Neverwinter Open Beta began on April 30th, which marked a great and significant milestone for the game. By this time, I had a five-day headstart in the game, which was beneficial since there weren’t going to be any character wipes this time, but additionally, juggling work and making time to play Neverwinter Open Beta was somewhat difficult. Compared to the last beta weekend, Neverwinter had a couple of hiccups with Open Beta as it seemed to be an overwhelming amount of people who wanted to see the game for themselves. While the Neverwinter Open Beta team was quick to fix some of the server and login problems that players were encountering, it was great to see that they were doing their very best to get things back on track, despite a significant setback.
With the Neverwinter Open Beta, it felt a lot more polished as seen with the sheer amount of people on the game. While the jitter in the game was no doubt a result of a 150 ping, and not a graphical issue, Neverwinter continued to feel very smooth in a graphical sense. New changes that I noticed was with PWE’s proprietary ZEN currency as players can convert some of their astral diamonds into ZEN for items and customization options. While the market seems to be inflated and chaotic in terms of pricing, it feels that it’s only a matter of time until prices and currency exchange rates normalize to less outrageous prices.
In this phase for the Neverwinter Open Beta, marked the first time in the game where I participated in an event where I participated in back-to-back Cloak Tower dungeon runs. While the loot from the run was insignificant since other players forgot about the dungeon keys, the fact that I was grinding for Astral Diamonds felt like I had been playing this game for a very long time. It felt like second nature as I immediately picked up daily quests, which also yield some unique rewards. While I haven’t had a chance to really sit down and look at the Foundry, just the initial glance into the way that the built-in feature works is sure to excite die-hard Dungeon & Dragons fans as well as any kind of player wanting to step into the DM role.
Combat in the Neverwinter Open Beta, for the most part felt unchanged as I progressed through the same quests found in previous beta sessions. While quests seemed to have been altered and tweaked for various reasons, it felt easier transitioning through quests as the Guardian Fighter by slowly whittling down enemies by soaking damage. Much of the interface seems to be unchanged, as well as the tree for one’s abilities. While the buddy system still uses the Star Trek Online means of adding friends, it feels like a hurdle that becomes easier after the first time.
My outlook during the Neverwinter Open Beta is very promising as I’ve been following the development of Neverwinter since our formal introduction during last year’s E3 session with Cryptic’s Zeke Sparks. The combination of the Neverwinter Open Beta’s progression and development has continued to refresh that MMO high that I’ve experienced since then, and continues to reinforce the reasons why this game continues to be fun. Despite the hiccups with the transition to Open Beta, the team at Neverwinter was right on top of the issue, and keeping their player base in mind of the situation. While it may not seem a lot from an outside source necessarily, they certainly are doing their best to ensure a great playing experience for players.
For a free to play game, the game never ceases to amaze how wonderful and gorgeous it looks to see in 1920 x 1080. Even on a laptop, textures and lighting transition that realism in a nostalgic sense. No doubt, Neverwinter will still need some polishing as they progress closer to an official launching of the game. While there are still some bugs that are currently being worked on at this moment, Neverwinter is in pretty good shape compared to its previous beta weekend stages.
For a game with a great following as this, Cryptic and Perfect World Entertainment certainly feel like they’re going in the right direction in doing this right. All I can really say is that if I were to continue to play, this piece of work would never really get done. That’s just how fun and addicting the game feels for me.