Neverwinter Early Access

Dungeons & Dragons Neverwinter is due to enter full Open Beta tomorrow, but Founders and press were given early access to the game to check things out.  From here on out, there will no character wipes, so while this phase is Open Beta, it’s more of a soft launch, and players will be able to start levelling all the way up to 60, and see the entire end game!


During an earlier Beta Weekend, I chose the Control Wizard and really enjoyed the freezing spells, but this time I decided to go with a half-Orc Great Weapon Fighter and try out the melee combat!

Olotumal the Half Orc

First, though, I finally got to watch the opening cinematic.. it sets the scene with an attack on the city of Neverwinter by the Lich Queen Valindra and her undead army.. I have to point out that this is a fantastic cinematic, on a par with any I’ve seen before and well worth watching!

Players start out as shipwreck survivors, with their ship having been destroyed by the marauding Dracolich.  As Neverwinter has just one main questline, there’s just this one starting area.  The first quests works well as a tutorial while showing off the aftermath of the battle, with Neverwinter guards trying to regroup, injured soldiers in need of help, and the marauding undead all around!

It isn’t too long before you get to try out the first dungeon, as Nasher rebels are taking advantage of the situation to try and steal the Crown of Neverwinter!  Off I went into the Vaults, beating groups of enemies and discovering a variety of treasure chests along the way.  As well as the Treasure chests, there were other optional caches that open only for specific abilities; eg, Dungeoneering, Thievery skills, Arcane skills and so on.  You can pick up Skill Kits for any of these skills, which offer a percentage chance of being able to use the skill.  I quite like this because it means you have a set of skills appropriate for your character, but also a chance to access the other things that are laying around.

Most of the early dungeons are solo dungeons, with the first group dungeon at level 16: the Cloak Tower.  I enjoy the challenge of dungeons, but I’ve never enjoyed grouping with randoms.  I’ll certainly check out the group dungeons at some point (according to the chat, there are some issues joining groups at present), but I’m glad to see there’s a lot of solo-able content available both in-game and via the Foundry.

As well as completing a few Foundry adventures, I completed the Orc Skirmish event too.  I wasn’t too sure of what to expect, but it turns out that it throws you into an instanced version of the centre of the Tower District with four other players, and three waves of incoming Orcs.  This wasn’t particularly challenging, but we were all higher than the required level 13.  As a damage dealer instead of my usual squishy class, I enjoyed throwing myself into the middle of the action!

Orc Skirmish

Neverwinter has a rather nice ‘Homepage’ feature, which shows a range of suggested events, dungeons and quests, as well as Foundry content and upcoming events.  If at any time you don’t want to quest, you can easily pick something different here.  Players can actually level up by exclusively playing the community-made Foundry content.. there’s already a wealth of quests available, accessible via the job boards or by talking to bartenders and bards who will mention those adventures that start nearby.

I hadn’t planned on spending too much time on Professions and Crafting yet, but as I levelled I was given a quest to go and take a look anyway.

Players can train up five different professions: Leadership, Mailsmithing, Platesmithing, Leatherworking and Tailoring, each with various boosts and gear options.  To start with, you hire ‘assets’. i.e., workers for each profession.  Once you have assets, you choose a task to work on: I had my Prospector gather Iron Ore, advancing the Mailsmithing profession.  At the start, you can only work on one task at a time but as you level up you’ll get access to the rest of the professions system.

I noticed that it’s possible to spend AD (Astral Diamonds) to hurry production, but early on, these tasks don’t take long.. this will be one for later, when there’s a piece of gear you really want to get to!  You can also give your Professions progress a little help while out of the game too.. you can access quite a lot through the browser with the Neverwinter Gateway.

I wondered if my choice of race would have much bearing in-game.. and I saw the first sign that there may be something different as I entered the Tower District.  Here, the Neverwinter Guards were refusing entry to the area to Johari, a half-Orc NPC.  I tried talking to the guard and he said something about not trusting Orcs, and suggested I could prove myself by helping out in the area, but no quest was apparent.

The Tower District - Johari

Many dead Orcs later, I received a message from Johari, asking me to talk some sense into the guards.. so maybe I’ll get my race-specific story after all! 🙂

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>