I tried Cryptic’s Neverwinter, currently in pseudo-open beta, over the weekend. It is both markedly different and weirdly similar to Turbine’s D&D Online, but far less deep and robust. Where DDO is an attempt to bring the D&D experience to the MMO space, Neverwinter is an attempt to create an MMO, using the Cryptic model, with D&D flavor. I can’t say it fails at that. As an MMO, it struck me as a mix of ideas from DDO and Guild Wars 2, with campaign structure borrowed from the former and combat feel from the latter.
It was also lots of fun. It’s linear, like Cryptic’s MMOs tend to be, with some examples of scaling content that let you go off the linear rails a bit. Plus there’s the Foundry for player-created missions. There isn’t a lot there at the moment, but the game’s minimally several weeks away from launch, so we need to give the community some time to feel out the tools and explore their limitations. One or two of the pieces of content which are there already are fairly decent, but nothing’s really outstanding.
I’d happily play it some more once character wipes and the like are past. I captured about an hour of unusable video of gameplay and character creation.