NeverWinter - the good and the neutral

In this post I thought I’d comment on the non-pay-to-win aspect of NeverWinter.

The good:

Great graphic detail.  You can actually look at the leave’s on the trees.  Yeah, within a few moments you will see the replication, but they are much actually better than most artificial Christmas trees I’ve seen.

The music sets the mood.  They have done great things with the music and sound track.  The sound affects remind me a LOT of those in The Secret World.

The quest are in-depth and chained, again much like those of The Secret World, which is nice.

Companions are nice.  Most MMORPGs have a class with pets, here it is for everyone.

The Neutral:

A few of the quest are grind quest, but not many.  They do make you run around a bit, which makes the mounts handy.

The dungeons are cool.  The first time I saw a spiral staircase I thought it was really special.  Alas, its a but “building block”.  Once you see the same spiral staircase a dozen times it loses it special trait.  In fact, the “building block” aspect of the dungeons tends to make them all start to feel the same, I actually wondered if they reused some early ones mid-game and simply populated them with different mobs.

One companion.  With two (or 3 or 4) one could run multi-player dungeons solo, which would be cool, but would be a game design change.

Instance matching.  Really mixed feelings about this one.  I tend to play solo most of the time, never having felt “friend groups” worked well.  In Aion I had a strong guild, and could often find players to run multi-player quest with.  Yeah, you tended to run with the same players all the time, until levels drifted due to different play schedules.  But you actually got to know some people.  With instance matching, us solo players can do the required multi-player quests, but the “team” only lasts until the quest is done.  Tera also does it this way (and I have a lot more experience over there with this).  It works, but it doesn’t build friendships, and those really make a game (I still play with Sophie, across a number of games, and we started out in Aion together).  Eve does an excellent job with this, where high level players can run with low levels to help them out, so friendships can grow over time.

End game:  Obviously haven’t made it to that point, but not clear if there really is one or what one would do.  In Tera, there is normal PVP (not voluntary controlled as in NeverWinter), and one can at least play with the idea of becoming a bad-ass good guy and picking on the PVPers.  Reality is bad-add bad-buys seldom run solo, so you would need a team of good guys to be effective.  This was one of the BEST features of Aion, until they tweaked it away with level buffs.  Eve, on the other hand, doesn’t have a practical end-game unless you plan on playing for 5+ years.  That is REALLY nice (and yeah, I’m starting to talk myself into going back to Eve if I get bored with Tera).

Character tuning:  Lots of character creation tweaks – hair style, color, finger nail length/foot width (really?!?!), etc.  Alas, an elf is always going to look like an elf with its big eyes.  Its almost like your can infinitely tweak your characteristics but the results all look the same.  Aion still wins 1st prize with this feature, even if the results do look like a porcelain doll.  At least its a recognizable porcelain doll – I had several that looked like FireFly actors (the quiet girl and profession to be specific).  Tera’s tunes are more lifelike, but lack the details that Aion had.  NeverWinter seems to be a blend of WOW and Aion, which is just weird.  Eve has virtually none, but there you spend most of your time looking at your spaceship, so it really doesn’t matter.

Outfits:  Tera wins by a slight lead over Aion.  Yeah, I’m still a guy, and I like to see sexy outfits. Deal with it.  Tera actually overdoes this a bit, the challenge becomes finding a nice middle – sexy does not mean skin.  I’m leaning towards the elf-mage dress combo as my favorite in Tera now.