Neverwinter, a Mean Spirited Review

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 | 5


Cryptic loves to re-skin their games.

When you use the name of a popular RPG franchise with a well established set of parameters, it's typically a very good idea to dumb everything down to the most forgettable and pointless metric possible. BioWare did this with Knights of the Old Republic, and now Cryptic has "released" Neverwinter. The main difference here is that Neverwinter Nights is a completely unrelated franchise. The cake is a lie.

Misleading premises alone are not a good reason to hate a game, but luckily there are a wide range of inadequacies to select from in this cocktail of failure. I try not to make a habit of reviewing games in beta, but they're accepting people's money, so it's as good as released in my eyes. As usual, let's start with the bad.

F2P Ensures that MMO is Subjective

Like nearly every other F2P "MMO", you will be in instances from start-to-finish and never actually get to play with hundreds of other players. This is a penny-pinching symptom, so while not entirely unexpected, it does get annoying to be in the same zone as a friend, but have to face load-times to hop into their instance. This brings me to issue number two...

Loading....................

Most likely due to resource saving from the Foundry quest model, load times are going to sting. While playing generic and terrible CRYPTIC content, your load times could be a few minutes, but if you're loading a player-made quest you could be in for longer waits. I'm not sure if this is a bug with the engine, or just an accepted result of lazy development, but we're now in an era of bandwidth/computing/rendering that these types of load times shouldn't exist. I could forgive all of this if playing the game was fun, but...

Combat is Abysmal

I blame TERA for the surge of faux-tab-targeting MMORPG offerings that hit the shelves in 2012 and beyond. Neverwinter subscribes to the methodology that strategy and action are not as fun as holding down the left mouse button, so they ensured that you could defeat nearly all encounters by doing exactly that. You acquire skills and abilities to help you kill the droves of profoundly inept trash-mobs, but they're really only there if you finish reading the newspaper before your dungeon crawl is complete and you get bored.

The PvP is Worse

Typically when I'm struggling to enjoy a MMO, I jump over to the competitive side of things and stomp some people out. What I found with Neverwinter is that the mere existence of PvP in its current capacity actually makes the game as a whole seem far worse.

It goes without saying that in a game where everything is instanced, the PvP would be no different. I don't consider this a shortcoming because it is fully anticipated. The problem with Neverwinter's system is the pace. PvP Combat's pacing is extremely slow, and even if you completely dominate your opponent, it could take minutes to actually kill them. This could be easily remedied, but after trolling the in-game chat, it seems like most people would rather have players be as slow and boring to kill as non-players. Call it cultural, but young people sicken me these days.

Shamefully Claiming Dungeons and Dragons

Those of you nerdy enough to have played either Dungeons and Dragons or any games with the D&D ruleset understand that D&D and in-depth character development walk hand-in-hand. To see what they whittled it all down to in order to create such a generic F2P hack/slash abortion is a mockery of the name itself and makes me question why they even chose to license it from Wizards of the Coast.

You have some stats and some generic trade-skills, but the breadth of potential that comes along with being charismatic or strong in a campaign is entirely overlooked. This is most likely do to the game being essentially a re-skin of Star Trek Online and Champions, however, one good thing came along with the ride that fits right into the D&D tradition...

The Foundry

The Foundry is a toolkit within the game client that allows you (once you've reached a certain level) to develop and refine your own content and adventures for yourself or others. I can only imagine that the creation of the tool for Star Trek Online is what got this entire project started. While lost on the relatively shallow canon of Star Trek, The Foundry is gushing wild potential for prospective Dungeon Master wannabes.

I found The Foundry to be extremely simple and even moderately flexible. If you have a quest in mind, you can usually get the job done (unless for some reason you would like your NPC actors to sit in chairs, then you're fucked). I designed a 15 minute comical adventure to break up the terrible and uninspired work my fellow players had turned out, and my reviews so far have been pretty positive. I've even earned tips that can be converted into cash-shop money, assuming I ever want to subject myself to the terrible game again. Sadly, I gained more enjoyment out of designing the first installment of a campaign I call, "Miguelito's Revenge".

Here's a sneak peek at the quest entitled, "Miguelito's Wedding" (MINOR SPOILERS!!!).


Assuming they add a few things, like project collaboration, active Dungeon Mastery, and Chair Sitting, there is no reason why this game wouldn't be worth playing for The Foundry alone.

I know what you're thinking, and yes, most player created content is BEYOND TERRIBLE. This is combatted by a review system that helps the good stuff float to the top. Despite everything I said before this section, The Foundry is worth a shot, but I doubt most of you will get to level 15 so you can use it. If you do end up playing, check out Miguelito's Wedding for a couple of cheap laughs and an easy grind.

Breakdown:

  • (5) Average
  • (-5) Diablo on Downers
  • (5) Not even the Title is unique.
  • (5) Some Wowish Things
  • (0) Horrid Instancing
  • (-5) Risk of falling asleep
  • (-15,000) Dungeons and Lies.

Final Score: Poop.

Yes, I re-skinned my site.

5 comments :

  1. In the higher level, I've noticed the combat getting more tactical. The game suffers from very bad power scaling. Low levels are far too easy. The same content at a higher level gives you a much tougher fight.


    But I agree, mostly mediocre, but the Cryptic style is what it is. I enjoy it, but I'm not going to rave about it.


    The Foundry is the heart of this game for me. I know a lot of folks who only make quests. They don't even play the game. I try to mix it up. And I do enjoy playing Foundry quests. Lots of crap and meh, but I've found some real gems. The best part is that they aren't done by committee and overpolished until they have no soul (like every quest by every MMO team).


    Oh, and while you are there, play my quests: A Kidnapping in Blacklake and Vermin in the Cave by @winin.


    --Winin

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  2. Thanks for the feedback. Who would have known that dry hatred isn't marketable? Currently giving Defiance a try, and I've got plenty to say about it.

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  3. You have literally taken the words out of my mouth, and quite frankly sir I would like them back!

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  4. The worst bit of Neverwinter was how good The Foundry could have been. I found a few gems in the pile of generic and forgettable adventures, and had these authors been given better tools, these dungeons could have been some of my most memorable I ever played in an MMO.

    Giving players the tools to create could have been the best way to keep Neverwinter going...if the game hadn't "launched" already disease ridden, dull and sluggish.

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  5. I was willing to accept that the Foundry is a WIP, but I can't play a game that has "PvP" that is that slow and awful. I'd rather they have just not had PvP at all.

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