According to my sometimes faulty blog records here on Bio Break, the last time I played Neverwinter to any degree of regularity was… January 2014. So, y’know, it’s been a while. And this isn’t even a post to say that I’m back full-bore into the game, just that I’m stopping back to say hi and see what’s up.
Neverwinter keeps adding more and more content to the point where I feel like there’s a mountain of soloable stuff out there that I’d like to see sooner or later. Just looking at the campaign pages (what’s a campaign? Have I ever done one?) was intimidating.
I flirted with the same-old idea of rolling up a new character and taking it through the whole game, but I need to stop doing that when returning to MMOs all of the time. After all, I have a perfectly serviceable level 57 Trickster Rogue on the character creation screen who not only has a lot of time invested in her but probably some money as well. The only downside here? I know nothing about her, Jon Snow.
Well, I remember very little at least. It’s been almost three years after all, and the game has changed a lot since then. The big disadvantage of picking up an old character that has a lot of hours under its belt is that you just feel silly and stupid and lost for the first hour or so playing it. Sure, some of it comes back naturally, but the rest requires some careful reading of tooltips, reallocating talent points, sorting through a bizarrely full inventory, and trying to suss out what you were doing when you last left the game.
While Neverwinter isn’t always very clear and concise when it comes to gear (and I have a rant coming on MMO gear complexity soon), at least the somewhat limited hotbar and talent build was easy to figure out. I mean, this is the kind of game where you just jam down on your left mouse button and your character goes to town while you admire the visuals. I started waking up those long-dormant memories of how much I liked seeing this TR dance about, throwing about decoys and slashing the enemy to ribbons.
And for all of the headache of figuring her back out, I was rewarded with a character who is already stocked with a healing artifact, two mounts, and five companions, including my ghost lady who possesses mobs and makes those mobs attack each other. I’d forgotten about her! Favorite companion ever. Should take her with me to other games.
After a while I had to close down the menus and just play the game for fun or else I might go a little mad and run from the computer. It’s in this that Neverwinter’s design perfectly aids the returning amnesiac, because you really don’t need to remember any quest details or objectives. Simply follow the yellow sparkly lights, son, and kill or click whoever is on the receiving end of it. Don’t question, just act. That’s the Neverwinter way.
As mindless as that is, it’s relaxing too. I am down in the middle of the magical chasm that severely damaged the city of Neverwinter back when, and there are all sorts of morose spellplague victims and apocalyptic visuals to encounter.
Small detail that I like: The NPC quest giver voice over persists even when you leave the screen. The voice acting is decent, but having it go on while you’re on the move does a great job delivering lore and setting without forcing you to stop and read paragraphs of text. Kind of like the fantasy equivalent of audiobooks or podcasts. Just listen while you’re on the go.
Some of the fights were a little tricky as I got used to my character again, but it was amazing how fast all of this came back once I got going. I did replace just one skill, however everything else is the same as it was back in early 2014.
Is Neverwinter the perfect pick-up-and-put-down MMO? I can see it as such, same with Star Trek Online. Not always polished but usually pretty enjoyable, and I’ll take the latter over the former any day if I had to choose.