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Before i start to write anything about game itself, i will mention couple of things. I am playing a Pen and Paper RPGs for more than 10 years and ive been playing various RPG rule systems (ADD 2.0, DnD 3e, 3.5, 4e, Pathfinder, Runequest, World of Darkness, Shadowrun, GURPS etc. just to name a few...)
And of course, i know that this proves no point, but i am actually one of the minority, that in fact is ok with DnD 4e. While it obviously have its flaws, i think that its combat is done ok and is ballanced well (no more "time stop" and other OP crap, yaaaaay). And, while i would host an "Hack and Slash" 4e session any day, other aspects of the rule system are a bit weaker, but i will not discuss them now, for this isnt topic about it. Long story short: DnD 4e isnt perfect but is fine system and can be fun to play with right and fun people.
Well, NW is obviously made around 4e ruleset, which can you see straight from the start and from the skill descriptions and skillbar setup (and i wll go into those details later on). Now this game have huge potential because of its licence, but it is still in beta so i did have a bit low expectations out of it, though they didnt surprised me even a bit (kind of expected, lol). Now i will go straight to the point, one by one.
CHARACTER CREATION 8/10 - I was actually overjoyed, when i saw that it have body and face sliders. Yes, faces are somewhat based around the presets, but you can customize it even further with complexion, tattoos/makeup, scars, etc. Same for bodies, each of races have a handfull of preset bodies, but you can come up with various shapes with sliders. Now, i came for a score of 8 just because those sliders are a bit way to hard-coded, so you cant actually go to such extremes (well, that can also be a good thing sometimes), but a bit more variations wouldnt be such a bad thing.
GRAPHICS/VISUALS 8/10 - I dont know what other have to say about it, but i actually liked a character and exterior design. It even reminded me on EQ/EQ II - not even a bit serious, but have its dose of charm and is a nice to eye. Now, this may not be the DnD that many are imagining while roleplaying (including maybe me), but is good enough, not to make you uninstall or puke, out of lousy visuals. Though an animation part (not the combat animation) still need a lot of work, in my opinion.
COMBAT 7/10 - The combat is actually a mix between a GW2 and Tera with a little bit DDO flavor added to it. And, while this may or may not be a bad thing, it fits DnD 4e system fine. Now the thing is, combat can become old very quick for some players and for those who dont prefer way to much action combat. Still, standing in place for caster classes can be very frustrating, especially with some mechanics that require proper positioning.
HANDHOLDING 5/10 - Obviously, this part became a standard when MMORPG genre came to the mainstream and this game surely suffers from it. The game litterally draws you your quest objectives and everything seems like a corridor, plus they are continously spoon-feeding you with items and levels. This whole feel leaves a bitter-sweet taste in your mouth and, unless you are player with an age of 8, you will begin to feel like you have some mentall illnes and they are treating you like that. In my opinion, this and next characteristic draw me out of game too much.
WORLD 2/10 - What happens with MMORPGs?!? Why all the newer titles feels like an straight linear corridors with quest chains that you need to complete to continue further. This was the very thing that made me to burn out of SWTOR very very very quick and is obviously present in this game as well. Why i cant roam freely trough whole Neverwinter and the rest of Fâerun (well, supposed part of it anyway)? Why am i locked within one zone just because i havent done all the main quests? No, this is a big minus from me. Let me go straight out to the forest, get my butt served to me back on a plate and try to return there for couple of levels. Pardon me, but this is why i liked the games such as EQ, GW2 or early WoW (this is stil present to some extent even in WoW)... they had you to go out and explore wherever you please. Yes, do zones, i am ok with it, it doesnt have to be a seamless world. But at least dont lock me out.
CHARACTER CUSTOMIZATION 5/10 - Well, this is a themepark MMORPG afterall, so expect a gear-chasing to be major part of your power customization. The thing that bugs me is that, for the sake of DnD, they could put some more of stats/feats/i dont know customizing. Hell, even DDO had it. On the other hand, chosing dailies or encounter powers is pretty much 4ed thing, which maaaay be a fine thing, but you actually start to realise that the WotC went with 4e ruleset, only to adapt it so that the MMORPG developers can make a DnD licenced games and still stay "true to rules" without issues. But the proper MMORPG need a hell lot of more, other than a popular license to be a good MMORPG. History teached us that.
MUSIC 2/10 - It may be a nice music (still a matter of taste) but it gets old veeery fast. For the sake of your own sanity, mute the music, by all means. I may reccomend "Rhapsody of Fire" for awesome Epic Fantasy/Metal experience instead of in-game music
FINAL SCORE 6.5/10 - This may be a nice game that may introduce Dungeons and Dragons universe to younger audience (eventhough i would recommend Baldurs Gate or Neverwinter Nights from 2000 as the most true DnD games any day) or may be a nice side game to play from time to time, but if the game stays in state like this, it will be quickly forgotten, especially with other titles that are around the corner. At this state, it is nothing more than slightly improved DDO, and i even doubt that it will attract a lot of active DDO players (i do hope that i would be proven wrong).
Keep in mind that this was still Beta and miracles can happen (though with a slim chances). I tried to be as objective as i can, but i need to see opinions from others. Sure maybe you guys out there find a weaker features, in my opinion, to be as actuall strong or good ones. I would really welcome opinions (not the bashing) of others. Have a nice day and see you around,
P.S.: i had a little time to test PvP, Foundry, Cash Shop and other aspects of the game, but i will do so in upcoming betas/release so i will make my judgement on those later on.
Main MMO at the moment: Guild Wars 2
Waiting for: Pathfinder Online