Neverwinter Beta Weekend 1 Impressions: Fast, Fun & Addictive

After my dev led tour of the level 16 group instance, Cloak Tower, last week, I was ready for more from Perfect World’s upcoming free-to-play action MMORPG Neverwinter. Fortunately, that quick look was followed by the first of three beta weekends rolling out over the next two months. Unlike the Cloak Tower tour where I was autoleveled to 16, I spent about 9 hours leveling a Trickster Rogue from 1 to 21 over the course of the weekend. Here are my thoughts about this game over that time.

Character Selection Is Robust

Let me start off by saying that I haven’t ever played D&D 4th Edition so I have no idea what race/class restrictions there are in the pen and paper game. All I know is that there are none in this game and that makes me happy. All races can play all classes. Avatars can be as finely customized as you like and you can give them a bit of background for RP flair. There’s even a section to add your own notes about your character’s background if that’s how you like to play.

Leveling is Quick and Fun

I was frankly amazed at how quickly I achieved level 21 during the weekend. It took me maybe 9 hours tops. I later confirmed with Cryptic CEO Jack Emmert that this is how it’s going to be in the final release of the game, not just accelerated for beta. They have plenty of end content planned (though not announced) and Emmert also mentioned that leveling rate slows down the higher you go.

Still, it was fun to see the levels fly by as I quested around the city. And those new levels brought not only new abilities, but new perks like mounts, companions, and unlocked ability slots. Plus the story of the main quest line was intriguing and well written.

At first I was disappointed that wizards weren’t in the game yet as a playable race, but quickly discovered how much I enjoyed the Trickster Rogue class. The teleportation tied to many of the classes core abilities combined with some heavy hitting melee attacks made me feel like quite the badass when taking down multiple foes or dodging boss mobs while assassinating the lieutenants first. The only quibble I had was the lack of time to dodge incoming heavy attacks.

You get a warning, in the form of a red circle on the ground, when the mob is gonna drop a big attack on you. The idea is for you to dodge out of the circle to avoid the attack. But one of my rogue’s key attacks triggered a sequence of strikes I couldn’t stop. If I was in the middle of that sequence when the circle appeared, I was not able to regain control of my rogue before the attack hit. I’ve also heard of others complain of a delay when dodging. I know this is a key mechanic to the game’s action-based combat, I just hope the devs give us a little more wiggle room.

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2 Comments on Neverwinter Beta Weekend 1 Impressions: Fast, Fun & Addictive

Aedan

On February 14, 2013 at 10:59 am

For next beta, you should look into D&D rulebooks and player guides before you start reviewing a game that is based upon it. Just my 5 cents.

Ron Whitaker

On February 15, 2013 at 6:37 am

@Aedan: As an avid D&D player, I can tell you that knowing anything about the rulebooks and guides is completely optional when it comes to understanding and playing Neverwinter. I played the entire beta weekend, and the only thing I noticed was that Encounter powers really aren’t ‘encounter’ powers anymore. Instead, they sit on a cooldown of 10-15 seconds.

Dailies become available when you amass enough ‘action points’ to use one. These are not like ‘action points’ in 4E, they’re just an arbitrary measure that you gain from attacking, dodging, etc.