News, Views, and Reviews
In a few hours, I’m going to enter another realm. A Forgotten Realm. More specifically, “Dungeons and Dragons’ Forgotten Realm: Neverwinter” or “Neverwinter” for short.
I’ve played video games since I was a child, but the industry didn’t really take off until the late ’90’s to mid ’00’s. Until then, I was also playing a different type of game: pencil and paper RPGs. I started playing Dungeons and Dragons with my brothers, and moved on to other P&P RPGs like Marvel’s Super Heroes with my friends. I even read some of the classic novels like the Dragonlance Chronicles. I’ll admit I haven’t kept up with every D&D edition or expansion, and I’m not too familiar with the Neverwinter realm, but I’m still really excited to get my hands on this new MMO beta.
Developer Cryptic is taking some big chances with Neverwinter. Instead of going for a broader-fantasy-loving customer base, they’re narrowing their focus down to one corner of the genre. I’m sure there are plenty of Forgotten Realm and Neverwinter fans out there, no doubt some very hardcore fans, and that’s just what this MMO seems catered to – the hardcore. This isn’t going to be some dumb-downed, anyone can play, beginners MMO. But that focused approach has its advantages. For starters, most players will be on the same page. The World of Warcraft, by comparison, may have a wider appeal and thereby contains a wide range of casual-to-hardcore players, but those players tend to segregate themselves. I’m guessing the Neverwinter community will be more unified. By focusing on building a dedicated community, Neverwinter doesn’t have to have all the fancy bells and whistles of a huge, wide opened, something-for-everyone MMO like WoW. Beyond appreciation for the Neverwinter realm, how will Cryptic build that community?
Introducing: The Foundry. From the Neverwinter website:
You’ve played tabletop campaigns, sketched out dungeons and imagined ancient ruins, wishing all the while that you could make them come to life. Now, you can. The Foundry for Neverwinter lets you build and share the adventures you’ve always wanted to see.
The Foundry gives you the tools to build dungeons, castles, cities, foreboding woods and everything in-between. Build NPCs the way you see them in your mind’s eye and populate your world with tavern keepers and soldiers, Queens and scullions. Lay the groundwork for an epic adventure that takes players into the depths of the earth in search of dwarven treasure, or pits them against near impossible odds to save the city of Neverwinter.
Easy to use, The Foundry also features a dynamic rating system that allows players to rate and highlight the best player-designed adventures.
NOTE: The Foundry is currently in development and due to the nature of games development, information and content found on this website may not be representative of the current gameplay experience.
Suddenly, I’m back in the basement with my brothers, staying up all night playing another table-top adventure that we created ourselves. I can’t wait!
Neverwinter hasn’t announced a release date, yet, though I’m guessing either summer or fall of this year. It will be F2P or Free 2 Play – downloading the game is free, and there is no monthly subscription fee. Neverwinter will feature a “Cash Shop” for players to spend real money on things like extra characters or bigger bags, mounts, and vanity items, although those specifics haven’t been announced, either. “Founder’s Packs” are already available for purchase from their website, and include some of those extra bonuses in one massive collection.