Heroes Of Neverwinter

I’m not a great fan of Facebook games. To tell the truth, I had never played a Facebook game, except some Zynga Poker, since I thought they were much for casual gamers, not very deep in storytelling and, in one word, boring. In the last month I decided to try two new Facebook game, famous brands’ spin-off: Civilization World and Heroes Of Neverwinter. While CivWorld didn’t manage to get me past the first few minutes of play, I’ve spent some good time playing Heroes Of Neverwinter, but finally gave up, since Facebook games’ freemium policy is simply irritating to me.

Heroes Of Neverwinter Logo

Heroes Of Neverwinter is based on the official Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition and is actually in the Open Beta process. The first time you log in, you can create your character choosing from four different races (yep, only four! – human, dragonborn, eladrin and halfling) and four different classes (yep, only four! – cleric, wizard, fighter and rogue). Some appearance customization is available, then you enter a tutorial that brings your first character to Neverwinter where you can start questing. The free version of the game allows you to have two different characters. A pity the two characters have everything in common, except race, class and level: same inventory, same house, same gifts, same coins, same quest items and so on. This is a major flaw in the game.

Heroes Of Neverwinter - The Town

In Neverwinter you can buy potions, foods and ointments (at a particularly high price), you can buy weapons and armors (at a even higher price),  you can hire other heroes to quest with (just don’t think to go out in the woods alone!), you can craft your own dungeons (if you are at least level 10 – why the hell?) or you can visit your house to check your achievements and gather your friends’ gifts and daily rewards. Each time you find a chest or a corpse to loot in the game (you find one chest that replenishes daily in your house) you can pick one of ten hidden spots, each of which as an item or a bunch of gold in it. If you want to reveal one of the hidden spots and see what it has to offer, you can use a Potion of Luck, otherwise try your luck!

The questing part is the funniest in the game. After hiring your party (you can also hire your friends’ characters), you go to the Adventure Board in the Town Centre and choose between the quests available. Some quests require a particular level, or a particular item, or a particular amount of energy (that replenishes over time), while others are there to begin with. Once you choose the difficulty level (Normal = very easy; Hard = very hard, be sure you are well equipped; Eroic = almost impossible, I suppose, never dared to push my party so far) and start the quest, you are sent in the dungeon/wood/house/whatever and start fighting.

Heroes Of Neverwinter - Combat System

The combat system is turn-based. It’s actually quite funny and it’s the reason why I gave this game more than a try. On the bottom you have the iniziative order and each character (playing and non-playing) has its own turn where he/she can move, attack and make each free action he/she has. When you click on a foe, a very easy-to-use radial menu with possible actions appears. Pay attention to area spells, since they should not be centered on a foe but on a floor tile, so that you can maximize the area of effect. Different dungeons/woods/houses/whatevers have a very similar structure and you move room after room or clearing after clearing trying to reach the final one where the boss usually is (again, why is dungeon crafting available only for 10th level characters?).

Here is the game, plain and simple, and it could be a fun pastime activity. The fact is that, being a Facebook game, every single part in the game aims at making you spend real money. Let’s say the first two levels are quite affordable, but from there on is very difficult both to level up and to go questing without blowing up your account with some real coins (or Astral Diamonds, as they are called in the game). To hire a third level character for your party costs 15 gold coins, while an average reward for a quest is some 50 coins (if you are lucky and get only coins from the few treasure chests and looting). To buy a Potion of Healing (you need at least 3-4 of them to survive in a Hard difficulty quest) you need 30 gold coins. If your main character dies in a quest, the only way you have to finish it is to resurrect him/her, and this is done only by a 5th level cleric or by a Potion of Life (which you can buy only with Astral Diamonds, no gold coins allowed). And believe when I say your main character dies alot.

This brings to a situation where you are stuck in the town with your main character unable to do anything, be it buying or questing. The only possibility you have is to go for low level quests over and over again to gather as many coins as you can and therefore invest them to go for a Hard difficulty (if you want some challenge) quest where you can quite easily die and see all your time wasted. Not exactly exciting.

Combat is not exactly balanced. It’s easy you suffer larger wounds then your foes (expecially from ranged weapons) and I don’t think this is just bad luck. Levelling up is quite slow. It took 3 to 4 quests (supposing you’re making them at Hard difficulty) to move from 3rd to 4th level, and you can read above to understand how long this may take in terms of real life. Since quests and dungeons/woods/houses/whatevers are quite similar, it can also be quite boring in the long term (did I mention it makes no sense that dungeon crafting is available only for 10th level characters?).

Of course, none of these flaws are there if you are available to spend real money for a Facebook game. In this case, and if you like the genre, go for Heroes Of Neverwinter, since it will certainly be entertaining to you and possibly enough challenging. Let’s hope something will change after this Open Beta period.

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