Neverwinter is a fairly famous name in the gaming world, so it is definitely one that most players will want to check out. The latest, Neverwinter Online, is the first MMO to feature the name. All professional reviews aside, the real question you have to ask yourself is whether real players enjoy the game.
Fortunately, despite its flaws, Neverwinter Nights still holds up to its pedigree. The F2P elements can get a little frustrating for many players, but the game itself is still a great deal of fun. Some might even think the game is the best free MMO.
What is Neverwinter?
Neverwinter Online is a free online RPG. The game itself actually walks a fairly good middle ground when it comes to MMOs – it definitely retains the feel of a single player game, but the multiplayer aspects are highlighted enough to really allow the game the title of “MMORPG”.
On top of being a multiplayer RPG, Neverwinter is also a game about making adventures – definitely noticeable when it comes to the storyline, of course, but even more so when it comes to using the Foundry creation tool.
The Basics of Gameplay
Neverwinter is an MMORPG, so the basic experience was as expected – exploring new worlds and tackling dungeons with other players. Neverwinter Online is fairly basic in that regard, but it does feature some fairly nice game play.
Neverwinter’s combat is still action-based, meaning you will have to actually participate — you cannot simply hit a button and wait for things to play out. This means that the game requires players to stay invested while they are online, leading to a more robust game experience that actually keeps one’s attention. Aside from combat, the game also focuses on a fairly linear story that allows players a chance to explore a new world.
On the roleplaying side of things, the game does make a little more sense if you have played Dungeons and Dragons’ 4th Edition. The basic rules for how everything works (especially healing and action points) come from this source, which is a nice bonus for those who are familiar with the game.
Unlike some older D&D games, this actually works in the favor of Neverwinter — the rules seem designed with MMOs in mind, so the rules make a good deal of sense. Of course, this only matters if you care to look under the hood — otherwise, the game just flows smoothly.
The Free to Play Experience
It is hard to talk about Neverwinter MMO with its 8 races and 5 classes without talking about what “free” really means. It is no news that this game is a free online RPG, at least in terms of buying into the game — anyone can go online and play without spending a dime. In fact, you can do a great deal in the game without spending any money.
Unlike a few other notable F2P games, Neverwinter does not lock any of its content behind the pay wall — that means every adventure in the game is open to you as soon as your character achieves the right level. This puts Neverwinter in a rare category, one that rates the game as truly free.
Unfortunately, almost everything that makes the game easier costs money — and a great deal of it, at that. If you want to get a faster mount or change how your character looks, you have to pay real-world money (called Zen).
If you want bigger bags or to dye your armor certain colors, you are going to have to pay Zen. In fact, almost everything cosmetic in the game is going to cost money, and at a higher rate than is usually found in other titles online. This makes the game very expensive for those who really want to invest in the D&D experience, which is probably a sign that the free to play model is one that is working out for those companies that want to exploit it.
From a player perspective, at least, this iteration of Neverwinter Nights is a great deal of fun. It is the latest in a long line of games attempting to capture the feel of Dungeons and Dragon in computer form, and it gets right a lot more than it gets wrong. It is very easy to find yourself spending several hours in a row in the game, especially if you find a good group.
The 4th Edition rule set does make for some very interesting changes to the formula of the game, mostly for the better — especially in terms of keeping combat fun.
If there is a downside to the game, it is probably related to the cash to win model. While you certainly never have to pay a penny to play, most of the best stuff in the game does require a transaction. This is almost never a problem when you are playing alone, but getting beat by other players who pay to win is never fun.
Coupled with the usual MMO problems (like finding groups or repetitive questing), Neverwinter can burn players out on the game very quickly. Most of these problems, though, are alleviated when playing with friends or avoiding PvP.
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