If you have ever read a Forgotten Realms book, played in a table-top D&D game, dueled fellow planeswalkers in MtG, or just love dungeion crawling, this is a game that should be on your radar. Neverwinter is an F2P MMO from Perfect World and Cryptic Studios (Star Trek Online and Champions Online). It will be playable with no credit card information needed and is currently in friends and family beta. If you would like to be considered for beta as it opens to more people all you need to do is sign up at the Neverwinter site by clicking the image to the right.
The game takes place over 100 years after the infamous Spellplague hits Faerûn. Players once again get to explore the city-state of Neverwinter. Around 25 years before the game takes place the city was devastated by a volcanic eruption. Much of the city has been rebuilt but Neverember, the Lord of Waterdeep, has put out a call to all adventurers in the north to come help rebuild the city.
Players will get to extensively explore the city and it’s subterranean tunnels. Many various locations along the Sword Coast will also be available for play but no list was given.
The Panel (Chris Youngs, Joe Jing, Dan Emmons, and Randy Mosiondz)
The panel itself centered on the art direction of Neverwinter. We saw some great images from the game of the progression from concept art to in game reality. It was emphasized that the art direction was being heavily influenced by the resources surrounding Dungeons & Dragons that already existed ie. The Forgotten Realms book series D&D Guides, and also Wizards of the Coast materials.
The Art Lead for Neverwinter is Joe Jing. He was the primary panel member explaining the process behind the art creation and introduced himself as having been the lead for Blood Rayne and Duke Nukem Forever (he shamefully admitted).
We also got a little lesson in the generations of art related to D&D and Magic The Gathering. We took a tour of the kobold art through the ages and learned about how artists take descriptions from books and guides to try and recreate the creatures. For the 3rd generation of art there were style guides created so that if any artists where to try and create a kobold they would have something to work off of. Since the third generations these style guides have been used less and less which has resulted in many variations on the art style of creatures as simple as a kobold. They have decided to re-implement these style guides and the in-game art will be based on the 3rd generation art.
The highlight of the panel was a NYCC exclusive showing of a new Helm’s Hold Lore Trailer. Take a look and tell us what you think.
At the end of the panel they gave out some hardware (mouse, keyboard, graphics card) in a raffle and all attendees received a free tee-shirt.
One of the coolest new features that Neverwinter is introducing into the MMO genre is something they call The Foundry. Many of you might immediately think back to the foundry in Halo 3 and you wouldn’t be too far off.
The Foundry seeks to realize the concept of adventure creation, a table-top gaming staple, into the MMO realm. It is a tool for players to create their own dungeons and stories. You will be able to pick the setting, set up the rooms, choose when and where bosses spawn, create NPCs to speak with the adventurers, and much more. We got a small glimpse of the Foundry at the NYCC panel and it looked pretty easy to navigate.
One of the most innovative aspects of The Foundry is that you will actually encounter these user generated adventures in the game itself. There will be tavern keeps that will send you on user generated quests which gives a great opportunity for replayability. There is also a rating system on user generated content that will allow you to pick the cream of the crop for your adventuring pleasure.
This ability for fans to create any story they want pretty well gaurentees that we will be able to play through all of the major plot lines from D&D lore even if they aren’t put into the game by the developers.
Will there be PVP?
What kind of PVP can we expect? Warzones/Battlegrounds? Arenas?
This hasn’t been discussed with the public as of yet.
Is combat action or roll based?
Action, this means dodging and blocking manually.
Will there be gear customization?
The gear will be very distinctive between classes so that it is easy to distinguish who is who. There is also a dye system for gear and an extensive character customization before you start.
What happens on death?
You respawn at “safe” campfires.
What is the release date?
There is more information about becoming a beta tester and the game itself available at the official Neverwinter website: http://nw.perfectworld.com/
– Andrew “Rinato” Rudi –