Five Days, Five MMOs: Day 1 - Neverwinter
As gamers, we all get a sense of the doldrums from time to time. Playing our favorite mmo become ho-hum and it starts to be less fun to log in. Recently, one of my coworkers here at MMO-Play suggested a way to shake off the blah and get some zing back in your online gaming. He recommended seeking out new games and giving them a whirl, which I've decided to do. I figured that I would try one new mmo a day for five days and see if any of them sparked my interest in future playing and also just to try something new. I intend on picking a few games that are out of my comfort zone just to see if I've been missing something by limiting my choices in the past. My first game in my experiment of five days, five mmos: Neverwinter.
I've wanted to try out Neverwinter for a while but never got around to it. My gaming buddies are ensconced in other games and weren't wiling to give it a try. I chose this mmorpg first for two reasons. First, I normally play the standard fantasy mmorpg and I wanted my first choice to be something familiar in style and game design. The second is that I've been playing the Dungeons and Dragons pen-and-paper rpg for over thirty years, all the way from the 1st edition up to the 4th edition. I'm extremely familiar with the Forgotten Realms setting, which is the online world of Neverwinter, and I wanted to adventure within it to see what Cryptic has done.
My experience started off smoothly as I created my character and rolled my stats. As a long time pen-and-paper gamer, nothing gets me more in the gaming mood than slinging some dice. I picked a Trickster Rogue as I enjoy playing rogues and like being sneaky. Then I was off to begin questing within Neverwinter.
I like how the game handles the basic tutorials to ease you into the game's controls. Instead of a lengthy tutorial with lots of interactions with npcs, Neverwinter just has a quick voiceover to quickly tell you how to move, attack, and other commands you'll need to know. Their method doesn't overwhelm you and it gets you into the action quickly, so you don't get bored learning the ropes. I hope other games that I play in my five days, five mmos experiment are just as smooth in their introductions.
The look of the game I found extremely pleasing. Instead of the usual dark, gritty world that many mmo games espouse, Neverwinter uses bright colors to invoke a high fantasy setting. The look of the various monsters comes straight out of the Monster Manuals that I grew up with playing D&D. However, the real treat is the gameplay itself. The combat system in Neverwinter is simply phenomenal. You have two basic attacks keyed to your two mouse buttons and more powerful attacks you can acquire as you level are placed in certain slots. While you can pick up many abilities, you only have a specific number of slots you can use, with those slots broken down by action types. For example, you can have up to two slots for daily powers, two slots for at-will powers, and three slots for encounter powers. At-will powers are ones you use constantly while the others are more powerful and have cooldowns or require a certain number of action points to be built up to be used. What this means is that as you level up, more possibilities become available depending upon your preferred style of gameplay. Combat is action-based and you'll be moving and clicking away to attack your foes. You will not be standing there statically and just pushing a sequence of attacks depending upon their cooldown rate. The two at-will powers that my rogue used was a basic stabbing attack for melee and throwing daggers for some ranged capability.
One other aspect of Neverwinter that got my attention was the adventures. Players will venture into open areas where they will quest alongside other players and they will also enter instances to fulfill quests. The quests were well designed but the thing that kicks up it a notch (or really three or four notches) is the Foundry system. This mmo allows players to create their own adventures and share them with other players. Players can rate and comment on the adventure that they've played so others can see how good or bad the Foundry mission was. You will never run out of content to play in Neverwinter as new missions are created daily and you can create your own if you wish. I played a few of these Foundry missions with one being a heavy talking roleplaying one and another being an extremely humorous zombie fighting adventure.
Overall, my first foray into my five days, five mmos adventure was a positive one. I found Neverwinter to be an incredibly solid and fun mmorpg to play. The action combat combined with the Dungeons and Dragons Forgotten Realms setting makes this a game that I will come back to play later on. Plus, I can't wait to start wading through the Foundry missions and perhaps creating some masterpieces of my own one day.