Neverwinter: A Drizzle of Drizzts. The Heroes of the North Founder’s Pack.

When I first saw this video, I thought it was satire, or some sort of very early April Fool joke. But no, it is quite genuine, in all its cheesy infomercial glory. Your friends will be SO JEALOUS when they see you’ve decided to buy the Heroes of the North pack!

Only Heroes of the North will receive exclusive access to the MENZOBERRANZAN RENEGADE.

a unique playable race armed with the “Faerie Fire” racial ability and tattoo cosmetic option. Like the legendary ranger Drizzt Do’Urden, explore the realm of Faerûn as a Drow exiled from the Dark Elf stronghold of Menzoberranzan, City of Intrigue.

Oh my giddy aunt, I don’t know where to start! Since the dawn of MMOs it has been apparent that, if you give your players the ability to look like a dark elf, or even if you don’t, at least 10% of your world’s population will consist of Drizzts. A drizzle of Drizzts. Here, Cryptic have cleverly harnessed that primal desire, packaged it up with a panther pet (of course!), an armoured spider mount (If Drizzt didn’t own one of those, we can be sure he wanted one) and other gubbins, and will sell you the whole thing for $199.

$199.99, but don’t worry! The VALUE of all the items in the pack is $549. Quite a bargain, as long as you forget that that $549 is a completely arbitrary amount that has been scribbled on a sticker, then stuck on the side of the items. At least the hefty pricetag should keep Drizzts mercifully rare.

This, I guess, is what you do when you really want the big early lumps of cash from selling lifetime subs, but your game is starting F2P, rather than turning F2P. That’s certainly far more honest and ethical than switching out what Lifetimers get 6 months after launch.

Buying the Heroes of the North pack also appears to be the only way of getting into the first beta. This is unfortunate, because I would strongly advise anybody within hearing range that they should try an MMO before they drop two Benjamins on it. It may well be worth it, but I’m not one for high-stakes gambling.

There is a lesser Founder’s pack, The Guardian of Neverwinter, which is going for $59.99. For those who have managed to resist the siren call of becoming a Drizzt, it’s probably a more reasonable option. You can see the full line-up of pre-order offerings at Cryptic’s official site.

Then again, as Neverwinter is going to be F2P, do I really need a Founder’s Pack at all? While I’m happy to spend money on games I like, I could just wait for it to launch, or better yet, for it to invite me into a beta that I do not have to pay to be in.

Addendum: True story. In Ultima Online, where more than one person could have the same name, I was (briefly) in a guild with two Drizzts and three Gandalfs. This guild only had about a dozen members. I was neither a Drizzt or a Gandalf, I hasten to add. These days, players must instead resort to ever more outlandish spellings of their hero’s name.