Released previously only in a private beta, Dungeons & Dragons Heroes of Neverwinter has now officially gone live on Facebook. Developed by Atari and set in the Neverwinter realm, the game already has 166,000 monthly players from its time in beta, but if you'd like to join them, here's a taste of what you can expect.
When first starting Heroes of Neverwinter, you'll be allowed to create a character using either set templates of a Fighter, Wizard, Cleric or Rogue (each with their own stats and specialties), or can create a custom character to customize your gender, stats, class, race and more. In this, the game can immediately start out being as complex or as straightforward as you like.
Upon launching into the game proper, you're met with a story of amnesia and will be introduced to Edrick, a scout that was guiding you on your way to Neverwinter before a pack of Goblins knocked you unconscious. Through this introduction, you're told of Neverwinter, a place of hope and civilization that has survived the Ruining, and that you had originally wanted to travel there to purchase a home and earn your fortune. With this as a base, you're sent on your way.
Movement is achieved on a grid, with this turn-based game automatically allowing you to move at the beginning of each turn. When commanding a party, you'll be able to complete multiple actions, including attacking or opening your inventory with each character before needing to manually end their turn and start over with the next character. Once each "adventure" in the game is complete, you'll receive experience points for the battles you won and the tasks you completed in the process. For immediate prizes, you'll sometimes be able to loot your fallen enemies, selecting a prize from a list of ten. You can choose randomly from ten cards, or can use a potion to reveal items before you choose.
In terms of actual combat, you'll have a wide variety of options, depending on the classes of characters in your party. You might be able to attack an enemy from far away, eliminating them before they ever become a threat, or surround an enemy with multiple characters, giving everyone a combat advantage. There's enough strategy here to keep more hardcore players satisfied, but the initial sections of gameplay are incredibly simple and work well to help an unfamiliar player get up to speed.
Back in Neverwinter proper, you can access a variety of buildings including the Adventure Board where you'll accept new Adventures (Adventures require energy and have multiple difficulty levels), the Tavern where you can purchase energy potions or Adventure boosts to your stats, the Trade house where you'll purchase similar potions or new equipment items, and even your own home, which you'll be able to fill with treasures as you complete different achievements or tasks within the game (collecting a certain amount of gold, for instance).
That being said, the main focus here (understandably) is in the Adventures themselves. There are plenty of them to undertake, each with an additional focus on bringing your friends in to help you (early on, it's entirely possible to fail even the most basic of Adventures by simply going it alone). The lore within the game is presented through text boxes at the beginning and end of most scenes and encounters, and will likely satisfy current D&D fans. Still, this isn't the first game of its kind of Facebook, so hopefully the D&D name alone will help draw more followers into the fray.
Will D&D Heroes of Neverwinter win over the "Zynga" crowd with its fairly in-depth, and somewhat slow-going gameplay? Likely not, but there's plenty of content here for fans who go out specifically in search for it.
Play Heroes of Neverwinter on Facebook -->
Have you tried Heroes of Neverwinter on Facebook? What did you think of it? Sound off in the comments.