Neverwinter First Impressions – Combat, 6 Hours In

The above is the worst image I could have chosen, but it's the only screenshot I've taken and I wanted to speak on the game a bit before heading to bed.
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I have been pretty hyped for Neverwinter over the weekend. A bit later than those interested in the game during closed beta, but early enough to toss $60 of my (not so) mad dosh at the game for the Guardian of Neverwinter pack. Having watched more than 18 hours of streams over the weekend, I figured I’d take a gamble go for it. I mean, why not?

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I guess I made the right decision, at least for now. These past 5 hours have been pretty great.

I’m a fan of both action and tab-targeting combat systems in MMORPGs, and Neverwinter’s combat system is one of the most fluid I’ve tried my hand at over the years. While some animations (especially in the case of the Control Wizard) look a little off, the actual input and carrying out of input commands is very fast and feels responsive.

With some MMOs, the combat feels more akin to more bulky action titles like Monster Hunter. I can’t say the same this time around, because it feels like a console action title. This means it may not be as complex as many PC RPG enthusiasts may like, but the speed of combat makes up for the game’s innate lack of combat complexity. You are tied to one small bar of abilities, and you have to deal with it. Whether that sounds like your bag or not is up to you.

Neverwinter’s combat vs. Guild Wars 2’s combat

I have spent a good amount of time in Guild Wars 2 and wiggled my fingers all in that combat system, despite never really enjoying my time with the game.

Having freshly come from TERA at the time I started playing, I found GW2’s combat to be adequate, but not particularly rewarding of player skill or practice. With that said, a great deal of comparisons have been drawn between Neverwinter’s combat system and that of Guild Wars 2 because of the hotkey limitations and action combat.

The similarities between Neverwinter and Guild Wars 2’s combat are far and few between.

One of my least favorite aspects of GW2‘s combat was that it felt “loose” — my abilities don’t feel to me, as the player, to have a great deal of impact on my enemies. At times I feel like I really could just get completely trashed on house tequila and still play the game just as effectively.

GW2’s combat is just not ideal for players looking for reflexive combat. Low risk, low reward, and generally low skill sans those Elementalists that put everyone else to shame. Take that as you will.

The combat in Neverwinter is only similar to that of Guild Wars 2 in that hotkeys are limited. The loose, floaty combat seen in GW2 is nowhere to be found in NVW. Combat is tight, your weapon range actually matters, and attention to positioning is important to putting out the most damage in a fight.

The “Daily Skills” — powerful combat abilities only available when your charge bar is full — add some variety to combat. Guard or teleport cancelling attack animations is possible, meaning you are only going to do as well as your personal response time. It just feels like a completely different genre from that of GW2.

While I can’t speak much on the game past the combat and what I’ve messed around with so far just yet, I can reassure (or bother) you with the information that Neverwinter’s combat could not possibly be further from the combat you have to trudge through in Guild Wars 2 unless it were a tab-targeting MMO.

For those few of you who have gotten to play Dragon’s Prophet in its closed beta phase, it’s like that. But more fun.

Just a reminder that Neverwinter’s open beta officially opens to all players today at 9AM PDT. That’s 12PM for my East Coast brethren!

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Ashley Shankle
Ashley's been with GameSkinny since the start, and is a certified loot goblin. Has a crippling Darktide problem, 500 hours on only Ogryn (hidden level over 300). Currently playing Darktide, GTFO, RoRR, Palworld, and Immortal Life.