Cryptic sure does love to dole out free expansions like there’s no tomorrow. Every time I pop back into Star Trek Online or Neverwinter, there’s a healthy chunk of free content. In the case of Star Trek, it’s meant that a fairly mediocre MMO has blossomed into a compelling space adventure.
Neverwinter got off on the right foot, anyway, launching as a F2P game instead of moving to the model when subscriptions dwindled, and Cryptic has ensured there’s no dearth of content for free players. Two modules have been released, for free, since the MMO launched in June, and now there’s a third one in the works: The Curse of Icewind Dale.
The Frozen North is close to my heart. In the ‘90s I devoured R. A. Salvatore’s Icewind Dale trilogy when I happened across them in a library, and then years later I ended up spending weeks and weeks ploughing through dungeons and battlefields in Black Isle’s Icewind Dale CRPGs. So I confess no small amount of excitement at the prospect of revisiting the likes of Caer-Konig and Icewind Pass when The Curse of Icewind Dale launches later this spring.
The expansion will task players with venturing into the Frozen North, travelling throughout Icewind Dale to fight dire beasts, the corrupt Hammerstone dwarves, war-like barbarian tribes, undead giants and a black ice-corrupted beholder. Black ice is a new resource, which can be harvested by players. Using the skills of a new profession, black ice shapers will be able to create special gear that provides huge, temporary stat bonuses.
Alongside the PvE campaign, The Curse of Icewind Dale introduces Neverwinter’s first PvP campaign. Adventurers will be sent to hunt down other players or tasked with exploring new areas and fighting over valuable black ice and other resources. PvP leaderboards will also finally be added.
You can download Neverwinter here, or grab it on Steam.