NWN - finished it finally

I finished it today. I got bored at the beginning of chapter 3 and set it aside for over a week, but came back to it last night and finished it today.

It’s a superior game, but it does get tedious. It feels a bit long, there are far too many containers to open, most of the loot is dull, and only directly controlling one character is a step back from the Baldur’s series. The story’s well done, but as others have complained, clicking through dialog trees is boring, and NWN has an excessive number of dialog trees. I wish BioWare had found a different way to advance the plot.

The game’s not balanced all that well either. By the middle of chapter 2 I could blow through everything except for a few encounters. I played a rogue and once I had that Red Tiger guy as my henchman, we just whacked the hell out of everything. Pickpocket and sneak seemed like worthless skills in the single player game. I played my rogue as a fighter because the thieving skills weren’t crucial, though I did remove a lot of traps. Oh, and the persuade skill was essentially worthless since about all it ever resulted in was some extra money, and money was never a problem.

I also didn’t feel that there was much difference between playing as either evil or good, humble or boastful. I may have gotten a few more goodies by playing as a nice guy, but I doubt it would have mattered if I’d been a jerk.

I’m sure I’ll never play the single player campaign again – it was just too long and failed to hold my attention well. The editor’s amazing, though, and really adds a lot of value to the game. I’m also very curious to see what BioWare plans on doing with this game. It’s very expandable.

Yeah, I definetly wish they would either return to the party based single player or change systems to a more balanced type of single player system (like that in Morrowind). I just don’t think the D&D system is suited to a single character.

Strangely enough, one of my complaints about Dungeon Siege also applies to NWN – during the combat I do little besides manage potions. NWN does require a bit more of a hands-on approach, but it’s mostly in intitially selecting targets, and that’s because I can’t set the characters to attack the toughest foe first like I can in Dungeon Siege.

It may just have been my choice in characters. My rogue was hard to hit and my tiger boy henchman did more damage than my rogue and usually drew the attention of the monsters, so my rogue typically wasn’t in much danger. I suspect playing a wizard would have been more difficult due to the low hit points.

I think there’s a problem with pacing, too. D&D just isn’t as suited for fight after fight after fight the way Diablo is. As Legolas said, in a PNP sessing you might have 4-5 fights. In NWN, you have 4-5 fights in 15 minutes.

What Mark said.

" change systems to a more balanced type of single player system (like that in Morrowind)."

I assume your kidding with this. Morrowind and balanced are two words that don’t go together.

My rogue was hard to hit and my tiger boy henchman did more damage than my rogue and usually drew the attention of the monsters, so my rogue typically wasn’t in much danger.

My rogue also does a lot of dodging, and my Feyduster sword sure does come in handy, but a sneak attack with either a crossbow or my sword typically does more damage than Daelan’s attacks. Or at least about the same. 'Course, his criticals pretty much rock…

I, too, am really disappointed with the pickpocket skill. I get a little more use out of sneaking, but not much. Ran some errands for the chick at the Moonstone mask, and snuck through a couple of those, but that’s about it. Occasionally I’ll sneak through a dungeon or something, or use it to get in a good sneak attack right off the bat, but that’s about it.

How come there’s no thieves’ guild? Or have I just not found it? Every game should have a good thieves’ guild.

Playing as a rogue doesn’t seem like it’s fully developed. Very few opporunities to steal anything, and pickpocket rarely – or rather, rarely – turns up anything of value. Bah.

“Playing as a rogue doesn’t seem like it’s fully developed. Very few opporunities to steal anything, and pickpocket rarely – or rather, rarely – turns up anything of value. Bah.”

Yeah, most of the rogue skills aren’t used by the single player game. While there is opportunity to sneak around to bypass enemies, all that means is you’re missing out on an XP opportunity.

I tried NWN for about 10 hours before I decided it was another big disappointment for me. Okay, so I’m not exactly a big fan of Bioware or D&D to begin with, but I’m still suprised it turned out that bad.

Dialogues are lenghty pointless ramblings, and the voices are terribly overacted. The dialogue text is so tiny I can barely read it on my 18" LCD monitor at its native 1280x1024 resolution, and decreasing the resolution turned the letters into a pixellated mess. The graphics are okay but not overwhelming, and the engine is really too slow for this visual quality.

The D&D system is totally unsuited to this single-character, constant combat style of game, and the campaign is unbalanced to boot – enemies are either a walkover on Hardcore, or nearly impossible on Easy. The prison boss forced me to abuse the Stone of Recall feature (why can I use that during combat anyway?) which basically kills the fun of building up a character.

Camera control is a total disaster – the fixed view requires you to constantly fiddle with the camera, the chase view requires you to constantly adjust the direction you’re running in, and the close view just doesn’t show enough of the environment.

The radial menu requires too much clicking, and movement controls are way too sluggish. Pathfinding itself doesn’t seem too bad, the problem is that mouse clicks are frequently ignored and pathfinding seems to be inactive when you play “Diablo style” with clicking & holding (nice idea but just highlights how unresponsive NWN is compared to Diablo 2).

Oh well. I’m sure the millions of D&D fans will happily overlook these problems, as they did with all Bioware games.

Sorry, Jason, I meant that Morrowind is balanced toward playing as a single character, since that is how it is designed. D&D is not really designed to be played with just one character because of the class system. MW allows you to be good at everything, though you are right it isnt balanced in the sense that it is hard to exploit :).

BTW, Jason, your name always gets me. Are you related to the guitar player (he was one of my heroes as a teenager)?

I would agree with that. I would have liked a party setup for the SP like ther BG series.

Hmm not sure who you mean by the guitar guy, but no I don’t have any famous band players in my family.

Doctor: “Isn’t there a childrens book about an elephant named Babar?”

Fletch: “I don’t know. I don’t have any.”

Doctor: “Children?”

Fletch: “No, elephant books.”

– Xaroc

The one thing that has really irked me is that killing Meldanan didn’t result in any alignment change for my lawful-good monk. And this was after I even got him to give me the myriad of options to buy his life with, and I chose, “I’ll just kill you” instead. This was especially jarring considering that “I’ll get the key, but I won’t murder a man.” was an option when talking to Formosa.

Overall, combat seems to either be easy or impossible, with not much in between. And so far, there’s only been one trapped chest that was impossible for me to survive springing the trap on. (I’m just getting into the docks though, so maybe this will happen more often later.) The loot really does suck too, like others have already said.

This looks like a perfect spot to bitch about the lazy single player dungeon design.

There’s a dungeon in Chapter 3 filled with nothing but giants. However, they have a large supply of chests that are both locked and trapped.

Pray tell, how does this work? They buy them pre-locked and trapped, and use 'em to decorate the place? “Shit, I need to open a chest again, I better go capture another human to do it for me.”

There are a handful of chests in wolves’ caves that are both locked and trapped. How a wolf does that is beyond me, but whatever.

Exactly. Especially when you work through the toolset and see that it really doesn’t have to be that cliched at all.

Are Ben Sones, Jason Lutes, and others still playing around with the toolset?

What they need is a nice, big graphic to represent a pile of treasure. I know they have one now, but it’s a bit small. That’s what I want – a pile of loot that I don’t have to search for in containers that need to be detrapped and unlocked.

Yeah, I guess if you are going to have a game with loot just lying around, so to speak, it might as well be in the open. It’s very frustrating to break barrels or open them (in this or any other game…MORROWIND comes to mind!) and find nothing, or nothing useful. Big waste of time. But I guess developers must think we all have some leftover Easter Egg Hunt issues to work out. I know when I was a kid I never seemed to get as many eggs as my brother. I think he was stealing them out of my basket. So maybe the chests are meant to help me overcome that.

The treasure implementation truly sucks. With opponents, I feel like I keep killing the Wicked Witch of the East. I kill some bad guy/gal, and their body fades away while their gear (if I get any) teleports over into several different chests. No body looting allowed under a “T” rating these days?

I agree that the treasure graphic needs reworking. Not only does it look lame, but I use a greatsword most of the time, and after bashing open a chest, I have to carefully rearrange the camera to avoid clicking on the tip of the sword instead of the tiny treasure bag. The dragon hoard graphics are particularly disappointing - I want a big Scrooge McDuck-style pile of gold with swords and other assorted trinkets sticking out of it.

Finally, I’ve just started into Chapter 4, and I have over half a million in gold. Where do I keep it, exactly? Storage was how I kept the cash down in my DM days, if necessary. (Did you really think the Thieves’ Guild would leave your giant stash alone while you galavanted about the globe? Yes, your thief was being cut in for a share in exchange for the tip, but I digress.) Also, I am playing a Paladin - did 3E dump the tithing rules?

Loot from a killed enemy teleporting to chests? What are you talking about? When you kill them, their loot appears in a bag on the ground where they died.

Still, I agree with criticisms regarding chests and loot. It really sucks to go through the effort of disabling a trap, then picking a lock (neither of which yield XP – something I fully intend to change in my modules!), only to get a whopping 33 gp. Whoopee.

I’m not being literal. In my game, about 95% of the time I don’t get squat from a dead enemy - they just fade away, regardless of what equipment they were wearing. If there is any treasure associated with that monster, it must be dug out of the various storage devices in the room. So the net effect is that it seems to teleport from their body into the chests, just like the Ruby Slippers teleported from the dead witch onto Dorothy’s feet. The treasure never matches what they had, of course - I was pretty pissed when I killed my first Drow.