Ever-Win: Neverwinter Nights 2 On Steam

By Quintin Smith on January 3rd, 2011 at 1:32 pm.

One-eyed Dirk's fatal mistake was in assuming that the goblins were not far away, but in fact very small.

What happened while RPS was closed for the year? Well, I ate enough parsnips to kill a horse, got given a Nerf gun for Christmas and almost shot my girlfriend in the eye with it (I’ll get her next time!).

Also, Neverwinter Nights 2: Platinum Edition was released on Steam and is currently enjoying a 50% off sale. I was never ‘inta Neverwinter myself, let alone its huge modding community, but RPS reader Andrew “Block-Rocking” Brockert has provided us with some advice on how to get to the good stuff.

IGN’s NWN Vault is where it’s at, apparently, and you can browse all the top-rated mods right here. Mr. Brockert recommends Planescape: Purgatorio and Harp & Chrysanthemum. For multiplayer shenaniguns he says you should simply use the game’s in-built server browser and pick a server from a category that sounds good to you. Finally, he says the IRC channel #nwn2cr at http://irc.nwn2source.net/ is a nice place to be.

But perhaps a wealth of free content doesn’t interest you. Perhaps you just want to watch a trailer of Neverwinter Nights 2 and see how it’s aged. Relax! I’ve got you covered. It’s aged like this:

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59 Comments »

  1. Out Reach says:

    Time Remaining: 5 Hours and 19 Minutes….

    DOWNLOAD FASTER….

  2. Pike says:

    If you haven’t played Mask of the Betrayer (the first expansion for NWN2) then you should. That is all.

    • MrMud says:

      yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes!

    • dadioflex says:

      Yeah, that’s the one. I hated it. Never did finish it. It was like getting dragged across broken glass slowly, only to discover you’d forgotten something so you had to drag yourself back and repeat until the will to live had been ground out of you.

    • jaheira says:

      Mask of the Betrayer had the single most annoying character in all of gaming in it. I speak of course of Gann-of-Dreams, aka The Reason to Turn on Friendly Fire. What a punchable twat.

      Storm of Zehir was much better.

    • Wulf says:

      This is proof to me that what I keep saying about Britain becoming the anti-intellectual mecca, bastion of brutish, unromantic, jaded thugs is completely true. :p I’ve been saying this a lot lately, I’ve been lamenting the cultural decline of our country to a few friends, even American ones. All those jokes of hicks need to be aimed at the UK, these days, as I feel that ‘good old Blighty’ is blighted with them as much as if not more than any other nation at the moment.

      The lack of appreciation for New Vegas, and Mask of the Betrayer, one a game with choice and consequence elevated to an artform at times, and the other one of the most beautifully romantic games I’ve ever played, laden with emotional sucker punches, tells me that. I think that most British gamers are too jaded, these days. I have to wonder if some of you feel anything. :p

      Nonetheless, I second the Mask of the Betrayer recommendation, for what it’s worth to this audience.

    • Subject 706 says:

      Horses for Courses i guess. I hated the main campaign in NWN2. I thought it was the nadir of Obsidians storytelling. Add to that the horrible engine & camera, and I was less than happy.

      Mask Of the Betrayer, which I bought due to word of mouth, redeemed Obsidian again. Now it was a shit engine but a GREAT GREAT story. (And several nice little touches, like the horrible 3D heads for the NPCs replaced with painted portraits)

      Storm Of Zehir I had high hopes for, but it disappointed…

    • Foosnark says:

      I was so annoyed and bored by the main campaign I never tried any expansions. I had enjoyed the hell out of NWN1 and its expansions and some of its player-made content, but by the time I finally tried NWN2, it was really not what I wanted at all.

      To me, D&D is a game that’s full of customization and character choices… so a game where you simply cannot choose to orient your combat style around ranged weapons (at least in early levels) because you can’t frigging buy anything, including arrows, has pretty much no appeal.

      I quit NWN2 and played DDO instead for a while.

    • Jockie says:

      Loved Motb for the story, but it kind of breaks the combat (even more). 3.5 dnd is not made for crpgs and the engine is poor. Then add on top of that epic levels, which are like a poorly tacked on afterthought in 3.5 and you have a mess.

      Still worth a play though, nwn2 oc starts off slowly, but since Motb carries on where it left off, it’s worth going through both of them.

      I didn’t finish SoZ though, found it extremely tedious.

      As for custom modules, Dark Waters 1&2 are very cleverly made, managing to get more out of the engine than Obsidian ever did, while Harp & Chrysantheum is beautiful.

      I thought Purgatorio died in some development hell to be honest.

    • malkav11 says:

      There’s a partial Purgatorio release that appears to be being actively updated. It’s a far cry from the (admittedly overambitious) sprawling trilogy they once promised, though. I wonder if we’ll ever see that.

  3. Xercies says:

    I really want to get this game but I just have spent a bit to much and also I probably won’t have the time to really get into it. I am torn though, oh RPS what should I do?

    • AndrewC says:

      Hrrm, I think you just killed games journalism, Quinns.

      1st rule of reviewing: is game better than nerf machine gun?

      2nd rule: Of course it isn’t

      3rd rule: recommend nerf machine gun.

      4: pub.

    • Lilliput King says:

      @Xercies: Give it a miss.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      AndrewC: I’m currently trying to persuade the others that we replace Wot I Thinks with IIBTANGs, or Is It Better Than A Nerf Gun(s).

    • Ubiquitous says:

      Capital idea Mr Smith! I dare say you should include IIBTANGs at least as a sub feature of all Wot I Think’s from here on out! Just a quick little tidbit at the end of each article would be fantastic.

    • wcaypahwat says:

      I already own both. What do *I* do?!?

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      I’ve been replaying DA:O too with a new computer, and have it set on hard. Am loving the pauses because I *need* them to survive some encounters.

  4. dadioflex says:

    I bought NWN2 when it came out and couldn’t play it without constant crashing until it had been epically patched. The first expansion introduced a game mechanic that I found to be incredibly annoying and by about halfway through the game if you hadn’t been meticulous about gear and min-maxing, your party was doomed to perpetual re-loads.

    Never did buy the second expansion.

    Is there ANY kind of casual fun to be had from fan-made modules? I honestly no longer have the interest to micro-manage a party with pauses every three seconds.

    • Eclipse says:

      “micro-manage a party with pauses every three seconds”

      So you don’t like either Baldur’s Gate nor Ultima VII… it’s an RPG not an RTS, there isn’t something like “micro management” when the whole purpose of the game is to manage your party.
      Maybe you’ll like more Torchlight and the “Diablo-likes”, they’re faster and good for instant hack’n'slashing and mindless looting… usually I enjoy both the genres.

      If you want an unsuspectingly good rpg (with a nice plot, too) search for Numen: Contest of Heroes on steam

    • Eclipse says:

      [ Damned RPS spam filter :( ]

      “micro-manage a party with pauses every three seconds”

      So you don’t like either Baldur’s Gate nor Ultima VII… it’s an RPG not an RTS, there isn’t something like “micro management” when the whole purpose of the game is to manage your party.
      Maybe you’ll like more Torchlight and the “Diablo-likes”, they’re faster and good for instant hack’n'slashing and mindless looting… usually I enjoy both the genres.

      If you want an unsuspectingly good rpg (with a nice plot, too) search for Numen: Contest of Heroes on steam

    • Wulf says:

      I’m the kind of person who managed to make it through The Witcher on his first playthrough whilst barely using alchemy, and this tells me that I must be automatically very good at this kind of game.

      Or maybe I read tutorial notes.

      The game clearly tells you that you can suppress your hunger around spirits, there are many areas in the game filled with them, and Okku is a giant bloody spirit bear. I actually found it much to easy to handle my spirit metre, so much so that it didn’t seem like a burden to me. And when I see posts like this (this isn’t the first), I tend to scratch my head and wonder what people are on about.

      Then it occurs to me: Most people probably don’t read tutorial notes.

    • scottossington says:

      Eclipse, I am going to try this Numen you speak of. I have come across it a couple of times when looking for a hacker and slasher and it is only $3.49 how can you go wrong.

    • Ubiquitous says:

      I love those kinds of games. I’m replaying DA:O because I’ve been meaning to and I’ve just purchased Awakening. Oh, and I definitely pause more often than every 3 seconds in that game, and love it.

      And now I have ANOTHER crpg to play super control-freak with?!?! I’m in heaven! Now if only Bioware would make Dragon Age 2 and NOT turn it into Dragon Effect… I still have hopes…

    • malkav11 says:

      There’s a tiny mod that can adjust or turn off the spirit eating mechanic. I installed it immediately because I hated the very idea of that mechanic.

  5. Thirith says:

    Has anyone played the two mods mentioned? I’m definitely curious, but I’ve grown fed up with the D&D template. If the writing, storytelling and characters aren’t good (and not just “good for a mod”), I don’t even want to get started on them. For the record, I disliked the original NWN 2 campaign and liked Mask of the Betrayer a lot.

    • Wulf says:

      Yay you! I didn’t think Neverwinter Nights 2 was that bad, but it definitely stuck with the cliché D&D template and suffered for it. Though I delighted at how much Grobnar annoyed people, since I’m very good at being annoying in a very similar way to Grobnar. Yes, I liked Grobnar.

      Anyone who uses a dwarf as a unit of measurement gets my accolade.

      But yeah, it suffered because it was too typical of ye olde fantasy setting. This is where Mask excelled though, wasn’t it? Mask was exotic and had a cast of truly interesting and unique characters. Some of my happiest memories are of banter between myself, Okku, and Gannyev.

      Gannyev is interesting, in much the same way Grobnar is. Some seem to hate him, and it seems to be because they feel intimidated by him. He’s eloquent, witty, handsome, and clever, things that many people are not, and it amazes me how petty some people can with why they dislike certain characters. Though perhaps I liked him because I’m gay, and he’s a romantic, clever old sod whom I find entirely appealing as a character. I know not.

      But really, I’m no intellectual height, quite a simple person, truly. So I’ll never understand why some people are so freaked out by Gann. I guess it’s a matter of humility, some can’t appreciate a character who might be cleverer and more interesting than they are as a person. :p

    • jeremypeel says:

      @Wulf

      I haven’t got around to NWN2 yet (will do, don’t push me, I bruise easily), but I wonder if your bemusement over reaction to Gannyev has anything to do with him being a companion rather than a protagonist. Plenty of gender analysis of mainstream cinema holds that us males generally identify with protagonists as idealised versions of ourselves, combining our voyeurism with their wooing and saving of (usually) passive females.

      There’s no real arguing that RPG protagonists are idealised projections – Christ, we usually get to order them to fit our specifications – and most companion design errs towards giving us passive objects to save or steer as we see fit. They’re usually ‘followers’ rather than ‘companions’, inherently lesser and unthreatening. It might be that your Gannyev is too active, too charismatic to fit the bill for a lot of players.

  6. Navagon says:

    Personally I was never a fan of NWN1. It seemed to be a very identity confused Diablo clone that felt the need to dress up and play at being a proper D&D game.

    NWN2 I found immediately enjoyable and is still by far the best Obsidian game I’ve played.

  7. Schaulustiger says:

    This might be my favorite D&D game, ranked even above the Baldur’s Gate saga. I can’t say what it is, but the original campaign feels like a cheesy, oldschool cookie-cutter D&D adventure. Since I use the real P&P game for better storytelling, I immensely enjoy playing through NWN2 over and over again to satisfy my secret munchkin needs.

  8. EthZee says:

    Important question: what nerf gun did you get, Quintin?

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Looking for a picture just now I have realised it is by the far one of the lss impressive nerf weapons currently on the market and now I am depressed.

      http://nerfguns.net/n-strike/nite-finder/

    • EthZee says:

      Don’t get depressed! Get one of these:

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Double-Shot-Rifle-darts-shells/dp/B000IGAC8G

      It’s not official Nerf but it’s a double barreled nerf shotgun. With shells that pop out when you reload it. If that’s not excellent I don’t know what is.

    • cwoac says:

      Quitin: Do not fret, for the nite finder is actually one of the premier pieces of nerf weaponry. Just as soon as you remove the limiters it has built into it. It actually gets a stupid amount of range with the built in sprint, plus you get a mildly ominous twang when it fires

    • Noterist says:

      I could lose an entire evening looking at these things.

      “The day has come where a Nerf gun is so big it takes an adult to use, and the Longshot is just this.”
      Nerf Longshot

      Also, people have made some crazy mods to these things. Nerf guns inside Halo Rifles, W40K Heavy Bolters, GoW chainsaws.. madness!

      Edit: IIMMTANG … Is it more modable than a nerf gun? NWN2 would do well in this category.

  9. scottossington says:

    I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed the parsnip soup that my girlfriend made for Christmas. As for the NWN 2, for some reason I have bought it twice and then lost complete interest when it got to the city. Just out of curiosity has anyone noticed that Bioware/Obsidian has a plague in most of their games? Must be the Doctors who run Bioware, maybe they are paranoid?

  10. Alaric says:

    NWN2 is one of the worst games I have ever played, both engine-wise and story-wise. I can’t believe many people have good things to say about it.

  11. Lukasz says:

    Hmmm. didn’t fall in love with NVW 2

    Not sure how far i got but everything seemed like meh. to me. it wasn’t bad per say. just not lovable.
    even camera annoyed me for quite some time till i learned how to use it actively.

    will try it again someday for sure.

  12. maerduin says:

    Hey, thanks for mentioning my mod, Harp & Chrysanthemum. I hope this Steam sale convinces enough people to try NWN2 and consequently gets me working on the sequel.

  13. dunniteowl says:

    If you’re looking for modules (we call them mods, but these are fully separate and independant game play efforts made by those who use the Toolset, which are not to be confused with “Mods” in the classic sense of a modification made to improve upon the gameplay — which are also on the IGN Vault) then I can strongly recommend:
    Legacy of White Plume Mountain
    Dark Waters 1 & 2
    Harp and Chrysanthemum
    Last of the Danaan
    Nighthowls in Nestlehaven
    The Red Prison
    Thayvian Nights
    Misery Stone
    Pool of Radiance: Remastered
    Path of Evil
    Islander: A Dagger Forged
    The Wizard’s Apprentice (a short first timer module, but very interesting if you like Wizards)
    Trinity

    And there are plenty more to choose from beyond that. Also, are you tired of playing solo with no other interaction with what might be loosely called “humankind?” There are plenty of Persistent Worlds (which are sort of kind of like mini MMOs without the BS and griefers) to choose from.
    There are action servers, PvP only, Heavy RP, RP Lite, PvE/PvM, Social (which is a fancy euphemism for “Mostly Nekkid”) and others that might be a cross between several other playing styles.

    I freely admit. I never finished the OC (Original Campaign — I got bored before I got to Cross Roads Keep) and I never even opened up Mask of the Betrayer as a game ( I got it for the assets) and I played Storm of Zehir for about 6 hours to get a feel for it while I was playtesting Misery Stone and Legacy of White Plume Mountain for the authors.

    I can honestly tell you that if you haven’t played this game in a while, then you’re missing out on some pretty solid gameplay and if you haven’t tried some Community Made Modules, you’re missing some very creative and innovative opportunities.

    Yes, the camera controls are relatively wonky, but you’ll adjust. You don’t like the GUIs *(well neither do a lot of folks and they’ve done something about it) then just go to the vault and get SlimGui or any one of the other optional modifications that make the Screen Management easier, friendlier and more useful without jacking your ‘real estate’ for viewing.

    As a side note, there are a few folks out there using the MP *(Multiplayer) functionality of this game to play co-op in the campaigns (which can be done, but honestly, has it’s serious limitations) and there are still others who use the MP functionality to run DMd events and game sessions on a regular basis.

    Think about that. You can get your old group together without ever having to leave town, or even your house and play in a DMd campaign where you get to affect what happens next, just as if you were plahying a PnP session. Sure it’s hard to put a campaign together, but that’s what the Prefabbed Areas are for on the Vault, to save you time from building so you can build a session without spending too much time in the toolset.

    There are many ways to enjoy the game. Honestly, for me, I just love dabbling in the toolset and learning how to do weird stuff and making things with the assets that test and try the game’s ability to keep running. But that’s just me. There are other really productive and creative folks out there just waiting for you to download their efforts and have you play them or use them.

    I think this game, along with it’s predecessor, NWN, are worth double what you pay for them, but at these prices, how can you really go wrong? And if you do have troubles, we have forums full of folks and on the NWN2 IRC chat mentioned in the article above, who are more than happy to assist.

    And of course, Your Mileage May Vary, but don’t say you weren’t encouraged to give it a whirl. Honestly, how often do you still play Spore, or Call of Duty: Pacific Front? After just over 4 years, I still play with NWN2.

    best regards,
    dunniteowl
    (Official NWN2 Forums Moderator, Admin/Mod of “The NeverWinter Citadel Project” and budding 3D modeler.)

    • Fumarole says:

      As a side note, there are a few folks out there using the MP *(Multiplayer) functionality of this game to play co-op in the campaigns (which can be done, but honestly, has it’s serious limitations) and there are still others who use the MP functionality to run DMd events and game sessions on a regular basis.

      Playing through the NWN2 OC as a Svirfneblin rogue with three other party members while LANing was one of my gaming highlights of the recent past. We never quite made it to the end; that may be because I was stealing everything not nailed down, to the financial distress of the other party members. For some reason they lost interest in continuing after they realized just how much of the game’s wealth was in my possession, the selfish bastards.

  14. Barman1942 says:

    I would pick these up if i hadn’t just spent $20 on Europa Universalis III Complete, the expansion and that other EU game that came after 2 and before 3.

  15. FCA says:

    I bought this game a few days ago when it first appeared on Steam, and haven’t gone very far yet (still stuck in the merchant quarter) but boy, is this a frustrating game. Maybe just quit the OC, try the expansions and the mods.

    Warning: Long rant + mild spoilers ahead.

    1. Braindead story and questdesign. OK, you start out of your village to collect all mysterious shards. Before you get your second piece however, you’ve gone to so much trouble to get it (just to arrive there) that you’ve forgotten what all the fuss was about. And then you spend 8 hours or more just to get around a plotdoor. Really? Of course, there are hints the trouble with the shards is related to all problems you encounter along the way, but why have I got to rescue (or kill, if you take the evil part) some random informant, plod through a warehouse, kill hundreds of mooks (more on that later) just to see some wizard who might have some information on the shards. Is there really no-one else, in some city which doesn’t wall off the entire rich man’s section just because somebody who had it coming is mysteriously murdered. And, since it is D&D (see point 3), why don’t the good citizens revolt if this blockade happens to take several weeks? Don’t they starve? And of course, no real side quests to speak of. The ones that are there are just “fetch/kill this along the way to your main objective, please?”. Given the actual tediousness of the main quest, this is really irritating.

    2. Braindead AI and aggrevating mooks. Really. I’ve played through Baldur’s Gate 2 several times, also with extra “tactical” mods installed (Tactics, Sword Coast Stratagems, Ascension), so I have no problem with difficult combat. But to have to rest after each encounter with the same group of thugs (3-4 normals + 1 mage type) in order to recover hit points and spells is just too much. And that’s if you’re lucky. Quite often one of your companions will rush of in the general direction of an enemy you just saw, only to be slaughtered effectively, forcing you to reload. And this is on easy, against thugs with challenge rating Easy to Moderate when I check. The actual boss fights seem to be much easier, and more unique at least, but before you get there, you have to grind a lot. The companions also just seem like an obstacle. I’m only reloading when they die because they provide the most fun side quests, and it is kind of hard to grind further without them.

    3. Irritating engine + rules. The camera has been mentioned already, the UI is quite meh.. I think it looks kind of pretty (especially compared to NWN 1), but that’s it. Also, really, D&D 3.5 is just bad for actual roleplaying on a computer. There are tons of options, but you only find out that you’ve made a truly terrible character and should just grab a build from some website after a few hourse of grind, in which case you either have to start over (and just quit…), or download a save game editor. Also, there are just too many things to keep track of. Crafting, feats, skills, your approval ratings. And most merchants only restock very basic items. I´ve exhausted my supply of healing kits already, so that´s a lot more resting. Which is also very immersion breaking. I´m supposed to rescue an informant, pronto, but inside his house I take several naps in order to have any chance of succeeding? I know it was lamented by many, but Dragon Age did this at least right…

    So, why am I still playing? I keep hoping it gets better (I mean, the game wasn’t universally panned as bad as I’m describing, so there must be something good after this bit, right?), and I heard that the 1st expansion builds on the original campaign and is actually quite good. And there is also a bit of me that doesn’t allow me to quit a game “just because it’s too hard”.

    Sorry for the rant, but it felt good getting it of my chest.

    • Arglebargle says:

      Good call. Bad UI along with murky and haphazard D&D rules: Yuck. Poisons the game for me, and no number of decent fan made mods will convince me to suffer through another run. Deleted off the hard drive for me.

      A bad user interface causes problems every second it is in use.

    • MrMud says:

      Turn off all party AI.
      Sure its alot more micro management but less frustration with the party AI doing stupid things.

  16. dogsolitude_uk says:

    Oh FFS, I went to buy it and the price shot up to £15 from £7.49… :(

    Bl00dy Steam… Why don’t they give us any warning?

    *sob*

    • Navagon says:

      Hey look on the bright side. Steam screwed up my transaction and despite the games being added to my account they now seem to have been removed without any explanation.

      Wankers.

    • dogsolitude_uk says:

      Jeez. You have my sympathies Navagon.

      Hm. Come to think of it my g/f’s still awaiting a password reset too!

    • Navagon says:

      Seriously? That should be handled automatically, surely? I don’t know about Steam as so far I’ve never needed to reset my password with them. But given their usual level of customer service (crap) I would have thought they’d want to automate the process.

  17. Navagon says:

    PYA WITH PYAPAL NOW OR THIS SPAM BOT WILL HAVE STARVATION FOR DINNER

  18. mbourgon says:

    So did Obsidian at some point finally make it Not Suck? Never got past the first act – either the graphics stunk or the performance was dreadful or both, combined with a horrid camera and a merely passable story. I don’t expect the story to have changed, but the others?

    • Lilliput King says:

      Nope.

      Actually, I feel duty bound to explain that the expansions improve on the camera somewhat by giving you more control options, but the engine is still a turd on all fronts.

  19. derella says:

    NWN2 was such a mess of a game. MotB was much better in regards to story, but it still had character models that made Oblivion look like fine art, and one of the shittiest engines around.

  20. outoffeelinsobad says:

    Casavir: “Betrayer!”

  21. Lacero says:

    If anyone (like me) prefers combat to be a bit easier than it sometimes can be, here’s a set of power builds for nwn2.
    http://nwn2.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Power_Builds

    There are some normal builds on that site too, but if you absolutely must have an AC of 58 and 18 attacks per round at end game it will show you the way to munchkin heaven.

  22. malkav11 says:

    NWN2: yet another Obsidian game far better than its predecessor yet dismally overlooked. And while I’ll say that MOTB is unquestionably better than the original campaign, that original campaign is a decently enjoyable adventure with a beautiful evil option, endingwise. Certainly far better than the absurdly dull, repetitive and badly designed OC for NWN1. (Though that game’s expansions do redeem it somewhat.) And while it suffers somewhat from starting from the atrocious Aurora Engine, it is at least far more attractive and user friendly, has a better implementation of the rules, and SUPPORTS AN ACTUAL PARTY OH MY GOD. -seethe at NWN1-

    Unfortunately, it’s never had the fan support NWN1 did (I gather that among other things the NWN2 version of the module construction tools is more difficult to come to grasps with), so most of the best fan content is still stuck with the godawful shambling mess of an engine and ruleset Bioware inflicted on the world. -sigh-

  23. iamstillwater says:

    Here’s my issue.

    I bought the game and the two expansions ages ago when they came out.

    Will those copies work on Windows 7, or do I need to purchase them through Steam just to be able to play them again?

  24. Cephlin says:

    The Forgotten Realms is a nice online server to play on with a friendly ventrilo channel too.