Tuesday, April 30, 2013

More Neverwinter Observations

A few more observations about Neverwinter Online to accompany yesterday's post:

Class-Locked Gear

Further eroding the relationship between NWO and actual D&D rules is the fact that while great weapon fighters and guardian fighters should, technically, be able to wield any weapon....they can't. Great swords, for example, are locked to great weapon fighters for use. Likewise for other classes. Is the concept that any character should pick up any weapon and be able to fight with it so difficult? Sure, they may get penalized....but locking specific gear to specific classes is very not-D&D-like.

Gear is Very Uniform in Design

I haven't noticed this yet, I haven't played long enough...but my wife and others have. Gear is very limited in appearance for quite a while. Your customization choices boil down to buying dyes in the cash shop, apparently. My guess is that interesting gear is found closer to the end content levels and (naturally) in the item shops for zen. As my wife put it, this game reeks of "Korean MMO design." She's very, very gung-ho about this game, but at the same time she's never been able to stand Korean MMO ideology for very long in the past, so I'll be interested to see how much staying power it has. Luckily, the aesthetics of NWO are (to my eyes) fairly rooted in the D&D 4th edition design aesthetic, which (YMMV) means it looks decent enough and has a sufficiently western flair so far.

Of course, it still inevitably draws comparisons to Turbine's increasingly impressive-in-retrospect DDO, which let any character wear anything with penalties, and also allowed for a crazy level of customization even before looking in their cash shop (albeit with full suits instead of piecemeal).

Unfortunately, limited gear appearance is, while nothing new to the Korean MMO mindset, still a black eye even against the likes of Guild Wars 2 and WoW, which still offer a bit more variety, on average, in the lower levels (even if much of it is special stuff found in instances).

Although this is all quite negative, it still bears stressing that NWO stands up on its own merits, and also does quite well against other MMOs of like design...it just fails miserably as a proper D&D adaptation.

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