Battle for the Heavyweight Championship of the D&D World
Conan the Barbarian. Vanguard. Star Wars the Old Republic. Star Trek Online. Rifts. Guild Wars 2.
All are MMO games that have debuted during the lifespan of DDO. This is not an exhaustive list, just what I can recall off the top of my head. Each of these games has had an impact on DDO, to one extent or another, in that each siphoned off some of the DDO player base (at least temporarily, many who leave later come back) and arguably, each one further diluted the overall MMO market*.
* That last statement assumes that the MMO market is finite and market share between games is a zero sum game. I have no idea if this is the case although it would seem that way to me.
And yet, DDO keeps chugging along, waxing and waning according to it’s own rhythms, marching to it’s own beat.
Here comes the latest contender. Neverwinter. With an attribute that is different from all of those others: this one is also Dungeons & Dragons.
As the new MMO approaches release, there is an awful lot of press comparing it to our own beloved DDO. And no small amount of DDO forum and player angst and opinion as well.
I haven’t checked it out. The only thing I can tell from the trailer is that it is full of Drizzt, right down to the spider mount and panther companion. Not that DDO is Drizzt-free or anything (and I am looking at you, Figurine of Wondrous Power).
They are shilling a “founders pack” entry package for this Free to Play game that costs $199. No that is not a typo, I’ll spell it out: one hundred and ninety nine dollars. On the plus side, it represents a $549 value according to the website, and how could that be wrong? Whoa, if I buy three I’ll save almost a thousand dollars!
A much less glamorous starter pack version costs $19 (nineteen). I am not sure one can actually play for free yet, and I’ve spent an entire 60 seconds investigating, but the $19 pack is only “worth” $49. I am not sure I could trouble my self to save such a paltry amount.
I expect I will check it out. Although I couldn’t find it in 60 seconds, it is supposed to be Free To Play in some way or another, and I am naturally interested in any D&D-based game. But I haven’t yet and am in no rush.
Therefore I have yet to generate an opinion regarding the rivalry, if indeed there is one, but one assumes there must be a rivalry to some extent. Neverwinter is in our backyard. Sired in controversy, sharing the same lore, sharing the same endorsing kiss of the Big Grandaddy of All RPGs, how could there not be a rivalry?
The world agrees. Googling “DDO vs Neverwinter” brings up page after page of hits. One has to sort out those that reference Neverwinter Nights 2 (another challenger that has come and gone during DDO’s run) but that is not too difficult and many references remain.
Here is Massively’s take on the rivalry.
Here, TenTonHammer compares Neverwinter to several D&D titles including DDO.
Here is a post from Neverwinter’s forums contrasting the two, focusing on player generation.
And let us not forget our own Sig Trent of DDOCast, who spent a few hours running up a Neverwinter character and then reported back in DDOCast 275.
I misspoke a few paragraphs back. I have tried NWN, sort of, back at GenCon 2012. For about two minutes. On a pre-existing character that someone had already maneuvered into a wilderness area. I ran about and hack/slashed some things, I don’t recall what. The whole thing felt very console-gamey to me, simplistic and cartoony. But that was quite some time ago and to be fair, if I tried DDO under the same circumstances I might have felt the same way.
So I am disregarding my two-minute demo; it happened but it doesn’t count.
I will be checking out Neverwinter. But I can’t say I am looking forward to it; it just seems like something I am supposed to do. I generally procrastinate things that I am going to do only because I am supposed to do them.
I’ll let you know how it goes. Eventually. But don’t rush, it could be awhile.
🙂 😀 🙂