We mentioned earlier this week the brand new zone unveiled in upcoming action MMORPG Neverwinter. The team has even more to share with us though, in the form of an exclusive interview with Andy Velasquez, the Lead Producer at Cryptic Studios! Check out the trailer above for a new glimpse into the treacherous Mt. Hotenow, and enjoy the following look into the minds of the Neverwinter development team:
CURSE: What can you tell us about your beta plans -- can we expect to test the game again soon?
ANDY VELASQUEZ: Last week was an intense, yet exciting week as we launched Beta Weekend 1 on February 8. We received some great feedback and will be getting ready for Beta Weekend 2 (March 8-10) and Beta Weekend 3 (March 22-24). Players can sign up for free for Neverwinter's Beta Weekends at playneverwinter.com or get guaranteed beta access, VIP perks and unique in-game items that are offered only through Neverwinter's Founders Pack Program.
CRS: If so, are there any fun community events planned during those times?
AV: During Beta Weekend 1, there were a few mini events such as a hide and seek type event that rewarded players with some dice. However, Neverwinter itself offers lots of fun in-game events and contests for players to do such as the Relic Hunt. When the event begins, players compete against other people within the vicinity to collect relics in an area. These events yield rewards and are fun to do between quests and dungeon runs. We plan to do more events during Beta Weekend 2 so stay
CRS: Tabletop mechanics can be complex and difficult to translate to a more fast-paced MMO environment. What was the hardest part of bringing the tabletop universe to life within the game?
AV: We really struggled to find a way to get the appropriate amount of Mountain Dew per play session into every users system.
This probably wasn't THE hardest thing for us to tackle, but one of the things that we definitely wanted to address was to make sure that every action felt really cool and epic. When I’m playing my pen and paper character and I use an ability or do a skill check, I would always come up with this elaborate and awe inspiring description of what my character was doing and how bad the poor orc was going to get destroyed (assuming the dice were in my favor).
With our game, we really had to work on making sure every single power comes across visceral and powerful, but within the paradigms of the type of powers and the level of powers it represents.
CRS: To what degree are mechanics in-game kept to 4th Edition D&D rules? Is there anything you had to completely revamp?
AV: We use 4th Edition as a basis, but we aren’t specifically a 4th edition game so there are definitely some things that don’t follow 4th Edition rules. Neverwinter doesn't necessarily follow exactly any one particular edition and the one thing that we are happy about is to be able to cherry pick the things that we like most about any of the editions and incorporate it in Neverwinter.
CRS: Can you tell us about any future signature class builds that are in the works?
AV: I can’t really go into specifics but I can assure you that we are already working on additional classes to roll out after Neverwinter's release! Cryptic has a really strong history of supporting our games post launch with tons of quality updates and we plan to do just that and even more with Neverwinter. We will have tons of new classes, races and systems post launch. Just look at our other games: Champions Online and Star Trek Online are both going strong with constant updates years after their launches.
CRS: Can enjoyment be found in the game for gamers without a solid background in pen and paper?
AV: Absolutely! Working with such an amazing IP, our goal is to make sure that anyone can just sit down and have fun with the game as a standalone product, yet provide a heightened experience for those who know and love the Forgotten Realms. To that end, our designers and writers have spent tons of time working directly with Wizards of the Coast to infuse every contact, environment and detail in Neverwinter with Forgotten Realm’s lore.
CRS: For those of us with stubborn friends we'd like to introduce to tabletop gaming, could Neverwinter be a good bridge from traditional MMO gaming to D&D?
AV: Neverwinter will definitely provide some context with those new to D&D about some basic Pen and Paper terminology and even some characters and places for running campaigns in the Forgotten Realms.
Some of the classic concepts in tabletop gaming such as at wills and encounter powers, the fabled D&D bestiary, and signature D&D races and classes can be widely found in our game.
CRS: How will social play work -- is there a range of content for both large and small group sizes available?
AV: One of our overarching goals for the social experience with Neverwinter is to replicate that traditional fantasy and pen and paper feeling of a small group of companions delving into dungeons and caves, as well as climbing mountains in search of adventure. As such, the majority of our group content is geared for 5 – man teams, where every person is an integral part to the success or failure of the party. That is not to say that we don’t have content for larger group of players or solo players.
CRS: Will guilds have any inherent advantage over non-guilded players?
AV: We haven’t started announcing much about our guild system, but one thing that I can confirm is that there are not any significant advantages gained from just being in a guild. Keep checking our official website, playneverwinter.com and Facebook page - NeverwinterGame - as we reveal more about this specific feature.
CRS: Within the Forgotten Realms universe are some of the most beloved lore characters of all time. Can we expect to see any famous names within Neverwinter's realms, or will new history be made?
We have the pleasure of being canon and the opportunity to play with a lot of characters and locations that so many people know and love. Our main in-game villainess, Valindra, can be found featured in the Neverwinter Campaign Guide and some of the most recent D&D novels that have come out. In addition, the latest adventure zone that we revealed this week, Mt. Hotenow, is the very same location that Drizz’t, Jarlaxle and company run around, as described in R.A. Salvatore
So yes, if you are a fan of the realms expect to see many familiar faces and places!
The game will release early this year, with players exploring and defending one of the most beloved cities from Dungeons & Dragons as it is rebuilt. An action RPG set in an immersive MMO world, you'll experience epic storylines, exciting combat, and classic roleplaying scenarios, complete with tools to create your own adventures.
Visit playneverwinter.com to register for a chance to be selected for access to upcoming Neverwinter Beta Weekends for free, or consider grabbing a Founder's Pack to secure your participation. If you're playing, there's no better source than the Neverwinter Wiki to prepare! The screenshot gallery below will give you a further glimpse into newly unveiled zone Mount Hotenow:
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