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Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer is still the best.

CarcharodontosaurusCarcharodontosaurus Registered User
edited October 2009 in Games and Technology
NWN2.jpg

Neverwinter Nights 2 is the current iteration of Dungeons and Dragons for the PC, reasonably simulating the 3.5th Edition rules. Released in late 2006, it is a sequel to Neverwinter Nights that has been improved in just about every way imaginable. The graphics are much better, the module making engine is greatly improved, there's more monsters and classes, a new crafting system, and more besides. Some of the major features are listed below.
  • 3.5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons rules.
  • 16 Races.
  • 12 Base Classes.
  • 17 Prestige Classes.
  • Can level up to 20.
  • 30 to 40 hour long campaign in three acts.
  • Dynamic influence system with companions.
  • Meaningful choices during the campaign.
  • Electron toolset; a powerful and easy way to make modules.

The campaign out of the box is somewhat mediocre, but the Electron toolset has already been used to spawn countless modules. Some are recreated old campaigns like Pool of Radiance, some are entirely original campaigns, some are sandboxes to test builds, and some expand upon the Neverwinter Nights 2 campaign. Though it's not completely trivial to use, the Electron toolset can produce amazing results.

Screenshots ahoy!
Spoiler:
MOTB.jpg

Mask of the Betrayer improves upon the campaign in Neverwinter Nights 2 in every imaginable way, and the result is utterly fantastic. Released in late 2007, Mask of the Betrayer picked up the story from where it left off in Neverwinter Nights 2. You're still in deep trouble, as you're now horribly addicted to spirits and far away from the familiarity of the Sword Coast. It's cool though, as the journey towards finding out what's going on is an amazing one.

A neat story is one thing, but Mask of the Betrayer also delivered a tonne of new content. Epic levels up to level 30 gave us entirely new options in creating broken builds, and really lots of options in general. We got new base classes, many new prestige classes, updates to existing classes, and more feats than you can shake a pointy stick at. The most major of these features are listed below.
  • 6 New Races (Half-Drow, Wild Elf, Air Genasi, Earth Genasi, Fire Genasi, Water Genasi).
  • 2 New Base Classes (Favored Soul, Spirit Shaman).
  • 5 New Prestige Classes (Arcane Scholar of Candlekeep, Red Wizard of Thay, Invisible Blade, Sacred Fist, Stormlord).
  • Can level up to 30.
  • Campaign can be started with a new character at level 18.
  • Many new feats both epic and normal.
  • 20 to 30 hour long campaign in three acts.
  • Improved companion interaction.
  • Many meaningful choices during the campaign.
  • Updated crafting system.
  • Explore the land of Rasheman, a drastically different land to the Sword Coast.

Screenshots ahoy!
Spoiler:
MOW.jpg

Mysteries of Westgate, developed by Ossian Studios, is the first premium module for Neverwinter Nights 2, released on April the 29th. It focuses on political intrigue surrounding your acquisition of an artefact that's made some very important people very angry. There is a greater emphasis on non-combat options throughout the campaign, particularly for Rogues and other stealthy characters.

The story is much more tightly focused than Neverwinter Nights 2, as you only have three companions to deal with. Westgate itself is a dangerous and intriguing city, ensuring that there will rarely be a dull moment. There are no obvious good factions in the city, so alliances and decisions made throughout the campaign will have very interesting consequences.

Though this premium module was to be scheduled for release in late 2007, wrangling over an appropriate DRM method pushed back the release significantly. As of Storm of Zehir this DRM method had finally been agreed upon, so not only could Mysteries of Westgate finally be released, but other premium modules could also now be safely developed.
  • Worldwide release as a digital download on April the 29th. Poland may be getting hard copies.
  • No limit to the number of activations of Mysteries of Westgate.
  • Likely to cost €9.99, $9.99, or £9.99 depending on region.
  • Available for digital download from AtariSHOP, Metaboli, IGN, and possibly Steam.
  • Some mods, like TonyK's AI and Kaedrin's PrC, won't work with Mysteries of Westgate.
  • Content from Mysteries of Westgate won't initially be available for use in the Electron Toolset.

To help decide if this is worth your while to purchase, some reviews have already been written. How lucky for you.

IGN review.

Thieves-Guild.net review.

Neverwinter Nights Podcast review.

Screenshots ahoy!
Spoiler:
SOZ.jpg

Storm of Zehir is the latest expansion pack for Neverwinter Nights 2, released on November the 18th. The events in Storm of Zehir happen at the same time as the events in Mask of the Betrayer, but they have no relation to each other. In Storm of Zehir you control a new party of four adventurers in the aftermath of the events of Neverwinter Nights 2. The Sword Coast is in turmoil; established trade routes are disrupted, banditry is on the rise, monster incursions are commonplace, and the political powers of the region are at each other's throats. Which is to say the perfect climate for adventuring!

The four adventurers just mentioned are made by the player. Though you have two slots left for companions you meet in the campaign, the four main adventurers can be whatever you want to be. Better yet, if you get tired of a given adventurer you can retire them and make a new one!

But there's more to the party system than just having your own way with character creation. In conversation, your entire party is involved. No longer will your lead character be the spokesman even if they're a tactless Barbarian. Each party member can now always contribute their most useful conversation skills, removing one of the most serious problems in Neverwinter Nights 2 dialogue. Also of note is that you can actually die in Storm of Zehir; falling unconscious has been removed. You can still be brought back to life, but it adds an extra level of danger to tough encounters that wasn't there in either Neverwinter Nights 2 or Mask of the Betrayer.

There is one other major update in Storm of Zehir; the overland map. Where before it was a two dimensional picture of the Sword Coast, it's now a dynamic three dimensional map that you navigate in real time. Exploring the wilderness is now possible, and it can yield some serious rewards. Be careful though, as the further you get away from civilisation, the more dangerous random encounters get!

How do you avoid random encounters and find awesome stuff in the wilderness? By using skills that no one thought twice about before. Every skill now has a purpose that makes it worth having. Survival is crucial if you want to travel the Sword Coast and Chult whilst not getting horribly slaughtered, while spot and listen are what you need to find the special sites that give your adventurers the edge over their opponents. Hide and move silently are also even more useful, as sneaking past random encounters will occasionally be needed. Unless you want to charge in and introduce sword to evil, which is an acceptable alternative.

There is one final aspect of the new overland map that is pretty fantastic. Everyone loved the Crossroad Keep section of Neverwinter Nights 2, and the trade empire in Storm of Zehir is sure to be just as good. Remember those trade routes that are in turmoil? Take the Sword Coast's fate by the horns, and start a brand new trade empire! The economy is completely dynamic, so not only do you have to secure trade routes and resources needed to make piles of money, but you've got to compete with over trade empires as well! Quests you undertake will also have an effect on your trade empire, so it's safe to say that it's a great part of Storm of Zehir.

Without revealing anything, the story involves Yuan-Ti and their deity, Zehir. Both the race and the deity are completely evil, so it should be fun to see what they're up to. Or join them in whatever foul scheme they're up to, I guess it's up to you. Either way it's integrated with the awesome trade empire system just described, so unlike Crossroad Keep you can have fun with the trade empire throughout the entire campaign. Oh, and Volothamp Geddarm is involved. With that out of the way, here's a list of the major features of Storm of Zehir.
  • 2 New Races (Gray Orc, Yuan-Ti Pureblood).
  • 1 New Base Class (Swashbuckler).
  • 2 New Prestige Classes (Doomguide of Kelemvor, Hellfire Warlock).
  • Over 30 hour long campaign.
  • Updated crafting system.
  • New heritage feats that advance as you do.
  • New teamwork feats.
  • Powerful magic items are now rarer; magic level in Storm of Zehir lower overall.
  • New conversation system.
  • New overland map.
  • Explore both the Sword Coast and Chult.
  • Enhanced skill utility.
  • Brand new AI based on community developed AI.
  • New death mechanics similar to that in Baldur's Gate.

Screenshots ahoy!
Spoiler:

There's much more to be said about Neverwinter Nights 2 and it's expansion packs, so I've included some links for you all to peruse through.

[URL=" http://www.atari.com/nwn2/"]Official Neverwinter Nights 2 Website[/URL]: Exactly what it says on the tin.

[URL=" http://www.atari.com/nwn2/"]Official Neverwinter Nights 2 Forums[/URL]: Exactly what it says on the tin.

Neverwinter Nights 2 Wikia: An unofficial wiki for Neverwinter Nights 2. It compiles a dizzying amount of information about everything to do with Neverwinter Nights 2.

Thieves-Guild.net: An extremely well put together Neverwinter Nights 2 website that has pretty much the same information as the Neverwinter Nights 2 Wikia. Looks a lot nicer though, and has campaign related information the Wikia doesn't have.

Neverwinter Nights 2 Vault: If you want modules like Pool of Radiance, get them here. I'm sure there are other websites that host Neverwinter Nights 2 modules, but this is one of the biggest.

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Posts

  • elkataselkatas Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Fantastic game, but incredible resource hog considering how simple it is.

    Hypnotically inclined.
  • CarcharodontosaurusCarcharodontosaurus Registered User
    edited November 2008
    elkatas wrote: »
    Fantastic game, but incredible resource hog considering how simple it is.

    Tell me about it. I run the damn thing windowed at 800 x 600 because it turns to a slideshow above that. I still enjoy it a lot, but it's not well optimised.

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  • elkataselkatas Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Tell me about it. I run the damn thing windowed at 800 x 600 because it turns to a slideshow above that. I still enjoy it a lot, but it's not well optimised.

    Yeah. Would you know how faithul Pool of Radiance campaign is to original? It piqued my interest.

    Hypnotically inclined.
  • GrisloGrislo Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    It's interesting, and probably quite good, that they haven't gone epic with the second expansion. It's also interesting that they might be going for a low magic-ish approach?

    The new map and more useful skills sound fantastic. I'm almost tempted to buy it now..

    This post was sponsored by LG.

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  • PotUPotU __BANNED USERS
    edited November 2008
    I liked NWN2, loved MoTB and have high expectations for SoZ.

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  • HarshLanguageHarshLanguage Registered User
    edited November 2008
    I let NWN2 drop off my radar for a long time. Glad to hear that Ossian finally got their situation worked out for Westgate.

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  • FiarynFiaryn Omnicidal Madman Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Grislo wrote: »
    It's interesting, and probably quite good, that they haven't gone epic with the second expansion. It's also interesting that they might be going for a low magic-ish approach?

    Thing about this is is that going low magic just tends to make Clerics and Wizards more powerful, comparitively. They don't NEED magic items to stomp all over everybody.

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  • s3rial ones3rial one Registered User
    edited November 2008
    Fiaryn wrote: »
    Grislo wrote: »
    It's interesting, and probably quite good, that they haven't gone epic with the second expansion. It's also interesting that they might be going for a low magic-ish approach?

    Thing about this is is that going low magic just tends to make Clerics and [strike]Wizards[/strike] Sorcerers more powerful, comparitively. They don't NEED magic items to stomp all over everybody.

    Who knew 3d. Ed. had enormous balance problems? :P

  • FiarynFiaryn Omnicidal Madman Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    s3rial one wrote: »
    Fiaryn wrote: »
    Grislo wrote: »
    It's interesting, and probably quite good, that they haven't gone epic with the second expansion. It's also interesting that they might be going for a low magic-ish approach?

    Thing about this is is that going low magic just tends to make Clerics and [strike]Wizards[/strike] Sorcerers more powerful, comparitively. They don't NEED magic items to stomp all over everybody.

    Who knew 3d. Ed. had enormous balance problems? :P

    Just saying, they're fooling themselves if they think this low magic thing is going to work out. :P

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  • RamiRami Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    How does NWN2 stand up for someone who loves RPGs and the D&D system, but didn't enjoy the original NWN? The campaign was just really, really bad in the first one and it put me off playing any of the expansions or sequel.

    Also, is there much of a multiplayer community here? I'd love to play through the whole thing with the same bunch of players.

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  • GrisloGrislo Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Yeah, that is the huge problem with low magic worlds without modified spells. Buffed melee cleric = instant win.

    This post was sponsored by LG.

    'Get your fucking finger on the wookie'
  • BlackjackBlackjack Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    s3rial one wrote: »
    Fiaryn wrote: »
    Grislo wrote: »
    It's interesting, and probably quite good, that they haven't gone epic with the second expansion. It's also interesting that they might be going for a low magic-ish approach?

    Thing about this is is that going low magic just tends to make Clerics and [strike]Wizards[/strike] Sorcerers more powerful, comparitively. They don't NEED magic items to stomp all over everybody.

    Who knew EVERY EDITION OF D&D EVER had enormous balance problems? :P

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  • SniperGuySniperGuy Also known as Dohaeris Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited November 2008
    Oh damnit. Where did this come from? What the hell. I love this game, and now I have to buy the expansion. And finish Mercs 2, and Fable 2, and Fallout 3, and the PA Game...DAMNIT!

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  • Toxin01Toxin01 Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    SniperGuy wrote: »
    Oh damnit. Where did this come from? What the hell. I love this game, and now I have to buy the expansion. And finish Mercs 2, and Fable 2, and Fallout 3, and the PA Game...DAMNIT!

    Pretty much this, but throw in Farcry 2 and buying L4D this month

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  • elkataselkatas Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Rami wrote: »
    How does NWN2 stand up for someone who loves RPGs and the D&D system, but didn't enjoy the original NWN? The campaign was just really, really bad in the first one and it put me off playing any of the expansions or sequel..

    Original campaign in NWN2 ranged from mediocre to bad, but Mask of Betrayer is easily amongst best WRPG campaigns ever. And it looks like Storm of Zehir will be good too. Can't comment on multiplayer aspect, as I don't play online.

    Hypnotically inclined.
  • BlackjackBlackjack Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I'll never consider the NWN2 OC to be truly BAD, for one reason:

    Neeshka.

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  • elkataselkatas Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Blackjack wrote: »
    Neeshka.

    One reason more why it was bad. :P

    Hypnotically inclined.
  • RamiRami Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I'm guessing I'd need to buy the original to play Storm and Mask though right? There's probably some sort of bundle though I'm sure.

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  • elkataselkatas Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Rami wrote: »
    I'm guessing I'd need to buy the original to play Storm and Mask though right? There's probably some sort of bundle though I'm sure.

    Yeah, you need original too. But NWN2 / Mask bundles can be found for very reasonable prices. For example, I paid 20 euros for mine, and that was about nine months ago.

    Hypnotically inclined.
  • KiTAKiTA Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    MoTB was probably the best CRPG to come out in a great many years.

    SoZ looks AWESOME and hits in 2 weeks. It has a serious Warriors of the Eternal Sun feel, for those who played good Genesis games back in the day.

    time to crash, the dawn is up, the sun gleems out glorious ps4 sunbeams and i can trade those sunbeams and do whatever i want with them.
  • GoodKingJayIIIGoodKingJayIII Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Interesting, I was just thinking I should pick up NWN2 for the new computer.

    I did not like the original at all, nor did the expansions really grab me (there's something about having a high level character with excellent gear getting all his shit taken away that really bugs me). Combat was not interesting, the characters were silly, and the plot was mediocre.

    Since I'm going to be playing Fallout 3 for a while, perhaps I'll grab the NWN2/MotB/SoZ bundle in a few months.

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  • captainkcaptaink TexasRegistered User regular
    edited November 2008
    MotB is awesome. The whole story is about faith and the afterlife, with some really cool environments and supporting characters. If you haven't played either yet, get the combo pack for MotB at least. The original campaign is...workmanlike. It alternates between being rather good and rather tedious.

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  • HarshLanguageHarshLanguage Registered User
    edited November 2008
    captaink wrote: »
    MotB is awesome. The whole story is about faith and the afterlife, with some really cool environments and supporting characters. If you haven't played either yet, get the combo pack for MotB at least. The original campaign is...workmanlike. It alternates between being rather good and rather tedious.

    Philosophers will some day ponder why both NWNs shared such similarities in the quality of their OCs versus their expansions.

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  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I could never get through the main campaign of NWN2. Can you start MoTB fresh, or do you have to import a character from an NWN2 campaign?

    I also wish the game itself didn't run like crap on my decent PC.

    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
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  • OatsOats Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    I could never get through the main campaign of NWN2. Can you start MoTB fresh, or do you have to import a character from an NWN2 campaign?

    I also wish the game itself didn't run like crap on my decent PC.

    You can start fresh.

  • s3rial ones3rial one Registered User
    edited November 2008
    elkatas wrote: »
    Blackjack wrote: »
    Neeshka.

    One reason more why it was bad. :P

    They're continuing a proud D&D tradition!
    Okay guys. We're scattering traps and locks everywhere! Better get a rogue!

    Oh, don't feel like playing a rogue? That's okay. We'll give you an NPC rogue! But she'll be a whiny, sniveling, evil tart with terrible AI and a voice as pleasing as chewing tin foil. And she'll be the only option.

  • warder808warder808 Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    How are the controls? I remember I played the first game a lot, and then I played WoW for a long time. When I went back to NWN, I hated the controls.

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  • captainkcaptaink TexasRegistered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Better than the first, NWN, they got rid of the retarded circle menu system. Still somewhat clunky though.

    You can start fresh at something like level 18. So if you have some crazy build that's not good until high levels, you can skip the painful parts.

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  • FiarynFiaryn Omnicidal Madman Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    captaink wrote: »
    Better than the first, NWN, they got rid of the retarded circle menu system.

    If it weren't for the fact that there's nothing of genuine use in the right click menus anymore, I'd have sure as hell've preferred the radial menu of NWN1 over the sluggish drop down menus of NWN2.

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  • BlackjackBlackjack Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    s3rial one wrote: »
    elkatas wrote: »
    Blackjack wrote: »
    Neeshka.

    One reason more why it was bad. :P

    They're continuing a proud D&D tradition!
    Okay guys. We're scattering traps and locks everywhere! Better get a rogue!

    Oh, don't feel like playing a rogue? That's okay. We'll give you an NPC rogue! But she'll be a whiny, sniveling, evil tart with terrible AI and a voice as pleasing as chewing tin foil. And she'll be the only option.
    You're both wrong. And also crazy. Possibly soulless. Neeshka was awesome.

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  • Alfred J. KwakAlfred J. Kwak Registered User
    edited November 2008
    I still haven't gotten over the conceptual phase of my NWN2 module project. Having said that, this is gonna be a day one purchase for me.

  • KiTAKiTA Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Blackjack wrote: »
    s3rial one wrote: »
    elkatas wrote: »
    Blackjack wrote: »
    Neeshka.

    One reason more why it was bad. :P

    They're continuing a proud D&D tradition!
    Okay guys. We're scattering traps and locks everywhere! Better get a rogue!

    Oh, don't feel like playing a rogue? That's okay. We'll give you an NPC rogue! But she'll be a whiny, sniveling, evil tart with terrible AI and a voice as pleasing as chewing tin foil. And she'll be the only option.
    You're both wrong. And also crazy. Possibly soulless. Neeshka was awesome.

    That's true, she was awesome.

    That being said, the next NPC rogue I see in NWN2: SoZ had better be modeled after Sean Connery's Bond. A swashbuckler/rogue would rock.

    Or Mr. Bean.

    time to crash, the dawn is up, the sun gleems out glorious ps4 sunbeams and i can trade those sunbeams and do whatever i want with them.
  • Alfred J. KwakAlfred J. Kwak Registered User
    edited November 2008
    KiTA wrote: »

    That's true, she was awesome.

    That being said, the next NPC rogue I see in NWN2: SoZ had better be modeled after Sean Connery's Bond. A swashbuckler/rogue would rock.

    Or Mr. Bean.

    It's on you to creat your party from scratch and then apply prefab personalities to them. This should certainly be within limits.

  • KiTAKiTA Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    KiTA wrote: »

    That's true, she was awesome.

    That being said, the next NPC rogue I see in NWN2: SoZ had better be modeled after Sean Connery's Bond. A swashbuckler/rogue would rock.

    Or Mr. Bean.

    It's on you to creat your party from scratch and then apply prefab personalities to them. This should certainly be within limits.

    There are 6 party slots in SoZ. You only create 4.

    time to crash, the dawn is up, the sun gleems out glorious ps4 sunbeams and i can trade those sunbeams and do whatever i want with them.
  • CarcharodontosaurusCarcharodontosaurus Registered User
    edited November 2008
    Blackjack wrote: »
    s3rial one wrote: »
    elkatas wrote: »
    Blackjack wrote: »
    Neeshka.

    One reason more why it was bad. :P

    They're continuing a proud D&D tradition!
    Okay guys. We're scattering traps and locks everywhere! Better get a rogue!

    Oh, don't feel like playing a rogue? That's okay. We'll give you an NPC rogue! But she'll be a whiny, sniveling, evil tart with terrible AI and a voice as pleasing as chewing tin foil. And she'll be the only option.
    You're both wrong. And also crazy. Possibly soulless. Neeshka was awesome.

    I never understood the hate for Neeshka. She was one of my favorite NPCs in Neverwinter Nights 2, even if her alignment wasn't correct for her behavior.

    Mask of the Betrayer Ending Spoiler:
    Spoiler:

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  • SilpheedSilpheed Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    Blackjack wrote: »
    s3rial one wrote: »
    elkatas wrote: »
    Blackjack wrote: »
    Neeshka.

    One reason more why it was bad. :P

    They're continuing a proud D&D tradition!
    Okay guys. We're scattering traps and locks everywhere! Better get a rogue!

    Oh, don't feel like playing a rogue? That's okay. We'll give you an NPC rogue! But she'll be a whiny, sniveling, evil tart with terrible AI and a voice as pleasing as chewing tin foil. And she'll be the only option.
    You're both wrong. And also crazy. Possibly soulless. Neeshka was awesome.

  • GoodKingJayIIIGoodKingJayIII Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I just noticed that SoZ is making magic items more rare. That seems like a bad idea.

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  • CarcharodontosaurusCarcharodontosaurus Registered User
    edited November 2008
    I just noticed that SoZ is making magic items more rare. That seems like a bad idea.

    It practically means that the more powerful magic items are harder to find. You'll get magic items, it's just you won't find +6 Swords of Sneak Attack Immunity.

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  • GoodKingJayIIIGoodKingJayIII Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I just noticed that SoZ is making magic items more rare. That seems like a bad idea.

    It practically means that the more powerful magic items are harder to find. You'll get magic items, it's just you won't find +6 Swords of Sneak Attack Immunity.

    I suppose that's not so bad. As has been discussed, I'm more concerned with "needing" to play a spellcaster of some kind.

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  • TerrendosTerrendos Decorative Monocle Registered User regular
    edited November 2008
    I'm hoping that SoZ won't be focused on the Sword of Gith. I prefer making my own weapons for my protagonist and naming them myself. And that's aside from the problems inherent to having a "universal sword" and its inability to, you know, not be a greatsword or spear or whatever weapon I actually want to use.

    That said, MotB is still a fantastic game. There's not many RPGs that lack "that one character" that I can't stand and want to see die horribly... which is ironic, because it's one of the few games where you're granted the chance to do just that.

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