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.