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Neverwinter Review

Developer: Cryptic Studios | Publisher: Perfect World
Players: 1+ Player Game | Release Date: 06/20/13 | Genre: MMO

In an age where MMORPG or Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games have become a trend, companies have found a way to bring players to their games by making them free.  Perfect World is doing this with Neverwinter Nights a free to play MMO.  Neverwinter Nights is set in the magical world of Faerun.  Players find themselves in the unlucky city of Neverwinter, a city that once again is besieged by a host of evil creatures.  Its up to you, your friends, and the rest of the Neverwinter community of players to save the city and become heroes.  This is a free to play game though players can buy Zen, an in-game Currency available only with real money, to grant them exclusive mounts, the Drow Race, dyes and a myriad of other items.

As a fan and player of Dungeons and Dragons, Perfect World did a good job bringing in the races that are a part of the Forgotten Realms world. This includes Halflings, Humans, Elves, Half Elves, Dwarves, and Tieflings--each with their own unique racials.  There is a class to fit most playstyles.  For up close and personal, the fighter can choose between the Guardian and Two Weapon Fighter.  For those sneaky players, the rogue will feel the void. For the ranged magical attacks, the Wizard and Cleric will fit the bill.  Sadly, the character customization leaves a little to be desired.  We are hoping they refine it at some point. While it isn’t the worst ever seen, it could be a lot better.   What results in bad character customizations? You may feel like a cookie cutout of all other players in the world. You will look the same as most.

The next obstacle players will face once they click that play button is the UI.  While not difficult, it may take some getting used to and lead to a small amount of frustration.  You can move using the normal WSAD keys, but if you want to click on say your character portrait, trade or inspect another character, one must push the alt key. This brings up a mouse cursor that allows you to manipulate the various menus. To me, this makes the game feel like it is ready to appear on a console. (Editor’s Note: This is speculation on our part as no console port has been announced. However, I feel this is a great idea!)  Rest assured, my gaming friends, the UI is customizable for your personal needs but it doesn’t stop the awkward way to access all of the menus.

Neverwinter is available to play, almost 100% of the time, as a single player game, within a larger world full of others, and in a party with other players. For the solo gamer many of the quests and mini instances are doable solo, though a companion will be available at later levels or earlier if you purchase one of their “packs.”.  The group player will have a great time with friends defeating the minions of evil that is until the group is back in town and one of them try to enter a building without their friends next to them. Instead of entering, you will get the message: “You must gather your party before venturing forth.”  The message aside, adventuring with friends is always a good time. Also, the PVP fan that always gets a rush testing their skills in battle, against other players, will also find his niche too.  By reaching the level of 10, the option to “pwn” your fellow players becomes available along with some nice items to strive for. PVP is not required and except for a few quests, you can play alone. But this is a MMO, be social!

The crafting system will hold a spot for those that enjoy making items, gear, etc.  Crafting materials are scattered around the world. In order to pick up the materials they require Nature, Arcana, Dungeoneering, Thievery, or Religion to access them.  Every class has an ability that lets them gather items.  Thievery for Rogues, Dungeoneering for the Fighters,  Religion for Clerics, and Arcana for Wizards.  For those that don't have one of the abilities, they can purchase different kits from vendors to grant them the ability to get them.  Once one has leveled enough for the crafting profession to open up they will have the choice of Plate and mailsmithing, Leatherworking, tailoring, and leadership.  The harder the item to make the longer it will take in real time.  Don't let that deter you crafting will open up some of the best gear in the game.

If there is one thing that will set Neverwinter apart from all others, it is the Foundry. The inclusion of this feature was a brilliant idea, in my opinion.  In the Foundry, players can create a story, an adventure, or some amusing side quest for the community to access. Not only that but they can include a goodie in a chest, just like in the real quests, once you beat it.  If you have ever wondered what it would be like to easily write a story and create your own RPG mod, this is the chance you have been waiting for.  When a player finishes a quest in the foundry they can leave positive or negative feedback and give it a rating.  This should keep great content coming to Neverwinter for years to come.

Despite a few flaws and bugs to work out, Neverwinter is worth a try.  As a Free to Play game, there is no money you have to invest in order to give it a try. So bring your adventuring attitude and fight along others to save Neverwinter. In the process, you can carve a name for yourself in Faerun history.

By Christina Voican - 06/20/13
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