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Neverwinter Nights 2 MP and DM Client Review

by Corwin, 2007-06-11

A few weeks ago I presented my thoughts on what was wrong with the SP campaign in NWN2. Today I turn my attention to the MP aspect of the game and the DM client as it currently stands. I can’t comment on the Toolset, important as it is, since I have never used it and don’t intend to. I’ll leave that to those more skilled than I. However, I have both played - and at times DM’d - most of the decent multiplayer modules created for the original NWN, so it was with great anticipation and expectation that I ventured into the multiplayer world of NWN2.

The first major problem is the paucity of MP mods. While there are now quite a few SP mods being produced, for me the enjoyment is found playing multiplayer online with a group of friends. This is proving difficult to do, but I have high hopes that more top class modules will soon be released.

One area of concern I had with MP was the fear that each member of a party would be forced to enter the same building with everyone else. This has not proved to be a problem. Only the use of ‘World’ transitions kept everyone on the same map - we could enter different buildings, dungeons, etc, with no problem at all. Some modules did have unexpected group transitions built into them (imagine being in the middle of trading when someone else triggers one) but this is more a decision by the mod builder than any problem with the game itself. Targeting can still be a real hassle, especially in large, frenetic encounters, but this is a carryover from the SP campaign and is not exclusive to MP. Cut scenes are not perfect, but in the mods I’ve played they have generally been handled better than in the original.

So far, I have enjoyed the few MP mods I’ve tackled and without considering the flaws within those mods, I’d say we can all look forward to enjoyable play once the builders produce a few more MP mods. Hopefully, the patches currently being developed will address the Toolset concerns, which appear to have limited this number.

Unfortunately, my experience with the DM client has NOT been a pleasant experience. I can think of only one small thing it does better than the original, and many things it does FAR worse. In its current form, it is worse than useless and the word ‘pathetic’ is the kindest adjective I can think of.

Gone is the nice large menu bar with the key commands, gone is the pre-generated DM avatar that allowed you to quickly enter a game and fix a problem. Gone are the interactive portraits you could use to talk to the players, move the players, or which allowed you to move to them. Now, moving players, or moving yourself to the same map as your players is a nightmare.

The other useful tool - the creator - is now a total agonising pain to use. Gone are all the neat, obvious menu headings, which helped you find what you were looking for quickly and efficiently. Now, nearly everything is stored alphabetically under ‘Miscellaneous’. It took me ages to find the items I wanted; ages when my players were standing idle while I had to pause the game and hunt through unhelpful menus. In NWN, Potions could be found under a heading called Potions - sane and sensible, so why is there no such heading now in NWN2? Where would you expect to find belts, gloves and boots? Don’t look under armour or clothing.

The good news is that the Obsidian has acknowledged the DM client is not at the stage it should be. Therefore, my expectation is that they will listen to the complaints being raised and eventually, via patches, fix the glaring problems and give us a tool we can use easily and effectively.
 
Bottom line, while the MP aspect of the game is looking good, there isn’t yet much available. However, if you’re intending to DM a great campaign, then I’d suggest you wait until you read that a new patch has completely fixed the DM client since as it currently stands, you’d have more fun banging your head against a brick wall.

Box Art

Information about

Neverwinter Nights 2

Developer: Obsidian Entertainment

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Combat: Pausable Real-time
Play-time: 40-60 hours
Voice-acting: Partially voiced

Regions & platforms
World
· Homepage
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2006-10-31
· Publisher: Atari

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