Cryptic is well-known for giving players powerful tools to create from the get-go when a new character is rolled in one of its titles, so it stands to reason that Neverwinter would fall in line with this philosophy. Because of this, I wanted to mine some of the details of Neverwinter's character creator so that you might be able to start planning out your ideal character -- if only in your mind (for now).
At the time of the press preview yesterday, Cryptic was still keeping a few classes and races under wraps. Even so, I was able to make some interesting class/race combos, like a Halfling Devout Cleric and a Tiefling Guardian Fighter. What was of more interest to me was how these characters can be customized, both visually and personally, so I quickly skipped past this step to get into the good stuff. Read on for a look at my hands-on and a pair of videos exploring the character design process.
After you choose your class and race, you'll be asked to literally roll for your character's stats. I wish I were kidding. I had to rub my eyes and wonder whether this was an intentional callback to the original Baldur's Gate or if the developers had an office pool going on how many times players would fruitlessly click on the "roll" button until perfect 20s lined up across the board.
It may be old school and all that, but it's the one part of the creation process that had me wincing. I sincerely hope that it doesn't make it to launch but instead is substituted for a fixed-points-that-you-can-assign system.
One choice you do get to make on this screen is your racial bonus. As a Dwarf, I had two sets of bonuses to choose that gave me +2 to two different stats. So there's that!
Past that we got into the good stuff: making you look good. Or terrible. Or weird. Or old. Or however you want to look. Cryptic's been boasting that Neverwinter's avatar customization is right up there with its other titles, so I set out to put that to the test. You can simply pick a preset look and move on from there, or start with a preset and customize the heck out of it. Everyone needs to go with what's behind door number two.
There are certainly a host of options at your fingertips, including:
Complexion (young, old, and everything in between)
Horns (just for Tieflings, I imagine)
And it's all rather good, I think. Some of the selections definitely make you look really dang weird; my Dwarf had cross-eyes for a while. However, letting you be as creative as you want (or don't want) is the hallmark of a Cryptic character creator. I liked little touches like being able to pick glowy eyes or modify practically any part of the body.
Is Cryptic's claim legit? I'm going to have to say no, as much as I generally approve of what's here. It's a far more limited offering than what you get in Champions or Star Trek Online, and that's in large part due to the fact that you're not creating your outfit as well (which is a huge part of those other games' avatar tweaking). It honestly feels quite similar to Guild Wars 2's creator, although the art style is not quite as good. It is light-years better than, say, RIFT's. Damning it with faint praise, I am!
The character creator then moves on to the background portion. "For flavor only," you can choose a hometown, a backstory (each town seems to have about three of these available), and a religious affiliation. Then it's on to choose that oh-so-clever name you've been sitting on for months now and your first steps into Neverwinter proper!
There was one glaring absence from a Dungeons & Dragons character creator -- did you catch it? There was no selection of alignment. I guess we're all lawful good and that's that. When I realized that we couldn't even pick an alignment for flavor choices, I felt a little let down. It's so inherently D&D, after all.
All in all, there's a lot of room for personal expression to create that awesome hero who's going to be making you rich and famous for months to come. I'm looking forward to making my first permanent character for realsies!
Want to get a look for yourself? Massively Stream Team streamer Richie Procopio put together a wonderful video showing off the character creation process in depth! And if that's not enough, look for more of Richie's Neverwinter videos on character creation coming soon.
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