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We were told that the game isn't based on any specific Dungeons & Dragons rule set, though it bears a striking resemblance to 4th Edition. The races, the art, the style it all looks like the newest version of Dungeons & Dragons. Even the wording sounds like it was torn straight from the most recent Player's Handbook: abilities are broken into (At-will,) (Encounter,) and (Daily,) just as they are in 4E, but the distinctions aren't quite that literal. At-will abilities are your regular attacks the ones activated with left and right clicks giving Wizards a spammable Magic Missile and Rogues the ability to teleport behind enemies, which helps them land critical strikes and sneak attacks.
Encounter abilities are on typical MMO cooldowns, popping up every few seconds, and Daily abilities are tied to a 20-sided die sitting atop the middle of the skill bar. As your class preforms its primary duties this D20 fills up, and once it's completely lit you're able to unleash a powerful ability. The dailies are appropriately epic and awesome, with mage-classes gaining powerful spells and rogues being able to teleport around the battlefield, slashing down groups of foes in a matter of seconds.
Next, we'll pay a visit to Co-Optimus for another hands-on preview:
While Cryptic hasn't announced exactly how many classes they'll be launching with, Craig was happy to divulge that they're focusing a lot on specializations. So there's a huge difference between a Control Wizard and a Battle Mage, for example. If you start off the game as a Control Wizard, you won't be able to turn into a Battle Mage (without something drastic happening.) D&D vets may also be pleased to note that Neverwinter will also include Feats. Some of these will be along the lines of the standard D&D passive feats, while others will strengthen specific abilities.
One thing that really struck me about Neverwinter was how polished the game was. I don't just mean graphics, but all the things that Cryptic is already incorporating into the game. Craig and Andy stressed that they're always pushing themselves to make the (user experience) even better - and it shows. For example, there's already an interface that will tell players what events are going on or upcoming in the world. Players will be able to set reminders for themselves for these events. The game will also be launching with a full matchmaking system for party encounters so people can easily get together and finish the dungeon for an area. Also, the Foundry (which has been available in Star Trek Online for awhile now) will be in on launch, allowing players to create quests and missions within the game for other players.These things may not seem awe-inspiring, but it's this kind of stuff that all MMOs realize they need and patch in several months to a year after launch. It's very impressive that Neverwinter is launching with it.
And then we head over to MMORPG.com for both a preview and an eight-minute video interview with Cryptic Studios COO Craig Zinkievich and lead producer Andy Velasquez:
Cryptic's proprietary user-generated content is also going to be present in Neverwinter right from day one. The full ability to make NPCs, stories, dungeons, and other content will be right there and built into the UI from day one. Entire campaigns can and will be created by the players, highlighted in the UI and fully-integrated with the community to promote and help out the best content creators. This is the system that was tailor-made for D&D and, Cryptic finally gets their chance to bring the two together.
There will also be a full crafting system for player gear and economy, and a very vaguely mentioned pet system that Andy really seems to want to talk about. Guilds and the like are in as well, but they aren't ready to talk about just how they fit into the game. The UI, it's worth mentioning, is really built around the content of the game as well. You will see upcoming events in different areas (little things like creature hunts, contests, and the like), directions for where you should be questing, and reminders for upcoming public events as well. Plus you'll see all the top-rated Foundry content and trends across the community.