After two months of open beta Neverwinter has launched and players

After two months of open beta Neverwinter has launched and players can now buy things from the Zen store and do all the content… just like they could during open beta.

First thing first. I like Neverwinter as a game a lot. As a long time D&D player, reader of many Forgotten Realms books, and fan of Neverwinter Nights there are many things I enjoy about Neverwinter Online. I just really can’t get excited about the Neverwinter launch. This whole thing feels more like a game update than a real launch.

I am excited about the class balance changes. Clearly they still have more work to do on that front but it is movement in the right direction. Class balance is always a huge concern in a MMO and it takes time to get anywhere near a real balance. I’m really interested to see how Gauntlgrym plays out in the community. Are people going to like PvE mixed with PvP? Historically in other games the answer is often no but the implementation here seems interesting and potentially fun. The addition of the Alchemy profession also is interesting and at the very least will give use a new profession to work on.

What I am really struggling with is how this in any way is a “launch” as opposed to a normal content patch. Everyone still has the characters they had during open beta and you still have anything you bought from the Zen store. If they had wiped characters and refunded all the Zen and Astral Diamonds people had spent then the launch would feel more like a launch to me.

However, they did release a new nifty trailer for the game as a whole, which you can click on above to see. The upside of the new one versus the old trailer is this one has a bunch of gameplay footage. Additionally there is also a preview trailer for Gauntlgrym which makes it look pretty cool. Those things sort of make it feel more like a real launch.

Keep in mind I am not saying this situation is Cryptic’s fault or anything. Having an Open Beta which transitions into a launch state is quite common in free to play MMOs lately. I feel like the trend is overall bad. It gives the devs the out of always saying “oh it’s still in beta” while they happily take people’s money. Isn’t there something inherently wrong with accepting people’s money for a product which isn’t really ready yet? I guess on some level we should be happy we didn’t have to wait a year for full launch like some other games.

I wish Drow and at least one of the other classes Cryptic has been hinting at had been released with the launch. Both of those things would have helped to make this feel like a real launch and not just a content/class balancing patch. Are there things you guys think make the launch feel like a real game launch?

Neverwinter Has Launched... Does It Matter?