Character Progression & Crafting Preview
I have to admit that when Big Daddy-O Bill (thanks to new minion in his life) asked me to write a Neverwinter crafting preview, my inner geek cringed in a big way. I have to simply be blunt and say that I am not a crafter. It’s one of those things that has not interested me much in MMOs over the years, though I am an avid patron of those who do love crafting. I am always happy to pay for the goods I need whether through commission, private sale or through the auction house. I <3 crafters!
It’s likely that many people like me will continue this way in Neverwinter though I will admit to being pleasantly surprised with the ease of the crafting professions that the game comes with. Players will be able to choose from Leadership, Mailsmithing, Platesmithing, Leatherworking or Tailoring. If you check out the video below, you can get a good look at the types of things that each class can create, from the simplest to the most complex, and doubtless, most expensive items in the game.
I chose Leadership as it seemed to be the easiest at the onset. The crafting panel is accessed with a single “N” keystroke. I started by hiring, or creating, a mercenary. To do so required the simplest click of a button and about ten seconds later, I had a mercenary. I did a few more complex crafting things with him and ended up creating chests that were filled with healing potions, temporary altars, identify scrolls and more. Over time and with patience, Leadership professionals will be able to create some pretty amazing supply chests.
As each of the other professions’ names imply, there will be skilled laborers making heavy, medium, leather and light armors in addition to the more generalized Leader.
Crafting also occurs in the background so players can open the panel, select a ‘recipe’ for their hirelings to work on and they will happily work away for the required amount of time.
The sheer number of items that most professions can create is astonishing, from the mundane “white” items, to the ultra rare “purple” items. Rare recipes change about every hour. In the time I spent crafting, I did not see any weapons but it seems reasonable to assume that, if weapons cannot yet be created, new professions will be added to allow for that functionality.
All in all, at least for a crafting simpleton like me, the system seems robust and deceptively simple. I suspect that the economy will thrive with crafted items that, hopefully, be unobtainable anywhere else.
For those who took part in the earlier beta events, the skill acquisition panel was a bit confusing, laid out as it was in a vertical fashion. In addition, players were given little or no flexibility when choosing which “At Will”, Daily, Encounter and Utility” skills. Much to Cryptic’s credit, they heard their players and have overhauled the character progression system in a big way.
Taking a look at the video below, you will quickly see that each level’s skills are now laid out in a horizontal position and are divided both by type of skill and by how many power (or level up) points will be needed to gain access to that skill. In addition, each skill can also be ‘leveled’ to three, making even low-level skills viable to use in later stages of the game.
The good news is that if players find that the build they’ve chosen is not to their liking, a retraining token can be purchased to reset skill choices back to the start.
The Feats system has also been given some love, though not as drastically as the Skills system. Here’s what our exclusive developer blog from Cryptic said last week:
Every class has a tree of twelve Heroic feats, each of which can be maxed up to either Rank 3 or Rank 5. Heroic feats tend to boost damage, increase Action Point gain, or synergize with your class’ Tab stat –e.g., Channel Divinity for Devoted Cleric, or Stealth for Trickster Rogues. Most characters will have 20 Heroic feat points to spend, so you’ll want to choose feats to match your build or shore up weaknesses.
If you haven’t already, head to the link above to check out more about how character progression will take place in Neverwinter.
The beta weekend was a lot of fun, though still no sign of the much-anticipated Drow. Still, with the changes to character progression and the arrival of crafting, there is a lot to look forward with launch just over two weeks away.
Most refreshingly, Cryptic listened to its players, responded to their wishes and concerns and made some big changes to some core game features. That’s a refreshing thing in this industry, one that is sorely missed in other games. Let’s hope they continue the “open door” policy after Neverwinter’s release.
What about you? Did you play this weekend? If so, what did you think of the changes? Let us know in the comments.
Suzie Ford is the Associate Editor and News Manager for MMORPG.com. You can follower on Twitter @MMORPGMom.
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