Sail the Freezing Seas in Our Neverwinter Sea of Moving Ice Review
The Storm King's Thunder expansion for the Neverwinter online rpg brought more icy adventures for players to undertake. New zones in Icewind Dale were introduced as well as the storyline featuring the frost giant Jarl Storvald planning on using the Ring of Winter to bring an icy doom to the Forgotten Realms. The fight against the frost giants continues in the follow-up expansion, Sea of Moving Ice, that opens up another frigid zone for players to explore (and get some fishing in!). Some new features were introduced as well. So does this update offer more than a chill and a desire to find the closest roaring fire? Find out in our Neverwinter Sea of Moving Ice review.
Let's begin our Neverwinter Sea of Moving Ice review by stating the basics of the expansion. The player found out in their previous adventures in Icewind Dale that the frost giant Jarl Storvald had managed to take the Ring of Winter from its rightful guardian and is planning on using it to bring a never-ending winter to all of the Forgotten Realms. His stronghold is found to lie in the Sea of Moving Ice, the new zone that the player unlocks after gaining enough reputation in the campaign. Now the player continues his quest to recover the Ring of Winter while working alongside the likes of Cattie-brie and Wulfgar.
First, let me say that the storyline for this update is quite good. I won't give any major details away, but I really did get a kick out of being helped by a frost giant princess. After spending so much time fighting frost giants within the free mmo, it was an interesting experience to have one show up at my side and help me. Another intriguing development is that the Arcane Brotherhood has a presence in the zone in the form of Kavatos Stormeye, one of the quest givers at the zone's hub. Having played in the Forgotten Realms for almost thirty years in the pen-and-paper D&D, I always have a hearty mistrust of that group.
I really want to highlight the new zone in this Neverwinter Sea of Moving Ice review. I have to say that I really love the new Sea of Moving Ice zone, and it has become my favorite in the game. A really great development over the last few Neverwinter (which you can play for free here) updates is that the zone design has changed from a linear layout to an open, free-roaming design. This holds true for the Sea of Moving Ice zone, but what makes this zone different is that it is a zone made up of icebergs separated by the sea. Barbarian villages are scattered amongst the larger icebergs, and there are plenty of frost giant ships anchored off them. A number of the bigger icebergs have multiple levels, with hollowed-out caves below and wide-open spaces on the top. The entire zone is visually gorgeous, with lots of touches like fishing villages and derelict ships. The sea is shimmering, but the best visual feature is the continuing sight of the Aurora Borealis (or Northern Lights) in the sky. Simply put, it looks amazing. The usual daily quests and heroic encounters are found in the zone for players to pick up and complete.
There are some new features introduced in the Sea of Moving Ice expansion. The first one players will notice is that they will get a small sailing craft, called a khyek, to navigate their way around the zone. There are three tiers of khyeks for the player to acquire, with each offering a higher rate of speed. All of these vessels are free and are given as part of the ongoing storyline. Huzzah! The khyek is activated when the player runs into the water. Sometimes, the transformation back and forth isn't totally smooth, but it's actually a really small concern. However, if a player is in combat and thinks that they can escape by running off the iceberg into the water and activate their khyek, they are wrong. They will actually die by doing this. Sailing the khyek is easy to do, and it's great to see the differences between the tiers. As for travelling upon the icebergs themselves, players can summon a mount to do so.
Now let's turn our Neverwinter Sea of Moving Ice review to the other two new interesting features: fishing and treasure maps. Fishing is an integral part of the expansion, but there are some rewards for doing so, such as getting components for restoring relics and treasure maps. A whole new journal entry is devoted to all the types of fish you can catch, and these fish are ranked in tiers. Players can find great spots for fishing by looking for a visible ring in the water. Another tip for locating those fishing spots is to look for birds circling overhead in the sky. Fishing is actually a min-game. The player begins by baiting their hook by using the TAB button. The line is cast using the left mouse button, and the player then uses the right mouse button to hook a fish after waiting a bit until a fish takes the bait. Then the player has to use their encounter power keys to bring the fish in as it fights. The higher tier the fish is, the more the player will need to go back and forth on the keys. When the player has finally reeled the fish all the way in, he uses the "1" key to fully capture it. Overall, the fishing mini-game is surprisingly addictive, and this is coming from someone who hates fishing in mmo games even though I enjoy it in real life. Plus, it's soothing to sit there in your khyek, bobbing gently on the ocean waves, as you wait for a fish to strike.
While there are tons of fish to be caught, one thing players are looking for is getting that elusive treasure map, which are found in bottles. A treasure map shows a tiny segment of the zone, and it is up to the player to deduce the exact location where the treasure is buried. Fortunately, Neverwinter players are wily, and there are some excellent treasure location guides already created. When the player finds the spot of the buried treasure, they dig it up and then open it to get the riches inside. The chests can include some really useful things, such as better fishing poles and voninblod relics. Players can choose to sell their maps in a bottle on the auction house if they so choose to. The treasure maps are a nice addition to the game and offer a spark of excitement when they are found. Plus, who doesn't love digging for buried treasure?
So, what's the final verdict in our Neverwinter Sea of Moving Ice review? I have to give it a definite thumbs-up as I found it very enjoyable. I love the design of the new zone, with all the icebergs, wrecked ships, and fishing villages. The introduction of the khyek is pulled off pretty well, and it's a hoot sailing around. The fishing component also features a strong design that encourages actual participation by making it a mini-game, and every player seems to enjoy getting their hands on a treasure map. The Sea of Moving Ice is one zone I don't mind visiting on a daily basis, and this update is one of the stronger ones released so far.