Huge day for Neverwinter Nights!

I will point out here that I happened to think the first OC was decent enough to play through no fewer than seven times, and I played each of the shorter expansions through many times each as well. NWN was on my system longer than any other game in history (i.e. excluding games like Solitaire, Freecell, etc :wink: ) and I think it gave me more for my money than any other as well. Overall, NWN was a success in keeping me coming back to it while other games came and went.

But I think you should just let go now and see what the mod community has given us… there are some really good modules out there that I think people really need to see. Some of these modules are of a quality level that approaches the best commercial RPGs that have ever been released. And while the game has its intrinsic weaknesses as many of you have pointed out (like the combat and such), if you give me a really good story and some good characters, I’m totally there. And there are lots of mods that provide this. Isn’t that all that Planescape: Torment gave us? Aside from the great story and characters, it was average at best. But overall, it fucking rocked and it’s a favorite of many people, including myself.

It’s true, the mod community is the biggest asset NWN offers and most important reason that the game has continued to flourish for so long. Bio supports the community as best they can, and continues to look for ways to keep doing so (which is one of the reasons you see different revenue sources coming along, like the Biostore).

Unfortunately, I had been disappointed in the modules offered by fans more often than not, and that kind of success rate tends to dampen enthusiasm for the modules. It’s true, there are some great fan-built mods out there with some, as you say, rivaling many of the big production RPGs for enjoyment. The problem is that many players don’t want to put so much time and effort into characters when you can’t be assured of a decent gameplay. The longer the module (while this is what people want), the more difficult it is to take the chance on a poor design. On the other hand, short modules that are excellent story and dialogue-wise don’t offer enough time for character development, which is one of the primary reasons I play RPGs. For people like me, it’s why I tend to stick to the developer releases of new games, investing my time in those as opposed to chancing iffy fan content. At least I get to experience something entirely new (world, graphics, sound, characters, gameplay, etc) that way.

But hey, fans and followers of NWN will be pleased to have something new to play, and non-fans and avoiders will simply ho-hum and be on their way. I highly doubt anyone here is truly attempting to sway anyone’s opinion of NWN, nor do I think they could (we all know how fanatical gamers can be, no?).

I thought NWN looked bad when it was released compared to the infinity engine games and I still do. It was released during the shift from 2d to 3d when computers still weren’t powerful enough to render 3d graphics of comparable quality to 2d graphics, and NWN was one of the games that suffered from it. It doesn’t look awful, but it’s clunky and crude for the most part. This was especially true when it came to the maps. Instead of the 2d maps of the infinity engine games which look gorgeous at times you had dull square buildings, low-poly trees and fucking tiered hills. Lighting effects and a 3d camera don’t make up for crappy art IMO.

And I couldn’t force myself to play through the 2nd act of the campaign. It was all so dull. The combat, the story, I don’t think there was one part of the game that i felt was done well. I traded the game away the next week.

And despite this I picked it up again for the expansions after hearing that they were much improved. I tried both, and I still found the gameplay horribly dull, the graphics even more dated than I remembered, and I ended up trading it in again.

This game has burned me twice already, I doubt there is a module in existance that can pull me back.

NWN is all about the online experience to me. I don’t care much for any scripted SP RPG, even the highly rated ones because they do not allow me the freedom of a DM in pnp or in NWN.

As for graphics, IMO the base graphics are ok but some of the community add-on’s are awesome. Check out http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/fireflynwn/
for sci-fi RPGing in NWN as an example.

I think the graphics and the story in NWN packs are pretty good but I never could get past the awlful combat system to get more than a few hours into them only to give up.

It seems like most of you guys are generally just commenting on the base game. But I’d be curious to hear what some of your all’s favorite modules are. As for me, since someone asked me recently, here’s my list:

  1. Tales of Arterra series by Kevin Chan
  2. ee1 (elegia eternum) and ee2 (excrucio eternum) by Stefan Gagne
  3. Witch’s Wake by Rob Bartel of Bioware (not a fan mod)
  4. Shadowlords series by Adam Miller
  5. Penultima series by Stefan Gagne
  6. Dreamcatcher series by Adam Miller
  7. Harper series by Dave Mason
  8. Demon by Adam Miller
  9. Lone Wolf: Chapter Two (it’s part of a series, but the first one was pretty mediocre) by Altaris
  10. Forboding in Sylvani by Tseramed (Ken Demarest – the lead programmer from Ultima VII)

Shadowlords - bleargh. It’s ok when/if you try it out right after the OC - anything looks good next to that - but it’s really pretty crappy and undefined and doesn’t get good until part 3 of Dreamcatcher (or whatever the second campaign is named) - and even then there are some fundamental issues. The big things that spring to mind are the utter and total idiocy of the NPC sidekicks, coupled with the fact that you lose experience whenever your henchman dies - and that thief girl tries so hard to die as often as possible it’s a miracle anyone levels at all with her around - and the opening of Demon, which commits the classic and unforgivable mistake of taking a character that the player has put hours and hours into, has defined in nearly every way, has explored and knows and customized, and tosses all that out so as to inform the player that now that character is what the module author has decided it should be. That alone has kept me from actually playing Demon. I play games that let me play the character I want, not one that is imposed from on high. If I want someone else’s character I’ll read a book.

Miller is good with the technical stuff but lousy on storyline.

A few that aren’t in that list would be the Aielund modules, which IMO are superior to anything else ever done with the NWN engine, and nearly anything by Chris Huntoon.

I loved the Paladin series - forget the author right now.
Gagne’s work is great hack and slash
I also love the work some have done to convert the old D&D modules. I played the U1-U3 series and really enjoyed them and also Against the Giants!
The expansions were good enough that I played thru both twice.

This game is still installed on my machine 3 years after release and I continue to play new mods as they come to my attention. I can see why to some the graphics are a turn off. The combat has been improved with greater control of henchmen and such. I would love to see an NWN 2 with updated graphics and improved combat.

I agree the combat system in ToEE was about as good as traditional turn based D&D can get. But the bugs and crashes prevented me from even completing the campaign.

The premise of Adam Miller’s new module sounds great… Psionic Pirates! Arrr! He’s building it in the NWN engine but it’s just a prototype so that he can more quickly implement it in the dragon age or NWN2 engine.

I didn’t really like that part either at first, but if you think about it, most games that are part of a series do this as with the start of each new game of the series, your character is reset back to level one or some such. And in Demon’s case, it was part of the story for a reason and you do eventually surpass your old level and will find all your old items.

Never tried those, I’ll have to look into them. Thanks for the advice.

I’ll have to look into his stuff as well.

Aside from the first Penultima game, I don’t think any of his games were really hack and slash.

It’s on the way. :)

I’ve played a few persistent worlds, but I’ve never taken part of a game ran by a dungeon master. I’d like to try sometime, but I’m terrible at making commitments when it comes to games.

Technically, there were some DMs in the persistent worlds I’ve played on, but they weren’t exactly playing the same role that a PNP dungeon master would be playing.

It’s on the way. :)[/quote]

Obsidian is doing this? I’m actually moderately hopeful now, provided that they get enough time to finish the game.

I’ve played a few persistent worlds, but I’ve never taken part of a game ran by a dungeon master. I’d like to try sometime, but I’m terrible at making commitments when it comes to games.

Technically, there were some DMs in the persistent worlds I’ve played on, but they weren’t exactly playing the same role that a PNP dungeon master would be playing.[/quote]

Playing in a DMed game is the way to go. My wife has been running one “write as you go” campaign for over a year now, and has recently started DMing a campaign based on someone else’s mod and DM notes. She has a lot of fun doing it, but, yeah, consistency is important in players. I know that she works hard at making sure that her game times are good for interested players and she also tries to get at least one new player in her games. (She also likes training DMs and rarely does it alone.)

Yeah, she’s perfect.

NWN persistent worlds seem a little…empty to me. The embody all the worst chatroom-with-a-view aspects of MMO gaming and really depend on having a constant DM presence.

Troy

Then we’d see the finished game in about 2020. I’d rather they get some competent project management that prevents them from overdesigning the early game without regarding to how much size and complexity the team can realistically handle.

Then we’d see the finished game in about 2020. I’d rather they get some competent project management that prevents them from overdesigning the early game without regarding to how much size and complexity the team can realistically handle.[/quote]

Overdesign? What would make you come to the conclusion that they would do that?

Are you being serious? Playing KotOR2, of course, where the early game set up way more plot points than they could realistically tie together in the end. They also planned for too many party members, with the result that some don’t say or do much at all (details would be spoilerous).

(Yeah, I’m replaying the game right now because I couldn’t stand leaving it unfinished… turns out combat is trivial with a Consular – while many early opponents are invincible in conventional combat none of them has any Force protection whatsoever. The different Jedi classes are really just hidden difficulty levels.)

You have a point, KOTOR2 has serious flaws, but as I recall they only had one year to develop the game before it was pushed out the door. It could be a case of overdesign, or it could be a case of the publisher wanting to get the game out sooner than anticipated, I don’t know the reasoning honestly. What I do know is that the game was unfinished at release and playing it made me wish they had another year to finish it. One year, not twenty. :) Seems pretty reasonable to me, but then I’m not making decisions.

I guess NWN2 will be where we see if Obsidian can break the Black Isle curse.

NwN’s original campaign was terrible and here’s why:

  1. Start with lousy combat. You only get to control one character and there’s a slight pause between issuing move commands and your character beginning to move.

  2. Awful graphics and restricted camera. You’ve got low-poly models and a camera that is just retardedly restricted. Have to keep it on your character and the enforced pan/zoom boundaries are absolutely ridiculous. Before the second expansion, you couldn’t even pan up to see the sky. Oh, and did I mention the fogging?

  3. Restricted environments. The tiled environments are all restricted and very clumsily artificial. “Look, another 90 degree angle!” Tiny maps that feel smaller than they really are…

  4. Too many GOD DAMN TRAPS. This is not an engine complaint, but rather a design complaint. Every five fucking steps the character has to disarm a trap. And if your henchman is the one with trap disarming, you have to stand around holding your dick while your little thief buddy decides whether or not to disarm the stupid things.

  5. Too many animations for stupid shit. Animations for disarming traps, picking locks, opening doors, opening chests, bashing chests, etc. I’m going to bash the damn chest open, so why not just cut to the chase and open the damned thing, instead of making me spend a good 15 seconds watching my retarded ass 30 strength fighter MISS an inanimate object.

  6. Looting sucks. Bodies disappear and then a little bag named “remains” slooooowly phases in. Come on, I just killed a kobold, do I really need to wait 10 seconds to how much copper he dropped?

  7. Nonstop boring and trivial fights vs shitty creatures that give no appreciable xp or reward. It was like they asked themselves “Ok, what was the worst thing we did wrong in BG1?” and then decided to implement it in NwN.

I could probably go on, but…

I liked KOTOR2 a lot, primarily because I like Obsidian’s dialogue and more morality plays/thematic depth, and the combat with Jedi characters was still fun…but I have to absolutely agree with this criticism. They had a limited amount of time, but they knew that in advance.

I don’t know the specifics of their contract, but from what I saw the whole game is basically one big mod for the first game. Same engine, same world, same rules, same weapons and items, even some of the same characters and locations. Hell, the entire backstory was already written for them! I don’t see how one year is too short to make a decent and even ambitious sequel… if the story and locations are fully planned and realistic schedules drawn up in advance.

Besides, I don’t think they could possibly have found a satisfying resolution to their bizarre “destruction of the Force” idea, even with two or three years’ development time. That was simply too big an idea for such a flimsy foundation as the Star Wars universe. Fortunately the Dungeons & Dragons universe won’t tie them so closely to a particular mythology, so that’s not a likely danger for NWN2.

(PS: I finished the game in a marathon which was not too hard thanks to the brutally overpowered Force Storm. It’s definitely fun, but you have to ignore the numerous plot points that go nowhere…)