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May 13th, 2013, 18:10
Here are a few previews for the F2P MMO Neverwinter.

Ten Ton Hammer
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.
More information.
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May 13th, 2013, 18:10
TLDR: worth checking out if you can stomach the cash shop hooks or have lots of disposable income and don't mind flushing money (or can put up with being crippled in some ways to stay free), but not a game that'll hook any serious MMORPG player for any length of time

- they are saying they're in "open beta" but the cash shop is open for business and there will be no character wipe, so really, the game is released, and "open beta" is just a running excuse for the missing race, class, broken AH, lag, more frequent server downtime than they should have when truly live, and other bugs and issues. No MMORPG is ever truly done at release or ever, but this one is a bit rougher than it should be for release, and when you're charging money for your product, you're in release. Still very playable and potentially fun, just sayin, the "open beta" thing is a tag that doesn't match what most anyone else would consider "open beta."

- it's sad that they're not doing traditional open beta with character wipes because a lot of people exploited foundry bugs to speed level (even more than the already typical and stupidly fast leveling), got to 60, and have been pounding endgame for days/week+ already (game has been "open" for ~2 weeks). No exploiters were punished. In a real "beta" there would be a character wipe, exploits like this would get fixed, and it wouldn't matter that players found the exploit.

- The game doesn't feel much like D&D

- The grouping is mediocre even when the content is decent

- Plenty of character customization options during creation but character models look pretty sad. Cartoony graphical style that ends up being WoW-like textures with better special effects (I don't mind cartoony style even if it makes a game feel more simplistic, but some don't like it).

- The most brutal cash shop ever with limited starting basic resources. Ex: 16 bank slots per character to start, $6 each addition 16. 1 bag to start, another small bag at 5 via questing, then it's $10 for 1 bag for 1 character via cash shop (or extreme currency costs from players who bought from the cash shop and are selling). No free respecs even though you'll have no idea what you're doing…$6 for a respect token.

- There is a ton of crap to collect and hold on to along with an action RPG (diablo) amount of loot dropping so the bank and inventory space starts to be an issue pretty quickly - or you sell/delete stuff you probably should hold on to.

- Game economy sucks as much as GW2. Less than 2 weeks in and there is a flood of greens and up and tons of epics selling because the stuff drops so much it has no value. The only things that have value come from the cash shop or are exceptionally rare - like GW2. Game also has a cash > currency setup like GW2, so you can basically buy game and sell game currency for cash, so like GW2 and D3, it has built-in cheating facilitated by the developer, who takes a cut on transactions after selling you currency.

- ~two weeks in and there are tons of lvl 60 characters (cap) already well into endgame

- horrible community of brats yapping incessantly in public chats - which is always worse in F2P games due to the lower quality of players in general

- combat is action/tera style with aiming assist and targeting assist, which is goofy, since why have active combat if the UI does half the work for you? TERA combat is not hard, despite what some players of that game who must be mentally challenged think. Making action style combat this remedial is insulting.

- skill and character development is pretty basic

- content is fun to play thru, especially with a friend, since it's new and fresh, but it'll get old quick

- foundry (player created content) is often excellent but to stop exploits foundry authors are limited in what they can do with loot (it's all random) or crafting mat availability. So in stock content you might find a bunch of chests and crafting mats inside a quest instance. In a foundry instance you get none of that. But the content is often so good it doesn't matter. Problem is, this amazing addition to the genre feels a lot less amazing when you factor in everything else about the overall mediocre game.
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May 14th, 2013, 05:25
Well, I've been playing Neverwinter for quite some time now and I must say that people looking for a deep, true D&D experience will not be pleased. But it's fun as a action-heavy adevnture.

- The most brutal cash shop ever with limited starting basic resources. Ex: 16 bank slots per character to start, $6 each addition 16. 1 bag to start, another small bag at 5 via questing, then it's $10 for 1 bag for 1 character via cash shop (or extreme currency costs from players who bought from the cash shop and are selling). No free respecs even though you'll have no idea what you're doing…$6 for a respect token.
Yup, the astral gems economy is pretty exorbitant. They really should lower the costs for basic materials and features.

I must say though I've been playing a little of Star Wars: The Old Republic and I find the limitations for F2P mode in that game to be worse. For example, subscribers learn the Sprint skill from the very start but F2Pers can learn that only as a higher level (15 i think). Also F2Pers can only choose from 2 races, have 2 character slots and vendor prices are inflated.

Still, TOR a very good game and I'm enjoying myself so far.
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