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Choose My Adventure: Cryptic’s Neverwinter in review

My time with Neverwinter is done, and it’s a game I find myself in an odd relationship with. It’d be fair to say that despite what some members of the audience expected, I never went into disliking the game; even when I was getting a little bit bored, I didn’t find myself desperately wanting to play something else just to be free of the scourge of the game itself. But at the same time… it never really got its hooks in me, either.

And some of that, I think, is that I’ve played it before.

I’m reluctant to say that every game Cryptic Studios makes is the same because every single one has very clear pieces that stand apart. Star Trek Online’s space combat, Neverwinter’s action combat, and Champions Online’s status as the last relic of a forgotten time. (Probably other things, too.) They’re not the same game. But they do all share the same gameplay loop, which is different… and despite my best efforts, there’s a certain point when all of that just winds up getting a wee bit tedious.

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Neverwinter deploys the Shroud of Souls update to consoles today

It’s time for console players to head to the River District in Neverwinter. The game’s latest patch for the console editions of the game has been released, and it sees players contending with the foes stepping out of the shadows following the fall of the Cloaked Ascendancy. That means more stuff to deal with in the River District and a new event to take part in, with a new siege and storyline to explore as they rail against these new foes.

Players on consoles will also be able to take advantage of the Loadout feature and customizable guild halls, so even if the story doesn’t grab you there’s still new stuff to do. Jump into the console edition right now to try out everything, or if you’re stuck at work, you can check out screenshots just below.

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Neverwinter takes you on a tour of Port Nyanzaru

The eponymous city is obviously the main port of call for players in Neverwinter, but there are other cities worth visiting. The next major update, Tomb of Annihilation, will see players heading to Port Nyanzaru, a very different city from the one Neverwinter’s adventurers are accustomed to experiencing. So why not take a tour of all of the best parts of Port Nyanzaru, seeing the sights to catch (and the important vendors to chat up) before you go there in the summer?

But perhaps you’re not interested in the lore tour, just the art side of things. Good news; there’s a new piece about exactly that, covering the challenges of making the city look distinct and novel with a very short amount of pre-production time. It’s useful for lovers of game production and concept art, and it shows how all of the locales you’ll visit on your tour came into existence.

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Neverwinter celebrates its fourth birthday with events and unicorn mounts

Neverwinter is prepping the celebration of the anniversary of its hard launch on PC way back in 2013. The festivities, dubbed The Protector’s Jubilee, begin on June 20th and run for week, closing on June 27th.

“In celebration of this year’s Jubilee, Lord Neverember seeks to refill his coffers after months of austerity by slashing trade tariffs to encourage visiting traders. As a result, traders from far and wide are making their way to the city to ply their wares. Of course, the Sword Coast is a dangerous place, and these traders need the help of brave adventurers to make it safely to Neverwinter. Blacklake, Ebon Downs, and Whispering Caverns are rumored to be pretty dangerous. Look for some to also attempt deliveries to your Stronghold if you’re in a guild.”

Expect the city decorated to the hilt, special quests, a secret zone, a scaling skirmish event, traveling merchants, and loot — lots of it, including a unicorn mount and some bits and bobs from jubilees past.

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Choose My Adventure: Finishing up in Neverwinter

I’m going to be honest, before playing Neverwinter I had a very different picture of this game in my head in some ways. Not because I didn’t expect the game’s core gameplay loop; I’d gotten that from demo events. And it’s not because I thought the game would feature a different set of mechanics or a different aesthetic. I did think that the animations wouldn’t be quite so dreadfully stiff for poor Ceilarene, but even that’s not enough to really throw me off of my game.

No, what I really pictured differently was the eponymous city of Neverwinter. I pictured, well, a city. What Neverwinter more closely resembles is a superheroic hometown after the most recent event storyline. There’s exactly one district that seems to actually be suitable for human habitation, and everything else is crawling with stuff that wants to kill you for various reasons. Also, every single part of the game is filled with people insisting that the city will soon belong to them.

In other words, it’s Paragon City without the superheroes.

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DDO bug reportedly wipes out players’ inventories

Some players in Dungeons and Dragons Online are complaining that a rather nasty bug is wiping out years of “hard-earned” inventory — and saying that Standing Stone Games is unable or unwilling to help.

The bug concerns the game’s reincarnation system, which allows players to reroll their character in exchange for more build points and other advantages. However, some players assert that when they have gone through this process a certain way, the game got rid of all inventory on their character (which is obviously not part of the whole deal). To further compound the problem, help tickets have gone unresolved because the CS agent cannot see what was in the player’s inventory prior to the wipe.

An extensive forum thread is documenting some of these players’ struggle with the situation and their frustration with the lack of assistance from the studio. “Our crappy little stack of past lives and gear and tomes is our reminder of where we come from and how far we have ventured,” one player posted. “As it so happens it is also a neccessary MEANS to play the game on higher difficulties and for some it also is equivalent to invested real money.”

Source: Official forums. Thanks Anon!

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Neverwinter jacks up enemy difficulty, gear levels

It makes sense that in an update where some of your enemies are going to be bona fide dinosaurs, the difficulty of combat encounters is going to increase somewhat. Neverwinter players are officially on alert that enemy mobs are about to get more challenging when this summer’s Tomb of Annihilation drops.

“It’s been some time since the difficulty of enemies outside high level dungeons has increased, even in dungeons increases have been limited,” Cryptic warned. “For the detail-oriented, all enemies in Module 12 will feature increased hit points, defense, attack power, and armor penetration. For enemies and bosses in dungeons these enhancements will be on top of existing enhancements.”

Players won’t be left to face these terrors wearing paper bags and bunny slippers; higher levels of gear is coming with the update as well. Item level 460 and 480 equipment will help to feed the ever-hungry gear treadmill, and players will be able to use seals to buy new relic armor.

Source: Neverwinter

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Neverwinter’s Jungles of Chult has better daily tasks and more reward options

On some level, all Neverwinter really needs to do for Jungles of Chult is to remind you how you’ll get to fight dinosaurs. That’s really all the motivation anyone should need. But the campaign actually does include several functional differences, starting with the changes to repeatable tasks which will allow you to complete certain tasks a fixed number of times per week. Instead of being stuck logging in for daily activities, you can choose how much time you have each day and structure your play appropriately.

Players can also look forward to more flexible boon rewards at the lower tiers, unlocking new pieces of armor from the campaign store, and a tracker for weekly currency rewards. You’ll have a fairly low cap on weekly currency to start, but progress through the campaign will increase that limit over time. So if the prospect of fighting dinosaurs alone doesn’t motivate you, better rewards might help sweeten the pot a bit.

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Cryptic’s CEO discusses taking an IP and making it work for an MMO

At this point, Cryptic Studios has a stable of games based off of existing IPs, most notably Star Trek Online, Neverwinter, and the upcoming game based on Magic: the Gathering. A new interview on GamesIndustry.biz with CEO Stephen D’Angelo discusses working with the IP and making a successful game out of it, noting that first and foremost it’s a matter of finding the core element of the IP that makes it interesting and designing the game around that.

D’Angelo explains that the studio’s core goal is to expand beyond the existing audience for the IP by exploring new directions, rather than trying to solely cover the same material as the original; he notes that the expansion into Magic: the Gathering made sense due to a strong working relationship with Wizards of the Coast and the desire to not simply make an online version of the same card game. The studio wants to explore the world from another angle, just like Neverwinter doesn’t simply plug the stats of the tabletop game into digital form. If you’re interested in the mechanisms of making an IP-based MMO work, the full interview is worth a read.

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Choose My Adventure: My frustration with Neverwinter’s lockboxes

If you thought I was enjoying my time with Neverwinter as a whole, you would be right. I am enjoying my time with the game as a whole, and while there are bits and pieces which don’t totally sell me, my initial impressions have been positive. Heck, even my impressions from the last week or so of play have been mostly positive, with a lot of good experiences and a few which are…

Yeah, I could say “less good,” but I’m going to go with just plain “rage-inducing.”

Here’s the weird thing: At least one of the things which inspired a rage-spike from me was something I had been waiting for from the moment I started playing the game, and people who have read my work long enough probably know what that means. So join me as I find the item I dread more than any other in games by Cryptic, an item that appears in both of the other titles run by the studio that makes me start shuddering with rage every time I see it.

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Cryptic announces brand-new Magic: The Gathering MMORPG

One of the largest and longest-running collectible card games is about to become a brand-new role-playing video game, courtesy of Cryptic Studios. Cryptic and Perfect World Entertainment announced today that it is ramping up development on a Magic: The Gathering MMORPG in partnership with Wizards of the Coast.

The untitled game is being made “from the ground up” for both PC and console as a top-tier release and is part of Wizards of the Coast’s Magic Digital Next initiative. According to the press release, the RPG will allow players to “fully immerse themselves in the Multiverse.”

“Everything from the graphics to the gameplay is being targeted for a truly unique AAA game,” said Cryptic CEO Stephen D’Angelo. “We’re thrilled to provide Magic fans with an opportunity to explore the game’s worlds and characters through an entirely new lens. Get ready to embark on a brand new journey.”

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Massively OP Podcast Episode 120: Steaming into summer

On this week’s show, Justin and Bree welcome summer by talking about SWTOR’s roadmap, Black Desert’s amazing Steam debut, and a troubling Shroud of the Avatar announcement, as well as a mailbag question about casual gaming.

It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.

Listen to the show right now:

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Neverwinter announces Tomb of Annihilation expansion for July 25

If you’re a Dungeons and Dragons fan, you may have already been watching the “Stream of Annihilation” on Twitch this afternoon. But if you’re an MMORPG fan as well, you’re getting some extra goodies because Neverwinter is included in the fun: PWE and Cryptic have just announced the Tomb of Annihilation “marquee expansion for 2017” for the game.

“Neverwinter’s Harpers seek to end the wickedness of a new death curse on the jungle peninsula of Chult, sending adventurers on an expedition to a land infested with Yuan-ti, undead and dinosaurs. Beginning at the new social hub of Port Nyanzaru, adventurers will explore various regions of Chult to uncover the evil behind the curse annihilating the people of Faerûn. Adventurers can team up with old friends Minsc, Boo, Celeste, the famed explorer Volothamp Geddarm, and an unexpected ally. The twelfth expansion to Neverwinter brings new content including a Tomb of Annihilation campaign, end-game dungeon, monster hunts with the legendary Volo, a jungle adventure zone inhabited by dinosaurs and social hub for weary travelers.”

Expect the expansion out on July 25th for PC (later for console as always). Enjoy the trailer!

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