Designing Neverwinter’s Module 5: Rise of Tiamat (Interview)

NW_Tiamat_3DModel_WatermarkedCreating and executing on a large expansion isn’t easy. Doing so while part of a licensing agreement for Dungeons & Dragons, one of the best known properties in all of gamedom, puts extra pressure on any development team. Cryptic Studios, the makers of Neverwinter, being no exception. Especially given how busy the company and its internal teams have been doing this year. But not too busy to give a little love to us here at Lore Hound. Jonathan Nascone, Senior Character Artist, and Michael Edwards, Systems Designer, took a few moments out of their busy schedule to follow up on our pre-launch interview of Rise of Tiamat.

Lore Hound: Thanks for your time. Members of the community believe that Tiamat is to be the culmination of the Season of Dragons. Is her introduction the next chapter or is there some truth to that assumption?

Michael: It is definitely a culmination of the Season of Dragons story arc in Neverwinter. When it comes to dragons, there’s nothing more epic than taking on the Dragon Queen herself.

Tiamat is a staple of the Dungeons & Dragons universes, having been an evil presence since the board game launched back in the 1970s. Was there any trepidation in her introduction to Neverwinter? A fear of backlash for not getting it right, perhaps?


Michael: Introducing Tiamat is pretty terrifying from a developer stand point. This is the first time we have done a fight of this scale with an enemy this large. We knew we had to put her in the game to wrap up our Tyranny of Dragons storyline and we had to do her justice. The choice to make this a 25-player experience was an early one and one of the most challenging prospects to balance for difficulty and fun. Despite all of this, we think we produced a really fun fight that the players will love.

Rise of Tiamat is the fifth module for Neverwinter, but the first to coincidence so nicely with a Wizards of the Coast entry. Can players expect Neverwinter to see its own twist on the table top plotline or is the plot more akin to a digital reincarnation?

Michael: We are using the table top campaign as reference for setting but putting our own spin on it. We are, after all, the Dungeon Masters for this game!

The Creator of Evil Dragonkind isn’t always in her multi-headed dragon form. Can players expect to see, and possibly, interact with her sorceress form, or even her lesser avatars?

Jonathan: What I can say is that for this release we really focused our efforts on creating a cool and exciting player experience.  Players will experience for the first time in Neverwinter our most epic battle ever!

Will all players feel Tiamat’s return from the Nine Hells, or is she only making her presence known to those at end game?

Michael: The Tyranny of Dragons module let players at lower levels experience the start of Tiamat’s return by having multiple dragons invading several existing zones. However, the encounter with Tiamat herself is reserved for our endgame players.

Cheers and thanks again!