Neverwinter In Depth Review by tornio
I will try and keep this as in depth and as unbiased as possible. A few notes before I begin though. I came into this game not expecting a great deal and I really thought the play experience would be alien and strange, due to the fact that I’ve never played a Dungeon’s and Dragon’s game. I thought it would be heavily inspired by the pen and paper system. I have never been more wrong! For a game that I thought might hold my attention for a weeks to a month I found my self firmly glued to my computer chair with that all to familiar needle in my vain, my IV bag pumping in that wonderful drug that can make the weekend pass in the blink of an eye that only a great MMORPG can provide.
The game has the familiar launch screen that you can see on most games these days and when its open it will patch your game and update it to the current build. Once that beautiful PLAY button lights up you launch in and the first thing you have to do is pick a Shard. For the purposes of BETA, there are 2 shards right now, I selected the DRAGON Shard and my adventures began there. The first thing your face with is what class you want to go, for the purpose of the BETA there was options for Human, Elf, Half-Elf, Dwarf, Halfling and Tiefling, with a few more options coming soon. They have also announced that after release they will be continually releasing new races. The screen was nice and polished and all races gave you a nice little wrap up and offered you the racial traits of the particular class. I chose an Elf and the proceeded to selecting my class. During BETA there was options for the Trickster Rogue, Devoted Cleric and Guardian Fighter, one other class was locked and coming soon. However this will be the Mage class. After selecting a Rogue your faced with that great Character Customization screen.
This screen is really in depth and offers you a plethora of option to help make your character as unique as you want him/her to be. There are complete options to change around absolutely any feature of your anatomy. There were a few quirks in terms of eye colour not really matching up, however I was quick to forgive that, given the in depth character creation screen. After selecting the options I was happy with, you then get to select a few attributes for your character. You will be given information on what your main attributes as well as secondary attributes are and you have a few options to switch them around accordingly. After this was done you get to select your home town and a bit of back story about your character. This screen is very in depth and offers you a great chance to connect with your character and ensure that you get the origins you wish for your toon. Lastly, you can select a God that your character follows. You can also enter an optional backstory/biography for your character which I thought was very cool. Choose your name and then its go time!
Not being a stranger to MMORPG’s, upon the games opening moments I was faced with the all to familiar classic MMORPG hud/UI. For me, it was great. You have your portrait top left, chat bottom left, abilities bottom middle and minimap/quest log top right. This is perfect. So onwards to get my first quest and complete the introduction. My first impressions were as followed. The graphics were nice and well polished, there were no immediate bugs to report, combat felt weighty, I felt like my hits had impact, the animations were smooth, the sound rock solid and the hint and tips very helpful. I instantly went from not knowing what I’d expect in this game to a slight smile on my face as I was taken back to my WoW days. For myself, my first impressions of the game were very well polished and user friendly.
Never playing a D&D game before I didn’t know what to expect in terms of combat. What I found was a complete surprise and after getting used to it, I absolutely fell in love with it. Anyone who played Diablo will find similarities here. Mouse 1 and Mouse 2 are some basic attacks. What’s great is you don’t have to constantly mash your mouse buttons, you just hold them down to attack. As you progress through the game you unlock the use of abilities with Q,E,R on the keyboard. As well as Daily Powers with the use of 1 and 2. Buttons 3,4,5 on the keyboard are reserved for your consumables. If you don’t like this system it can be remapped to your liking. Personally I found it excellent.
The combat was a lot to different to your basic target and enemy and press buttons on your keyboard until it’s dead. You actually have a cross hair and have to mouse over your target to attack them. This gives you a sense of immersion and connection with your character. While you can’t miss with ranged abilities you still have to make the effort to mouse over your target to attack them. It gives you the sense of constant action and quick thinking as you deal damage to multiple targets at once. The animations of the abilities were very smooth, and very polished. All of them adding weight to your attacks in terms of how devastating the ability is.
As a Rogue, the sheer amount of damage output I was putting out was near insane. You actually feel incredibly powerful at a lower level, not dealing the familiar 1,2,3 – crit 10 damage as in other MMO’s. In this expect to see numbers ranging from 100-1000 early on.
The questing system is very MMO classic in the sense you walk up to an NPC and interact with them. In turn they give you a quest that you can track on your quest log. You will get the familiar waypoints on your map and mini map as well as coloured area on your map notifying you that you are in the quest vicinity. What this game does differently, and that I absolutely loved was it ensures you won’t spend hours searching for the exact location of quests by giving you a sparkly yellow trail on the ground to follow that will take you to the location of your tracked quest. This feature was excellent, and in the first few dungeons that looked like a maze it was incredibly helpful.
What was also excellent was the fact you don’t have to tag an enemy to make him yours to count towards your quest goal. Many times I’d need to kill a certain type of enemy only to find a large number of people also questing in my area. No matter, I just ran up to a group or person already in combat and helped them out. As long as I hit the enemy a few times they would be counted toward my quest progress.
Item’s you need to interact with for quest purposes were quick to respawn if you just missed out on them as well.
The XP gains were buffed for purposes of the BETA, and there was mention that come actual release, the XP rewards will actually be much lower. This is a good thing because during BETA you really can level to the BETA cap of 30 in a matter of 20 hours game play. In terms of rewards for quests they were great. Ranging from the familiar potions/equipment and currency.
Notice Boards and The Foundry
In each area there are notice boards where you can partake in a HUUUUUUUGE amount of user-created and game-created quests. These offer a great mix to the game and some offer you excellent rewards. The beauty of D&D has always been around man made dungeons. This game adds to that perfectly by offering its players the ability to make their own dungeons and quests for players to partake in. If your dungeon/quest becomes popular you can expect to see tips and items flooding you way.
I partook in a few of these missions that had the highest user ratings, and I have to say they were so enjoyable that I found myself replaying a few of them just to experience it again.
The sheer amount of content means you will never go wanting!
The mobs in game are classic MMO. Patrolling and packs as well as heavy hitters/elites running around. At first the game feels very easy, you just running around slicing your way through the enemy like a light saber would butter. As you pass level 10 and start running around solo. (this is my impressions as a rogue) The mobs start to get harder. Patrolling in larger packs and usually offering an elite caster or brute in the mix. This meant that I had to use all the tools at my disposal to win the fight. I thoroughly enjoyed this and it proved a good challenge, in what I hope was preparing me for larger end game content.
There were no bugs to report of when dealing with enemy AI. For a BETA, I was thoroughly impressed.
The gear you obtain and wear in game will not be unfamiliar to you if you have played MMO’s in the past. They have your basic stats on them which continue to grow as you get higher level. When you get to around level 20 you will start to be able to socket your gear with enchantments/sigils and a whole other bunch of things that you have complete control over customising. This is done by fusing together recipes from your inventory. There are dye’s to dye the colour of gear you like as well as a feature that allows you to transmute your gear. Which means if you love the way a particular item looks, you can take all the stats out of one item and put it on another to maintain the look you desire.
The only thing I was not to happy about was the fact that a lot of the items looked the same. I’m not to sure if that was just because it was beta or that most low level gear looks the same. I did see a few level 30 people running around looking pretty boss. So I can only assume that as you level up you gain access to a lot more cosmetically appealing gear.
Professions and Crafting
For purposes of the BETA crafting has not yet been implemented, however there will be a complete and in depth crafting system. I am unsure as to the mechanics of it, but suffice to say looking at the rest of the game it will be just as polished.
In terms of professions, based on what character you chose you will have an ability unlocked for you. These range from Lock picking/Thievery/Religion/Dungeoneering/Arcanea/Relic hunting and a lot more I have probably missed. What’s great is the fact that you can actually purchase items that will allow you to do ALL professions if you choose to. As a rogue I had thievery unlocked to me and the ability to disarm traps. So in dungeons I could access those packs that no one else could and would obtain rewards such as leather armour, supplies for crafting etc. However, if you ran into a Dungeoneering items or Arcanea. I could drink a potion or use a scroll from my inventory that would allow me the ability to access that profession for 30 secs to 1 minute. This is an excellent system that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The NPC’s are a plenty and they offer all the usual MMO content, such as a fully working and operational Auction House/Bank/Postal Courier/All your black smith, weapon smiths etc as well as mount vendors/diamond exchanges and the usual hustle and bustle. For a BETA, the game very much felt like a complete release. What’s also great is all the quest NPC’s are completely voiced, so if your like me and want to get into the lore you can listen to them and gain the sense of story and purpose you belong to.
That map system is incredibly helpful showing you places of interest in a neat and categorised manner. I didn’t find any faults here. On the map screen you can also change instance to where your friends are, or goto less populated areas. The mini map system is a small scaled down version of the main map which works perfectly and fits in well.
Leveling Up and Talents
As you level up you get points to spec into your attributes, turning you into a bigger bad ass. What’s great is every time you level up, you will get a handy tool tip advising you to press CTRL + P to see whats new. Here, you can ensure you will never miss anything as it tells you everything you have unlocked. After putting points into your attributes you can also have a look what new abilities and powers you have unlocked. Your daily powers bound to keys 1 and 2 are your hail mary, SAVE ME JESUS powers that you can use in combat and take roughly 5-10 minutes to recharge depending on how intense your fighting. In dungeons/instances it recharges a lot quicker due to the fact that you are constantly fighting.
You will also get Heroic/Paragon points to spec into your skill tree’s. There are three skill tree’s you can follow after you dump an initial 20-30 points in the first few rows. For the rogue I had the ability to go Stealth/Sustainable Damage or Massive Crit/Burst/Spike Damage. For other classes I would assume it will be similar. The system is very well designed and very well thought out with each power/ability/point spent adding weight and meaning to your class.
All in all an EXCELLENT leveling and point distribution system.
This game has a fully working queue system and dungeon finder that works great! What I should also mention is that next to your mini map there are events that have timers that count down in which you can partake in. Some are double item rewards for Dungeons, while others are relic hunts. These range from a large number of things and can make doing dungeons all the more exciting. After queuing for dungeons the pops were near instant and I found my self balls deep in catacombs and towers, fighting through well placed mobs, and well thought out instances, through mini-bosses all the way to the end boss. The end bosses offer a good challenge with solid boss mechanics, its not just a tank and spank. It’s really well thought out. There is a need and greed system that pops up for loot that you find. A lot of the good items need to be indentified. Done by you, you will pick up a lot of scrolls of identification, so this is not a worry. Players, were excellent and they did not ninja anything as I was playing, so that was a plus. What should be mentioned to is the fact that after you complete must solo dungeon quests or the larger group instances you get a nice massive chest at the end that will have a nice piece of loot in there for you. So your efforts will never go unrewarded.
I was extremely pleased with the Dungeon/Instance’s in game thus far.
I formed a guild with a few players from The 19th that were on during the weekend and after looking at the sheer amount of options you have for the guild I was very, very impressed. Just for the simple fact that the game is in BETA and all this is available to you. There is a fully working guild bank with logs system. A very large variety of options to customise your guild. There are systems in place to advertise it. You can assign and edit all your ranks as well as put in a tax system. As a guild leader it has everything that I would be looking for, and this made me really excited! There is also talks about adding a guild level up feature to unlock guild related abilities and powers!
The game currency is two things. You have your coins you pick up as well as Astral Diamonds. Astral Diamonds are gained from praying to the gods every hour, as well as doing dungeons and quests. Currency is used to buy basic supplies/crafting items etc, as well as some gear and what not. However it’s the Astral Diamonds you’ll want later on to get the good stuff.
There are also Seal’s you get for doing instances. This works on the same principal as WoW, in which you gain enough tokens to be able to get a certain piece of high tier loot. This system adds for massive replay ability and reward.
Graphics and UI
The UI is completely customisable and you can resize and drag around any thing on your screen to get everything where you want it. The graphics look very polished and the cities and areas are teeming with life and atmospheric effects. What really amazed me was the inclusion of physics in this game. Curtains that move as your walk through them and chair’s that get knocked over and the such. Never before have I seen an MMO of this type with a Physics Engine, it was really well done.
The sound was rock solid and pleasing all round.
– There were a few problems with the dungeon finder system constantly placing you into the same group.
– One person exploited the dungeon system and stayed logged into the instance after he was done. This meant that any one else who joined his group, would technically be in his instance. Therefore he practically grinned the whole way to 30.
– They could offer an in-depth tutorial on the socketing system as well as the crafting system. A lot of users were left scratching their heads until they worked it out.
– To create a guild you need 5 people in your party, that are not already in a guild, that all have to be on the same map/instance as you are. This should be taken out and a charter system to collect signatures introduced.
– They make no mention of when you will be able to obtain your founder pack mounts. I hit 20 and was found purchasing one of the lower tier mounts. While this is fine, I believe they should mention the fact that you unlock your founder’s mount at the appropriate level.
– PvP was not included therefore could not be tested.
– I had trouble accessing The Foundry, I believe it may not have been included in BETA? Or it could have just been errors on my end. I kept getting “Failed to receive character list”. When I clicked on Foundry.
– The mail box was incredibly hard to find the first time round. I actually searched for 20 or so minutes.
– I would like to see more things on the map. Such as Mail box’s, vendors etc.
– The sheer amount of times you had to travel back to SGT KNOX to hand in quests. This become annoying after the 15th time.
– The lack of Gear. While gear was dropping a plenty, a lot of it was more or less the same with 90% of them looking identical on your character. I love to see my character change with each piece of different gear I put on.
– The fact that when your in a dungeon or party and you pick up Coins, it’s not shared across the party. It basically becomes a rush to pick up the gold. Change this to a share system.
– I would like them to add the ability to display numbers on your XP bar/Health etc on your UI.
– As a rogue I had no idea, and still have no idea where to see my “ACTION POINTS”
Coming into this game and not expecting to much I was glad to be so thoroughly blown away and amazed. Enough so that I went back on the site and purchased the $200 pack on top of my $60 pack in which rewards stack.
I ran into some minor bugs on the way and in some cases requested a GM to talk to. I was amazed to find that I was answered within 5 minutes.
For people looking for an experience very similar, but at the same time, very new and very different to WoW this is the game for you. I never been more happy to be proved wrong by a game. I will be giving this game my avid attention and am hoping that we can put a team together. I will be opening recruitment for this game and advertising shortly. There is already a large oceanic player base as well as talks for an oceanic server.
Post up any questions you may have. You can also watch a few feeds I made for the game at twitch.tv/19thtorn
Overall scores for BETA weekend and first impressions below:
ToRN’s Review: 8.5/10 – GREAT and highly recommended.Other Neverwinter Articles
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