MyDDO: DDO vs. Neverwinter

I play both games. Just like when DDO was going free to play, I was in the open beta for Neverwinter. With my experience with both I figured I have them face each other in a fight to the death… except with out the blood, and the violence, and the death. I’m going to compare the games based off of graphics, gameplay, story of the starting area, and community. These are just my opinions. You don’t have to agree. So lets begin.

Round 1: Graphics

This one is not as one sided as you may believe. While Dungeons & Dragons launched in 2006 and Neverwinter launched in 2013, I feel that there is something… plastic (for lack of better word) about the graphics of the character models in Neverwinter. Well see for your self. The first wizards is the preview for the control wizard in Neverwinter, The second is the old wizard preview for Dungeons and Dragons Online.

Dungeons & Dragons Online


Now don’t get me wrong. When I say they look plastic I mean that the look a little off. The environments in Neverwinter are amazing. DDO’s older area’s are starting to show their age. The newer areas in the Cormyr definitely rival the zones in Neverwinter. All that being said I have to give this round to Neverwinter. Just barely though. As I said DDO is starting to show its age. The plastic look of the character models in Neverwinter can be distracting, but it doesn’t detract from the wonder of the environments. Next round.

Round 2: Gameplay

So one of the most important things about a game to me is the gameplay. A game can have the best graphics in the world, but if the controls are ass and make the game completely way more difficult then it needs to be then all those pretty pixels are completely useless. Also customization of a character is key to me. How much control over what the characters abilities are do I control. For all of this it seems to fall on the editions of Dungeons & Dragons the games are based on.

Dungeons & Dragons Online is based on 3.5 Edition. This is the edition that I started playing in. As I have said in a few of my articles, I still DM an Eberron campaign using the 3.5 rules. DDO does a great job integrating these rules onto a MMO setting. It gives players the option to choose the spells they have prepared, giving characters versatility. The controls themselves are also pretty solid. Then again the are your standard fantasy MMO controls. Controls that have proven time and again that they work.

Neverwinter uses a bare bones version of the 4th edition rules. Something I feel hurts the customization of characters. While it doesn’t have the multiple hot bars cluttering the screen, it does feel that characters are forced into roles. Also the game uses an active reticle aiming system. What does that mean? Well it means that your mouse always has to be on your target. While it is new and unique, I’m honestly not a fan. This round goes to DDO.

Round 3: Story of the Starting Area

So why am I doing the starting area stories?It’s simple really. This is what draws you into the game, and its something that your going to have to play through every time you make a new character. Maybe. I’ll explain more on that in a bit.

So let’s take a look at Neverwinter’s starting area story:

Game footage captured by Reseilcooper.


For those of you who don’t want to sit through the half hour video above, I’ll give you the short version. You are a traveller who has come to the city of Neverwinter while its being besieged by a lich necromancer. After fighting your way through her undead army, you confront her only for her to get away. I feel this starting area uses a cliff hanger to keep players who want to see how the story ends to keep playing. This isn’t a bad thing. After all they do give you more tidbits as you go.

So the lets look at the Dungeons & Dragons Online starting area:

Game Footage Captured by XxGamingAreaxX


So again short version. While traveling to the city of Stomreach, the airship your on is attacked by a dragon and you crash land on the island of Korthos. Soon you are drawn into the blight of the people as they are stuck in on the now frozen island thanks to the dragon that attacked your airship. The area ends with the dragon being freed from its mind control and the islanders freed from its icy fury. Or does it? See this is where that maybe thing from before comes into play. As you play you earn favor and eventually you can earn (or purchase) what’s called veteran’s status. With it a player can start at level four, or if you managed to earn (or purchase) the second tier you can start at level 7. With veteran’s status, your starting area is an airship. The very one that crashed. Also, in the new expansion, iconic characters were introduced. These are characters start with enough experience to go all the way up to level 15. So with the diversity of zones and a story that has an actual conclusion, This one goes to DDO.

So we are at 1 for Neverwinter, and 2 to DDO. On to the last round.

Round 4: Community

So I’m rating this off of my experience with the respective communities. The fact is I personally prefer the community of DDO to the community of Neverwinter. Dungeons and Dragons Online’s community has just seemed more inviting. I think this has more to do with the style of game though. Every quest in Dungeons and Dragons Online is instanced and you are rewarded for doing the quests as a group. Neverwinter follows many of the standard MMO tropes of go here and kill x of y. I have been through a few of the instanced dungeons in Neverwinter and to be honest had no issue running them solo, feeling that a party wasn’t really necessary. Not just that, but DDO has community run events that I just have not seen yet. Here’s a list of the few I’ve heard of: a battle royal, an evasion tournament, a funeral for the late Gary Gygax, and a new years party.

Now I will give Neverwinter credit. It has something that was a staple in the original Neverwinter Nights series. It has the forge. The forge is a set of tool that allows users to create their own dungeons. However even this has been used to create dungeons to allow for easy leveling with out the need for a party. So when it comes to community I have to give it again to DDO. Maybe further down the line as Neverwinter’s community grows it will improve. So that’s three for Dungeons and Dragons Online, and one for Neverwinter.

Please note that above is done only from my opinion and my experiences. In my opinion Dungeons and Dragons Online is a better game. I constantly cycle through games as I play them. I always find myself coming back to DDO. My time with Neverwinter came and went though. I find myself keeping it updated, but I haven’t actually logged in in a couple of months. Your experience may very.

On another note, earlier this year I attempted to do a 24 hour DnD Live stream. Due to technical difficulties I was only able to make it to the 6 hour mark. This has not deterred me. I am currently working out the details so that I can attempt to do this again. As I figure out more, I will make the information available. So stay tuned.


6 thoughts on “MyDDO: DDO vs. Neverwinter”

  1. I just recently started playing Neverwinter one night a week with some friends. I do like it, but it’ll definitely never take the place of DDO for me. The whole “permanent mouselook” thing drives me nuts, and while the scenery IS lovely, turning my settings up enough to appreciate my surroundings results in lag worse than ALMOST anything I’ve ever seen in DDO.

    I definitely get the thing about being “forced into roles,” too. My li’l trickster rogue can disarm traps (doesn’t even need any special skills to find them) and has a few special attacks, but really most of the time there’s nothing for her to do except beat stuff up. Don’t get me wrong, beating stuff up is great. But I like my DDO rogue, whose UMD lets her buff, spot heal, etc., and who has rogue skills that actually matter when it comes to disarming and opening locks and such.

  2. article is completely biased from start to finish , no objectivity
    1- DDO has no overworld, you are stuck in a single hud area that is extremely compact , it offers nothing for exploration or discovery. you stumble over quest giver after quest giver in a 10 x 10 area, and the hub is barely bigger than that
    2- gameplay in DDO is generic mmo hotbar spam
    DDO has no roleplaying aspects to it, its more barebones than NWN. Every mission is nothing but X number of monsters and their “endgame” content is just grinding through monsters.
    DDO graphics are terrible, it looks like 1998 graphics

    DDO premise is COOL but after like the first 10 quests they completely dropped the dungeon master dialog as well as the hidden things in dungeons.

    NWN has way better combat and you can pick it up and play instantly and the world has lots to explore and discover, and has events going constantly so you have something to do. The worst part about it is that its free to play and there are cash shop things everywhere. Its more an MMO and less a D&D game but it has way better story and writing, and features the player made dungeons which are really cool and add to replayability after youve done a lot of generic mmo quests.

    DDO just has boring grind missions where its like heres a giant area with lots of monsters, and you are pigeon holed into a class that can self heal because nothing in the game is soloable.

    1. NWO has no over world either. A Map with bubbles to click on to move to the next dungeon or local is not an over world (an absurd and shallow point honestly). DDO game play is a lot more then hot button smashing if you know what your doing. With 10 times if not more choices in character creation, leveling, enhancement, feats, only a noob would resort to button mashing like you would do in NWO using the same 5 abilities over and over again NWO is just a monster masher with no thought required or challenge provided.

      All of DDO is soloable as a 7 year vet from that game I know this for a fact as I’ve solo played all of it but the raids, their are less then 5 dungeons outside of raid content that can’t be done solo, leaving close to 1000 quests you can easily solo even on the highest difficulty if you know what your doing and not just button mashing. NWO is bug filled w/ multiple game breaking exploits, horribly unbalanced characters that currently make it unplayable. I know this, as I still occasionally play NWO to see if their ever going to get around to fixing this broken game. Currently have 8 level 70 characters so I know for a fact the classes are unbalanced I’ve played them all and at identical item scores some classes have it way easier then others. Lets no even go into the cookie cutter forced roles, the insane amount of power that paying cash can give, that make PVP the dumbest thing to be introduced to a game with as many bugs, exploits, class imbalances, and the pay to win design that Cryptic is known for. I play STO as well so I know that Cryptic is all about micro-transactions 1st, and making a playable game 2nd.

      You can’t compare the variety and depth of game play in DDO to a simplistic generic mmo clone like NWO. I was really looking forward to another D&D based MMO, sadly Cryptic failed so hard on concept and execution it made me want to smack a baby. Once more they know this and are trying to fix the game, but with so many issues, they should scrap this generic Wow clone and go back to the drawing board.

      It takes less then 3 days to level cap in NWO then your stuck grinding the same content over and over again. At least DDO lets you reincarnate and have a go at all the content once more in your new and more powerful body and knock down a few more of those pay gates if your FTP.

      The amount of story and writing in NWO is horribly generic, lame, and tiny in comparison to amount story, writing, depth, and lore found in DDO.

      Next time please actually play both games to their end content with multiple toons before you pass judgment on something you clearly have no idea about.

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