Five years ago, Neverwinter launched with the promise of mixing action-based combat with tools to make your own adventures within a bigger world set in Dungeons & Dragons‘ Forgotten Realms in the aftermath of the Spellplague, an event that changed the entire setting. The crush of players on launch day crashed the servers, but those times are long-gone, as Cryptic Studios and publisher Perfect World announced today that Neverwinter now has almost 18 million players on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Neverwinter lead designer Thomas Foss remembers what went down when it went live in June 2013 for the PC: “Oh my god, look at all these people playing our game. That is awesome,” he said. Principle concept artist Chris Dien chimed in: “Remember, our servers crashed. We were not expecting those numbers. It was insane,” he said.
“Chris is totally right. Our servers crashed because we were not expecting that many people,” Foss said. “We had to have people fly out to Boston, where one of our main server bases is, overnight to build new server bases. It was a three-day job. Those were our heroes.”
Of course, the game recovered and has thrived. This D&D massively multiplayer online game added the Xbox One in 2015 and PlayStation 4 in 2016. It has 13 modules now, leaving the city long ago and sending adventurers on trips thousands of miles to the frozen north of Icewind Dale and to the steamy, dino-infested jungles of Chult. It has also followed all of Wizards of the Coast’s storylines for the 5th edition of D&D, starting with Tyranny of Dragons in 2014 and adding the Curse of Strahd-themed Ravenloft next week.
Over the years, it’s also added two new classes: the Scourge Warlock (mine’s at level 76 on the PS4) and the Oathbound Paladin. And we’ve seen some fun characters from D&D novels, modules, and video games as well: the beloved Minsc and his pet miniature giant space hamster, Boo (“Go for the eyes, Boo!”), hero of the Realms Drizzt Do’Urden, and that traveling scamp, Volothamp Geddarm.
Cryptic released some fun stats showing what players have done inside Neverwinter over the years:
- The near 18 million players amount to 775 times the population of Neverwinter (not counting the kobolds in the sewers, of course).
- Players have died 202 million times (as of the stat reveal this morning). I’m sure I account for at least 1 percent of this.
- More than 14,000 people have created their takes on the famous Dark Elf Ranger, Drizzt. Sounds like some old D&D groups I’ve played in.
- The deadliest dungeon is the Temple of Lostmauth, which is part of the Tyranny of Dragons module. The boss is a gigantic red dragon, Lostmauth. I’ve died here, too. (More than once.)
- We’ve killed more than 6.5 million dragons.
- Neverwinter now has 325,000 guilds. I still prefer to play alone (no, I do not call my character the “Lone Ranger.” Well, not often…)
- We’ve slaughtered 63 million monsters, with Devils being the most-killed type of monster. Undead follow.
- Humans are the most popular race. I prefer Tieflings, the second-most popular race. Wood Elves are third (hey, that’s me!).
- Great Weapon Fighter is the most popular class, followed by Trickster Rogue and Hunter Ranger (guess I’m the hipster adventurer with my Scourge Warlock and Control Wizard. At least I’m not a murder hobo).
Neverwinter’s anniversary celebration continues until June 23. Meanwhile, if you see a Wood Elf Control Wizard with the moniker “Iraoon Moonshadow” running around, say hello.