• NeverWinter Closed Beta: My First Impressions



    Well… where to begin? First off, let me briefly tell you all my thoughts and first impressions of this game. I've been playing online games for over 15 years now and I find not much impresses me and allows me to play alongside my best friend and wife other than MMO's.

    Although we do enjoy our FPS games, we find it more interactive to play MMO's together in a scenario where we can complement each other's game styles and work more closely as a team to accomplish goals. Not saying we can't do that in FPS games, but let's be realistic here: neither one of us are getting any younger and although we play FPS games well with each other (and friends) and are a force to be reckoned with, our reflexes are just not as sharp as they use to be 10 years ago. With MMO's we find a more balanced, comfortable range of reflexes and thought is required to compete on an effective level as the younger generations of gamers are brought into the gaming world/s.

    I must admit, when I first heard about this game I didn't realize it was a Perfect World/D&D collaboration and honestly thought it was the 3rd release to a game I played many years ago called NeverWinter Nights. But very quickly I found out I was wrong. Pleasantly surprised I discovered that NeverWinter had a look and feel from a lot of the MMO's I have played in the past – with a lot of the best aspects of those games I liked incorporated into this game. It had some of the less desirable features implemented as well, but I will get into that later.

    Let's get started. The download and installation were simple and straight-forward, but once we got to the character creation screen, that’s where simple went right out the window. You start off with a few selections, you know, the stander pick your sex male or female as well as your Race. The list below is quoted off the official website but the game had more races to offer with one reflected as "Coming Soon."

    Quote Originally Posted by http://nw.perfectworld.com/about/races
    Human
    Humans are a many varied race, not only in the way that they look, but also in the way they choose to live their lives. They are a very adaptable people, capable of surviving in many different climates. This adaptability allows the human race to excel in most any condition, and while most human adventurers tend to become Fighters or Rogues, some chose to devote their lives to the study of the arcane, or the pious life of the clergy.
    Neverwinter began as a human settlement, and now houses many human refugees who fled to the city for protection after The Cataclysms and Spellplague ravaged the countryside.

    Racial Traits:
    +2 Constitution, Versatile Defense
    Half-Elf
    Descendants of both human and elven parentage, half-elves combine the best traits of man and elf alike. Many half-elves suffer from a strong sense of wanderlust that prevents them from staying in one place for too long. This makes them natural adventurers, with many finding them to be excellent allies and steadfast friends.
    This tendency to seek out adventure has drawn many half-elves to the city of Neverwinter, as they come to the city seeking a new chapter of their story.

    Racial Traits:
    +2 Constitution, +2 Charisma, Dual Heritage
    Elf
    The long-lived elven people are a slender, athletic folk who tend to live in heavily wooded areas. They have watched as much of the natural beauty in Faerûn faded from existence, but they do their best to preserve and restore the natural wonders of The Forgotten Realms.
    Some elves have come to the city of Neverwinter realizing that without this bastion of humanity, the surrounding natural beauty will soon fall prey to time as well.

    Racial Traits
    +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom, Elven Accuracy
    Drow
    More commonly referred to as Dark Elves, drow have characteristics similar to their elven kin, but can be easily identified by their midnight black skin. A matriarchal society, drow tend to live in the Underdark, where they serve their evil deity, Lolth. However, some drow choose to reject this way of life and flee to the surface of Faerûn, where they seek to show that not all of their kind is inherently evil.
    Branded traitors and outcasts by their own people, some have come to Neverwinter seeking acceptance on the surface world and protection from what lies beneath...
    Dwarf
    The short and stout dwarven race claims to have been hewn from the very rock they call home. They are a strong, hardy and dependable people with deep respect for their ancestors, gods, and friends. An incredibly pious people, they revere Moradin as their creator, but honor the different gods who oversee various aspects of their lives. Dwarves make excellent Fighters and Clerics. For them, there is no greater honor than to stand by and protect an ally in battle.
    Many dwarves may be found in Neverwinter, some seeking the wealth to be found rebuilding the city and others the glory and honor of battle.
    Tiefling
    Burdened by their race’s past, tieflings walk through life haunted by their dark and sinister bloodline. Their devilish appearance has prevented many from earning the trust of their human neighbors. Thus, many tieflings have come to rely on cunning and guile in order to survive, making them excellent Rogues. Their infernal heritage also allows them a predisposition towards magic and many tieflings become powerful Wizards.
    Many tieflings call Neverwinter their home, and they will fight fiercely for her and the chance to finally earn the trust of their fellow citizens.
    Racial Traits:
    +2 Charisma, +2 Intelligence, Bloodhunt
    Tiefling




    Half-Elf




    Wood Elf




    Half-Orc




    Human




    Halfling




    Dwarf





    After you choose your race, then comes your class. One thing I enjoyed about this game was there was no class restriction based on sex or race which is something I liked D&D of old. You would get bonuses (or not) for picking a race, then your class; and if you take the time to read the descriptions you’ll find some races were better suited for some classes. I will show some screen shots of the classes and races.

    The Classes are:
    ~~~~~~~~~~~

    Trickster Rogue
    : Is the stealth dagger user of classes.


    Devoted Cleric
    : The healer-buffer class.


    Control Wizard
    : The damage-doing nuker class.


    Great Weapon Fighter
    : The two-handed sword-wielding damage doer.


    Guardi
    an Fighter: The in-your-face-pulling-all-monsters-onto-him/her tank class.


    "Coming Soon" : Have not seen any solid proof of what is coming soon, but there were hints that if you bought a Founder Pack at the highest level "$200 high" you supposedly got to unlock a new class or something or other. I will post more info as I find out.


    Now once you got past that part, you got into the character customization section and this is where you get to have some fun and is what made me happy about this game. All too many times I have played an MMO where there are preset templates of how your character will look. This does not allow for much player individuality and, in my opinion, can put me in a very skeptic frame of mind right off the bat. If I am playing an MMO, I feel it’s very important to have a diversity of looks. I do not like running around in a town only to find I have quintuplets… or octuplets… or even decuplets. It kind of kills my individuality right at the start of the game.

    You can even customize your stats:


    Adjust your body type:


    Adjust your facial appearance:


    Refine your appearance to fine tune your look:



    But this NeverWinter allows for a huge amount of combinations with gauges that allow you to select a desired look while keeping it simple. Which means if you want to spend hours and hours coming up with that perfect look, you can; but if you want to spend 10 minutes you can do that as well, and still come up with a unique look.

    GUI (Graphical User Interface):
    Often times I find them hard to figure out or worse yet, that you’re unable to remap the keys to the way you, as a player, have become accustomed. With NeverWinter, that is not an issue. Their GUI allows you to fully remap your keys and was pretty intuitive when it came to figuring it out.

    Game Play:
    I won’t get too far into this subject as I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone; but there were a few features that I particularly enjoyed. It appears that everyone has a similar starting point -- at least this was the case for the half-elves. Once you go through a small tutorial, you end up in your first town and after you do a few minor quests you can then party up with your friends. I believe I reached level 6 before Dugchugger and I could party. It took us less than an hour to get to that point. Keep in mind, when we first get into a game of any type, we’re like kids in a candy store "whatsss thaaat?" and "OOOh cool look at these textures" and more "oh snap look how realistic this looks!!!" So, for most people who enjoy this kind of thing, there’s a lot of eye candy involved in the first 4 to 5 hours of game play and as long as you are not like us, you could probably get to the party point in no time at all.

    There seems to be a main storyline that kept us captivated the whole time with more side quests than I personally care to do. I had to pull Duggy along kicking and screaming and stop her from getting all the side quests as we were limited on time. But normally she would pull me along kicking and screaming while we got every bloody quest in the game that was available for our level at the time. Which to be honest, I don't mind so much, but don't tell her that.. hehe..

    Our first night in this game ended with "What time is it? 7:00 am? Ok one more quest then bed!" Two-and-a-half hours and 4 quests later (one of which was the "Cloak Tower" which is an instance that from what we saw people in global chat saying was a pain to do). Now it’s 9:30 am and we finally crawled into bed.. Oh, by the way, did I mention it was 7:00 pm when we started playing and 7:00 am when we said “one more quest then bed”? So 9:30 am Saturday morning we are shutting our PC's off and going to bed. And just as my head is hitting the pillow Duggy tells me “Let’s have no more than 6 hours sleep so we can test the game some more before the beta ends”. So, that should give you an idea of how it hooked us right off the get-go.

    Here are some of the other screen shots I took.

    Duggy and I admiring the Graphic of the game in one of the quest areas.


    Our Clock Tower party






    As for my first impression, I saw some evidence that this game is going to be free to play, but if you buy in-game coins with real cash you can get armor and weapons that are not otherwise obtainable. This, if I find out to be true, will kill the game for me. I believe in spending money to get cool things in-game, up to the point where once with the biggest credit card players can overpower all other players, I have a problem with that. But only time will tell as this is only beta; and thus far the official site is not very forthcoming with the information about the "Founder's Pack"! In particular, the free gear you get when buying in at that level of $200. As for me having to rate this game, I would give it 4 out of 5 Dragon Roars. But if I found out that this game is geared towards the CC player that will drop down to 2.5 maybe 3 Dragon Roars out of 5.

    Founder's Pack info found here = http://nw.perfectworld.com/founderspack

    ~Oz


    Addendum: After posting this article, I approached PWI (Perfect World International) pointing them in the direction of this article giving them the opportunity to correct me if I'd missed any non-disclosure term in the EULA. This was their response:
    Response Via Email (Support Staff 34) 03/27/2013 05:00 PM
    Hello Ozzy

    There is no NDA for the Beta Weekends, your post is clear! Nice job!
    Addendum: I revived this in Email Friday April, 5th thought I would share it. Open BETA TIME. WOOT WOOT!!



    Think anyone would be up for joining up let me know or Duggy plz!
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Dani Oliver's Avatar
      Dani Oliver -
      This is the most fun I've had in a beta since RIFT and Star Wars: The Old Republic. If this game does go free-to-play, I think they can count us in... as long as the game-play remains balanced (i.e. not over-powered by cc players). And for the record, when Oz refers to taking hours and hours to customize your avatar, you know he's talking about me. Great article Oz!
    1. OzDragon's Avatar
      OzDragon -
      Addendum added at the bottom of the article.
    1. Kevin Kennedy's Avatar
      Kevin Kennedy -
      I kinda wish they'd gone with a freebuild class slot as well...like they have had in the past with all D&D based games....
    1. OzDragon's Avatar
      OzDragon -
      An other Addendum added at the bottom of the article.