Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Curious Case of Neverwinter

Over the past few weeks I have been playing Cryptic's new game, Neverwinter.  It's a new game, which isn't anime, so how can I resist trying it out?  I rolled a Dwarf Guardian type character, I know you didn't see that one coming.  So what do I think about the game?  I'm not really sure.

My very first impression of the game was:  Am I playing LoTRO?  The graphics and especially the UI remind me a lot of that much older game.  I'm not sure of that is a knock against Neverwinter or not as LoTRO is still going strong.

Professions (crafting) in NW remind me a lot of Crew Skills in SWTOR and a little bit of Duty Officers in STO.  You hire some underling which does the work for you.  As the task master you schedule them and make sure they have the materials needed to complete their mission.

Unlike SWTOR, you can access all of the Professions through their web interface (gateway) without being logged into the game.  That's pretty nice I must say.  I, however, am not really using it.  I'm just not invested enough in the game to make the extra effort... yet.

I love the sparkly path.  There is something about the environments in NW which are tough for me to navigate.  Then again, maybe I've just been spoiled by the pathing system and not payed enough attention.  I've have tunnel vision on that sparkly path, not sure what I'd do without it now.

Lest I forget I am playing a Cryptic game, I finally received a Nightmare Lockbox.  Yippie!  I don't want to turn this into an anti-lockbox rant, but I hope they are not as prevalent as they are in STO.  I swear, for months on end the only 'content' offered was new lockboxes.

Anyway, I got myself a lockbox.  To open it I need an Enchanted Key, which costs Zen (bought with real money).  I like to support games, even free ones, so I am tempted to buy a key.  I really don;t want to encourage this kind of thing though, so we'll see what I end up doing.

While wondering around the Tower District  I came across a 'secret' switch.  It required my Dungeoneering skill to use.  Once activated, it opened up a secret door.  In it I found some more enemies and this rather large (and mad) Ogre.  I thought that was pretty neat, defeating him got me access to a treasure chest.

I should mention that I do enjoy combat in Neverwinter.  The active blocking (at least on my guy) makes some of the fights much more interesting.  By paying attention to visual queues you can avoid a lot of damage.  So even though you don't have a lot of buttons to press, the action feels tactical.  Of course, the weak mobs I just hack and slash.

So yeah, I'm not sure what I really think of Neverwinter.  A lot of it will depend on how Cryptic handles future updates.  If they are all based around lockboxes, Neverwinter and I won't have much of a future.  I say that as I am salivating over the prospect of playing a Romulan in STO, lockboxes and all.