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Get ready to go questing through the holidays as Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment’s Neverwinter gears up to receive its second major update since launch, Shadowmantle, this time introducing the new Hunter Ranger character class and a new zone, the Dread Ring, for players to explore.

Based on the world of Dungeons and Dragons Forgotten Realms, Neverwinter is a free-to-play MMORPG putting players in the role of brave adventurers who must travel the world, battle monsters, collect heaping piles of loot and assist various strangers on a quest to help save the world from some ultimate evil force. Yeah, it’s all pretty much by the book fantasy at this point but, when you’re talking about D&D, it pretty much wrote the book, so all is forgiven.

The Shadowmantle expansion will take players on a journey into the Dread Ring, an “ashen field buried deep within the Neverwinter Woods,” according to the official announcement from Perfect Worlds. It’s due out Dec. 5 and, with it, players can expect all of the typical new bells and whistles that tend to come with modern MMOs.

“With Neverwinter, our plan has always been to release massive regular updates that provide new, unique online experiences with exciting new content for players to explore,” said Cryptic Studios EP and COO, Craig Zinkievich.

Like the game itself, the Shadowmantle update will be available free of charge, drawing players to a massive, magical structure build within the Dread Ring. Once there, players will wage online war against Valindra Shadowmantle’s army, culminating in a battle against the undead monster herself. This DLC includes the Hunter Ranger as a new class, as well as new systems for Artifacts and Collections and new Paragon Paths for the game’s original cast of classes.

“Shadowmantle continues to fuel excitement and great adventures for D&D fans,” said Nathan Stewart, Brand Director for D&D at Wizards of the Coast. “Supporting great storytelling through our digital partners continues to be a priority for the brand and this latest module delivers on that promise.”

One of the key factors setting Neverwinter apart from other free-to-play MMOs is the fact that it’s an action-based adventure, focusing more on fast combos and quick tactics than clicking, waiting, clicking some more and waiting some more. Also of note is the content creation tool, which keeps the D&D pillar of players creating their own stories alive and well.

“Players explore the vast city of Neverwinter and its surrounding countryside, learning the vivid history of the iconic city and battling its many enemies,” reads the Shadowmantle announcement. “In Neverwinter, players can create their own quests and campaigns with the Foundary, a powerful content creation tool that allows players to seamlessly integrate their adventures into the live game world.”

To jump into Neverwinter and begin your own adventure, head on over to the official website to start playing right now. Then, on December 5th, get ready to venture into the Shadowmantle DLC. Excitement awaits.
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