Hello this is Wendy Black (aka sanduku tupu - empty box), this wall of text may be very important to many people. That is not my ego talking, just saying, what I am about to express here is my experience here with Cryptic Studios over the three games they currently offer. I recently just got back from Wyoming and had my husband do housekeeping on my account, but he actually went ahead and did some preview work for me. When I left, I thought they were talking about improvements and balance to our companions for module 20. He sent me a PM (all I had with me was my cell) saying they reworked the game mechanics. I told him, no big deal
, I will see them when I return before Christmas.History - Pre-Cryptic Studios
Back in 2012, I was playing the original Guild Wars, but they created Guild Wars 2 and divided their player base. While Guild Wars 2 eventually became a limited free to play MMO, the original Guild Wars never did. I spent a lot of money there and I still go back on weekends to PvP in Factions. Before the division, the original game was packed, players overflowed into the other districts. Today you see about 2,000 to 4,000 people still playing it. Many people said, the new game was too different
. The sequel changed the game mechanics, this was not the same game, ArenaNet did too much. They also incorporated the diamond system there, where you need to buy diamonds for cash to open the lockboxes. I can still play the original Guild Wars and often do, there are no lockboxes, no hidden paywalls, and nothing else to buy to beat the game. However once you beat the game the story ends. While they stopped making content, it is like picking up a great novel and reading it again. I spent a chunk of money on costumes, expansions (stories), and I even gifted some of these to my friends there. My husband estimated I spent about $300, but I know I must have spent well over $500 on Guild Wars the original game and nothing on the sequel. Population was getting low, I looked around for other fantasy based MMOs I could enjoy playing.History - Cryptic Studios
Cryptic Studios at this time had Champions Online and Star Trek. I read an article about the UGC editor called "The Foundry" to be introduced into Star Trek for beta testing and soon Neverwinter would be using it to create our own stories. Gosh! I am a writer, I write fantasy stories!
That sounded wonderful for me. I don't care for science fiction, I never cared to watch the Next Generation, Deep Star 9, or Farscape with my husband, but he didn't like Days of Our Lives
either. This gave us something to collaborate upon and talk about. In the fall of 2012, I spent something like 10 or 20 dollars. This was needed, to get what I wanted, to start working in the beta version of The Foundry on Star Trek. I thought, I would be spending hundreds more on The Foundry later when they released Neverwinter to PC. I could not have been more wrong.The First Warning Signs
As the months progressed in Star Trek's beta verion of The Foundry, I learned a lot about the lore of the show, and how to use the point and click UGC editor. I was meeting Foundry authors, we collaborated on quest plots, and issues with the beta editor. I received an invite to be an alpha tester of Neverwinter. I assisted with Ebon Downs, at that time, I pointed out The Foundry was incomplete and had numerous errors. If they were planning to release this game on time, the editor cannot remain broken. They politely replied to continue focus on testing Ebon Downs, as they were not concerned with The Foundry... as they say in Star Trek, go to Yellow Alert!
Many months (almost a full year) after they released, The Foundry was still full of bugs and glitches and I could not see spending money on something that; a)
never ask for my cash, b)
was never working, not even 75% functional, and c)
was worse than the Star Trek beta version. The focus for Cryptic Studios seemed to be on game mechanics and shaky plots.When I Quit the Fight
Fast forward to module 16 and we all saw the total destruction of the old game. New changes were made to level cap, game mechanics, and no Foundry ever again. In April 2019, we experienced the loss of everything we knew, to what many players called Neverwinter 2.0. They eliminated as much as they could and retained the action mechanics for the Call of Duty stylized players. No more attribute rolling, limited power placements, limited feats, and changes across the character to make things "simple". I guess it never occurred to anyone at Cryptic Studios, some players like to pick and choose, some of us like complex builds, to be more unique, and many of us like a deep plot? They introduced scaling which was so awful, it was the icing on the cake, losing them roughly 40% of their players. Later after removing the scaling from the adventure zones, many players still refused to return, and others I spoke to never knew it had been pulled back. Here and Now
Now almost 2 years (21 months) later, here comes the wrecking ball again known as module 20. What I need from this game is completely gone and utterly destroyed in 2019. This is what I meant by "no big deal", when I replied to my husband. They cannot make the fires they started in April 2019 any worse... it is just not possible to destroy a wasteland. In fact, by 2020 I started back into my role-playing and spent most of that whole year gathering junk for my second Halloween party "Barovian Bash! 2020". If there is a third Barovian Bash 2021, then someone else might need to organize that affair. I might be too busy. Because I need to tell stories, I can no longer do that here.
When I hear "new content" I think of story, good stories have 5 parts; Exposition: Beginning of the Story
- this introduces the characters and developes a critcal conflict. Some of the best stories open and center on the discovery character. Discovery characters are thrust into magical realms and discover hidden secrets about their world.Growing Action
- new events start the conflict to spiral out of control. At this point the lead protagonist seems helpless to overcome their fate.Turning Point or Climax
- as these events escalate, the protagonist overcomes the obsticals with some new found power, personal sacrifice, help from friends, and/or other means.Diminishing Action
- this is where the direct results of the climax come apparent. This can best be seen, in the final throws of any cliche horror movie, as the antagonist leaps up for one last scare.Resolution: End of the Story
- this tells us what became of everyone after the events were resolved. Either in the end of a tragedy such as Hamlet or the heroes welcome back home of The Hobbit.
Cryptic story tellers just don't exist. The few campaigns with some decent, yet simple plots, are Maze Engine and Cloaked Ascendancy. These are the only ones that wrap things up with a real ending. Sadly the Maze Engine was not an original story from author R.A. Salvatore. Anyone reading his work before this, knew the fate of Thibbledorf Pwent. While Cloaked Ascendancy has a great exposition at the start, the long drawn out conflict is a lot of grind to chew on, and then a great climax with the battle to save Neverwinter. Many players fail to find the hidden resolution of this campaign and quit before it really ends.
Looking at the overall story arc of the game is not that great of a story either. The story gets convoluted by branches and numerous dead ends. The player is directed to go to places without any motivation, we just follow the path because, "Hey what else were you doing?". Characters like Knox, Xuna, Makos, and Celeste are paper thin, Xuna is the most under developed character of them all. She takes us to Bryn Shander and Cold Run, but all we find out about her on a personal level, she dosen't like the cold weather. I researched her and found more information about her on an off-site wiki ( https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Xuna
) than I ever learned from the game responsible for creating her. Does she even know Makos is alive? Did anyone even bother to tell her? No? Well probably for the best.
Every time this company claims to have more "new content" they just tweaked the mechanics, they don't bother to flesh out existing characters or make new ones, and they just send the players off to another relabeled adventure zone painted a different color. This year of 2020, is quiet literally the year we spent in Hell. I know in my heart, they truly believe this is what you want. It is not what I want. I really wish they would make better content, yet after eight years, they never will. This will be true for the remainder of this game. They will produce the same stale, dry, and repetitive grind. There are tons of free games offered with options to buy items for cash. This one has no edge and flounders on the beach waiting for the tide to rise. That tide, I assume is Magic the Gathering
? It is slated to be an action RPG now and no longer a massive multiplayer.
Who is to blame? I think this is a combined effort on the parts of both Cryptic Studios and its player base. If you fail reach your players and don't tug on their heartstrings with better stories, then you are to blame. Cryptic gave away too much for free, things given freely have no real value. I personally was ready to open my bank for the Foundry and pay cash for a real game editor. Cryptic spoiled too many in the player base, spoiled players are too blame as well. If you cannot find time to test on open preview, and see the oncoming train, you are to blame when it runs over top of you. If you are the entitled player, who blames the game for not handing you free keys, mounts, or game currency, you are also to blame. My Epilogue
This is not good-bye, I will not leave, or delete my account. Although after this statement of truth, Cryptic could ban me I suppose? Moderation might delete this publication or move it to the lower depths? After all, I am not preaching unicorns, sunshine, and rainbows here. I plan to pop back on from time to time and mostly role play "in the wild", don't look for me in Moonstone Mask, as my characters will be everywhere. It is my opinion, this whole game will become the best 3D chat engine since Second Life. I will update people on what my eight characters are doing and where they hang out, they will still send you free items in the mail when you interact with them. But I cannot see any reason to be here as much as I have in the past eight years. If I find the time, I will try to organize another Halloween party. I might be found on Champions Online or maybe William will play a game of cards with you some tavern.
I am going to invest most my time into making new content for UbiSoft. Yes, I am writing up "The Heart of Darkness" over there on the online Greek version of Assassin's Creed. The cross platform web editor allows me more control to create new content for PC, XBox, and PlayStation. It is not free and not Dungeon and Dragons, but I will be doing what I love the most.