Sunday, May 15, 2011

Neverwinter Nights and its expansions

Kaldor De'Andrel
Almost a decade after its release Neverwinter Nights (NWN) continues to be a game that has an active fanbase. The Original Campaign and the expansions Shadows of Undrentide (SoU) and Hordes of the Underdark (HotU) provide many hours of play and there are hundreds of additional modules created by the community that can be played. There are also free Persistent Worlds (PW) for those who enjoy gaming online together, and it includes a toolset that allows the creation of your modules.  Originally released only for Windows, eventually Macintosh versions were released although the toolset is only available on the Windows platform.

For my part, while I enjoyed Neverwinter Nights some of the fundamental design choices that were made conflicted with my own interests, and therefore I found the game somewhat lacking. I accept that many of the people who continue to favor NWN do so because of the PWs and multi-player play, and that because I do not participate in those I am probably selling the game short.

NWN is very much a game designed around the development of a single character rather than the development of a team of individuals. It lacks any real party capability unless you are playing online with other people.  Playing alone means that you have a single protagonist and a choice of one (in HotU two) developer-designed companions. The single protagonist develops throughout the game but there is no sense of building a team. This player-centric approach doesn't have a lot of appeal for me.

How did that mummy get up on that door???
Though NWN included a toolset I never really looked into using it.  I'm not really sure why. Possibly just irritation that they promised a Mac version and then didn't deliver. I did no modding for NWN at all though I had for BG and IWD2.

As I had done for BG, I also wrote a guide for NWN and its expansions.  This guide was intended to help in the creation of the main character, since he/she is central to the game and the same character can be used in the expansions.

Below is the last version of my NWN character building guide, dated December 13, 2005.

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