Day in and day out, millions of gamers around the world go to their favorite game's forums to spread ideas, share their feelings, and offer insight into improving the game they love. And day in, day out, those ideas are set aside and left to rot, while the designers go about their own mechanisms. Not so with Cryptic's newest project, Dungeons & Dragons Neverwinter. Currently in its last stages of closed beta, Neverwinter announced yesterday afternoon that they are including a major change in the game's leveling mechanics, and that it will be included in the upcoming fourth closed beta weekend.
Until this point, players would unlock or upgrade new skills as they leveled up, and then choose between their currently equipped or freshly unlocked skills. Many players posted and wrote to Cryptic during the beta, complaining that they were given the choice of which powers to equip, but not which powers to learn. Cryptic's response came quickly, and with much support on their community forums.
Under the new system, players will begin with access to approximately five powers, and will use "Power Points" to gain access to new powers and higher ranks of current powers. Trailturtle, a developer on Neverwinter, writes, "You'll get power points at each level that you can use to get powers. Each point will either unlock or upgrade a power, up to Rank 3. You'll need to have spent a certain amount of points in order to start investing in higher tiers of powers. By the endgame, you'll have 60 power points, roughly a dozen points shy of maxing out everything."
It's been over century since the Spellplague forever changed The Forgotten Realms. Now, explore the city that's been at the center of a thousand adventures: Neverwinter. Adapted from the real Dungeons and Dragon's ruleset, Neverwinter will feature action-oriented combat and storytelling unlike any other MMO. Take the world in your hands with the Foundry toolset and make your own tales. Make your mark in this legendary world.
Increasing player customization is definitely a good direction, and allowing players to choose their skills will allow for a wide range of cool builds even at low levels, which sounds great. I am concerned, however, with the fact that players can max out nearly everything by the level cap (50). If players will have access to full ranks of every skill at max level, then it will re-neutralize the playing field. No longer can one rogue be better than another at sneaking or stabbing, because both rogues are great at both! Although this leads to more well-rounded power in each character, I fear it will greatly diminish the customization of each character in the long run. That said, the game is still in beta and, given Cryptic's responsiveness to the community's desires, I am confident that those fears will be assuaged before all is said and done.
Neverwinter is primed to open its doors for a final beta weekend April 12-14th for Founders only (individuals who have purchased their $60 or $200 kits), and will be open for play to the public beginning April 30th. Although no official release date has been announced, you can expect Dungeons & Dragons Neverwinter to be releasing sometime in late May or early June, just in time to make sure no college students actually find work over the summer. And with it being free to play and download, you won't have a good reason not to. For those who are interested in taking part in the final beta weekend, more information on becoming a founder can click here to check out their website.
Source: Neverwinter Dev Blog