Neverwinter: Gaming with my mind set to “idle”

thiefAs I’ve said, I’ve been spending more time than expected in Neverwinter as of late, racking up 36 levels in a couple of weeks with my (blind) Trickster Rogue.

I think that a great deal of my enjoyment is that the leveling track is pretty mindless.  Activities in MMOs can easily be divided into those that require active thinking (such as map navigation, puzzle solving, tricky fights, jiggering stats) and reflexive play.  Even my physical reactions change depending — leaning forward while I game for active thinking, leaning back when I can put my mind on idle.  Neverwinter, for the most part, is the latter for me.  Follow the sparkly trail.  Loot treasure chests.  Use a half-dozen or so skills to beat up the next group.  Loot some more.  Yeah, it’s pretty much a hack-n-slasher.

The pace of progression through areas goes at a rapid clip, battles have a visceral oomph to them, and the shinies are all pretty attractive.  It’s fun gearing out my character, but especially fun to juggle my companions as I train them and use them for different situations.

What I haven’t done, really, is engage in any group activities.  I’ve been playing Neverwinter in short bursts, usually like 15 minutes here and there, and that doesn’t lend itself well to group dungeon runs.  I would like to do so in the future if Neverwinter proves to be sticky, but for now I’m pretty content just doing my bite-sized adventures.

This reminds me a lot of how I used to turn to Tetris and Asteroids as a kid when I just wanted to get in a zen trance while I game.  It may not be the most intellectually stimulating activity, but it’s so darn relaxing to do.  Each fight becomes its own little challenge to see how quickly and efficiently I can dispatch the bad guys.

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8 thoughts on “Neverwinter: Gaming with my mind set to “idle”

  1. Neverwinter very definitely didn’t hit the “idle” spot for me – I found it quite hard work but that just about describes zerg play in GW2 and what I like about it. I’d like to see an MMO designed entirely around lean-back, brain-in-neutral play. For all the criticism of MMOs dumbing down, just about every one I’ve ever played still requires a humungous amount of micro-management.

  2. Honestly not sure how to take this post. On one hand it’s great you found a game that you enjoy…on the other the game is so brainless that you can do it not only in “neutral” but also without any social interaction of any kind.

    Considering this is supposedly an MMO, I find the entire idea of a game like this a huge conceptual failure.

    Admittedly I enjoyed EVE for the same reasons… mining was infinitely brain neutral for me, and rewarded my inner desires to become space rich.

  3. @bhagpuss I agree that GW2 is more the “zen zone” sort of game for me than Neverwinter, though I did enjoy NW somewhat.

  4. I really wound up zig-zagging on NW, when I tried it. I started out like you, leveling in the Zen Zone.

    Then I found myself wanting to get into the dungeons, which ended up being more difficult than I expected. Hardly anybody runs them on-level, because there’s little incentive. Questing is easier and gets you to the level cap faster.

    Eventually, the Zone Zone became the Boredom Zone, and I stopped. Whenever they get around to adding in Bards, I’ll have another look. Probably won’t bother until then, though.

  5. I just started a Devout Cleric. I had been turned off by the game in beta, but since I’ve adopted a similar mindset to your’s. Neverwinter is the arcade version of your typical MMO.

  6. Not necessarily — I am in a guild and enjoy playing alongside others. For most MMOs I solo, but they’re not single-player games to me.

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