is gearing up for its third beta weekend starting this Friday, March 22,
and will be unveiling a couple of new things: the long-awaited Great
Weapon Fighter class and the Player-versus-Player system. At Wednesday's
press event, the focus was squarely on the PvP.
Our group, led by Cryptic Art Lead Joe Jing, started off with a skirmish
in Helm's Hold. We were all insta-leveled to 31 in preparation for the
press event, so this skirmish was a good way to get a feel for shiny new
higher-level characters. The group consisted of two Great Weapon Fighters,
a Guardian Fighter, a Devoted Cleric and Joe Jing's Trickster Rogue.
Helm's Hold was a pretty interesting skirmish. A group of Ashmadai
cultists are summoning devils for some foul plot. The players are tasked
with barging in there and cleaning up the place, culminating in a pitched
battle with a giant, nasty Pit Fiend boss. Our tank-heavy group blasted
through the skirmish with barely a hitch. Well... okay, I died once or
twice due to utter lack of caution and unfamiliarity with a new character
class. But other than that.
While we rolled through the skirmish, Joe Jing explained that the
developers working on the game - himself included - are proper Dungeons
& Dragons fans who are enjoying the hell out of their work, and that
they are attempting to remain as faithful to the published 4th Edition
material as possible. Obviously, with Neverwinter's game mechanics being
as different as they are from the actual tabletop D&D, some liberties
have to be taken - monsters have thousands of Hit Points instead of merely
hundreds, for example. But if a creature's entry in the Monster Manual
mentions a special attack, you can bet that the Neverwinter version has
Once the skirmish was completed, we queued up for a match of PvP.
Neverwinter will be using instanced PvP with a variety of maps. The map we
got into was Hotenow Domination, a 5-versus-5 domination map requiring
taking and holding three control points.
Gameplay in the Hotenow Domination map was pretty straightforward: stand
near the control pylons until they turn the color of your team. Nobody has
to stand there channeling them or anything like that, just having the team
standing in the circle around the pylon is enough. The bulk of the
fighting will take place around the central pylon, but sneaky teams can
worm their way around and capture the opposite team's "home" pylon to the
north or south.
PvP maps use level scaling. All players will be scaled up to match the
highest-level participant. The median level of our group was 31 - except
for Joe, we were all running new toons freshly auto-leveled to 31. When we
got into the PvP match, we were cranked up to 34
Domination-style maps tend to favor tank-heavy groups, which can soak up
more damage and occupy control points for longer. Great Weapon Fighters
are not quite as tank-y as Guardian Fighters, having no shields and
lighter armor, but they can certainly hold their own in an extended melee,
and dish out a world of hurt while doing it.
Our blue team had two Great Weapon Fighters and a Guardian Fighter, with
a healer and a sneaky striker for backup. The red team had a nearly
identical team to ours, but had another Great Weapon Fighter instead of a
Devoted Cleric, and they had two devs. Somehow, we ended up creaming them
- our healer got nearly as many kills as their top guy. I placed near the
bottom - I'm terrible at PvP and didn't rack up a lot of kills, but I did
manage to get the most assists in the match.
At the Q&A session after the festivities, it was revealed that
Neverwinter would launch with only Domination-style PvP maps, with other
types to come later. Since this style of map tends to favor tank-heavy
groups, which have an easier time defending control points, it seems
likely that the Fighter classes will have a distinct advantage for the
first little while, and will probably rank up faster than the rest.
A few other interesting points were brought up at the Q&A session at
the end of the press event. A lot of questions were about the Foundry,
which I discussed in an earlier
article - how that will work and what will be included with it.
While a lot of the details are not yet ready for the public, Cryptic
developer "Zinc" was able to share a few tidbits.
For starters, the Foundry will be locked until the player reaches level
15. This is similar to a system in place in Star Trek Online -
but not the one for the STO Foundry. The STO Foundry is unlocked by
spending 10,000 Dilithium. The Neverwinter Foundry unlock is more like
unlocking the Klingon faction. Reach a specific level and it's made
From the sounds of it, the Neverwinter Foundry will be somewhat more
robust than the toolset in STO, but is otherwise quite similar to it. It
will support "limited scripting," allowing module authors to set specific
behaviours for select creatures and NPCs.
Beta weekend three will be open to all players with a beta key. Stay
tuned here for more info about that, and for our impressions of the
newly-revealed Great Weapon Fighter class.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Neverwinter Game Page.