I am a huge Dungeons & Dragons fan, and the game granted me some of the best friends I could ever had, as well as getting me through my first year of college. So when my second year came round and our year-long struggle to try and get back together to play a game resulted in nothing, my D&D needs were lacking, to say the least. Luckily for me, in the height of my D&D obsession, I came across this game: Neverwinter.
Developed by Cryptic Studios, and released for Windows, Neverwinter is a free-to-play MMORPG, heavily influenced by Dungeons and Dragons. Not only that, it hugely encourages groups getting together to play through dungoens, kill dragons and slice your way through various missions as a team, or a solo member. But you don’t even have to know people to play with them. Like any mass-server game, one will constantly run into other plays during the game and you are given the opportunity to play with them, either for a long period of time, or to complete your current mission and then part ways. The guild system allows you to keep track of those you’ve come across, and enjoyed.
I played it originally for a short space of time on PC, and in summer 2016, the game moved onto Playstation 4 also, which had a far easier system, in my opinion. Unfortunately, my internet took a disliking to the game and I was forced to give it up altogether. However, I was recently able to pick it up again for a short period, which is why I have chosen it as this weeks RePlay.
Pick Your Poison
Just like in Dungeons and Dragons, a player can chose their race, upbringing, class, customise and name their character. As you go on, your character can earn titles, pick up cool items and be an all-round badass. The game sticks to a storyline that takes the player across a beautifully thought-out map, and the higher level you are, the more areas are available to you. Each location is vast, contains various assortments of enemies and can range from snowy mountain tops, to gothic graveyards. For a game that is mostly free to play, it certainly exceeds expectations.
What I like about this game, is that it doesn’t hold your hand as you journey through the map. It is difficult. While the gameplay isn’t necessarily groundbreaking, the challenge is in the fighting. One must make sure they have carried with them enough potions and elixirs, that their weapons and armour are up to scratch, and that they can manage the number of enemies inflicted upon them, which can be difficult for a party of one. This can falter when you are stuck fighting creatures for so long, that the creatures you disturb respawn, attacking you all over again. It is certainly unforgiving. Just be hopeful a kind stranger will stop by to help you out!
Interactions like this can happen often. and people not even part of your party can stop and help you out of a pickle is what makes this game so immersive and fun.
The interactive player element is certainly well-made.
Roll A D20
While the game takes away the dice-rolling element from the game, it remains fairly loyal to its source of Dungeons and Dragons, following the 4th Edition rules. It gives you your stat list, which levels up every so often, just as in real game. Healing abilities and such remain true to the original game.
A fun addition is that of your companion. An NPC companion can be purchased at a certain level of the game. This can be exceptionally handy, depending on what sort of companion you decide to take on. In my run, my playable character was a wood elf, with a trusty bow and arrow. However, weak and not prone to great healing abilities. So I chose a companion who could train to be my own personal cleric, of sorts. Certainly handy to have around in times of conflict. The companion can also level up. One downside to this, is the companion must be sent away to train. The time they spend is passed in real time. Depending on the level, it could take hours, or a day to get your companion back.
While the story can be easily forgotten about it does not take away from the game’s content. (To be honest, I don’t particularly remember what the storyline is at this stage). While you are thrown into fighting random bosses at seemingly random times, the game is never short of NPCs to give you a new mission to add to the otherwise uninteresting story. I guess it’s based in the Forgotten Realms for a reason! (I’ll show myself out…)
PvP and group hunting missions are also fun, if your internet can handle it. Certain missions forbid you from playing unless you have a team ready. The great thing about this game is, there are usually so many people playing at once. The wait is never too long. You can apply to play the game quickly and easily, and you are put onto a list. Games can need from a minimum of three and up players to be permitted to access the mission. These are almost more exciting than the storyline missions, since everyone is forced to work together and I have spent a long time repeating missions with different groups, purely because of the fun I’ve had!
A Crit Hit
Don’t get me wrong, while the game is heavily based on the lore and rules of Dungeons and Dragons, you don’t have to have ever played D&D in order to play Neverwinter. Like any game, it takes you through the rules, gives you a handy tutorial and continuously gives you helpful hints and tips to keep you going. A live chat allows you to ask fellow players on the server if you are stuck. I heard the Neverwinter twitter team are quick to respond to queries.
The servers can be slow and crashes from time to time, but the game is certainly worth the try if you are looking for something to play!
Have you given Neverwinter a try? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Doing a little of this, a little of that. If you see me holding a camera, run!