Exclusive Q&A with the developers of Neverwinter

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Today we want to present you an exclusive Q&A session with the developer of the upcoming action MMO Neverwinter!
Classes and Races

Q. What classes will be available at launch?
A. The ones that we’ve announced so far are Control Wizard, Trickster Rogue, Guardian Fighter, Great Weapon Fighter and the new one you have seen today that we haven’t previously mentioned; the Devout Cleric. Some you will have access to in beta and/or instantly; other stuff won’t be available until launch. We’ll be releasing classes continually after launch as well.

Q. I was rather curious about that. In 4.0, things like the Trickster Rogue and Great Weapon Fight was more a specific build for a class, not a class in itself. Any reason why you separated them?
A. We thought a lot about whether to go with classes or more specialized class builds as the main player choice. We really liked the flavour, gameplay, and look we could bring to the more specific class builds over the broader classes themselves. Just like with Guardian Fighter and Great Weapon fighter, we plan on building out multiple class builds per class to help flesh out the best D&D archetype characters.

Q. Will we be able to play as Drow and Control Wizards during the betas?
A. We’ll be opening the remaining classes over the course of the Beta Weekends.

Q. On the subject of races, just how many do you plan on launching with? There are quite a few in D&D and Forgotten Realms. Will we perhaps see beings like the Dragonborn, or Genasi?
A. Eight races at launch. We want to keep adding them post launch of course.

Q. When will the Mindflayer be a playable race?
A. Not for launch. It’s something we’re interested in adding in some form for sure thought.

Q. Will the Races/Classes be restricted to a Cashshop format like in D&D Online?
A. Not talking specifics about monetization, there may be some unique prestige level races in the cash-shop, but we won’t be gating content through money.

Q. Will purchasable races end up being a Pay to Win?
A. Ugh, Pay to Win, blah. Listen, here’s Cryptic’s and PWE’s philosophy: You make a great game, you make enthusiast. Enthusiasts become your fans, love the game, play the game, and evangelize your game. They’re also the folks that PAY in your game. The type of people who buy a $150 Gears of War collectors edition. The type that buys the Skyrim dragon statue. We’re trying to make Neverwinter into a game that will have tons of people who become fans and enthusiasts, that’s who invests in F2P games. You think in the western market you’re going to make tons of enthusiasts by being Pay to Win? No. It’s pretty straight forward; make an awesome game, people will become fans, people will want to invest.


Q. How far from Neverwinter will these travels take us? Like, in the future, post launch?
A. Neverwinter and the surrounding area. We’ve shown areas up in Helm’s Hold and the surrounding mountains as well.

Q. Do events from previous Forgotten Realms titles have any impact on the story here? Icewind Dale, Baldur’s Gate, or perhaps even Neverwinter Nights?
A. Events from everything in Forgotten Realms impact the story and environment. We work super closely with WotC [Wizards of the Coast] to make sure we help tell their stories and our tales mesh with all the existing IP.

Q. The events that take place in this game, at launch and moving forward, are they considered canon in the Forgotten Realms lore?
A. Everything we do passes through WotC for final approval to make sure it matches their vision for the Realm.

Q. During Neverwinter Nights 2 we spend a long time building and raising the Greycloaks to a massive fighting force. There is an attachment for us NWN vets. Will we be seeing what happened to them after the plague?
A. There are some nods to Greycloaks in the game and at one point it was a major plot point but it’s been reduced for the final game.

Q. Speaking of Greycloaks, will we see many pieces of lore or visit structures that survived NWN and NWN2? Will they be plot points/quests in the game?
A. We’ve tried to make sure to have enough familiar elements that old time fans of the IP [Intellectual Property] will feel at home. And there will be quests involving familiar locations.

Q. Are there well known Forgotten Realms characters to be found here and there? Legendary heroes that will be our partner in game like Drizzt?
A. There are quite a few familiar faces in the game from the Neverwinter Campaign Guide, but Drizzt doesn't show up at launch.

Q. Do Companion Characters get improvements and their own storylines?
A. They do get some gear and have other improvement systems as well. No specific story lines for them though. We also have a bunch which aren’t humanoid. Companions don’t fill team slots and each team member can have their own.


Q. Is there any content for smaller groups, like the two man instances in SWTOR?
A. Not specifically tuned for duo groups. Any group can play the solo-friendly content though.

Q. Anything for larger groups, instead? I know raids aren’t on the table right now, but maybe post launch? Or something like big dynamic events in GW2/Rift?
A. We haven’t announced anything yet/ We do have a pretty awesome large group end-game content that we haven’t talked about.

Q. What are the different ways (other than invocation) to gain Astral Diamonds in-game? And what sort of items can you purchase with Astral Diamonds?
A. There are special events and missions that grant Astral Diamonds and there are all kinds of cool stuff in vendor stores that use them. It’s also the currency for the auction house.

Q. I noticed some quest givers were voice acted, are there plans for this for all new content also?
A. We’re doing a full VO pass on all the quest givers, it really helps bring the game to life.

Q. Is there a grouping tool?
A. There is! Just hit “O”, also the queue system makes finding pugs for dungeons, skirmishes really easy.

Q. what about the issues STO [Star Trek Online] has been having with the so called 'grinders' and 'exploit' missions? Have you added anything to prevent these from happening, or being as effective?
A. We've learned a lot from STO, and continue to learn from them on how to minimize the grind content. The truth is you guys will find a way to make those missions. We'll find them, close the loop-hole and continue the cycle.

The Foundry

Q. The Foundry isn’t available as soon as you start playing, how do we access it?
A. We aren’t talking about the Foundry too much yet. You have to unlock it but it isn’t a very high bar and there is no cost to using the Foundry.

Q. What plans do you have to keep the Foundry updated with new assets and such as they roll out in the rest of the game?
A. The Foundry is going to be super important for Neverwinter. We’ll have a dedicated live team worried just about bringing game assets, new features and new unique assets to the Foundry.

Q. Can we buy Foundry assets with Astral Diamonds?
A. No! I don’t want a single barrier between the content you want to make and you being able to make it.

Q. Are there asset limits in the Foundry?
A. There will be asset limits per map.

Q. Players expect to see a large amount of gorgeous player created content being made in game. Since the quests would be diverse, do you have any plan in controlling the quality and quantity of the user-generated quests in game?
A. We have an in-game rating system. After you play a quest, you're asked to rate it. The community does a great job of finding awesome stuff.

Q. Will the Foundry allow DMs to make their own items as rewards for the instances?
A. That probably won’t make launch. We really want to put that feature in but it’s very difficult to balance.


Q. How do you plan on distinguishing yourselves from D&D Online?
A. Action RPG Combat – Forgotten Realms – Free to Play from the ground up.

Q. What about Epic Destinies? Any plans for those? Or is that something we’re not talking about yet?
A. Epic Destinies will come later. Post launch plans.

Q. Are you going to translate the game in other languages?
A. We’re actively translating the game into multiple languages. French, German, Chinese. There are a couple of others but I don’t think we’ve announced them.

Q. What is the purpose of refining rough Astral Diamonds into Astral Diamonds?
A. There’s a daily limit on the number you can move from rough to refined Astral Diamonds to help make the sure economy doesn’t go wonky.

Q. Will gear be customizable (other than dies) at max level ala transmutation/cosmetic outfits?
A. Totally have transmutation. It’s in now. You can take gear you like the stats of, and put them onto gear you like the look of.

Q. Are there plans at all to expand the quickbars or to allow for further customization in skills, controls, etc?
A. The number of power slots you have is a big part of the balance of the game so we won’t be expanding those any time soon. But as far as what powers you can get, combinations you can slot, how gear interacts with powers, etc. we’ve got more on the way.

Q. Is the inability to adjust your inventory or equipment while traveling an intended design?
A. I’d say more a side effect of our heavy focus on action combat than an intention design.

Q. What will we be expected to see in the near future regarding PvP?
A. Well in the VERY near future (like now) you can queue up and play a 5vs5 domination arena. When PR decides to “reveal” the feature, we’ll talk about all the details.

Q. How will the PvP work since there are no predetermined factions? Random teams?
A. We’re saving all the juicy PvP info for later down the road.

Q. Are there plans for dedicated RP servers at launch?
A. We don’t plan on having dedicated RP servers [currently there will be one “megaserver” with a single generic non-RP ruleset/code of conduct]. If we find the demand is there, that’s something we can look into.

Q. Will we see Neverwinter at PAX East?
A. Yes, we will be at PAX East!