Did you realize that PAX was going on this weekend? I bet you did. I bet something gave it away, like the puddle flood of posts titled with PAX Prime 2012 all over our feed. If you didn’t notice, here’s thew news: PAX Prime went down this weekend. You’re a little late, though; it’s pretty much all over. But you can read about stuff we did. Go ahead. I’ll wait. This post ain’t going anywhere.
So now that you’re up to speed, let’s talk about about Neverwinter and RaiderZ, both of which Perfect World Entertainment was showing off this weekend.
Neverwinter and the Foundry
Hailing from a long tradition of customizable and user-generated content, Neverwinter is living up to its legacy. Press demos at Gamescom and PAX showed off the in-game tool, the Foundry, with which users can create their own quests and campaigns.
The development team has been focused on integrating Foundry creations with the “real” game world. Foundry quests will show up right alongside other quests in the objective tracker, and all Foundry editing is done within the game client itself. There’s no point, the team reasons, in splitting up a playerbase and diverting its attention. The whole idea is to benefit and enrich the game’s content and community, and that’s best done by focusing attention inward. Similarly, NPCs, items, and locations in the game world can be tagged for use in player-generated quests.
Players have multiple ways of finding Foundry creations. UGC content will be featured on players’ landing page, but those gamers looking for a more immersive experience can mosey into a pub and look at its job posting board or talk to a Well-Informed Barmaid to get lists of local UGC quests more organically.
The devs hopes players take pride in their creations. Foundry quests can be rated through a Yelp-like system, so players can leave reviews and ratings for quests. Authors’ names are attached to their quests, so fans passionate about UGC can gain real notoriety for their handiwork. If you’re a particular fan of a content generator, you can visit her game-based blog, donate in-game currency to her cause, and subscribe to her activity to be informed the next time she puts out an awesome quest.
The system is designed to have a low barrier to entry as the tool is in-game and has an incredibly simple interface. Each part of quest-building can be done with little hassle, allowing players to get the outline of their stories made simply. NPCs can be taken from a registry; mobs can be built by presets. Homes and dungeons and all manner of sets can be tagged onto each other and decorated with artist presets. However, behind that surprisingly simple exterior (it took about 30 seconds for the developer driving the demo to pull in the bits and pieces necessary to have a fully functioning kill-and-catch quest) lies an almost infinite pit for the keenly detail-oriented among us to throw all of their time into.
Players can even chain quests together to form a campaign of consecutive quests that build upon each other. Moreover, a player could feasibly do all of her leveling in UGC quests and instances, since she’ll be gaining appropriate amounts of XP from her adventures.
The tool will need the loving care of the community to flourish, but if there’s one thing the Forgotten Realms fans have proven themselves passionate about, it’s expending insane amounts of time and energy modifying games to suit their dreams.
Zlaying baddiez with RaiderZ
Raiderz is in preparation for its open beta testing phase, which means it’s time to lure in new players with the promise of shinies.
For those unfamiliar with RaiderZ, let me sum up: It’s an “action combat” monster-hunting game. Sure, there are these quest things that try to impart lore and story to you, and yes, there are trash mobs and li’l fellas scattered about for the killing, but at it’s core, RaiderZ is about finding big things and hacking them to pieces.
The game is all about facilitating the hacking and slashing and the way that hacking and slashing commences. Mobs will frequently drop weapons upon their death, which can be used for a short time to augment your playstyle. During many boss fights, bits and pieces of the boss can fall off. Your best chance of killing a certain monster might be to turn his own venomous horn against him. The ability to switch between weapons on the fly and bind skillbars to weapons allows players to focus more on the game and less on the UI.
The game prides itself on its actiony combat, which has no tab targeting, so players have to actually visibly hit a mob in order to do damage. Another selling point, the team feels, is the game’s classless system. Players pick a certain job (from the options of Defender, Berserker, Cleric, and Sorcerer) on character creation and invest their first 10 levels and skillpoints on that job. After that time, players are allowed to buy skills from any job to tailor their skillbars to their playstyles. While a certain amount of dedication is necessary to unlock the more powerful Mastery skills, this allows players a certain amount of freedom that isn’t necessarily found elsewhere.
If you are familiar with Raiderz, the OBT will have some new stuff for you as well. Transformation crystals, which are consumable stones that alter the appearance and attacks of player characters, will be making their debut. Food that grants a buff and can be shared with party members will also be in attendance, while an increased level cap and zone range will bring players to places they’ve never seen before. The Great Wall of Silence is holding back a horde of crazies and blockades the game area that has the biggest of the baddies.