by Marko Susimetsä
previewed on PC
Co-op action RPG (cntd)
Neverwinter will also be an action RPG, which is a concept somewhat alien to most RPG fans. This means that there will be no turns or initiative rolls, but there may be a pause function, so that the gamers will have time to work on their tactics. Positioning, flanking and tactics are to be the key to success in combat encounters. The developers state that the game is about teamwork and how a group of players will learn to focus on their strengths and cover their weaknesses – in short, they will become a cooperative team.
The players will have class abilities, in the same sense as tabletop D&D, but these will be slightly tweaked to serve the more action-oriented gameplay. The abilities will be divided in three categories similar to the tabletop D&D: at will, once per encounter and daily. However, the game will use time increments to recharge the abilities, which basically means that the daily category will actually be “once per a few hours” instead.
Onto the stereotypes
My personal pet peeve with many RPGs are the pre-set character classes that make it seem as if warriors are born to be warriors and thieves are born to be thieves, instead of these being just temporary vocations that the characters can vary between, as life throws them around a bit. At launch, Neverwinter will offer you the most basic of the traditional stereotypes: Wizard, Fighter, Rogue, Ranger and Cleric. No need to go to the specifics with these choices, I think, as everyone who has ever played RPGs will know what they are about.
However, after launch, the game will be complemented with further stereotypes, such as Paladins, Barbarians, Monks and Bards etc. etc. And naturally, these stereotypes will be joined by the traditional variety of races/species, such as humans, elves, dwarves etc. Luckily, the developers have promised a couple of more interesting races in addition to these classics.
Like the original Neverwinter Nights, the upcoming Neverwinter will also host an editor that the gamers can use to create new quests, texts, speech and perhaps even monsters. However, they will not be able to create new items – probably in order to keep the semi-online game in some sort of balance. The new content can be linked to the game through existing NPCs or entrances and the new content will be reviewable and sortable by the author and score, so that it is easy to find the best content possible as easily as possible.
Hopeful, but also a bit vary
Admittedly, there isn’t a lot of information available of Neverwinter at this point, but it still seems that most of this information is focussed on action and combat and combat abilities. Not much is said about the story or the possibility to actually role-play a character in this role-playing game. After all, RPGs are more than one random set of stats going against another random set of stats in random locations with combat rules that give some opportunity to random chance. Tough life choices are what make a character and we can only hope that there will be such character-building choices to be made in this game. That, and a good story.
There’s still a long way to go before Neverwinter is to be released at the end of 2011. The time in-between will hopefully be filled with more information of the world and plot and role-playing chances to be had in Neverwinter. We’ll keep an eye out for it.