May 142013

Neverwinter Mawry
Mawry Haversack, Neverwinter Commando

This is not a review of the game Neverwinter. That has been done already, quite well actually, by a variety of DDO bloggers including two who write here on DDOGamer. If you want a review, I will direct you to one of the existing writeups. Spoiler – they all seem to pretty much like the new game. Except Sig.

BonnieBew’s review is especially informative, spread out over five separate articles (the link above takes you to the first part) and covering most aspects in detail.

I’ve been putting off my own entry into the world of Neverwinter for several reasons, mainly time constraints. It seemed a moot point: I’m not going to be playing it whether I like it or not. I just don’t have time for another MMO right now. I’ve read many articles comparing DDO and Neverwinter and none of them really made a compelling case for it.

So overall, better things to do, and besides, several other good DDO writers have already had their go at it. No need for me to weigh in too.

But time passed and curiosity grew. I kept seeing tweets about it from people I know as DDO players. People in my guild were talking about it.


I eventually reached a state where my natural ennui about the game was overcome by a feeling/dread that I ought to at least know something about it. Thus hectored into activity, I sought out the free download and let it run overnight. I have no idea how long it actually took, when I checked in the morning I was good to go. There were some issues getting my account set up; they are picky about email addresses and so forth. But not too difficult and eventually I was looking at a cut scene. Which was pretty cool, a well-done mini movie although I suspected that it had nothing to do with actual game play. They never do.

The intro movie was the last thing I simply enjoyed. Everything else was annoying.

I ran three different characters through the introductory tutorial quests and then ran one other quest on each one. Hardly a fair sample of the game, but then I was not trying to gather information for a review. This was a scouting party, lightly skirmishing the game, not an in-depth assault.

Rather than try to bore you with details, lets talk about the things that annoyed me. And why they were so annoying.

There are no choices

Your character just grows abilities whether you like it or not; you don’t even pick spells for your caster. I expect that this changes at higher levels but never goes away; the game wants to babysit you.

There was no challenge

Again, spending four hours in the game running three tutorials is not enough to state anything definitive. But I think it is notable that none of my characters ever even considered drinking a potion of healing. There was never a need, even when surrounded.

There is no attempt to play by D&D rules

My fifth-level characters had thousands of hit points. I don’t even know how many thousands. The unnecessary but starter-level Potions of Healing each restored 1000 points. Each. The few spells I encountered had D&D names but did not have D&D effects. Neverwinter Rogues teleport like Nightcrawler. WTF?

The game has a D&D skin but the muscles and bones are from … I don’t even know where. Somewhere that is the opposite of D&D.

There was not very much definition

I tried to play contrasting character types; a tank, a nuker, a DPS. But they all played largely the same. Range until you can’t then use close-in combat ability. They all have a limited dodge ability that works the same.

There were some differences, they each did one thing better than the other classes. I expect this differentiation increases with level. But one of my favorite things in DDO is playing things with different classes because each one plays so differently. That is lacking in Neverwinter. Annoyingly lacking.

The game makes my left hand cramp

It is WASD left hand, mouselook right hand. I know how common this is amongst the first-person shooter crowd but it is a playstyle I have never mastered. Maybe I can remap my keys to something else. But … bleh. The combat system is actually an active one (unlike the passive button clicking of WoW, Star Wars, Conan and the like), but the only activity is an occasional dodge and even that is yet another left-hand activity. My left hand was very annoyed.

Also notable: no strafe. How weird (and annoying!) for an FPS-style interface to not have strafe. Maybe I just missed it.

Buttoning works differently

I expected to need to use different buttons. I didn’t expect buttons to interact with the UI so differently. It is like a whole new way to have buttons in your game. Maybe it is the FPS thing again. There is an MMO way to have buttons and an FPS way to have buttons. My Gamer Girl and I play LotRO sometimes when we want a DDO break. The buttons are different in LotRO. But they are still buttons and do button-like things. In Neverwinter, it is just not that simple. How annoying.

It is enough like DDO that the parts that are different are very annoying

There are so many cues that cause one to expect DDO-like behavior. So many similarities. Massively describes the two games as having more in common than they have different and I agree. But this similarity makes the differences stand out. Really stand out. In an extra-annoying kind of way.

It is the game that DDO seems to be trying to become

“Easily accessible” meaning simplified and easy to play. Limited choices that are easier to understand. Low character danger. Low entry curve. Highly recognizable to people with experience in other games. Character classes that are balanced with each other.

It is annoying that DDO apparently feels the need to move in the same directions.

Most annoying of all, it is packed with people

Some of the busy feeling is due to the way that Neverwinter stacks NPCs into the game public areas. Dozens and dozens in places where Turbine might put two in DDO. But it is not that simple, the fact is that the game is full of players. They are everywhere. This annoys me because I want these people to be playing DDO; we need them!

Yes I know, this is not a fair thing to be annoyed about. It is not the game’s fault that it is currently popular. Nonetheless, this annoyed me more than anything else. Grrrrrr.

I don’t hate the game. If I didn’t already have DDO I would probably fall right into it, having that D&D skin and all. But the fact is that I do already have DDO, it is a much better D&D experience, and I don’t have room for another MMO in any case.

Even though it has all that new content that I have never before encountered.

Even though it has more modern art.

Even though it has user-generated content.

Even though it has all those players.

Alright maybe I do hate Neverwinter. A little. Not for what it is, but for what it has. It is the latest shiny. And that just annoys the crap outta me.

Jealousy is an ugly thing.

🙂 😀 🙂

  15 Responses to “Neverwinter Annoys Me”

Comments (15)
  1. 🙂 thank you. I enjoyed this read. I doubt I’ll ever try out Neverwinter, as long a I’m playing DDO. I simply don’t have the time and the energy, and I’m still feeling like I never have enough time for DDO.

  2. Yeah, I hear ya. I also don’t have the time for another MMO. And I’m still in my honeymoon phase with DDO, 3 years after I started. And I hope DDO doesn’t go into the generic-MMO direction it seems to be going.

  3. I think you hit the nail on the head very succinctly. Too easy, fewer choices – that’s Neverwinter. When I see ppl reviewing the game say they enjoyed the combat, I facepalm. It’s just not in the same league as DDO.

  4. Yeah i just couldn’t get into it. Gameplay was very, very easy and i really dislike the dummy trail. There was very little choice, and frankly I think DDO looks better. i will say this though: running through areas like the Blacklake District and so forth inspired a friend and i to bust out Neverwinter Nights Platinum and load it up. Now THAT is an awesome game.

    • Saw something a couple of days ago that there’s a fan-made mod for NWN (maybe NWN2?) that is basically Baldurs Gate… I’m already dreading how many hours i could lose to that.

  5. I’m sorry, but playing through the tutorial doesn’t cut it. You have some accurate points here, but you are very wrong on many things. Imagine playing through just Korthos in DDO and then judge the game. Everything dies on one or two swings. Characters hardly have any abilities.

    To give Neverwinter a fair shake, you really need to play at least one character to cap and do a little bit of end game stuff. Then it would be fair to write all your complaints down. I’m at level 36 currently; I have a lot of complaints, some of which you have above, some are different. But your whole blog just sounds like someone who is rather clueless.

    • I appreciate your comment but feel compelled to point out that I am not “rather clueless”. No, I am “entirely clueless”.

      Glad we have that settled.

      You mention that some of my complaints are valid while others are not: which are which? And for those that are invalid, why? Also, you note you have complaints I missed. What are they?

      Thanks for reading and thanks for the input. Now bring the specifics 🙂

      • Hi Geoff,

        I can give some specifics.

        There are no choices.
        There are fewer choices than DDO, but you have choices. There is what they call a “feat” system, which is actually more similar to DDO’s enhancements, and you pick a point every level. Also, you do get a choice in what powers to buy, although it is somewhat limited. Also, you only get 5-6 powers on your hotbar at any one time, so there is a pseudo-customization in what powers you decide to use, and also some strategy as you may switch up these powers depending on the quest or if you are doing PVP.

        There was no challenge
        There is no challenge in Korthos, either, or anywhere in DDO when you are in on normal. The real challenge lies in the skirmishes and dungeons, and now I’m at level 40, and we have had party wipes. Just like DDO, getting friends and guilds together makes life a lot easier than trying to pug everything.

        There is no attempt to play by D&D rules
        The at wills and encounter powers and dailies are similar to 4th edition, but I am not too much of a PnP players so I can’t comment. Certainly I prefer the 3.5 edition rules more.

        There was not very much definition
        At higher levels there is certainly definition in character types. Last night the tank bailed out of the group and my control wizard was pulling all of the aggro. That was very hairy, I can assure you. I am not built to take very many hits, and had to stay really mobile. A tank would have just put up his shield. At this point in the game things are pretty clear cut between tank, healer, dps & cc. I think as they add more classes we may see some hybrids of these, or classes that can be built to be one or the other, just like DDO.

        The game makes my left hand cramp
        I’m sorry to hear that.

        Buttoning works differently
        Minor complaint really, it is a different game!

        It is the game that DDO seems to be trying to become
        I wish DDO would stay more complicated too!

        Most annoying of all, it is packed with people
        The “general” chat is full of WoW players and other assorted losers. Just like the harbor chat on DDO, you have to ignore it. Also, PUGS barely talk at all to each other. It is really annoying. Not even a “hi” usually.

        The major thing that you missed, and you don’t find this out until much later in the game, is that there is a major P2W component. Now, I’m also judging before I have full information, since this is an end game problem, so I am being transparent here. But at the end game, there are these really powerful runes that you have to craft from smaller pieces, but you are basically required to spend $10 to fuse each one. The other option is to buy the ward that allows the fusing off the auction house, which will take prohibitive amounts of grinding. But if you were to play straight money, it would take over $100 to get these runes on your weapon and armor.We’ll see if I stick around at end game; I’m not sure yet.

        In general I say play the game that you have fun with, so if you don’t like Neverwinter that is fine. But, you really didn’t give this one a fair shake. (also, PvP can be a lot of fun, so you need to get high enough level to try that).

  6. I would have to agree with most of your points. The “dumbing down” of any RPG to make it more “accessible” makes me crazy! I’ve played my control wizard up to lvl 25 now and the lack of character choices is rather disappointing. Maybe wen I hit paragon level things will change a bit. We’ll see…

    • The customization doesn’t get too much better, but it does get significantly harder- at least in group content.

  7. “Annoying”. Hmmm…maybe that’s the word I’ve been looking for. Yes, for the most part, very limited choices – even in the character looks, which is a bit surprising, given how many choices there are in Cryptic’s “Star Trek Online” (STO) character creation (as far as “looks”). However, when you say “no attepmt to play by D&D rules”, remember – it is based on 4th Edition (which may or may not mean anything, since I am unfamiliar with 4th Ed rules – maybe they are following them?). Still, the most annoying for me, I think, is the fact that it is obviously meant to be a “console” style game. Maybe that’s just the way of things these days, what with all the X-boxes, Wii’s, Play Stations, etc., but “console” styles on a PC have always bugged me (personally, I think they ruined the “Tomb Raider” series when they implented “console” controls for the PC games). Keep “console” controls for “console” gaming platforms!

    And no, you didn’t miss it – they do have “strafe”, or rather, what they call “strafe”, but it really isn’t – it’s (again) “console-control style run-left/run-right”. Guess as long as your camera is pointed 90° from the direction your facing when moving, it’s “strafing”. Which, as you say, is very annoying.

    Yes, I absolutely prefer DDO over NWO. However, that said, it is different enough that it can be a nice little “distraction” and not too bad when one is either tired of running the same ol’, same ol’ or is waiting for DDO worlds to come back up.

    • I haven’t played NWO, but 4th edition isn’t THAT different from 3rd edition. You have roughly the same amount of hitpoints, and should be picking spells/martial abilities at every level. Feats about once every two levels as well. Several things are quite different, but what geoffhanna describes doesn’t really sound remotely like 4th edition at all either. Wizards used to be very, very particular about computer games matching P&P rules–to a fault, really–I’m not sure what the deal is here.

  8. “I ran three different characters through the introductory tutorial quests and then ran one other quest on each one.” Then figured I would loose all creditability.
    Until you reach level 30 or so you have not seen anything in the game.
    If you have not left The Protector’s Enclaive.
    That is the same as giving DDO a failing grade when you have not even left Korthos.
    I enjoy both and figure both have a place. DDO is still my main game but when I take a break it will be in NWO. I have been playing DDO for the last 5 years pretty much every day for to many hours a day and love the game. I have even ran update 18 on Lam and enjoyed it.
    Anyone one who runs a tutorial and one quest in a game and comes to a conclusion of any sort has issues.

  9. To be completely honest, the more I read/hear about NWO the more annoyed I get! Haha

    But more to the point, by all I’ve read, I can’t see myself ever playing it. Even the two most important things for an MMO, “free” & “big”, can’t change my mind. It isn’t a time constraint issue for me, but really more of a ‘this doesn’t sound like a game I’d enjoy even if it is big and free’.

    Having read everyone else’s reviews and now your experience with NWO, thank you for sharing! It’s more informative than I think certain elements are giving credit for! Yup!

  10. An MMO On-Rails, huh? No thanks. I’m taking Longshotist’s advice and reloading all of my NWN games to my laptop and enjoy that warm DnD feeling (complete with Monks) when I’m not in DDO.

What do you think?

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