Neverwinter MMO Goes Open Beta This Month

Perfect World Entertainment Inc. and Cryptic Studios said on Thursday that the long-awaited Action MMORPG Dungeons & Dragons Neverwinter will go into open beta on April 30, 2013. Players will get unrestricted access to the upcoming free-to-play game based in the popular Forgotten Realms city. This is a standalone game, and not part of the popular Neverwinter Nights series of games previously developed by Obsidian Entertainment and BioWare.

"On April 30, we go into Open Beta," said Cryptic Studios Executive Producer and COO, Craig Zinkievich. "That's when the world we've labored for years to build comes to life -- that's when every gamer can login and play what we've worked so hard to create. We could not be more excited."

Gamers who have already purchased the $200 Founder's Pack will have early access. Beginning 12:00 p.m. (PDT) on Friday, April 12, these customers will be able to check out the professions system as part of a newly added 60-hour Beta Weekend 4. These professions will include Leadership, Mailsmithing, Platesmithing and Leatherworking.

Developed by Cryptic Studios (City of Heroes, Star Trek Online), the MMORPG was originally the property of parent company Atari which previously published other games based on AD&D. The game was slated for a late 2011 release, but was delayed to 2012 due to the studio's transition from Atari to new parent company Perfect World Entertainment that year. A decision to change Neverwinter from co-op play to a full-blown F2P MMORPG further delayed the game into late 2012, then into early 2013.

"Explore and defend one of the most beloved cities from Dungeons & Dragons as it rises from the ashes of destruction," reads the game's description. "This action RPG set in an immersive MMO world will take you from the besieged walls of the city to subterranean passageways in search of forgotten secrets and lost treasure."

That said, Neverwinter doesn't clone the first-person experience provided in EverQuest 2, World of Warcraft or even Dungeons & Dragons Online. In a way, it stays visually true to the classic Neverwinter Nights games we've come to know and love, only with a bit more console-like hack-n-slash action (or so it seems). Here are the recommended and minimum system requirements:

Recommended System Requirements:
* OS: Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista SP 2, Windows 7 or Windows 8
* CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.8 GHz CPU equivalent or better
* Memory: 2 GB RAM or more
* GPU: GeForce 8800 or ATI Radeon HD 2900 GT performance or better, 512 MB+ VRAM
* Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound chip or onboard audio capability with the latest sound drivers
* Broadband Internet Connection Required

Minimum System Requirements:
* OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8
* CPU: Dual-core 2.0 GHz CPU or better
* Memory: 1 GB RAM
* GPU: Shader Model 2.0 or higher, GeForce 6800 or ATI Radeon X850 performance, 128 MB+ VRAM
* Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound chip or onboard audio capability with the latest sound drivers
* Broadband Internet Connection Required

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  • Stimpack
    I played about 30 minutes of the beta and didn't go back. It's not because I didn't like it, I just had time constraints. I still have no idea if the game is really worth downloading again. So what do people think? This, or DDO?
  • DarkSable
    I've played it a little, and was underwhelmed - it has the Guild Wars 2 syndrome; there's so much of it that SHOULD be so good... and isn't.

    Personally, I'm probably going to stay with DDO. Even if the graphics aren't the best in the world, the gameplay is incredible, and there's miles upon miles of customization options with which to make the perfect character.
  • bak0n
    I like never winter over DDO. DDO has some really cool class build setups but the game play got old quickly. I switched to LOTRO because of it. Now Its NW or the upcoming elder scrolls.
  • southernshark
    I just don't have time for MMOs and doubt many other people do either. Times change and companies need to change with them.
  • J_E_D_70
    @ southernshark - that's the nice thing about F2P MMOs like this and LotRO (my favorite) - you can play as much or as little as you like, you don't pay monthly fees, and you can stop for weeks or months and come back right where you left off. Many argue that the classes are *too* balanced but that allows everyone to solo as needed.
  • childofthekorn
    looks like another EQ clone
  • furylicious
    You're telling me. I loved LOTRO, and liked the Neverwinter games. GW2 wasn't bad, but didn't live up to what I thought it was going to be.

    The major problem I'm having is that I'm getting too old for MMOs, not enough time to get consumed with yet another MMO. I've been reading the R.A. Salvatore books that are supposed to be a pre-cursor to this whole fiasco, and I barely have time to do even that.

    Either way, I hope it's successful, might try out the beta just to check it out.
  • genisaurus
    There are only two things you will ever need to know about the Neverwinter MMO:

    1. There is a breast-size slider at character creation.

    2. The main benefit to the $200 preorder package is being able to play a BLATANT Drizz't Do'Urden knockoff. For those of you less familiar, this is like if LOTR Online sold the opportunity to play a Human Ranger with the "Runaway Prince" background and a free "Anduril" sword in your inventory. You would see a thousand Human Rangers running around and a thousand variations on the name "Aragorn."

    This game is a blatant, obvious cash grab by a mediocre company. This game will not be good. It will live and die by its player-generated content, and will do nothing special beyond simply having player-generated content.

    Other than that, I played the beta. The voice acting was terrible and a distraction, and for being based on D&D the mechanics were so horribly simplified that it's almost insulting. There's a "stat-rolling" system, but you're really just randomly choosing one of about 5 predetermined stat allocations from a secret table, and you keep clicking "roll" until you get the one you like. It's impossible to tell what your stats actually do, what the benefit of having a slightly higher number is, and there's no way to make a nonstandard character like say, and Intelligence-based fighter.
  • dgingeri
    I've played the beta and liked it. It's not like WoW was on release, but it's better than WoW is now. It's fun enough to waste an afternoon or evening. However, they put the beta weekends up at bad times for me, and I never got a character above level 12. I don't know how well the end game works.

    I play STO, too, and like it. One issue I have with Cryptic and PW are the stupid lockboxes. Buying keys is expensive. I wind up destroying hundreds of those lockboxes because it is too expensive to open them. The latest content expansion just ramped up the lockbox drop rate, too. On top of that, the endgame is a really bad rep grind. It's totally time limited. I haven't even bothered with most of that. However, the rest of the game is decently playable. I like it well enough. I have 4 characters as far as they can go without going through the horrible rep systems.
  • mmoguru
    yeah...too many free interesting mmo available including School of Dragons by Dreamworks so not sure I'd play a fee based mmo