Almost 2 years to the day of the start of the PC closed beta test, Neverwinter (which has been out on PC since June 2013) arrived on the Xbox One in the form of a closed beta this weekend. I played Cryptic Studio’s free-to-play MMORPG during the PC closed beta and was so impressed that I dropped the $40 on the Founder’s Pack they had available at the time. For a free-to-play game, it was very polished and I thought well worth supporting the developer. Fast forward 2 years and I had the chance to spend some time with the Xbox One closed beta this weekend. Let’s take a look at how it stacks up with the PC version!
The introduction video shows off some of the classes and skills used within the game.
The graphics on the Xbox One version were decent and the game runs smoothly. I only noticed a couple minor freezes while in one of the skirmishes. Overall though, all the areas I visited looked great on the big screen.
The one thing that I was worried about was the translation of keyboard/mouse controls to a console controller. The first half hour or so was a little on the frustrating side but once you get used to the controls it got a lot better. The control layout consists of a primary set and a secondary set which is accessed by holding the LB button on your controller. If you’ve played the PC version of Neverwinter, the basic controls below will give you an idea of how Cryptic has translated them from the keyboard/mouse controls.
Left Thumbstick: Movement
Right Thumbstick: Camera
View Button: Focus on Status
Menu Button: Start Menu
Press Right Thumbstick: AutoRun
D-pad Up: Mount
D-pad Left: Consumable Item 1
D-pad Down: Consumable Item 2
D-pad Right: Consumable Item 3
LB + D-pad Up: Map
LB + D-pad Left: Inventory
LB + D-pad Down: Chat
LB + D-pad Right: Invocation
LB + A: Jump
Left Thumbstick: Movement
Right Thumbstick: Aim
Press Left Thumbstick: Tactical Power
RB: Class Mechanic
RY: At Will 1
LT: At Will 2
X: Encounter Power 1
Y: Encounter Power 2
B: Encounter Power 3
LB + X: Daily Power 1
LB + Y: Daily Power 2
LB + B: Artifact
Neverwinter allows players to create characters from one of eight classes, choosing from four different roles. The classes include your choice of Trickster Rogue, Devoted Cleric, Control Wizard, Hunter Ranger, Scourge Warlock, Great Weapon Fighter, or Guardian Fighter. The character creation screen offers plenty of options including your choice of a number of Dungeons & Dragons races (including Human, Half-Orc, Wood Elf, Sun Elf, Dwarf, Halfling, Half-Elf, Teflon, and Drow). Some of the other classes and races that are available on the PC version don’t seem to be available on the Xbox One version yet as the ones missing require some of the expansion packs to use.
After race and class selection, you pick your ability scores partly based on your class. There are quite a few appearance customization options as well, and it’s easy to spend quite a bit of time in this section. Once you’ve customized your character’s appearance, you can pick your diety and background – neither of which have any impact on the game, but help retain the D&D experience.
As for the actual gameplay, you undertake a series of quests, loot bodies, and apply skill points as you level up.
Neverwinter is a free-to-play game, and as such you can buy Zen from Perfect World in order to spend in game. You can use Zen to purchase extra bags, extra character slots (you only get two to start), and various other items. As far as free-to-play games go, I never felt that I had to purchase anything in order to progress further in the game and seeing as the Xbox One version is identical to the PC version, I’d expect the same experience once it launches sometime soon.
The chat channels are a bit of a chore though, and it’s painful to hold any type of extended conversation without using a keyboard. However, once in a party, skirmish, or event the voice chat kicks in I had no issues with voice chat or audio during these times.
While you do see other players running around the zones, you can complete a lot of the game solo. You do have the option to team up with others though for any quest, and during the Closed Beta this worked quite well. Skirmishes, events and dungeons are the three main areas where multiple party members are a requirement and the process is easy and pretty transparent. Simply head into your Start Menu and queue up for whatever event or skirmish you want to join, and continue what you were doing before. Once enough players are matched to begin whatever you are queued for, you’ll get a message asking you to confirm and join the party. When everyone has confirmed, you’re transported to the skirmish/event/dungeon, and once you complete it you then return to where you were before you started it.
During the closed beta, the only time I saw any hangup was during one skirmish out of about half a dozen I joined, and I didn’t see it at all during the two events I joined either.
As with the PC version, the Neverwinter Xbox One Closed Beta felt pretty polished and ready to go. It would be nice if you’re existing progress and characters transferred over from the PC version; we’ve reached out to Cryptic and will update this if they respond. As well, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this end up as one of the Windows 10 Xbox One/PC cross play games some day.
I had a lot of fun during the Neverwinter Xbox One closed beta, and I can’t wait to head in for some Dungeons & Dragons MMORPG action once it launches later this year.
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