Friday, April 14, 2017

Neverwinter - 11/20 hours

Neverwinter is a good game over the short run - darting around the battlefield using a collection of powers to slay monsters in kinetic action/rpg hybrid gameplay is a lot of fun, but as entertaining as it is in the minute-to-minute hack-and-slash, it doesn't really nail the slower loot-rhythms of the Diablo-esque rpgs from which it draws its inspiration. Equipment drops for any particular slot are rare (I think I've found exactly two swords in six hours of playing this character) and not much of an upgrade when they do happen. I've not yet figured out whether it's for competitive balance or to encourage players to spend real money, but it's kind of a bummer.

It may be that I simply haven't figured out the game's economy, though. There aren't really weapon shops, but there is an auction house and maybe I'll get some use out of it when I start earning Astral Diamonds (another form of currency that runs parallel to the gold you find off of enemies and the "zen" you can buy with real money). As far as I can tell, each of the three currencies is meant to be spent on different things and there is very little crossover between the categories. However, I'm still far too early in the game to entirely understand how it works.

My current character is finding new heal potions slightly faster than I'm using them, so I think I'll be all right, despite not having innate healing powers, though I'm wondering if maybe I wouldn't have been happier playing a more robust class. I guess it's probably too late to change, though, seeing as how I'd have to spend hours just catching up to my current location and have practically nothing left over for further exploration.

So I'm just going to stick it out. I haven't run into anything I couldn't handle, even if some stress-free extra healing would have let me feel more secure in a couple of the hairier battles. It's my hope that something will break in the next couple of hours and I'll start to feel more like a participant in the economy than a wandering beggar, looking for scraps, but I'm worried that I'm running afoul of the game's revenue model and the slow evolution of my gear is meant to mildly frustrate me.

We'll see. In any event, more hacking and slashing is always welcome, and I doubt I'll get tired of that any time soon.

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