The Neverwinter MMO is ready for beta.
Neverwinter, not to be mistaken for BioWare's Neverwinter Nights that's also set in the Forgotten Realms, is almost ready for beta. Cryptic Studios and Perfect World have announced three beta weekends for the periods of February 8-10th, March 8-10th, and March 22-24th. Previously, beta signups had been open on the Neverwinter official site, where Cryptic will presumably be drawing participants from.
For Dungeons & Dragons fans very eager to see how the MMO pans out, a Founder's program has been established to allow players to buy in a spot to the beta. Since the demise of the subscription MMO, F2P supported by crowdfunded founder's packs have become the popular model. One of the most successful examples to date is MechWarrior Online, which managed to rake in $5 million before the game ever left closed beta.
Currently, the Founder's program has three, very disparate tiers in pricing. Diehards can buy the "Hero of the North Founder's Pack" for $199.99, granting access to the Drow race (for Drizzt fans), five days VIP access to the beta before the beta actually begins, a Founder's title, among more than a dozen other awards. For those willing to pay standard retail prices, the "Guardian of Neverwinter Pack" is $59.99 and grants a unique direwolf companion, three-day early access to beta weekends, a Founder's title, and other awards. Those strapped for cash, but still wanting to buy into the beta can pick up the $19.99 "Neverwinter Starter Kit", which grants an Amulet of Protection, a Small Bag of Holding (12 extra inventory slots), and an Adventurer's Helper Pack that's filled with goodies.
More details on the Neverwinter Founder's program are available on the game's official website, where they can also be purchased for the upcoming February beta.