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On August 11, Perfect World will be releasing the latest expansion to their Dungeons & Dragons-based MMO Neverwinter, Strongholds. With its action-based combat, fantastic locations, and relatively simple mechanics, Neverwinter managed to hold me enough to get to the endgame, but unfortunately it was there when I stopped playing. Fortunately, with Strongholds I might finally have a reason to get back to the game. I was shown about 30 minutes of gameplay, and walked through it by Neverwinter’s executive producer Rob Overmyer.

Strongholds’ main focus is on the guild system in the game. Guilds will be able to make a keep to share and work together to upgrade. Strongholds have been a part of Dungeons & Dragons since the original release, allowing players to create and own their own space. This feature was then improved upon for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, introducing large-scale combat. AD&D is the basis for the Strongholds expansion.

The premise sounds familiar to World of Warcraft players, as the latest expansion Warlords of Draenor introduced guild housing as well. However, Rift, Guild Wars 2, and WildStar have all had an increased focus on their guild mechanics recently too. Perfect World argues Neverwinter Strongholds is more part of a big change in the MMO as a genre, rather than simply following in WoW’s footsteps. Whether you believe that or not is completely up to you, and I personally believe if there is a big change in MMOs right now, Draenor was the spark.

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