|Neverwinter Nights 2|
|Engine|| Electron engine|
Foliage - SpeedTree
|Version||1.11.1153 (December 21, 2007)|
|Release date(s)|| October 31 2006|
Template:Country data Europe November 3 2006
November 16, 2006
|Mode(s)||Single player, Multiplayer|
|Rating(s)|| ESRB: T (Teen)|
|Media||CD (7), DVD|
|System requirements||Windows XP, Pentium 4 2.4 GHz or Athlon XP 2000 or equivalent, 512 MB RAM, 5.5 GB hard disk space, DirectX 9.0c, GeForce 6600 or Radeon 9700 Pro graphics card with PS 2.0 or better|
|Input methods||Keyboard and Mouse|
Neverwinter Nights 2 (NWN2) is a computer role-playing game developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Atari. It is the sequel to BioWare's Neverwinter Nights (NWN), a successful game based on the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. Where NWN was based on the Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition rules, NWN2 is based on Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition rules (also known as the Revised 3rd Edition), changed to adapt to real-time gameplay.
Races and subracesEdit
Neverwinter Nights 2 offers a subset of races similar to the original game series, but adjusted for Dungeons & Dragons version 3.5 gameset rules. Races seen in the Hordes of the Underdark expansion (including the Gray Dwarf or Duergar and the dark elven race known as the Drow), Sun elves, Moon elves, and Tieflings and Aasimar (humans with fiendish or celestial ancestry, respectivley) are included, but specialized human subraces other than half-elf and half-orc are no longer included.
Classes and levelsEdit
New to the basic classes of characters (based on D&D 3.5 rules) is the Warlock, a type of fighter mage.
The "prestige classes", available once certain requirements are met, have been adjusted in kind. These special classes can augment a player character's offensive or defensive skills or magical power. Characters can choose up to four classes, up from three classes supported in NWN.
More closely following the D&D Forgotten Realms game terminology, the "Champion of Torm" class has been renamed "Divine Champion", and "Harper Scout" is now "Harper Agent". One prestige class, the Shifter, is no longer available. New prestige classes include Arcane Trickster, Duelist, Eldritch Knight, Frenzied Berserker, Neverwinter Nine, Shadow Thief of Amn, and Warpriest. Both the Neverwinter Nine and Shadow Thief of Amn classes require in-game events to take place before leveling can occur.
In NWN2, players start at level 1, and can reach a maximum of level 20. "Epic" levels (above 20), as found in the NWN expansion Hordes of the Underdark, are now available in the Mask of the Betrayer expansion. There are no provisions to port player character profiles from the Neverwinter Nights game or its expansions.
The various gods and deities of NWN2 are a direct reference to the Forgotten Realms universe (also the setting of Baldur's Gate and its sequels). Deity selection does not actually impact characters in any major way during the Original Campaign, although some Modules do use them for story elements.
NWN2 provides some form of support for many of the Forgotten Realms deities based on characters alignment, race and class.
After creating a player character (PC) (or selecting a pre-built character included with the game), the Official Campaign, or "OC" (the game module shipped with the product) provides a pool of 12 NPCs who can join the player's party. In addition, the player can now gain or lose influence with party members, which dictates outcomes to certain quests or causes strife in the party.
The game's locations include the city of Neverwinter and Port Llast (seen in the first Neverwinter Nights game), a new village named West Harbor (home of the player character), and new environments such as the Mere of Dead Men. Many NPCs in the game are encountered based on the player character's alignment. Lord Nasher Alagondar, the titular ruler of Neverwinter, returns from the original Neverwinter Nights campaign, but is portrayed as less pessimistic than in the original NWN campaign, and appears in a more regal appearance, complete with ornate armor, a throne room, and crown.
The official NWN2 campaign is set around the city of Neverwinter. Gameplay is not a continuation of the original NWN campaign, but makes references to the "Wailing Death" plague and the war with the rival city of Luskan from the original Neverwinter Nights.
The official fact sheet describes the game:
- Bards sing tales of heroes from ages past, but never have the Forgotten Realms so desperately needed a champion. Years have passed since the war between Luskan and Neverwinter, almost enough time for the wounds of war to heal. But the brief peace the Realms have known may be at an end. Tension growing between the mighty city-states means the Sword Coast again teeters on the edge of open war. Unnoticed, a greater danger stalks the City of Skilled Hands. Unbeknownst to the denizens of the North, deep in the Mere of Dead Men, dark forces from across the Realms have been rallied under the banner of a legendary evil. If left unchallenged, all of the North is doomed to fall under its power.
- Even in this darkest hour, hope remains. A mysterious relic is borne to Neverwinter in the hands of a lone hero so that its secrets may be unlocked - secrets that carry the fate of all the North. So begins an epic tale of shattered alliances, noble acts and dark deeds to be told across the Realms for generations to come.
Neverwinter Nights 2 centers around a powerful force of evil named the "King of Shadows" and an artifact that can ultimately defeat this arch-enemy.
As the game begins, new players can opt to use a tutorial that guides the user in fighting, special skills such as lock picking and archery, magic spells, and the general use of the game's user interface. Experienced players can skip this tutorial and begin the campaign, and are granted experience points to build their character (points that would have been gained in the tutorial).
The game is divided into three Acts.
The player character is a resident of the tiny village of West Harbor, the place of a titanic battleground where the King of Shadows was thought defeated. The player character's fate is intricately tied to this historical battle, where the character's mother was killed and infant character raised by the elven ranger Daeghun Farlong. As the game begins, the player character is a young adult, never having left West Harbor and with little knowledge of his or her history.
After West Harbor is suddenly attacked by extraplanar creatures called Githyanki and their minions in search of something unrevealed, Daeghun directs the PC to retrieve a silver shard found years ago after the King of Shadows' defeat. Daeghun sends the PC away from West Harbor with the silver shard to Neverwinter, where his half-brother, Duncan, has more answers.
On the way to Neverwinter, new side quests and companions are provided: Khelgar, a dwarven fighter; Neeshka, a tiefling rogue; and Elanee, an elven druid. These mandatory companions stay with the PC until Neverwinter, at which time the player gains more control over the party composition.
At Neverwinter, the PC must complete several major quests to speak to Aldanon, a sage who might be able to divine more about the nature of the silver shards. Aldanon's location forces the player to choose a Law-aligned set of quests (join the City Watch) or Chaos-aligned quests (the thieves' guild). Either path eventually leads to Aldanon in Blacklake, a city district closed off due to a series of murders. The Sunken Flagon, a tavern and inn run by Duncan, is the staging area where the PC can select one or more party members they encounter in Acts I and II (even if they choose not to have the NPC join them when the NPC is first encountered).
Aldanon reveals the shard's connection with a believed-dead warlock and his descendant, an NPC named Shandra Jerro, a farmer met in a previous required quest. The Githyanki, however, are one step ahead, kidnapping Shandra and using her as bait to lure in the player character. The final confrontation of Act I explains the origin of the shards (and the PC's direct connection to them), after which the PC must dispatch the Githyanki once and for all to rescue Shandra.
Throughout Act I, the PC witnesses and later endures an attack by a deadly warlock who is responsible for the Blacklake murders. The PC is initially led to believe that the warlock's identity is the King of Shadows.
Some time later, Shandra joins the PC as part of the quest for her ancestor's stronghold as a mandatory party member for most of Act II, expanding the party size to five.
Act II is more role-play oriented than Act I. A Luskan ambassador to Neverwinter, Torio Claven, frames the PC for the massacre of a Luskan town. The PC becomes a squire of a Neverwinter knight to protect him/her from the draconian Luskan justice system and must gather evidence to prove their innocence in several locales. An extensive dialog-based trial begins in Neverwinter, where the player character's diplomacy skills gained to-date and gathered evidence can lead to conviction or acquittal. (Diplomacy skill is not necessary but useful in this trial.) Regardless of the verdict, the PC must face off against a central Luskan fighter to clear their name, or can elect one of select NPC party members to fight in their stead (based on their NPC influence).
Torio's master, the evil wizard Black Garius, seeks the power of the King of Shadows. The party interrupts Garius's ritual to take the evil entity's power for his own. Garius is believed dead and the protagonist is awarded Garius' stronghold, Crossroad Keep, by Neverwinter's Lord Nasher, making the player character a member of nobility. Continuing with Act II's emphasis on non-combat matters, the protagonist goes on to spend significant time rebuilding the Keep and improving the lands around it.
A new NPC, Zhjaeve, joins the party, and is crucial in the process of the Ritual of Purification, where the PC gains four special class-independent spells that can be useful to enhance party NPC and player offense and defense. The player character learns that the King of Shadows was once known as the Guardian, a powerful creation of the ancient fallen empire of Illfarn. The Guardian, once a man, became corrupted when it tapped its magic energy from the "Shadow Weave", the dark counterpart of the magic source that powers most mages. The corrupted and twisted Guardian, in effect, soon destroyed Illfarn as a measure to protect it.
Act II concludes with the search for a hidden stronghold, the magical Haven of Shandra's ancestor, Ammon Jerro, where answers could be found regarding the silver shards. When the Haven is found, Shandra is separated from the rest of the party, and encounters a number of demons magically enslaved as power sources there.
In several cutscenes, Shandra is guided (and misguided) by the suspiciously altruistic demons to help them escape. Meanwhile, the PC tries to find Shandra while trying to find the warlock. The warlock is revealed as Shandra's ancestor, Ammon Jerro, and the inevitable confrontation threatens to be a Pyrrhic victory for the party. Just as Ammon plans to slay the party, Shandra (at a demon's advice) frees the demons that served as Ammon's power source. The now-vulnerable Ammon flees from the player's party and slays Shandra in retribution, only realizing that she is his descendant after her demise. Act II concludes with Ammon's surrender.
Act III begins with NPCs grieving from Shandra's death. Ammon Jerro has completed one of Rituals of Purification, making his presence in the party mandatory.
The main antagonists of this acts are the Shadow Reavers, powerful undead mages that include a revived Garius, intent on allowing the King of Shadows to reemerge. The player must prepare Crossroad Keep for imminent battle by fortifying its troops, lands and by finding allies from other lands.
After additional shards are retrieved by defeating Shadow Reavers, the shards are reformed into a powerful unique weapon for the player character, the Silver Sword of Gith. The sword, stolen for use by Ammon Jerro in the first battle against the King of Shadows, is the only weapon that can resist the enemy's power.
Once certain key quests are complete, the enemy lays siege upon Crossroad Keep and must be repelled. With the siege defeated and the enemy's army virtually destroyed, the player character and all NPC party members participate in the battle to defeat the King of Shadows himself.
After making their way through the Vale of Merdelain, Garius's stronghold, the player character encounters Garius for the first of the last two battles of the game.
Throughout the game, the player character's choice of directions of the game can change the "influence" level with other NPCs. The higher the influence, the more likely that an NPC will aid the PC in a task. In this final stage of the game, Garius will test the accumulated influence of many members of the player's NPC party. NPCs with lower influence may join Garius's side and fight against you.
Once Garius is defeated, the surviving NPCs on a Good-aligned player character's side must battle the King of Shadows and his avatars. Evil characters may choose to side with the King of Shadows and, as a result, must defeat every remaining NPC party member to complete the game.
The game ends once you either kill the king of shadows or your remaining companions. A slide show with narrative details the players effect on the world, and ends on a cliffhanger which is continued in the Mask of the Betrayer expansion.
Companions are listed in the order in which they join the party.
- Khelgar Ironfist (Neutral Good, Shield Dwarf Fighter) (Khelgar can become a Monk if the player completes required side quests; however, he cannot multiclass therefore loses his fighter abilities by becoming a monk. Furthermore, his attributes do not change in this transition, and his low wisdom score makes him a rather poor choice for a monk).
- Neeshka (True Neutral, Tiefling Rogue) (Neeshka seems at first to be a potential romantic interest for male PCs based on her attitude towards the PC (playful flirting) as well as her outward jealousy towards females in the game that address the PC. However, the player never has any option to pursue anything with her).
- Elanee (Neutral Good, Wood Elf Druid) (Elanee is a romantic interest for male PCs, and, if a PC influence check fails, will leave the NPC party permanently during a quest in Act III.)
- Qara (Chaotic Neutral, Human Sorcerer)
- Grobnar Gnomehands (Chaotic Good, Rock Gnome Bard)
- Casavir (Lawful Good, Human Paladin) (Casavir is a romantic interest for female PCs.)
- Bishop (Chaotic Evil, Human Ranger) (Bishop is a romantic interest for female PCs, but he will always betray the party in Act III. If a PC influence check succeeds, Bishop will sever his alliance with Garius and refuse to battle against the PC. If the PC chooses to side with the King of Shadows, Bishop will rejoin the fight and slay the companions.)
- Shandra Jerro (Neutral Good, Human Fighter) (Shandra is a party NPC for Act II only.)
- Sand (Lawful Neutral, Moon Elf Wizard)
- Zhjaeve (Lawful Neutral, Githzerai Cleric)
- Ammon Jerro (Neutral Evil, Human Warlock) (Ammon becomes a party NPC for Act III only.)
- Construct (True Neutral, Construct Fighter) (The Construct can be repaired before Ammon Jerro joins the party, but that is not likely for players with no prior knowledge.)
The goal is for the interface and camera controls to be more flexible and customizable. Windows can be resized, dragged, and customized, using XML. Inventory icons are all the same size, unlike the previous game. The radial menu system from the original game has been replaced with a context menu system similar to Fallout 2.
As with the original NWN, NWN2 supports multiple players. Players are able to control parties with up to 3 non-player characters. The party system has been revised to call party members "companions" rather than "henchmen".
Static 2D portraits have been replaced with 3D avatars, similar to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (created by BioWare) whose sequel Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 was also created by Obsidian Entertainment.
The revised crafting system allows players to craft weapons, shields and armor, mix potions, or create magical items with special "workbenches" scattered in towns and shops, given sufficient crafting skill. Players acquire a stronghold as part of the gameplay for a base of operations and as part of central game event. (This "stronghold" differs from the concept of "homes" used in games such as Ultima Online as the stronghold is part of the OC's overall gameplay and not a waypoint between adventures that is permanent element of the player character's profile or a persistent world module).
A Dungeon Master client is under development as of October 12 2006. The initial goal is to provide functionality similar to what was present in early versions of NWN. The initial release will be "a pretty nut-and-bolts implementation aimed at giving DMs the basic, solid features they need to DM a module."
The Electron toolset has been completely re-written in the C# programming language. The toolset now allows multiple windows to be opened at once, unlike NWN. As with the original NWN, the toolset allows users to design their own modules to distribute to others or host on the Internet for online play. Some game content, including NWScript and dialogs can be directly imported from NWN. Exterior locations use a heightmap instead of tilesets, and for this reason, the module itself cannot be imported.
Neverwinter Nights 2's publisher, Atari, announced that the toolset would be available to pre-order customers for download one month prior to the retail release of the game in its entirety. Initially scheduled to be available on September 18, 2006, the pre-release toolset was delayed to September 23, then was again delayed until October 1. The cause and resolution of the last delay remains unknown. On October 1, many customers were upset when the download was still not available due to a website script error. It later appeared on a European FTP site that everyone could download from, even users who did not order the Presell.
Unfortunately, the FTP requirement was not stated as a prerequisite to obtain the Merchant's Friend and the Toolset so dialup users who purchased the pre-order were frequently unable to obtain the content.
Since its release, the official toolset forums have received a steady stream of complaints from a portion of users who, despite meeting all system requirements, are unable to operate the toolset without frequent crashes of the program. As yet, no solution has been provided by the developer, though a minority have solved some of the issues themselves. It has been suggested that the download of the toolset from the European FTP or torrent clients is causing users to receive corrupted or incomplete copies. However, reports of these crashes comes from both those who downloaded the client "illegally" and those who legitimately received it from the Atari promotion.
The prerelease toolset expired on October 31st, at the time of the official release of the game and toolset in North America.
As in the original Neverwinter Nights, the update client can be accessed from the launch menu to automatically search for new content and/or updates to the game. Before downloading any game updates, the update client will first download its own patch and update itself automatically (a function that is unchanged from the previous game).
The following features are not in the initial release. It remains possible that some or all of these features may be added in future expansion packs.
- While epic levels, epic feats and epic abilities available in Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark are not available for NWN2, some epic feats exist in the game code and can be taken when used with the givefeat console command. This feature was later added in the "Mask of the Betrayer" expansion pack. The new expansion enabled character development to reach level 30.
- Other prestige classes, the Mystic Theurge and Sacred Fist were planned, but later cut out due to time constraints. The Sacred Fist was added in the "Mask of the Betrayer" expansion pack.
- Modules cannot be directly imported from the original Neverwinter Nights. Builders can import scripts and dialogs. The Infinity-Electron upgrade design changes the mechanics of how art assets are used.
- Horse riding was mentioned as being in the game before release but was never implemented.
- The NWN skill Discipline was removed.
- Familiars have been reduced from fantasy creatures to real life animals that serve a lesser purpose as compared to the original Neverwinter Nights game series, but are truer to the 3.5 Edition Player's Handbook rules.
- The Persuade skill has been removed, and its features transferred to the Diplomacy, Bluff and Intimidate skills (the first of which was not present in NWN); however the counterpart to Bluff, Sense Motive, is not present.
- Placeables and creatures still cannot rotate on a non "Z" axis at the time of release. Obsidian had said this would be implemented. The properties windows seems to have field (similar to NWN1's location) to key this in but two of the parameters are fixed to 0 and cannot be manually changed.
- Some of the more powerful level spells such as "Time Stop" were not included in the final release of the initial build.
Production, promotion and releaseEdit
The original Neverwinter Nights was developed by BioWare. In July 2004 Obsidian Entertainment announced they had begun production of Neverwinter Nights 2. Obsidian was founded by members of the defunct Black Isle Studios, which had worked with BioWare on the Baldur's Gate series. NWN2 uses a significantly rewritten and updated version of NWN's cross-platform Aurora engine, now called the "Electron engine". BioWare provides technical assistance for the engine.
Hoping to release an Xbox 360 port of the game, Obsidian decided to use the platform dependent Microsoft's DirectX Graphics API for Electron engine. However, due to the cost of developing an Xbox 360 version, Obsidian later abandoned the idea. Consequently, Neverwinter Nights 2 was released for Windows only.
The official website was launched on March 28, 2006. The first official screenshots, small black and white images of early models, were published in the manual of Atari's Dragonshard game, released in September 2005. The first full-size color screenshots were exclusively granted for an article in the December issue of the PC Gamer magazine, available in some US stores from October 10, 2005. More screenshots and low-resolution videos were released in the weeks leading up to and during E3 2006. An official trailer was released to the game's website immediately preceding the event. Unlike the lower quality videos circulating on the internet, the trailer shows no actual gameplay, but appears to be the game's opening cinematic. In the three or four weeks leading up to the release date (October 31), Obsidian released more media to the press.
At the time of game release, the game received some bad press for poor graphics performance in light of its relatively high hardware demands. Additionally, GameSpy reported that the game contained bugs that would prevent players from continuing with the quests. An Obsidian representative offered a workaround; however, the trick did not work for all situations. A number of patches were released since that date. However, even with version 1.03, 1UP reported that the game is still buggy. Version 1.10 is said to be less buggy, although installing the newly released expansion pack has been reported to make the game buggy again. Many players have reported showstopper bugs which do not let them continue the main campaign after they install the pack. Postings suggest that updating the game to 1.10 (116) does not solve all of these showstopper bugs.
As evidenced on the Bioware forums for the game, the patching process itself is buggy. Many players experienced extreme problems (like persistent crashes) that made the game unplayable (even when pre-patched versions of the game worked fine). The offered solution is a process in which players update the game patcher first, then implement game patches (downloaded from Bioware's site) manually one at a time.
There were also issues with distribution. Many individuals pre-ordered the Limited Edition through major retailers, such as Best Buy, but copies did not arrive until November 1. When they did come, quantities were highly limited. Many pre-orders for the Limited Edition were not filled, and users instead received only the basic edition. There were no plans to create additional copies to cover the shortfall.
- GameSpot's Editor's Choice Best Story Award of 2006
Mac OS X versionEdit
Aspyr Media developed a port of the Neverwinter Nights 2 client for Mac OS X. It began shipping on February 26, 2008 and is available in retail stores as well as online. It requires an Intel-based Mac.
As with the original Neverwinter Nights, the Mac version does not include the toolkit. Mac OS X owners will be able to play user-created modules made in Windows and be able to host as server. (At time of release, the Mac version was 1152; the Windows version was 1153.)
- ↑ "Rotten Tomatoes". http://www.rottentomatoes.com/g/pc/neverwinter_nights_2/. Retrieved 2007-01-17. : 100% positive reviews, average rating 8.5/10, 6 reviews considered. "Metacritic". http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/pc/neverwinternights2. Retrieved 2007-01-17. : average rating 82/100, 39 reviews considered. "Game Rankings". http://www.gamerankings.com/htmlpages2/922154.asp. Retrieved 2007-01-17. : average rating 82/100, 45 reviews considered.
- ↑ ""Neverwinter Nights 2" at GameSpot". 2006-11-01. http://www.gamespot.com/pc/rpg/neverwinternights2/review.html?sid=6160878. Retrieved 2006-11-17. : 8.6/10, "Great".
- ↑ ""Neverwinter Nights 2 Review" at IGN". 2006-11-03. http://pc.ign.com/articles/744/744019p1.html. Retrieved 2006-11-17. : 8.6/10, "Great".
- ↑ "ToTheGame - Neverwinter Nights 2 (PC) - Previews, Reviews, Interviews, Screenshots, Cheats, Release Date". http://www.tothegame.com/game.asp?id=3527. Retrieved 2006-03-17.
- ↑ "Kalia" (2006-10-12). "DM Client: The Real Deal" (in English). http://nwn2.warcry.com/scripts/news/view_news.phtml?site=91&id=65476. Retrieved 2006-10-17.
- ↑ TVG (totalvideogames.com) Interview with Feargus U on DirectX
- ↑ Atari European Forum
- ↑ Lopez, Miguel. "Neverwinter Nights 2 Review". Reviews. GameSpy. http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/neverwinter-nights-ii/744657p2.html. Retrieved 2006-12-10. "it's impossible to talk about Neverwinter Nights 2 without mentioning the performance issues that marred it at launch, and are as of yet unresolved."
- ↑ Lopez, Miguel (2006-11-03). "Neverwinter Nights 2 Out of the Box". Out of the Box. GameSpy. http://pc.gamespy.com/pc/neverwinter-nights-ii/742925p2.html. Retrieved 2006-12-10. "we have encountered a "show-stopper" bug that has essentially brought our experience with the packaged campaign to a screeching halt."
- ↑ "Neverwinter Nights 2 Patched, Still Buggy". Out of the Box (1UP). 2006-12-06. http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3155682. Retrieved 2006-12-10.
- ↑ "Best Story" (in English). Gamespot. http://www.gamespot.com/special_features/bestof2006/achievement/index.html?page=5. Retrieved 2007-04-26.
- ↑ "Atari Announces Neverwinter Nights 2(TM): Mask of the Betrayer" (in English). 2007-04-12. http://www.obsidianent.com/nwn2_expansion.html. Retrieved 2007-04-13. (Press release.)
- ↑ "Macworld: News: Aspyr working on Mac Neverwinter Nights 2" (in English). 2007-08-26. http://macworld.com/news/2007/08/21/nwn2/index.php. Retrieved 2007-08-21. (Press release.)
- Neverwinter Nights 2 - Official Site
- Neverwinter Nights 2 - Official Forums
- Neverwinter Nights 2 - Atari Forums
- Neverwinter Connections - Site dedicated to player matchmaking for NWN and NWN2 online multi-player gaming.
- Sorcerer's Place Neverwinter Nights 2 coverage & online walkthrough
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