sparkes Lead Designer of Neverwinter.
Q: The Foundry has got a lot of people talking within the MMORPG community, how was the concept of the Foundry thought up to begin with?
A: Well, we’ve always loved giving players ways to tailor their experience in our games. We’ve been known for robust character customization and have worked on expanding that into player created missions in STO. When we started working on Neverwinter we knew we had a great opportunity to make the Foundry more powerful and accessible and deliver unparalleled ability for players to create their own stories integrated right into the Neverwinter world!
Q:Micro transactions have been in the spotlight recently, will Neverwinter be pay to win? Or has a balance been struck between free to play players and those willing to invest in micro transactions?
A: We want everyone who plays the game to have a great experience regardless of whether or not they have spent money. Our philosophy is the more people who play the game and enjoy it the more people want to be a part of the world. So we avoid barriers and pain points and focus on making the kinds of things that enthusiasts want to see. If the playing field isn’t level no one is happy so we’re careful to avoid that. You don’t have to spend a dime to enjoy the game or become powerful. In addition to that we have a system where you can trade in game currency to other players for micro-transaction currency so you can actually earn everything in the micro-transaction store without spending money!
Q: How key is the plot to Neverwinter? The MMORPG genre is known for having a tendency for telling weak stories. Does Neverwinter aim to change that stigma?
A: We have a good strong story that serves as the backbone for the entire game. It picks up right where the most recent source books and novels have left off and continues telling the tale of Neverwinter and the surrounding area. You can expect to see familiar faces and locations from the lore that expand on what’s happened.
Saturday - April 20, 2013
Neverwinter - Early Access
Cryptic and publisher Perfect World have set the early access dates to their upcoming MMO Neverwinter for those who are part of the two pre-order programs.
Those who have become Heroes of the North will be able to start playing on April 25 at 9 AM Pacific Standard time.
The group of players who are Guardians of Neverwinter will also be able to play earlier than the rest, with their head start launching on April 27 at 9 AM PST.
The general public will gain access to Neverwinter on April 30 at the above mentioned time.
The open beta client can be downloaded by all those interested starting on April 20 and on launch, the MMO will deliver a patch to the final version.
Those who want early access can still pre-order Neverwinter, with the bonus packages detailed on the official site.
Wednesday - April 17, 2013
Neverwinter - Rothe Valley Lore Trailer and Screens
Cryptic has released a lore trailer for Neverwinter. The trailer gives you some background information on Drow infested the Rothe Valley region.
Follw this link for the screenshots.
Friday - April 06, 2012
Neverwinter - Preview @ IGN
I don't intend to follow Neverwinter but IGN has a preview and video, which might be worth a look if you want to see what happened with the MMO conversion following the sale of Cryptic to Perfect World:
All the powers come together to make combat that plays out more akin to an action-RPG like Kingdoms of Amalur or ArenaNet's upcoming Guild Wars 2. The rogue might start a fight against multiple enemies with by coming out of stealth with an Encounter ability, then switch up to their At-Will powers to get in some extra damage. Just as the enemy brings their sword down the rogue then uses their Utility power to roll away, perhaps finishing off the fight with their Daily, which quickly teleports them from target to target, dealing massive damage to each. Fights in Neverwinter are far more exciting than, say, World of Warcraft, and pay enough homage to D&D to (hopefully) hook its fans. Additionally you only ever have to worry about seven abilities at a time, making Neverwinter much more approachable than other MMOs.
Thursday - November 17, 2011
Neverwinter - "Almost ready to ship" before MMO switch
Lucky Day writes that Neverwinter was "almost ready to ship" when the decision was taken to change into a full MMO. Full story via Strategy Informer.
Thursday - October 06, 2011
Neverwinter - Now a F2P MMO
Big Changes to Cryptic's Neverwinter is the title of an article at IGN that explains Perfect World's purchase of Cryptic Studios a while back has resulted in the game changing from co-op focused to a full-blown free-to-play MMO. So, this probably marks the end of our coverage but here's a closing snip on their new direction:
This new home for Cryptic has allowed the developer to continue their MMO-development tradition with Neverwinter. That's right, Neverwinter is shifting from the co-operative multiplayer game that was announced last year and into full-fledged, free-to-play MMO territory. In fact, it's shifting towards the action end of the MMO spectrum. Transferring a Dungeons & Dragons universe into an action setting might sound strange to D&D veterans, but it's been done before with some of the Baldur's Gate games. The 4th Edition of D&D also has some new rules that lend itself well to action games, which is exactly why Neverwinter is using 4th Edition as its ruleset.
Wednesday - October 05, 2011
Neverwinter - Book II from R.A. Salvatore Released
I've posted this under the game Neverwinter because this book series from R.A. Salvatore is based on the video game property...Kuki sends word that Neverwinter: Book II is now available.
Friday - September 09, 2011
Neverwinter - News Roundup
Lucky Day sends us a comprehensive update on Neverwinter.
First, the acquisition of Cryptic by Perfect World has pushed the release date back to 2012. From GameSpot:
Neverwinter was revealed last August with a generic 2011 release date attached. As a result of the Cryptic Studios sale, the game is now set for release in late 2012, with Perfect World "investing in a more immersive experience" for the game.
Monday - July 04, 2011
Neverwinter - Preview @ Hooked Gamers
Hooked Gamers has a preview of Neverwinter, although it doesn't offer anything new. A snip on the Foundry toolset:
Not only will creating modules be easier using The Foundry, uploading and sharing them will be as well. A quick button press will upload your mod to Cryptic’s server, which will host all of the game’s content, and finding it will involve simply browsing for it through a built-in search feature. Velasquez promises that when the game launches there will be enough assets available (monster packs, environment packs, exteriors, interiors, etc.) to create a whole bunch of adventures. The developers also plan on supporting the game post-launch with even more tile sets, monster packs and player classes, although there is no word yet on whether these things will be available through free updates or paid DLC.
Source: Blues News
Monday - June 13, 2011
Neverwinter - Foundry Preview Roundup
Lucky Day sends in a roundup of Neverwinter previews with a focus on the Foundry toolset from around the 'net.
Here's a snip from The Escapist article:
On the story tab, you can set missions and associate them with particular NPCs you've placed on the map. Our demo had a guard at the start of the level who asked the players to kill some undead deeper in the crypt. You add dialogue with a simple text editor and can give the player multiple responses that branch off into new conversations. There are also options to limit a player's choices based on different criteria. You might have a particular conversation option that's only available to certain classes, or certain Charisma levels. Through the creation process, a handy wizard will tell you if you have any loose ends or uncompleted elements in your story. Once the conversation is in place, you can assign a task outside of it for the player to accomplish. In this case, it's killing the undead in the rest of the crypt. The mobs of enemies are placed with their own unique states and aggro ranges. What's more interesting is that, like with the Aurora engine, you can simply label a monster spawn along a scale of "easy" to "hard" and the game will automatically scale the encounter to the ability and size of the player's party.
The Neowin article also has some small screens.
Sunday - June 12, 2011
Neverwinter - Foundry Preview @ TenTonHammer
TenTonHammer has a look at the toolset part of Neverwinter, known as The Foundry. The article seems optimisric, which might be a good sign:
The available assets may appear somewhat daunting at first, but everything is neatly categorized into various kits based on a general theme. For example, in the span of 15 minutes we were able to open The Foundry, dig into the crypt-themed kit and piece together a fully playable mini-adventure complete with progressively difficult encounters, key NPC contacts, and get a feel for how easy it is to build out naturally flowing conversations. All great stuff so far.
The second major standout element for me is the fact that, if you’re a more experienced mod maker or have worked with content creation tools in the past, there’s enough depth to the system for you to genuinely make something highly unique. I was also happy to learn that dual monitor setups will be fully supported, so that’s another giant green checkmark in The Foundry’s win column in my books.
Source: Blues News
Thursday - June 09, 2011
Neverwinter - Preview @ IGN
IGN has an E3 preview of Neverwinter with substantial input from Cryptic's Jack Emmert and Any Velasquez:
There's a reason Cryptic's Neverwinter isn't called Neverwinter Nights 3. According to Jack Emmert, CEO of Cryptic, "Neverwinter represents a different style of game than the others. This is an online, co-operative RPG with a large focus on the online aspect. Therefore it is different than the other two. Also, I'm a big believer in simplicity. As far as I can figure, Neverwinter Nights games were about Neverwinter -- I have no idea why it was night time. So why not just call it Neverwinter."
A majority of the game's action will take place within and in the sewers below the city of Neverwinter, and occasionally bleed out into the nearby environs. Andy Velasquez, producer at Cryptic, explains the story setup. "It's about 100 years past what most players are familiar with from Neverwinter Night and Neverwinter Nights 2." Things have been hectic around Neverwinter, as they tend to be. A volcano blew up, taking most of the city with it. Foreign powers then entered the city to try and put the pieces back together. It's in this period of rebuilding that the game begins, where there's a clashing of interests as those who cling to the old ways of the city lock horns with the newcomers. Emmert added, "To sum up, you're going to kill monsters and get loot."
Thanks, Lucky Day, who notes "Andy gives more insight into the actual SP game and mentions new classes such as Artificer and Beastmaster Ranger without saying whether or they will be available at launch".
Wednesday - June 08, 2011
Neverwinter - Official Site Released
Looks like we have the answer on the impact of the Cryptic sale on the development of Neverwinter, with the launch of an official site suggesting its full steam ahead. There's a trailer with a bunch of in-game shots but very little actual gameplay and not much else.
Tuesday - October 12, 2010
Neverwinter - Interview @ Eurogamer
Eurogamer joins the crush of Neverwinter interviews but they manage to tease a bit more information out of Jack Emmert. He reveals The Forge toolset won't allow the creation of items or weapons to avoid cheating and there will definitely be some sort of fee to play. A sample:
Eurogamer: But you're adding classes after launch.
Jack Emmert: We will, you're absolutely right. But what we're saying is we're committed to making five great character classes. I'm going to be upfront and tell you exactly how it is. We'll add more afterwards. But I'd rather have a game that had five rock solid character classes than a game with 15 mediocre ones. That mediocrity sticks with the game, it just does.
Thanks, Luck Day!
Monday - October 11, 2010
RPGWatch Feature - Neverwinter Interview
Lucky Day talks to Cryptic's Jack Emmert about their upcoming D&D "Online Multiplayer Game", Neverwinter. Here's a sample:
RPGWatch: What stage of development are you in? Have you started coding?
Jack Emmert: Full on production. Making content as close to shippable as possible.
RPGWatch: What involvement, if any, is Salvatore involved in the project and will there be any book crossover?
Jack Emmert: We worked closely with WotC to weave Salvatore's upcoming Neverwinter trilogy into the background of the game.
Monday - October 04, 2010
Neverwinter - Gauntlgrym, first book due Oct 5th
Lucky Day let us know that R.A. Salvatore's Gauntlgrym - the first book from the game Neverwinter - will be released on Octover 5th. This is the first time he has released a book based on a video game property (rather than the other way round), so it might be interesting.
Friday - September 17, 2010
Neverwinter - "A Coop Dragon Age" @ Eurogamer
Neverwinter may be an online multiplayer RPG, but what it aspires to be most is "a co-op Dragon Age with a touch of Oblivion's exploration", Cryptic's Jack Emmert has revealed.
"We aspire to that," said he to Eurogamer. "Ultimately it will be your judgement, but certainly that's what we're aiming for. This is an online RPG; a co-op Dragon Age with a touch of Oblivion's exploration. That is definitely our goal.
Thanks, Lucky Day.
Monday - September 13, 2010
Neverwinter - Preview @ IGN
There's a preview-slash-interview on Neverwinter at IGN. Here's a sample:
Since we haven't yet had a chance to play the game, Emmert talked about how the gameplay will actually work. "Right now, it's an action-RPG, so there are no turns, no initiative rolls. We may add the pause feature that we have in Star Trek Online so that players can take a breath during combat, but that's not final. We're still playtesting." Brady added, "The moment to moment gameplay is all about teamwork and tactics. We're offering lots of ways for your powers to interact with those of your allies, and over time you'll learn to work together to use those powers to be a more effective team."
Sunday - September 12, 2010
Neverwinter - Interview @ The Escapist
The Escapist has an article-format interview with Jack Emmert on Neverwinter. I still get the feeling they haven't actually planned out a lot of things but it's nice to see talk about puzzles and non-combat play:
Part of what makes playing D&D around a table with your friends fun is the crazy things that you imagine you can do. I was worried that that magic would get lost in a game like Neverwinter, where the streamlined MMO story can feel really impersonal. Emmert addressed that concern for Neverwinter: "There's a lot of choices that you make depending upon the things that you learn along the way, that affects how you progress through the main storyline. Interacting with people, finding out about them. Really, it's a matter of exploring the world of Neverwinter. There are tons of things which you'll find out that are applicable to the main narrative storyline." That idea of exploring the world and slowly learning the story is key to many a D&D campaign, but I was still worried that the focus might be more on combat in this type of game. "With Neverwinter, we're going to put puzzles in. We're going to put in things that you need to figure out. We're going to put in clues. Most certainly, Neverwinter is going to involve more than just combat," Emmert said. When I asked about how diplomacy and interaction with NPCs might work, he said that branching dialogue trees is the direction they are currently headed but that it may change. "You'll have to wait and see." Thanks, Lucky Day.
Part of what makes playing D&D around a table with your friends fun is the crazy things that you imagine you can do. I was worried that that magic would get lost in a game like Neverwinter, where the streamlined MMO story can feel really impersonal. Emmert addressed that concern for Neverwinter: "There's a lot of choices that you make depending upon the things that you learn along the way, that affects how you progress through the main storyline. Interacting with people, finding out about them. Really, it's a matter of exploring the world of Neverwinter. There are tons of things which you'll find out that are applicable to the main narrative storyline."
That idea of exploring the world and slowly learning the story is key to many a D&D campaign, but I was still worried that the focus might be more on combat in this type of game. "With Neverwinter, we're going to put puzzles in. We're going to put in things that you need to figure out. We're going to put in clues. Most certainly, Neverwinter is going to involve more than just combat," Emmert said. When I asked about how diplomacy and interaction with NPCs might work, he said that branching dialogue trees is the direction they are currently headed but that it may change. "You'll have to wait and see."
Thanks, Lucky Day.
Thursday - September 09, 2010
Neverwinter - Interview @ GameBanshee
GameBanshee is next along with a Neverwinter interview, featuring Jack Emmert and PR guy Ivan Sulic. Here's a snip on soloing, although Jack isn't keen to embrace solo play:
In the preliminary information you've released, you mention AI-controlled allies. Is there a minimum party size required in order to tackle any of the game's quests? Or can a player take on most or even all content solo if they choose to?
Jack: I'd like to emphasize that, while you can play solo, we're building the gameplay experience around party play (just like D&D 4e is), and henchmen fill the roles of missing friends in your party (so you can experience the cooperative aspects of the game etc.).
Neverwinter - Interviews @ OnlineWelten, JeuxVideo
Lucky Day points out a couple of Neverwinter interviews from international sites. German site OnlineWelten has both English and German versions, with Jack Emmert covering some new ground. On how user-generated content will be accessed:
Onlinewelten: We’ve heard about a system codenamed ‘Forge’, which will allow players to literally forge their own content. Can you explain us how this system is going to work?
Jack Emmert: We’re translating versions of our internal design tools into something usable by the public. It’s a robust set of editors that allows people to layout their own adventures and quests. Most of the things we can do internally will be possible in forge.
Players will connect their adventures to a NPC in the persistent world and/or specially designated entrances (for example, a cave). Players will always know if they’re about to access user generated content. Naturally, we’ll also include rating tools so that players can sort content by what’s most popular, most recent, etc.
Wednesday - September 08, 2010
Neverwinter - Interview @ RPS
Rock, Paper, Shotgun has the latest Jack Emmert interview on Neverwinter. Contrary to the last article, this time he emphasises the old-school connection, though I get the feeling they haven't actually documented the entire design yet:
RPS: So what’s the philosophy for this new game? You’ve mentioned in other interviews how differently the company is approaching Neverwinter, so how does that manifest in the design?
Emmert: We want to make an old-school tactical Western RPG. We want to get back to the roots of Neverwinter and we want to taste the strategies of those D&D games where you have to manoeuvre around, select your abilities carefully, and so forth. It’s not turn-based, and it’s not isometric, but that old school model was our focus to start with. Secondly we wanted the game to be immersive, so we want the experience to be inspired by games like Oblivion and Dragon Age, and to take a cue from fantasy products that created incredible worlds to delve into. Thirdly we wanted it to genuinely represent a D&D experience! We looked at the 4th Edition rules and tried to make sure that we could bring that alive as much as was possible with our tools.
RPS: So tell me about the player experience. How different is it to previous Crpytic MMOs? Still got the splendid character creators?
Emmert: Well you start with character creation of course, and there are customisation tools for that, and character creation is based on D&D 4th Edition’s process. After that you will probably face a tutorial level, which we have yet to build! And then you will enter into the world of Neverwinter. Once you are through that you will enter one of a number of persistent zones. Now these are much smaller in terms of population, it won’t be the same numbers of people we’ve seen in previous games from us, it’ll be just a few score. So it’s enough that you will run into others, but it won’t feel crowded. The focus here is on the co-op RPG experience, so we want you to be able to meet new people, or meet with friends, but then get on with adventuring. You will get to that from the persistent zones, although these contain storylines too. Some missions will take you into instances off of these persistent zones, and sometimes you will just stumble across them. It depends.
Monday - September 06, 2010
Neverwinter - Interview @ VE3D
Jack Emmert continues to spruik Neverwinter, with a new interview online at VoodooExtreme. They discuss the five classes and at least three starting races and he continues to press the "Oblivion meets Dragon Age" paradigm. A snip on gameplay:
VE: We also asked our readers to send in their questions so here they are. (From [XII]CoRRaN) How much Dungeons and Dragons is there in the actual gameplay? Is the goal to have it play with dice rolling in the background (like DnD Online) or is the goal to find a different way to handle things that makes it more action RPG oriented (Like Sacred or Diablo)?
Jack Emmert: We're using the rules as a starting point. There won't be any dice rolling because we want to immerse people in the setting and the more obvious you make the ruleset, the less immersive the game becomes. But we are basing everything we do on DnD 4th Edition. The mechanics have been changed but they'll be familiar. By and large, we're trying to keep as faithful as we could to 4th edition rules.
Thanks, Lucky Day.
Friday - September 03, 2010
Neverwinter - Interview Part 2 @ Zam
ZAM: Finally, you've been taking a bit of flak in the media lately for some of your recent Neverwinter announcement interviews, in which you talk about learning from releases like Star Trek Online and Champions Online. The scuttlebutt around the blogosphere is that "Cryptic COO Jack Emmert admits releasing crap MMOs," to paraphrase some of the milder comments. What's your response to those accusations?
Emmert: I've been pretty honest about our faults in the past and people have accused us that I'm virtually admitting that we pushed out Star Trek and Champions as unpolished product. But as God as my witness, when we launched those games, we had zero idea that we thought they were anything less than excellent… When we launched those games, we felt they were superior to City of Heroes, which as you know was a big hit. And I still, to this day, say they are superior to City of Heroes—but, you know, the market changed. If we launched CoH now, oh my God; we'd be in the same boat as [Realtime Worlds'] All Points Bulletin. It would be a bad situation; the way people receive MMOs, it's just a completely different marketplace and I think that we need to change those expectations, and we need to listen.
The reason why I'm doing this interview—and not the guy running the Neverwinter project—is because Neverwinter the start of a completely different orientation to what we're trying to accomplish. I've been reading responses to various interviews, and I can understand people [asking], 'Why did you make Star Trek in 18 months?' Well, that's what it was… If somebody said, 'Hey, here's the Star Trek license.' You say, 'Great, I can't wait to make the game!' You've got 18 months. Do you say no? Of course not… we were full of ego and enthusiasm.
Thanks, Lucky Day.
Wednesday - September 01, 2010
Neverwinter - Interview @ Gamasutra
Jack Emmert has been interviewed at Gamasutra, again spending a fair bit of time explaining what Neverwinter isn't and not so much explaining what it is:
So was Neverwinter originally conceived as a co-op RPG, or as an MMO?
JE: Neverwinter was, at least initially... I'll be honest, my initial version is far different. My initial version was a flat-out MMO that would essentially be different zones in Neverwinter, and there would be various entrances and critters scattered throughout. And my initial idea -- and again, we flushed this down the toilet because this was a while ago -- but it was essentially going to be a dungeon that would be instanced between you and your friends. Any real story, per se, was all about exploration.
And there would be stories you would stumble upon, like, "Oh hey, these goblins are trying to relocate the tribe," or "Oh hey, these bandits are trying to look for a particular artifact." But you wouldn't go to a contact to get a mission, per se, as you would in World of Warcraft or Champions Online or whatever. It would be more exploration. But we decided that it would be something else, and I'm entirely for that, because it makes sense.
Thanks, Lucky Day!
Friday - August 27, 2010
Neverwinter - Interview @ Zam
Lucky Day notes another interview with Jack Emmert on Neverwinter, this time at a site called Zam. This is the first part of two, apparently. A snip:
ZAM: What else will Neverwinter share in common with MMOs, and in what ways will it be completely different?
Emmert: I think in a typical MMO you go out and you'll get a mission to kill 10 rats or whatever; it's very difficult to create scripted quests for hundreds and hundreds of hours. We're not doing that; everything that we're doing [with Neverwinter] includes a storyline and narrative like Oblivion and Dragon Age… a more traditional RPG. There's a beginning, middle and an end. There are no killing fields and you're never requested to just go kill 10 orcs, or collect five torn pelts. We don't have traditional crafting with resource nodes that you click on to collect stuff. A lot of those mechanics are simply born of the fact that you want people continually playing hour after hour. We're looking for great gameplay with a great story that's [going to be] a lot of fun.
As a side note, the tension between Atari and Turbine - developers of Dungeons & Dragons Online, is increasing with a $30M lawsuit.
Thursday - August 26, 2010
Neverwinter - Interview @ MMORPG.com
For a not-an-MMO, they sure do a lot of interviews with MMORPG sites. Jack Emmert has popped up at MMORPG.com in an article-style interview, explaining how Neverwinter will work in such broad strokes, it doesn't reveal a lot. Apparently we're in for Borderlands meets Dragon Age meets Oblivion, if you can get your head around that:
The other thing Jack mentioned is that the game will follow the play style of something like Borderlands with a Dragon Age/ Oblivion feel to it. The game won’t have to live up to the MMO expectations that have become so widespread in online gaming. Instead of having a full on MMO, Cryptic wants the game to be a place where old D&D groups can get together no matter where they are and play a night of gaming without having to deal with grinding monsters or endless repetition. They want the game to be a fun experience to have with your friends.
Jack explained that after Champions and Star Trek they realized that the studio had to shift gears from the typical MMO template. This new style of game is working with a tested engine and allows Cryptic to make the games they want. After the feedback they got from their most recent MMOs Jack explained that the studio is now moving in a new direction, “It’s a brand new Cryptic.”
Thanks, Lucky Day!
Wednesday - August 25, 2010
Neverwinter - Interview @ TenTonHammer
Here's another Jack Emmert interview on Neverwinter, this time at MMO site TenTonHammer. His answers are rather general but here's a snip on the Forge tools:
Ten Ton Hammer: Aside from the game reveal itself, the most intriguing thing about this press release is Forge, the ability for players to craft their own storylines and quests. What can you tell us about Forge?
Jack Emmert: Neverwinter, like the previous Neverwinter games, is not only a great RPG, but will also make it easy to create user-generated content. You’ll have the tools you need to effectively become a virtual dungeonmaster.
Ten Ton Hammer: Will players be able to progress in the core Neverwinter story with player-created content, or are these side quests? How extensive a story can players create?
Jack Emmert: They’re side quests, but frankly, somebody can build their own campaign within the Neverwinter setting. We’re really hoping that players can create their own set of content that runs parallel to ours, that interleaves with ours, however they want to do it… really bring their imagination to life.
Thanks, Lucky Day and Kalniel!
Tuesday - August 24, 2010
Neverwinter - Interviews, Commentary
Lucky Day sends in this handful of Neverwinter items. First, Massively has an interview with Cryptic's Jack Emmert. Let's try to tie down what this game is:
You've described the game as not an MMO but a cooperative RPG.
(laughs) An OMG.
Right, an OMG, the online multiplayer game, yes. We also have these open spaces, public space, and privatized spaces. They aren't instances, and it's not an open world, and I'm trying to wrap my head around this, could you explain it a bit more?
We'll have worlds that are certainly cooperative. How many players will be in a particular area will be a little bit up in the air. There will be, for lack of a better word, dungeons, that you and your teammates go in, that will just be for you and your teammates, so more like a traditional instance would be in an MMO. Players will have lots of controls over whether something's public or private and so forth, and we're working on those various options now. As we go into beta and get feedback from people actually using the tools, we'll add more, but the idea of a large zone with hundreds of players, that isn't what Neverwinter is, no.
An example would be like Phantasy Star Online, perhaps, where players can meet up and play in these open spaces but move into privatized areas?
Yeah, that's not a bad analogy.
GS: And along those lines, we understand that the game will let players choose to play as one of five character professions. Can you share which professions these will be? How closely will they approximate the 4th Edition rules? Will we see heroic feats, paragon paths/epic destinies…?
JE: Fighter. Wizard. Rogue. Ranger. Cleric. You'll see the powers, abilities, and spells from the latest Players' Handbook spring to life on the computer screen. Neverwinter is all about the heroic levels; the paragon paths and epic destinies will be something we add.
...and PC World's Matt Peckham (yes, that awful NWN2 review) weighs in with some general comments.