Neverwinter (video game)
|Publisher(s)||Perfect World Entertainment|
|Release date(s)||Microsoft Windows
June 20, 2013
March 31, 2015
Neverwinter is a Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) free-to-play massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) for the Microsoft Windows platform. It was developed by Cryptic Studios and was released on June 20, 2013. Based in the fictional Forgotten Realms city of Neverwinter, the game was originally scheduled to be released as a cross media event coinciding with the release of a series of four books by fantasy author R.A. Salvatore and a tabletop game from Wizards of the Coast. Announced on August 23, 2010, Neverwinter is a standalone game and not part of the previous Neverwinter Nights series. The game ran closed beta testing from February 8, 2013 to April 14, 2013. Open beta began on April 30, 2013.
Players can become one of eight Dungeons & Dragons character classes and form groups of up to five player characters (PCs). Neverwinter is based on a modified version of the Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition rules set. This includes the use of healing powers and action points, the latter of which is implemented through a system referred to as dailies, allowing a player to perform a special ability by accumulating enough action points through combat. A player-created content system codenamed "Foundry" allows players to create their own stories and quests.
When asked for gameplay details during an interview with MaximumPC, Cryptic Studios chief operating officer Jack Emmert explained, "It's not an MMO in the sense that there aren't zones with hundreds-and-hundreds of people. You are not fighting for spawns. There's a very strong storyline throughout the game. So it's more of a story-based game closer to things like Dragon Age or Oblivion, which we really try to follow." On October 5, 2011, it was announced that the gameplay of Neverwinter would be re-structured into a free-to-play MMORPG with extra items and other advantages available for purchase for an as yet unannounced fee.
Characters and setting
The setting of Neverwinter takes place in a time when the eponymous city is plunged into chaos after the disappearance of the last Lord of Neverwinter. In the aftermath of the Spellplague and a Primordial Fire Elemental's almost destroying Neverwinter, as seen in the novel Gauntlgrym, the remaining citizens form factions and struggle for dominance over the populace as the dead begin to rise and attack "the city they once called home."
In the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2011 trailer for the game, many factions of the game are shown, notably an army of skeletons who are the dead citizens of Neverwinter; a female lich named Valindra and a blue dracolich lead them in their attack against Neverwinter. The player is investigating the Sect Crown of Neverwinter and trying to figure out what the skeletons and another mysterious group are looking for.
In an interview with GameSpot, Jack Emmert announced that the game will include "adventuring in and around Neverwinter. Not just in the city, but also the environs," and hinted that more locations further afield would be added at some point. In addition, he indicated that the included locations will be heavily based on the novel Gauntlgrym, its sequel, Neverwinter, and Charon's Claw. So far, the only known locations are Neverwinter and Neverwinter Wood. Players will be able to create whole new locations that may or may not conform to the lore on which the rest of the game is based. It has been made clear that this content will be clearly distinguished so as not to confuse users, and they will be informed whether they are playing user-generated or official content.
Briefly assuming her pre-lich appearance, the Lich Queen Valindra attacks the soldiers of New Neverwinter, as new grounds are being built outside of the original city, which is being repaired. Valindra's actions spark the Battle of the Bridge, in which Barrabus the Gray (formerly known as Artemis Entreri) and Drizzt Do'Urden are rumored to be present by gossipers at a pub in the shattered town of Luskan. Each soldier tells his own story of the battle until one soldier reveals that Valindra's attack was going badly until the blue dragon, Fulminorax, a leader in the country of Thay, helped her escape. The soldier finishes by asking the people where they will be and what they will be doing when the dragon attacks again.
After their ship was sunk by a Dracolich, adventurers help a nearby militia of Neverwinter against Valindra. When confronting her directly on the Sleeping Dragon Bridge, the heroes are defeated. For their valor, the adventurers become the Heroes of the Sleeping Bridge. Learning that the Nashers took advantage of Valindra's attack, the heroes track them to the Blacklake District. There they fight a chosen of Ghaunadaur and Nasher leader Karzov. With the Nasher Rebellion ended, the Heroes head to the Cloak Tower and defeat Vansi Bloodscar, an orcish commander from the Kingdom of Many-Arrows.
Sent to help Dorothea Linkletter, the spellscarred wife of Josef Linkletter, the Heroes learn the wizard Rhazzad to have sacrificed all the spellscarred victims he hid from Helm's Hold. Learning Rhazzad's masters to be in the Chasm, the heroes defeat the wizard when he turns into a plaguechanged monstrosity. Forced to delay going after Rhazzad's masters, the Heroes are put in contact with the Harpers to fight against Malus and Traven Blackdagger. Learning the Blackdagger brothers to have been turned undead by the Thayan necromancer Kallos Tam, the Heroes defeat the pirates and Valindra's agent. Learning the Red Wizard of Thay Xivros plans to raise Arleos the Unforgiven, the Heroes are unable to stop the resurrection but do put down the monster when it rises. The heroes also learn that in another part of Neverdeath Graveyard, Valindra defeated the Cult of the Dragon over the dracolich Azharzel. The Spellplague victims then become a priority again as the Prophet of Helm's Hold has been revealed to be a succubus called Rohini. With the Ashmadai active in Neverwinter, the Heroes raid the fortress, defeat Rohini and slay her green dragon Chartilifax.
When the Barrow Lords and the Netherese necromancer Idris raised the dead of Ebon Downs, the Heroes of the Sleeping Bridge were dispatched and defeated the undead. When the Uthgardt barbarians under the Netherese began to hunt down the Forsworn, the Heroes decided to put an end to the Netherese menace. Stopping Netheril's plans with Xin'Kar, a piece of the Enclave Xinlenal, the Heroes defeated the Uthgardt chieftain and Netherese forces. Joining forces with Company Yargo, the Heroes then took down another Blackdagger Pirate, the undead Bartholomew Blackdagger. Aiding the Icehammer Dwarves, the Heroes proceeded to slay the Frost Giant Hrimnir and destroy the Winterforge. When the Chasm is threatened by the Order of the Blue Fire, the Heroes finally begin to finish off another loose end: Rhazzad's masters. Heading down the Chasm, the Heroes find A'Drx'l, the Aboleth that was guiding Rhazzad, and slay it.
When Drow slavers from House Xorlarrin began appearing and creating a settlement called New Xorlarrin, the Heroes set out to stop them and put an end to their fledgling designs. In doing so, they learned that the Drow Goddess Lolth was trying to take over magic. While the Xorlarrins retreat, the Heroes defeat the Fire Giant Gommoth and red dragon Karrundax. The Xorlarrins retake the abandoned city of Zesraena and fight the Heroes at the Doors of Delzoun in a losing effort. Learning of the Xorlarrin alliance with Illithids, the Heroes fought the Mind Flayers and their Duergar thralls, eventually entering a structure known as the Iron Heart to defeat Yshiggol.
With their strength grown, the Heroes of the Sleeping Bridge decide to end the destructive conflict between Neverwinter and Thay by targeting Valindra Shadowmantle directly. Entering Castle Never, the Heroes fight through hordes of undead and Valindra's most powerful soldiers. Eventually confronting the Lich Queen directly, they defeat her and her dracolich Ahzarzel.
Atari bought Cryptic Studios in the fall of 2009. In late August 2010, Atari announced Neverwinter, to be developed by Cryptic Studios, with a release scheduled for late 2011. They revealed that the game would coincide with a multi-media event revolving around the city of Neverwinter, including the release of four books (one already in stores), a co-operative board game and a D&D role-playing game being released to promote the launch of the MMORPG. In May 2011, Atari announced that it would be selling Cryptic Studios, stating that development of Neverwinter would continue as normal. Gamasutra reported that development of Neverwinter would continue as normal only for the time being.
The game was first publicly displayed at E3 2011, where many details about the game were revealed. Due to Cryptic's acquisition by Perfect World Entertainment, Neverwinter was delayed to 2012. Perfect World also bought the rights to publish the game from Atari, coinciding with the conclusion of Atari's lawsuit with Wizards of the Coast on the Dungeons & Dragons license. Perfect World announced that Neverwinter had shifted from the co-operative multiplayer game that was announced the previous year into a free-to-play MMORPG on October 5, 2011. This further delayed the game to late 2012. Perfect World would later again delay Neverwinter into early 2013 to better polish the game.
|This section requires expansion. (August 2013)|
Prior to releasing major details on the game, Perfect World launched a viral marketing campaign called the Siege of Neverwinter, featuring videos from the game's story. The game was at Penny Arcade Expo (Pax) East 2012, where it was awarded Best of Show by MMORPG.com. In the same month of showing at PAX East, it also appeared at gamescom, where it showed off its Events feature, and Gen Con Indy, where it let attendees try out early version drow race characters. It was announced in 2012 that the game's campaign would feature sixty levels.
|This section requires expansion. (August 2013)|
Neverwinter has attained scores of 74/100 and 73.60% from aggregate review websites MetaCritic and GameRankings respectively. It got a positive review from Topfreemmorpg.net that lauded its "large scale quests, intense PVP, daily skirmishes, and player created missions." 
Daniel Tack of Forbes comments: "Neverwinter offers experiences for players that normally wouldn't play MMORPGs, and also provides a framework for core genre players. Looking for action and adventure in the world of Forgotten Realms? Neverwinter delivers."
- Lebbe, Mark (July 10, 2015). "Neverwinter Confirmed for Release on PS4". PlayStation LifeStyle. Retrieved August 18, 2015.
- "Neverwinter Live Date and Module News!". Cryptic. 2013-06-06.
- Matt Futter (2015-02-24). "Sid Meier’s Starships Dated And Priced For March Release". Game Informer. Retrieved 2015-02-24.
- Nick Kolan. "Big Changes to Cryptic's Neverwinter - PC Preview at IGN". Pc.ign.com. Retrieved 2011-11-24.
- Matt Ryan (2010-08-25). "Atari and Cryptic Studios Announce Neverwinter in 2011 for PC". Lockergnome.com. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
- "Cryptic Studios Announces Neverwinter for 2011 Release". Giantbomb.com. 2010-08-23. Retrieved 2010-10-31.
- "Neverwinter Open Beta Dated - MPOGD News". Mpogd.com. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
- "Atari and Cryptic Studios Announce Neverwinter Coming in 2011 for PC". PRNewswire.com. August 23, 2010. Retrieved October 31, 2010.
- Grayson, Nathan (September 23, 2010). "Interview: Cryptic Studios Head Talks New Neverwinter, Why MMOs Kind of Suck". MaximumPC. Retrieved October 31, 2010.
- "Neverwinter Exclusive Q&A - First Details on Cryptic's New Dungeons & Dragons Game". Gamespot.com. Retrieved 2011-03-16.
- "Atari and Cryptic Studios Announce Neverwinter (tm) Coming in 2011 for PC". Gamasutra. August 23, 2010. Retrieved October 31, 2010.
- "Neverwitner's Factions". Retrieved July 9, 2011.
- "The story of Neverwinter". Retrieved 22 October 2011.
- "Turbine Rolls For Damages In Atari Lawsuit". Kotaku.com. 2009-08-26. Retrieved 2011-11-24.
- "Atari and Cryptic Studios Partner to Develop Neverwinter for PC". Entertainment Close-up. August 27, 2010. Retrieved November 1, 2012. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
- "Return To Neverwinter In 2011". Kotaku.com. 2010-08-23. Retrieved 2011-11-24.
- Daniel, Matt (2011-05-17). "Atari: Cryptic Studios a 'discontinued operation' [Updated] | Massively". Massively.joystiq.com. Retrieved 2011-11-24.
- "E3 2011: The Next Neverwinter". IGN. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
- "Cryptic now belongs to Perfect World Entertainment". Retrieved 22 August 2011.
- "Hellabeast". Hellabeast. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
- "Neverwinter delayed to 2013, trailer offered as compensation". games.on.net. 2012-08-17. Archived from the original on 2015-11-05. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
- "Dungeons & Dragons Neverwinter Free-to-Play MMO. Sign up for access!". Nw.perfectworld.com. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
- Murphy, William (April 9, 2012). "The List: The Best of PAX East 2012 Awards". Retrieved July 4, 2012.
- "Neverwinter (NW) Interviews: Post-PAX Interview". MMORPG.com. 2012-05-07. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
- "Neverwinter for PC - GameRankings". GameRankings. Retrieved 2013-07-22.
- "Neverwinter for PC Reviews - Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 2013-07-22.
- Dean, Paul (2013-07-12). "Neverwinter Review". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2013-07-22.
- Harshberger, Adam (2013-06-26). "Neverwinter review". GamesRadar. Retrieved 2013-07-22.
- VanOrd, Kevin (2013-07-10). "Neverwinter Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2013-07-22.
- Johnson, Leif. "Neverwinter Review". IGN. Retrieved 2013-07-22.
- Black, Lacey (2013-06-12). "Neverwinter Review". Retrieved 2014-02-26.