Neverwinter Nobodies

While it was long rumored to be true, this morning Cryptic confirmed that their third MMO is indeed Dungeons & Dragons: Neverwinter Nights (or just “Neverwinter” to the hip).  Expect to see a lot of lids flipped about this, both excited for another D&D title and the continuation of the popular Neverwinter Nights series, and people angry that Cryptic is doing anything ever again.

The press release delivers a few tidbits of info:

“In Neverwinter, players choose to become one of five classic D&D classes and team up with friends or computer-controlled allies to form five-person co-op groups. Players also create their own storylines and quests utilizing an extremely user-friendly content generation system, tentatively codenamed Forge.”

Only five classes?  Huh, seems kind of skimpy there.  It also appears that the game is less of a true MMO and more of a co-op title — I don’t think people who hated the instancing and non-explorable world of DDO are going to be pleased here.

It’s also interesting that Cryptic is putting a lot of focus on content generation — in other words, players making their own missions for others to run.  Personally, I love this sort of thing, as long as it’s done *right*.  Mission Architect in City of Heroes is a great case study for both the good and bad of such features.

Gamespot scored a more informative interview that covers several details:

  • Going to be based off of the 4th edition, which may be a deal-breaker for some (it’s not a widely-loved ruleset)
  • Classes: Fighter, Wizard, Rogue, Ranger, Cleric
  • Races: Humans, elves, dwarves, plus a few others
  • R.A. Salvatore’s new trilogy will be an introduction to the game world

My feelings on all of this?  “Eh.”  I mean, it’s good to finally get confirmation, but nothing about this announcement intrigues me; on the contrary, a lot of it seems generic and not that ambitious.  I think a lot of people displeased with DDO (I personally love it) really wanted a traditional open-world D&D MMO, and they’re certainly not going to get it here.

However, if Cryptic really can pull off a fun and involving mission creation system, and if the classes have a lot of diversity and specializations to them, it could be something.  I’m going to settle into a laid-back wait-and-see mode.

21 thoughts on “Neverwinter Nobodies

  1. Scopique August 23, 2010 / 9:10 am

    The thing with PC NWN was ALWAYS the tools, since it had a hand in “bringing modding back” to some degree. The tools for NWN2 were buggy and overall more lackluster, IMO, then the original.

    if Cryptic wants this to REALLY be an NWN successor, they’re going to have to full-ass the toolset. Otherwise, it’ll be half-assed title from Cryptic with a highly visible IP.

  2. RanknVile August 23, 2010 / 9:11 am

    Guild Wars….in Ruleset 4.0


  3. GuiguiBob August 23, 2010 / 9:42 am

    I understand the desire to make a MMO out of the D&D License after all isn’t it one of the strongest fantasy property.

    But the 4e ruleset is really solo unfriendly, heavily turn based. I’m not quite sure it could be made to work. Espescially by Cryptic. Well time will tell.

    Also the realease by WOTC of the Neverwinter Night Boxset makes a lot more sense in light of this announcement.

  4. Snafzg August 23, 2010 / 9:52 am

    If Cryptic spends as much time on the player mod tool as they did the CoH character creator, they might actually have something worth playing.

  5. Maladorn August 23, 2010 / 10:18 am

    4th Edition may be the easiest to translate to video game mechanics. You have “powers” with a +x to hit, y damage, and leave z condition on the mob. Some abilities are really cheap (at-will), some are more expensive and require you to rest a minute between uses (encounter), and some are so big you can only do them once a day. The big downside of losing customization options (i.e. playing a fighter for the feats, but focusing on Dexterity and the bow) may not be as big of a deal in the video game setting, since video games have never been as expansive, or permissive, as the pen and paper game.

    4th Ed. is solo-unfriendly in the sense that everything got more hit points and more damage. But since the player classes also went through the Beef-o-Tron 4000, it’s something of a wash. Save-or-die spells are out from 4th ed., which would make some encounters far more solo-able. Cryptic could also drop hit-points by 1/3 to 1/2 in “solo-friendly” areas pretty easily.

    I suppose that the more strict focus on class specialization (no more cleric gods of war out-fighter-ing the fighter) also would reduce solo options somewhat. But in the end, it’s supposed to be a co-operative, group-based game. It make take some work to convert that experience into a good MMO.

  6. Mark August 23, 2010 / 10:40 am

    However, if Cryptic really can pull off a fun and involving mission creation system, and if the classes have a lot of diversity and specializations to them, it could be something.

    That is a GIGANTIC IF considering how badly sto and co turned out overall, I can’t see this being anything but another flameout. Like others said it will really depend on what they do with the player created content, that could save the day I guess but I am not holding my breath.

  7. Bill Murphy August 23, 2010 / 11:43 am

    It’s worth noting that Emmert is calling this NOT AN MMORPG. He says it’s more of a co-op RPG. That to me speaks that it won’t have a subscription fee and will instead be a DLC driven experience, combined with the customization engine they’ve been building. Take away the subscription and make CO and STO standalone games with potential for DLC and they’re already more attractive.

    Design a game from the ground up around the 4E ruleset with co-op in mind and not an MMO experience and it seems to me that Cryptic might be learning they’re not meant to be an MMO developer.

  8. Sven August 23, 2010 / 11:56 am

    No mention of a subscription or not? How can they think not to ask that? The game might be fun but I’m going to have a hard time paying a monthly for what they are describing.

  9. Randomessa August 23, 2010 / 12:35 pm

    Speaking only for myself here, my problems with DDO included hating the graphics and the way combat worked, so since I really liked combat in Champions Online and, to a slightly lesser extent, STO, I’m interested in seeing how this will turn out.

    It’s imperative that this be a buy-to-play or free-to-play product, however.

  10. PeterD August 23, 2010 / 12:58 pm

    4th edition was pretty much designed for the computer game playing crowd in the first place, so converting it back into a computer game should be easy, if somehow subtly incestuous.

    However, this is a real *yawn* announcement for me. There is nothing about the game that sounds interesting, nothing to set it apart from other games. Why would I play this rather than NWN or NWN2 for a co-op RPG? Why would I play this rather than DDO or a real MMO for online multiplayer gaming? The 4th edition ruleset is boring. The setting sounds generic. 5 basic staple meat-and-potato classes are boring. We already have NWN and it’s sequel for player created content, and those settings offered far more class choices in a more involved ruleset. I just don’t see what “Neverwinter” is bring to the table other than a heaping helping of Cryptic genericization. *yawn*

    Pardon me while I go take a nap.

  11. Yogi August 23, 2010 / 1:22 pm

    The projected idea of the coop game is more along the lines of NWN and reminiscent of online modules and single player game play from the first titles.An MMO would be awesome but totally jumping into something it has never been. I am hoping that Cryptic (not holding my breath) will make this into a nice DnD experience. Its safe to say, the rumors of this being an MMO were in fact, just rumors.

  12. cirdanx August 23, 2010 / 1:25 pm

    “I’m going to settle into a laid-back wait-and-see mode”

    Me too, however after Champions and Star Trek, i don´t have much hope for this. Also a Co-op Rpg? User generated content? 4th “i´m horrible” D&D Edition? 5 classes? No word on multiclasses? Prestige classes? I wouldn´t be surprised if this gets a cash shop or even a monthly fee.

    If so, whats the point in playing it, NWN 1&2 have tons of user made content, can be played with others, has a better D&D ruleset…so far i don´t see anything that makes me excited about this news.

    It would be a shame to waste such a rich IP. I like DDO, but i´m not a fan of the Eberron setting.

  13. Rog August 23, 2010 / 3:38 pm

    Ditto on comments from Scopique, Snafzg, and Sven said.

    The tools better be great, at least as good and flexible as BioWare’s NWN, supporting the mod community. Likewise it should be pay-for-the-box and maybe even player run servers.

    I don’t think this is too much to ask given that they’re following the Neverwinter name. If not then they should have chosen something else. This name only carries weight if they outdo the games before it with the same themes.

  14. Dril August 23, 2010 / 6:17 pm

    Having never really played D&D at all, I have no idea what all this 4th edition nonsense is about and hence am only really looking at the concept.

    And I quite like it. I hope it goes well (and has as good a soundtrack as CO.) But we’ll see. Like you I’m just going to let it jump on me when it arrives.

  15. Tizlor August 23, 2010 / 6:52 pm

    Sure hope I can be a kobold

  16. Tumorseal August 23, 2010 / 7:48 pm

    Call me crazy, but I am excited for this. Cryptic has trouble with MMOs, so I am glad this is different, and I have to say that after starting a skeptic, but being talked into playing 4E, I love it.

    Everyone else that I have been able to get to sit down and actually play 4E love it too.

    I would def want to see more then five classes though.

  17. smalvarado August 23, 2010 / 8:40 pm

    The thing that needs to be determined is which of these touted features will be most desired by fans. This will be the one thing that Cryptic will be unable to deliver better than 50% at launch, if at all.

  18. We Fly Spitfires August 24, 2010 / 11:45 am

    Not sure how I feel about this news. Pretty ambivalent I guess. I’m not particularly excited about it but then I’m not feeling negative either. So I guess a big fat ‘meh’ sums it up for me 😉

  19. Jomu August 24, 2010 / 4:59 pm

    when i originally read the article last night, i didn’t realize cryptic is making it… now i’m probably not going to play it 😛

  20. Ryan August 25, 2010 / 10:54 pm

    Don’t worry — you’ll be able to open another 5 classes for $10 each.

    That said… I’ve actually dabbled in STO lately. It’s fun. Cryptic isn’t the problem — Atari is. I’m very confident in that.

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