Monday, February 11, 2013

Neverwinter Beta Impressions

Neverwinter just had their first Beta Weekend event and I got access to it and tried the game for some time. The game is definitely interesting and had some amazing concepts although it does have its share of weaknesses.

I'd like to start my impression with a negative note on the way Perfect World handles the Beta Weekend. Beta Weekend access are given to Founders and members of the Press but not to people who already got their code from gaming events like PAX or E3. What's the point of giving away those keys when you treat those keys and the person that have them as second class citizen just because they didn't spend their money for the Founder's Pack. If there's one really bad example of the usage of Founder's Pack I'd have t say this is the worse offender. Developers should stop this kind of ridiculous practice. Let the player try out the game and THEN decide whether they want to spend their money or not on the Founder's Pack. If you're confident in your game I don't see why not.

Now that that's out of the way let me start my impression of the game, starting from how it looks. I'd have to say the graphical quality was okay. It's really nothing special but it isn't really bad to look at either. While it lacks graphical fidelity it does have a pretty good aesthetics with character designs that reminds me a bit of WoW and DDO. The character creation is also pretty good, offering a lot of customization to your character.

As for gameplay, the questing system is similar to DDO where you'll venture into a lot of instances however in Neverwinter there will be open world areas where you'll meet other people while fighting monsters and doing quests. Quests are quite varied and has a lot of story in it so it doesn't get boring after awhile.

The combat system is pretty solid although some character have a pretty clunky animation but overall the combat is good. Neverwinter offers a combat system a bit similar to TERA but with faster pace. I used a trickster Rogue in the beta and I like how the skills all offer different way to re-position yourself in fights. I really think that they've done a great job in implementing the DnD4E abilities into the game.

Hardcore Dungeons and Dragons Fans would be somewhat disappointed with the game and I can see why as it only takes some elements of the tabletop RPG rules. They use the at-will, encounter and daily powers, feats and attributes but they left the skills and even the feat system is a bit too simplistic. Some more character customization options in terms of abilities would be nice I suppose but what they offer right now is quite enough considering they will add Paragon progression which will differentiate the characters more later on.

Currently available character class is only 3 and Perfect World stated that there will be 5 classes at launch. People are disappointed by this but I'm pretty sure they will eventually add more classes later on. And even with 5 classes there are variations within the classes like a Guardian Fighter and a Great Weapon Fighter which will of course offer different playstyles.

What's even more interesting is that they added the foundry system, just like in Star Trek Online which essentially lets players create their own custom quests for other players to play. This is a really interesting feature and it would be very interesting to see what the community can create.

My experience with this Beta Weekend is pretty enjoyable and the game is really fun to play, despite some of its weaknesses. Hardcore Dungeon and Dragons fans might not like it very much but for an MMORPG player this game is definitely a game that is worth following. I really suggest signing up for the beta and try it out on the next Beta Weekends. Or you can just buy the founder's pack.

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