Neverwinter: Interview with Cryptic Studios CEO Jack Emmert

What can you tell us about the crafting system in Neverwinter?

What we wanted to do is create a system that was somehow like D&D. Crafting is very MMOish: I’m a leatherworker, I make stuff. But in D&D when you are sitting around a table and playing, you don’t really do that. In 3rd Edition you did do potion making in your downtime, but I wouldn’t call that core D&D. There’s nothing wrong with traditional MMO crafting, it’s just that we’re a D&D game so how do you make crafting that works for D&D? That’s where we started our discussion and that’s the focus of the design. We have come up with a system so that by crafting you can introduce elements into the economy, but it’s not exactly like your typical crafting and I have to leave it at that. We will have a big reveal about how crafting works in the coming weeks.

That opening Welcome page when you log in is really great. The one that says you can do these events or these dungeons or these player created missions.

That’s something I found in Forsaken World, another Perfect World title, that they brought over here from China. And I played a ton of that and there were little flourishes like that that helped me figure out what I wanted to do. It was this great calendar and I was like “Wow, look what’s going on.” I realized what a massive game it was and I really wanted to do that in Neverwinter and we’ve actually added that to Star Trek, too. So players realize there is always something to do. Every time you login you’ll find something fun to do.

I also liked the NPC that told you what level-appropriate gear you could get and how to get it. I think when a player has to leave the game to go to a website to find out what to do, that’s a problem.

I’ll tell you a true story. Just yesterday, I was trying to reoutfit my starship in Star Trek Online and I had to go to Reddit to find a good build. It’s moments like that make us think the NPC was a good idea.I want people to be able to log in and accomplish a goal and to do something without them having to go to a wiki.

Which is why I found this other design choice interesting which is the lack of quick teleportation options. I did *alot* of running between NPCs for quests and many other MMOs lately have been getting away from that.

First of all, it’s coming. Second of all, there’s mounts. Your low level mount, there’s a pretty good chance you can knocked off of it if something aggros you, but higher level mounts are more resistant and will just blow right past things and they are faster, too.

Was the experience gain buffed during beta? The level gain seemed very fast.

No, that’s what we want.

So if leveling is that fast, what kind of end game content do you have planned?

You will slow down to a degree as you level, but we’re not talking about end game content yet. I will say that we will have a whole raft of stuff at launch. We want to make end game content accessible. Certain MMOs it may be an 8 hour grind through a dungeon to get one piece of gear. That isn’t the direction we’re going to go in Neverwinter. We want a game everyone can play and enjoy. With both Star Trek and Champions today, we have a game that we designed with that in mind and so those will be the principals we’ll be using.

Are you looking forward to the launch of Neverwinter? Let us know in the comments!

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