Ten Ton Hammer had the opportunity to quiz Cryptic Studios' Jack Emmert about some of the goals they have for Neverwinter, including how the title will "blur the lines" between a standard multiplayer RPG and a typical massively multiplayer RPG.
(A little of both,) replied Emmert. (I look at recent RPG's with online elements and I see games that continue to thrive. In many ways, this experience replicates the D&D of the 70's and 80's a group of friends gathering around a table and having fun. But now the table is purely virtual.)
Clearly Neverwinter Online is being heavily influenced by successful offline RPG titles like Ultima, Baldur's Gate, Planescape and its direct predecessor, Neverwinter Nights. But these have all been single-player experiences with a clear beginning, middle and end. How does Cryptic intend to adapt the style of an epic story arc intended for a single play through, to an online experience that will keep players returning to Neverwinter Online?
(The previous Neverwinter tales were excellent, narrative-based RPGs. We wanted to pick up where they left off, but focus on making a cooperative RPG. People like playing online with their friends. There will be social hubs where players can interact with each other. From these spots, players launch into adventure areas instanced for them and their friends. We'll also have other ways of meeting people and friends and going on co-op quests.)
Jack then gave us a glimpse of how Cryptic is enhancing the replayability directly, (Perhaps even more importantly, Neverwinter allows players to make content for each other. There's no limit to the imagination of the players. It'll be like an ongoing D&D campaign, but with hundreds of potential GM's to choose from.)