Neverwinter Interview and Preview

Along with a new hands-on preview over at Massively that focuses on the Control Wizard, we have a new interview with Neverwinter lead producer Andy Velasquez to tell you about over at Forbes. A couple of snippets from both to mix it up a bit:
The Control Wizard is all about ranged damage and really throws herself into combat. Instead of meekly waving around her fingers or doing a Street Fighter II shoryuken move, she's practically a martial artist who flings deadly magic with the energy and grace of a black belt. The increased physical activity coupled with the effects gives the magic much more of a visceral "oomph" than I'm used to seeing in such classes.

Of course, not all tropes are to be avoided. The Control Wizard is extremely squishy. I found myself getting into trouble any time a group of mobs ganged up on me at the same time, which was more often than not in dungeons. My character's health bar went down faster than the oil gauge on my leaky Sienna. So the name of the game here is to (a) dish out a lot of damage, quickly, (b) control the battlefield with survival skills, and (c) don't let melee classes get within striking distance.


Last time I saw the game, there seemed to be a focus on offering a player many abilities, but only a handful were available at any given time on the hotbar. Are MMORPGs moving toward less (ability clutter) on the UI?

Certainly there is a trend in the industry moving in this direction. We aren't the only team that is tired of playing the HUD and is moving in this direction nor do I think we will be the last.

I think players will continue to demand (less clutter) in the UI once they get more experience with games like Neverwinter. Early on in development we had a more traditional (tons of hotbars everywhere) style UI and the change away from that style has really let me get immersed into the world and characters much more. I think many of our users will come to the same conclusion and will be more and more unsatisfied with the paradigm of a few years ago of buttons and bars everywhere!