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Neverwinter Will Compete With D&D Online Directly

This article requires a bit of backstory, so if you are already in tune with the Atari Vs Turbine saga, feel free to skip ahead. To start, we must set the stage for the players in this ongoing drama. Wizards of the Coast owns the Dungeons and Dragons IP, and in turn license the video game creation to Atari, who in turn licensed the MMO rights to Turbine. Turbine creates Dungeons and Dragons Online, and pays royalties to Atari, who pay royalties to Wizards of the Coast. Atari owns Cryptic Studios, who were rumored to be creating a Neverwinter Nights MMO, in direct competition with Turbine.

Now this is where the story becomes shady. Turbine sued Atari, claiming that the company had plans to sabotage Dungeons and Dragons Online, in order to nullify the contract with Turbine, take over control of the MMO, and shut it down in preparation for release of a Neverwinter Nights MMO. Given Cryptic being Atari’s chief MMO studio, it was only a given that Bill Roper’s team would be leading the project in some secret underground base, likely in the middle of an active volcano. Although the lawsuit was settled and the terms kept secret, there was a distinct timing between the settlement and Cryptic announcing Neverwinter Online, specifically noting that the game was not an MMO. I theorized at the time that Atari agreed not to make any D&D MMOs as a result of the settlement.

[Backstory over]

I’m a little concerned over how quickly the public took this news and said “phew, at least Atari won’t be trying to destroy D&D Online,” and this raises the question: Is the fighting really over? Or is Atari still adamant in their attempts to shut down Turbine’s MMO, and set up a new title in an environment where they can benefit from more income? Consider this, if you will:

Dungeons and Dragons Online is an action-oriented cooperative combat role playing game where players meet up in a lobby, take quests, and raid dungeons in small groups. The game relies on class-based skills in order to accomplish feats such as disarming traps and finding secret passageways. Each class holds its own place in a team, and in solo will also require different means of play. The game is free to play and supported via VIP and cash shop revenue.

Neverwinter Online will be an action-oriented cooperative combat role playing game where players meet up in a lobby, take quests, and raid dungeons in small groups. The game relies on class-based skills in order to accomplish feats such as disarming traps and finding secret passageways. Each class holds its own place in a team, and in solo will also require different means of play. The game is free to play and supported via cash shop revenue and likely a VIP program. In addition, Neverwinter Online will also feature user-created dungeons and other yet-announced bits and pieces.

So when Cryptic stated that Neverwinter Online will not be an MMO, it’s important to remember that Dungeons and Dragons Online isn’t a true MMO either. The likelihood that the two titles will directly compete is high, simply because the mechanics in both games (at least as they are currently presented) are so similar.

Despite my past differences with Cryptic, I honestly believe that Neverwinter Online could be a great success because the fundamentals play to Cryptic’s strengths. Unlike Champions Online and Star Trek Online, both of which attempted to take a massive world and cram it into a tiny container, Neverwinter Online is in all train of thought built to be a small-scale cooperative game. Of course, given Cryptic’s choice of D&D rulesets to follow, they won’t be gathering in all of the Dungeons and Dragons fans, but if they stay true to the formula and bring the social experience to an online format, Neverwinter Online could be a real contender.

So I call bogus to the idea that Neverwinter won’t directly compete with Dungeons and Dragons Online, and feel that with the right developers behind the wheel, Neverwinter could wind up scooping a good amount of Turbine’s revenue.

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3 Responses to “Neverwinter Will Compete With D&D Online Directly”

  1. Carrie says:

    I agree. It doesn’t matter what Cryptic calls their game… It is similar to DDO and will definitely compete with it. It isn’t enough to simply call one game an MMO and the other an online co-op. If they play similarly and are both D&D games, then they will compete.

    • Omali says:

      Exactly. I should have also mentioned that Neverwinter Online has a competitive edge already, in that the Forgotten Realms campaign of D&D holds a substantially higher popularity than Eberron, and appears most in D&D novels (thank you R.A. Salvatore).

      If Neverwinter is as similar as I predict it will be, I think Cryptic may pull out on top, in which case Turbine may look to reigniting another lawsuit which I hope doesn’t happen (for reasons including getting used to not having to sift through pages upon pages of legal notes every other week).

  2. Chris says:

    You are retarded, of course DDO is an MMO (massively multiplayer online game), and so is NWO.

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