Cryptic + Next D&D Game =

Bad idea!

This was a really long time coming and I’ve been sharing my distaste over the idea on our forums and with others for several months.  Cryptic is making a D&D Neverwinter multiplayer coop game.  This will be like NWN but set in the new 4th edition rules after “years and years” have passed.

I don’t care if it’s not a MMO.   Cryptic simply does not have the ability to make good games.  They lack the basic understanding of how to make a game fun and engaging.  There’s no need to go any further and explain the plethora of individual failings seen in their games — they’re simply not any fun.

Let’s talk about another issue.  If this is a multiplayer coop RPG game with up to five players… isn’t that kinda what Neverwinter Nights has been capable of being all along?  I played NWN with Graev and another one of our friends through the full game and its expansions.   Are they going to support it on a platform of sorts to create an experience closer to Diablo’s multiplayer instead of a server browser?  This Gamespot article/interview mentions connecting to a server to create a session for you and/or your friends.

Jack Emmert says: “We’re trying to create new sorts of games that we call “OMGs” (online multiplayer games).”

GENIUS!  Pure genius Jack.  There were singleplayer games then massively multiplayer games.  How could we have missed that middle step?!

Personally, I don’t know what to make of what Jack Emmert or the articles are saying.  Jack thinks that MMO’s are persistent zones with instances attached to them.  He says so right in that gamespot interview.  I don’t even know where Cryptic is going to go with what the rest of the world thinks of RPG’s.

  • my first beef with this is very much the same as you are pointing out. I just have been let down by Cryptic so many times that i don’t understand that people still have confidence in them. and yeah, what room is there for this game with DDO, and NWN being out there. I guess they will have “awesome” graphics and get as much box sales they can get as usual.

  • Well, if I had to choose between Cryptic’s instance-tastic approach to online games and an old school open world MMO like Star Wars Galaxies, I’d go with SWG. But, I’ve enjoyed my time in some Diablo-esque lobby style online games with MMOish character development. Embarassed to admit, but Phantasy Star Universe was even fun for a month or two.

    Just because it’s not a true MMO, doesn’t make it awful.

  • Let me clarify, I’m not at all upset that it’s not a MMO. That has absolutely 100% nothing to do with it.

    I’m upset that Cryptic Studios is allowed anywhere near it. I’m also confused about what type of game they’re making since they’re doing a lot of double talk.

  • Cryptic release games faster than Microsoft releases updates… and Microsoft’s updates are more enjoyable.

  • Yeah, that stands out as one of the stupidest things I have ever heard a developer say, and there have been some real winners. I would care if this were almost any other developer though, at this point Cryptic games are a chance to get the popcorn out and just watch the train wreck though.

  • Bleh…Cryptic, they shouldnt be allowed to make anymore games period. I dont even know what else to say, they are just awful.

  • That’s funny because if you ask me, Cryptic released one of the best MMO’s of all time that’s stood the test of time. City of Heroes was a fantastic game that hasn’t been duplicated, even by the same studio. If you ask me, all this talk about “Open Worlds” is just a creative re-interpretation of all the hell grinding and mob farming we used to do back before Cryptic introduced at least some sense of story to the world and fun instancing that never took a dime away from the game.

    It’s no lobby matching making game like Guild Wars. CoX is a great game in it’s ability to provide solid content with fun entertaining enemies to discover and great game play mechanics as well as a colorful arrange of power sets and costumes.

    It was just a shocker that Champion’s Online turned out the way it did because it seemed like they missed everything that was awesome about CoX and just made yet another standard MMO with a fantasy theme. Dull, somewhat boring and rather tiring.

    It’ll be interesting to see what they can do for D&D.

  • @Sen

    I will agree that CoH was/is a good game but I think Cryptic and Mythic are great examples of companies that accidently got something right. 😀

  • @Epiny

    And yet the very next game shows they didn’t understand what worked and got it all very wrong! Of course, I still enjoy Warhammer Online but in general, I feel like the developers really missed it in the next game about what was so great about the prior one.

  • I wonder if they’ll use their patented huge doors everywhere in the game.

    “meet me in my ready room… it’s right there past those 15 foot tall double steel doors! you can’t miss it!.”

  • Wonder what kind of pricing… oh wait, it’s Cryptic.. monthly sub plus cash shop…. niiiiiiccce.

  • @Dismantled, it won’t be a MMORPG. The only pricing involved is the box price.

    Also, has Cryptic ever made a single player game?

  • Sounds like a ridiculous quote to any avid gamer but to an investor it sounds like a gooooooldmine! At least I’m sure Jack hopes so. :p

  • @Sentack, Cryptic Studios worked in tandem with NCSoft for City of Heroes. Cryptic developed it but NCSoft had the final say as to what was a good idea and what was shit. You can see that without guidance, Cryptic Studios releases sub-par products.

  • For what it’s worth, I find Champions Online both fun and engaging.

    Nevertheless, I find both Emmert’s remarks and Cryptic’s creative direction very discouraging and backward-looking, moreso because it’s a widespread attitude among MMO development leadership. The only company that’s demonstrably pushing the MMO frontier forward is CCP (though some others may be as well, their games are all in development and are thus unproven in this regard.)

    As for this new title… meh.

    @Andarien: Cryptic’s creative team was given the option, when the studio sold CoH to NCSoft, to stay with Cryptic or move to the new NCSoft studio (Paragon) that would be handling the game. Pretty much the entire team bolted to NCSoft. So, while I don’t disagree with your point, it should be pointed out that any faults in Cryptic’s design methodology lie with leadership and not with the creative folks.

  • @Ardy

    I think this is definitely more of a move backwards than ahead, but I’m curious… might this actually be a smart strategy?

    Five to 10 years ago there were nowhere near the number of people freely spending dozens of hours per week playing online games.

    MMOs can make big bucks, but the games making the biggest bucks these days are dead-simple Facebook type games. A dead-simple “OMG” might actually do well in today’s market whereas it would have strugged 5-10 years ago.

    As accessible as you or I might consider WoW, it’s far too complex for the hundreds of millions of potential gamers out there to bother trying to learn.

  • I’m starting to think Cryptic is following M. Night Shyamalan’s career arc.

    City of Heroes = Sixth Sense; breakout success!
    Champions Online = Unbreakable; not terrible, but missing something.
    Star Trek Online = Signs; how did they screw this up?

    That means…

    Neverwinter = The Village; oh boy…

  • Farmville Online ran through a web browser. Most successful game of all time. Someone go make it.

    Cryptic, the kings of shovelware.

  • I liked Champions Online a lot more than City of Heroes. I fully expect to go back to CO every once in a while to take it for a spin, but will never go back to CoH.

    Waaay, back in the day when I played my first game online (Delta Force 1), I had this idea for…well, what is sounds like Cryptic is doing. So, while Cryptic may not be my favorite game maker, I will keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.

  • From what I read from many sources. They are making NWN where it’s pretty much NWN3 but you have to pay monthly fee (and mostly cash shop cuz it’s Craptic) I think people would rather load up NWN & NWN2 and play that for free.

    I can see them copying Guild War ways of Instancing, but then I would NOT touch any product makes by Craptic.

    Thanks, but no thanks.

  • They are definitely planning on some sort of monetization beyond the box pricing. When asked about it at Massively, Emmert said, “we’ve got some kooky plans that I think people will like.”

    I’m assuming they will charge a small monthly fee(because everything is hosted on their servers), and then selling additional content.

    Either way, I have no confidence in their ability to make a good game. CO and STO were empty shells of games, half-finished, with more bugs than content. And CoH was 100% repetitive grind. Every time I try to go back to it, I quit shortly after getting my travel power. My highest level character was 20 or so… I just don’t see the appeal of clearing the same office building/sewer tunnel/cave/warehouse hundreds of times.

  • Bad idea…i sure wouldn´t have said it as nice as you did.

    God, this is just horrible. I wouldn´t listen to Emmert anyway, he has been doing this whole “we know we made mistakes, but our next game will be better” nonsense since years. He is just a damn liar.

    They just suck..period. I thought wasting the Star Trek IP was a desaster, but this is even worse. There goes any hope i had for years of a next good(!) NWN game.

    I would rather play the old AOL mmo than a game from this people.

  • Emmert is loco. I’d known he was nuts and out of touch with the gamer community from the time he posted on the City of Heroes forums explaining away his tank nerfs with the claim that everything was ALL RIGHT – his tank taunted three of the weakest mobs to fight, working as intended, while leaving the rest of the mobs (the other 12 or so, with nasty hitting bosses) to his squishy team to handle!

    @Sentack, Andarien, and Aardwulf:
    My take on the whole City of Heroes/Cryptic situation was that Emmert as visionary leadership and creative designer was essentially blocking the Live Team from doing all the innovative additions they later tacked on. Eg. color customisation of powers – no way under Emmert.

    After Matt “Positron” Miller takes over as lead designer, suddenly everything the players ask for becomes doable, even if they have to take a long time and work very hard at overhauling the entire engine Cryptic lumped them with.

    Shortly after, Emmert sells CoH to NCsoft and leaves with one or two others with the Cryptic name and to work on CO and other titles.

    The entire CoH Live Team (the dozen of them or so who have been slaving away behind the scenes to put out 3-4 innovative Issue upgrades a year) stays behind to work on essentially THEIR game, and becomes NCsoft Paragon Studios, sailing to greater heights since, without the crazed leadership at the helm.

  • Do you like torchlight and Red dead redemption’s online mode? That’s what Cryptic is trying to do. They see the success of multiplayer co-op games that aren’t MMOs, and this is their attempt. They probably are better suited for it.

  • @Dblade, since when has Torchlight multiplayer? But i know what you mean.

    But then, whats the point in playing this game? I don´t get it: why not buy/play NWN 1 & 2? They have several expansions, a better ruleset, more classes etc. Have tons of user made content and can be played with others. It´s a one time buy (and a cheap one now) and thats it.

    Sounds better to me.

  • @Derella, when I ready “because everything is hosted on their servers”, the first thing that came to mind was Ubisoft’s crappy DRM, but at least they don’t dare charge a monthly fee to provide that “service” to you.

    @cirdanx, as far as I can tell, there is no point to play this game.

  • A friend was telling me about this today and we lost interested the minute we saw who was creating it.

    It’s just not relevant what ideas they have or how they try to mould D&D4E to the online format; the game will look crap, sound especially crap and be immersive in the sense that it gives you a headache just dragging yourself through the doubtless terrible interface.

    Incidentally the designers take on Action Points and Healing Surges actually shows he does not understand how they work in D&D Tabletop so his take on them is misguided if not wholly unnecessary from the very outset.

  • I’ll reserve judgement for now but if it’s just a online RPG and not a true MMO then I’ll probably skip it. To be fair though, if Cryptic are narrowing their field of vision in what they’re trying to tackle then they might be able to make a better product at the end of the day.

  • Heavens, Spitfires! Stop being so reasonable!

    Anyway yeah, We should put the torches and pitchforks away. Not much to get strident about here. I wasn’t a huge fan of Champions Online or Star Trek Online, but maybe a tighter focus will do some good. I’m skeptical, but you never know.

    Co-op Dungeons and Dragons RPG. If you can’t root for that you should have your nerd card pulled.

  • I can see them charging for items outside of the box much like you see with a lot of F2P games and even what NCSoft has done with CoH; you can by (what looks like) additional costume theme packs, respecs, renames, server transfers.

    I could easily see Cryptic having some sort of store that allows you to buy a class that wasn’t available on the original release, a new race, a new set of ‘powers’ (as they’re called in 4e).

    Really, if you look at the 4e system, it’s really modular. You can pull out pieces or plug them in easily enough. I fully expect Cryptic to follow this model as well. Man, only making five classes available at launch? I can just see the option to buy access to Barbarian, Druid, Warlords or even other popular races like Drow, Minotaur, and what not.

    I believe they said it’d have a toolset much like Bioware’s NWN did? If so, expect them to release different tile sets or content.

    We’ll see.

  • Fool me once, shame on you (CO)
    Fool me twice, shame on me (STO)

    so NWNO = third time?

    supporting Craptic is telling the gaming industry that it’s ok to make unfinished products and charge subs and cash shop at the same time. So if you want ours MMO to head that way, then continue to buy more Craptic products.

  • To be perfectly honest I wanted to try STO and CO but at the time they didn’t offer a free trial. I still don’t know if they do but right now I’m caught up in SC2 so I wouldn’t even have time to play.

    I was willing to give both games a 2 week try but not at the cost of $60+ 1 monthly fee. I just don’t trust Cryptic’s games to entertain me long enough to justify that $75 expense.

  • […] Keen says, I don’t care if it’s not a MMO. Cryptic simply does not have the ability to make good games. They lack the basic understanding of how to make a game fun and engaging. There’s no need to go any further and explain the plethora of individual failings seen in their games — they’re simply not any fun. […]

  • easy. hes going to make you pay a monthly fee to play a singple player game with Online ability 😛 anything to make a buck, from selling you classes and race choices to charging you 10 dollars to host a game on your own computer 😛 whatever it takes to drain you of your money and soul

  • I have no exposure to Cryptic games, I was excited about STO but seeing the game launch and the fallout I passed – as a poster above says without a free trial there is no way I’m risking good money on a new and unproven MMO.

    That said the one positive aspect about this announcement is the return to Coop to the RPG genre. Too many titles have been lazy on this front, especially Mass Effect and Dragon Age. NWN proved years ago that multiplayer coop can work without the MMORPG infrastructure and subscription model. So why have so few decent quality RPGs bothered with multiplayer of late. I like MMOs but find the lack of decent storyline demotivating, I have played Dragon Age but would much rather be playing with friends than sat playing alone for that many hours. So even if this new Neverwinter fails, hopefully the promise of its potential will spur other companies to develop RPGs with a multiplayer component again…

  • Just what we need…

    Yet another unoriginal, derivative psuedo-massively-multiplayer, not-really-any-roleplaying game.

    Meh. I’ll pass, thanks.

  • Completely irrelevant, I know, but Mount & Blade: Warband just went on sale on Steam for $10.20…