Neverending Nights: New NWN2 expansion

By Kieron Gillen on June 11th, 2008 at 4:46 pm.

Over Zehir

There’s a new NWN2 expansion on the way, though you’d have to polish up your cross-language dictionary as well as your broadsword +4 against scarabs to be sure. NWN vault noticed that the splendid-named Spanish site Neverwinteros brings news of a new Expansion entitled “Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir”. The Vault actually translates the news, revealing that the game seems to be the Icewind Dale approach to the genre – in that it gives you the ability to design a whole party from scratch, then go forth and persecute kobolds for their gold. “Trading and economic manipulation” are promised, which sounds exciting, even through the translation. It also features a conflict with “the evil, shapeshifting, serpentine Yuan-Ti”, which we welcome, as we are completely racist about the bloody Yuan-Ti. They’re complete shits.

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46 Comments »

  1. James G says:

    Hmm, Mask of the Betrayer was fantastic, but I’m a little more skeptical of the IWD approach. The problem with self designed party members is that you loose out on the inter-character interaction, which even given the occasionaly infuriating influence system makes a nice change from a selection of six (or more likely four) automons. Plus “Dungeon Crawls” can get a bit tedious if not designed well.

    I’m also not quite sure what is meant by ” including streamlined party conversations.”

  2. Gnarf says:

    Yea that name’s totally a bit like Westeros.

    And since when did “trading and economic manipulation” sound “exciting”?

    Edit: Also, after reading through insightful comment by James G: I do also wish that the game is not badly designed and I think it will be better if its design is good and not bad.

  3. Ginger Yellow says:

    So, is NWN 2 playable now? I loved the original, but heard such bad things about the bugs in the sequel I never tried it.

  4. Phil says:

    @James G: Hopefully they’ll keep the character interactions by assigning the race and gender of a character though let the player fine tune the stats.

    In terms of antagonists, the Yuan-Ti seem a little close to the Old Ones from the first Neverwinter Nights to make things memorable, though I’m not sure what else is left in the D + D toybox – perhaps an army of mustard jellies led the Nameless One, fresh from the blood war, ready to kick ass.

  5. Fumarole says:

    Thank you Kieron for not wrongfully reporting this as the third expansion, unlike some other less-than-worthy sites. I’m definitely looking forward to both this and Mysteries of Westgate, though they’ll both have to wait for my recent Inifinity Engine in 1920×1200 kick to simmer down.

  6. WCAYPAHWAT says:

    I agree with kieron. Yuan-ti = right bastards. Besides, every D&D game, ever, must start with a harvest of kobolds or other form of small goblinoid. It’s in the rules, somewhere.

    What I want, really, really want…… is a remake of the old dragonlance gold box games. that would make my day.

    also, any word on the team making the torment module lately? I was very much looking forward to that.

  7. Nick says:

    I thought they hit one out of the park with the overworld map and stuff, then I saw the “create your own party” bit and lost all interest.

  8. fluffy bunny says:

    Here is the press release, btw:

    ‘Neverwinter NightsTM 2: Storm of Zehir’ Brings Bold New Adventures to The Forgotten Realms®

    Second Expansion for Atari’s Renowned Role-Playing Opus Scheduled for Worldwide Release Q4 2008

    NEW YORK, June 11: Atari, Inc. (OTC Pink Sheets: ATAR), one of the world’s most recognized brands and a third-party video game publisher and distributor, alongside Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE: HAS) announced today that Neverwinter NightsTM 2: Storm of Zehir is currently in production. Developed by Obsidian Entertainment, one of the premier independent development studios in the world, the second expansion to Neverwinter Nights 2 will deliver an engrossing DUNGEONS & DRAGONS® experience in the tradition of the Neverwinter Nights franchise and is scheduled for worldwide launch Q4 2008.

    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 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 and 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 Faerun 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, shape-shifting, 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.

    More information about Neverwinter Nights 2 can be found at http://www.nwn2.com .

  9. MisterBritish says:

    As was fortold by The Spy in ages past!

    Creating your own well-designed and complementing party in IWD was great, until you realised they never had a personallity. Hopefully ‘streamlined party conversations’ doesn’t mean NO party conversations.

    Also, ‘trading and economic manipulation’ was pretty good in Elite, Freelancer, X3, etc…

  10. CryingTheAnnualKingo says:

    I always preferred Icewind Dale to Baldur’s Gate precisely because you could create your own party and not have to endure the horribly generic characters forced upon you by the developers, so I am extremely happy to hear this about this expansion.
    You have to add the personality yourself…you know…role-playing? Remember that whole deal? You know, using your imagination? Does anyone still do that these days or is it just me?

  11. N'Al says:

    I’m playing my way through the NWN2 OC at the moment, and I have to admit, I’m finding it quite tedious, tbh. All those forced quests before you can get into Blacklake district are just incredibly sloppy game-design. I hope there’s none of those anymore for the rest of the game.

    If that’s the case (and if MotB really is as good as everyone says), I might think about giving Storm of Zehir a go.

  12. Noc says:

    I’m sort of hoping that the “Trading and economic manipulation” will let you disenfranchise and economically persecute the kobolds. It would be a pleasant change from the barbaric sword-and-fireball method of property acquisition, and a sign of the fantasy world beginning to adopt more civilized attitudes and more sophisticated methods of persecution.

    Also, those goddamn Yuan-ti. Always stealing our jobs and our women. I don’t know who lets them into the country, honestly.

  13. The Hammer says:

    Oooh. I might have to see about getting either this or MotB to satisfy my single-player RPG itch until Dragon Age comes out.

  14. Noc says:

    I also like the phrase from the press release:

    “Never before seen . . . in any Neverwinter Nights game.” Ellipsis added for effect.

  15. SwiftRanger says:

    “The problem with self designed party members is that you loose out on the inter-character interaction”

    Apparently you can pick up some NPC’s to join your party later on during the game as well. Hopefully there’s some interaction with them then.

  16. Okami says:

    The question is: If you manipulate the markets, so that thousands of kobolds have to die of an artificially created food shortage, do you still get the same amount of exp you’d get by killing them all in close combat?

  17. cyrenic says:

    You mean you guys didn’t just make your own party in BG1 by making a multiplayer party and then using it in single player? Oh…yeah… me neither, I’m definitely not such a compulsive optimizer that I did that at the expense of NPC interaction.

  18. Schadenfreude says:

    One of the Devs on the forum is hinting that some of the NPCs from NWN2 will be back and be recruitable in addition to your custom party. It’ll probably be something like 3 custom slots, 3 Obsidian slots. Which is a huge turn-off for me as I hated every one of the NWN2 NPCs (some more than others, ::cough:: Neeshka ::cough::) and deeply resented being forced to let them in my group especially when you could spot potential turncoats within three seconds of saying ‘Hello’.

  19. Okami says:

    I rather liked Neeshka…

  20. Schadenfreude says:

    ::cough:: Qara ::cough:: ??

  21. Okami says:

    Qara was bad. But the most annoying one was that elf druidess. Oh and that gnome. Or was he a halfling? Never mind.. He was annoying as hell. And don’t get me started on that stupid elf mage. Or the evil ranger guy. The dwarf was ok, though. His conversations with those monks were really funny.

    That freaky green girl was really bad. I had to turn down the volume every time she said anything. How cheesy can you get?

  22. Heliocentricity says:

    For this modspansion to interest me? I’d want to play it like X3, after a little adventuring (as a monk of cleric) i’d rally people together, start a village (with a church or monostary) and build a grainary, houses and nice wooden palisade. Open a traders market and train my villagers (who i have made frisky with my religion of fertility/free love) start spreading influence and wealth towards my burgeoning nation state.

    Then i’d tech rush to nukes… Wait! Wrong game.

  23. Nick says:

    “You have to add the personality yourself…you know…role-playing? Remember that whole deal? You know, using your imagination? Does anyone still do that these days or is it just me?”

    That’s just playing with yourself.

  24. PetitPrince says:

    Thank you Kieron for not wrongfully reporting this as the third expansion

    Whoa, Bibliothèque de Neverwinter Nights’ (french fansite) April Fools joke still holds ? Impressive.

    Oh, and I liked Qara by the way. But that druid was catastrophic.

  25. Noc says:

    That’s just playing with yourself.

    Which you’re arguably doing anyways with a single-player game. Still, I don’t know if having nonspeaking party members necessarily robs them of personality, whether you chose to invent ones for them or not; in my experience how a character behaves during gameplay tends to have more of an effect on my perception of them then what dialog options they’re given.

    Which is why I ended up being really attached to the randomly generated, generic members of my FF Tactics party but couldn’t give a crap about anyone I picked up in KOTOR.

  26. heartless_ says:

    I still can’t believe anyone suffered through the horrendous controls, game play, and camera of NWN2 to actually finish the game.

  27. Stitched says:

    @heartless_

    Thank you. I thought I was the only one who thought NWN2 was step down from the relatively easy to control NW1.

    Both those games pale in comparison to the RTS style party controls of Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2. They could learn how to do a proper 3D control system that allows you to navigate, move/rotate/ and zoom the camera from Relic’s “Company of Heroes” games. Hell even Dungeon Siege 1 had better controls than NW2 ever did.

  28. CryingTheAnnualKingo says:

    “Which is why I ended up being really attached to the randomly generated, generic members of my FF Tactics party but couldn’t give a crap about anyone I picked up in KOTOR.”

    Ditto.

  29. Nick says:

    “Which you’re arguably doing anyways with a single-player game”

    Nono, that’s playing BY yourself. Very different.

  30. fluffy bunny says:

    I thought Neverwinter Nights 2 was okay, but after having played it for maybe ten hours I just stopped playing and never really looked back. Still, this expansion looks good and Mysteries of the Westgate seems nice too, so it’s probably a good thing I haven’t uninstalled it yet.

  31. Petrushka says:

    I must be the only person who liked the gnome in the first OC. The sound of his “Oh, YES!” whenever I gave him a commend was the only thing that kept me going as long as I did.

    I never finished it, though, I got too bored. I think it was a matter of the game being ridiculously repetitive — there was no strategy involved at all. Combat, mages unleash hell, rest. Combat, mages unleash hell, rest. I got so frustrated that I re-installed Baldur’s Gate 1, and didn’t stop until I’d finished Throne of Bhaal (for the first time, yay me!).

  32. McCool says:

    “Which is why I ended up being really attached to the randomly generated, generic members of my FF Tactics party but couldn’t give a crap about anyone I picked up in KOTOR.”

    Same here!! Though thats really just imagination taking over from bad, bad writing. Good writing would be even more ideal (I mean, this is an RPG and all..it’s what we SHOULD be expecting, not another real-time tactics game with a pause button where you fill in the gaps..)

  33. Albides says:

    Yuan-ti. I hate those guys.

    Pre-set characters generally annoy me. Because if you don’t want to be forced to use some twat of a character for a role you really need, then you’re stuffed.

    Then there’s brilliant method of characterisation Bioware pioneered, where if you want to see them develop as characters, or find out what stupid secret they refuse to tell you, you play the “guess which dialogue choice I’m thinking of!” game. And I know I don’t have to do it, but I’m the compulsive sort of gamer who’ll try to unlock something if it’s there, so yes, I’ll try to play those characters like they’re a minigame therefore defeating the whole purpose of just that sort of meaningful character development.

  34. Noc says:

    McCool: the point I was trying to make with FF Tactics is that there’s no writing at all for these guys. None of the characters involved have speaking roles, and none of them even do anything beyond tagging along and obeying your orders in battle. Hell, even the PLOT forgets about them, with the protagonist at one point commiserating with an NPC that he’s sort of been landed with a task that he has to complete “All alone,” even though there’s this incredibly dedicated cadre of folk backing him up who would literally follow him down to Hell if he asked.

    But I had my two dependable soldiers, who waded into battle and stood like rocks against all the crap the game threw at them. And my white mage who was constantly running about behind the lines furiously patching up my wounded, and occasionally diving into the thick of things to save some a guy about to bleed to death.

    I didn’t make up backgrounds or personalities for them, but aspects of their behavior (which were really just class traits and gameplay mechanics, if you come right down to it) managed to make an impression on me despite there not really being any “character” there, in the usual sense.

    Actually, now that I think of it, they DID have a couple lines. They gave reports after you sent them away on missions, and such. These were very brief “Success or Failure” bits, but they helped maintain the illusion that you were managing a company of mercenaries. And I think something to aim for: a party-based game that gives you the freedom to set up your little squad the way you want, but puts just enough life into them to make you feel like you’re working with a bunch of people but not enough to stamp them with shallow little personalities and keep their actions from speaking for themselves.

  35. malkav11 says:

    My problem with NPC party members isn’t being saddled with someone obnoxious (I’ve mostly grown to like the people I’ve adventured with in the various Bioware and Black Isle titles). It’s the way they feel bound and determined to dole them out one by one over the course of the opening third (or more!) of the game, and are extremely arbitrary in what classes they give you when. If you got to pick NPCs at the start of the game and then never had to switch if you didn’t want to, I’d be much happier. I still can’t get into Mask of the Betrayer because I played a wizard through the NWN2 OC and they then expected me to march through multiple lethal high level encounters with….another wizard. A transmuter, even. (iirc. Not one of the more useful specialists, anyhow.) Yay for going up against eight high level guys including both melee and magic with two glass cannons. :P

  36. BarkingDog says:

    If you don’t embrace the whole “I like to eat people/spirits” philosophy, you get the Bear God Okku, who makes for a pretty solid tank. He is, after all, a bear. And a god. A bear-god.
    I like most of the NPCs so far in BG/NWN, although in some cases the voice acting is a little annoying (Nightmares about being chased by someone who only says “Heya! It’s me, Imoen!”, anyone?) so I’m not sure how good this make-your-own business will be. Giving your characters personalities when you’re playing on your own smacks a little too much of imaginary friends to me. But yeah- hugely looking forward to another NWN2 expansion as I wasn’t sure if there would be one! Looking forward to cheating like a filthy cheater to give my character a million extra feats so that they can one-shot everything, with katanas.

  37. WCAYPAHWAT says:

    I honestly can’t imagine Obsidian NOT doing any character development. It’s just not them. Class/gender/stat based dialogues, perhaps?

  38. Andrew Armstrong says:

    Since this one is likely going to be pure combat, even more so then the predecessors (MOTB turns into it half way through sadly :( ), they had better polish it up, certainly with the breadth of enemies and people available to kill in various ways…and more unique encounters (make use of non-PC powers for goodness sakes! Example; traps! teleportation! puzzle battle elements! more ways to use non-combat abilities! (anyone else think stealth and pickpocket is useless?) unique item usage! who knows!).

    Anyway, will wait till it’s released to decide. Never did play Icewind Dale. With a lack of any other RPG fodder, it might be something to pass the time.

  39. Homunculus says:

    Besides, every D&D game, ever, must start with a harvest of kobolds

    In Soviet Forgotten Realms, Tucker’s Kobolds harvest you.

    Yeah, I dunno why designers insist on opening areas with dull slaughter. With the infusion of a little devious imagination, even the most disregarded of foes can become an intellectually stimulating challenge.

  40. Subject 706 says:

    Well, the NPCs in NWN2s main campaign didn’t exactly stand out as memorable, interesting or likable. Come to think of it, neither did the whole campaign. MoTB though, was brilliance distilled into ones and zeroes…
    Hopefully, this new expansion will compensate the lack of deep NPCs with a deep story. Or something.

  41. Noc says:

    The problem there is getting a properly functional AI. Unless of course you scripted the hell out of the whole thing . . .

    Hmm. I’ve been planning to install NWN2, once I heard (from here) that it can run on a Macbook with some tweakling. I might set my mind to this once it gets working; the idea of populating a high level dungeon with viciously tactical enemies tickles me in ways that must be answered.

  42. Kieron Gillen says:

    There’s apparently some very good AI mods for NWN2 which makes it more bearable.

    KG

  43. Fumarole says:

    Don’t forget Lute Hero!

  44. CryingTheAnnualKingo says:

    “Giving your characters personalities when you’re playing on your own smacks a little too much of imaginary friends to me.”

    It’s called creativity. A dirty word, I know.

    What’s the difference between characters created by the developer and ones you create yourself? How are developer made characters more “real” and somehow not your imaginary friends? Uh, all fake characters could be called imaginary friends and I like to choose my friends instead of settling for the lame ones other people make…

  45. Dean says:

    Well the developers employ proper story-writers to give the characters interesting characteristics and situations to deal with that bring them out. Maybe you can do that in your head, most people aren’t so creative.

    It’s like saying “What’s the difference between a film and just imagining a story in your head”. For Orson Welles, probably not much. For the rest of us: a lot.

  46. trevauld says:

    “you’d have to polish up your cross-language dictionary as well as your broadsword +4 against scarabs to be sure.”

    speaking of cross-language dictionaries, ‘zehir’ actually means ‘poison’ in turkish. hence the yuan-ti, i guess.