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  • Gender: Male
  • Birthday:August 06,1981
  • Location: France

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Hello friends and new readers to my blog. If you are not familiar with my experience game play reviews, then I will briefly explain. I get into a game for a test run as far as end game as I can go. I have a screen shot and note taking ALT-TABed to create a sort of general review blog as I go. I give a score on the over all experience in level increments. And this is my first increment in Neverwinter of levels 1-10. 


These are the notes in chronological order:


"Character creation is deep enough. Strange it is not AS deep as Star Trek Online. That is a let down". - Character creation was nice and detailed. I had a decent share of looks to mess around with and customize. Including full tweaking of head size etc. To start off you chose Race. Race has stat boosts that will effect class. I wanted a healer class. But what race was best for it? Generally you get a +2 bonus to certain stats. I was looking for a race that had +2 in Wisdom and/or Force, Charisma. There were 8 races to chose from! Yes! 8! Nice! Humans had a +2 to any stat boost but lacked a bonus +2 in another area. The other races all had +2 in one and a +2 in another. I chose Half-Elf for Constitutionand wisdom +2. In fact when you click on a race it automatically moves to the Class menu and the recommended class is pre-selected for you (you can change it though). It felt a little forced and kind of pigeon holed you to one idea of a best build. But I am curious to know if other hybrids work well like a half ogre healer, or if it is just gimped healing the entire game...I played it safe and went all recommended. 
  Next is the Character look. As mentioned above, I like the variety they had. But a few negative things stuck out. 1) These models are straight from Star Trek Online. As a player of STO, I felt like I was just modifying the Volcan model. Strangely, STO has a much deeper and complex character design than Neverwinter. Why? What director thought this limited model was good for a new title AFTER a game like STO? If you are not familiar with STO character design, it is EPIC! You can take fins, tatoos, scars, body molds and enlarge, shrink, twist, mold, turn, elongate, shrink, and change colors of each little body piece (a little hidden gem of the STO game). So, I was schocked Neverwinter was exceptionally limited on looks. And even though I could change GENERAL size and proportions, I really did not stand out or look different than the others or the general model. In fact I could not even get as skinny as I could in Star Trek. The model is normal, beefy, and super muscular. This looks odd on an elf, even a half elf this is odd. Why did they drop the bomb here? I do not know. Also, in STO you can create "Alien" as a race, basically you take the stats, and create your own beast. You can use whatever modeling design for this new beast. Neverwinter would have been awesome to let us do that! Take the bonus +2 stats, apply them how we want, and create a half human lion headed beast...Why not? The tools are there..Ok rant over.
    Next menu is the overall stats. All your Int, Dex, Wis, etc are randomly rolled, you can re-roll the generator until you get a balance you like. I rolled about 4 times and had a decent Wisdom - STR balance. 
  Final menu is a back story and biography. Allot like STO, where you can write your own BIO. And then you chose your own god and sign and some other fluff stuff that I have no idea if it is actually useful to anything in game...

(Sup bro!)

"Starter area is fluid linear tutorial, but immersed in a fleshed out world to give it a deep immersion". - The game kicks off with a nice Cinematic video. Very well done and nice to watch. Just to nit pick, there sort of is not a DEEP back story in the video other than "army of undead attack never winter, 4 heroes attempt to block them". You start off waking up on the shore of battle and walking up to and into the battle camps of Neverwinter. This is basically the tutorial. It is an introduction to movement and battle and buttons. Everything was fluid and flowed nicely, the button layout is a little different than most Action combat games (F2 being the button to free up the mouse, etc), but it flowed very nicely and I picked it up immediately. A very nice touch was seeing in game the things I saw in the cinematic video. Like one of the heroes over a dead dragon (making me know, then and there, that the village had success in stopping one of the skeleton dragons). It felt alive and intense. And this is just the tutorial! Very immersed and just enough text to flesh out the lore. No long reading of "Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away, there wilst a young boy whoe on day blah blah lbah"... Don't get me wrong, I like deep lore, but how it is presented is key. In RIFT, I just click past all the dialog. I really do not care. Here, I actually enjoy reading up 1 paragraph of lore and moving on.

"Some NPCS I cannot talk to, the others all seem to be voice scripted so far". - The NPC's had great voice scripting. Other NPCs, like the standard soldier just hanging out, say nothing. Some chit chat...It is odd. Games like AION, where every NPC has a cute little voice clip would have been great to add to the static npc's. The main NPC's you deal with are voice scripted just fine, but they seem a little "stiff" sometimes. A little more character in them would have been a nice touch. All and all though. All well done.

(Tutorial shows the dragon from the cinematic was taken out by this bad ass....no not me, the other guy)


"Cut scene that involves in game models, including yourself. A little less...flash." - So, basically what this means is that after the cinematic video...as I progressed in the game, there were other "cut scene" moments, but sadly they were not 3D video quality, they were basically just in game models doing things. I was a little dissapointed. I mean, I just saw an epic attack, and moments later I am fighting an epic battle on the bridge about to finish the tutorial, and the cut scene is just me in game saving some one and talking etc..It would have been cool to see a nice graphical video again...but hey, this works too. This does set the standard though. From now on I see the little dips in quality that feel "lazy" or "rushed". Like the NPC voice scripting, they took it to a good level, then sort of backdown from it. Same here, they took the story video telling, and then kind of gave up and just did the standard live feed thing...Not really a bad thing just a "if only" sort of thing. 
  I also notice that before all boss fights, there is a little cut scene. But so far, they all do the SAME THING! They say a little something like "you can't stop me" and they show a small cut scene of the boss pointing at you...It is actually comical...

(She is so drunk she can't even hold that mug properly)

"Combat is smooth and enjoyable. This would be a GREAT TAB target game. But since it is not. The action is clunky. Specifically the slide to a oid hits." - Allot of this game reminds me of Guild Wars 2. Especially the color pallet selection used. And the combat. GW2 is that awkward "it is tab targeting" but flows like a action combat game. Where you can run up just swing and whatever is in the way takes damage. Sometimes you hit a mob by accident if you move a little to much. Neverwinter is kind of like that but more "auto lock on". There is no tab targeting in Neverwinter, but yo also CANNOT SWING the weapons unless you are mouse howvered over. As a healer, I cast, and it feels like an FPS. The odd part is the auto lock on / mouse hover. I say auto lock on because if the target moves...so does your aiming reticle. Just a little bit, like about 4 steps it tracks the target for you. It can break if the target leaps away, or you pull off. Mix in that you cannot attack unless standing still and you get this BIG impression you are playing in tab targeting. But, since you can break easy enough, it is not truly tabbed combat... Becase of this, I found myself spamming skills that would not fire sometimes because I was not hovered over by a hair or two...And I possed the questions, Why not make it tab targeting? This would one of the smoothest tab combat game if it was. Or it would be like Star Trek Online...and we all know how that ground combat turned out...So I guess I like it how it is..

  "When you slide you are stiff as a statue and move. So if I SHIFT + BACK, I do this slide backwards while forzen looking ahead deal. Not at all the cool dodge and roll or TERA." - Yeah, so you get a slide action early on that eats up energy (recharges fast enough). Just like in TERA. It is the dodge button. You can tap "W" two times to use it ( I never do), or use SHIFT + Direction (I always do). It works as intended but this is where Neverwinter sort of fails in the action combat area... The animation is stiff and ugly. You basically do this crouch like thing and SLIDE in the direction pressed. So if I am facing an enemy and SHIFT+BACK, I slide back still facing the enemy...IT looks silly, like some one pushing a statue across the table. You can do this in mid air also...This is another strange thing...In Star Trek Online, they have a good roll / dodge mechanic! You actually tumble in the direction desired! WHY NOT IN NEVERWINTER? Again, another little "we got lazy" sign. Tie this in with "stand and cast" combat = you get allot of awkward combat moments that start fluid but get clunky in the heat of battle. And really makes some fights uneven. Where you HAVE to illogically take damage because your dodge is strange and you have to stop to cast.

"For an open action combat game, I am shocked that we cannot use free fire. I cannot shoot at barrels. I can only attack when my target is in the sights. Odd, that is just more proof this is a better tab target game." -  Another odd point. There are barrels, chairs and other movable objects, but since your combat is not usable unless targeting an enemy, these objects only get "pushed" when you run into them, making the world feel a little plastic like. It is a small detail, but the these little things would have made a cool difference. Again, lilke in Guild Wars 2, there is allot of detail and beauty in the graphics and the city, but what you actually do in them is a little limited. 

"I am surprised to find that they use a potion spam system. Allot of success depends on equipping and using potions. HP Regen is not used really. Potions in battle, health kits out of battle. A few campfires to total regen in pauses. There are no mana points, therefore no MP pots." - It is what it is. Like GuildWars 2 the hot bar is VERY reserved for just a handful of skills. Only about 3 slots for potions. I noticed early on, that potions will save your life at times. So HP pots are important part of surviving. I have no mana points so I only manage HP. NO mana also means unlimited spam of spells that respect only a cool down. As a healer, as my heals got stronger, I relied less on potions. But I use them occasionally on harder bosses. Basically, as a rume of thumb, if you are not a good slider and quick on your feet, you will compensate with potions.

  "AWESOME ENVIRONMENTS, but Not liking that I can not drop agro by running. 
I have to engage every battle that is aggored." - The game breaks down into 3 parts. The main city, Neverwinter where you do commerce and other npc transactions. Then there are little instance withing the city to start off. Then you exit to another area on the map, another city usually. These are very open worldish if you will. That is, it is an instanced area, but for everyone (like in guild wars 2), and withing this open areas there are multiple levels, high grounds, mid grounds, low grounds. There are enough paths to get lost in, enough side paths to explore and find treasure and mobs. There are quest to be done. And then, there are instanced scenarios inside each one of these villages (for you and group only). There are houses to enter, slums to crawl through, holes in the wall to enter and clean out a bandit hiding withing. And all of it is rich and seamlessly streamlined so far. Very well done. It feels seamless and rewarding. It takes out the annoying travel of running one place to the next. in open road. However, like Guild Wars 2, it makes mounts seem silly to have. Just cosmetic. There is not really a "smooth" transition between lands either (what you sacrifice for instanced mapping). So if you liked watching the terrain go from a desert to slowly turning green to a jungle, this is not the game. This is instantly plopping you into the next scenario. However so far, it is all the same terrain in the first 10 levels that it all flows smooth. 
I am locing the colors used in this game. Very vibrant yet moody. Guild Wars 2 used a little to much cartoony colors (almost the same pallete as WoW), and I never stuck to it or had the "wow this is so cool" moment. I enjoyed the detail of GW2 but in Neverwinter, I am getting more of that "middle ages" RPG element feel in the wood of the houses, the darkness of the ambience post battle raveaged village. etc. etc. It is appealing and more "mature" if you will. 

  What I am NOT liking is in the general maps, since they are large and almost "open worldish", the attacking mobs do not drop agro. You have to face and fight almost every encounter. YOu will be chased all the way to the gates...I have even seen some enemies exit an instance and chase you all the way back home. It keeps you clicking and busy, but after awhile it gets a little tiring like: "Do I really have to walk back to camp and refight all those mobs?" There is no instant teleport. And come think of it...there are no teleports what so ever in the maps. The only time you "teleport" is just when you physically exit a map; you can click on the next city to go to. But no where (so far) is there a teleport in city to shorten the walk around. I like it. But I do not like the mobs not dropping agro. 


(Halloween, Neverwinter style)

"I got a confeti reward to shoot out. The menu system is a little off so that when I use item in bag, I miss the effect in game because I am stuck in "bag view". Most mmorpgs use the hot bar to use items like this. But this hot bar is reserved for select skills."  - Most action combat games use a button to free up the mouse. Usually ALT. It is F2 in this game (completely reassignable). When it is pressed, the entire game goes dark black and the menus become the focus on the screen. Sadly, this happens when you are fishing around in your inventory. So, what sucks about this, is that when you want to use something, like fireworks, or confeti, you cannot link it to the hotbar (Hotbar STRICTLY reserved for certain skills only), and so if you "USE" in inventory, you miss the animation unless you spam ESC 2 times. But since the animation is about 3 seconds and it takes 2 seconds to spam ESC, I saw the last animation of the confeti...Just a little detail...and it is probably in the options to change the transparency? (I hope, some one can clarify?)...otherwise, it kind of is a design flaw. But super small detail that is not to important. Just another "what were they thinking" moment. 


"The foundry is present. I have not used it, but is seems VERY TEMPTING!" - If you played Star Trek Online, you know the foundry is the player made content. In STO you access it through a game menu, and you can filter the top rated, read comments, vote, etc... I like the idea, I even played a few, but I never liked how stale it felt in STO. Being presented in the menu made it feel like an add on, not an immersion in the game. In Neverwinter, they take care of that. There is usually an NPC hanging out (like a billboard) that will talk to you and offer quests for your local region (and top voted) for the foundry. Not bad, wonderful immersed presentation. And of course, the menu system is always there too if you want to open it on the go. 

"Exceptionally gripping rhythm so far. No down time. Very go go go live action. I am having trouble stepping away from the PC at the moment. So much for today's chores!" - I got hooked! Other games like this are not as seamless! Most games have a down time where you have to read, gather, or start researching each and every npc to make sure you did not miss anything. This game has really got you on the go! I was waiting for that "well that got boring, Ill go AFK, read up on a game site, and come back"...that never happened. I am a little anxious to get back playing RIGHT now as I write this. Now, I am only level 10, but in comparison with other games I played, like RIFT, where the first 20 levels were not at all special or memorable, and lack luster (but got a little better later on)... the first impression of a game is important. And it's ability to hold that charm and progress in a rewarding manner is good. This game is doing that so far! I have never repeated any content. I get decently rewarded. Not over the top showered with items, but not under rewarded. Just right, and curious to see how it unfolds. Because of this decent progress, I would not even mind repeating and doing a little farming now at level 10, then being able to move on. IF they introduce the farm element, but calmly...I could handle it. 
When I look at other games like end game STO grind, Forsaken Work even and general grind, PWI grind based, every one of their titles just makes me not want to sign in. In fact, I was SHOCKED I ended up with more positive things to say about this title than negative. I was honostly wanting to come back here and complain about what another P2W piece of crap PWE destroyed in Neverwinter. But it seems great for now. Reading up on others comments in the forums it seems there is only one purchase later on that would be worth a 17 dollar pay out, That is a pet that cannot be killed and you can have your other pets stats transfered to it. So level up your F2P pet, get it maxed out, then but this ord thing, transfer the stats, and poof, a pet that attacks and can't be killed to help out out. Again, it is help, it is not really replacing the power of an entire team or you. So it seems legit. And at this rate, I would rather pay for this quality and FUN I am having for 17 bucks than a 60 dollar box price for GW2. AGAIN, my opinion could change later on. But this is a level 1-10 experience. 


"Like guild wars 2 there are spots on the map to see a little cinematic flyby".  - Just another little nod to GW2 "rip off" if you will. 


"Not sure if all PWE games are like this now due to ARC system, or if it is just CRPYTIC, but I have all my friends from Star Trek Online now listed in my Never Winter friends list, and it alerts me of connection or log out, like if they were in Neverwinter...Awesome...you are slowly impressing me PWE..." - This surprised me allot. I open my friends list, and there is my entire list of friends from Star Trek Online. It has their name, the game they are in (or last logged in if offline). WHAT! You can send messages, whispers, etc.. Not sure when this system was added but AWESOME community tool! I do not know if this is just between CRYPTIC users (since I only had my STO buddies on there, and had no PWI friends) or if this is a PWE gaming community thing? They are using the ARC game client thing and that seems to have united all the games in one downloadable place with a "communities" button. I did not do research or anything but if any one knows, feel free to clarify in the comments. 

(They should call this game "Neverlost" you can never get lost with pixie dust leading the way)


"Level 10 Opened up allot of features / skills
" - The skills progress in small bundles. You have powers - Skills - Talents. Powers get 1 point every level. They are the things you will be using in your hot bar (attacks, buffs, etc.). You start with the first tier, and can only move on once you spend points. So to unlock the next tier, you need 10 points spent in the first one. I like this allot because it is no head scratching, or trying to plot out some long ove complicated skill tree. It is, "chose out of these two or three roles and move on". 
  Skills are the fine tuning of your build. As a priest, I can go damage skill tree - healing skill tree focus - or solo (hp boost) skill tree focus. These give boost to STR, WIS, etc..
  Talents are reserved later on for a "companion". It seems to be passive skills to boost a pet up.
Level 10 unlocked a boost modifier to my general stats. That 18+2 in wisdom I got at character creation, I now can modify any stat with +1 modifier at level 10. So I added it to Wisdom again. 
  I got a new skill and some other nice things. Again, very rewarding and interesting as you progress, and just ENOUGH, not to much. No menu sink to get lost in etc. I fiddled around for about 5 min understanding my attributes, and was back off exploring. That is one thing I will say about this game, I was surprised to find a balance between exploration and combat. Other action based games have this focus on more combat grind kill kill kill. Because they know combat is the selling point. This game balances the exploration in the details of the map and places to run off too and the way the quests pan out. This balance is just enough to keep me (KEY WORD) ENTERTAINED! 
 

It has good music and sounds. Very lively.

(This is how you do instanced "open world'. Choices. I found myself often lost, or just exploring for loot in the well designed cities. Just because there is a guide on the path does not always mean you follow it)


As of now,
I give this game a nice 4/5. 
It has very enjoyable elements. I am always interested and on edge of seat looking forward to next area to quest in. I am interested enough in the games skill system and exploration. It is smartly put together between maps for an instanced game. It has allot of smart menu elements. It does have little blemishes and places that feel "lazy" in development. I have not tried out allot of things yet. I will talk about guilds, grouping, and social aspects the next time (mostly because I cannot use whisper until level 15 to reply to people)...
I also plan to talk more about armor, weapons, and customization next article.
 
This is just a level 1 -10 review. Next review, 10-20, things could change. I could get pissed and drop this games score...or it could remain the same. Or it could be very awesome and exceed even farther for a max score (I would want more cinematic cut scenes, epic events, etc..).



  


Tags:
Neverwinter   MMORPG   CRYPTIC  

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