Dungeons and Dragons: Heroes of Neverwinter. Nerd alert. There’s a Facebook game which takes the world of Dungeons and Dragons and makes a pretty decent game out of it, with a few almost crippling problems. You don’t need to know anything about D&D to play this game, as it’s along the same lines as most fantasy-driven Facebook games I’ve played in recent memory.
Here’s the basic gist. You create a character by picking one of four races and then one of four classes. The race options are fairly limited, including human, elf, halfling, and what are called dragonborn (imagine humans with dragon features). The classes are pretty basic, including warrior, cleric (healer), rogue, and wizard. For me, I chose a dragonborn warrior for optimal damage.
You then recruit your friends (or pay for strangers to join you) and go on quests. Each quest rewards you with experience points, allowing you to level up and get bigger and better skills.
Here’s the first downside. I don’t have any friends that play this. Usually in these Facebook games, there are perks that I won’t have because of not having any friends. But I am usually allowed to play the game. In this system, I can no longer afford to “buy” strangers to join me. I do not make enough money in the quests to continue paying (for example, I spend 50 gold on recruiting people to fight with me, but I only make 10).
I am now out of money and unable to beat quests because I’m fighting alone.
This is a major problem. I created a second character and essentially started over because I could no longer play as my first. No game, especially targeted at casual gamers, should turn away a player. It’s ridiculous that you have to spend in-game currency to have other characters with you in battle. I’ve never seen that before.
This is a major and crippling problem, especially considering how cool the game is.
Here’s what works:
The game is extremely true to the D&D world. Even the attack moves and vocabulary used essentially teach the player how the RPG would play. The storyline is intriguing and the effects are decent.
As seen above, it plays pretty simple. Point, click, choose an attack. Those that are familiar with similar games will pick it up easily, and even strangers to the genre can figure it out, as the levels tend to include tutorial-like stages.
I was having a lot of fun with the quests, until I hit another roadblock. I would finish a level and be granted A Hero’s Commendation, which is something I can send to another player. But I need these items to complete more quests. So I need other friends playing this game to give me these items. I had to replay the same levels over and over until I leveled up and opened up more battles without these requirements.
Again, the story should not stop because I don’t have friends playing online.
I guess the bigger concern (or topic) to address here… is how much a social game should depend on the social interaction. In games such as Dragon Age Legends, you are allowed to bring lower level characters with you for free, which are given to all players. In games such as Age of Champions and Dragons of Atlantis, you live amongst (and compete with) other players that you are not friends with, without any sort of punishment.
I liked Heroes of Neverwinter. It was fun. But I am at a point where I cannot play any more. I’m out of money and my character can’t complete missions by himself. Welp. That’s all folks.
Final verdict: Had a lot of things right, but the few things it got wrong were irreversibly crippling.