Mar 282013

Sibling Rivalry

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.

🙂 😀 🙂

  4 Responses to “Sibling Rivalry: DDO vs Neverwinter”

Comments (4)
  1. I took that 2 min demo and watched others play it then forced my son to play it for me, 60 sec later he asked if he could stop.

    not for me.

  2. I have tried Neverwinter during the 3rd Beta Weekend. Because it was labeled as Dungeons & Dragons and i started to like D&D because of DDO.

    In my opinion i don’t think the rivalry will be so huge, mainly because of the simularity and differences.

    What i think DDO has over Neverwinter is the character costumization (not talking about the looks, NWO has a good char-looks costumization that gives you lots of options to create a look that you like), as in you decide how the stats of your chars are, you decide what enhencements to take, what feat, what weapons, spells and all that is variable.
    In NWO (at least in the Beta that i played) you literly rolled for the stats of your char, depending on class and race to roll for important stats. But after that almost anything was set in stone. You leveled automaticly when you reached the next XP mark, stats were added automaticly, spells were given automaticly (i played a cleric and the spell pool for a cleric was awefully small compared to DDO’s divine spellbook).
    Also, the classes in NW2 are very tied to preset builds. Battlecleric? Nope, a cleric is a healer and can cast some offensive spells aswell (healing in Beta 3 was weak aswell). It was truly following the 4ed rules there, you got an encounter spell, an at will spell and a daily. Not that it bothered me that much, but i didin’t get many options on how to play my cleric.
    So players who like to build their own chars as they like em best will prefer DDO.

    NW2 is very newb friendly, because almost everything is set in stone and you can’t make huge mistakes.
    Or as i called it: The game does all the thinking for you, where in DDO you have to think with every step you take.

    When it comes to actual questing, it felt much the same as DDO. Go into a dungeon and explore/follow the objectives to reach the end and hopefully come out succesfully.

    The city and neighborhoods themselves were beautifully build (IMHO), it had the same look as our Eveningstar because of them both being FR ofcourse, but i think NW2 has it done a bit better. The large city felt crouded and alive, lots and lots of npc’s walking around doing their every day stuff.

    I think the main PRO that NWO has is the Foundry. This is User Generated Content. Players building (DMing) their own stories and dungeons, giving many variety to the game itself. The DM has so many choises to build that you hardly notice it’s a hand crafted dungeon. Some might even be better then original dev created content.

    With the game still in Beta, and not open to the mass yet, it was a good start for me to get a look and feel of the game. I liked it. It’s not replacing my DDO needs but i think it can go alongside easily.
    But it’s all new and shiny, discovering something new around every corner is still exciting and so i’m looking foward to the next Beta opening or Official Release (whatever comes first).

    Words on the NWO forums are that the Official Release would be somewhere in May 2013. But nothing official has been annonced yet.

  3. Was in on Beta 2 and 3 weekends. On beta 2 I took a toon all the way to level 20 in rapid fashion(Think the XP was accelerated)over that weekend. The game was VERY linear. No, really, there was a LINE of sparkling stuff on the ground leading you directly to the next quest or even the next quest objective. Once you ran a quest, you could never go back and run it again, at least in beta 2. I did the entire thing solo except for the Cloak Tower which requires you to be in a group to do. I also experienced multiple crashes.

    I can’t tell you how beta 3 was because every time I logged in it crashed within 10 seconds, so the odds on me playing NWO are very slim. I can’t get much done in 10 seconds.

  4. I’m not jumping out of my seat excited for this game… however i did enjoy my time spent playing bg/bg2/nwn/nwn2 for countless upon countless hours. and so naturally i just have to get this game and play when it is released (if ever).

    But i dont honestly see it being a rivalry, or that it would even replace ddo for me personally, it’s just something im going to have to play. I’m hoping and praying that they up the character building options to being something closer to nwn/ddo… i would honestly hate to be kinda stuck on my own path and not really have any room to develop my character the way i want to play him. if it turns out that i wont have that option, that will be a mayjor let down… that is the whole thing about the D&D based rpg’s that i enjoy the most being able to develop and tinker with my character the way im comfortable with… taking that aspect away would make it not really seem like a D&D rpg anymore. atleast for me.

    if it ends up being a total suck fest… oh well i just wasted a few bucks and the game will sit on a bookshelf. no harm done.

    side mention; i dislike the thought of drizzt galore, drizzt fanboyism has become an immense pet peeve of mine when it comes to these games.

What do you think?

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