Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment joined forces to bring Neverwinter in the popular MMORPG genre. Ring any bells? It should if you follow closely the Dungeons & Dragons universe, as it is a fictional city-state from Forgotten Realms. Only this time, heroes embark on epic quests in a fully 3D game instead of tabletop adventures spearheaded by a Dungeon Master (DM).
Akin to games like Everquest and to a lesser extend World of Warcraft, Neverwinter lets you choose a character class such as Fighter, Rogue, Cleric or Wizard. Cryptic Studios based the gameplay systems around slightly modified Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition rules. One thing you’ll quickly notice is how this isn’t your typical MMORPG: players aren’t fighting for monster spawns or exploring zones populated by hundreds of characters. Instead, the experience is much more focused. For instance, you are limited to five members in your party. It’s much easier to create bonds between players with smaller parties, and this also translates into a very engaging, immersive experience.
As far as the storyline goes, Cryptic Studios did an excellent job. It’s without a doubt a focal point of Neverwinter. There’s a lot to delve into for D&D fans, ranging from complex quest scenarios (or instances) to interesting NPCs. Another great feature of this MMORPG are the player-made quests. Basically, you can craft your own adventure thanks to what is called The Foundry. Just as a DM would spend hours upon hours to flesh out a great campaign, players can use their imagination in a whole new way.
There are two problems with Neverwinter. First and foremost, the Player Vs. Player (PVP) is a hot mess. Honestly, it seems like the developers didn’t put much thought into this feature. Simply put, it’s unbalanced and not fun. Secondly, being Free2Play, the game has a boatload of micro-transactions that are necessary to stay competitive if you love PVP.
Even with these issues, Neverwinter remains a fun package that delivers on its promise: offer an authentic D&D experience that isn’t just a clone of existing MMORPGs. Neverwinter’s crown jewel, The Foundry, is a very innovative feature that will keep you coming back for more. As long as you can turn a blind eye on the pricing from the micro-transactions store (entirely skippable for PVE), you’re in for a great ride.