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.
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.
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.
Neverwinter Nights Podcast review.
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.
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.
Neverwinter Nights 2 Website[/URL]: Exactly what it says on the tin.
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.
: 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.