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Review NWN Review

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by Saint_Proverbius, Nov 1, 2002.

  1. Ibbz Augur

    Ibbz
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    You shouldnt have expected anything decent from the module making community until a long time after release, as most of the better modules would take a long time to make, if they're to be done properly.
     
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  2. Anonymous Guest

    Anonymous
    true, but not so much modules, as the fact that i wanted to make things myself, and the lack of support for new models etc was dissapointing.
    (me being a 3d artist and all)
    sticking down the same old tiles u have already seen everywhere isn't much fun, and they limit the story a lot.
    The plot and plans i had ready for my module were impossible to impliment without redoing a lot of the graphics etc.
     
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  3. Anonymous Guest

    Anonymous
    mwahaha.......

    I'm a DM and I'm building a persitent world, I spend 3 days to complete the official campaign because I want to see how they make stuff rather than play it. Ever since then I spended about 14 hours a day working on the toolset until today. I am consider slow actually mainly because this is a one man project... There are already so many custom made modules and persistent world out there already and most of the casual gamer are gone... All that is left in the 200-400k in the community are serious D&D players.... Whoot, they are going to be so much fun to play with than those normal players or diablo like fans.

    In Fact, I got so hot with it that I have been interviewed by a local gaming magazine. If anyone is from Singapore, watch out for the december issue of "Playworks". I'm the Lord Weaver they have interviewed.
     
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  4. Sheriff_Fatman Liturgist

    Sheriff_Fatman
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    I'm not even a DM or a mod-maker, and I had good value from the game. I only played the SP campaign until the end of chapter 1. I'm surprised that anyone with an interest in decent RPG could go much further than that.

    Then I tried MP, but found that - like most MP RPG communities - it was full of slightly confused people uninterested in playing the game. I believe the default chat room was being used by a few guys discussing masturbation the first time I turned up. I'm not saying that's all it could be, but I don't have a set of players to play with, and NWN doesn't have enough support for qualifying where to play and who to play with.

    Then I moved onto modules, which I spent months playing and will still play in future. Buying the game enabled me to play those modules. It enabled them to be built in the first place.

    Long after the fizzle of the SP campaign has been forgotten by most players (although it's obviously still remembered by people who have no interest in playing the game), the mod makers are still producing interesting and worthwhile content. How are they doing it? Using the software that came in the box. How am I playing them? ditto. So, I feel I had good value from buying the game.
     
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  5. Voidrazor Novice

    Voidrazor
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    I can't believe that so many people actually played the official campaign! I for one fiddled with the toolset first. About a week later I tried the official campaign for about 2 hours before going back to the interesting options this breakthrough game has to offer. Yes, breakthrough, because NWN can be used to make immersive RP oriented persistent worlds. No, it wasn't meant for this purpose but the communtiy has created all the necessary tools , and that's what really matters.

    A number of people have mentioned that the toolset requires a $20 book to be useful. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Much more complete information is available for free here:

    http://nwvault.ign.com/index2.shtml

    and here:

    http://www.reapers.org/nwn/reference/

    While I understand why the review had the lamentable focus that it did, the critique does a great disservice to potential buyers. The most important thing about NWN is its community. Without looking at that, you cannot usefully evaluate the game experience. I agree that the official campaign is crap. Both the toolset and the DM client have some major flaws as well. But clever people who don't work for Bioware have found fixes to the majority of these problems.

    ANYONE who is trying to decide whether or not to buy the game, and ANYONE who has just purchased it should go to http://nwvault.ign.com/index2.shtml first.
     
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  6. Rosh Erudite

    Rosh
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    :roll:

    Breakthrough...*snicker*, *laugh*, *guffaw*

    Just because it's the first one you've seen doesn't make it breakthrough.

    Or is this going on the "Ben Rudick Review System"?
     
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  7. Voidrazor Novice

    Voidrazor
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    Fair enough. What in the same price range do you recommend for creating MMORPG style worlds? If there's an easier and/or more versatile way to do it, I'm certainly interested.[/quote]
     
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  8. Rosh Erudite

    Rosh
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    Hmmm, too bad they are not in the same price range, and they don't have the zany spell effects for the cattle.

    However, they do have a great deal of potential, and far beyond what the NWN editors can do.
     
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  9. Voidrazor Novice

    Voidrazor
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    Well if nothing with similar functionality is available for less than $100, then I'd call the NWN Toolset a breakthrough. I realize that professional game development tools exist that exceed what the Toolset can do. But I've heard that they cost a grand or more. I am still interested in checking out the development tools you are referring to though. Maybe I can find 'em on Kazaa.
     
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  10. Sheriff_Fatman Liturgist

    Sheriff_Fatman
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    Exactly. How is it a breakthrough to enable software developers to do what they've been doing for years? The breakthrough is making it accessible to the general community.

    In fact, I'm not too sure (not having used them) how accessible the NWN tools are to non-programmers. To do intelligent handling of dialogue and events requires a fair amount of simplistic programming, doesn't it?
     
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  11. Rosh Erudite

    Rosh
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    How does "free" grab you?
     
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  12. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    What about the custom player shards for UO? UO offers a hell of a lot more than NWN does, and there are a many custom shards out there for it that you can play on for free.

    Then again, there's also the $30 MMORPG Construction Kit that Past Tree made.

    http://www.pasttree.com/

    Next?
     
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  13. Rosh Erudite

    Rosh
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    *slaps his forehead*

    And I even forgot about that, having worked on a couple!

    Hell, I've forgotten more than some people even know about to begin with.

    Irony.
     
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  14. Anonymous Guest

    Anonymous
    missing the point.

    Again tho, you're belittling the power of the toolset itself, plenty of people have added things through scripting that weren't originally there, emote wands, useable oil flask to make campfires, have the pc need to drink & eat to stay alive.

    Theres plenty of stuff being created to make MP at least feel more lifelike and give more opertunity to roleplay.

    Just because the speech skill isn't so godly big deal, there's plenty of other really cool things that people have made available for the community.

    You however seem content to just judge singleplay alone and base the whole game on that which is entirely unfair. Thats the only point I was trying to get across.
     
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  15. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    Re: missing the point.

    My point about the speech skill is it's proof they didn't just design this thing for multiplayer as you contended. Speech skill isn't a multiplayer device, it's purely single player.

    If I wanted to make it look worse, I could have brought up that BioWare released two lovely add-on modules after the game was out which basically added arcadish DeathMatch multiplayer to the game.

    That, friend, would have been more applicable since BioWare made them. BioWare's the ones making the money here.
     
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  16. Rosh Erudite

    Rosh
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    Re: missing the point.

    And you can change the music in Fallout 2 with a spear, because someone made it possible to do so.

    Should that be a part of a review about the game?

    Of course not.

    Or should Half-Life be rated according to what 3rd-party developers have done with it? Of course not.

    In your method of skewed logic, Fallout Tactics is a pretty good game considering what people have done with the map editor. :roll:
     
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  17. Sol Invictus Erudite

    Sol Invictus
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    Re: missing the point.

    You mean it's not?! :shock:
     
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  18. Anonymous Guest

    Anonymous
    if

    Shouldn't a reviewer, review ALL aspects of a game before reviewing? that was the whole point of the arguement.. Saint obviously didn't feel the need to do so as the "out of box" is usually enough to base a review on. Look at it in a different light tho folks, NWN was designed with custom content in mind. The're alot of stellar stuff out there, just check NW Vault for a good example. To say the game has no chance of being an role playing game is just wrong.

    Granted I totally agree on SP, it was lackluster big time, I'm really not trying to knock his review, since it was only of SP, but to fully get an idea of some of the great stuff out there, you need to dig a bit deeper.
     
    Anonymous rolled 6-sided di(c)e: fkkmaOJaTsIkVqEDkk Total: 50
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  19. Rosh Erudite

    Rosh
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    Re: if

    So which is it? Everything possible that can be done with the game should be taken into account (and which would really set a new trend for anything reviewed - "OH! It HSA an editor, it's LEMMETLESS ADN UBAR!!!"), or that you go with what is given. A crappy over-hyped game with an editor that is in itself limited to bugs and limitations left in - no option of altering the base code. Half-Life and Ut do have TCs, for a good reason. Wonder if there will be any TCs for NWN? I doubt it, since buildware gamer devs usually just work in the toolkit given, it's different than altering a core game. Which many other games have editors, and if you've checked out some Half-Life mods and UT mods, among other games, I'm afraid that NWN is total fluff and hype. It has an editor. So #*&^$ing what? So do dozens of other games. The only difference is that it's completely tooled for D&D.

    Excuse me if I don't exactly start masturbating like a zoo chimp over it.

    POTENTIAL OF USER CREATIONS DOES NOT MAKE A GAME BETTER IN ITSELF.

    If that were true, Unlimited Adventures would be quite noteworthy, but why is it often scorned in favor of Gold Box and Silver Box? Quite obvious, I would believe.
     
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  20. Voidrazor Novice

    Voidrazor
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    Thanks for the onfo on other development tools. I think I'll stick with NWN though. I'd love to hear what others think of the pro and cons of the Toolset as compared to the MMORPG Construction kit and the UO dev system.
     
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  21. Rosh Erudite

    Rosh
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    Well, the basic point is...it's an editor among many others that have even surpassed it retroactively. *yawn*

    So BioWare and their publisher (among many fan sites and fanboys) have claimed it's "breakthrough", "innovative", etc. while really not doing their research. Hence, the "Ben Rudick Review System" remark.

    If it takes being put on the shelves as a $60 rip-off to get those labels, I guess some need to follow that kind of "logic", however odd it is.
     
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  22. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    Re: if

    Well, look at Quake 3. It was designed for custom content in mind. So much so, that Quake 3 shipped with, content wise, was completely and utterly luckluster. id software basically dumped an engine on the market, a few models, some maps, and some textures for the price of a game as if it were a game.

    NWN is largely the same thing, at least until Witchworks comes out. Then we'll see how Witchworks is. The way I see it, frankly, is this. BioWare are the guys raking in the money here. Providing tools is fine, but also shipping some really crappy content and falling back on the tools as the savior of the title is just plain silly.

    Now, if BioWare was paying these people to make the game better, that'd be one thing. They're not though. They're relying on people to spend their time to make up for the incredibly lackluster things they shipped is just plain wrong.
     
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  23. Rosh Erudite

    Rosh
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    I think the defining point of why the editors shouldn't be considered part of the game is because they shipped the game without a manual for the editors, which comes at an extra price.

    That means either one of two things:
    1. The editors were not meant to be fully supported out of the box and therefore not considered part of the game (much like any other game shipped with editors).
    2. BioWare, even over the $60 price tag, are money-hungry shits who can't help but taking another dip into your wallet. It's either relying on someone's online tutorial, or shelling out extra for the editors manual. But they get the money because most D&D fanboys are already morons who throw money away.

    $80-90 for what is "supposed" to be an editor game and it's (separate) manual = bullshit.
     
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  24. Anonymous Guest

    Anonymous
    Interesting how this entire debate is now revolving around the toolset included with NWN, and of course the price.

    Sounds like a bunch of people got cheesed off when the game didn't turn out to be everything they wanted and so that means it sucks.

    Since the 2 big CRPG games that came out that were all the hype, lets review them:
    1. Dungeon Siege
    I wanted this game to be so cool. I wanted it to replace my Diablo II HackNSlash fest with something awesome. I was (are still?) so amazingly dissapointed with this game on so many levels. The graphics, physics, animation, etc were soooo eye candy it was awesome. BUT:

    a. Everything looks the same. You've been in snow, it still looks like snow, no matter how you tile it.

    b. XP is a joke. Unless you modded the way XP works, it was pointless to play after a while. Plus, once you get 9,999,999 gold. What's the point? All the good stuff is in town, so why leave town? Plus, the big monsters were worth zero xp, so why even go after em. Plus I could just autofight and follow another character around while I slept. best game I "never" played.

    c. The Siege Engine was released (as a seperate download after the game shipped) with several bugs. The much anticipated "real patch" to fix these problems and improve the Siege Engine never happened. It's been almost 6 or 7 months now, and there has been zero support for the game. Lot's of sites dedicated to this game have dried up simply because the mid to end game is crap and the Siege Engine isn't up to snuff, hence lack of mods. In fact many groups dropped DS in favor of NWN due to the complexity/expandablity of the Aurora Toolset.

    2. Neverwinter Nights.
    Hanging out with dozens of fellow gamers on a local LAN really helps when it comes to easy MP gaming. After all the hype, and a couple of the guys picking up a copy of the game and seeing the potential it has, I ran out and grabbed a copy. I'm still playing it now, and I do enjoy the single player and how the story is unfolding, however trite you may think it to be. Truth be told, you could probably play just Chapter 1 and be done with it. You've seen most of what the game has to offer and if it's not your style, it's not going to get any better. The fact that you can't kill certain characters is an annoyance, but I can accept that limitation within the scope of the game.

    a. The graphics are subpar to Dungeon Siege. However the depth of gameplay and flexibility of the engine is where Bioware is far superior. I can take a hit in the gfx dept when it comes to gameplay. Though I will admit, the textures are starting to all look alike.

    b. The way they balanced 3rd edition rules with CRPG gaming is very well done IMO. Even Baldur's Gate 1&2 didn't do as well a job making the DnD rules easy to play with on a computer. Since the D20 system is basically licensed by WotC, here's hoping other games are released that can take advantage of it. The way XP is handed out appears to flow consistently within the game. Also, NWN has an auto difficulty settings based on the combat value of your characters so your enemies will toughen up to compensate. No this doesn't help the argument for players who want no combat in thier games, but it is a nice addition so it's not just a romp in the park for high level characters. The fact that quests can be "solved" different ways (i.e. the trial in act 3. You can bribe the jurors, buy em drinks or heal em to persuade them to give you extra info), means that you can solve the quest in different ways depending on your character class or what items you've picked up. No you can't bypass the quest, unless you just don't do it, but just killing everybody off because you can isn't very heroic. Though I do agree that there needs to be more of these kinds of quests. Seems in act three it's all Henry VIII action all the time. Otherwsie, all the special abilities (taunt, special attacks, animal charm, pick locks, and the whole spell, conjuring aspect), plus poitions, magical item abilities, etc. make for a much more complex game. And with more complexity comes more demand for how well it was (or wasn't) used.

    c. The Aurora Toolset is mighty complex and very versatile. If you take the time you can build some really indepth modules that can appease even the pickiest of players, allowing them to kill all the NPC's and still somehow "win the day". Though this takes a lot of time. i.e. Read a Choose Your Own Adventure Book and add 10 extra options for each option on each page. Now write dialogue and reaction to all this. Most people can't write a good novel (which only has one storyline and a very fixed linear plot), let alone a multitude of branching storylines and make it all work out right. YMMV. Storyline asside, you can modify the UI so the character can do just about "anything". Plus the Aurora Toolset was released with the game. Both it and the game have been updated regularly to address bugs in the game as well as improve the toolset. NWN forums are busy with activity, so that means there are alot of gamers out there who enjoy this game and are still playing it, both SP and MP. Plus the number of mods released by the community (as well as the number of groups that defected to it from DS) will ensure that the game continues.

    So it all boils down to:
    1. Is the game innovative?

    DS: No. It looks pretty, but that's about all. the only thing it added was a mule which, however cool, is just a mule. That and truly automated gameplay.

    NWN: Yes & No. The stories and plots are the same as games of yore, yet the way it's handled is much better done. More creativity could have (should have) been expected in the SP, but overall, it's quite well done with a rich mixture of both combat and non-combat quests in the DnD style.

    2. Should a game be based wholly on SP, MP, Mods, or a sum of it's parts.

    I think it's all cohesive. One part may excell, while another part doesn't. If the basic gameplay exists, then the game will be good regardless. Case in point: BF1942. The SP in this game is crap. It's a series of disjointed campaigns with no story line and no consequence if you win or lose the battle. But the MP is where it's at. the gameplay itself is awesome, but if there was no MP in the game, it would stink worse than rotting eggs. Even without map editors or mods, the game is doing quite well in the MP arena. So that means somewhere, the developers did good. In NWN, you have DM mode where everyone is playing at the same time, and the DM can change any aspect of the game at any time. You know Desther's guilty, so you want to kill him. The DM can make it so you can kill him on the fly, reward appropriate XP and change everyone's attitude towards you based on the reasons you killed him (either because he was guilty or just because you wanted to kill him.) It is this flexibility in NWN that makes up for any SP issues it may have. Remember NWN was designed for MP in mind using the default campaign. Not being played alone without any henchmen or conjured/befriended creatures. The toolset is secondary, the MP gameplay was primary. Remember, Baldur's Gate was utterly unplayable in MP mode. Bioware fixed thier mistakes and released a superior game.

    3. Should the game be measured by it's toolset?

    5 years ago, the answer would have been "what?". We were all aware of map editors and character generators even from waaaay back when. But that didn't make the game. The game made the game. If the game wasn't fun, it didn't matter how many wacky maps you could put together, or how maxed out you made your character, it wouldn't change the gameplay. Nowadays, mostly due to Quake and Half-Life, the Mods make the game. Quake is boring, TFC is not. Half-Life is a superior FPS, but it's the mod that's perpetuated the game. I know of waaaay to many people who have played CS and DOD but didn't even know what half-Life is other than a "loader" for thier favorite game. If the Mods weren't around, would people still be playing Half-Life?

    DS: If only it had a "working" toolset. There are so many bugs in this engine, and no proper version was ever released. There were some things that just plain didn't work and cause the module to crash. Nifty but useless. The toolset dies, the game dies...

    NWN: The Aurora Toolset is bar none when it comes to easy to create DnD CRPG adventuring. Not just some silly dungeon creator, but a tool that lets you completely change the environment and what a player can do. It's almost too complex for the casual user. The fact that NWN can be improved upon, changed, and sculpted into something different than what it originally was is a good thing. Maybe one day, we'll be playing a mod for NWN where we won't even recognize it as NWN...

    Feel free to rant/disagree with any of the above.. it's late and my fingers are tired from all this typing.. :) (whoa... I did type a lot... oops!)

    - Evil Homer
     
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  25. Sheriff_Fatman Liturgist

    Sheriff_Fatman
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    Homer, I agree with a lot of the stuff in your post, but I think your shot yourself in the foot. Putting DS forward as an RPG, let alone the second most significant one recently, has probably destroyed your credibility with the users here.
     
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