E3 2012: Get ready for Neverwinter to consume your life (for free)
Winter is coming…
by Arthur Kotsopoulos
©2012 Arthur Kotsopoulos
I enjoyed Warcraft 3, however I didn’t see any personal appeal with World of Warcraft MMORPG.
No matter how many times people tried to shove it down my throat, I resisted and gave my time to other games which I felt had more depth and meaning.
This negative approach to MMORPG’s could change however when Neverwinter hits BETA and is eventually released, because in all honesty playing this for roughly 20 minutes on the final day of E3 totally sucked me in.
Neverwinter, developed by Cryptic studios which was recently acquired by Perfect World, is the first Free-to-Play MMORPG that could convince me to dedicate some extra time away from all the sequels and invest in its satisfying story and extremely robust combat system.
It’ll be tough, but with the use of the “Foundry”, which allows you to craft your own dungeons, quests and stories to share with people, I see this one getting a devoted following.
I love the combat and graphically the game is beautiful, running like a dream on a high-end PC. (Note: I don’t know the specifications yet but the PC’s at E3 were obviously high-end)
Simple yet engaging combat
Instead you put your cursor over an enemy and it’ll automatically target them.
You’ll know they’ve been targeted when they have a thin glowing red line outlining their body and it’s here that you can click the left or right mouse button for your character’s primary attack and secondary attacks.
I was playing with the cleric/mage which, in a really cool combat pose, would fire ice in the form of plasma-like beams towards opponents. His second attack would be a beam of ice, slowing down their movement.
This creates some great gameplay possibilities with a group of up to five players, humans or bots, and in a game like this, teamwork is essential. Enemies on their own are generally easy to dispose of, however going up against a group of 3 or more enemies is a real challenge.
They’re relentless in their attacks and strategy and will focus on the player nearest to them, doing the most damage on him.
This is why range classes work well and combining them with each character’s abilities creates a unique and dynamic combat system.
I’m impressed by how much detail Cryptic Studios have managed to cram into this game using their proprietary engine apply called, Cryptic.
These guys developed Star Trek Online which was a bigger hit than expected and whilst Neverwinter isn’t a direct continuation of the franchise, fans shouldn’t be worried.
The game is set in one of the most believable Dungeons & Dragons areas of all time, The Forgotten Realm, and with the content creation which allows you to craft your own story in this massive universe, you’ll find that this MMO RPG is offering something special.
We showed the boss who’s boss
During the 20 minutes that myself, another journalist and the developer were playing, we were warned that over the course of the 3 days no one had been successful in completing the demo they had set up for everyone to try.
We both set out to prove him wrong and after a few minutes of getting the hang of the control scheme we were on our way. What was interesting to see was that the game didn’t feature any mana, and the only potions that we could use were health potions.
If we didn’t have any in our inventory then we could step inside a campfire which restores your health.
We ended the quest by actually defeating the boss and gaining the respect of the developer who applauded us for our teamwork and use of our attacks, daily abilities and strategy.
The Q, E and R buttons on our keyboard were mapped to our character’s special abilities with 1 and 2 mapped to our daily powers. By filling up the meter in the middle of the HUD you’ll be granted use of your character’s most powerful attacks that could change the momentum of a losing battle.
The real-time combat system in Neverwinter is going to be completely unique to online MMO; I just couldn’t find any fault in it.
Character models looked amazing and the fact that when you level up and get better gear they’ll evolve visually as well is just another simple feature that will make you enjoy the game much more.
I’m not familiar with Dungeons & Dragons lore but it seems that Neverwinter is the first game to include 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons terms. I’m not too sure how heavily invested players are into the lore of this franchise but to me it seemed to play extremely fluidly in every way.
I’ve already secured my place in the BETA and I suggest you all do the same as soon as possible.
I really hope that Neverwinter excels upon release because Cryptic studios have been working on this for years now and from what I experienced I feel that it’s fresh and ready to be unleashed onto the world.