A thoughtful and personal exploration of games

My Neverwinter Beta Impressions

Aside from the initial snafu with email notifications about the beta, I had a pretty darn good Neverwinter beta experience this past weekend. Seeing as there’s no NDA, let’s see what I can throw out about the game.

1) Your level doesn’t matter in groups. I got up to level 20 at the highest point and it didn’t appear to matter how high a level I was, as long as I was on the same quest as my friends, we could play together.

2) It takes longer to level if you’re in a group than if you’re solo. This is just a feeling we got while playing. The argument we made (in defense of this idea) is that in normal D&D because you’re splitting exp with your group, it takes longer to level. That said, you don’t have to level as fast because there’s more people there.

3) You definitely get less money when you’re in a group. By the time I was 20, I had just barely hit 2 gold and you need 2 gold 50 silver to buy a horse. It’s not as easy to get silver when every reward is handed out in copper. No complaints here though. I get it.

4) Playing solo is great. I was playing a cleric most of the weekend and I discovered that by the time I was reaching this one level 14 quest, I was level 12. I still handled it, but it wasn’t super easy. Wasn’t super hard either… I think they might have found a Goldilocks zone of solo difficulty. Assuming a group of three players (you can have five in a group) would be a level or two lower at the same point, it’s just about right.

5) Playing in a group is great. Things die so much faster in group play than in solo play. That’s the significant difference. Also, you can access more things in the game thanks to individual class skills. As a cleric, you have the religion skill and there are shrines every now and again that if you use, you can get a party buff that gives plus 5% gold find for 3 minutes or something. Fighters and their dungeoneering skill give access to secret passages. Rogues can handle traps and use their thieving skill to do some other stuff. Wizards have arcana and in one instance was able to get us a treasure chest thanks to turning off some spellfire.

6) The game feels pretty well balanced as far as the classes are concerned. You don’t have to have one of everyone in your group. It’s NICE to have one of everyone. I did an instance of the Cloak Tower and most of the group were clerics (and we had one fighter). Each class is definitely unique and forces a change in play style.

All that said, it was a beta and as a result there were some issues. Like my human cleric not getting bonus feat points like his race specified or some items not having art assets yet and so they were white boxes on the character sheet/inventory. Being able to invoke a blessing from the gods was also happening more than once an hour in some cases for me (had to do with zoning and stuff, but I said, “I’m a cleric, of COURSE I can pray a lot!”). Oh, and apparently Celestial Coins were going away when you zoned instead of expiring naturally over a period of time.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to Neverwinter’s official release. If they promise to put in the Psion class, I promise I’ll get a lifetime account (if they exist eventually). Otherwise, well, I’m sold on this game. It’s got great graphics, great gameplay, and a great built-in soundtrack. Oh, and of course, all my favorite stuff from the great city of Neverwinter (I do miss the Neverwinter of 100+ years ago though… not gonna lie).

Until next time!

– Elorfin

P.S. “Ho there wanderer. Stay thy course a moment to indulge an old man.” – Elminster’s first appearance in the game Baldur’s Gate.

P.P.S. “You must gather your party before venturing forth.” – Narrator of Baldur’s Gate (coincidentally or maybe intentionally also the same message you see when you’re in a group and you’re trying to change zones).


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