Neverwinter players may be in for a shock soon, as Cryptic Studios revealed that it is reworking the entire combat system of the game. This news comes somewhat unexpectedly, but it seems that Cryptic is hoping to address issues in customization and flexibility of various classes. Initial fan reaction to this announcement appears to be somewhat mixed, as players are happy that an effort is being made but doubtful that much will come of it.
For those that don't keep up with Neverwinter, it has infamously been very difficult to create unique and customizable characters. The game is balanced in a way that there are only a handful of viable builds and players that stray too far from that will end up with much less effective characters. A combat rework has been requested for a long time, but it remains to be seen whether that's enough to fix it.
There are five main goals that the developers are trying to achieve with this combat update that are listed as such: Improved scaling, easier to understand ratings, accurate item levels, easier to gear up, and keep options for creative and min/max builds. Perhaps the most contentious of these goals is the last one, as hardcore Neverwinter fans worry that going too overboard on this will make the game less competitive while casual fans don't think it's possible.
The coolest experience for me was working with R.A. Salvatore on an in-game Neverwinter story arc. Bob is a N.Y. Times bestselling author who defined so much of what the Forgotten Realms is through his stories, including the Neverwinter Saga novels. It was fantastic working with him on translating his stories and character into a playable game experience in Neverwinter. He’s a great guy, and I always look forward to catching up with him at Wizards of the Coast gatherings.
Probably the best bit of advice is to start small. You don’t need to build every intricacy of the massive campaign world, because that’s when it becomes overwhelming to new Dungeon Masters. Stick with rough frameworks, and fill in the details when needed. Within that framework, pick something like a small dungeon adventure with a nearby village to develop in more detail to get your players started. When your players go through the adventure and want to play more, start adding more details to your game world based on what they want to do. If you have a particular story you want to tell, work in story leads into the earlier adventures. In time, you’ll have a more fleshed-out world based on your original rough ideas and the interactions with your players.
This is just a quick overview of the changes, and players that are interested in getting more specific details should check out the combat rework dev blog. At the moment the changes are live on the preview server, so it will be interesting to see what fans think about the changes when all is said and done.