One hundred years have passed since the Spellplague forever changed the magical and mysterious lands of Faerūn. Mighty empires fell and great cities toppled, leaving only monster-haunted ruins and survivors struggling to rebuild.
The city of Neverwinter, the Jewel of the North, seemed blessed by the gods. While the rest of the Sword Coast was devastated by the event, Neverwinter survived largely intact. But this was only a temporary reprieve from its inevitable doom. Nearly 75 years later, a volcanic eruption rained fire, ash and molten fury upon the city, annihilating everything in its wake.
Today, Neverwinter has restored much of its former glory. Lord Neverember of Waterdeep has taken the city under his protection and put forth a call to all adventurers and heroes of the Savage North to help rebuild Neverwinter in the hopes that one day he can lay claim to her throne and crown. But evil forces conspire in the dark places of the world, seeking to undermine all...
Perfectworld has introduced the Dungeons and dragons series into the "next generation of mmorpgs". They have recreated the world that was at one point popular in the mid 90s and early 2000s. From the screen shots and trailers that have been eased slowly onto the public's eyes Neverwinter doesn't look like anything but a stereotypical "point + click" mmorpg. The videos don't give the game actual justice since they don't exactly show how this game is unique and how it really plays. Their marketing route was to show short bursts of stereotypical gameplay footage of a decently high leveled character using his/her skills. That just made a lot of people get turned off by the game. So I wasn't in a complete rush to get into this game. They promoted many of those third party game sites with a few cool screen shots of characters doing some visually artistic skill or characters fighting creatures (Like most mmos). From seeing all that and doing a little research the game looked like just another attempt at developers assuming that they should just create a generic game and add a real cash shop and bam done.
So I signed up with their beta about a week ago and I got my access code about 5 days ago. Today was the beginning of the Beta weekend so I downloaded it this morning and played it for a couple hours. So far the game isn't to bad...
This is the initial character creation screen, and as you can see their are 7 races (6 are playable. The last one is a special race that is only for founders. Other words people who spent money on this game. It will most likely be playable to the others a few months after the official launch.) Each race has extra abilities such as some can gain honor or other words Reputation easier then the other races.
This is second customization screen, in this one you choose your class that you want to play as. Each class has unique sub abilities that the player benefits either instantly or in the long run. The classes are: Guardian, Rogue, Fighter, Cleric, Wizard are the only playable classes at the moment.)
The part where you get to create your unique looking character. As you can see in the screenshot you are able to customization your character a little bit more then in most mmos.
All those green boxes indicate that you can re arrange the screen the way you fit is best for you. In many free mmos you don't have the luxury to do this so this is a pretty handy option that can be changed at any time.
For those that like to change the game looks and feel put your worrying at ease, Neverwinter has an above average graphics editor. It's not as good as some of the pay games but its pretty good for a free game.
In Game Screenshots
In this screen shot you can see that in Neverwinter you can highlight specific enemies like in most mmos but you can change the size of the indication to include multiple enemies depending on the skill you have. Something to also take note of is that trail of sparkles on the floor. That is the indicator that shows that you are going the right way towards where ever your goal is for what ever quest you are in. Follow the trail towards your goal.
In this picture the character was showing off the Evade ability. At first glance you can't see it but if you look she was placed near the enemies but the back evade caused her to jump back with a bunch of light (since she is a cleric. Each class has its own special evade) and a bit of dust to show the length of the dodge.
The Break Down
-The character customization is top notch, it gives players the ability to truly create a unique looking character and not some generalized, over abundant looking character.
-There is a similar choice system that was implanted to appeal towards Skyrim players. The player gets to choose the way that they want to play Story wise. It isn't as detailed skyrim or Guild wars 2. It still gives a decent choice amount to make it a unique feature.
-The combat system is brilliantly dynamic so players aren't just pointing and clicking. The game has a similar combat system to guild wars two basing the fighting mainly on pressing number keys with a bit of clicking. The attacks are face paced, evading is accurate and delay between evasions isn't to bad. Not much stationary fighting, a lot of moving around and tactical fighting.
-The guidance system with the "trail of sparkles on the ground" that was lightly talked about earlier is a great way to help players not get lost during long or confusing quests. All you have to do is follow it and you will get ot the destination of the quest or the generalized area for certain missions/quests.
-A story line that is interesting enough to keep the interest of players. It isn't amazing but it isn't bad. It defiantly changes depending on the choices that you make with certain missions/quests.
-The characters are balanced. That is a hard trait to have in rpgs. Usually most rpgs have one or 2 classes that are over powered. In this game all the classes can hunt solo or party even the full on healing class.
-The interactive environment is a pretty creative and well done feature that was added. A good amount of the environment is interactive threw certain button actions.
-Leveling isn't overly hard like in the previous Dungeons and Dragons games. In this one it isn't to hard but it isn't to easy. It takes just the minimal amount of dedication to level.
-Loading screens don't last to long like in some games. Some games have incredibly long loading screens. I've asked around in game and to some real life friends and they all can agree that the loading takes at the most a minute.
-When customizing your eye color the colors aren't accurately portrayed. The light colors look like the dark colors and the dark colors don't look like the actual colors.
-The graphics are about 2010 worthy. The only way that the graphics look more then moderately good is if you change most of the settings to high.
-The voice acting isn't up to par with this generation of games. Its just the typical voice acting where the actors sound like they are just reading lines off a paper and not putting any effort into it.
-The enemies are a bit generic. Nothing to creative so far.
-The armor and weapons are a bit generic too, they don't actually look appealing until near the level cap of 50. (will be 60 on the official launch).
-The background scenery in the hunting environment isn't as detailed as the background in the cities.
-The font in the chat window is a bit unappealing to the eye. It blends in with the background most of the time. I had to edit it to make it stand out a bit more.
Lasting Appeal: 8.0
So in the long run this game is something to try if you have free time, and moderately medium expectations.