A few weeks back I got into the beta of a new Facebook game, D&D: Heroes of Neverwinter. Since then I’ve been playing it off and on and I have to tell you, I’m feeling very conflicted about it. See the thing is, I dislike Facebook quite a bit, and even more so after the events of the last week or two. But I’m finding D&D: Heroes of Neverwinter to be a decent turn-based strategy game. Please Atari, make an iPad version, or a Google+ version, or a Kongregate version…let me play it somewhere other than Facebook!
Anyway, D&D:HON has you recruiting a party of 4 adventurers, including yourself of course, and heading off on grid-based, turn-based adventures. If your friends are playing, you can recruit their characters into your party for free; otherwise you can hire the heroes of strangers for increasing amounts of gold as you need higher and higher level characters. Going on an adventure costs you Energy, which replenishes over time. This is the $$ hook; you can pay to have your energy replenished if you’re having a grand old time playing. (You purchase Astral Diamonds which can then be used to do things besides replenishing energy. Stuff like resurrecting yourself…oh so very tempting when you die near the end of an adventure.)
The adventures themselves take place in a series of rooms and generally you have to kill the bad guys in the room to advance. Something there’ll be traps (bring a rogue to disarm) and sometimes there’ll be treasure chests. As you grow your character they learn various skills, and most of these skills can be used once per room (though a few can only be used once per adventure). Each turn a character can move, attack/use a skill, and use items. Some skills are also ‘free’ and can be used in addition to an attack. The basic gameplay is fun and hampered only by the fact that the game is built in Flash, meaning the interface is a bit cumbersome. I sure wish Flash would support right mouse buttons.
Between adventures you can wander around town by clicking from building to building. There are shops, a recruitment hall, and your own house where you can see your achievements and get a free daily gift. You also get a handful of gold every day just for logging in…more each day up to 5 consecutive days, then it rolls over back to 5 gold for day 1.
You can have multiple characters and each one has his or her own energy pool, which is a nice touch. There’s no way to trade items between characters (or with other players). You can, of course, gift your friends with stuff in typical Facebook fashion.
At level 10 you’re able to create your own adventures and share them with other players. If you want to level quickly there are plenty of adventures designed by other players to give you an “I WIN” button and help you advance. Using just the game-supplied adventures will keep your leveling speed pretty low, as fits the whole D&D license (IMO at least). In fact it can be a challenge to keep a positive cash flow if you’re hiring adventures to head out with you.
Anyway, it’s a Facebook game, but that means it’s free to try. I don’t really play Facebook games these days, but I’ve been making an exception for Heroes of Neverwinter; that must say something about the title. It’s probably an easier game if you have lots of friends playing, but playing ‘solo’ is definitely viable, at least for as far as I’ve gotten. Check it out!