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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Fact Sheet

Default NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Fact Sheet

August 1st, 2007, 11:17
Atari sent out a fact sheet on Mask of the Betrayer today for no apparent reason, although it might be useful if you haven't read any of the previews and interviews we've previously linked. Here we go:
Following the climactic battle against the King of Shadows, you awaken alone and stranded deep beneath the earth. A dark hunger grows within you, threatening to devour your very soul. Will you fight against the hunger within or will you embrace it, revelling in your newfound power?

Set in harsh, spirit-rich Rashemen, near the powerful nation of Thay, Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer presents players with an exciting new 20-30+ hour campaign filled with meaningful choices, rich characters, and surprising outcomes. Continue the adventure of your Neverwinter Nights 2 character or create a completely new epic hero – no previous Neverwinter Nights experience required. Hundreds of new gameplay options include epic levels; feats, spells, races, and classes; powerful weapons, armour, and crafting options; and hordes of diverse creatures.

PRODUCT FEATURES:
  • Major improvements to the Neverwinter Nights franchise: enhanced graphics, including extensive use of specularity, environment effects, and normal maps; improved performance; streamlined party control; and an easier to use and more powerful toolset. Experience Neverwinter Nights 2 at its best.
  • Epic storyline provides the most riveting RPG experience since Planescape: Torment, with the compelling characters and plotlines for which Obsidian Entertainment is renowned. Play the official campaign either alone or online with your friends.
  • Stunning new environments include the Astral Plane, sunken Imaskari ruins, a Thayan wizard academy, and the Shadow Plane. Immerse yourself in the Forgotten Realms as you’ve never seen it before.
  • Explore an amazingly reactive world, where your decisions affect those around you and the passage of time realistically impacts gameplay.
  • Switch seamlessly between exploration and tactical combat with the immersive, over the shoulder view of Character Mode and the top down perspective of Strategy Mode with its RTS-like controls.
  • Combat and negotiate with dozens of new creatures including many D&D favourites such as blue dragons, treants, hags, solars, and the two-headed fell troll.
  • Choose from over 20 classic and exotic D&D races, including the new genasi: planetouched humanoids hailing from the elemental planes of air, earth, fire, or water.
  • Customize your character with over 60 epic feats including the monk’s Blazing Aura, the rogue’s Epic Precision, and the druid’s Dragon Shape.
  • Master more than 50 new spells, including epic spells such as mass fowl, damnation, and vampiric feast.
  • Play new D&D classes such as the Red Wizard of Thay, spirit shaman, and invisible blade.
  • Collect souls from defeated foes to create mighty artefacts using an expanded item enchantment system.
  • Create your own D&D adventures to play with friends online with enhanced modding tools.
More information.
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August 1st, 2007, 11:17
isn´t it strange that the foremost points on the improvements of the nwn2 addon are graphical baubles?
and it ends with how much better the mod tool is now.

where are the improvements of the gameplay? (other than streamlined partycontrol, riiight)
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August 1st, 2007, 12:31
Not all that strange - I'd have throught the vast majority of games players are more interested in how a game looks than how easy it is to mod.
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August 1st, 2007, 13:58
I have to pay for the expansion in order to get "improved performance" WTF fix it in a patch!!!!! IT was terribly broken in the original!
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August 1st, 2007, 16:04
I don't know, they seem to be putting a strong emphasis on story and atmosphere as well. It's pretty normal for teh graphix to get all the attention in a PR release. At least they're mentioning the details that show story and scripting will be an element.

I just hope they actually have improved party control and gameplay mechanics. A lot. They were pretty sorry in NWN2.

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August 1st, 2007, 18:42
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
I have to pay for the expansion in order to get "improved performance"… fix it in a patch!!!!! IT was terribly broken in the original!
I'm guessing it either will be or it includes the performance enhancements of the previous patch; ie it actually tests your system to see what it can handle now. That's been in for awhile. This comment could be for players who bought the game without patching it.

I agree it sounds bad when you look at it but remember this is just a promotional bit. NWN2 is not Dungeon Lords. It made enough money and OE is respectable enough and active enough (Rob McGinnis) with the community where they don't need to pull stunts like that to sell to an expansion.

On the other had, to me there are still way too many problems with Multiplayer, Toolset performance and other problems to justify an expansion yet.

Developer of The Wizard's Grave Android game. Discussion Thread:
http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=22520
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August 1st, 2007, 19:02
more than 50 new spells, including epic spells such as mass fowl
Ok, now I haven't seen a PnP manual since 2.0 rules, so I haven't seen that spell. But, um, I'm hoping that's supposed to be Mass Foul. No…I take it back. I hope it IS Mass Fowl and it summons 200 evil chickens to swarm your enemies ala Creeping Doom. Now THAT would be an epic spell.
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August 2nd, 2007, 12:26
"We apologize for Neverwinter Nights 2, here, let us make it up for you"
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August 2nd, 2007, 12:38
if you pay us some more money
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August 2nd, 2007, 14:16


I thought Mass Fowl clang a littlte weird to my hears —- Anyway, it could be fun to have such a spell that immediately would release 200 chickens+20 pr. level to attack all your enemies.

It has always (or for a very long time) been that way that the game's expansion fixes things in games with patch(es). I do think that the expansion will many things in NWN2 better

As the press release mentions both the astral and the shadow plane, maybe we WILL see storytelling at par with Planescape Torment. (just including the Torment game in the press release tells me that Ataria&OE know what kind of rpg'ers they're marketing MotB for, hopefully many will buy this expansion).
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August 2nd, 2007, 14:20
Nothing about iprovements to the broken combat system. I don't see any reason to play a game that puts zero effort into making a rewarding combat system, and more feats are basically useless when every battle is so simple a blind man could breeze through the game, resting every two seconds. But it warms my heart that the graphics will be improved. Who cares if the combat is so boring and repetetive that it makes the game unplayable, as long as it looks good? They know what keeps players coming back for more in a game, and thats graphics.

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August 2nd, 2007, 14:40
So don't rest between every fight. IIRC they said in an earlier interview that they're making adjustments to the rest system for MotB so you can't just spam rest and win everything. I challenge myself to rest as little as possible, I try to base my character builds on role-playing choices rather than outright min-maxing. There are a few somewhat challenging fights in the game, and you can increase the difficulty. If you're not playing on at least hardcore mode, then you can't complain when it's too easy. Resting between every fight is pure cheese, as is spamming AoEs over your own fighters on Normal Mode.

MotB is sounding pretty impressive at the moment. 25-30 hours for an expansion pack is a lot. It sounds as though the focus is on choice + consequence, more itneresting companions, easier interface etc. The camera changes (2 modes) discussed in the video that was going around recently sound great.

I enjoyed, and continue to enjoy, the OC of NWN2 quite a lot, some of the quirks notwithstanding. My main gripe is that every single choice you ever get is over-articulated to you through dialouge, and that's where you make every single choice available to you. Maybe it's because I replayed Deus Ex a couple of times recently, but it's irritating. You never make a choice through interacting with your environment. Every single one is made in a dialouge box, and the game always makes it clear exactly what the choice is, and what your options are. You can never figure out your own solutions to situations like you can in Deus Ex, there are choices in that game that you might never know you had. The Interogation in the 747 comes to mind as a good example, there are quite a few different wyas that can play out, but you might play through it without ever realising you could have changed the outcome through certain actions.
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August 2nd, 2007, 14:56
You're right. If I decide to give NWN 2 another try I will smash my head into the wall until I'm dazed, play just using my feet to control the keyboard and mouse, and not use weapons or armor to make the combat somehwat challenging. We can't expect devlopers to be competent enough to actually provide combat worth playing anymore, we must be innovative and figure out how to provide that challenge ourselves. I was a fool to expect the game to be challenging on the highest difficulty, and I must try and make the game balanced and not broken by not using the the mechanics that was provided out of the box that make the game unblalanced and broken.

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August 2nd, 2007, 16:18
I think combat in NWN2 was perfectly fine, as is group control right now (for those of you that don't know, you can select your entire party with one click now, and you can use the classic strategy game draw-a-square selecting). Performance has also been fixed in later patches, and so has AI - Qara does not blast the entire party anymore, she only uses non-aoe spells unless there is no allies around. In fact, on my latest playthrough I didnt have a single character on puppet mode and hardly paused it - the AI is simply that good now.

As for things being too easy if you rest a lot - this goes for pretty much all D&D games, including BG1-2, IWD1-2, PS:T and so on, yet I have never seen anyone complain about it. It's timeconsuming and boring to rest all the time, so I rarely do it unless I'm completely out of spells.

All in all I think the add-on sounds smashing. Best storyline and characters since PS:T? That sounds amazing, and they should know what they're talking about since it was Chris Avellone that wrote most of PS:T.
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August 2nd, 2007, 16:26
Badesumofu:
So don't rest between every fight. IIRC they said in an earlier interview that they're making adjustments to the rest system for MotB so you can't just spam rest and win everything.
The easy rest system was ridiculous, but I don't believe limiting resting alone will translate to more interesting and challenging combat. In that case the challenge in combat comes from some kind of endurance test: how much hp your character has, how many healing potions you can gulf, how much healing spells you have, how long you can run away from the enemy and kite it with ranged weapons and so on. It's the same as upping the challenge from the core rules to the hardest where enemies do more damage, it just translates to more healing and/or kiting tactics.

My idea of an interesting encounter would be something we used to see lot more in Infinity Engine games and Temple of Elemental Evil. Map design worked together with combat. Enemies were placed in realistic positions, fighters front, ranged and mages back and so on. Traps were used more often in encounters, not only in lonely corridors. AI scripts worked better and mages used spells that did more than just tickle the scrawniest wizard in the group. Especially in IWD2 where the idea wasn't to save your abilities for the next 100 encounters, but to survive from single encounters which had huge number of enemies. Instead of reserving your characters' abilities, the game encouraged to use them to their fullest potential.

NWN2 just lacks in that department. Adding few new monsters in the expansion pack doesn't do much to remedy this issue, since most monsters in dnd by themselves have only so few abilities to make the encounter largely different from other monsters. Vampires and mind flayers are good exceptions. The devs have hinted of few encounters that are out of the norm like playing king of the hill with frost giants. Still if the original vanilla NWN2 is any indication what the encounters will be like, it will be a breeze through the whole game. Though it's hard to make any educated guesses when we don't have any demos from the expansion or at least decent review of it.
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August 2nd, 2007, 16:30
It was easier to make tough encounters back then, since all you had to do was pop in a high level wizard and it became challenging - back then, wizards were overpowered beyond anything, with spelltriggers, timestop, AoE spells that could kill off a whole party, massive summoning spells and so on.

The most challenging fight in NWN2 is the dragon if you decide to solo her, and that is certainly a challenging fight (unless you prepare for it by having the perfect class setup), hopefully the add-on will have more fights like that one.

Edit: I feel I should add, most challenging fights in BG2 become redicilously easy if you bring along a properly geared Keldorn (Carsomyr, Bracers of Dexterity, etc) since he kills even the toughest casters without much difficulty unless he's unlucky.
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August 2nd, 2007, 23:53
The fight with the 3 Shadow Reavers wasn't a walk in the park either. I'm glad to hear about the select-all fix and so forth. Good that they didn't wait for the expansion to put that in, because it was crucial. And apparently they're fixing one of my biggest gripes—the "But you must take me or the game won't play right" NPC crap.

All in all, I think MotB has the possibility to do for NWN2 what Shadows of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark did for NWN, that is, build more and improved playtime into a blah original.

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August 3rd, 2007, 00:23
To me it was HotU that fixed NWN, that add-on was of very high quality.
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August 3rd, 2007, 08:50
Yeah, I agree about HoTU, it was by far the best.

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August 3rd, 2007, 11:34
Combat in NWN2 is fine.. it just isn't very fun or satisfying.

PS:T had the most satisfying combat for a D&D game that I can think of, they just got the feel and satisfaction right. Criticals felt critical, high level spells were wonders to behold and terrifying to be on the recieving end of.
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