Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Neverwinter: The Pull of Dungeons and Dragons

Finally got around to trying out Neverwinter Online last week and promptly trained up my dude to level 20 in short order. This was partially because I was helping my other brother level as well, and because I wanted to reach level 15 which is the unlock point for the Foundry (player quest editor), but more on that later. The game is heavy on combat and plays a lot like a mixture of Guildwars 2 and Diablo 3 with graphics level somewhere inbetween the two.

You can have parties of 5 (ala GW2) and each have an active companion NPC (bringing it up to 10) one of whom you get for free at level 16. Enemies special attacks are indicated by red warning markers on the ground which you can actively dodge if you have enough stamina (again ala GW2), and the number of combat skills you will have will out number the few usable slots available meaning you'll need to pick before getting into combat (a lot like D3). There's no real free roaming travel but instead instanced zones of interest where adventures take place.

There are a TON of currency items which I don't particularly like, but at least this time you get a free bag to contain them all unlike GW2. Apart from gold you have grindable seals, cash shop currency and god coins which you literally have to pray (in game) everyday for. Each day you miss a prayer, you lose some of them. Ofcourse all of them buy wierd and wonderful things not necessarily shared by the other. It's picturesque and is rather fun to play, though making a decent looking character can be kinda challenging.

There's a reason it's a silhouette.

What really hooked me though is the Foundry. Here players can create their OWN quests and campaigns which can be published for the rest of the online community to play (after it passes the playtester moderation I would assume). They are accessed through job boards or via Harper NPCs in the main game responsible for handing out quests in each particular region which I think is pretty cool.

The creation tools are VERY simple and easy to use, making the old Neverwinter Nights editor looks like complex programming too. However with that ease comes quite a bit of restriction, some due to abusers and some simply because. For example enemies and loot are autoscaled to the people playing it, which is pretty handy until you want to throw in something obscenely strong or drop a specific helmet. Also given its nature the quests you can create are pretty linear and not as free flowing as the ones you could make in NWN, at least not without a bit of work. Obviously it's nowhere close to the freedom of a table top environment.

Hasn't stopped me though! Well, it has kinda. I've stopped playing the ingame adventures to start making one of my own - I'll let you know how it goes! :D

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