DDO and Neverwinter

DDO and Neverwinter

I’ve been playing DDO since September 2009 (yes, I’m one of those “Free? I’m in!” cheapers) and love it deeply. DDO is the first MMO for me, so I had to learn everything about playing an MMO from scratch. But that was okay, if something hold’s my interest I want to learn all ins and outs, back and forth. So I’ve read many a forum thread, compendium page and other guides, educating myself.

And up to today I’m still learning because every once in a while the DDO dev team change something or add new stuff. But I don’t mind, I love learning and playing it all!

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A few months back I saw an ad for a new D&D game being released “soonish” , Neverwinter. And it was going for the F2P style. Me: “Free? I’m in!”

It had the “D&D” and “F2P” in it and so immediately grabbed my attention. I did a little exploring on the world-wide-webs but there wasn’t much to get excited about yet. “Soonish” wasn’t yet nearby so I didn’t need to learn all ins and outs immediately.

A while after that first spot, one of my guildies (I’ll call him Jayzee to keep him safe from flames and spears XD) mentioned Neverwinter while we were doing something in DDO. I said I’d seen the ad as well and also had some interest. We chatted about it some and about how he was very interested in trying out Neverwinter when it would be released.

(Jayzee is getting a bit tired of DDO. He has a huge D&D history and so learned DDO much faster than me. He’s hungry. He needs new food to keep his brain tickled.) ((<- That’s just my thought I’m sharing here, I’ve been playing with Jayzee for almost 3 years now and I think I have a little feeling of knowing him when it comes to DDO))

So hearing Jayzee has a big interest in Neverwinter my own feelings we’re again enlightend. I like to quest with Jayzee (and my other guildies of course) and knowing he would be playing Neverwinter made me feel at ease.

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I’m a social gamer. I don’t like soloing, and I’ve sticked to DDO for over 3 years because I have a great group of guildies around me who always take me along on their ride if they have room for more. We have fun while questing, make jokes at each other because we know we can.

Knowing other guildies were interested in Neverwinter as well made me at ease because I knew I’d have company in there and didn’t need to solo it to learn the game. Or even had to go out again to find a guild in there that would fit me. I’ve had done that already after a few months of DDO when the original group I started with stopped playing and I went on a solo quest to find a nice home of friendly people. The thought of doing that again in Neverwinter had me scared a bit already.

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It was halfway March already and I had kept a close eye on the Neverwinter progression. It was still in Closed Beta but a release date was getting closer, so I could tell between the lines. The Closed Beta was only accessible for players who bought a starter pack. Something like the DDO expansion pack you could buy for early access and exclusive extras.

But I didn’t want to invest in the game yet because I like to first see if I like the game enough to be worth spending money on, hence my love for F2P.
And there it was: a Closed Beta weekend for everyone who was able to grab a Beta Key. And grabbing hold of a Beta key wasn’t that hard, many gaming sites were giving keys away like candy. I knew Jayzee got a key and soon I had a key as well. Neverwinter was soon to be explored!

March the 22nd Friday evening it began, my first loggin at Neverwinter. Of course I had created my account before the official opening and had done a fair bit of reading on the forums. Learning new stuff again: Brain Tickle! I even downloaded the client before the opening so I wouldn’t lose time on that when they opened the World of Neverwinter ;-)

I started off solo because I didn’t know Jayzee’s account/char name but I didn’t mind it that much. It was nice to just explore the world (waking up on a beach being thrown there by some Dragon who attacked something I was in/on and threatened the city. Anyone else get the reference??) by myself.

I followed the main story line and ran quest after quest with my Devoted Cleric (yes, I love divines, have several in DDO and so started off with one in Neverwinter). So much to see, so much to do. Everything was new and around every corner was more new! Learning char progression, how to set up the Hud, how to chat, how to fight. I was learning from scratch again and loved it. I think it was close to 2am when I logged off for the night. Where usually I try to log off between midnight and 1 am to get at least some decent sleep. Not this time.

Saturday afternoon I logged in again to continue the exploring. Already reached lvl 13 (wow, those levels go fast!!) and had heard from Jayzee and his char so I could contact him. Soon I found him ingame as well together with a rl friend of his and we grouped up to explore more together (we actually were very close in lvl range, think they reached 15 or so). We discussed many features and bugs we came across (Twas a Beta Weekend after all, had to give some feedback) ((although I left the giving of feedback to Jayzee because he is perfect with words, knows how to describe things well enough so everyone understands what it’s about. Not me, my English is just mediocre and enough to make myself understood but I don’t think I’m that good to write feedback myself)).
Alas, we played more Neverwinter that entire weekend and had a blast (well, I had a blast, but I think Jayzee had a blast too. His brain had fresh food to nom-nom).

The wait for official release began after that weekend without a date having called out for yet. The stress! We Want More!

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When we returned our usual gaming to DDO we informed our guildies about our adventures and how Neverwinter would be a nice game to play besides DDO. Specifically with them if they had interest. And they had. Our stories made them curious as well and since Neverwinter will be F2P it’s not hard to just download the client and try it. Don’t like it: delete the game and continue where you left off. Some guildies were very scared of the D&D 4e style, but Jayzee managed to explain what Neverwinter had created and how it wasn’t as bad as some would think it would be.
And it isn’t I think. I don’t have a rich D&D history so I can only compare with the D&D 3.5 we have in DDO. Of course it’s different, Neverwinter has not that many options when it comes to character building, the main lines are set out and to be followed as set. But there is still enough room to flex a char as you would like it to be. And it’s still in Beta, nothing is set hard in stone and everything can be changed if the devs see fit.
Back in 2006 when DDO started, the game was much different from what it is today (so I heard and read from founders). A lot has changed and so I don’t stress myself over Neverwinter not being perfect yet. The game needs time to develop as time goes and players giving good feedback to the devs to work on.

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Back in DDO it was back to playing the same stuff again. Questing for the levelling chars, raiding (FoT was still a work in progress for our guildies) for the endgame chars.
But we need new and shiny stuff in DDO to keep us going. We know the devs are working on it with a new expansion on the horizon for this summer. But sometimes you can’t ignore that nagging feeling of same old, been there done that, le sigh. At least I can’t. If there’s not much going on in the guild my interest starts to drop. I need fresh food too!

Low and behold,  at the beginning of April Neverwinter announced another Closed Beta weekend and an official Open Beta date!

The good part: Closed Beta weekend would be from April 22nd until April 24th and Open Beta would start at April 30th! (That day is easy to remember for me. For over 25 years we celebrate Queens-day on April 30th and this year our queen will give her crown to her oldest son Willem-Alexander. We will be celebrating Crowning-day this year at April 30th).

The sad part: Closed Beta weekend was just for founders who had bought a pack. A sort of Thank you to them for jumping in on the game-developing ride. Hardly any free keys were given out this time. I tried my best to get hold of one to have another Beta Weekend before Open Beta but I wasn’t lucky.

Until someone in my DDO Twitter feed saw my spamming of Neverwinter and said she had bought a founder pack but hadn’t been out testing Neverwinter yet.
 Oh, I forgot to mention, if you’d bought a founder pack you were given a friend-key as well. With this key you could bring along a friend into the Closed Beta’s to try out the game together.
She still had a friend-key and offered to give it to me. Me! I was so happy to get another chance to play Neverwinter before the Open Beta so I gladly accepted the gift!

I kept trying to get my hand on another key so I could give it to one of my guildies but still no luck.  But Bonnie was there so I wouldn’t be all alone. Even though I don’t know Bonnie that well (we only meet on twitter occasionally) I wouldn’t be alone and that set me at ease again.

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I’m a social gamer. I need people to hang out with, talk to and quest with together to make a game utterly enjoyable for me. So Friday night I logged into Neverwinter again and soon got ingame contact with Bonnie. I decided to create a new character (you get 2 char slots to start with) so I could run together with Bonnie. I went for the Control Wizard this time while Bonnie took the Halfling Trickster Rogue route. I enjoyed being back into Neverwinter again. But while this was Bonnie’s first look inside the game, I already felt a bit “been there done that”. And that felt strange to me. Where in DDO, being my first MMO, I never had that feeling even after a year, I had it now only on the 2nd day.

Maybe my MMO knowledge and skills had grown with my +3 years of DDO history. I had fun, don’t get me wrong, but I wanted to speed up more than I had thought I would. I felt like zerging where in my DDO guild I’m known as the flower sniffer and local photographer.

Next Saturday afternoon I logged into Neverwinter again to progress my wizard some more, soloing a lot of the quests while Bonnie tried out other classes to get a feeling of them all. Sunday I logged back to my cleric to progress her some more and see some new content.

But I was alone, and I didn’t feel like questing so much. I just ran around taking screenshots, watching chat and explore the game on itself (I created a channel to see how it worked, it worked!).

I also followed the German devs, they were streaming live gameplay and it was very fun to watch them play and answering all sorts of questions on the stream-chat. That’s how I learned about a get-together for the German players Sunday evening at 7pm. I decided to go check it out for the fun. But the devs didn’t come so it was just a bit of fooling and dancing from the German players and me watching them.

Following ingame chat again I saw another gathering, this time for a founders photo moment from the last Closed Beta players. Again I headed out to where the party was and just stood there and watched everyone going about and standing on the steps for the perfect picture to be taken. It was fun but it wasn’t as much fun without my friend-guildies around.

So around 10pm, after the picture gathering I decided to log off and log into DDO again to see what my guildies were up to. They had room for more on their lowbie TR train so I jumped in and enjoyed the company before heading to bed.

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And now the waiting begins. April 30 will be the next milestone in my gaming experience. I can’t wait to start a new journey in Neverwinter, for reals this time. All previously created characters in Neverwinter will be deleted before the Open Beta, starting from scratch again but now for realz.

Hopefully with a nice chunk of guildies to enhance my joy, I need them around because I am a social gamer. And because I love them.  Yup.

But as I said before, Neverwinter won’t replace DDO, I think the 2 will go together very well. At first Neverwinter might have the overhand because it’s all new and shiny but in time it’ll settle down and hopefully become a static part of my gaming evenings as is DDO currently and will be.

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8 thoughts on “DDO and Neverwinter

  1. I looked at it some at GenCon and i was not impressed. Had to talk my son into playing the demo and after about 5 mins he asked if he could stop as it is was not fun.

    I hope it can be a fun game for a lot of people but i dont think i will even try it.

    Look forward to you telling me i was/am all wrong about it 3-5 months after it is live. :)

  2. Yay Mari blog :)

    Nice read, wow over 3 years for you, didnt expect that, i feel like a baby at just over 1 :P

    Not sure if i will try it, if i do would love to run with you but i dont use voice chat so i dont know if you would enjoy my company

  3. It took DDO to kick me off of my “Neverwinter Nights 2″, “Jade Empire” and “Diablo 2″ fixes. The key there was that there was an martial arts class in each (Monks or the D2 Assassin, which plays a LOT like the DDO Monk).

    I’ll wait until the monasteries appear for NWO. I’m also feeling game jealousy as some of my guildies “cheat” on the guild to play the beta. I’m sure there’s counseling available for this.

    • I was SO excited about Jade Empire! So excited! And then after two years of following it on Bioware forums, it finally came out. My family got it for my birthday. So excited!

      And then I beat it in 20 hours.

      Sadface. A beautiful, beautiful game. But they forgot to put most of it in.

      • Yeah, I had to turn up the difficulty–or did I? Maybe I just started to play the less advantageous fighting styles.

        But it’s interesting how it and the DDO Monk compare in terms of elemental mastery. I may to reload it, for old times sake. :)

        And then NWN2 and…oh crap I know where that’s going

  4. Thank you all for your comments!

    @teachersyn: i know what you feel like being “cheated” by guildies playing NWO Beta. I had that feeling myself for playing Beta while my guildies were in DDO. Maybe we can set up a CG (Cheated Guildies) group somewhere to help us counceling the “problem” ;-)

    To anyone not been able to test NWO yet, or with a huge DDO addiction: NWO is F2P, you can just try it without being forced to pay for something.
    Or you can just come back here to my Madness page to read up on my thoughts and adventures in NWO. Cause there will be more blogs coming up after NWO opened their world!

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