The release date has been announced; and as of December 5, 2013 the Shadowmantle expansion to Neverwinter goes live. The announcement was posted as of today and can be seen firsthand here.
While any subscription MMO could only hope to boast of successful expansion releases within their first year of running; the team at Neverwinter is working hard to not only set the stage of success for Free-To-Play MMO’s it would seem they aim to steal the spotlight with a second expansion to their title.
A new player class to enjoy, new paragon advancement paths for each class already live, and not to mention a new campaign to whet the appetites of those already max level characters; are all included within the Shadowmantle free content expansion. The only major difference with this expansion versus their last; no promotional packs being pushed for players to purchase. So not only has their development team worked hard to get this content out to their players, they’ve been pressuring for nothing in return save their satisfaction.
With the number of Free-To-Play titles available currently, and that number steadily rising as subscription based platforms make the transition and newer titles join the competition, it may come as a surprise to some that this second expansion within the first year could be an indication of the game’s overall success. The real indicator would have to be the fact that this expansion is being delivered without any promotional purchase incentives. These packages can easily serve as indicators of the developer’s need for compensation. Whether the previous packages offered have managed to sustain them or possibly the enticements of their rotating sales on purchases, one thing is for certain it isn’t a subscription fee.
Unlike many of the free-to-play titles out there, Neverwinter simply does not have a subscription option to offer. While many players may have complained regarding the high costs on many of their money-market items, the rotating weekly sales seem to have abated at least a percentage of those disgruntled by as much. Couple that with the fact that they keep such a steady stream of new content that not one event has yet seen a second visit to the players, and it can almost explain costs on their part. Still probably the most impressive thing to consider when taking all of this into account is that regardless of your stance on such expenditures on an online virtual item purchase, none are required to enjoy the game. The mounts offered from their market may be exclusive there-to, but at least 2 events have offered mounts from participation as well. Granted these mounts offered were not the fastest the game has, upgrades can be purchased that will transition them a step higher can be bought and applied, not to mention a mount of the same caliber from their money-market (while not on a rotating sale) can average a cost of anywhere from 10-25$. Not to mention the mounts offered from the events, like the mounts from the market, are exclusive to that means of receipt. No mount from the events has seen its way to the money-market just as no mount from the money-market has seen its way to another means of acquisition.
While other MMO’s struggle to keep players and subscriptions, Neverwinter seems to have the right goal in their line of focus, player satisfaction. Needless to say if anyone has not yet tried Neverwinter, or even if possibly you have, with a steady stream of fixes, updates, content, and even expansions ahead it’s not so much a question of what it will take to keep their community’s interest; as when they will rotate or release that ‘what’ to them.