Cryptic's Neverwinter for early 2013, looks in good shape

Free and with user-generated content to boot.

What happened to Neverwinter, the cooperatively-minded online D&D game being made by Star Trek Online developer Cryptic Studios?

Well, it's alive, and judging by a new Gamescom video and set of screenshots, in good shape.

Neverwinter also now has a release date of "early 2013".

Let's backtrack a bit. Neverwinter was announced in 2010, when Cryptic was fighting fires because Stark Trek Online and Champions Online weren't brilliant. But Neverwinter was to turn this around and usher in a new era at Cryptic.

While all this was going on, struggling Cryptic owner Atari looked to offload the studio. Chinese MMO outfit Perfect World answered the call.

Then, Neverwinter was realigned as a full-scale, free-to-play MMO. And that's about where we are now.

The new video (below) shows a clean and crisp, easy on the eyes Neverwinter with a competent but unremarkable artistic style.

Encouragingly, the engine runs deeper than the looks. Spells and abilities appear to have physical effects. For instance, a bulky fighter spins like a whirlwind and knocks enemies back. Another fighter stabs and visually ruptures the ground, again knocking enemies away. Elsewhere, a magic user suspends an enemy in the air. None of which will blow your mind, but for an MMO, this adds tactical depth.

Races announced so far are Human, Half-Elf, Drow, Dwarf and Tiefling. "Signature" class builds announced so far are Guardian Fighter, Trickster Rogue and Control Wizard.

Neverwinter will also feature the user-generated content Foundry that's available in Star Trek Online and Champions Online.

Cryptic's Neverwinter rears head for Gamescom

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