Because, like “everyone else” I’ve checked out Neverwinter. But that’s later
Rift Update: Rogue is level 60 now. I’ve done a couple of experts on it, but nothing rogue-y has dropped. Ah well. Followed the same leveling path as the warrior, so to mix it up a bit, I’m working my mage up on the Dusken continent. Level 56 so far, but haven’t really played in about 2 months now due to several real-life factors causing a severe decrease in my available MMO-time (as in, I went from 20+ hours a week down to about 1-2. . . ). I’m still not much caring for Dusken, so that hasn’t helped my desire to log in. I also think I burned out from MMO’s a bit anyway, as I’ve not felt any desire to log in to TSW or LotRO either.
Did I mention that I was giving LotRO another look-see? Several bloggers were talking about it and the new expansion dropped, so I thought I’d check out the base client. Found I had 6900 Turbine Points available when I installed it (did I drop $50 on it at some point in the past and didn’t realize it?), so I used them to get the Moria expansion and the 2 classes that were included. Glad I did, because the RuneKeeper and the Warden are my 2 favorite characters. I’m also enjoying the Minstrel a lot. The LoreMaster didn’t “do it” for me, though, nor did the Hunter or Captain. Neither the Guardian nor the Burglar sound appealing to me at all, so I’ve not tried them either.
TSW I’ve almost finished issue #5, and I’ve got Issue #6 installed, but haven’t started it at all, so I don’t yet have my whip. Eventually…….
And finally… Neverwinter. I didn’t think to take any screenies, so enjoy a picture of my Rift guild’s dimension instead ;) I wrote out a long 1st impressions-type email to a friend that I’m just going to paste in here. Hopefully it makes sense:
I fired up Neverwinter to let the queue wind down and hopefully play a little before I had to go to bed. And I got right in – no queue at all, so either a massive drop-off in the number of players from Tuesday night where I was at position 7000+, or they did something on the back end to let more people play.
So anyway… tried my “Control Wizard” 1st. At level 1 you have . . . Magic Missile. You wake up shipwrecked, given a basic chest armor piece and weapon and head up to a camp site. Where you gain level 2 for walking into the place. This gives you your 2nd “at will” power, which in NW parlance means “spammable.” For the CW, it’s the Ray of Frost and in this game it’s a channel that slows the mobs headed your way and ticks a cold counter on them. If it gets to 6 stacks of the counter, the mob gets frozen in a 3 second stun. Very useful against bosses, but not so hot vs trash. Magic Missile does very well, but is ST only, so after you start fighting 3-4 mobs at a time, freezing 1 out of a group helps avoid some hits.
So anyway, now you’re level 2 and you have to go kill a few zombies to clear them away from “injured soldiers” who you heal up and then head up to the next camp. Mobs in the tutorial section give no xp, but you gain level 3 when you walk in to the next camp anyway. This gives you your 1st “encounter” ability (12-18 second cooldown). For the CW it’s an ice spike that (at this stage, anyway) 1-shots trash and has a stun built in vs bigger mobs. You get sent out to gather arrows from the bodies of soldiers. So you do that while killing or avoiding actual aggro mobs and go to the next camp and hit level 4. This gives you your 1st “daily” power (daily = you build action points as you cast spells and eventually fill a bar which enables you to cast it and empty the bar to start refilling it again) which is a PBAE damage spell. You also receive a class buff (5% duration increase for control effects for the CW).
This time you’re sent to cross a bridge that’s under attack in order to get into the city of Neverwinter itself. On your way to the bridge are duo’s of aggro mobs, but your range is longer than their aggro radius as a CW, so… no biggie. And since you can open with a 1-shot on 1 of them and then simply freeze-ray the other… again, no biggie. Once on the bridge itself it gets a little more interesting. Some mobs are archers, but again – your range is longer than theirs, so you just kill them while they stand around like dorks. You see a red cone on the ground showing exactly where they shoot, so you just avoid the red, and it’s all good. Until you get onto the bridge proper, where it’s groups of 4 mobs, and most are melee, but a few are archers still. You have a temporary tank companion at this point, so you can let it take the brunt of any hits if you want, but you can still mow down mobs in about 2-3 seconds, so if you 1-shot the 1st, then freeze the 2nd, then magic missile down the 3rd, the tank takes the 4th, you kill the frozen one, and the tank has killed the 4th by then too. Quite quick.
Until you get to the mini-boss. It’s got about 4x the HP of a regular mob and it does like the bosses in TSW and tosses a red area on the ground for you to dodge out of every so often. It still goes down easy. Couple more groups of mobs then you’re at the bridge boss. It’s got about 15x the health of a regular mob and a cutscene before the fight gets rid of your temporary tank, so you’re full solo. I hit it with my ice spike which stunned it, then channeled my freeze-ray at him until he froze, then spammed magic missile until he broke out of being frozen. Dodged his red circle charge then froze him again. Spammed MM until he broke out, then my ice spike was back up so I stunned and froze him again. Magic missile spam until he broke out. Dodged his next charge, but he was able to close the gap with me this time… and started to telegraph a PBAE circle, which I dodged out of then hit my daily power… which stunned him, so I spammed 2 MM’s, then ice spiked him, then froze him, and. . . done. I think I took 1 hit the whole fight. That’s quite a lot of control in that there Control Wizard even at level 4. . . .
And now I’m in the city itself to turn in the quest which give a nice upgrade chest armor piece and weapon, then sends you into your 1st (solo) dungeon. It’s linear, no traps or hidden things, mobs are mostly melee, but there are a couple of archers, and 1 mini-boss is a caster that leaves little mines down to avoid. Since the CW doesn’t have self-heals and mob swarms do come and give you a few thwacks here and there, I had a couple of close calls vs larger swarms and vs the mini-boss and his minions, but managed to pull it all out without even needing to drink a potion. It does the DDO thing where you only heal at certain checkpoints – campfire instead of shrines – and I was always just reaching the next campfire when I got close to death, so I was able to immediately heal back up, so that was nice. Final boss was like on the bridge – I did a lot of stuns and dodging while I didn’t have the mob stunned. Easy enough. Mobs do grant xp now, but the dungeon isn’t enough to take you to level 5. But the quest turn-in does. . . .
So now at level 5 you get your 1st power point. You can grab a 2nd encounter power, or upgrade an existing one. Since the CW appears not to gain the ability to slot in a 2nd encounter power until level 10, I chose to upgrade Magic Missile to do 10% more damage instead. I may have read that wrong, though, since later on at level 5 I selected the 2nd encounter power on my Cleric thinking to swap it and it slotted in just fine. But anyway, thus ends the tutorial phase and now you can go grab new quests from givers around the city, etc.
I swapped to the Devoted Cleric to see how it played differently. At level 1 it’s got a ranged spear spell and it takes 2 hits to kill trash. At level 2 you get a “seal” that damages the mob and makes it so that you get healed when you hit the affected mob. Encounter power at level 3 is a PBAE that does about the same amount of damage as your lance and heals you to boot. Daily power at level 4 knocks the mob down and does a decent sized hit on it. Class power is… I’m not sure. I think it was 5% boost to heals, but I don’t recall exactly now.
Since you have self-heals, the 1st dungeon was a lot easier. The heals are small though, and it’s not like you can spam direct heals on yourself – you do have to have the seal on the mob and then hit it, or hit a mob with the PBAE skill, so your health doesn’t stay full all the time, but it drops very slowly, and I just had to top off at the campfires for a second or 2 was all. Mob swarms were easy enough – spam the seal on each mob as they closed in, then as they got to melee-ish range hit the PBAE and finish off the 1 or 2 mobs that didn’t die but only have a couple of HP left. The bosses hit me more often than on the CW since I don’t have the control spells/stuns, so I was trying to dodge more often, but you only have enough stamina to do 2 dodges before you have to wait for it to build, so I’d take that 3rd hit. But… self-heals… no biggie. Overall, dps felt similar and the DC felt a lot less squishy too.
Combat is reticle/active like DDO or Tera, but you can’t cast on the run, so you can’t kite. It does a soft-lock to your target, though, so if a mob runs behind you, you do auto-face it, so that’s kinda nice. It doesn’t look like you’ll actually ever have all that many spells/powers either and the default keybinds put all the stuff in very easy reach (though I mapped A and D to Q and E for my strafing, and moved the power activations from Q and E down to A and D respectively). Left click is At Will 1, right click is At Will 2. Encounter powers are mapped to Q, E, and R by default, and Daily powers are 1 and 2. Potions are 3, and there’s 4 and 5 for other consumables later on, it appears. As you get higher in level you’ll have to “choose a deck” so to speak, from available powers, but it doesn’t look like that will be too big a thing.
Overall, I’m rather impressed so far, even without the ability to cast instant spells on the run. Enough so that I’m thinking of dropping $10 to buy 2 more character slots for a Trickster Rogue and 1 of the fighters… probably a Guardian Fighter. The Great Weapon Fighter is said to be kind of a grind until level 35 and then suddenly be wicked OP, so that sounds kinda meh to me. Apparently there are in-game ways to earn their “zen” for the cash shop too, so I’ll look into that as well. Not a bad 2-hour run, I didn’t think. Got a feel for 2 different characters and enjoyed them both. Score a win for Neverwinter!