At PAX Prime, I had the privilege to check out Cryptic Studios’ free-to-play game Neverwinter with Andy Velasquez, the Lead Producer.
This action-RPG MMO takes place in, you guessed it, the city of Neverwinter, from the beloved Dungeons & Dragons series. The game is not related to Neverwinter Nights, so don’t get confused! Neverwinter touts its fast, reactive cool-downs versus the top-targeting, auto-attacking of many other RPGs. The game should feel very dynamic and engaging.
Between a plague and volcanic eruption, Neverwinter and the surrounding areas have had it rough. Today, Neverwinter is mostly restored, with Lord Neverember of Waterdeep taking the city under his protection. He has put forth a call to all adventurers and heroes (this means you) of the Savage North to help rebuild Neverwinter, but evil things are gonna mess up that plan of course.
For this demo, the focus was on The Foundry, the game’s creation toolset. Normally, I wouldn’t really be interested in a game’s toolset, since I’m not really coordinated or creative enough to make anything good (just ask Little Big Planet), but this one certainly caught my attention.
I am a big fan of systems that can be utilized by both noobs and pros. Velasquez showed off “the easy way” to do things, then paired it with a short demonstration of how deep a creator can go with customization.
For example, he showed us room creation. Even I could figure out how to grab rooms, snap them together like Lego blocks, drag and move doors around if I wanted, and auto-populate the room with things (like tables, barrels, etc.) and with the generic enemy of my choice.
On the other hand, I could create the room, specify in great detail what I’m putting in there, where it goes, and how it looks, and then completely customize the bad guys that will appear in my dungeon, going from just choosing size shape and color all the way to the super advanced mode where I can basically create any creature I want, if I’m skilled enough. And yes, you can completely level up your character playing other people’s creations.
I believe my exact notes said “OMG YOU CAN DECORATE THE BAD GUYS.”
The game includes lots of other little touches to let beginners feel confident enough to create, including call-outs for required items and a GUI dialogue editor. In all, it looked very intuitive and I’m excited to give my storytelling a try… or to set some of my true D&D friends on it to actually build the stories they always tell me about.
I really liked the inclusion of a mini-blog for the creators. They can update their fanbase and also receive funding (the in-game currency not IRL) from truly dedicated fans to keep creating awesomeness. You can also subscribe to a creator, so you can stay abreast of their latest torture rooms, and use the rating system to highlight the best adventures for other players.
Speaking of the stories, Neverwinter will be totally canon with the D&D series. You will run into characters and cities from D&D. Vilandra Shadowmancer was specifically name-dropped, but I must not have read that book (No, I haven’t read every Forgotten Realms book. I have to feed myself and excercise sometimes).
Velasquez also mentioned that Cryptic Studios worked closely with Wizards of the Coast to write the characters and their stories, and actually influenced some of the future campaigns and books in the non-gaming field, which sounds pretty legit if you ask me.
Overally the game looks like your standard, pretty RPG, and I certainly don’t see any skimping due to it being F2P.
Neverwinter is due sometime before 2013. I’m pretty excited to, as Velasquez so eloquently put it: “bah bum bum kill things!” <3
First appeared on NerdyButFlirty.com