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Crossposted from Neverwinter Beta forums.
So, this is only a first impression, so take it with a grain of salt.
First, I think the gameplay is fun. I played a Trickster Rogue all the way up to 20 last night before I went to bed. I found that the Rogue isn't for me, so I've switched over to a Guardian Fighter. Its not that I find the trickster rogue bad, just that its playstyle isn't for me. I look forward to trying the 2H Fighter when he's available.
Second. I'm disappointed in the skill system that exists. This may simply be due to the fact that I'm coming from DDO, where they used the 3.5 skill system, but it seems to me that what's there is simply not enough. I'd like to actively be able to Search for Traps, have skills that adjust my haggling ability with merchants, etc. The random "ability boxes" that I've seen just don't quite cut it for me, and I simply with the system was a bit more robust.
Third. I think the amount of content is great. The foundry ensures we'll never run out of content to run, which means we won't have to worry about running the same stuff over and over. This is a HUGE win in my book. I've played through a few of the foundry missions that are available and think that they definitely showcase what the system is capable of.
Fourth (and this is the big one).
I think you've created a one-trick pony with this game. The one trick is fun, but the question is going to be how long will it stay "fresh". I've found that one trick pony's tend to grow tiresome quickly when people get bored with that trick. As it is right now the gameplay you have is fun, but that gameplay is all there is.
You need to expand on the available "things to do" in the game. It doesn't need to be big things, and it doesn't require a change to what you already have. It just needs to be MORE. For example:
- Tavern Games. DDO has pretty much the same problem. Why hang around a tavern? A tavern is a place to sit around talk, drink, socialize, etc. Its pretty much the center of the DnD universe. Yet with the exception of quickly dropping in to talk to a barmaid (very optional, since you can get the foundry from your main menu) there's absolutely no reason to stop into a tavern. Instead, add in some tavern games that players can hop in and participate in. Wizards put out a DnD card game a while ago called Three Dragon Ante. It was tons of fun, and would make an excellent table game in a tavern. There's also Liars Dice, and other types of games. These would add to the game, and help add immersion into people playing the game.
- Exploration. Again, this is a distraction type concept for people to do while not wanting to run dungeons. Take areas like the Tower and Blacklake district. I jumped around those districts, but found no great reason to do anything other than chase the quests in the region. They need a little spice added to them just to make them better. (Thankfully, the tower district had a few random things like the scavenger hunt going on). I would suggest hidden bosses, or even some sort of "Event System" similar to what's seen in GW2.
- More interaction in the "Safe Areas". This has much of the same problem as Taverns do. The protectorate is a simple shell, used to hold shops, and some quest givers. You hop in, do what you need to do, and get out. Like taverns it needs something more going on in it to entice people to do something. I'm not sure what, but SOMETHING.
The idea here is to make Neverwinter (the city) come alive and feel like a world, not just a hub for doing dungeon runs in. I like what's there, but feel the game needs to expand a bit beyond that to simply make the game feel more like a world instead of a game.
Anyways, that's my 2 copper.
This goes back to a post I made on The Pub. As it stands right now (and being an early beta all normal caveats apply) the long-term fun of this game is in the iffy spot. The Foundry will keep content rolling, and there will be some sort of crafting, but beyond that, I'm not sure there's enough here to keep you playing long term.
So long, and thanks for all the fish!