The F2P MMO genre is flooded with a ton of games and for a new game to break through the barrier to be recognized or even to last an extended period of time really needs to innovate the genre in one form or another. But at the same time they need to feel familiar and friendly to free users and paying users alike, MMOs need to have plenty of content and solid mechanics, they need to keep updating and most of all they need to listen their community to survive. We have seen the rise and fall of many MMOs over the years, some that have lived for a decade, others that have gone F2P within a short amount of time, yet still manage to be successful although we have seen our fair share of MMOs crumble within a couple of months. It is a cut throat genre and sometimes I wonder why some devs take up the challenge.
Perfect World and Cryptic who are veterans at this point within the genre have taken up this challenge once more to attempt to create a new F2P MMO that attempts to be something new in a genre filled with mediocrity and repetition. Have they managed to create something new and refreshing or have they just made a clone that is overdone and repetitive? Guess you will have to read more to find out.
So lets get this out there first. Neverwinter is set one hundred years after the spellplague and is pure D&D set within the Forgotten Realms setting. Neverwinter tries to stay true to not only the lore but the rules of D&D. This does not mean that you need to be a D&D expert to play. In fact the game is for players of all levels. This is the first thing I noticed about Neverwinter, it does a great job at walking players through the world and and showing them everything that is available. The devs have crafted a great experience for players new to not only the genre but to D&D. It isint pure D&D in the sense that it does not give you absolute full control over everything but it sure as hell will feel like home to veteran players.
D&D is all about story/content and mechanics so how does the work in Neverwinter?
First off lets talk about the fighting mechanics. I will just say that it is one of the best systems within any MMO. It is fast paced, placement matters and is really satisfying. Boss pose serious threat and players always need to be on their toes to move out of the way of attacks. The best comparison I can make is that it feels like a mix of Diablo II/Torchlight and TERA. With the comparison with Diablo II/Torchlight comes another important aspect of the comparison… Phat Loot… Phat Loot everywhere, off everything and overflowing your bags. Which isin’t a bad thing but is actually rather entertaining and a chance for players to really find the perfect pieces for their builds.
An MMO can have a ton of loot and great mechanics but it is nothing without content. Content is king and an MMO needs to have a nice variety of things to stay afloat. Neverwinter has a decent amount of content out of the gate including a grand story, dungeons, crafting, events, pvp and the most fascinating thing about Neverwinter…The Foundry which we will talk about later.
I rather not talk about the content because I feel like the players need to experience it for themselves. I will say that the content is in depth, really pulls you into the world, there is enough dungeons and events to do at every level and for the most part it is fully voiced. The party finder actually works well when trying to find people for an event, it forms a rather reliable group that has not failed me yet. Crafting is a little different than other MMOs in the sense that it is automated and you really dont do anything aside from pressing a few buttons.
So yes there are plenty of dungeons and the story is engaging but is this really enough to keep people playing for years to come. Meh, this content comes to an end but Neverwinter has something that not many games have tried or even master for that matter. Neverwinter has something called the Foundry. Essentially it is user created content that yields experience, loot and anyone can access it. Users are able to create content with just about all the assets of the game, from monsters and locations to npcs and more. Essentially the user is a DM and is able to create their own story to share with the rest of the world. Players are able to search through all the entries, rate them and even follow the users for updates.
Lastly lets talk about pay to win. Since Neverwinter is a F2P MMO this may be a major concern for people but it shouldn’t. Neverwinter is mainly pay to look good. There are exp boosts, and keys which let you unlock chests that drop off mobs (kinda like TF2 if you ever received a create). But there isn’t anything that gives a player a huge advantage.
Neverwinter is a diamond in the rough when it comes to F2P MMOs. Neverwinter has started its adventure with more offerings than a good majority of recent MMOs and the community and devs are responsible for its future seing as both are responsible for future content. The devs are very community driven and listens to what we the players have to say. If you are looking for a new MMO to play then take a look at Neverwinter and its seemingly never ending content, its mechanics and its story. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Neverwinter and I look forward to my next adventure.