Tag Archives: mmo

Trove review in progress

To some it would be easy to dismiss Trove as “just another Minecraft clone”, but to do so would fail to appreciate the unique approach Trion Worlds have taken in their own personal take on the voxel-based sandbox genre.

Unlike Minecraft, Trove concentrates more on combat and questing than the distinct world building focus of the former. Utilising a range of unlockable character classes, each with their own particular skills and abilities, gives Trove a distinctly more MMO feel. These classes are purchasable through in-game currency and once unlocked allow the player to change between classes on the fly, allowing for a much more flexible approach to how you tackle each area or quest. These characters all fall under melee, ranged or magic based attacks, and with a dozen classes to choose from there will always be one that fits your particular playstyle, whether it be the Knight or Lunar Lancer getting up close and personal, the Gun Slinger or Shadow Hunter taking out your enemies from afar before they have a chance to get close, or the Ice Sage or Tomb Raiser throwing massive Ice Crystals or summoning minions respectively to slow and distract your enemies while you whittle down their health with your basic attacks.

Trove utilises a hub world system, where portals to randomly generated adventure worlds of varying difficulties are available as you progress, allowing you to take on more difficult challenges as your character and gear level up, with the more difficult levels requiring an equipment value of 10000 and a character level of 29-30 in order to survive the enemies you would face.

Each Adventure world in itself is made up of a patchwork of Biomes from the primary 11 zones, and each has its own themed enemies, quests, dungeons and music, allowing easy recognition of each as you enter or view them on the overworld map. Within each are home plots, where you can set out your personal space as you progress, acting as a save point when traversing the world. These personal plots are fully modifiable and here is where most of the players will experience a similar voxel-based world building as you would expect from this genre of game.

As you begin, the opening tutorial quickly transforms into a progress quest chain, introducing you to more and more aspects of the games mechanics and environments. As you approach the mid game, you start to find that the resource requirement for this chain grows exponentially, with the later progress quests requiring rare materials that drop very infrequently. It is at this point that the solo player becomes less and less viable, as the ability to create a clan and pool resources becomes tantamount to efficient resource gathering towards a shared goal. Entering the realm of Korean MMO’s, the grind required to effectively complete these later quests will undoubtedly sour the experience for many playing the game casually.

Although the graphics are your typical voxel fare, each class has a huge range of equipment, with styles and stats that allow you to easily focus on key aspects of your character, with specific builds starting to take form as you progress through the difficulties of the Adventure worlds. These equipment items can be disassembled at your home plot to allow you to permanently apply the style over the top of your equipped gear, much akin to how Lord of The Rings Online applied cosmetic appearances, allowing you to make your character look as unique and bizarre as you would hope.

Without even touching on the crafting side of the game, which does require significant resources, there is a ton of things to do, with hourly challenges popping up that may favour taking on dungeons in certain biomes or completing it with certain character classes, that gives the game some much needed distraction when you are grinding for your progress quest.

Having only reached the “Uber 1” adventure world, there is still a lot of game that has gone unexperienced as yet, and I would like to revisit this review once that is done to assess how the game balances grind vs reward as you move up the ranks, but as with all MMO’s there is a distinct time investment required to reach those lofty heights that are near impossible in a review timescale.

Overall, Trove is a deeply enjoyable open world MMO, with deep and robust loot and crafting systems, that would give a lot of big budget MMOs a run for their money, and only the distinct grind fest that appears mid game detracts from the overall experience.

This is definitely one to enjoy with friends, and if you can get a group to play together there is a lot to enjoy in Trove, and with it being free-to play, there’s no excuse to not dive in and give it a try. We hope to elaborate more on Trove, and provide an overall score, in the coming weeks as we experience the end game content.

Thanks to Xbox and Trion Worlds for supporting TiX

Neverwinter hits 15 million total players

The popular free-to-play D&D-based MMORPG Neverwinter, has today reached the impressive milestone of 15 million registered players across all platformers.

To celebrate this achievement, developer Cryptic studios and publisher Perfect World have released a thank you video to everyone whose taken part in the adventure.

Since its original launch in June 2013, Neverwinter has continued to receive expansions and extensive patches to bring more and more diverse content from the Forgotten Realms and Dungeons & Dragons lore into the game. From defeating the elven lich Valindra Shadowmantle to facing off against monstrous demon lords in the Underdark and going toe-to-toe with frost giants in Icewind Dale, adventurers continue to experience the Forgotten Realms with players around the world. The Cloaked Ascendancy, now available on all platforms, marks the 11th major content expansion to the action MMO.

“We were thrilled to see that the registered player count for Neverwinter has crossed the 15 million mark,”

said Yoon Im, Sr. VP of Game Publishing at Perfect World Entertainment.

“This is a huge milestone for both Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment. We’ve seen Neverwinter grow so much since it first entered Open Beta and can’t wait to share what the game has in store for adventurers in the near future.”

“The success of Neverwinter on so many platforms and in so many countries shows how strong the D&D global community is,”

said Nathan Stewart, Brand Director of Dungeons & Dragons.

“Partnering with Cryptic and Perfect World to bring our annual stories to life in such a visibly stunning way has allowed D&D players to experience the Forgotten Realms like never before.”

“We look forward to continuing our development and realization of the Forgotten Realms to deliver a steady stream of new and exciting content to all our players,”

said Gordon Fong, executive producer on Neverwinter.

“Whether they are hardcore D&D enthusiasts, MMO players sharing experiences with friends, or solo RPG fans; we want Neverwinter to be a welcoming place for anyone looking for adventure and entertainment.”

We’re also celebrating this news, and the game in general, by giving away codes for special mounts in our latest stream, which start in a mere 30 minutes from this news post going live – 2100 BST Thursday 27th. Check us out over on Beam: https://beam.pro/thisisxbox

Destiny 2 officially revealed

Rumours about Destiny 2 being imminently revealed have been floating around for about a week now, and with Activision confirming the sequel would be hitting shelves this year back in February in their Fourth Quarter 2016 results, it’s no surprise to finally see something official.

Destiny 2 was announced a couple of hours ago (at time of writing) with a rather unceremoniously posted image on the official Destiny Twitter.

Details on the sequel unfortunately end there, but E3 is fast approaching so we won’t have long to wait until we find out what’s next for the FPS MMO.

 

Neverwinter: Storm King’s Thunder – Sea of Moving Ice update is available now

Cryptic Studios’ free-to-play MMO Neverwinter, has just received its latest update, introducing several new features to the already rich multiplayer RPG.

Continuing the story from Storm King’s Thunder, the threat of the Ring of Winter persists, leaving Neverwinter and its surrounding lands in peril. Adventurers must gather support against Jarl Storvald and his stronghold while navigating dangerous surrounding waters with the new khyek. Along the way, they’ll be able try their luck at an updated fishing system, hunt for bottles filled with treasure maps and uncover lost relics to earn powerful artifact weapons.

Neverwinter Sea of Moving Ice 1

This update to introduces:

· Assault on Svardborg – This new level 70 trial pits 10 adventurers against the mighty Jarl Storvald in the heart of his stronghold, with both Normal and Master difficulty levels.

· New Adventure Zone – Adventurers will traverse over half a dozen large ice mountains and several smaller icebergs to muster support against Jarl Storvald and his threat of endless winter.

· New Means of Travel – The khyek is a new nautical vessel players will use to traverse the Sea of Moving Ice.

· Fishing Mini Game – Adventurers can hop in the khyek and cast a line to catch over a hundred different species of fish, gaining reputation used to access and upgrade powerful new weapons.

· Treasure Hunting – While reeling in their daily catch, adventurers may discover bottles filled with maps, leading to treasure throughout the Sea of Moving Ice.

· Artifact Weaponry – Reclaiming lost giant relics from enemies through new activities is an effort that won’t go unnoticed, as players will earn weapons far stronger than any seen before.

Neverwinter Sea of Moving Ice 2

Review

Tom Clancy’s The Division is exceptionally well-designed. Every aspect of the title feels thoughtfully crafted, from the subtle ambient details of birds and rats fighting in the streets, to the more overt loot specs that are easy to judge at a glance yet hold huge potential for you to develop your character with its additional traits. Indeed The Division is a labour of finely honed MMO gunplay wrapped in quality and care, resulting in an experience that immerses and entertains for hours on end.

The snow and sleet filled streets of New York hold promise and danger around every block, with loot and collectables generously scattered around the city, guarded by the wonderfully reactive and savvy AI enemies that take cover effectively, aggressively push up and attempt to flank, and overall show a military-esque determination and skillset that challenges you to think tactically and match it. Meanwhile, the Dark Zone replaces the AI with an even more cunning and deadly enemy: fellow players, who stalk you relentlessly to steal your loot, or worst still, travel with you as an ally before turning on you. And despite stiff challenge from named AI enemies, large groups and higher level foes – or of course your fellow man – the quest for loot and the immersion of intense gun fights keeps you hooked.

The same can’t be said about the narrative unfortunately, it’s a clichéd viral outbreak, complete with conspiracies, military and intelligence agency heroism, and societal breakdown in the tried and tested Tom Clancy style. You are a highly trained sleeper agent that is only to be activated if society completely breaks down. You are a force of order and justice tasked with restoring the status quo. After a viral outbreak you and your fellow agents are activated in New York and must aid local authorities in securing the city and freeing it of looters, armed gangs, and general reprobates, and restoring order. As you go about finding resources, restoring power, saving individuals and gunning down those thriving on the chaos, you gradually uncover more threads to the overall plot through video and audio recordings. It’s a fractured storytelling technique that can leave you unsatisfied with what precisely is going on but is just about intriguing enough to keep you searching for more clues. Fortunately the story very much plays second fiddle to the objective of restoring order, which surprisingly is more than enough of a driving force to keep you engaged.

The Division 1

This engagement is aided greatly by how well practically every aspect of the game is implemented. You’re HUD floats next to your character, denoting ammo count, ability cooldown, health and consumable count, yet its streamline design and semi-translucent effect prevents it from being intrusive. In fact its centre screen positioning just makes it easier to view and manage. Meanwhile, full menus sport a similar design with a clear intuitive layout that shows you precisely what you need to see to manage your inventory and compare loot stats, as well as modify weapons and attribute abilities to button slots. The map is where things get a little more complicated, with the holographic city-scape and multi-coloured mission markers, collectibles and player icons making it look cluttered and busy. However, a mission list is accessible with a click of the shoulder button, that clears that up immediately and makes mission selection simple. Either way, selecting missions on the map or list results in an information box that states level recommendation and offers fast travel if you’ve visited the area before.

Missions largely revolve around taking cover and participating in gunfights with groups of enemies, but The Division throws some nice variety and intractability into these combat scenarios. The locations range from the snow covered city streets with a day and night cycle and weather effects mixing things up for each mission and even mid-mission. Meanwhile, sewers and building interiors provide a selection of close quarter encounters as well as mid-ranged combat in cluttered, highly detailed subway stations, shops and stadium encounters. And with the AI’s aggressive and clever movement and combat strategy, your awareness is frequently tested as enemies try to flank you and the frontline of these small skirmishes shifts back and forth. It’s a truly intense and highly satisfying cover-based combat system that feel visceral and different.

The Division 3

As you work your way through the missions you’ll accumulate loot in the form of wearable equipment, weapons and weapon mods, and in true MMO style you’re have to swap out equipment depending on play-style and stats. However, it’s not as simple as equipping clothing with increased armour or weapons with increased damage, each piece of equipment has different modifiers that can affect your overall accuracy, health, experience point accumulation, etc. as well as being aligned to one of the three wings of your home base of operations: medical, technology and security. This adds additional traits to equipment relevant to the wing, such as increased damage from sticky explosives or increased health recovery from med packs. It’s a system that’s full of depth and variety yet one that’s still intuitive, allowing you to craft a unique character specific to your play-style.

Indeed collecting all this loot and determining which pieces of equipment best suit your character is a time consuming and compelling task, and forms the main crux of the experience once the missions are completed. Venturing into the Dark Zone yields the best drops, if you can stay alive long enough to extract what you find. The Dark Zone is a weapons-free area where players are just as likely to kill you and steal your loot as help you. But once that loot’s collected it can’t be permanently claimed until it’s extracted by helicopter. With other players also trying to extract their precious loot it gets terrifically intense as you weigh up the risk of extracting at a busy extraction point or pushing on to extract elsewhere or after players dissipate a little. Moreover, the temptation to kill your fellow players and steal their loot is often overpowering. It’s all too easy for a group of friends to jump into the Dark Zone with intensions of collecting loot and extracting fairly only to terrorise everyone you come across like a wandering gang. It’s fantastic.

The Division 2

You’re free to take on missions solo but The Division really comes to life when you tackle them with friends. A matchmaking system is in place to play with the wider community as well – which can prove just as entertaining as it does with friends – but in my experience the community were largely fickle and disconnected mid-mission. As such playing with friends is certainly the best option, especially with solo play proving frustratingly difficult in later missions and when alone in the Dark Zone. However, proximity voice chat does make for some excellent moments, particularly in the Dark Zone where yours, or another player’s silver tongue can lead to situations of betrayal or heroism.

Indeed The Division provides a terrific action MMO with a focus on small squads to conquer the challenges rather than the genre’s traditional large parties, and as such provides intense cover shooting fun for solo players and groups alike. And whilst the collection of more and more powerful loot is the main draw here, the gun fighting is an absolute blast that makes replaying the missions at higher difficulties a wonderfully compelling task to test out what you’ve equipped. You’ll need a few friends to get the most out of the experience, and the lack of any sort of scaling to accommodate significant level discrepancies between friends is a shame, but otherwise The Division is superb.

We bought our own copy of the game to bring you this review

Neverwinter: Rise of Tiamat available later today

Neverwinter Rise of Tiamat

Later on the today during the 7AM PDT maintenance window (3PM GMT), Perfect World Entertainment & Cryptic Studios have announced that Neverwinter: Rise of Tiamat will be available on Xbox One. The content update will be released alongside an update that aim to improve player experience across the board. These include an onscreen mini-map, performance upgrades, adjustments to queuing and more.

Neverwinter players may now explore the all-new Well of Dragons adventure zone while battling the harbingers of Tiamat, queen of the dragons, in the first of five free expansions Xbox One players can expect in 2015 at no additional cost.

Neverwinter: Rise of Tiamat follows the events of Neverwinter: Tyranny of Dragons campaign and the recent Siege of Neverwinter event. Along with new quests and heroic encounters on the path to completing the final chapters of the Tyranny of Dragons campaign, players can anticipate the upcoming 25-player battle with five-headed draconic goddess Tiamat.

With Neverwinter being one of the first MMORPGs to come to the Xbox One, we wanted to ensure that our game lives up to the idea of a living world.  Rise of Tiamat is just the beginning of our continued support for our game on consoles as we look to deliver more dungeons, dragons and game optimizations that our players want.

said Rob Overmeyer, executive producer of Neverwinter. You can read our full interview with Rob Overmeyer here.

Check out the trailer and new screenshots below.

 

 

TiX interviews Neverwinter’s Executive Producer Rob Overmeyer

We were recently invited to interview Rob Overmeyer, Executive Producer on Neverwinter for Xbox One. If you haven’t rolled your character and got stuck into Neverwinter yet, you can read our huge three-part review here: Part 1, Part 2 and finally Part 3.

Neverwinter

This is Xbox (TiX): When you aren’t busy working, and you are enjoying free time playing Neverwinter yourself, what race and class are you? Which is your favourite?

Rob Overmeyer (RO): I play all the time! My main is a Halfling GWF currently 2.7k on PC and a Halfling TR climbing the ranks on Xbox. I really like the GWF in group play and while I may not top the DPS charts I have been able to pull out a win in several dungeons after seeing most of the party go down. As for Xbox, although it’s a bit FotM to run a TR as my go to for PvP. I’m not running perma or anything but I like catching a cleric out of position and giving them a surprise. I also like the stealth-battle gameplay that can play out once in a while at a CP. Backcapping to find yourself in a 1v1 with another TR can be a lot of fun.

TiX: Describe to our readers what your role is day-to-day in terms of Neverwinter for Xbox One, including future Xbox One updates and DLC launches.

RO: I am the Executive Producer of Neverwinter PC and Xbox. Most of all my days are pretty busy and when I am not planning future modules and game direction, analyzing the business and looking at what we need to improve in the live game I am playing Neverwinter. My day usually consists of meeting with the team, leads and publishers to get a sense of where we are at and what is up next. I am a pretty hands on EP and I like to be a useful part of the development process. The reality is that I get to work with some great folks on Neverwinter and there is little better on the dev team than brainstorming cool new features and content to get to our fans.

Neverwinter 2

TiX: Were you and the team pleased with how Neverwinter for Xbox One was received?

RO: Yes, we are very excited with how the game has been received and we are even more excited to keep bringing tons of really cool gameplay to our console fans. We did have some struggles in the beginning but we have been improving Neverwinter with each patch.

TiX: The Elder Scrolls Online is now out for console; are you a fan?

RO: I am a fan of the Elder Scrolls, what RPG fan couldn’t be? I think taking the Elder Scrolls online and offering a persistent multiplayer world was a great and logical next step. I have a ton of respect for the team and the work they did to take such a big universe with a fantastic history and fan following and get it online.

Neverwinter 3

TiX: What is it like working alongside Wizards of the Coast?

RO: It is really fantastic to work with WotC. We meet every week and talk about what we are working on and get the business out of the way. It’s more than the normal approval process we get to talk about cool and new things that would be cool to see in our worlds. One of the most exciting things we get to do is go meet up with the designers and world builders at WotC and get a glimpse into what they are working on for the distant future. As a fan and a developer it is really cool to be able to see where the stories are going. WotC is a fantastic partner and we always have a fun time when we get to talking about D&D.

TiX: Had you, prior to working on this, played any tabletop games? If so which ones were they and did you draw any influences from them?

RO: I played D&D but more casually than most of my friends that played. I also played minis and became way more interested in the artistic aspect of table top games. I really got into painting minis of all kinds. Friends would give me boxes of minis and I would paint them. Most of my paints and bits were covered by my friends for painting their figs. I got into all sorts of board games like Betrayal and Zombies and still play them regularly.

TiX: A few outlets and communities have commented on how the Neverwinter console community is pretty mute and none existent. What’s your overall perception of this?

RO: Early on, shortly after launch we noticed the same things. When I would play I would talk in /Zone to get no response to LFG or even giveaways. It turns out there was a bug in chat that hid chat unless you were a friend with someone. We have since fixed that and the game chat is much livelier. It is a shame that we had the chat bug. It really made the game seem much smaller without the chatter. It’s all fixed now and people should give it a try.

Neverwinter 1

TiX: What was the biggest challenge in porting Neverwinter from PC to Xbox One?

RO: Getting the backend working and integrated to Xbox One was a huge amount of work. Sometimes the task exposed bugs that we could fix but it also covered some up. Additionally, the controls were a tough one. We wanted to get them right and feel like we did.

TiX: It was recently announced that there would be five free pieces of DLC coming to Xbox One, including Tyranny of Dragons and Elemental Evil. What can you tell us about these?

RO: Well, it won’t be traditional console DLC. These updates will be 100% free and will download automatically when you log in and patch. Just log in and get new content, classes, level cap increase, rewards and much, much more. Following the Tyranny of Dragons story the Xbox fans can look forward to 3 huge zones with a ton of content and rewards that feature more campaign content. There is also the Elemental Evil expansion that adds a new class in the Paladin, 4 new zones that take the player from 60 to 70 and some truly epic dungeons and encounters.

TiX: How well has the F2P model for Neverwinter gone down with console owners?

RO: It has gone very well. Gamers are fans of games and even bigger fans of good games. Neverwinter is the best free to play MMO on any console. Our fast paced combat feels fantastic on console and is a lot of fun. You can get in and play from start to finish with your friends and never miss out on any content because you don’t have that pack or DLC your friend has. It would be hard not to like that. Going forward I think that our free updates, events and expansions will continue to be well received.

Thanks to Crypcic Games, Perfect World Entertainment and of course Rob Overmeyer for their support.

You can read more about what is to come in Neverwinter: Rise of Tiamat here and watch the trailer below.

The Elder Scrolls Online – No CD key required

Updated: Bethesda has confirmed that no CD key will be required for the console version of the game.

“The physical console version of The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited does not require a one-time game code, as with any other boxed PS4/Xbox One game only the game disc is needed for verification,” Beyhesda told MCV. “Any previous statements counter to this were incorrect.”

Original Story: The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited will require a CD key on the Xbox One, just like on a PC.

A thread on the game’s forum was created to discus whether or not the game’s license could be shared on the same console, or if a CD key was needed.

A representative on the forum said:

To clarify, you will need a unique game registration code in order to play the game, and used copies will not be eligible to receive a key if the code has already been redeemed.

It works the same way as the PC version in that the code included in the box is to activate your ESOTU account and the discs are for installation purposes. If you own the disc but don’t have a key, you’ll be able to install the game and reach the login screen, but you won’t be able to log in and access the game without an active ESOTU account.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited is out June 9.

Neverwinter review – part three

Neverwinter-logo

You made it to part three of our massive Neverwinter review! Congratulations adventurer, have an extra 1,000xp as a reward. So what’s coming up in part three? We’ll be looking at professions (everyone needs one, right?), the in-game crafting system that’s based on your profession, the economy of Neverwinter and the Auction House. We’ll also be giving you our final verdict and score.

If you haven’t read parts one and two of our Neverwinter review, I suggest doing so before proceeding further. Part one is found here and part two here.

If you’ve played any RPG in the past, you’ll be familiar with Professions and crafting. In MMORPG’s professions not only act as a way to create yourself decent armour and weapons (or gear if you prefer) but also a way to earn money in-game. In Neverwinter the system works exactly the same and professions provide a way to make/customize armour, earn currency, items, and experience. Neverwinter’s system is slightly different to other MMORPGs but it won’t take long to adjust.

Professions are unlocked at level 10 and the immediate difference is that you won’t be performing crafting tasks yourself. Instead you’ll be hiring Craftsmen and sending them out to perform tasks on your behalf leaving you free to continue adventuring. Unlike most titles, you are also able to dabble in every profession available. A single craftsman for each profession can be acquired. These tasks take up a certain amount of time ranging from five seconds to upwards of 18 hours depending upon the complexity of what you need. You do have the option to speed this up by spending Astral Diamonds, one of the games many in-game currencies.

Professions Window

The majority of tasks will require you to use a number of different resources to complete them. These resources are consumable items that can be obtained through earlier tasks but mainly by using Skills and Resource Kits while dungeon delving or exploring one of the many regions within the game. In addition to resources you’ll also need a selection of different tools. By using tools of a good quality the resulting output of the task will be a much greater reward. The same can be said when assigning Craftsmen, if you have Craftsmen who are more experienced, make sure you use them for tasks with better rewards, they’ll also reduce the time it takes to perform the task. Both craftsmen and tools are known as Assets, neither of which are consumed when performing tasks.

If you are familiar with the likes of World of Warcraft, you’ll know that you are limited to one profession and one task at any time. In Neverwinter you don’t need to speak to ‘trainers’ to learn new professions and you can perform multiple tasks at once. You have nine slots for performing tasks and each slot can have a task related to a different profession as long as you have the required assets. This is a welcome change allowing more casual MMO players get involved.

There are nine professions to choose from; Alchemy, Artificing, Jewelcrafting, Leadership, Leatherworking, Mailsmithing, Platesmithing, Tailoring, Weaponsmithing. Leatherworking as an example, concentrates on creating armour for Hunter Rangers, Trickster Rogues, and Scourge Warlocks whereas Leadership will put you in charge of directing Mercenaries in performing tasks which upon completing you’ll be rewarded with gold, items, experience and additional Astral Diamonds. It’s worth investing time into your professions, as they become a valuable source of income during your time with Neverwinter.

Neverwinter contains a number of different currency types, but as you start off there will be three specific currencies you will encounter most frequently; Zen, Astral Diamonds and Gold (including Silver & Copper) GOLD (and Silver and Copper).

Zen is the currency obtained by spending real money, and can only be used while browsing the in-game Zen store. Many people are against models that include purchasing currency, but it has allowed for Neverwinter to be released as a free-to-play model, and as mentioned in part one of my review, the majority of items available for purchase in the Zen store can also be obtained by playing the game. The exception to this rule is a number of ‘service’ items that will enhance your Neverwinter experience such as additional character slots, and renaming a character. Zen points can also be obtained via Astral Diamonds on the Zen Astral Diamond Exchange.

Auction House in game
Auction House in-game

Astral Diamonds are the primary currency in Neverwinter and the one you’ll be wanting to stock up on. It’s with Astral Diamonds you have the greatest freedom to buy high-end questing gear. Astral Diamonds themselves can be earned through NPC quests and missions, invoking and praying to your deity daily, the Leadership profession and completing daily dungeons and Skirmishes. Astral Diamonds can be used to purchase almost anything, from consumables to high-end gear, among other things. If you are looking to buy simple consumables like health potions and the like, it’s Gold you’ll be wanting to use. Gold (inc. Silver & Copper) is the in-game currency for consumables, such as healing and other potions, companions, mounts, etc. It is considered by many to be the role-playing currency as it is found through the game frequently and often by accident.

Learning a profession in World of Warcraft made me a lot of in-game gold, especially during Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Crafting items from high-end, valuable and rare materials and selling in the player driven Auction House made me very rich, well my character at least. Neverwinter has an Auction house as you can expect and it works in very much the same way as all MMO Auction Houses. The Auction House provides a way for players to offer goods for sale to other players and is a key part of the game economy. All purchases on the Auction House are paid for with Astral Diamonds, not Gold. When you list an item on the Auction house you’ll be able to set the starting price for bidding but also a ‘Buy Now’ price too. Don’t forget that the Auction House will take a 10% cut of the money made after each successful sale. Once sold you head off to a Postal Courier and collect your Astral Diamonds – this is the same if you are buying items from the Auction House, you would visit a Postal Courier to collect your purchase. The Auction House is a fantastic way of getting your hands on equipment, vanity items and more much earlier in the game as long as you can afford it. And don’t forget to sell your goods on there.

And there we have it – we’ve covered all the basics you need to know to get started inNeverwinter. But what did we think of it when all is said and done?Neverwinter has a bunch of shortcomings including some framerate issues, however if you’ve never played an MMO and like the idea of exploring one from your sofa and Xbox One without the need for a gaming PC, thenNeverwinter is a great introduction. For those of you that do take the plunge (and let’s be honest, it is free so why wouldn’t you?), you’ll discover an enjoyable and rewarding adventure that albeit the under par graphics, will keep your attention and ensure you come back for more.

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Neverwinter review – part two

Neverwinter

Welcome back to our three-part Neverwinter review. If you landed here without first reading part one of our review, then I suggest clicking this link! In this second part I’ll be taking you through the more complex gameplay modes including general questing, skirmishes, dungeons and of course PvP. Sit back my adventuring friend, grab an ale from the barkeep and let’s begin.

Neverwinter starts off by introducing you to questing in a similar way as all other RPG’s and MMORPG’s alike. In the case of Neverwinter, your character is washed ashore after the ship you were sailing on was destroyed during the attack upon the city. You wake up, find some basic equipment and get to helping the Neverwinter Guards mop up the last of the attackers. This introductory quest line will push you towards the city itself and ultimately the main social hub of the game; Protectors Enclave. These initial quests introduce you nicely to the progression system within the game.

Neverwinter 1

Your primary goal in an MMORPG is of course the development of your character. You can play through the game a number of times, as different classes and/or races therefore experiencing ever so slightly different quests, but guaranteed you’ll be doing it to make that character the best it can be. Obtain the highest level equipment or win that legendary mount you saw another player dash on. Neverwinter features the same character progression system in which players earn experience points for their actions as other traditional RPG’s. Questing in and around Neverwinter will see you in combat with monsters and completing quests for NPCs, either alone or in groups of friends (maybe even in a Guild – but more on that in part three).

General questing will take place in Adventure Zones, the first being Protectors Enclave, which to begin with only has a small number of ‘Go visit this NPC for advice’ style quests. Adventure Zones are then broken down into groups of neighbourhoods and instances, or non-persistent zones. For example, Blacklake District and Tower District – two of the first Adventure Zones you’ll explore before reaching level 20 – are both part of the extended city of Neverwinter. As I’ve said before and will likely say many times over, Neverwinter is a typical MMO in style so many of the simpler quests involve killing a certain number of enemies, collecting certain objects and items, searching for missing NPC’s or delving into caves and mines in search of materials for the NPC quest giver.

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Adventure zones are persistent, meaning that separate instances of the zone are not created for each individual group. Instances as they are known, are kept for dungeons. Whilst this does mean you’ll be completing the same quests as others around you, Neverwinter’s respawn times for enemies and items have been sped up in comparison to that of World of Warcraft. This means you won’t spend 10 minutes waiting for your target to reappear after being killed by another player.

All the Adventure Zones have a recommended level. For instance Blacklake District, being the first of many full zones to explore, is recommended for players between level 6 and 9 whereas the Tower District is aimed at players between level 9 and 15. Characters who enter an Adventure Zone below the minimum suggested level will receive a warning before entering, but will still be able to enter. Just don’t expect to get very far unless you’re with a group of friends working together. The higher level zones will be marked red on the World Map.

Each new Adventure Zone comes with a playable Skirmish, a game mode I’ve not previously experienced in an MMO. Skirmishes are PvE (or player vs environment) instances. Each Skirmish is balanced for a team of five players with a minimum and maximum level cap. It sounds very much like the same mechanic as Dungeon Delves, however the difference here is that the Skirmishes are normally very short in duration and nine times out of ten, involve staying in a fixed area defeating wave after wave of enemies. There is the chance to pick up some good loot and the end chest reward is normally a decent piece of equipment which you’ll need to roll on. There are three types of Skirmishes in Neverwinter; the first is a standard Skirmish that forms part of the quest line you may be working through. For example, during the opening quest line in Blacklake District you’ll be called upon to help defeat a priest of the God Ghaunadaur who is summoning the undead from the bottom of the lake. You and four others will then fight three waves of undead monsters before finally confronting the priest, working together to take him down.

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The second type is a Call to Arms Skirmish, an enhanced limited time version of a normal skirmish that will allow any player between level 6 and 60 to queue and take part. These events have much improved equipment and loot available as rewards, including rare pets, mounts and themed weapons. Interestingly enough, the Call to Arms Skirmish automatically scales enemy damage given and received as appropriate to each character, meaning if you do end up with a level 6 player in your party, they’ll be just as useful as your level 60 Trickster Rogue. Finally there is a third type of Skirmish which I’ve yet to experience in the Xbox One version of Neverwinter. This is the Event Skirmish linked to calendar events in-game. Hopefully we’ll see some of these in the not so distant future.

Those familiar with MMORPG’s will likely be wanting to know more about Dungeon Delves, Neverwinter’s equivalent to World of Warcraft’s dungeon instances. As with the Skirmishes these private instances are balanced for groups of 5 players again with a minimum and maximum level. There are two key differences between Skirmishes and Dungeon Delves. The first is that Dungeon Delves involve exploring a location whether it be a dungeon, castle or tower. The other is that there is normally a number of bosses compared to just one. As with the Skirmishes there are also three types of Dungeon Delves; the first being a standard private instance, which are similar to Skirmishes tied into a quest line. You’ll need to meet the level requirements, but standard dungeons allow you to enter at any time with any number of players in tow. Epic Dungeon Delves however are a lot stricter. You have to use the game queue system, which will ensure your group is made up of five players that are made up of a Tank, Healer and three DPS (see review part one for explanation), the group leader will be picked at random and you need to have a minimum equipment score.

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There are then the Dungeon Delves that are only available through events linked to the in-game event calendar. Completing a Dungeon Delve during an event unlocks an additional treasure chest for each party member when you successfully complete the dungeon. This chest holds high-end equipment for your character and other rare and epic items you can either use of sell in the Auction House; more on that in part three. A lot of the high-end equipment you’ll be wanting to collect for your character will only be purchasable using a currency known as Seals. There are a number of Seals in Neverwinter starting with the Seal of the Lion. These can be collected from all three different types of instances, saved and then used to buy that new dagger or sword you need with the extra +250 damage. As you progress through the game and increase your own level you will encounter new types of Seals that are redeemable for better equipment. So far I have seen five types of Seals in the Xbox One version of Neverwinter. The PC version has seven.

Congratulations Adventurer, you now know enough to get out there and start questing in Neverwinter. So what’s coming up in part three? We’ll be looking at professions (everyone needs one, right?), the in-game crafting system that’s based on your profession, the economy of Neverwinter and the Auction House. We’ll also be giving you our final verdict and score. So don’t get lost out there. We’ll keep your chair warm and look forward to seeing you back here for another Ale!