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Old 2013-04-14, 06:46   Link #1
creb
Hiding Under Your Bed
 
 
Join Date: May 2008
Neverwinter

So, I'm not the biggest fan of Cryptic Studios, or Perfect World, and was less than thrilled when they gained the rights to make the next Neverwinter game.

On the one hand, it's hard to think it possible to make a more boring campaign than Bioware's Neverwinter Nights, but on the other hand, Cryptic and Perfect World are hardly quality studios.

I've played a bit in the beta weekends, and have a good friend who managed to get in the Foundry beta (the Foundry is the tool for user content generation).

My thoughts:

1) If you were hoping for a good, or even decent, campaign story like the previous Neverwinter games, stop hoping. This Neverwinter game is very much a traditional MMO in that aspect, and the story is largely ignorable.

2) Combat is a decent compromise between D&D rulesets and action RPG mechanics. I do think combat could be tuned harder.

3) Graphics are not great. I'm not even sure I'd say they're good. I'm not huge on graphics for multiplayer games (as an example, I consider SWTOR graphics great for an MMO). They just need to not be horrific (ie: EQ 2). But, even Champion's Online and Startrek Online, despite apparently using the same engine as Neverwinter, built by the same studio, have far superior graphics and character animations, which is just a huge "huh" moment. They are, however, not horrific, so it wouldn't prevent me from playing, but the game looks like it was made 6-10 years ago from a graphics perspective.

4) Leveling is entirely too fast. One of the entire pillars of a D&D experience is the journey to level 20. Well, we have 60 levels, and it will take most people 2-3 days to reach. I think this single issue is going to make keeping players invested very difficult. I initially thought maybe they had drastically sped up xp gains for beta, but the existing content supports this super fast leveling, so that doesn't appear to be the case (unless they're intentionally hiding a ton of content).

5) Armor/weapon customization/variation. It's fairly sparse. Lots of reskins, etc. As the game is F2P, I wonder if that's on purpose, and cosmetic variety will be added to the game through the cash shop.

6) Class roles. Neverwinter has all sorts of loot/doors in dungeons that can only be opened by a certain class (presumably to reward those players who group up). Alternatively, you can buy kits to let you access those things without having that class with you. From a mechanics point of view, there is a question of whether balance has any meaning in the game. D&D has traditionally not given two figs about class balance, but at the same time, Neverwinter has things like built in damage meters, while also having classes that are hugely disparate in what they can do.

7) The Foundry is the player content generation modding tool. I didn't manage to gain beta access to it (it had its own separate beta, which I thought was kind of lame). But, I do know someone who did get in, and he says it's a pretty robust tool. Far more so than the one found in Star Trek Online. That said, the player-generated content from those beta testers has been uniformly bland and piss poor. My friend assures me that it's not the fault of the tools, however, and largely just due to time available and lack of genuinely creative individuals testing the tools. For the record, my friend hasn't "published" anything, despite being in the Foundry beta, as he hasn't finished his planned adventure.

So, basically, Neverwinter seems like a rather middling game on its own. Its one saving grace will likely be the Foundry, and only once decent scenario writers/creators spend the time to make good adventures, ala the original Neverwinter days, so despite being F2P, it might be worth holding off a bit prior to playing (due to the extreme speed of leveling).

That said, with leveling being so ridiculously fast and easy, I'm having trouble reconciling why people will keep playing player-made adventures if they're likely going to be at max level for most of them.

On a side note, at least in the beta, experience in a player-made adventure was far superior to experience from the normal campaign. If that doesn't change, and considering how utterly throw-away boring the normal campaign is, expect most people to just grind out player-made adventures and max level in a day or two.

Oh, pvp. It's not all that great, largely due to the mediocre graphics and animations. I'm a strong proponent of the idea that great pvp requires smoothness to it, and there's nothing smooth about Neverwinter's combat (also, remember what I said about class balance).

Open beta starts at the end of the month so anyone can give it a whirl (though it being F2P, it's not like you can't just wait for the game to release).

I'll likely spend some time with the Foundry once it opens up to everyone. That alone is the only reason I see to play the game (especially since it's free). I am hoping the more talented scenario writers/creators aren't turned off from the action rpgification of D&D, so the game can gain some good player-made adventures. I still wax nostalgic for the golden days of player-made campaigns for the original Neverwinter Nights.

No actual release date, but with open beta starting at the end of the month, I'd guess actual release will be sometime in May.
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Old 2013-04-15, 00:22   Link #2
synaesthetic
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With PWE running things it's sure to end up horrifically P2W.
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Old 2013-04-23, 22:23   Link #3
Mr Hat and Clogs
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^ heh, the QQ about that is already in full swing. Admittedly the things people are bitching about don't seem to bad to me, because I really don't care if I have to fight a boss again.

But, anyone else gona give this a shot? It's in Open Beta on the 30th, or earlier if you have one of their founder packs.
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Old 2013-04-23, 23:11   Link #4
synaesthetic
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I'm going to raise hell about any MMO that tries to microcharge me to death.
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Old 2013-04-23, 23:53   Link #5
Mr Hat and Clogs
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TOR, cracked me up in that regard, can't even use the keyboard without paying for it almost.
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Old 2013-04-28, 21:43   Link #6
creb
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So, I've spent about 10 hours on GF's account (she's a huge D&D geek and bought the Guardian Pack, but had to work today, woot), mostly in the Foundry. Some thoughts:

The Foundry

* It's fairly basic. I see why so many of the early Foundry quests are so lame and boring. That's not to say something interesting can't be made (I'm working on something a little more engaging than what's currently found on the in-game bulletin boards), but it requires a lot of work, and much of the "easy" part of the point and click interface CAN allow someone to whip up a kill 'em all quest pretty fast, which is why that seems to be the vastly predominant type of player-made quests in the game.
* Biggest missing functionality is the ability to import your own custom meshes/sounds/etc.
* That's a huge omission, because the game's assets are...well, sparse would be an understatement.
* You're also given more control over NPC physical appearance (basically, you get more sliders for adjusting body parts) than the normal character generator, which is just a slap in the face. I was actually able to make a decent-looking female human character in the Foundry, because of this. So, the beginnings of a Campaign I'm making has far better looking NPCs than any player character.
* It contains a profanity filter. A rather strict profanity filter. So, if you were going to have anything even remotely resembling profanity in any of your dialog, you'll have to use workarounds. I used a combination of urban dictionary and google translate to get around my dialog not sounding like it was meant for pre-schoolers. I realize quests that are heavy on dialog will likely not be all that popular with the masses, but anyone who's trying to do say....a quest in the vein of Game of Thrones style storytelling is going to have to be severely creative with word choice.
* There's a resource limit per quest, so if making a large quest, you may want to break it into smaller chunks during the design and brainstorming phase.

Bottom Line: It's nothing remotely as powerful as the toolset we got with the first Neverwinter Nights game, but it serves as an ok editor for brainless kill 'em all quest content. The inability to import custom meshes/files severely limits the editor, because....words can't begin to describe at how few resources this game has (clothing, skins, etc).

The Actual Game:

The only thing I have to add to my original post is that Neverwinter has done what I've been asking MMOs to do since the late 90s. Allowed player crafting from outside the game. You can access an Armory-like feature, which not only has the basic Armory functions, but also allows you to use the auction house, post office, and most importantly, perform crafting, through a web browser. This means when you're at work, you can still keep your characters doing things. Fantastic implementation, and whatever else I may think about PW, kudos to them for doing it. This is a feature I'd like to one day see standard across the genre, but since it's taken me almost two decades to see it appear even once, I won't hold my breath.

Oh, and my comment about visual variety of armor being incredibly poor in my original post? Yea, when you open the Foundry, it becomes obvious that there's a severe lack of armor skins in the game. The cynic continues to say it's because they'll be using the Cash Shop for that capacity, much like how SWTOR has introduced far more armor skins through their Cash Shop than actual in game content since it went F2P, though I do have to state that the Cash Shop currently has almost no clothing/armor/skins.

Cash Shop

It's pretty much shit, but I feel that way about any "F2P" implementation, as no games can be made and operated off such a ridiculous welfare-state mentality. Someone(s) are supporting everyone who plays this game, and the most obvious culprits for attempts to get people to spend money are the severe limitations on bank slots, playing Drow (presumably a good chunk of players who were willing to drop $200 on the game did so to play Drow), bag space, and character slots. The lockbox/key system also exists, but from what I've seen, one can freely ignore the lockboxes, as they generally don't contain anything worth spending money on (though I'm sure they'll make PW plenty of money, as the unending spam of being told so and so has managed to get a purple mount from the lockboxes would suggest lots of people are buying keys. Yes, you get to have that spam across the middle of your screen and can't mute it. Glorious, isn't it? I can only imagine the spam once the gates are fully open to the game).

Can you play the game without feeling gimped if you don't use the Cash Shop? Strangely, my feelings on this-despite my visceral hatred for "F2P" are that yes, you can. It isn't really much of an MMO (based on the completely throw-away "campaign" story, etc, it seems fairly obvious the design philosophy is to have players create content, so it's really going to end up not being all that different than the original NWN in that regard, but ironically with far inferior toolsets), and if you're just interested in adventuring to 60 with your friends, I can't see any real inconveniences that'll make you want to jab your eyes out by not spending money on the cash shop. Not that PW doesn't try their hardest. Almost every item has two versions to it (ie: healing potions, etc), with one that's "Bound" and one that's not, and of course they don't stack with each other, despite being the same exact item. One can only assume this is on purpose to fill up your inventory slots as fast as possible to push you to spending money on the Cash Shop.

They've made the game needlessly complicated by having three different currencies (not including normal "currencies" like tokens, etc). There's normal money, like gold, silver, copper. Largely useless. Astral Gems, which are used as much as one would expect Cash Shop currency to be used, except it's something you gain within the game, not by buying it with your credit card. It's tied to a lot of convenience things, but it's easy at low levels to keep yourself flush with gems. It's also tied to a lot of end game gear, and the numbers are high enough (it's probably realistic to assume players would get a few thousand gems a day, but level 60 gear requires millions of gems) that I can see many players spending real money on Zen, the Cash Shop currency, which in turn can be used to buy Astral Gems. It's both clever, and stupid, of PW to have what are, in reality, two cash shop currencies. Clever in that it holds up the illusion of F2P, while stupid in that it also needlessly complicates the game when it comes to what you need to buy what particular item.

Last edited by creb; 2013-04-28 at 22:04.
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Old 2013-04-28, 22:08   Link #7
Kyero Fox
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I think the cash shop is a good thing, Hopefully soon companies will realize it's a shit idea and do it right like GW2 sorta got it.

EDIT: Or NOT AT ALL!
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Old 2013-04-29, 08:25   Link #8
Dark Faith
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creb View Post
So, I've spent about 10 hours on GF's account (she's a huge D&D geek and bought the Guardian Pack, but had to work today, woot), mostly in the Foundry. Some thoughts:
Dating a D&D geek? Man, I envy you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by creb View Post
The Foundry
1- Biggest missing functionality is the ability to import your own custom meshes/sounds/etc.

2- You're also given more control over NPC physical appearance (basically, you get more sliders for adjusting body parts) than the normal character generator, which is just a slap in the face. I was actually able to make a decent-looking female human character in the Foundry, because of this. So, the beginnings of a Campaign I'm making has far better looking NPCs than any player character.

3- It contains a profanity filter. A rather strict profanity filter. So, if you were going to have anything even remotely resembling profanity in any of your dialog, you'll have to use workarounds. I used a combination of urban dictionary and google translate to get around my dialog not sounding like it was meant for pre-schoolers. I realize quests that are heavy on dialog will likely not be all that popular with the masses, but anyone who's trying to do say....a quest in the vein of Game of Thrones style storytelling is going to have to be severely creative with word choice.

Bottom Line: It's nothing remotely as powerful as the toolset we got with the first Neverwinter Nights game, but it serves as an ok editor for brainless kill 'em all quest content. The inability to import custom meshes/files severely limits the editor, because....words can't begin to describe at how few resources this game has (clothing, skins, etc).
1) In a way I'm happy about that. Means I won't have to make huge downloads everytime I want to try out someone's project.. or accidentally stumble upon cybersexland.

2) That's just silly! Why would NPCs get more options than the players regarding appearance? I-I'm supposed... to be the hero...

Unless it's a plot to get us to buy extra customization options from the cash shop!

3) Profanity filter? In a D&D game? And a really harsh one at it? I'm disappointed... the forgotten realms aren't all sunshine and flowers (or at all). Sure hope there will be a way to turn it off since I know some people who will try to make dialogue heavy campaigns/quests, and having to find constant workarounds for words will prove a major pain in the ass.

Overall disappointed at the (lack) of quality of in-game assets that you've described. They sure aren't giving us that many tools to create our own worlds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by creb View Post
The Actual Game:

The only thing I have to add to my original post is that Neverwinter has done what I've been asking MMOs to do since the late 90s. Allowed player crafting from outside the game.
Hooray!

Quote:
Originally Posted by creb View Post
Cash Shop

It's pretty much shit
It's Perfect World. Expected anything else?
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Old 2013-04-30, 12:58   Link #9
Ak3mi
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So all in all the game is bleh and is not worth trying?
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Old 2013-05-01, 05:24   Link #10
Mr Hat and Clogs
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I find the combat to be pretty fun myself. Definite D&D aesthetic to which is nice, I don't really care much for cash shops since I barely use them. Since it is F2P definitely check it out, all it will cost you is some time and a little download (client is only 3GB). There are a few Foundry quests I've tried that were pretty awesome, for the life of me I don't remember the names of them though, but they were in the top five.
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Old 2013-05-01, 05:36   Link #11
ninryu
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Finally the open beta is here. I really wanted to play this game.
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Old 2013-05-01, 10:17   Link #12
Ak3mi
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So I downloaded the game no problems, but cannot connect. Guess I am playing the waiting game.
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Old 2013-05-01, 14:00   Link #13
Dark Faith
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Neverwinter brings back memories

Still haven't managed to play more than 10 minutes
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Old 2013-05-22, 06:00   Link #14
ninryu
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When you get used to it, it actually really fun.
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Old 2013-05-22, 08:29   Link #15
Jaden
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Maybe I've just played similar games way too much, but I am unable to enjoy Neverwinter.

It's almost completely hack&slash and the mechanics alone aren't good enough to carry this game...it seems unsalvageable and my prediction is it's doomed to mediocrity like every MMO in the last 6 years.
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Old 2013-05-22, 10:19   Link #16
Dark Faith
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Game looked like fun, but it isn't.

Combat is bland, class mechanics are awful (what's with that tanking system and cleric aggro issues and perma debuff?) and dungeon bosses are extremely dull. Killing a thousand adds per boss fight isn't exciting, it's a chore.
PvP is also severely lacking with only one game mode and two maps and a whole lot of misc issues that haven't been dealt with.

I also find it hard to feel any sense of achievement playing this game because my character barely looked any different from level 1 to 46 (when I quit) and leveling was way too easy and fast.

This game shouldn't be in Open Beta yet. I find it hard to regard it as more than a cash grab thanks to all the bugs, exploits and features that should've been implemented (but weren't) that seem to get little to no attention from the developers.
What at first glanced appeared to be a promising D&D action MMO turned to be an extremely bland game with only the foundry content to keep people entertained once they reach lv.60 in a week and buy all their epic gear from the AH thanks to the exploiters who've been farming endgame.
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