Posted in Neverwinter

Neverwinter: Mindless MMO gaming at its finest

There seems to be a small MMO blogger surge back into Neverwinter this winter. As I’ve said in the past, Cryptic’s games are always solid fallback experiences when you want something comfortable and genuinely enjoyable. There’s something more to it with Neverwinter, though.

One thing I think about at the end of a long day is how much energy and attention a game will demand from me. Not every game is the same in this regard. Some are high energy games — ones that take a lot of focus to excel and win. These are the ones where action combat is more typical, real thinking has to go into solving quests and puzzles, and social grouping is more expected. None of these things are bad, but I have to have the physical energy and stamina to approach them. Sometimes I have that at the end of a day, sometimes not at all.

Sometimes I’m just wiped. I’ve been up since six in the morning and have been working two jobs while spending time parenting and husbanding. By nine in the evening, I might be leaning way back in my chair instead of forward and looking for a gaming experience that is more relaxing than demanding.

That’s where games like Neverwinter come in.

Despite being action combat, Neverwinter’s combat is pretty simplistic and flashy like an arcade game. It’s easy to slide into this mindless zone when I’m fighting packs of mobs, over and over again, while enjoying the Pavlonian reponses to loot explosions and leveling up.

But in my opinion, the greatest achievement of Neverwinter’s design is that it does a magnificent job organizing quests and showing me just where to go. Again, I know this might sound sad, but I don’t always want to be bothered trying to navigate some weird fantasy landscape. We drive with a GPS, so why not game with one?

The second I log into the game, the most pertinent quest of the zone I’m in is already queued up and a sparkly trail is pointing me right where I need to go. The quest flow is as predictable as it is smooth, with minimal backtracking and ease of quest grouping. That leaves me to simply enjoy the sights (and Neverwinter has some great sights) and mindlessly quest and fight while my real world body slumps in relaxation and my brain downshifts from the day’s hectic tasks.

I even get a shot of grouping (with public quests and dungeons) and socializing (with my guild), but for the most part, this is very much an “alone together” MMO that goes out of its way to keep me on track without a lot of unnecessary confusion or progression mechanics.

For my personal progress, I’m level 50 with my Chaos Warlock. I haven’t quite hit the same spot that I was with my previous character (who represented the furthest point I’ve gone in the game), but I’m closing in on it without any sign of slowing down. So lead on, sparkly path. I’ll trust you not to send me over a cliff.

Posted in Neverwinter

Neverwinter: Portals to hell make the best selfie moments

After flipping between new characters and alts in my return to Neverwinter, I finally settled on leveling up a new Dwarf Chaos Warlock. I don’t think I really gave this class much of a shot before, because if I had, I would have realized how great it handles. I’ve really come to love it, a nice mix of durability, AOE spells, and ranged casting. With pets.

And now that I’m level 37 (as I write this), I can say with some degree of confidence that I want to see this character through the game. I’m doing stuff I haven’t ever done in Neverwinter before — specifically campaigns — now that I’ve done research into how to play the game and best use my time in it.

The first campaign that you can access in Neverwinter is Acquisitions Incorporated, a relatively new campaign that was done in collaboration with the Penny Arcade folk. You can see their stamp all over the series, including their art, voices, and humor. I like humor in my MMOs, to be honest. Sometimes they take themselves too seriously.

This one? Not so serious. The orientation quest for AI included riding a cart through a theme park dark ride experience, although it doesn’t quite go to plan. As a huge fan of dark rides, I was all about this quest — and a little sad that it aborts the ride early on.

At least it kept me chuckling and looking at the various details in these quests. Neverwinter sometimes surprises me with its environmental storytelling, although it can be easy to miss it when you focus on following the sparkle trail with tunnel vision.

Also, I learned the difference between real gold and fake gold. They’re both worth something? Fake gold is surprisingly expensive, or so I’m told.

As far as I can figure, campaigns are basically a whole bunch of dailies that you grind out to get currency that can power up a reward track on the UI. Since the rewards — gear and stat boons — are pretty desirable, it’s worth doing. Just a lot of time gating and patience involved.

No story behind this picture — I just liked how my character looked in the red light and shadows.

So yeah, it’s going pretty great in Neverwinter. I don’t think it quite has the “meat” that I look for in MMOs, but it’s a really great game to sit back and relax while playing at the end of a busy day.

Posted in Neverwinter

Neverwinter: Catching up with an old friend

You all know me fairly well by now, and so you’ll know that I have this sort-of tradition of completely starting over in an MMO if I return to it after a long time away. There’s something comforting in beginning anew and learning everything from the ground-up, especially if a lot has changed. Naturally, that’s exactly what I did in Neverwinter.

But after a play session or two as a novice Trickster Rogue, I turned to a tactic that I’ve used even more infrequently, which is to use that new character to get reacclimated to an MMO — and then switch back over to my old high-level toon. I kept looking at my TR from 2016 and thinking, why let all that go to waste? She’s level 58, collected some really nice companions that I worked hard to get, and it’s not as though she’s going to be lacking fresh content to explore.

So I did just that — switched over and spent an hour or so sorting out inventory, remaking her build, and getting caught up on what she was doing and where I should go. I had left her in the middle of the Chasm (level 50ish content) back in 2016, and so it was time to get that wrapped up. At first, it was a bit rough until I figured out a good build and rotation, and then I started wiping the floor with groups of mobs as fast as I could. With this class, it’s all about doing unto them before they have a chance to retaliate.

As the lone copyright holder on “Syp” and all Syp-related naming conventions, I had to sic my lawyers on this player who I saw wandering by. I’m anticipating at least $350,000 in damages and mental anguish alone.

Yeah, it was pretty good to be back in the saddle in Neverwinter, so to speak. I still have no idea about half of the stuff I should be upgrading and doing to improve my character, but for now… I’ll follow the sparkly trail, do the quests, and see what comes back to my memory.

What really cheered me up was reuniting with my old ghost companion. I had forgotten about her! I know she took a whole lot of effort to earn from a festival back in the day, but that was time well spent, because I still get a kick out of seeing her possess bad guys and using them to clobber their friends.

Posted in Neverwinter

Neverwinter: Many knives make light work

Neverwinter may be one of the few MMORPGs that tells you, right there on the character selection screen, when the last time you played any given character. Because of this, I know without looking it up on this blog that my last *serious* character of merit was retired back in 2016 at level 58. It seems high time to come back, especially as I’ve been feeling the call of Cryptic lately with its upcoming Torchlight Frontiers and Magic Legends.

Plus, wouldn’t it be neat to actually get through the whole game? I’ve never done that. I should do that.

After a bit of class deliberation and experimentation, I went with the character that I previously had as my main — a Trickster Rogue named Myfanwy. It was a fun slice-and-dice class, and I liked the AOE fields it could throw down. Neverwinter loves to throw crowds of mobs at you, so taking them all down at once instead of one at a time is preferable.

Of course, things have changed mightily since 2016. My old feats were… gone. The tutorial intro was redone. What is this crazy world?

But really, it was the same old Neverwinter in its core, a kind of mindless experience of following the sparkly trail, slaughtering tons of mobs, getting loot, and generally enjoying the sights along the way. It’s kind of the MMO experience that I crave right now.

And it helps to get a boost at the start with several account unlocks that I’ve accrued over the years. This giant armored spider may be my most favorite starter mount ever. I also have three companions from the get-go. I kinda feel spoiled here, guys.

The only downside here is that while I haven’t pushed far into the mid-to-end game more than once in my entire gaming career, I’ve done the first 30 levels so many times in the past. A lot of this feels like retreading very worn ground, and I tried to push quickly through it so that I wouldn’t get bogged down in the familiar before getting to the relatively fresh. It helped that there was a double experience booster running on the server at the time.

This sight in a solo dungeon made me chuckle the more I looked at it. So they hung three guys — as the nooses testify — right alongside the smoked meats? I don’t know if it’s suggesting that the orcs were taking spare limbs as snacks, but the fact that they managed to do this without dislodging most of the bones is impressive.

I also appreciated the voiced quest bestowals, many of which continue past clicking “accept” so that you can catch up on the flavor text while starting to head your way to the quest objective. This graveyard quest, about a grumpy lich who is looking for a new home, prompted another laugh.

Posted in Neverwinter, Star Trek Online

Cryptic calls it quits on the Foundry, and that is a shame

Man I am getting sick of promising features (and games that contain them) being shuttered. If MMORPG developers are ever going to crack the problem of ravenous gamers consuming content at a blazing pace, then chances are player creativity is going to be the tool to solve it.

We’ve seen this in plenty of places, from the successful (Minecraft, Roblox, Trove) to the sunsetted (Landmark, City of Heroes). Players like to create and many would leap at a chance to expand their favorite game worlds via their handmade quests, so why not facilitate that?

To its credit, Cryptic’s long been in the player created content business. City of Heroes did spawn Mission Architect to let supers make their own maps, and while that was a problematic system, it was popular enough to make it into both Neverwinter and Star Trek Online as The Foundry. I’d only briefly engaged in both ends of this system (creation and consumption), but I liked that it was there and felt that so much more could be done to sift the really good created quests from the cruddy ones that littered up the place.

But after the first year or so of these games’ operation, you could tell that Cryptic didn’t really have the heart to keep The Foundry in the forefront. It did make some half-hearted attempts to promote it, but after a while it was demoted to one of those systems that you know will never get an update or a revision. It was a withering appendage.

And now that appendage is gone, as the studio is ending both games’ Foundries. The official excuse is that the people who helped to create and maintain this system are no longer with the company and it’s a pain to update. There’s a ring of truth to that, but it also sounds like a convenient excuse to do what Cryptic always does — which is to get frustrated with a system that isn’t working out as well or is as popular as it hoped and then just can it with vague promises of maybe doing a better version in the future. STO players are still waiting on that exploration system, by the way.

I’m not crying buckets over this, but I have to say that it is a real shame that both of these games are losing this. For starters, plenty of players — such as the MMO blogosphere’s Tipa! — put in countless hours crafting their own narrative experiences to share with others. This sunset wipes all of that work out while the games endure.

Also, this isn’t an idea that should be given up on. I think Daybreak had it right when it saw that player-created content was a rich resource to be harvested, and even though the Landmark/EverQuest Next experiment didn’t pan out, that doesn’t mean the studio was wrong about this. The Foundry needed help, maybe even a total rewrite. But you look at Star Trek Online, which might get one new mission every two or three months, and you can see that there’s a real need for more content to fill the gaps.

How these player-created content systems can be wielded, promoted, and utilized in MMOs is a speculation essay for another day, but suffice to say that some serious thinking and planning would need to be done to avoid gross exploits while promoting quality.

In the meanwhile, these games have one less item to put on their feature list. And while Cryptic may deny it, it’s a pretty significant loss for the potential of both titles.

Posted in Neverwinter

Neverwinter: Ironclad

So with the initial rush and excitement of Battle for Azeroth settling down — and my own efforts to settle into a new house and area — I felt that this was a great time to shake myself out of what had become a one-game routine for a good month there and diversify again once more. While I’ll continue my adventures in WoW and LOTRO (so much more to do in both) as well as group, I feel the need for new characters and horizons.

As such, I’m going to be rolling up brand-new characters in a few other MMOs this fall, starting with Neverwinter. Yes, Neverwinter, the popcorn game that might be as non-nutritious as it is weirdly flavorful. I keep getting reminded that there’s so very much content in this game that I’ve never seen. I blame MOP’s Larry for this recent foray, because he was talking up this game after spending time in the latest module at PAX.

I still can’t believe how few classes Cryptic has added to this MMO over the years, but I figured that I would try something different and go with a buff-happy Oathbound Paladin this time around. Race? Boring human this time (those racial bonuses are nice!), although I made her a little stocky on purpose to emphasize her power and muscles.

While I waited for the game to update, I amused myself by taking advantage of several free giveaways for in-game goodies. I mean, why not? Free is free if you’re using a disposable email address.

Between those and several promotional items that Cryptic winged (wung? wanged chun?) my way over the years, a new character is set up from the get-go with some nice items. I just really appreciate a purple companion and my ginormous spider mount, which might just be one of my all-time favorite MMO mounts.

High-five, zombie lich queen! Looking sharp and pointy there!

So while there is a ton of material that I’ve never encountered in this game to date, the problem is that I *have* gone through the opening 20 levels or so numerous times (and then keep drifting away and deleting characters so as to start over next time). I know I have to push through the ultra-familiar before I get to the new stuff and possibly arrive at a point where I can consume the fresh releases when they come off the line. Probably a pipe dream, but it’s a nice thought.

Anyway, after doing a little research on a capable soloing character, I went with the self-healing, self-buffing Paladin to give me the best prospect for adventuring in high levels without as much frustration as I was getting from my former squishy Rogue.

How does one put this much armor on a giant spider? Does it sit still for it every day? Feels a little redundant, since there’s an exoskeleton and all that, but oh well.

Over the course of a good night’s play session, I raced through the introduction quests and deep into the Blacklake District parts. Having the sparkle trail to follow, as I’ve said many times, is actually really relaxing, like following a GPS and not worrying about getting turned around. I can wander away as much as I like and not have to fret that I’ll get lost. That creates a pretty optimized and yet flexible play experience, which I appreciate.

Got to say that this guy’s pavilion was a little immersion breaking. And by “little” I mean “seriously, there’s the logo of the game right up there and everything, that’s not subtle, guys.” Kind of hard to peg the tone of Neverwinter, but I think that there is this underappreciated subversive humor that runs through the game. I’ll have to keep my eye out for that.

Posted in Neverwinter

Steamy sorcery in Neverwinter

People do rash things when frustrated. They also take action when frustrated. It’s better than just sitting and wallowing.

I was getting a little steamed at the whole DDO scene last week, as I found it just about impossible to find a guild. I always had memories of DDO being a pretty solid community, maybe not LOTRO levels but active and friendly. That was, of course, a half-decade ago, and a lot can change, especially as a game slides down into obscurity and bleeds off all but the most faithful and devoted. Sometimes those smaller MMOs have just the best people, and sometimes they cultivate elitism that becomes daunting to newbies and returners.

I won’t go into the whole saga, but I kept putting out feelers to interesting-looking guilds and kept getting ignored or shut down because I wasn’t high level enough or hadn’t raided or what have you. Nobody was advertising in general chat. I applied to two guilds, never heard back from them. At that point frustration was brewing and I had to take a break… and Neverwinter popped into mind. Because a lateral jump to another Dungeons & Dragons game? Minds work in weird ways, but at the moment it felt right. Cryptic games are like popcorn experiences — mindless, enjoyable, soothing, and not necessarily the deepest.

For this 2017 experiment, I rolled up a new class to me: a Tiefling Scourge Warlock. I think I tried it for about two seconds a year ago but nothing past the tutorial. I’m glad I stuck with it this time, because I’m really grooving on it so far. I don’t have a firm grasp on its mechanics — there’s a lot to do with curses — but she gets glowy healing spheres, the occasional soul puppet pet, and some hard-hitting spells.

And wouldn’t you know, within the first ten minutes of hanging out in the opening area, I had at least three guilds reach out and talk with me. I ended up with the friendliest-seeming one of the bunch and felt mildly vindicated about the switch (I’m not writing off DDO, mind you, but I’m allowed my moments of being a little bit petty).

I’m very glad for some previous package bonuses that roll over to any new character, granting me some premium bonuses, like a giant spider mount, purple-quality panther pet, and other odds and ends. It helps to forestall the desire or need to spend money in the game store, that’s for sure. Plus, my wife won’t come within 20 feet of my computer when the spider mount is out, so now I can duck housework with a video game.

I like how this guy’s collection of art has not one, but two pictures of the same guy holding the same skull, just in different-colored clothes. In-game art always amuses and interests me, for some reason.

Anyway, no great tales of derring-do in Neverwinter quite yet, mostly because I’m going back through the opening zones that I’m quite familiar with. There has been a lot added to the game over the years, so I’m sure there’s plenty to see, but I’ll have to get up to level 50 before that starts to happen.

You know what’s one little thing about this game I like? All quests and NPCs are voiced — and you can keep listening to them even as you run away. Even if the voice acting isn’t always the best, it gets me to pay attention and gives me something to listen to as I dash off to the next objective.

Posted in Guild Wars, Lord of the Rings Online, Neverwinter, RIFT, Star Trek Online, The Secret World, WildStar, World of Warcraft

7 MMO cosmetic wardrobe systems, ranked

Here’s a little thought exercise I’ve been going through lately after having a discussion about cosmetic systems on the MOP podcast. We had been asked which was the best MMO wardrobe system, which I initially thought was an easy answer… and then, long after the podcast was done, started to revise my response. Ultimately, I asked myself how I would rank the systems present in the MMOs I’ve played the most in the last, oh, five years or so, and this is what I came up with going from best to worst.

WildStar

There’s a lot of factors that go into a truly great cosmetic wardrobe system, and believe it or not, WildStar checks off most of those boxes. It’s got great armor design, plenty of cosmetic pieces, a system that remembers loot you’ve collected, multiple outfit slots, two dye channels, fun dyes, and an accessible system (which is a change from launch, which required you to talk to a specific NPC). I adored being able to create and wear different outfits based on my mood, and I was often torn on which one I liked the best because they were all pretty awesome. WildStar usually get a lot of props for its housing, but I think its wardrobe deserves praise too.

Guild Wars 2

Initially I had put Guild Wars 2 at the top, but upon further reflection, I had to acknowledge that there are two big flaws with its wardrobe system: It makes you pay to change individual slots (via transmutation charges) and it doesn’t allow for multiple saved outfits. Apart from that, it’s pretty brilliant, with several dye channels, loads of colors, expressive pieces, and all the buttflaps you can stomach. Finding and obtaining skins is an enjoyable metagame for GW2, that’s for sure.

RIFT

On paper, RIFT has almost the full package. It remembers skins, has multiple outfit slots, is ridiculously easy to use, involves weird cosmetics, and so on. Other than the dye cash shop and the smaller color range, I’d say it was almost perfect… except that I just don’t like about 90% of RIFT’s armor designs. They’re not bad, per se, just not what I want to be trouncing around in, and there are strangely few store outfits that even slightly tempt me to purchase. Probably shouldn’t complain; better armor art and I might have gone broke.

The Secret World

TSW’s strength in cosmetics is that it’s a rare MMO that uses modern outfits rather than fantasy/sci-fi ones (for the most part) and is thus a fashion that is more identifiable to players. People in TSW just adore dressing up their characters, sometimes the more outrageous, the better. Wonderful array of choices are offset only by a lack of dyeable outfits (although some pieces come in multiple colors) and no multiple outfit saves. It’s nice that there is a convoluted fashion to even equip cosmetic weapons, but it really should’ve been more like the regular outfits in accessibility.

Lord of the Rings Online

LOTRO sits squat in the middle of this list with plenty of strengths but plenty of weaknesses as well. On the plus side, it’s another MMO with a community that does a lot of dressing up, and the game has done a lot to make this as robust as possible. Dyes, multiple outfits, varied designs, cosmetic weapons, etc. But on the minus side, the wardrobe itself is a little creaky and unfriendly, especially when compared to how many MMOs these days are saving EVERY new design whereas LOTRO has a hard limit. And you have to manage it by hand. Plus, the dyes aren’t that great, with only one color channel for (most) pieces and the dyeable area often being small.

World of Warcraft

For a major MMORPG, World of Warcraft suffers from a kind of lackluster system. Admittedly, the fact that it has one and it’s gradually improved is far better than launch, but seriously, transmog is pretty sad when you compare it to the field. No dyes, no multiple outfits (I’m not really that keen on just changing gear’s appearance rather than having a separate and toggleable cosmetic outfit), no way to do it on the fly, new gear overriding older transmog looks and requiring more money for new transmogs, and no quick check boxes to turn off helms and capes is all in dire need of addressing. To its credit, WoW has fabulous and fun armor design, which goes a long way to smoothing over the issues presented here.

Star Trek Online

Let’s throw in a couple of Cryptic efforts to be well-rounded. STO never really impressed me with its outfits. Sure, you could mix-and-match uniform elements, there were some (but not many) colors, and you had a small handful of outfit slots. But generally you aren’t collecting new looks while you play (most uniforms are simply bought through the store), and the interface is a little unwieldy. Sometimes it’s just more interesting to let your gear do the visuals for you, since they can be more detailed and futuristic.

Neverwinter

At the bottom of the barrel, Neverwinter does the absolute bare minimum to qualify as an MMO with a cosmetic system while making it as unfun as possible. Two cosmetic-only slots for specific items, no thank you. It’s a system that you learn about in the tutorial and then promptly forget going forward.

Now I know that there are plenty of other MMOs out there with great wardrobe systems, like EverQuest II, but I wanted to rank ones from games that I was most familiar.

Posted in Champions Online, Guild Wars, Neverwinter, RIFT, Star Wars: The Old Republic, WildStar

6 major MMORPG launch days revisited

wildstar plans

One of the neat things about having a long-running blog is that it inadvertently turns into a historical document chronicling major events. In this case, Bio Break has been around since 2008, and I’ve gone through several major MMO launches since then. I thought it might be fun to look up the day one (or day two) posts talking about those experiences to reshare them with you.

Guild Wars 2 (August 2012)

“Guild Wars 2.  Is incredible.

“Playing it live feels so much different than beta, and I’m so glad I have a character to actually invest in.  But even more than that, this is just a game that exists to wow you left and right.  I’m sure that there are those who have become immune to in-game beauty and details, and only see the numbers and min-maxing, but that’s missing the point here.  It’s a game where I felt fully justified to spend the first hour just gawking around like a tourist instead of killing things, and I’m forever going off the beaten track to explore.”

WildStar (June 2014)

“As you may have heard/experienced, it was anything but a smooth beginning.  Due to a purported DDoS attack and a kajillion people trying to cram through the login servers at the same time, we simply could not log into the game.  We got to know the little running hamster, the theme music, and our account passwords very well, however.  It was 4:15 before I could log in, and by then going back to sleep wasn’t much of an option.”

RIFT (February 2011)

“All in all, I’m pretty impressed with the game performance.  No crashes for me, and everything flowed just smoothly.  I did roll a Dwarf Bard, and I’m pretty pleased with the choice.  I’m a Medieval Guitar Hero and proud of it, baby!  I splashed in a bit of Riftstalker for the teleportation spell — being able to jump ahead 25 feet every so often is a ton of fun, as well as a helpful escape button if I got over my head.”

Star Wars: The Old Republic (December 2011)

“On a lark I tried to see if I could log in at 6:30, and lo and behold I could.  Servers were up about ten minutes after that, and I began the process of reserving the eight character names I picked out.  When I finally logged in, it was to a ghost town — not a single soul in the zone, not a single voice on the chat screen, nothing.  I’m not saying I was the first in game, but it almost felt like it.”

Champions Online (September 2009)

“Framerate issues notwithstanding, I had a great time last night.  It was fun to see a lot of friends in the game (and the @name system is growing on me, for sure).  I even spent a bit of time learning the ropes of the crafting system, which is pretty useful — you can make your own inventory bags, which is certainly useful.”

Neverwinter (April 2013)

“While the character creator is really skimpy and the Foundry reportedly in shambles, the core game itself looks fantastic and is pretty fun to play.  It’s more action/arcade-like than a traditional MMO, but for some reason it works here.”

Posted in Neverwinter

Neverwinter: Opening an old Door

door1

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.

door2

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.

door3

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.