The revamp of the tutorial last year promised 'a more heroic start' to Neverwinter, and having now played through it I'm really not seeing it. In the original tutorial the big bad undead dragon was already dead, having been killed somewhere between the end of the introductory cinematic and the start of the game, whereas now it's still a threat, in theory. At least until an NPC kills it in a cutscene, while I look on blankly.
The confrontation with Valindra plays out exactly as it did before, except with Makos (who survives) instead of Wilfred (who didn't.) I wonder if this changes a certain (much) later encounter in Dread Ring?
All in all it's not awful, but I prefer the old opening, which I feel actually set the scene rather better. There is at least less faffing about once you actually get into Protector's Enclave, so that's a plus.
No shipwreck though. What sort of D&D MMO doesn't start with a shipwreck?
For my new character I've stayed well inside my comfort zone, with a Drow Rogue. Skills have been reworked since I played last and no longer having Deft Strike early on is jarring – it's one of my favourite abilities in the game, but isn't available now until level 44(!)
Not that it'll take that long to get there. Neverwinter has always been a fast levelling game, but it feels like the pace is now even more accelerated. This could be due to most fights lasting literally seconds since my encounter powers are hitting a LOT harder than I remember. Maybe too hard hitting. The final Nasher boss in Blacklake died in exactly two hits.
True, I know what I'm doing. I've probably got more hours of experience in this class in this game than I do in any other class in this or any other MMO, but even allowing for that it's been absurdly easy to kill everything I've encountered in the first two hours of this run, and I'm already level 11.
So right now I don't need Deft Strike. It's a single target attack and I'm sweeping enemies aside with AoEs. It's an extra dodge but I hardly need to dodge. It lets me close the distance to enemies faster but I'm not taking enough incoming damage for that to be necessary. It's a scalpel of an attack but right now the combat is all about sledgehammers.