Neverwinter Create your own adventure

I discovered my favorite quest in Neverwinter about 30 levels in, when I stood

overlooking a fiery pit with my dungeon group scattered around me. And suddenly it

hit me: I couldn’t stand these people. I’d grown sick of the tank’s inability to hold
Neverwinter Days The 14 guides you need to read
aggro and the mage’s smartass commentary, and so I slew them and took their loot.

Like Michael Douglas in Falling Down, I’d somehow become the bad guy – the boss even

– prompting five-man groups of adventurers to rush in and try to take me down. (I’ve

no idea what I would have dropped.) It was awesome, silly fun you just don’t find in

most other MMORPGs, particularly not free-to-play ones. And here’s the really

surprising thing: I was playing a user-created dungeon called Tired of Being the

Hero. For all of the flaws springing from Neverwinter’s dogged linearity, its high-

priced cash shop, and over-reliance on instances, developer Cryptic gives all of us

the tools to create more memorable dungeon experiences than you’ll find in its big-

budget cousins. Who needs raids in a fantasy MMO when you can create scenarios like


Cryptic certainly gets the high-fantasy ambiance of Dungeons & Dragons right, at

least, but Neverwinter isn’t an overtly pretty game outside of a few breathtaking

vistas. Character models themselves look like holdovers from the PlayStation 2 era,

though they’re extensively customizable and the world itself is full of little

surprises. Most notably, Neverwinter has a physics system absent from most other

MMOs. Slam your sword into a barrel or bump into a tapestry – and shock upon shock –

they move! (Bummer, then, that you can’t sit in chairs.)  Where Neverwinter’s visual

failings are most noticeable is in the sad fact that the models for my character’s

armor and weapons scarcely changed throughout my trek to the level cap of 60. Aside

from my helmet and cloak, I could have taken a screenshot of my Warrior at 55 and

claimed he was level 25, and few people would have been the wiser.

Although Cryptic created an extensive storyline that complements this rich D&D world,

it’s not the most trustworthy of dungeon masters. Even with questgivers delivering

fully voiced orders by actors of widely varying competence, the plot never succeeds

in forcing its way to the foreground of the experience. It doesn’t help that quest

progression in Neverwinter is as straight as one of Drizzt’s arrows, bumping you from

one quest to another with almost no consideration given to exploration. Even in the

few moments when I thought I’d found a hidden quest hub, I later found that the

natural quest progression would have led me to that spot anyway. On the bright side,

quest hubs are so well spaced that Neverwinter generally avoids the tedious,

pointless jogs from one quest giver to another, aside from the long gallop back to

the stage’s entrance once you’ve beaten the final bosses in one of the many instanced

solo quests.