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Neverwinter - PC

Neverwinter
Game Description: Neverwinter is a new online role-playing game based on Wizards of the Coast’s global property Dungeons & Dragons and the beloved city of Neverwinter.
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Neverwinter E3 2011 Preview -- Time to Put Your Fan Fiction Skills to the Test
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Article_74785

Neverwinter E3 2011 Preview -- Time to Put Your Fan Fiction Skills to the Test

By Kevin Kelly - Posted Jun 17, 2011

Last year, Atari announced that it was involved in resurrecting Neverwinter Nights as Neverwinter, and as it turns out that entire brand is getting a push across multiple forms of entertainment ranging from this new game that Atari hopes to have out by the end of this year, to a new series of books from famed fantasy author R.A. Salvatore, to a new board game called The Legend of Drizzt later this summer. It's a full-on Neverwinter onslaught.

If you remember back in 2002 when BioWare released the highly acclaimed Neverwinter Nights, they set the bar very high for future iterations of the game. That game is universally beloved across a wide range of critics, and it's almost a shame that they aren't still developing the title, which was supported with multiple expansions. Development of Neverwinter Nights 2 fell to Obsidian, and has had three expansions as of 2009.

 


 

Now, Cryptic Studios is taking the helm with Neverwinter, and while they're staying true to the games D&D ruleset and the multiplayer from the previous versions of the game, the teams looks to put very powerful game creation tools directly into the hands of gamers. At E3, they didn't show us anything from the game, but instead chose to focus on their massively powerful Foundry mode, which will cause writers of fan fiction all over the world to swoon in delight.

Foundry, which first appeared in Star Trek Online back in December, is an amped-up level editor that allows you to build your own encounters, populate them with creatures, write the dialogue, and build completely new areas. It's not exactly what the developers use when designing the game, although they are switching over to using the system from time to time. It's basically a user-generated content generator on steroids. In fact, the level-building tools are so good that Wizards of the Coast should look into licensing this to replace the dismal Dungeon Master tools on their own D&D Insider service.

While at first you're presented with a series of pull-down menus, but as you begin to build your encounters and understand how robust the tools are. It's a much more accessible layout than any other UGC system I've ever seen, and it includes the ability to dive into what you've been working on at any moment. They've also included pre-made maps and simple tools so that you can take the quick and easy approach if you want to churn out something quickly, or you can drill-down deep and spend a lot of time making a masterpiece.

Our demo was about 15 minutes long, and by the end, one of the developers had built a medium-sized grouping of rooms complete with pathing and NPCs who had dialogue and were able to send us on a quest. He was using the pre-fab group of items from the enormous Library that is available to Foundry users, and it's very impressive to see how intuitive the level building is. Line up corridors and rooms, and Foundry figures our where the doors should be, or you can place them manually and even decide which way they swing open.

The Story tab, which is where you build what's happening in your newly-minted level, allows you to set dialogue for everyone, and it features a very easy to learn drag and drop system that allows you to attach story points and items to dialogue and characters, and it's deep enough for you to create an entire adventure with an epic story with a multitudes of characters. You can even put inanimate objects in your story, it case you ever wanted to write that, "Hey, this evil wizard turned me into a lamppost!" story that you've been itching to publish.

Properties allows you to tailor specific items and conditions to "completing" a level. Maybe you have to collect specific items, defeat a creature, or visit certain locations in order to cause the next event to happen or the story to unfold. You can set your questgiver, and then attach whatever conditions you want to that quest. There's quite a bit to choose from, and it's a lot like having access to the a whole library of Monster Manual's and Dungeon Master Handbooks.

The game uses the new 4th Edition ruleset, and while we didn't get to see any of the actual campaign that Cryptic is working on, it's clear that we could create enough of our own adventures to keep us happy for a long time. Users can publish their adventures online, and you'll be able to download new ones constantly to keep the game in flux. Imagine co-opping through an epic adventure that you and your friends built together, or just using it as a pre-viz tool for an actual pen and paper game of D&D. Hopefully, the final version will be something that provides you with a great game, along with quality tools that you can use for months to come.

Comments are Closed

  • Saiisil

    @Dashade There are many mechanical aspects for roleplaying that 4th ed is missing, in essence 4th ed is based purely on combat, there is nothing mechanical in the game to encourage roleplaying, third while it had a heavy lean towards combat had many mechanics to it that encouraged roleplaying such as roleplay experience rewards, as well as the rewards of being able to create your own equipment, mechanics that were stronger set in 2nd edition but now lost in 4th. Also as Terolost pointed out with point 3 there is little to no character customization, if you character is a fighter then he is a fighter and fights in a particular way and in a party he may be unique among the other party members but you put him in a line up of fighters there will be almost no difference in fighting styles.

    As for the new game, well I would be impressed if they didn't take it into the current timeline of Forgotten Realms, Meaning the Spellplague was a huge storyline mistake and wizards only created it so they can explain the mechanical changes to DnD for 4th edition.

    Posted: July 29, 2011 1:17 PM
    Saiisil
  • Dashade

    LOL at 4th ed being too bogged down in combat. And 3.5 wasn't? BS. Tons of combat. The combat feats were always just about more useful than the non combat feats were and most of the whiners about not being able to customize as much in 4th ed are REALLY saying "I cannot min max as much and make my uber multiclass combination." I am not fooled by these people in the slightest.

    Posted: June 22, 2011 1:33 PM
  • Dietrich

    @TeroLost

    100% agree, mate. It seems that 4e is made for a video game platform. I've been playing NWN/NWN2 since it came out and the amount of customization one can do is amazing. I can't imagine this new iteration of Neverwinter will be different.

    I imagine there will be some persistent world system with multiplayer connection features that the "Nights" series implemented. This allows people to literally build *any* type of world based on any type of rules (engine permitting) they want. (...and you'd be surprised how much the Infinity - Baldur's Gate, Aurora - NWN, and Electron - NWN2 engines could bend.)

    I'm intrigued, to say the least. I can't say that Star Trek Online is my style, so I can only hope the layout / presentation is just very, very different.

    Posted: June 21, 2011 3:41 PM
  • TeroLost

    To those ragging on this because it uses 4th Edition Rules....Let me break down your argument(What I've heard most often) then pose a question:

    * Disclaimer: This is solely based upon the arguments I've heard against 4e and my opinions.

    First, your primary dislike of 4e can be categorized into three portions;

    1) 4e is too bogged down in Combat (Personally I disagree as the DMs determine the balance between fighting and Role Playing in any campaign)

    2) 4e is basically a WoW Clone on paper. (Again, I disagree because WoW has only ever been a very streamlined world and system based upon DnD, as are most RPGs. Therefore you're actually saying that 4e is a clone of DnD's general outlines, just thoroughly streamlined--which I, again, would point out that the DM will determine the level of complexity present in -any- enviroment)

    3) 4e Is too limiting in how you can play each character type. (Here I can actually see your point, but at the same time for that argument a bit of house-ruling fixes things straight away.)

    So what I pose to you is this; If 4e plays too much like a game, has combat that boggs down due to the amount of rolling required to resolve, and is too restricting by comparison to other iterations of DnD...Doesn't that spell out this making a -great- system to base an actual video game off of?

    All the rolling takes place in the background and is resolved at a much quicker pace than humans can, the slight limitation of class variance would actually fit well and still be much more than what is available in other comparable video games (Prior NWN iterations included, if only due to increased technical capabilities). And if this system were applied to an actual game, the second point is moot--no?

    All-in-All I'm -very- excited to see how Neverwinter will pan out, I'm still playing on NWN servers that institute dice-bag usage as opposed to using the game's battle mechanics to resolve situations, I'm sure such persistent worlds can/will be crafted on Neverwinter. If anyone can make a stronger case for why 4e is a poor choice for this game, I'm more than willing to continue a good spirited discussion--but simply saying it's a poor choice because '4e suxs' wont do--you'll simply have to do better than that.

    Posted: June 21, 2011 1:19 PM
  • clorin12

    might be good if it didnt use 4th edition

    Posted: June 18, 2011 9:07 PM
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