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Neverwinter Hands-on Impressions

Andrew Lee Jun 7, 2012 0

Neverwinter is an upcoming free to play Action MMORPG that is currently set in the Dungeons & Dragons universe of Forgotten Realms. Here at E3 2012, we got a chance to sit down and have a hands-on experience with some of the demo gameplay for Neverwinter as well as getting the privlege of talking with Lead Designer Zeke Sparkes about the game. Before we got started, a couple of us from LTG and another attendee had the chance to choose characters for the presentation which I thought was awesome.

For the sake of time constraints, we didn’t get to go through the actual character creation process but had characters that were already in place for us. In my case, I played a Female Tiefling Guardian Fighter by the name of Milos. For the demonstration, we were at a high level to show some of the capabilities and features that Neverwinter would offer. While still in development, the heads-up display is very clean, legible, and not by any means cluttered. It seems to have everything arranged in a way where it doesn’t require the player to fight with the interface especially if they need a couple of windows opened for trading. The interactive bar seems to suggest that you’ll only have a few abilities that are equipped while having your normal attack. While videos online can give some insight on how good the graphics can seem for Neverwinter, they don’t do the game justice in regards to how well it seems to perform, especially when its right in front of you. When we asked about system requirements for Neverwinter, we were told that they were aware but have not yet been confirmed.

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Mr. Sparkes gave us a in-depth briefing during our gameplay session about the game such as having a party limit of 5 for dungeons as well as some of the aspects from D&D that they wanted to include. For example, every character has a action point pool shaped as a d20 which happens to fill up during combat. Once it is highlighted and full, it seems that the player can use one of two abilities that are most likely class related to use in combat. However, once that superpower was used it seemed like it wasn’t able to be used again until you rested. In relation to that, Sparkes said that they’ve included campsites to immerse players in the D&D experience so that they can use those zones to prepare spells, rest, etc. It seems that it possibly will do more in the future.

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Combat in itself was an enjoyable experience as Neverwinter seems to get the visual effects and graphics done right. The mechanics themselves seem to suggest a real-time active type of combat which means no auto attack. I stated earlier that the status bar seemed to only have a few abilities as well as your normal attack and a super power which can be assumed as a automatic critical. I managed to figure out what seemed be a taunting/area of effect ability which I spammed after figuring out what the three abilities were for. As we proceeded through the instance all the while learning the abilities that we had only a few minutes to learn, we were instantly thrown into the fray. Once I started to nail down some of the abilities which included blocking via Shift button, I instantly dropped into tactical mode, verbally chatting to my two other teammates in the room and started to setup the encounters like if the game was already out. Ironically, I was the one who died multiple times since we really didn’t have a healer, but the forgiving aspect of combat was that you were able to be revived by teammates. Sparkes did state that the typical XP penalty would be present but it seemed unlikely that there would be any kind of reviving difficulty mechanic like the D&D tabletop RPG.

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In conclusion, with the game being in this state of development, Neverwinter shows that it has a lot of potential. While taking the MMO formula in a different direction and including the fact that the game is a F2P title, Neverwinter appeals to not just MMO veterans and people new to them but also to the social player. While the QA and play testing continue, we can only hope that the current build keeps that MMO high that we got here from E3 when the game finally ships out.

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Neverwinter MMO

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