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Neverwinter Nights / Neverwinter Nights 2 - a gamer retrospective 2002 - 2019

It was always about content.

Content produced by an incredible artistically talented Community and ongoing talented Community support.

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Damn the Baldur’s Gate Series!

Perhaps that is a bit strong for a retrospective on Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2; however it is a fair sentiment.

The Bahlspawn saga for a certain generation of gamers represented an ultimate achievement in Dungeons and Dragons CRPGs or even CRPGs overall. It was epic in scope, well written, possessed wonderful humor, with memorable personalities. Of course, additionally it was first! A significant advantage. Nostalgia certainly plays a role.

I too - completed my first fetch quest, defeated my first Dragon, romanced my first NPC, and ascended to god-status in the Baldur’s Gate series.

Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights 2 – sadly fell into the trap of promising to be the successor (spiritual or actual) to the Bahlspawn saga; by doing so these games did a great deal of injustice to themselves.

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Neverwinter Nights launched in 2002 as the successor to Baldur’s Gate. Originally it was promised that you could import your Baldur’s Gate Hero! Of course this would never happen in the conversion to 3.0 rulesets from good old THACO.  The original game was buggy in honesty. It took time and a number of patches to correct. The original campaign – especially as time passed – was unfairly and retrospectively criticized. It was too linear, too fetch quest, to restrictive, too this…too that … too… However there were few complaints in the early days. There was much discussion and emotional investment about: (i) the Betrayal of Aribeth, (ii) Judgement at Castle Jergal, (iii) the confrontation with Morag among other plots and subplots.

Shadows of Undrentide was launched with a number of bells and whistles including patches, but heavily criticized due to editorial choice! Your main protagonist was forced into slavery without options! Your only useful companion was a Kobold! How dare you - Bioware! By the time of the third expansion Hordes of the Underdark – everything was brilliant. Patch 1.53 had fixed most everything except the Monk roundhouse kick, and Hordes brought the epic campaign we all desired with manageable NPCs, inventories and cloaks! Persistent Worlds sprung to life daily with hundreds of players on each server, new Single Player mods rolled out weekly, CEP and other quality tools appeared to solve all problems except Horses! Horses were solved at the end by patch 1.69.

Neverwinter Nights 2 launched in 2006 as the “spiritual successor” to Baldur’s Gate. Full party control! The original game was buggy in all honesty and the Dungeon Master Client (for Persistent Worlds) was delayed. The choices offended some Neverwinter Nights players causing some rifts in the community. It took time and a number of patches to correct. The original campaign – especially as time passed – was unfairly and retrospectively criticized. It was too linear, too fetch quest, to restrictive, too this…too that… too… However there were few complaints in the early days. There was much discussion and emotional investment about: (i) Stronghold building, (ii) the true alignment of various NPC Companions (iii) the ending, among other plots and subplots.

Mask of the Betrayer was launched with a number of bells and whistles including patches, but heavily criticized due to editorial choice! A spirit meter! One that made playing evil almost impossible! The Companions were weak. A useless Thayan, and Bear, and Narcisis ! How dare you Obsidian! By the time of the third expansion Storm of Zehir everything was brilliant. Most the bugs were completely quashed except 'damage reduction' and the players now had options and tools and the add- on’s for epic campaign(s) they wanted.

However in both instances neither game truly was the ‘successor’ to the Bahlspawn saga.

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The games are brilliant in their own right largely because of the community that rallied around the toolsets creating content and adventures. At this late date there are thousands of adventures available collectively for both games. Hundreds of these adventures are so good as to be engaging on the emotional / enjoyment level. Dozens of the adventures are so strong as to be as good as or better than those completed by professional studios! Surely -  there are other games (Baldur’s Gate, Dragon Age, Diablo, etc) with community content but I remain unconvinced that the volume and quality is even remotely the same.

The games are still brilliant because they exist here at the Neverwinter Vault; because there is still a community after all these years managing, improving, collecting, and providing players content. There are still some PWs I am lead to believe, and contests for new skinning, improved tools.

I recently purchased a new laptop. On a whim I purchased 'Enhanced Edition' and 'Two-complete' from GOG. I have in all honesty probably spent greater than $600 CAD on these games collectively over the years; various editions mostly on disc. I do not regret spending a single penny. I would calculate my total cost per hour of enjoyment is probably $0.00000000713 cents per hour (rough estimate but exagerated for illustration sake).

I return to the vault having long forgotten my old names and passwords. I see some of the same community I used to know and other newer entrants.

Above all I see thousands of items of content I need to download and install; desperately trying to remember what is ‘urgent’ in my mind from the old days.

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Thank you Community.

Thank you for your artistic skill, devotion and technical prowess. Thank you for keeping these brilliant games vibrant even though they were NOT the successor to the Bahlspawn Saga.

 

Disclaimer:

Jahere - I still love you. 

I am now a late middle aged gamer with fully grown children and fewer commitments - finding some time for myself for the first time in years. I contributed very slightly – or rather occasionally assisted others - to these games in days of yore – as JFoxtail.

 

First Release: 
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Tarot Redhand

I don't know how buggy NwN was in the begining but NwN2 was, after a certain point in the OC, totally unplayable. I made the mistake of pre-ordering it instead of waiting for a patch or 6 (took that many before it was truly playable).

TR

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JMacclan

Tarot - nice of you to respond. 

NWN was buggy albiet less so that NWN2; however as I say that it is a 'perception' issue as opposed to scientific fact. 

Patch 1.23 (if I recall correctly) essentially fixed most the issues - pauses - drops - plot items - somewhat before SOU. 

However in NWN there was always a bit of "working as designed angst" among - perhaps especially among - the Baldurs Gate fan base moved into NWN

1) What no EXP for traps ?? :) 

2)  Circle Kick aforementioned 

3) These familiars are completely over powered AND non standard to PnP 

4) There is no Discipline skill in D&D

etc etc ..

I bought an early copy of NWN2 as it came out but lacked the machine to run it ! I did not play for more than a year till I upgraded by maching and video card - by which time about half the NWN2 bugs were quashed.

I think what I was actually trying to express though - if you follow the logic - is that the games had eerily similar launch paths.

Neither was clean - neither was a successor to Baldurs Gate (all 3 games / expansions) and above neither "came into their own maturity" and value till latter.

It was the Community and Content that made these gems brilliant - not the story telling at launch per see.  Baldurs Gate was brilliant in story telling. Mods enhanced the game. Both Neverwinter projects were "good" in the story telling - but brilliant after the release of content <insert here>

Cormyrean Nights?  CEP ? Aielund Saga ? etc etc 

Maimed God Saga ? Harp and Chrysthansumum ? SOZ Community Expansion ? etc etc

 

 

 

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Andarian

JFox! Good to see you, and welcome back. :)

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Jimdad55

Wasn't here when you were as I only discovered EE in January of this year but I enjoyed reading this. 

Thanks. 

 

Why is it so hard to find the blogs section on the Vault ? Surely it should be a link at the top of the page?

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