If you've been playing Neverwinter on Xbox One, then you've had to live a second class life compared to your PC counterparts. The core game launched in March of this year on Xbox One, but the adjoining story expansions - Elemental Evil, Fury of the Feywild, Shadowmantle and Curse of Icewind Dale - weren't a part of the package. Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment later offered up modules 4 and 5, Tyranny of Dragons and Rise of Tiamat, on the home console version, but the first three modules were missing in action.
Elemental Evil is the sixth module for the game, released for PC in early April. The Elemental Evil update for Xbox One brings four expansions in one big update, bringing the home console version of Neverwinter into near-parity with the PC version. Neverwinter's seventh module, Strongholds, released in August for PC and the Xbox One release will be later this year. A Cryptic developer told me that the process of working on Elemental Evil has helped the studio streamline the process of porting content, meaning there may be less of a gap between PC and Xbox One expansions in the future. They did admit that the gap will never go away completely, due to things like certification.
Elemental Evil not only kicks the level cap for Neverwinter up to level 70, it also adds the Oathbound Paladin as the newest class. Four expansions worth of new zones and storylines are available for players to explore, including the Dread Ring and Sharandar. The additional content also features lore characters like Baldur's Gate's Minsc and Boo or Valindra Shadowmantle from the novels. And if you use companions in Neverwinter, the quality cap of those characters has been raised from epic to legendary. (This means they can hit things harder. Be proud of your companions.)
Elemental Evil was a contentious expansion for Neverwinter, leading Cryptic to bring in Sword Coast Adventures and Star Trek Online designer Scott Shicoff as the new lead designer on Neverwinter.
"We are aware that mistakes were made with this release, and for that I would like to apologize. We understand the frustration and are actively working to make positive adjustments," Shicoff wrote in late April. "Things won't change immediately, but they will improve over time. Thank you for understanding and giving me the time to help identify and address the issues important to the community."
Most of these issues were attended to by time Strongholds rolled around and many of the fixes are simply a part of the Xbox One content release.
The PC version of Neverwinter also received a VIP program option in August and that's also making the transition to Xbox One. The VIP program is a subscription business model that also offers extra VIP rewards. Like many free-to-play titles, buying a VIP rewards pack gives you 30-days benefits like experience bonuses, Moonstone Mask zone access, and some free quality-of-life items. Buying VIP packs also increases your loyalty level, which imparts additional benefits; once you've reached a loyalty level, you're there for life, even if your subscription lapses.
I took a look at Neverwinter at PAX Prime and I was impressed to see how far the game has come along from its original launch. I've always wondered about the viability of MMOs in the console space and despite the PC-l;ike nature of the Xbox One and PlayStation, it still seems like an uphill battle for some developers. Square Enix has PS4 patch releases for Final Fantasy XIV day-and-date with the PC versions, but other developers like Cryptic have run into issues.
For a game that's still free though, Neverwinter looks to be a solid MMO experience on home consoles. Your options are rather limited in that regard, with Neverwinter on Xbox One, Final Fantasy XIV on PlayStation 4, and Elder Scrolls Online for both systems. If you're jamming with an Xbox One, Neverwinter looks to be a great Dungeon & Dragons time for the whole family. And by "whole family" I mean "you by yourself". Are you seriously going to play an MMO while your family is there? Wow.