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[Column] Neverwinter: The Best and Worst of Neverwinter Beta

BillMurphyBillMurphy Managing EditorBerea, OHPosts: 2,356MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

We're breaking down the best and worst aspects of our experience in the Neverwinter beta this past weekend as part of this week's The List.

If there’s one thing that Cryptic Studios has always done well, it’s combat. Go as far back as City of Heroes or even as recently as Star Trek Online. Cryptic Studios knows how to do active combat with fun, flashy visual effects and Neverwinter is no different in this regard. Neverwinter’s combat takes things a step further for Cryptic with free form targeting similar to TERA; though not everything is perfect (we’ll get into that a bit later). Still, the visceral feeling of smashing your shield into an enemy’s face or lunging across the room, striking and knocking them away, is incredibly satisfying.

Read more of Michael Bitton's The List: The Best and Worst of Neverwinter Beta.

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Comments

  • bobfishbobfish SouthamptonPosts: 1,688Member

    Article is pretty spot on in my opinion, though I would add that the quest path isn't just linear, it is completely linear. There was a single path to take through leveling and little in the way of optional side quests.

     

    The Foundry can obviously help with this, but it does seem to be a bit of a cop out by the devs.

  • wkyfamwkyfam Benton, KYPosts: 33Member
    I tend to agree with you assessment thus far, more or less.  The combat is both really fun, yet the animations locking you into a move and thereby hindering your ability to dodge is frustrating.  Also, the Foundry will be the life or death of this game.  From the content I experienced during beta, this could be really awesome or really terrible.  While there were a couple of good adventures that at least demonstrated the potential of the Foundry, there were more adventures created by users that show just how badly this can be done.  As with many things, the Foundry may balance-out after launch, once more users have access to create their content.  Hopefully this is the case as opposed to the Foundry being congested with many silly, useless adventures containing more typos and grammatical errors than clever design and interesting mobs.
  • ZefireZefire lol, CAPosts: 676Member

    The problem with these guys is that they are trying to support a combat style that has been proven not to work in mmos.

    Secondly D&D has dosens of classes and prestige classes.

    Launching a dnd game with 5 classes it's like playing wow with one class only.

    3rd the character models do not look very promising and the lack of world freedom/seamless world is enough to make not wanna play this game.

    Why not wait and play eso.It may be crap as well but at least we have the choice to select the best crap between the 2.

  • SovrathSovrath Boston Area, MAPosts: 18,451Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Zefire

    The problem with these guys is that they are trying to support a combat style that has been proven not to work in mmos.

    Really? From my experience with this type of combat it not only proves that it works but proves to me that I would rather not go back to the old way of combat ever again.

    sorry but I disagree and see no proof.

  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingPosts: 2,714Member Uncommon

    You wrote: "The combat is different, but similar, the environments are the same way, and even many of the UI elements and design are shared.  For those of you with little or no experience with Cryptic’s past games, you probably won’t notice, but for me, I felt a real sense of déjà vu while playing Neverwinter."

     

    Though I missed this weekend, based on the streamings I wrote in the other thread:

    "Was a bit amusing though when they looked at features in marvel, features which came from Cryptic's previous games :) (like Foundry donation, the notification panel next to the minimap, the arrangeable hud, the calendar and mission panel, the timed open world events, etc). It's great that STO / CO players will feel themselves at home in the game right away."

    Seems I nailed it :)

  • casual187casual187 omaha, NEPosts: 32Member

    "During one of the live streaming events this last week, developer Zekial explained that they decided to go with locking character down during skill use so that they could also slow the mobs down, give them longer tells. When you allow characters to move during combat you have to speed up the mob animation and shorten the tells to the point where they are no longer tells because they cannot be reacted to in time. They have to go fast because characters may be circle straffing constantly and if they are you will never hit them. This ends up leading to a situation where everyone has to be moving constantly simply because they CAN move constantly."

    So ya the locking of combat was thought about carefully.

  • jtcgsjtcgs New Port Richey, ILPosts: 1,777Member

    As long as the foundry is great, it will make up for lack of content.

    As long as they keep their promise of adding new classes after release, it will make up for the lack of classes at release.

    As for the UI, I can only hope they allow us to mod it, or they update it after release.

    As for the rest of the game, I have liked what I have seen.

    “I hope we shall crush...in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." ~Thomes Jefferson

  • ThorkuneThorkune Eastern, KYPosts: 1,828Member Uncommon

    Great write-up, Mike.

    You always give us an unbiased review.

  • VonatarVonatar PraguePosts: 672Member Uncommon

    The very big negative for me was seeing how linear the game is. It is just quest #1 then quest #2, #3, #4 and so on, leading you through areas and mini-dungeons. Maybe this changes after level 30 but I get the feeling this is how it is designed all the way to 60.

     

    It's fun the first time perhaps, but offers zero replayability as it will be exactly the same content in the same order when you play an alt. Which means that all there is to do other than follow the questline is re-run dungeons, or do Foundry content. I don't see how this will hold my attention for more than 1 playthrough and maybe a few weeks afterwards.

     

    It's a shame that this is a growing trend in MMOs these days. Great journey to max level, but then it's pretty much game over unless you want to keep grinding (I'm looking at you GW2).

  • ThorkuneThorkune Eastern, KYPosts: 1,828Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Vonatar

    The very big negative for me was seeing how linear the game is. It is just quest #1 then quest #2, #3, #4 and so on, leading you through areas and mini-dungeons. Maybe this changes after level 30 but I get the feeling this is how it is designed all the way to 60.

     

    It's fun the first time perhaps, but offers zero replayability as it will be exactly the same content in the same order when you play an alt. Which means that all there is to do other than follow the questline is re-run dungeons, or do Foundry content. I don't see how this will hold my attention for more than 1 playthrough and maybe a few weeks afterwards.

     

    It's a shame that this is a growing trend in MMOs these days. Great journey to max level, but then it's pretty much game over unless you want to keep grinding (I'm looking at you GW2).

    Are the zones really small and confined? Or, does it eventually open up later on...

  • Kingmob23Kingmob23 LondonPosts: 77Member
    Originally posted by Zefire

    The problem with these guys is that they are trying to support a combat style that has been proven not to work in mmos.

    Secondly D&D has dosens of classes and prestige classes.

    Launching a dnd game with 5 classes it's like playing wow with one class only.

    3rd the character models do not look very promising and the lack of world freedom/seamless world is enough to make not wanna play this game.

    Why not wait and play eso.It may be crap as well but at least we have the choice to select the best crap between the 2.

    Actually after playing the game this past weekend, I found the combat to be quite fun so I'm not sure how this combat is proven not to work? It played really well for me. I don't like the lack of classes either but a developer on the totalbiscut stream already mentioned that more classes were being worked on, including a Ranger so hopefully they will be released quickly.

    I tried out all three classes this weekend and I felt the character models for them were fine, though the cleric dodge animation looked a little goofy. The npc models looked real good with some nice boss models and animation.

    The questing was very linear and that would be my biggest complaint against the game; however, it I think some of this linearness is due to the fact that quest in general are more elborate than standard mmo quests. Beings that there was more solo dungeon style delving with traps, secret passages, puzzels, and legitimate boss fights. I'm ok with the trade off if people take to the foundry so that I can level alts through that method.

    I may play teso or not; It may be crap or a great game, but after playing the beta I have no problems pouring a bunch of my time into Neverwinter upon release. I think it's funner than any mmo released last year, including GW2. Its also a f2p game so one can try it out with no strings attached in a couple months.

  • VonatarVonatar PraguePosts: 672Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Thorkune
    Originally posted by Vonatar

    The very big negative for me was seeing how linear the game is. It is just quest #1 then quest #2, #3, #4 and so on, leading you through areas and mini-dungeons. Maybe this changes after level 30 but I get the feeling this is how it is designed all the way to 60.

     

    It's fun the first time perhaps, but offers zero replayability as it will be exactly the same content in the same order when you play an alt. Which means that all there is to do other than follow the questline is re-run dungeons, or do Foundry content. I don't see how this will hold my attention for more than 1 playthrough and maybe a few weeks afterwards.

     

    It's a shame that this is a growing trend in MMOs these days. Great journey to max level, but then it's pretty much game over unless you want to keep grinding (I'm looking at you GW2).

    Are the zones really small and confined? Or, does it eventually open up later on...

     

    Depends on your perspective. I didn't think they are that small, but you are basically only in a zone to do some specific things for your quests, with a few alleyways, corridors or rooms  to explore in addition for extra treasure or crafting loot. The stories are good and I enjoyed following them, but overall it just felt like playing Witcher 2 or some other linear rpg experience.

  • ZooceZooce B, FLPosts: 586Member

    Overall, NW has really grown on me after seeing hours of gameplay footage.  I remember commenting about how horrible the combat looked when I saw the videos from PAX east, but hot damn does it look good now.

     

    I've never been a stickler for combat animations, but they really stand out to me when watching the current videos.  The trickster's various dagger thrusts are executed with such finesse and the forward thrust looks particularly satisfying along with the first encounter ability leap I saw.

     

    Can't wait to dig into the foundry.  Back in the day I used to really love making C&C:RA and Duke3d multiplayer maps and then seeing them played and further modified by others.  User-generated content should really add lasting appeal for NW where my urge to log in might fade after exhausting developer content.

     

    Never played previous Cryptic titles so I guess any eerie similarities will be lost on me? Bonus.

  • ThorkuneThorkune Eastern, KYPosts: 1,828Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Vonatar
    Originally posted by Thorkune
    Originally posted by Vonatar

    The very big negative for me was seeing how linear the game is. It is just quest #1 then quest #2, #3, #4 and so on, leading you through areas and mini-dungeons. Maybe this changes after level 30 but I get the feeling this is how it is designed all the way to 60.

     

    It's fun the first time perhaps, but offers zero replayability as it will be exactly the same content in the same order when you play an alt. Which means that all there is to do other than follow the questline is re-run dungeons, or do Foundry content. I don't see how this will hold my attention for more than 1 playthrough and maybe a few weeks afterwards.

     

    It's a shame that this is a growing trend in MMOs these days. Great journey to max level, but then it's pretty much game over unless you want to keep grinding (I'm looking at you GW2).

    Are the zones really small and confined? Or, does it eventually open up later on...

     

    Depends on your perspective. I didn't think they are that small, but you are basically only in a zone to do some specific things for your quests, with a few alleyways, corridors or rooms  to explore in addition for extra treasure or crafting loot. The stories are good and I enjoyed following them, but overall it just felt like playing Witcher 2 or some other linear rpg experience.

    I was just curious. I quit SWTOR because it was too confined for me. I like to explore large maps.

  • TeiloTeilo LiverpoolPosts: 284Member
    Originally posted by Vonatar

    The very big negative for me was seeing how linear the game is. It is just quest #1 then quest #2, #3, #4 and so on, leading you through areas and mini-dungeons. Maybe this changes after level 30 but I get the feeling this is how it is designed all the way to 60.

     

    It's fun the first time perhaps, but offers zero replayability as it will be exactly the same content in the same order when you play an alt. Which means that all there is to do other than follow the questline is re-run dungeons, or do Foundry content. I don't see how this will hold my attention for more than 1 playthrough and maybe a few weeks afterwards.

     

    It's a shame that this is a growing trend in MMOs these days. Great journey to max level, but then it's pretty much game over unless you want to keep grinding (I'm looking at you GW2).

    Champions Online had exactly this problem at launch - you literally had to do every single quest in the game to get almost - but not quite - enough XP to hit the level cap; sad to hear they're releasing another game with only just enough content, I hope the user-made content saves it.

  • shadowofnoshadowofno grand junction, COPosts: 2Member
    this is the reason why you need to play the game not go off some person that is hardend by the gamming job hes got. the game looks better than any other game on the market and yet you get this kinda thing. the combat is very cool and very fun looking. also everyone wants to say its not so good but ITS CLOSED BETA
  • VorthanionVorthanion Laguna Vista, TXPosts: 2,117Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Sovrath
    Originally posted by Zefire

    The problem with these guys is that they are trying to support a combat style that has been proven not to work in mmos.

    Really? From my experience with this type of combat it not only proves that it works but proves to me that I would rather not go back to the old way of combat ever again.

    sorry but I disagree and see no proof.

    Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, there has been some push-back from the MMO gaming coumminty with the current action combat trend.  I don't think it would be so much of an issue if it weren't for the fact that just about every single new MMO releasing in the next few years is embracing this mechanic with little to no option for those of us who prefer slower and more tactically sound, character driven combat.  What proof we can offer is that there is yet to be a truly successful action oriented MMORPG, but then I suppose you are happy with the mediocrity thus far.  I think many players and even some developers are under the mistaken belief that a change in combat formula is what the genre needs to move forward, when the real problem is the lack of diversity, creativity, quality and quantity of content, especially at the higher end of the level spectrum.  This trend to change virtual worlds into arcade games is a troubling and ultimately destructive path to be taking for MMORPGs.

    image
  • mnemic666mnemic666 asdf, CAPosts: 157Member Uncommon

    I know it's personal preference, but I get so annoyed at the complaining about animation locks. They're intended to function as an opportunity cost and require to you plan out abilities rather than just mash everything as it comes of cooldown while circle strafing. If you're in a true action game, the circle strafing mashing is going to be stupidly effective and trivialize a lot of the combat (GW2 deals with this by having a hybrid action/static combat system).

  • TsumoroTsumoro EozeaPosts: 408Member Uncommon

    Two things have my interest in this game, the first being the lore, although not a fan per se of DnD I am a fan of games such as Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale and Neverwinter Nights. So, it would be nice to extend my knowledge of the world. The second is the foundry which will allow me to make my own content, something I am rathe rlooking forward to. 

     

    Everything else to me kinda is a bit cookie cutter (although I hate that term) but I don't always see that a a negative providing it is well executed.  We shall have to wait and see, can't really make a judgement on a game ive not played. 

  • XiaokiXiaoki White Pigeon, MIPosts: 2,601Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by casual187
    "During one of the live streaming events this last week, developer Zekial explained that they decided to go with locking character down during skill use so that they could also slow the mobs down, give them longer tells. When you allow characters to move during combat you have to speed up the mob animation and shorten the tells to the point where they are no longer tells because they cannot be reacted to in time. They have to go fast because characters may be circle straffing constantly and if they are you will never hit them. This ends up leading to a situation where everyone has to be moving constantly simply because they CAN move constantly."So ya the locking of combat was thought about carefully.
    Doesnt matter.


    People want to circle strafe until the cows come home and spam attacks like a chicken with its head cut off while constantly bunny hop jumping.

    MMO combat is lot like a farm. An ADHD farm.


    Look at all the bashing Tera's combat got.

  • DestaiDestai Detroit, MIPosts: 574Member

    Based on this information, I think I'm going to pass on this one. The animation lock alone is a deterrent. It really eludes me how a system with such a lock could be considered active combat, let alone fun. 

    I also don't the understand their refusal to launch with more classes, let alone call them by their traditional names. It's DnD, the names of the classes are a bit of their culture. 

  • ValarienceValarience New York, NYPosts: 25Member

    After my initial misgivings, I ultimately found Neverwinter to be a pretty fun game for what it is, that being a co-op dungeon crawler first and foremost. As an MMORPG, it's sorely lacking in a large explorable world and any sense of permanence, but with most recent titles being little more than glorified single-player games where the sole purpose is to quest to cap and then spam a few dungeons for gear, this isn't anything terribly new.

    The value of Neverwinter is ultimately going to be in the Foundry, for me. If I approach Neverwinter as an MMORPG, it's a failure in my eyes, but if I approach it as a co-op dungeon crawler with a persistent "hub" zone for roleplay / trade and a system that allows me to create my own campaigns to share with others, then it does a damn good job. It isn't the years-of-time-invested MMO messiah I and many others are looking for, but it's an excellent title to keep in the library of games I visit regularly.

  • jehkahn12jehkahn12 Tampa, FLPosts: 14Member
    Great write up. I feel the lack of classes in the beginning could be a deal breaker. Not having a Ranger class at launch says to me justhow out of touch with D&D cryptic is. I have a question for those in beta. Are the traps randomized? I think that can go a long way toward replayability. That was one of the things about DDO I didn't like. It takes away from the experience playing a rogue when your party warn you where the traps are ahead of time.
  • azzamasinazzamasin Butler, OHPosts: 3,066Member Uncommon

    MY BEST

     

    Combat, unlike Tera the game actually roots you on ever skill but in a good way because it gives the feeling of weighty combat and feels visceral as you said.  To turn this off then you would have the skating effect like GW2.  I think both styles can work but after playing NWO I tend to like the more realistic approach.  That said the dodge/block mechanics are not as intuitive as they could be and I have high hopes Cryptic gets this fixed before launch.  Using the Dodge/Block mechanic is suppose to interrupt your normal action abilities but currently they do not always.

     

    The UI, I love a minimalist approach to UI's in general and skill bars in particular.  Having to choose between skills sets the game up as a deck builder type system.  Coming from a background in M:TG this will always feel more intuitive and more realistic to me.  Having to choose wisely is what sets these sorts of games apart from the games like WoW that give you access to al lyour skills.

     

    Classes, after 5+ months of GW2 its nice to actually get back into a game with actual roles to perform and its nice knowing my choice of class will grant me specific plusses and minuses compared to a game like GW2 where everyone can be everything.  I like knowing I am squishy and can not ranged for squat on my Trickster Rogue this means I will need to find friends to provide me with the perfect compliment for running dungeons.

     

    Foundry System, Love how the Foudnry missions scale to your level which means al lFoudnry missions are available and I was expecting this.  To me this just solidfys UGC as being the most innovative feature to hit the Themepark sub-genre of MMO's.

     

    MY WORST

     

    The dodge/block mechanic not being as intuitive as the rest of the combat system.  Hopefully this gets fixed as this portion of the combat will need to be spot on to offset the self rooting of the normal combat flow.

     

    Character Avatars, I dislike how they're scrunched over as if they are all hunchbacked.  I also dislike how the characters themselves lean way over in an almost unnatural look while running around. 

     

    Dungeon Delving, only being able to run 5 man dungeons during specific times is really a turn off for the average MMO player.  I dislike greatly having to wait 3 or 4 horus before the next "Dungeon Delving" event starts.  IMO the best recource is to provide a small XP bump during thsoe times as an incentive but to keep the dungeons open at all times.  I was unable to do Cragmire Crypts because I didn't realize this was the case.

     

    Companions, I do not like pet classes and wish this was not a feature of the game.

     

    Lastly I dislike how the advanced paragon paths are implemented.  I was really hoping for a brand new class with new mechanics isntead all you get are new traits and skills while keeping the use of all your old skills.  This is just a personal pet peeve because I am strongly biased toward deep character progression systems.

    Sandbox means open world, non-linear gaming PERIOD!

    Subscription Gaming, especially MMO gaming is a Cash grab bigger then the most P2W cash shop!

    Bring Back Exploration and lengthy progression times. RPG's have always been about the Journey not the destination!!!

    image

  • azzamasinazzamasin Butler, OHPosts: 3,066Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by jehkahn12
    Great write up. I feel the lack of classes in the beginning could be a deal breaker. Not having a Ranger class at launch says to me justhow out of touch with D&D cryptic is. I have a question for those in beta. Are the traps randomized? I think that can go a long way toward replayability. That was one of the things about DDO I didn't like. It takes away from the experience playing a rogue when your party warn you where the traps are ahead of time.

    For what its worth there was some datamined information found in the files during Beta.  Looks like they are working on 2 unannounced classes the Archer Ranger and Scourge Warlock.  Now I do not know if this will be on release but according to Totalbiscuits video they Dev confirmed other classes are actively being worked upon that havn't been announced.  This is further proof there will be additional classes released.

     

     

    Classes
    Texture_Library/Ui/Charactercreation/Paths/Class_Icon_Player_Archer_Selected.Wtex
    Texture_Library/Ui/Charactercreation/Paths/Class_Icon_Player_Controller_Selected.Wtex
    Texture_Library/Ui/Charactercreation/Paths/Class_Icon_Player_Devoted_Selected.Wtex
    Texture_Library/Ui/Charactercreation/Paths/Class_Icon_Player_Greatweapon_Selected.Wtex
    Texture_Library/Ui/Charactercreation/Paths/Class_Icon_Player_Guardian_Selected.Wtex
    Texture_Library/Ui/Charactercreation/Paths/Class_Icon_Player_Scourge_Selected.Wtex
    Texture_Library/Ui/Charactercreation/Paths/Class_Icon_Player_Trickster_Selected.Wtex

    Alt Icons
    Texture_Library/Ui/Charactercreation/Paths/Class_Icon_Player_Cleric_Devotedcleric_Selected.Wt ex
    Texture_Library/Ui/Charactercreation/Paths/Class_Icon_Player_Fighter_Guardian_Selected.Wtex
    Texture_Library/Ui/Charactercreation/Paths/Class_Icon_Player_Rogue_Trickster_Selected.Wtex
    Texture_Library/Ui/Charactercreation/Paths/Class_Icon_Player_Wizard_Controlwizard_Selected.Wt ex

    Sandbox means open world, non-linear gaming PERIOD!

    Subscription Gaming, especially MMO gaming is a Cash grab bigger then the most P2W cash shop!

    Bring Back Exploration and lengthy progression times. RPG's have always been about the Journey not the destination!!!

    image

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