Neverwinter: Birth of a God Up for Review and Endgame Thoughts + New Article

Birth of a God seeks reviews:

My second Neverwinter Foundry quest, Birth of a God, has now been released to the public. I’m looking for people to play and review it so that it can make it out of the inhospitable wasteland that is the “For Review” section and into the main catalogue. So if any Neverwinter players reading this would like to give it a try, I’d be very appreciative.

A screenshot from my Neverwinter Foundry quest, Birth of a GodThe code for the quest is NW-DOAU7PRQS, and the author should be listed as @Dorotaya. Here’s the description:

The Neverwinter Guard has received a plea for help from an unusual source — the Nasher rebels. A Nasher agent recently turned himself in, asking for protection. He claimed his gang had contracted the aid of a coven of dark wizards, but that those wizard had soon begun brainwashing his fellow rebels — or worse. Shortly thereafter, the Nasher was found dead in his cell, with mysterious runes carved into his flesh.

Because of your strong record and unique skillset, the Guard has contracted you to investigate this matter. The Nashers are bad, but the rise of a new cult of dark mages within the city would be much worse.

————-

Content: Heavy action, some story, simple puzzles.
Genre: Action/dungeon crawl/horror.
Difficulty: Moderately challenging for soloists. Easy for groups.
Exploration: Mostly a linear quest, but those who go off the main path will find it rewarding.

I played through it on my ranger yesterday, and in my own completely biased opinion, it’s a pretty good quest. Not too long — it took me about 30 minutes to solo, including double-checking everything to make sure it looked and played correctly — and with a decent amount of story, but not enough to bog down the action. This is the kind of quest I like to play myself, anyway — personal tastes may vary.

In other news…

Well, that was fast:

My ranger ascends Icespire Peak in NeverwinterDespite playing for less than a month, I’ve already hit max level on my ranger. Yet another example of how wonky and inconsistent Neverwinter can be — so much of the game requires painstaking grinding, but leveling is a breeze. In fact, it’s almost too fast.

It’s a bit too early for me to be forming detailed opinions on Neverwinter’s endgame, but based on early impressions, I’d describe it as broad, but shallow.

There’s no shortage of things to do at endgame in Neverwinter. There’s PvP, there are epic dungeons (a broad selection spread across different difficulty levels), there are Foundry quests, there are campaigns, there’s the Gauntlgrym stuff (though you need a guild for that).

I haven’t tried campaigns yet. I haven’t looked into them too closely, but what little I know is giving me flashbacks of the Golden Lotus grind in World of Warcraft.

Never. Again.

I don’t have a guild, and you already know my thoughts on the Foundry, so that leaves dungeons and PvP.

A Foundry quest in NeverwinterEpic dungeons (the WoW fans among us might prefer to think of them as heroics) are simultaneously a relief and a disappointment. On the one hand, they are consistent with Neverwinter’s general feel of quick, casual fun, and it’s relatively easy to find groups despite the fact no one uses the game’s semi-functional dungeon finder.

I’ve discovered that, while Neverwinter does have the holy trinity, it isn’t religious about it (no pun intended). None of my epic runs to date have included a tank, but they’ve gone smoothly. So groups are quick to form since you don’t have to be too strict about who you take.

As an aside, I’m really starting to wonder how Guild Wars 2 failed to make a trinity-less design compelling, considering how many games I’ve seen do a better job of it without making it their core selling feature.

The downside of epic dungeons is that, well, they’re not very epic. Aside from better loot and scaling the mobs to level 60, there doesn’t seem to be anything to distinguish them from their leveling versions. I’m glad they’re not brutally difficult, but I guess I just expected… I don’t know. More bosses? Extra mechanics? Any kind of difference at all?

Doesn’t help that there’s no real variety to Neverwinter’s fight mechanics to begin with. It’s pretty much just a case of “spawn ALL of the adds!”

My ranger and her sellsword companion explore the Underdark in NeverwinterThen there’s PvP. I maintain an odd fascination with Neverwinter’s PvP. I wouldn’t say I love it by any stretch of the imagination, and I still burn out on it quickly, but it is the most enjoyable MMO PvP I’ve played.

The relatively short matches, map design that helps to inhibit utterly one-sided matches, and guaranteed rewards make it feel a bit more satisfying than these things usually do, and the classes actually feel fairly balanced for once — I suppose being a simpler game makes it easier to level the playing field.

Every class is dangerous in their own unique way, but none feel totally unbeatable — with the possible exception of great weapon fighters, but I’ve heard people say they’re actually underpowered, so I’m not sure what to believe.

PvP is also a pretty fast way to gear up.

Actually, gearing as a whole is another very quick thing in Neverwinter. I’m sure to get the best of the best takes a long time, but to get to a decent level of competitiveness requires very little effort. I’ve already got a fair few epics and a high enough gear score for nearly all the content in the game.

I have no intention of getting into the hardcore endgame. I’m mostly just collecting epics because I want gear I know I’m going to keep long enough to justify the absurd expense* of getting it looking the way I want to.

My ranger showing off her fancy new gear in Neverwinter

*(In AD, not real world cash. I’m not that big a sucker.)

I’m unsure of my next move in Neverwinter. I could keep pursing gear, but that path doesn’t hold very much appeal. I’ve lost nearly all interest in vertical progression in MMOs these days.

I do plan to continue exploring the Foundry, but despite its vastness, I’m bound to start running out of good quests sooner or later.

I could do what everyone else does and put Neverwinter on the back burner, dipping into it occasionally while I play other things. No doubt I’ll reach that point sooner or later, but despite the game’s flaws — and boy, there are a lot — I’ve been enjoying myself, and I’m not quite sure I’m ready to give my focus to something else yet.

We’ll see how it goes.

New article:

My latest article for WhatMMO is Top 6 Player Looks. For all that we all want to be special snowflakes, MMO players do tend to end up conforming to a handful of different styles. I tend to lean towards “The Professional,” myself.

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