Initially released in 2013, Neverwinter is a beast of an MMORPG. In that time, the genre itself has seen significant growth in popularity, highlighted further by new IPs and systems. However, it doesn’t seem like developer Cryptic Studios has any plans to throw in the towel just yet. In their upcoming module, Jewel of the North, we find an update that makes it easier for new players to jump in while adding a new Bard character class.
Neverwinter: Jewel of the North is a rather dense module for the Dungeons & Dragons adventure game. However, I’ve never actually played the game outside a few events. That’s not to say that I didn’t like it, though. I just felt like I was late to the party.
Perhaps the developers heard my inner gamer tantrum because they have made a few changes to the leveling system by lowering the level cap from 80 to 20. Of course, those with level 80 characters keep their stats and skills, but the lowered cap makes it easier for new players to get into the end game content, which is vital to keep your player base coming back for more.
It’s also nice to see a tutorial mode to practice the combat, which combines a series of magic and melee attacks with skills on a cooldown. The encounters don’t just have the player mashing buttons as dodge skills are present to avoid damage. It’s an MMORPG at its core, but the action elements rival titles released this generation.
However, there’s also a new Bard class who finds their way in this module. The mission I was able to play introduced me to the Bard’s basic attacks, and then I was taken to a level 20 dungeon to fight a dragon. The Bard is such a well-rounded character with versatile combative abilities. Further, the class has the power to simply jam out on a guitar and play real songs or cast buffs in battle.
It’s for these reasons that the Bard is a great class to launch with this new update. The class is easy to control and doesn’t require a deep understanding of the nuances of combat. However, there is definitely some depth to the class for those who want to get the most out of it. The character is also exceptionally fast to control. All the movement and attacks were seamless in execution, and I felt like I had a firm understanding of their actions within minutes.
I should stress that given the class is the newest, there could be an issue that hundreds of players are just running as a Bard, but the developers have some plans on the roadmap to diversify the classes, so you might not see this for long. Also, to further the accessibility of newcomers, there’s been added features that make it easier to track progress.
Neverwinter: Jewel of the North module serves as a foundation for this almost 10-year-old MMORPG and brings needed quality-of-life features requested by modern gamers. While I’m definitely in the camp of a new player who sees this as a great way to play the game, I don’t know if long-time players are willing to drop their level to 20. However, I’m told nothing will change for them or their characters, and it only benefits them to find more people in the post-game dungeons.
So, if you’d a Dungeons & Dragons nerd who’s had their eye on Neverwinter for some time, but were too overwhelmed to jump in, Neverwinter: Jewel of the North is the perfect place to start.
Neverwinter: Jewel of the North is set to release on PC-via Steam on July 27, with a console release planned for later this fall.
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