Neverwinter, Cryptic’s upcoming free-to-play MMORPG has just finished its fourth and final closed Beta Weekend. It is looking to be in good shape for its open Beta announced for 30 April 2013. I had some more time with the game over the weekend and although it has a traditional design and a predictable fantasy flavoured visual style, it also plays like an ARPG (Action RPG) and is very accessible.
It has taken all the recent classic MMO ideas and implemented them well. It pays homage to World of Warcraft who have set the standard for over a decade. MMO-style has become almost the same thing as WoW-clone and Neverwinter was definitely made with an MMO mould and then a few interesting tweaks were made.
Quest givers are called “contacts”, professions include leatherworking and leadership and party size for dungeons and group quests is the magical five, but that number can include NPCs. It has an adjustable user interface and companions, like Star Wars: The Old Republic, it has TERA’s dodge and fires that regenerate health, a map based portal system similar to Guild Wars 2 and Star Trek Online and Champions Online’s user generated hub, The Foundry. It is great to see all the good things within the genre put to good use together.
I have only played long enough to solo level a Devout Cleric to level 10 and found the early content perfectly pitched to newcomers yet familiar enough for experienced players to blast through without concern. It is the ARPG elements that I find the most intriguing. For those looking for an MMO and enjoy the genre, Neverwinter is brimming with potential and as its free-to-play with no initial purchase of the client required, definitely try it.