One of the best MMORPGs on PC is getting a hefty new expansion soon. Neverwinter, Cryptic Studios’ Dungeons & Dragons-style MMO, is taking players back to a place from days of Neverwinter past in Sharandar, the title’s next module. This time around, though, the devs are mixing things up, introducing a three-episode module, a “completely revamped and re-visualised” Sharandar, as well as a bunch of new story and gameplay content for fans to sink their teeth into.
Neverwinter: Sharandar kicks off with Episode One: The Iron Tooth on February 9 for PC players (March 9 for our pals on consoles). If you’re a long-time Neverwinter fan, you’ll likely recognise where you’ll be headed – the mystical region of Sharandar, which was introduced in the free MMORPG’s first module, is the episodic expansion’s setting, though it won’t be exactly as you’ll remember.
“While the areas will roughly follow the footprint of the older Sharandar area, it will look a lot different,” as lead designer Randy Mosiondz tells us in an interview. “Our artists spent a lot of time re-envisioning the look of the environment and monsters, to great effect. You’ll still see the new Sharandar hub, but it has been completely re-done, some of the old character models have been updated, and there are completely new characters for the new storyline.”
Speaking of which, the module’s storyline sees a spooky darkness creep into the lands of Feywild as well as Sharandar, the elven stronghold, itself. Rumours of an “ancient fey being” – as teased by Cryptic in a press release – along with scattered groups of Malabog the Fomorian King’s minions, “seek to conquer Sharandar and seize its arcane secrets”. What are they like?
In the first episode, you’ll be heading to the Ruins of Malabog to try and work out what’s happened to a missing elven dignitary. In terms of new features, there’ll be a brand-new Sharandar social hub, adventure zone, and a Vault of Stars dungeon, which comes with some “epic” rewards.
In Episodes Two and Three – The Soul Keeper and The Odious Court, respectively – the story will continue with that “sinister new threat” in tow, which will need to be halted, and players will get to see Sharandar transform along the way. It’s not clear when these episodes will drop yet, but Cryptic says they’ll arrive “at a later date”.
“By this point Malabog the Fomorian King has been defeated, and his once great castle is in ruins,” Mosiondz tells us. “But what remains of his forces? And who commands them now? And what do they have against the elves of New Sharandar?” Well, we’ll get to start finding that out on February 9 when Episode One arrives.