Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment hosted a special Neverwinter press event to introduce fans to a high level dungeon in the form of Helm's Hold and to let players get a look at the first PvP game play ever. The event was led by members of the development team who showed us all a great time.
I had the opportunity to play as a Greatsword Fighter as a Wood Elf. This is the first time either has been in the game and it was absolutely the best part of the day as I've been waiting for GSF since the beta kicked off. We'll have a more in depth report on the new class a bit later in the week.
Once everyone was assembled, we headed to Helm's Hold.
HELM'S HOLD: GHOSTLY FUN
Our first stop was the level thirty dungeon of Helm's Hold. According to the lore, Helm's Hold is a fortified monastery where those suffering from the spell plague. Unfortunately for the ill, cultists have taken over the castle and have allowed demons to infest it. The job of the adventurers' party is to cleanse Helm's temple and bring it back to its more pacificistic purpose.
On first entering Helm's Hold, players face off against some pretty nasty demons. The casters throw powerful and fiery spells while the lesser demons lay waste with more conventional weapons. The first courtyard is packed and it takes a good while to clean it out before being able to move on.
The second area requires players to take control of several key lore spots that are infested with demons. Once those are activated, the cathedral itself is accessible.
The cathedral is packed with an undead legion as well as the demonic horde. Before being able to take on the final, and wickedly hard, Pit Boss, players have to clean out the lesser groups. These are no trash mobs either. They all pack a punch and some serious loot can drop.
The Pit Boss is a huge demon with some amazingly powerful attacks. I don't think there was a single person in our group that didn't die, developers included. The boss's area of attack skill could take even my Greatsword Fighter down about half her life if caught in the target zone. It is wise beyond all belief to stay out of those big red telegraphs.
We finally took him down and took a short break before moving on.
After catching our breath from the Helm's Hold fight, we moved on to try out PvP for the first time ever. Domination is the first PvP type that will be included in the game, though there were little rumors flitting around about a massive PvE-PvP end-game event centered around Gauntlgrym. We weren't able to force the devs to tell us more about that, so we'll stick to Domination for now.
Domination in Neverwinter will be of the 5v5 variety. The map we played on was roughly shaped like a pentagram, with three control points running down the center. Along one side of the map is a passage way that can lead to either of the outside points, the center point is down in a pit of sorts.
Like most domination games that PvPers are well-acquainted with, the name of the game is "grab those control points and kill anybody whose name is in red". That's pretty much how it went. However, there are some nifty caveats to add to this:
- Your team will need a healer.
- PvP potions will be available but will have a serious cooldown.
- Healing spots will appear but they are few and far between.
The team that is in control of at least two points at the end of the fifteen minute match is declared the winner.
According to our hosts, Neverwinter will feature two Domination PvP maps on release with more coming later as well as the addition of other types of PvP action.
THE GREATSWORD FIGHTER
This week players will get a chance to try out the second of the two fighter classes, the Greatsword Fighter. I know that it is the class I've been waiting for all these months and the time has finally come. If the enigmatic Drow was there as a racial choice, I would have been swooning with happiness. As it stands, I played as a Wood Elf Greatsword Fighter, the Wood Elf also being a new race choice this weekend.
As the name implies, the character class hauls around a sword the size of an 18-wheeler. When that puppy swings, anything within range is going to get hit and hit hard.
The Greatsword Fighter has some great skills that make it a whole different ballgame than playing as a Guardian Fighter. Most are offensively based and are designed to make the GSF a frontline adversary unlike any other. With the ability to jet into the midst of a crowd, draw a monster's attention, or whirlwind like crazy through a mob, the Greatsword Fighter will be a formidible foe.
Once the guided tour was over, we had a Q&A session in Protector's Enclave. Here are some of the random things we learned:
- Mentoring will be coming soon: "Cryptic invented side-kicking. Expect it."
- The team is looking into a reputation system within the first year. An alignment system will not be included on release.
- Founders will have access to the Renegade Drow at launch. Sixty days later, everyone will get a Generic Drow. There are some Racial Powers differences and the Renegade Drow will have unique customization options.
This beta weekend is shaping up to be a lot of fun for players as they try out higher level characters, new PvP game play, and get the opportunity to check out the ghostly, ghastly Helm's Hold.
What about you? Will you be participating this weekend? What are you most looking forward to discovering? Let us know in the comments.
Suzie Ford is the Associate Editor and News Manager at MMORPG.com. You can follow her on Twitter @MMORPGMom.
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