Monday, November 9, 2015

Free-to-Play Reappearance: Neverwinter

Greetings all as we explore Free-to-Play Reappearance Day 1. Well I promised we would take a peek at some of these games and see how they roll. I thought we should start with a very popular title and none more popular than the ever expanding MMORPGs. Yeah these glorious graphics and eager amounts of wasting time have been a staple since 1997 with Ultima Online and ran via LANs providing hours of entertainment until up to Everquest. Typically speaking this would involve players to log on to a client and then allow them access to the world which would change, update even when no one is on.

Now several MMORPGs charge a service fee of monthly or annually like Warcraft does with 10 dollars a month but extra effects like class or species changes like DDO does can get a bit pricey. Not to mention additional magic items, tomes of power and creature companions. That can eat up your checking account toot sweet. Why am I speaking of costs on a free to play week? Well some games are free to start but eventually you will want gear that gives you not only an edge in a dungeon but in PVP (Player vs Player for those are not hip to the term.) So let's see if today's game is any different. This is Neverwinter.

Are you digging these graphics as much as me?!!!

Developed by Cryptic Studios and released in 2013, Neverwinter is based on the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop universe as well as the four novels by R.A. Salvatore (Gauntlgrym, Neverwinter, Charon's Claw and The Last Threshold), the City of Skilled Hands or Jewel of the North is a spiraling metropolis of the northwestern Sword Coast of Faerun. The games Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2 get their name from the city itself. The land is deemed the most civilized and cultured city in all of Faerun and has a unique diversity among the races. While being way up in the mountains (picture Greenland) the Neverwinter River flows and many believe that fire elementals living nearby in Mount Hotenow deep in the woods heat it.

Okay with that bit of babble out of the way, let's get on with the game overall. You start off shipwrecked on Neverwinter due to the city, its guards both warriors and wizards are having a massive throw down with of all things a blue dracolich (Undead dragon with the abilities of a spellcaster that somehow avoids death through dark arts of magic.) blasting the very ship you were on. Rummaging around the wreck you find subtle clothes and whatever weapons your class depicts and make your way on your very user-friendly map to the icon NPCs to correct this awesome evil.

Sgt Knox here is voiced by the late Sir Christoper Lee, which makes him that much more awesome.

Classes range from: Control Wizard (crowd based death dealing as well as protection) , Oathbound Paladin (Armored Warrior that has blessings, buffs and limited healing as they are holy warriors) , Devoted Cleric (Holy man/woman granting stats boosts, temporary hit points, healing and protections from evil), Hunter Ranger ( Archer/Fighter adept to firing multiple arrows to handling duel weapons), Great Weapon Fighter (Heavy weapon fighters with no regard for a shield use a two-handed weapon and brute strength on the enemy), Guardian Fighter (Protector and defender, this warrior relies on cunning, tactical analysis and usually the leader), Scourge Warlock (Magical practioner of the dark arts ranging from necromancy, thaumaturgy and grimores of dark magic) and Trickster Rogue (Stealthful fighter, thief, assassin and official treasure finder). Finding your weapons and dealing out some decent damage you team up with the existing army of the Winterguard and make your way to the city encountering tons of zombies, skeletons and even a few slain warriors from the dead.

With the private NPC red shirt you make your way to the gates with the lich Valindra leaves her own gate guardian to deal with you both. The dude is massive. Fallout 3 fans, imagine the Behemoth and you know where I am coming from. So I chose Hunter Ranger and managed to kill that monstrosity after 2 attempts of the leveling up with new powers option. My arrows had to hit him facing me period. This guy turns his back and you cannot even damage him.

After that, you are in Neverwinter. Yup everything I just described to you was all outside the city walls. Let's talk game control dynamics now. The standard W,A,S,D, for directions via PC gamers along with the mouse right click for weapons overall and F is your main interaction with loot, conversing with NPCs and treasure chests. Behind the city walls the game is very fluid and open ended. There are quests, dungeon delving(exploring underground caverns or sewer regions) and campaigns galore. Special powers and items come by very quickly and for all you DDO purists, leveling happens SooOOoOoO much quicker. Overall story lines seem to arc very nicely and in general I have enjoyed it thus far and I am quite impressed with it.

Give me your pump, the oil, the gasoline, and the whole compound, and I'll spare your lives.