Dragon's-Eye View: Neverwinter: Behind the Curtain, Part 2

Dragon's-Eye View
Neverwinter: Behind the Curtain, Part 2

By Jon Schindehette

Jon talks to Joe Jing, the Lead Artist at Cryptic, about the Dungeons & Dragons Neverwinter massivelymultiplayer online game. We have a lot of information to share with you and many, many images to show you. This first part covers the game creation process, character creation, and more.
 
Talk about this column here.

Creatures at Gen Con 2012

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

D&D Neverwinter

A living breathing world of D&D.



Stunning.

Extreme character customization is so important.

The atmospheric ambiance inspires adventure.

Beautiful.
Wow, from what I can gather its the standard MMO with Neverwinter art slapped on top. I really don't see it going anywhere...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
If players can create images of their favorite characters (2D and 3D), then even this will make Neverwinter flourish!

If DMs can reuse the software to design their own adventures, with such beautiful art, ... there is a need for this.

I expect Neverwinter to be fun.
Check out this Neverwinter trailer. Impressive.



www.youtube.com/embed/dZa3HijjFIc
Check out this Neverwinter trailer. Impressive.

I concur

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Wow, from what I can gather its the standard MMO with Neverwinter art slapped on top. I really don't see it going anywhere...




Agreed!

Here's a real-time review for the Beta from Total Biscuit, playing along with some of the developers:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0E6Yw-M1YY

Combat system seems OK, slightly more dynamic than your average "select target -> hit 1, 2, 3" MMO.
And the 4e power system seems to fit nice with MMO mechanics when character-building.

But other than that it seems to be your standard "Tank-Healer-DPS go hack n' slash instanced dungeons with 5 people" type of MMO.
I suppose it will see some some hype at release and first months, then fall into the same abandonment as LOTRO, SWTOR, Warhammer Online, Rift, and all those other MMOs that weren't courageous enough to stray away too far from the WoW formula.

Keep in mind that this "abandonment" I mention is a state where those games still have an average player base and are not at all unsuccessful games, and that average player base is enough to keep the game still running.
But it's far from what developers and investors usually expect from an MMO, especially one with a franchise behind it. And it's also a huge drop from the hype of the initial months.

I might be wrong, but right now I don't really see it going anywhere except trailing down that path.

I might give it a try even, but really the WoW-forumla is very saturated for me and I don't see myself playing another "clone with slight differences" for long.

Wow, from what I can gather its the standard MMO with Neverwinter art slapped on top. I really don't see it going anywhere...




Agreed!

Here's a real-time review for the Beta from Total Biscuit, playing along with some of the developers:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0E6Yw-M1YY

Combat system seems OK, slightly more dynamic than your average "select target -> hit 1, 2, 3" MMO.
And the 4e power system seems to fit nice with MMO mechanics when character-building.

But other than that it seems to be your standard "Tank-Healer-DPS go hack n' slash instanced dungeons with 5 people" type of MMO.
I suppose it will see some some hype at release and first months, then fall into the same abandonment as LOTRO, SWTOR, Warhammer Online, Rift, and all those other MMOs that weren't courageous enough to stray away too far from the WoW formula.

Keep in mind that this "abandonment" I mention is a state where those games still have an average player base and are not at all unsuccessful games, and that average player base is enough to keep the game still running.
But it's far from what developers and investors usually expect from an MMO, especially one with a franchise behind it. And it's also a huge drop from the hype of the initial months.

I might be wrong, but right now I don't really see it going anywhere except trailing down that path.

I might give it a try even, but really the WoW-forumla is very saturated for me and I don't see myself playing another "clone with slight differences" for long.




Exactly. I'm waiting for an MMO company to take a risk and hire actors to play the parts of NPCs and have DMs running around making the boss monsters much much harder or adding random plot twists to adventures and having quests where you try to race ahead of the boss monster to set up an ambush. Basically a real time D&D with DMs that take advantage of what human moderators are able to bring to the game, instead we get MMO #6389 with some art slapped on and some superficial nod to D&D...Smile
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I played the beta last weekend.  It is what it is - an MMO, and thus it wil always be a lower priority to me than a real (TT) game.


But it wasn't bad.


I'll probably be on next weekend as well.  


Since I'm too cheap/ unimpressed by MMOs to bother paying for them anymore (the only one I paid to play for any length of time was EQ1) - I'll probably play it as a free to play game.


I do like the Foundry concept (lets players craft quests for others to play)  but I didn't get a chance to check it out (and the one player made quest was pretty simplestic and riddled with typos).


Carl
Wow, from what I can gather its the standard MMO with Neverwinter art slapped on top. I really don't see it going anywhere...




Agreed!

Here's a real-time review for the Beta from Total Biscuit, playing along with some of the developers:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0E6Yw-M1YY

Combat system seems OK, slightly more dynamic than your average "select target -> hit 1, 2, 3" MMO.
And the 4e power system seems to fit nice with MMO mechanics when character-building.

But other than that it seems to be your standard "Tank-Healer-DPS go hack n' slash instanced dungeons with 5 people" type of MMO.
I suppose it will see some some hype at release and first months, then fall into the same abandonment as LOTRO, SWTOR, Warhammer Online, Rift, and all those other MMOs that weren't courageous enough to stray away too far from the WoW formula.

Keep in mind that this "abandonment" I mention is a state where those games still have an average player base and are not at all unsuccessful games, and that average player base is enough to keep the game still running.
But it's far from what developers and investors usually expect from an MMO, especially one with a franchise behind it. And it's also a huge drop from the hype of the initial months.

I might be wrong, but right now I don't really see it going anywhere except trailing down that path.

I might give it a try even, but really the WoW-forumla is very saturated for me and I don't see myself playing another "clone with slight differences" for long.




Exactly. I'm waiting for an MMO company to take a risk and hire actors to play the parts of NPCs and have DMs running around making the boss monsters much much harder or adding random plot twists to adventures and having quests where you try to race ahead of the boss monster to set up an ambush. Basically a real time D&D with DMs that take advantage of what human moderators are able to bring to the game, instead we get MMO #6389 with some art slapped on and some superficial nod to D&D...Smile



I suspect your model is not remotely cost effective.  It costs too much to pay DMs to interact with players on that level in the game.


It might be possible on rare occasion (scheduled raids, etc).   And I think there are some games where this happened on rare occasion.


But, I'm also not sure the average MMO player wants variable difficulty in their monsters - many of them seem to like predictability (which may be part of why they don't play TT).


Carl