I don’t think Emotional Geography is an academically-recognised field, but a decade of games dotted along the Sword Coast has infused some of its locations with mushy feels.
Neverwinter? Pleasantly temperate, but ultimately a bit wet. Baldur’s Gate? Earthy, filled with potential. Icewind Dale? A little cold for its lack of dialogue, but undeniably spine-tingling.
That fact hasn’t escaped Cryptic Studios, still plotting the map for their growing MMO. They’ve decamped to the yeti-bothered peaks for Neverwinter’s third expansion.
This here’s a “lore” trailer. By all accounts Neverwinter’s strength isn’t its storytelling. But look! Snow! And loose confederation of localised fishing villages, the Ten Towns!
“Will you uncover the truth behind the resurrection of ak-arse-kettle?”, asks the voice actress, long since having abandoned her script in favour of naming nearby objects.
Black ice will touch every aspect of the Curse of Icewind Dale, as a new resource - harvested by players, shaped into special gear boasting massive (temporary) stat bonuses.
The expansion also promises two new adventure zones, a new Paragon path for the Hunter Ranger, and a unique, two-faction open PvP zone. It’ll be fun to tromp through some familiar locales, no doubt - though Jeremy Soule’s stonking soundtrack will be missed.
Between this and the pan-dimensional backflippery that allowed D&D Online to incorporate the Undermountain, that’s the most nostalgic environments in the Forgotten Realms covered in active MMOs. Unless there’s another I’ve forgotten?