Massively Interview: Designing Neverwinter's Tiamat


Massively: Neverwinter players are already facing off against a fearsome five-headed dragon in the game's newest module, Rise of Tiamat. To find out more about how the titular beast was created, we sat down with Senior Content Designer and Loremaster Randy Mosiondz. Randy, is this module the culmination of the game's story to date?

Randy Mosiondz: Yes, Rise of Tiamat marks the epic conclusion of the Tyranny of Dragons storyline! We introduced some notable figures featured in this plot in the Shadowmantle module. Then we had the rise of the Cult of the Dragon chronicled in the Tyranny of Dragons module with their attempts to build a hoard for Tiamat, as well as the fight with the dragon-worshipping barbarians on the island of Tuern. Finally, with Rise of Tiamat, we go to the Well of Dragons, an ancient dragon burial site where the Cult of the Dragon is attempting to lure Tiamat from the Nine Hells.

Is there any non-quest content with this module?

Aside from the Well of Dragons adventure zone, we have a number of new Heroic Encounters, and the ultimate portion of the Tyranny of Dragons campaign. We also have the final confrontation with Tiamat herself, and this is going to be one of the greatest challenges players will face to date!

You've described Tiamat as a "mega-foe." Why is this? What makes her so fearful compared to other major enemies?

It's an understatement to say Tiamat is "kind of a big deal." She's the five-headed Queen of Dragons and Nemesis of the Gods. She's being summoned from the Nine Hells by the concerted efforts of the large and powerful Cult of the Dragon, who have gotten ahold of powerful magical artifacts to aid in her return. Where other threats to the Sword Coast have been dealt with by small heroic teams of adventurers, this one requires a concerted effort to drive her back.

The past few modules have been primarily dragon-themed, with this one no different. Even with the D&D moniker, have you been dipping into the dragon well a little too much at this point? Are there other aspects of this campaign setting you would like to explore?

The dragons in other modules and their increasing frequency have been a deliberate build-up leading to the Rise of Tiamat. Tiamat is the evil Queen of Dragons, and the rise of a new dragon empire is something that's been a part of the Cult of the Dragon's prophecies for a long time, so it makes sense to reflect that in our modules.

Don't worry if you're feeling a bit of dragon overload –- the Rise of Tiamat marks the conclusion of that storyline, so we'll being moving on to new threats to the Sword Coast and Neverwinter.

What design lessons have you learned from previous efforts that are being used to shape this module?

We always want to keep things fresh in Neverwinter, such as introducing new aspects to regular gameplay. One of the things players have asked for is a challenge that can bring together their friends. They want to fight a truly epic raid-level challenge. What is more epic than fighting a massive five-headed dragon goddess?

Could you give a few hints as to what players might anticipate past Rise of Tiamat for 2015?

Still a bit too early to say, but talk to us again in a few months. We're already working hard on new adventures right now!

Thanks for your insights!

When readers want the scoop on a launch or a patch (or even a brewing fiasco), Massively goes right to the source to interview the developers themselves. Be they John Smedley or Chris Roberts or anyone in between, we ask the devs the hard questions. Of course, whether they tell us the truth or not is up to them!