This is a Neverwinter experiment, and it could be one that has never before been attempted. We don’t even know if the game supports this style of play, but what if… what if two or more characters always grouped, and never soloed, through the PvE content of the game?
Most of the content in the game is designed to be completed either solo, or solo with a companion. Two characters (and, eventually, two characters and their companions) would necessarily make that sort of content even more trivial. But two characters aren’t enough to do the actual group content. Even if it were possible to run the dungeons and skirmishes as a duo, leveling up entirely by repeating the same dungeons and skirmishes until the next were unlocked would be a pretty dull way of playing the game.
However, there’s one kind of Neverwinter content that scales to player level and can be designed to support duos and other unusual playing choices — Foundry missions.
(The above is a screenshot from the first Old Jerry Foundry mission, which assumes nobody reads NPC dialog).
Kasul of Shattered Blog (hey, what’s the update on Nethack?) decided to take a break from EverQuest and give Neverwinter a try. We thought it would be fun to try grouping in a game that does not promote that style of play. I deleted my halfling Great Weapon fighter and rerolled her as a half-elf Guardian fighter, and Kasul rolled an elf Trickster rogue. We figured that would be a decent combo — the fighter takes the aggro, the rogue, with combat advantage, does devastating damage. Heals will be the job of the eventual companions.
The solo quests and instances go incredibly fast with two players. The uber sword and purple striker wolf companion I got from the Founders box doesn’t hurt things, either. We queued up for the game’s actual group content as soon as we could; we’ve done Blacklake Skirmish several times.
But the best of it all has been the Foundry missions. Our first was one specifically designed for two characters. Someone had designed a bar filled with members of his guild, who came under sudden pirate and demon attack. Our job: save them.
This guy’s guild is filled with super people, but they can’t fight worth a darn. If my guild had to be saved from complete devastation by two low level adventurers, well, I’d have to have a talk with my recruiting officer.
There were a lot of really decent fights in that mission, though. It’s fun to see how people build out their dungeons. Some are utilitarian affairs with no flair; some are filled with extra bits and pieces, like the one we did last night — clearing the Nasher Sewers of the Master and his undead legions — which included special accolades for leaving the glowing path and going exploring.
We’re only meeting once a week, so it’s going to be a couple of weeks before we hit the Cloak Tower, the first actual dungeon. We’ll be forced to move through it super-fast, because that’s how random groups move — Neverwinter will have trained everyone, by then, how NOT to work within a group.
Not us; we’ll know.