Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Heroes of Neverwinter

The thing that originally made me succumb to getting on Facebook was that I heard there was a D&D game on it. Well... Let's just say I was unimpressed. It was slow and all reading, and all you got to do was make one of typically two choices, and the adventures were not geared to individual classes. Now Hasbro and Atari have come out with a new version reminiscent of classic D&D video games like Pools of Radiance; it is Heroes of Neverwinter.

Now, HoN is far from a perfect example of D&D, but is certainly more fun than its predecessor. To start you get o create two characters, choosing between four classes (Fighter, Cleric, Rogue, and Wizard) and four races (Dragonborn, Human, Halfling, and Eladrin). You can adjust ability scores as you see fit if you customize, or simply choose to take a pre-made character who's appearance can be modified to a point.

Like most Facebook games it encourages having your friends play. Once you have 20 friends in your "warband" you get an additional character slot, and you can send/receive gifts. Your friends' character can be used to go on adventures (up to three to make a four character party) or you can enlist mercenaries if you have no friends who play. If a friend is playing your character, and you are not currently in a dungeon, you can request to spectate and are able to provide a certain number of buffs. If you spectate through the end of the adventure the character being watched gets experience.

In many ways, the game embodies the notion that Fourth Edition is pure combat. You go on adventures and kill everything you can in order to get treasure and level up. The role play aspect is limited. Some adventures end with the choice to get the bad guy, or take the treasure offered and leave. Otherwise, all powers and abilities are driven to enhance your combat presence.

It can be a rather fun game, though there is a lot of slogging to get treasure so you can get better equipment and level up. Combat mechanics differ slightly from Fourth Edition rules, such as the Eladrin fey step ability is a free action rather than a move action (which I prefer), and flanking means that at least two allies are adjacent to the target, rather than having to be in opposing squares. You only get one at-will power, and unfortunately most of your encounter powers are only slightly better damage dealers, though they often effect multiple targets or have additional effects (ongoing damage, stunning, etc).

My biggest complaint is the typical Facebook "hey, you can spend real money to get ahead" thing. Not simply because I don't want to spend money, but because the game is still listed as a Beta. If it were a final product perhaps, but as things stand what if everything I have done disappears once the Beta stage is over? Losing hours of grind-time is one thing, losing actual money is quite another.

If you are interested, you can find Heroes of Neverwinter here. You must have a Facebook account, obviously. If you need friends who play, you can friend me here, or check out the Heroes of Neverwinter Neighbors community to find other players to friend.

A comic I did a while back about playing in Neverwinter


T. Roger Thomas said...

I don't mind the free to play, pay for in-game extras model as long as the extras aren't necessary. You're right, losing something you paid for would suck.

Darius Whiteplume said...

Yeah, if it was established like Farmville, maybe. I paid for Runescape briefly, since I figured they deserved something for letting me play.

Jamdin said...

You can now win 1 to 5,000 Facebook credits with bottle caps found on 20 oz. bottles of 7UP (providing, of course, you can find them in your area for I have not found any yet around here).

Darius Whiteplume said...

I'll have to look for those. I have been in the habit of grabbing up Potions of Luck and getting Astral Diamonds that way. They are typically in you daily chest, though not every day.

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