Neverwinter - Hands On Impressions From Dragonbone Vale Early Preview

Dungeons and Dragons fans had a big year in 2021. The Magic: The Gathering crossover set released over the summer, a new Critical Role campaign kicked off, and a series of Neverwinter Astral Diamonds new sourcebooks and adventures dropped for 5e throughout the year. In addition to that, Neverwinter, the D&D MMO continues to grow and flourish.

Neverwinter is getting ready to release its 22nd module, Dragonbone Vale, which thematically ties into the recently released Fizban's Treasury of Dragons book quite nicely. As they’ve done with other recent modules, the dev team combined some of the most interesting parts of the official sourcebook with their own game’s lore and original content to develop an exciting brand, new zone for players to explore.

In anticipation of the January 11 PC release of Dragonbone Vale, which will be free-to-play for all players, Game Rant had a chance to jump into a preview build and explore the new content, and the highly-anticipated grappling hook mechanic, while chatting with Neverwinter: Dragonbone Valewith Neverwinter content designer Elliot Minner and senior writer Winter Mullenix for an hour.

The Dragonbone Vale content doesn’t waste any time getting into the action. Heroes are quickly rushed off to the new territories and introduced to some of the key players and representatives from each faction who are making a stand in the Vale. Within those first moments players gain access to the grappling hook, which is the new content’s primary module-specific mechanic. While in the new area, players have a new action button on their bar that allows them to toss out a grappling hook and pull themselves towards hard to reach or hidden places within the cliff sides that surround the new zones.

The grappling mechanic adds a new dimension to the game’s exploration that is really interesting. It is not a freeform grapplehook like what Halo Infinite players may be used to and instead can only be used to zoom up to specific locations that have a visual indicator. Players who take the time to explore the new area in detail and find every grapple-able location are going to uncover some exciting hidden treasures and shortcuts around the Vale. The vertical exploration definitely adds a new dimension to the game and it will be interesting to see whether or not it returns or is reused in any future modules. For now, the mechanic is only going to be available in the Dragonbone Vale area.

During our playthrough as a level 20 Songblade Bard, Game Rant had a chance to zip around all three of the new neighborhoods that will be available in the module at launch. There was also a chance to peek at the fourth location, which is currently blocked off and will be unlocked later later year in a future patch. The available neighborhoods each have a distinct look and feel, but are easy to travel to between mounting up and the occasional grapplehook use. The last neighborhood will launch in an additional content update on PC beginning February 8 and on consoles starting March 8. Here is a breakdown of what we checked out.


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