Posted Tue, Mar 19, 2013 by gunky
During the past two beta weekends, players were able to experience Foundry-built user-generated content by picking up quests at the bulletin boards throughout the city. So far, everything that's been available has been of the "adventure module" variety - short, self-contained adventures with lots of combat or exploration.
These one-shot adventures can be strung together to form campaigns. Campaigns are daisy-chained adventures following a common story arc, and each adventure serves as an "act" in the overall story. There were a few campaigns available during the first beta weekend, and a couple of them were very well done. The second weekend's focus was on other things, though, and the only stuff available on the Foundry was one-shot adventures.
In terms of quality, user-generated content will be all over the map. Foundry missions in Star Trek Online range from sublimely-crafted stories that play out like an episode of one series or another, to ridiculously bad insta-fails created by people with zero command of the written language and/or no idea how the Foundry actually works. Most efforts will fall somewhere between these two extremes.
In the beta weekends, I was able to run through a number of pre-made Foundry adventures - likely crafted by Cryptic alpha testers making sure the tech worked. The first weekend, I ran a 3-part campaign involving drow and intrigue, which was really well done. I investigated an abandoned temple finding clues, and eventually tracked the villains to a nasty dungeon. Thought and care went into the design, and it was reasonably well executed.
For the second weekend, I ran a rather silly one-shot adventure involving a Deck of Many Things and a poker game gone horribly, horribly wrong. It was fun, the fights were challenging, but not particularly cerebral. This one is probably a good gauge against which to measure other Foundry modules, a solid 3-star experience.
While the Neverwinter Foundry is not yet available to the public, there are some things you can do to prepare for it so you can hit the ground running when it does launch.
User-generated content can be an amazing thing. It keeps the game fresh without placing content demands on the developers, allowing them to focus more attention on bug fixes and improving game systems rather than cranking out new dungeons. With the Foundry, that will be our job.
Are there any old published adventure modules you're looking forward to seeing in Neverwinter? Let us know in our comments!