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Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir Unveiled

Spanish NWN2 website Neverwinteros has news on Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir, an expansion for the D&D RPG sequel that Neverwinter Nights 2 Vault has confirmed with developer Obsidian Entertainment. Word is:

Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir hearkens back to the days of the Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale franchises by including full party customization, dungeon crawling, and free exploration of a non-linear game world via an Overland Map. The gripping storyline foreshadows the events that will take place in the Forgotten Realms with the coming of release this June of the Fourth Edition of Dungeons & Dragons® Roleplaying Game.

In the aftermath of the defeat of the King of Shadows, the Sword Coast is in the midst of an uneasy economic recovery. Trade syndicates have sprung up to exploit the post-war confusion for their own ends. The players’ party will wade into this uncertain environment; in order to increase their own fortunes, they can either ally with a syndicate to create a trade empire, or cut their own path through Faerûn by preying upon caravans and selling the goods on the black market. As they attempt to extend their influence, players will become aware of a new faction working behind the scenes: the evil, shapeshifting, serpentine Yuan-Ti.

In addition to trading and economic manipulation, the Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir Overland Map allows players to explore the Chultan Peninsula and Sword Coast in a non-linear manner never before seen in any of the Neverwinter Nights games. Exploration will take players from well-known locations, like Neverwinter and Crossroad Keep, to more exotic areas, such as the xenophobic jungle nation of Samarach. Groups of highwaymen and monsters populate the Overland Map and the farther from civilization the player roams, the more difficult the encounters become. The 15-hour campaign in Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir is also packed with new classes, spells, creatures, and playable races.

Fans of the compelling multiplayer features of Neverwinter Nights 2 will also be able to take advantage of new improvements to the multiplayer experience, while modders will be able to take advantage of the power and flexibility of the Overland Map and Trading System features along with other world-building enhancements.

    Game Features:

        · Travel the Sword Coast and Samarach using the open ended exploration of the new Overland Map. Use skills like Spot and Survival while on the Overland Map to avoid ambushes and even find hidden locales and lost artifacts.

        · Create your own full party of adventurers. Devastate your foes with a squad of fireball-flinging Sorcerers, form a solid wall of steel with a party of Fighters, or strike the perfect balance in your party by spreading out the classes you choose for your characters.

        · Improved party gameplay including streamlined party conversations, a new Teamwork Benefit System, and powerful party feats.

        · The world's economy reacts to your adventures and choices. And, through trading and quests, you can expand your merchant company into a massive trading empire.

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26. nwn and multiplayer Jun 10, 2008, 22:24 Karnisov
 
nwn has tradtionally been heavy on the multiplayer emphasis. nwn2 had huge show stopping multiplayer bugs and was not designed with Persistent World support in mind. Have they addressed these issues? Last time I looked at the official forums there was alot of unresolved angst from the PW community about mp being broken from a PW viewpoint. Obsidian, or Black Isle if you prefer, has an excellent track record with SINGLE player games. But I think they really botched the NWN franchise by leaving mp broken for so long, and when i say mp i mean PW. I did not buy the first expansion for NWN2 because of that.  
"Think for yourself. Question authority."
-- Timothy Leary
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25. Re: Wow Jun 10, 2008, 07:57 Ecthelion
 
Did you turn up the combat speed? The default setting is the slowest. When you turn it up max, it takes no time at all for the NPC's to take their turns.
Yeah, but it didn't help much. I remember several situations where combat had been triggered somehow, but whoever the enemy must have been all the way at the end of the current map and wouldn't come towards me. But I couldn't end combat, and the game insisted on cycling through all of the neutral AI's as well (e.g. the citizens in a town), so it took a while even when the speed was set to the max.

Maybe I just don't like turn-based combat for RPGs. Baldur's Gate was only the second RPG I played (the first was Betrayal at Krondor), and the Infinity Engine system as well as the D&D setting quickly became my favorite. That said, I did like the fresh setting of the Fallout games; I just found it hard to get into them. I liked the story and setting, but didn't like the mechanics much.

This comment was edited on Jun 10, 07:57.
 
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24. Re: Wow Jun 10, 2008, 03:42 Armengar
 
Fallout 2 had a good approach. There was a storyline threaded through it and if you simply rushed to get the GECK and trigger part two as early as you could then you could pretty much explore the world and pick up on the main storyline when you wanted to.

Its a shame that this expansion wont let you do that. I love the NWN series. I still remember desperately wanting BG and BG2 to be better (icewind was rubbish). Planescape was unique and nothing touched it at the time.

I'll still buy this though. I love the "universe" but hate the franchise

 
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23. Re: Wow Jun 10, 2008, 03:33 Jerykk
 
Like class based systems, non-class based systems tend to be hit or miss; Fallout worked well but Oblivion was abysmal.

The problem with Oblivion wasn't the lack of classes but rather the lack of fixed experience points. You could max out any skill just by using it, largely defeating the whole point behind RPG character development.

I don't mind classes if they are offered in addition to custom classes. If I can create the character I want to create, I'll be happy. If the designers really want players to play specific character types, they can offer bonuses to premade classes that custom classes don't get. This way, the more focused classes get bonuses to compensate for their inherent lack of flexibility.

Invisible War tried to do it, but then everyone complained that there were no clear badguys and that they didn't know whom to root for.

Really? The original Deus Ex had pretty vague moral lines as well. To me, that was one of its greatest aspects. Taking that one step further, The Witcher does a fantastic job of presenting ambiguous choices with far-reaching consequences. Playing Mass Effect has really made me appreciate The Witcher's ambiguity even more. I've noticed that while Bioware's RPGs have great writing, they are all pretty much the same in that they rely on arbitrary notions of good and evil. I'd really love to see what they could do outside of their regular formula.

A given character is supposed to rely on other characters to counterbalance his weaknesses, and his own weaknesses are supposed to be significant enough that he can't be successful on his own.

The problem is that the PC is rarely alone. He always has his party to compensate for his weaknesses which ultimately diminishes the importance of role-playing. Your initial skill and attribute choices become largely irrelevant as you gain party members who excel in those areas you don't.

 
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22. Hmmmm Jun 10, 2008, 00:47 Creston
 
I gotta admit that Mask of the Betrayer was pretty cool, though the real-time timer of the spirit curse was just irritating, so on the one hand I'm tempted.

On the other hand, the premise sounds pretty fucking lame. Seriously, Yuan-Ti? That's the big scary nasty this time? Yuan Fucking Ti?

And Obsidian has yet to learn to craft a decent last 20-30% to ANY of their RPGs, and having no ending in an RPG just plain sucks.

So... I dunno.

Creston


 
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21. Re: Wow Jun 10, 2008, 00:38 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Eh? Planescape: Torment had a great story but it was too limited in terms of skills. Fallout was much better.

And both Fallouts were released before Planescape: Torment. Note that I said that MotB is the best singleplayer crpg SINCE Planescape: Torment.

After fighting dozens of rats, I found it very tedious having to wait for the AI to move and attack.

Did you turn up the combat speed? The default setting is the slowest. When you turn it up max, it takes no time at all for the NPC's to take their turns.

The AI was retarded/non-existent, the levels were tiny, linear and mostly noninteractive, moral choices were clear-cut, arbitrary character classes limited your role-playing possibilities, party-based gameplay largely negated the impacts of your own character's specialties.

To go through your comments point by point:

1) I agree that the AI sucked. There was a mod which vastly improved the AI but obviously that doesn't excuse the crappy vanilla AI.

2) The levels were limited by the engine Obsidian was working with. That said, if you played through the entire OC, you'll remember that the levels got much larger further into the game: the mountains with the firegiants come to mind. Additionally, the levels were generally much more expansive in MotB.

3) Agreed, but very few games try to present ethically muddled situations. Invisible War tried to do it, but then everyone complained that there were no clear badguys and that they didn't know whom to root for. But again, MotB was much improved in this regard, and did a much better job of providing consequences to the decisions you made.

4) Character classes are one of handling a role playing system, and their effectiveness at hindering or helping roleplaying depends on how well executed they are. Like class based systems, non-class based systems tend to be hit or miss; Fallout worked well but Oblivion was abysmal. Classes, at their best, give you an archetype with which to work, while still giving you room for a unique character. I have always thought DnD has handled this well but I guess we just differ in this respect.

5) DnD is a party based system. A given character is supposed to rely on other characters to counterbalance his weaknesses, and his own weaknesses are supposed to be significant enough that he can't be successful on his own. That said, the game still gave you options based upon your characters strengths and weaknesses. Again, MotB is an improvement in this regard: certain choices are only available to certain types of characters.

 
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20. Re: Wow Jun 9, 2008, 23:47 Jerykk
 
I didn't have a problem with the turn-based combat except in the rare cases where there were tons of NPCs/enemies involved. The fight at the Boneyard was pretty bad, as I had to wait like 2-3 minutes between turns. That was the exception that proved the rule, though. You could also decrease the waits by increasing your sequencing through a higher perception stat and perks.

However, the depth of the combat more than made up for the occasional prolonged wait. Things like visibility, locational damage and cover all made the combat far more interesting and involved than the standard D&D fare and the turn-based system made it all the more intense since one bad move could screw you over. As a specialist in Small Guns only, I fondly remember how the only way I could survive the Deathclaws in FO1 was by crippling their legs so they couldn't get close to me. Or crippling the arms of Super Mutants so they couldn't use their Big Guns. Good times.

 
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19. No subject Jun 9, 2008, 23:46 Veinman
 
I've heard a lot of good things about NWN2 (as long as you have the expansion). I found the first game to be boring. Now that they've announced a second expansion, I guess I can wait for NWN2 Super Gold Platinum edition.

How many times did they release NWN, it had to be at least 4.

 
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18. Re: Wow Jun 9, 2008, 23:06 Ecthelion
 
I thought the Fallout games were superior in pretty much all regards.
Hmm. I enjoyed the Fallout games (although I think they're overrated), but I thought the combat could have used a lot of improvement. After fighting dozens of rats, I found it very tedious having to wait for the AI to move and attack. I liked the way you could target specific areas, but that benefit wasn't worth the drawback of waiting for the AI. I'm sorry to say that the combat soured my entire experience to the point that I find it very difficult to replay either Fallout 1 or 2 now.

I don't think I've played a single RPG in which I didn't find the combat an improvement over the Fallout games (with the exception of clickfests like Diablo).

 
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17. Re: Wow Jun 9, 2008, 22:42 Jerykk
 
It vastly improved upon NWN2's official campaign.

My problems with NWN2 weren't so much with the quests but with the general mechanics. The AI was retarded/non-existent, the levels were tiny, linear and mostly noninteractive, moral choices were clear-cut, arbitrary character classes limited your role-playing possibilities, party-based gameplay largely negated the impacts of your own character's specialties. I thought the Fallout games were superior in pretty much all regards.

 
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16. Re: Wow Jun 9, 2008, 22:31 Ecthelion
 
NWN2? Not so much.
Isn't it true that you haven't played MotB, or is that someone else I'm thinking of? If so, you should check it out. It vastly improved upon NWN2's official campaign.

 
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15. Re: Wow Jun 9, 2008, 21:41 Jerykk
 
Also, Mask of the Betrayer was easily the best single player CRPG since Planescape: Torment.

Eh? Planescape: Torment had a great story but it was too limited in terms of skills. Fallout was much better. Since then, I've enjoyed the Gothic games and Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. NWN2? Not so much.

 
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14. Re: Wow Jun 9, 2008, 20:35 Scottish Martial Arts
 
i see that this game is still a pile of dog shit.

Hardly. Controlling a party in combat is still problematic but otherwise they fixed most of the problems that the game launched with. Also, Mask of the Betrayer was easily the best single player CRPG since Planescape: Torment.

 
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13. Wow Jun 9, 2008, 20:12 Surf
 
i see that this game is still a pile of dog shit. Never liked this second iteration and apparently they have fixed jack shit. Oh well, waste of money.

 
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12. Mask of the betrayer Jun 9, 2008, 20:03 Charlie_Six
 
I'm playing Mask of the Betrayer now, and I forgot just how clumsy, messy, and unpolished the NWN2 game engine feels. And how incompatible a turn-based pen-and-paper game is with an ostensibly real-time computer RPG.

Last night, I wanted to cast a spell on a character. So I clicked the spell, got the targetting mouse icon, then clicked on her portrait. Nothing happens. So, I try to right-click target the character in the battlefield. This is difficult because you have to click EXACTLY on the character model. What's the big deal you ask? Well, when the character model is constantly clipping through the models of other characters and vice versa, I end up missing the click or clicking another character entirely.

Another problem is that large and giant characters apparently take up the exact same amount of space as a small character in the game. A big snow leopard, which should take up 3 spaces of area, only takes up 1. Meaning i can fit two other characters inside the model of the snow leopard. Summon a giant elemental and it gets worse. Transform into an Iron Golem and yeesh. I don't recall ever seeing a single example of character models clipping into other character models in all my games of Warcraft 3. But in NWN2, clipping is a constant problem.

Then we have the bajillion different kinds of status ailments/buffs that exist in the game but are impossible to determine without hovering your mouse over tiny status icons next to your character portrait. Not a huge problem if you pause the game and slowly take the time to do this. But it's pretty unacceptable when you have a multiplayer game going and are expected to play in real-time. Am I 'blind', 'deaf', 'dazed', 'confused', 'poisoned', parazlyed, what? Give me 30 seconds and I'll be able to react. Oh wait, 30 seconds later and the battle is already over.
 
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11. Re: Sweet! Jun 9, 2008, 19:37 Charlie_Six
 
I agree. NWN2's art style is really terrible. I think things are made worse in that they try to support both overhead camera players, and third person camera players. And the camera is screwy as hell, as many reviews stated.  
Adventures of a video game mercenary
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10. Re: No subject Jun 9, 2008, 19:30 Charlie_Six
 
It'd be great if we could get the 4.0 ruleset in this. I'd love to try that


This comment was edited on Jun 9, 19:40.
 
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9. Re: No subject Jun 9, 2008, 19:02 Jerykk
 
every character improvement choice you make is permanent. That doesn't work very well in a CRPG in my opinion.

Uh, doesn't every RPG have permanent character improvement choices? That's what makes them meaningful. If you can just change your skills and stats on a whim, it doesn't really make for much role-playing.


 
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8. No subject Jun 9, 2008, 18:23 Ecthelion
 
Sweet! Obsidian seems to be getting more polished with each release - NWN2's OC improved on KotoR2, and MotB was excellent. I'm really looking forward to this.

What I find interesting is that they're going for the full-party customization of the IWD games, but it sounds like they are also staying focused on the story like in past NWN games (and the BG games).

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7. Re: No subject Jun 9, 2008, 17:57 Scottish Martial Arts
 
http://www.rpgcodex.net/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=24582&start=75&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=

Thread at RPGCodex with two devs answering questions.

 
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26 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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