Aren’t you just awesome excited about Neverwinter? Aren’t you just having the most super-cool time playing this game?
Sure, it has some issues. Let’s just look past almost an entire day of downtime while Cryptic worked to close an economy exploit. Heck, that’s just part of being of an open beta, right? And sure the graphics aren’t exactly spectacular and the game’s color palette is about as visually appealing as muddy cement. You’re okay with that, aren’t you? And if you peek behind the curtain, just a little, it’s a pay-to-win MMO, but you’re sure that won’t hurt the endgame or anything, right? Why would it?
Who cares about all that? This MMO is so kewl! It’s so much fun to play. Ever since you got bored with Guild Wars 2 or whatever other MMO you’ve been bored with, you’ve needed this game, haven’t you? You needed something new. So thank the beneficent gaming gods Neverwinter is here.
Neverwinter is a perfectly fine game. If that sounds like damning with faint praise, it is. It’s a perfectly fine game in almost every way. Except for the Foundry, which allows players to create their own content, there’s nothing new here.
There’s a nice, linear quest line that you probably won’t read more than two words of. There’s some voice-over dialog added to make it seem a little more modern, but when compared to games like Guild Wars 2 or Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR), it just feels old-fashioned. If you get bored with the questing, you can always PvP a little. The PvP is okay, but in a couple of days you’ll realize it’s imbalanced and is likely to just get more imbalanced (It’s pay-to-win, remember?). If the questing and PvP start to bore you, you can go off and do a short dungeon (i.e. a skirmish in Neverwinter terminology) or a long dungeon. But there’s nothing new in the dungeons, either: The bosses have tons of hit-points and for the most part only need to be tanked and spanked. In fact, pretty much every dungeon will remind you of World of Warcraft (WoW) or Warhammer or Star Wars: The Old Republic or any of the other bazillion MMOs that owe their existence to the holy trinity (tank, dps, healer) formula.
Neverwinter is immediately comfortable, in much the same way comfort food is comfortable. It’s what you grew up with. You know this formula and you know it well, because you’ve seen it in just about every MMO.
And that’s the real problem with Neverwinter: It’s old school.
It’s so old school if you’ve played an MMO in the last decade, you’ll feel completely at home. In fact, you’ll feel so at home you might go right to sleep. You’ve been here, before. You’ve done this, before. If you want to do it, again, you’ll go back to WoW. In fact, Neverwinter is sorta what WoW would be like if WoW went free-to-play, except without all the content.
But you don’t want to go back to WoW, do you? You’re bored with that, aren’t you? Maybe you should just wait for The Elder Scrolls Online. Maybe that will be different.