What's New In Neverwinter - Beta Weekend 2
ByDate: Mar 19 2013 Views:
The final Neverwinter beta weekend is closing in fast, and with each passing week Cryptic Studios has been upping its game. After a successful first beta weekend, the team at Cryptic has been taking a lot of notes and is coming back in style, slowly revealing more and more of what looks to be an incredibly promising game.
Nothing demonstrates the team’s commitment to quality more than their game’s second closed beta weekend. Having worked hard during the downtime, Cryptic and Perfect World Entertainment came back big with a stronger, more fleshed out gameplay experience that brings the city of Neverwinter to life and immerses players right from the start. In addition to updated entry-level content, Cryptic Studios has extended Neverwinter’s gameplay experience a little further, providing a brand new set of zones, plots, baddies, and bosses for adventurers to chew through.
The second beta weekend featured some of the basic changes – a rebalance in classes, new events, a preview of the cash shop, etc. – as well as new levels, new zones, the control wizard as a playable class, and an overhaul to a lot of the entry-level content.
The main change among the overhaul is a brand new tutorial and introduction quest set, and this time around players are jumped right into Neverwinter as it should be. Players start by being washed ashore on the Sword Coast following an undead uprising. They are greeted by a private in the Neverwinter army who helps to guide them from the coast, through the hordes of monsters (many of which players will have to kill as they are overrunning the militia), to the gates of the city proper. From here players are deposited once more onto the Sleeping Dragon Bridge, where they meet an already-liched Valindra, and they must fight the same boss summoned by her as before (see the livestream for more details) to end the tutorial.
Naturally the private that’s been guiding players through the intro gets killed at the end of it – it wouldn’t be Neverwinter if that didn’t happen!
But that’s not all that was changed about the game.
Even the sounds of Neverwinter are different in a big way. Nearly everybody in the second weekend event had actual voices, most of which people could still listen to even after closing out their dialogue windows (players can get all the story and information they need without having to be anchored to an NPC). In addition, the background music for the city and all the old zones were updated to reflect a mood of danger, adventure, and energy – not to mention the addition of more city sounds and people crying over one another very much the way they did in Neverwinter Nights. Players can hear charity workers crying out for alms for the “Valindra Relief Fund”, and in the Blacklake District they can hear sounds like the coughs of the sick or dying. Overall the city feels more alive than before, and the world does a much better job of engaging players right from the beginning, rather than making them trudge around looking for the first major disaster before feeling at home. A few new quests were added to the beginning of the game as well to better introduce the Nashers and set Neverwinter’s pace and tone up upfront, and they help to link each new section together and make Sgt. Knox’s reliance on the player feel more natural.
Skirmishes have also been set to an earlier level. Players will now encounter their first skirmish at around level 8, early on within the Blacklake District. Each zone in the game will feature at least 3 different PvE queues, including a skirmish, an event, and a dungeon, and this has only just been established with the second beta weekend (the first only had a few previews of each).