Neverwinter – Icewind Dale

I make no secret that I am a rather huge D&D fan.  I don’t get the chance to play the tabletop version anymore but the world and rules have always fascinated me.  Neverwinter has that near perfect combination of lore/structure and action-oriented combat to keep me coming back.

Expansion #3 is out today, Curse of Icewind Dale, and it seems to be adding a fair bit of content to boot.  Raids, dungeons, a new campaign with daily quests, new paragon path for the Ranger, a new profession (Black Ice) and dynamic group content (aka Public Events).  While there is some vertical progression, as the game uses a gear score, there’s actually a fair amount of horizontal progression as well.  Experience is no longer “wasted” and you continue to gain “levels” of a sort.  These give you points to allocate to your active skills.  You can’t slot more skills, you just have more skills to choose from.

The previous post spoke about the 3 phases of ESO.  Neverwinter has 2.  First is the leveling aspect, from 1-60.  You have access to companions, customization, foundry (awesome), dungeons, skirmishes (5 minute dungeons) and a whole slew of other features.  Phase 2 starts at 60 and adds 2 things.  First, elite dungeons and raids, where the gearscore/skill requirement is a fair bit higher than before.  This is the typical end-game for themeparks and the time commitment is manageable.  Second are campaigns, which are themed daily quests with gates.  Pretty much what 1-60 gave you, you’re just limited to about 1 hour’s worth per day.

This new expansion seems to add a few more 1-60 things to do without the need for typical end-game progress, which is pretty darn good.  I know that breadth doesn’t equate to depth but we’re not talking about a game that is aiming a whole lot at the latter – it’s an action RPG after all.  I do know from my experience in the dungeons/raids that you need to be attentive to what’s going around.  Proper stat allocation is also pretty important but that part is rather hard to gimp yourself with, due to core mechanics.  SWTOR’s customization (and WoW’s now-dead reforging) provided way more options than Neverwinter.

It’s free, there’s a ton of content.  Give it a shot.

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