Neverwinter Full of Disappointment, Lacking in Everything Else

I thought we could be friends. Turns out I was wrong.

I was pretty excited to meet Neverwinter--he just seemed like a fun guy. He plays D&D, loves to PvP, and is pretty handy with quest-creation; but he's always asking for money and I have this sneaking suspicion he was dropped as a baby. You can't hate someone for being dumb, right?

It's a bit wrong to dislike a person for being less than bright, but we're talking a video game here. There's no logical excuse for a Dungeons and Dragons-based MMORPG to hold your hand so tightly, nor for the fact that you must purchase additional bag space in the cash shop as opposed to in-game.

There are so many things in this game that are simply baffling from a design standpoint. Is this really where MMOs are going? Direct advantages to cash shop users, ridiculous currency grind, time-intensive and uninteresting crafting?

Worst of all, where is the challenge? All of the content created by Cryptic is laughably easy; dungeons do not even provide a challenge, unless you're a Guardian Fighter desperately trying to hold boss aggro when they decide they don't want to be marked anymore. Only the PvP and odd Foundry quest provide any sort of challenge, making quest completion feel empty and useless.

Everything in Neverwinter feels empty and useless.

The truth is that the game feels hollow. A fun combat system can't make up for a lack of depth, nor can it make up for a game-and-business model that aims to squeeze as much from the player as possible. Cryptic deserves no praise in this release.

I've played around 60 to 70 hours of the game since open beta began, and I'm still not clear why the standard copper, silver, and gold currency is included in the game at all. While there are certainly several items you can purchase from NPCs with gold, often you can get those same items with Astral Diamonds.

Astral Diamonds are, in practice, the game's primary currency. You use them to exchange for Zen (cash shop currency), buy and sell things on the auction house, and some items can only be bought with Astral Diamonds. Identification scrolls are one example that is completely baffling. Aren't they common enough to just keep to gold currency? Why should I spent my hard-earned diamonds on identification scrolls, when every other supply can be purchased with gold?

The above is not to say that the Astral Diamond currency isn't common, but you need such massive amounts for anything worthwhile that I just feel like I'm being ripped off in-game.

I got 600k for purchasing a founder's pack, but that 600k's worth is undeniably low in-game. It costs 300k to 600k on the auction house to buy a bag. A bag! And let me tell you, those people selling bags on the AH didn't get them from playing the game, they got them from the cash shop. How is this good, non-predatory game design?

It's hard not to feel like Cryptic and Perfect World Entertainment are taking us all for a ride. Their reputations in this field speak for themselves, and sadly Neverwinter has not proven to be the exception to the rule. The PvP is fun, but it's not fun enough to justify the mess that is the rest of the game. There is simply no excuse for the game's lack of depth, distinct void of challenge, or currency clusterbang.

The game had and has a lot of potential, but as it is now Neverwinter is not worth playing or investing even a few hours of time into. Five days in, I already found myself regretting the purchase of the Guardian of Neverwinter pack. This is not worthy of being related to Dungeons and Dragons, even the bastard child that is 4th Edition. If this is where the MMORPG genre is going, I think I may have to take a hiatus.

Associate Editor

Ashley has been in with GameSkinny since its inception, and has a real passion for weird games.

Published Feb. 8th 2018
  • Tolo_9245
    Well, Played the game and maxxed a couple of toons. The game doesnt feel D&D like at all. I dont mind the AD grind as much because you can get zen with them to buy stuff in the shop.I really hate the end game grind to get the uber items.
  • RantingDeveloper
    Yeah...You're simply misinformed if you think an MMO can't have graphics of the same quality as Skyrim. You understand that graphics aren't streamed over the network, right? Okay, sure, 10 years ago, it might have been impractical because the amount of memory required to preload textures would have buckled most PCs. Today, most gamer systems have between 8-16GB of RAM - at least - which is enough to preload textures, and use an LOD (level of detail) manager to handle the rest.

    On top of that, there's this grand idea, you've probably heard of it, called quality settings. That's right. You can configure what settings you want to use. So, if your computer can't handle Ultra High settings, then run it on Medium. Mind boggling concept right?

    Okay, I'll ease up a bit. You're probably just repeating the same rhetoric that is falsely passed around the community by wanna-be know-it-alls. It's not true, don't believe it. Yes, I'm a game developer. No, that 13 year old kid who made a Visual Basic checkers game isn't qualified to tell you how things work.

    Personally, I don't think the graphics in Neverwinter are that bad. I've seen much, much worse. And as far as the crafting is concerned, it's basically a straight rip from SWTOR.

    Now, let me get to cash shops, and F2P games.

    The reason this model sucks for the consumer is because you end up having to invest so much money just to play the game before you know if you are really going to like it for the long haul. It's great for the producer. Players get in game, and end up spending the same amount that they'd spend in a year or more on a subscription based game. The difference is they spend the money immediately.

    The idea is that you just pay up front and then you never have to pay again - it's free from then on! What a bargain! Yeah right. It's free until the latest, greatest content comes out...every couple of months. Oh you want that Flaming Green Flying Monkey Dragon mount? $29.99 at the cash shop will get you enough Zen to get it. Don't worry, though, you'll look like a badass.

    What's that? Spent $300 and then realized that there was nothing at the end game to keep you really caring about staying involved? Yeah, too late. Your money is gone. Compare that to a subscription based game where it would take you nearly 2 years to spend that amount. If you decided in 5-6 months that the content sucked, you could've bailed after only spending a whopping $90.

    I bet you can see why the genre is heading this direction. It's a massive boost to revenue for game development companies. They don't have to wait to get your money. There's no time for you to decide you don't like what they are offering at the end game level before they've drained your wallet. I guess some of the more wealthy, casual gamers are deluded into thinking that somehow, this is cheaper than paying a subscription for the months you are active.

    Look, F2P wouldn't be so bad, if the men in the suits upstairs didn't decide to price everything so astronomically absurd. Really? $15.00 for an extra 24 slots of inventory space? Okay, that's fair - NOT.

    Supply and demand. Supply and demand. Supply and ... no, this is simply price gouging. We, as gamers, desperately want to play and enjoy the content, and thus, we will begrudingly spend that money despite knowing that it's nowhere near worth it. After all, what alternative do we have? Go to another, equally over-priced F2P game?

    I will never work for a greedy F2P game developer. Period. And I die a little inside when a subscription based MMO I worked hard on turns into a F2P game.

    That's another topic. You'll hear misinformed gamers shouting about how the subscription based model is dying. Yeah, it's dying alright. That's why WoW still owns the market. "But they leaked 2 million subscribers". Gee, the game is more than a decade old. I'd probably be searching hard for a new game too after playing it for 10 years.

    Second, yes, the subscription model is dying. Why? Because none of these companies are creating games under the subscription model. It's simply not good business. They can make 4x more money under the F2P model. And if they see interest start to wane, they can simply pull the plug. They already got your money. They don't have to wait another 2 years to get enough money from subscriptions to cover their development costs. Thus, they have no responsibility to keep the lights on for you.

    Here's a model for game companies to consider - let the gamer prepay in hours. Flash a warning on the screen when they only have a couple of hours remaining in the pool and a nice big green Buy More Time Now button. If they exceed 100 hours a month, cap the price off at the price you'd get for a subscriber. That's $15 per month, for 100 hours. In other words, $0.15 per hour, with a max of $15.

    That's a win/win for both developer, casual gamer, and hardcore gamer. It's a win for the developer because you are getting those coveted casual gamer dollars that the F2P games cater so heavily towards. It's a win for the casual gamer because they aren't sinking $15 (as if that's a lot anyways) per month into a game they only spend 15 hours on per month. It's a win for the hardcore gamer because the developer isn't gouging the crap out of them, and the developer now has a little more of a reason to keep the servers running.

    Seriously, how has no one thought of this model before? Oh doesn't make the instant money that microtransactions does.
  • Bad Breaks
    It is F2P. Free games will always have limitations where using real world money helps overcome the limitations. It is a requirement and F2P games are often referred to as Pay to Win. They must make money some place in order to pay for the servers and pay for the Devs. Unfortunately, NW also goes down the path of making an extremely simple game play which I have seen such simplicity in some other free games.

    There are some good F2P games, but most have been better for PVP, and NW has poorly designed PVP IMHO. NW seems designed for the free player in as much as end game content is very boring. My guess is they expect paying players to burn out, roll another toon, pay some more and end up going to one of their other games and pay some more. This is my opinion, but I find games with a subscription to have better mechanics, more interesting fights that require actual team work to figure out and execute.

    Kinda similar to you, I had high hopes for the game and sadly found it woefully lacking.
  • Spyke_3447
    Graphics aside... because it's the LEAST of this games problems... This game has so much glaring mismanagement and is a very sad example of a game that could have been SO much more.

    Between it's copypasted code which hilariously BROKE the game resulting in a rollback due to what can only be described as corner cutting, and some of the most ridiculously priced cash shop items. This is yet another example of how not to handle the business model of an MMO F2P title.

    their forum is insanely oppressive to the point where it's clear that the only voice they want to hear is the fanboy apologist. And ultimately it's a gross misuse of a well known and beloved IP
  • billy_6465
    I don't know what you are going on about, because the visuals of neverwinter are amazing. Please people, stop forgetting that it is impossible for an MMO to have graphics such as tombraider or skyrim. IMPOSSIBLE. This is the best an mmo can get. practically.
  • Greg Sanders
    Why is there only one line of quests? Replayability=0.
  • Shane Murphy
    This game is an unmitigated rip off. I had an issue when paypal delayed a payment to confirm the validity of a transaction between myself and Cryptic. Cryptic instantly banned me, but when paypal paid still haven't unbanned the character. Their speed it closing an account is amazingly fast, their responding to complaints none existent, and there is no effective way at contacting a real person to attempt to get any resolution.
    That issue aside the structure of the game is as cynical as Ashley suggests, and the money grabbing nature overrides any real sense of adventure.
  • Right~
    After playing MMOs and raiding heavy in EQ for years. Trying often the latest MMORPGs, this article is spot on how I felt about the direction of MMORPGS. Neverwinter was so dissapointing, its one of the first times i actually deleted all the toons before removing the game from the computer.
  • Andrew_8174
    I must admit the micro transaction price and the graphics bother me... and the quests are lifeless. But I think your being unfair when you say that everything is empty and useless. The combat is brilliant for an MMO, the foundry is a great idea thats used in other Perfect World games, im utterly bone tired of the crafting mechanics in alot of other MMO's and think the ones in Neverwinter and Star Trek online are both different and interesting. All in all it has some major flaws, but to say "cryptic deserves no praise in this release" is overly harsh.
  • Straberrypop
    WOW...I dont understand why it is that you are hating on this game so much. I have been playing it the last few days and I am having a lot of fun with it. I personally do not like to do PVP, and I am glad that I am not forced to. I have enjoyed the graphics and the city is amazing, the Foundry is a lot of fun and the crafting system is a little different. I like the fact that you can get everything in the game with a little work. I know I will be playing this game for a long while!
  • BLaNK_GuY
    Obviously, I usually get around 3-4 hours a day to enjoy the game and in meantime I usually face rubberbanding or regular disconnections.

    I hope they get it fixed or more players will be leaving the game pretty soon.
  • BLaNK_GuY
    It's not only Neverwinter, Perfect world has disappointed us lately with Battle of Immortals. The servers sucks randomly and game is designed in a way that we don't mind in thinking that it is basically designed for players who buy Zen's regularly in large amount.

    To be frank, I loved this game when I joined but after a year of joining I started hating it just not because of zenner's but basically because of servers.

    Hope they can make it better lately.
  • Ashley Shankle
    Associate Editor
    PWE's servers as a whole have been really bad these past 6 months,
    sometimes to the point where one game being overloaded would spiral
    and affect another.

    I don't know what they're doing over there, but they need to get it
  • GS_Mike
    I've been enjoying the game for the last week, though I get where you are coming from. For me, I've been surprised by the little things. Most everything from Cryptic is voice acted, I love the companions. Forge, while I haven't created anything myself, is a great idea; even if it isn't unique.

    Its not the game I will be playing for years to come, and with the exception of this past weekend, I don't see myself spending hours a day or even a week in it. But as a distraction, I've enjoyed it.
  • Ashley Shankle
    Associate Editor
    The voice acting is a nice touch, but it doesn't go far in adding any
    immersion to the experience since quests are fairly standard and
    the scope of the game's storytelling is so small.

    There are certainly some nice Foundry quests, and kudos to those
    who put so much effort into them, but otherwise there is very little
    of offer or even see.

    In an odd way, I can't help but think of it as a GW2 lite, but somehow
    even more disappointing. :( I had such high hopes.
  • FP-Cond
    The PVP is the only saving grace in this game IMHO. Its another dump of a title from Perfect World otherwise.
  • Ashley Shankle
    Associate Editor
    Basically this. The only real fun I had with the game was in fact the
    PvP, and honestly that could be more balanced and varied. I just
    don't get what they were thinking when they decided to send this
    into open beta.
  • Joseph Rowe
    Featured Columnist
    I had a lot of fun when we played, but that fun doesn't seem like it outweighs the horrible problems the cash shop brings. For duck's sake, please fix this game. It could be so ducking good.
  • Ashley Shankle
    Associate Editor
    I sure hope they get all their ducks in a row.
  • McLain Anderson
    I was so excited for this game when it was first announced as an RPG all those years ago... Then it became an MMO and lost a few points in my book. And when I finally logged into the game in open beta the other day, I was thrown back by the fact that the game looks like it was made five years ago... Disappointing :(
  • Ashley Shankle
    Associate Editor
    The visuals are pretty drab, but if the game were good enough that could
    be overlooked. Unfortunately, the rest of the game is about as drab as
    it looks.

    They could have done SO MUCH, but instead did so little. It's a shame.

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