I have already written an extensive preview of Cryptic Studios' Neverwinter MMORPG when it was still in beta, but things have changed since then.
After several successful closed beta weekends over the course of a few months, Neverwinter has been soft-launched, thus it is now open for everyone to play.
More importantly, it's free-to-play, so if by any chance, you don't like it, you have not paid anything to try it out.
Neverwinter's dungeons are one way you can build up your character, but I must warn you that as you progress into the game, they will become harder and harder.
Dungeons of Neverwinter are awesome, but the loot system is faulty. It seems to me that Cryptic did the same mistake as Blizzard did with its popular MMORPG in the beginning.
The main issue is that everyone, regardless of class, can “Need” on any drop even if his/her class can use that item or not. I lost a fair share of loot to classes that couldn't even use those items.
Another aspect that I have found annoying is the fact that more than half of uncommon loot (green) is “unidentified.” Obviously, once you get it in your inventory, you can use a Scroll of Identify to see the item's stats.
However, you can't do that before you select “Need,” “Greed” or “Pass” for that particular item. How am I supposed to know if that item is better than what my character has if I can't see its stats?
Part of this issue is solved, as this issue only applies to uncommon (green) loot. Fortunately, from what I have noticed, all rare (blue) loot is identified before you can choose to need or greed on a specific item.
These issues can be easily solved by allowing players to choose “Need” only on items that can used by their characters. It would also be better if all the loot that drops in dungeons were identified before using Need or Greed on it.
There are other issues, such as the fact that there are only several standard models for each piece of the armor with almost no visual variation.
That means that you'll be seeing lots of characters looking exactly like you. The funny thing is that you can approximate a character's level just by looking at the outfit.
Let's talk about good things now. Dungeons of Neverwinter are amazingly fun and challenging at the same time. Boss fights may seem easy at lower levels, but once you get past level 20-25, you'll have a hell of a time (literally) downing the last boss of a dungeon.
In fact, I found some fights extremely hard, especially at the beginning, when none of the people in the party had faced a specific boss before.
Dungeons in Neverwinter do not require the well-known MMO Trinity (tank/damage/healer) combo, but I have noticed that you get the best results when using this type of party.
Given the fact that each character in Neverwinter can have at least one companion starting level 15 (or 16?), it makes fights a bit easier if at least half of these companions are healers.
Another strong point of Neverwinter is the fact that you can do all dungeons at level 60, which is the level cap for the moment. It's like doing heroics in other MMORPGs, that I won't name here.
I strongly recommend D&D fans and RPG enthusiasts to give it a try. Neverwinter is by far one of the best MMORPGs at launch.
I'm pretty sure that it will become better and better if developers are patching the main issues affecting the game. Stay tuned for more diaries covering Foundry, Professions, Skirmishes and other aspects of the game.