Neverwinter shifts to free-to-play MMO model

Neverwinter, the recently delayed title from developer Cryptic Studios, is shifting its focus from role-playing game with multiplayer elements to "full-fledged free-to-play MMO."

The reorientation of game design runs parallel to the catalog of games already available from publisher Perfect World Entertainment, which acquired Cryptic Studios in May of this year.

IGN reports that Neverwinter will now play similarly to MMO titles like Vindictus or Rusty Hearts. "In fact," the article reads, "it's shifting towards the action end of the MMO spectrum." The game was originally announced as a "co-op-oriented Dungeons & Dragons" title before making the leap to full F2P territory.

Among the items players can expect to purchase are "vanity pets and cosmetic items." Cryptic is reportedly going to avoid making any of the content "premium-only" in Neverwinter.

Neverwinter is scheduled to launch sometime in 2012 for the PC.