The lights are on
Cryptic Studios is still working on Neverwinter after being sold off to Chinese publisher Perfect World Entertainment in Atari's latest round of money woes. Playing Neverwinter at E3 actually showcased some promise despite the turmoil at the developer.
The brief hands-on time I had with Neverwinter made it clear that the game is very much sticking to the tank/healer/damage holy MMO trinity, though all roles in Neverwinter are more active and direct than in the last generation of MMOs. Powers follow their pen-and-paper analogs: at-will skills can be used without restriction, encounter powers are limited by short cooldowns, and game-changing daily abilities can only be used after you fill the magical icosahedron in the middle of your UI by fighting. Defensive abilities are also limited by cooldowns, but give you a powerful way to avoid incoming damage by dodging, blocking, or blinking out of the way.
I had a good time using my wizard's incapacitating and slowing skills to supplement the damage and tanking that my party members were doing, but the characters we were supplied with for demo purposes were so vastly overpowered that it was hard to get a sense of how the game really plays. We'll have a better idea as we near Neverwinter's PC-only release, currently scheduled for later this year.
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