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NWN2 Storm of Zehir experiences and what to carry over to PE

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Just finished replaying NWN2 expansion Storm of Zehir (played it through before right when it came out) and thought to share some thoughts, especially as SoZ contains many of the features one might hope to see in PE and being Obsidian work is obviously something they would draw from.


 


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neverwinter_Nights_2:_Storm_of_Zehir


 


** Will contain some minor spoilers. **


 


First to get it out of the way, the interface and camera were horrible. After a couple of years pause it took until halfway through the game before I didn't have to continually struggle with the camera. No obvious way to use feats or abilities, constantly forgot how to get the cartable spells or choosing what to memorize if I accidentally closed the window.


 


Traveling in the overland map.


 


Overall, it was good fun. Great to see possible encounters pop up and detour to avoid or take them. Made the exploring seem worthwhile and for once there was some use from ranger skills. Seems impossible for anyone to actually live in a territory though, either jungle or sword coast, with monstrous bands and undead and whatever rushing you every 5 seconds or so. Way, way too much pointless combat. I was overjoyed when finally got the teleportation system fixed, only to be disappointed in how the trips were one way only, giving not half the hoped relief.


 


 


Locations and encounters.


 


Most of the areas were tiny in RPG terms, dungeons or temples or whatever having usually only a few rooms and most every occupant rushing you from wherever they were as soon as the fighting started. I really, really liked this if only as a change of pace. No clearing mobs one room at a time but one big prolonged fight. 


 


Combat.


 


Well this I disliked then. I do use the NWN2 AI on and let most of the party do whatever they want, which is part of the problem. The AI behavior settings were very welcome, though even set in the lowest the spell casters were pretty loose with magic. The visuals of mid high level D&D were the main problem for me, the combat was one big field of fiery explosions from spells and weapon effects, then the losers drop dead. Never in control of anything, just one big mess where you can't tell who's actually accomplishing stuff.


 


Companions, adventurers guild.


 


So you make the base party and later pick up one or two reinforcements. And many of the reinforcements come up hopelessly late in game which is something I'm happy to hear PE is going to avoid. The adventurers guild, which you get into maybe halfway through the game was a unhappy affair all in all. Hearing at that point, there'd be some minor bonuses if I have an all Elven party, or if all the members in the party are well accomplished in ranger skills or other stuff like that, was just disappointing, as almost certainly almost every party was not able to get anything out of there. Something for the replayers maybe.


 


 


Enchanting and creating items.


 


I remembered this was in and picked a good load of crafting skills which were of no use. Might have crafted one sword or a piece of armor. Generally though, you get your hands on usable ore so late in game, you're almost sure to have already found or bought better stuff already. 


 


Enchanting was easy enough, fun and useful. Adding bonuses and damage effects to weapons and armor. Creating wondrous items not so much, needing hard to come by ingredients, the most stupid example being some magic boots which I never got to make. I had the gems and the skins of rare animals, but never found a pair of ordinary hide boots to use as a base! 


 


 


Trade and upgrading your stronghold


 


Added a fine layer into the game, the desire to get enough trade bars to meet the next something was a working way to ensure the willingness to explore and build up the trade network. Building church and orphanage and upgrading the stuff the patrols had was a fine thing, though completely pointless actually.


 


From rags to riches came a bit too abruptly though. Once you have a couple of trade routes established, the income totally dwarfs every other money source in the game. I don't mind that actually and it *was* fun to reach the "money is no object" state, for once. It just came all too quickly once the cash floodgates were opened.


 


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Oh I remember the overland map.

 

In comparison to MotB SoZ was really underwhelming, but I did like the overland map very much.

 

Granted they could have improved the encounters on it - and the secret maps that you could find.

 

But all in all the idea was really great.

 

So would you prefer an overland map like in Soz or travelling on a world map like in Baldur's Gate?

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Yes the area exploration map of SoZ was nice, and overall it was a decent enough game. For the part of SoZ I played, I can't say I much cared for the location exploration aspects of SoZ. I'd prefer something more akin to the IE experience, which is what many of us contributed for. So no, I don't like the small area/single big battle approach.

Edited by rjshae
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"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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SoZ was just too buggy for me to enjoy.


"Take your child murderin' god and shove his him up his own ass."-Volorun

 

"...the vote of a black redhead disabled homosexual transsexual Jew should probably be worth the same as at least a hundred white heterosexual Christians."-Rostere

 

"i can think of many women i would gladly sleep with, but not a single one that i would want as a girlfriend/wife... neither real nor fictional."-teknoman2

 

"I'm all for killing dogs in film." - algroth

 

"Iselmyr is the one who did GOMAD... Aloth is lactose intolerant" -ShadySands

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SOZ was the "Neverwinter Nights version of Icewind Dale," so I really don't see how one can compare it to Mask of the Betrayer. It let you use all of the massive number of character builds to make a party, which I thought was pretty cool. Also it was the most "open world" of any NWN games, and you could actually explore and find nifty places, even if they were small, which I liked as well. In fact I really enjoyed the first few chapters as a nice change of pace. I was disappointed with chapter 3 though, which seemed a real anticlimax to me. It was very linear. The bad guys were also very undercharacterized for an Obsidian game. I think the mixture of these two things resulted in a rather unsatisfying ending.

Edited by forgottenlor
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  1. True exploration.
  2. Great overland map.
  3. Relevance and significant impact of skills made classes useful, unique, and utilized the depth of each.
  4. I liked how they used a non-Sword Coast setting (at least initially).
  5. Bonus feats based on achievements.
  6. Multiple PC conversation interjections.
  7. Pratical crafting.
  8. Traps!

Overall, I felt it was an excellent adventure game. Exploration delivers discovery. Dungeons deliver death. Party composition is everything--cohesion and complimentary skills are significant and relevant. If they would have been able to merge these aspects with the powerful narrative of Mask of the Betrayer, they would have had another Baldur's Gate on their hands.

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SoZ was just too buggy for me to enjoy.

 

As for that, I can testify it's not buggy at all now. All patched up goodness. Ship shape and Bristol fashion.

 

Building characters was sort of fun.. but then you were given only 4 characters to do in the beginning.

Which pretty much limits where you can go in a D&D setting.

 

Ended yup making a pretty devastating Rogue/Fighter/Weapon Master for my own character, she really kicked ass.

But then the support trio.. well you pretty much need a wizard (thought about sorceror, but you do need some specific spells for crafting),

and a cleric so I got those. Since I combined fighter and rogue in the first one, that gave only one to experiment with.

Picked a Warlock, which turned out a good choice. Pretty bad attacks, but he could haste everybody all day long, so it worked out.

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Did they finally fix that quest involving the Doomguide?

 

I have NWN2Complete installed, so I do think I'll get around to replaying SoZ after I resume crawling through the OC and having a blast with MotB.


"Take your child murderin' god and shove his him up his own ass."-Volorun

 

"...the vote of a black redhead disabled homosexual transsexual Jew should probably be worth the same as at least a hundred white heterosexual Christians."-Rostere

 

"i can think of many women i would gladly sleep with, but not a single one that i would want as a girlfriend/wife... neither real nor fictional."-teknoman2

 

"I'm all for killing dogs in film." - algroth

 

"Iselmyr is the one who did GOMAD... Aloth is lactose intolerant" -ShadySands

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I know I went through it smoothly, though I didn't take the Doomguides help,

didn't kill the necromancer either, just flooded the village with undead. Mission complete, rewards given.

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First of all, I really enjoyed NWN2 and the expansions.  The original game was a disaster upon release, but as long as you monitored message boards and forums, you could find ways to get 'round the game-breaking bugs.  Fact:  It was the first online version of Neverwinter in that regard, as it involved the whole community to play it successfully.  LOL 

 

Anyway, Zehir was the weakest of the lot-- but I LOVED the music from it.  In fact I've been trying to find a way to purchase the entire NWN2 music collection for quite some time, but I haven't been able to find it.  I enjoyed creating my own party members, but the lack of personality/dialogue as a direct result really hurt the overall experience.  I also wasn't a fan of the overland map, and I think the reason is that it was just too frustrating having to fight the same creatures over and over on the same battle map.  I think if a few tweaks were made, it would have been much better. 

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Anyway, Zehir was the weakest of the lot-- but I LOVED the music from it.  In fact I've been trying to find a way to purchase the entire NWN2 music collection for quite some time, but I haven't been able to find it. 

 

http://www.gog.com/game/neverwinter_nights_2_complete

Comes with NWN2, MotB and SoZ soundtracks...

 

And yeah, forgot to mention but the music was good.

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SoZ always struck me as something that would only reach its full potential if played with friends in multiplayer, as it resembles a tabletop campaign more than any other NWN game IMO.


Exile in Torment

 

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Dinosaurs, we need Dinosaurs from SOZ !!!!


"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

 

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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I never finished SOZ (my computer gave up, not me) but I liked the overland map and finding stuff on it.

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I liked how skills made a difference on the world map and the conversation system, even if i'm not the biggest fan of the story and writing of SoZ.

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Was SOZ where your companions could take over dialogue if they had better skills? If so I liked that too.

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Was SOZ where your companions could take over dialogue if they had better skills? If so I liked that too.

 

Yes, every member of your party had ability to contribute in conversations. And NPCs even had some unique lines that you could use in some conversations for better or worse :).

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I loved NWN2 and fell in love again when MotB hit the shelves. Then when SoZ was released i purchased it immediately on release, but was so disappointed when i found out it didn't have companions like its predecessors that i shelved it. Haven't touched it since. It's fair to say i loved to death the concept of companions.

Since we are on topic i would like to say that Mask of the Betrayer is a masterwork chiseled out by gods. It's up there in my top ten.

Edited by Gyges

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I loved NWN2 and fell in love again when MotB hit the shelves. Then when SoZ was released i purchased it immediately on release, but was so disappointed when i found out it didn't have companions like its predecessors that i shelved it. Haven't touched it since. It's fair to say i loved to death the concept of companions.

Since we are on topic i would like to say that Mask of the Betrayer is a masterwork chiseled out by gods. It's up there in my top ten.

 

SoZ had companion-characters -- it was limited/in a different fashion than the prior games, but you met NPCs you could recruit and take with you. If you had a full party of four, then up to two more (with the Leadership feat) could be companions. They weren't as deeply developed, it just wasn't that kind of game--but they added to the game's ambience, making comments only they would make, providing unique information, reacting to other NPCs in their own way. My favorite was the privateer captain, she had all kinds of colorful things to say about pirates and bandits, and she was really useful in the Umberlee quest.

 

I agree in terms of storytelling MotB is one of the  best. SoZ had some gameplay functions that are worth paying attention to however -- and I'll echo that the ability for different characters to participate in conversation was one of the best ones.

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Anyway, Zehir was the weakest of the lot-- but I LOVED the music from it.  In fact I've been trying to find a way to purchase the entire NWN2 music collection for quite some time, but I haven't been able to find it. 

 

http://www.gog.com/game/neverwinter_nights_2_complete

Comes with NWN2, MotB and SoZ soundtracks...

 

And yeah, forgot to mention but the music was good.

 

yes! by far the best of any DnD game in my opinion

 

i pretty much agree with everything in the OP, especially the camera controlls :(

SoZ complements mask of the betrayer in a very nice way, in doing the opposite style of campaign

one of the better exploration based games i've played, i usually don't like those too much, but SoZ is real nice (with mods to reduce the pointles encouters, but who would play without mods anyway?)

 

this reminds me that i still have to finish mysteries of westgate! anyone played that one?

Edited by lolaldanee

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this reminds me that i still have to finish mysteries of westgate! anyone played that one?

 

 

It again complements the other two very nicely.

Smallest in scope and length, happens completely in the city of Westgate and isn't about saving the world.

Just doing stuff that's important enough for a low(ish) level adventurer.

 

I wouldn't recommend buing the whole package from gog just for westgate (unless it's on bargain),

but if you got it, it's definitely worth playing.

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Only really good think from SoZ was overland map and exploration + Ranger/Druid skill finally have some impact but it was already confirmed that we are not getting overland map exploration (I am soo sad) Everyone was talking about font size in that update, I was so sad that nooone is bother that we will miss that feature


I'm the enemy, 'cause I like to think, I like to read. I'm into freedom of speech, and freedom of choice. I'm the kinda guy that likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder, "Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecue ribs with the side-order of gravy fries?" I want high cholesterol! I wanna eat bacon, and butter, and buckets of cheese, okay?! I wanna smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section! I wanna run naked through the street, with green Jell-O all over my body, reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly may feel the need to, okay, pal? I've SEEN the future. Do you know what it is? It's a 47-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing "I'm an Oscar Meyer Wiene"

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Mysteries of Westgate will seem very linear after playing SoZ.

 

But remember when Ossian made it all they had to work with was the OC assets and whatever they could create themselves.


Help is good when asked for,

Better when needed.

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Only really good think from SoZ was overland map and exploration + Ranger/Druid skill finally have some impact but it was already confirmed that we are not getting overland map exploration (I am soo sad) Everyone was talking about font size in that update, I was so sad that nooone is bother that we will miss that feature

 

My guess is that most of the sense of exploration will be provided with the area maps. If those are sufficiently large, then it provides a functional equivalent. The two things we'll miss from the Soz overland map is that sense of freedom you get to move about the world as you will, and the interaction with the wandering monster packs. But, given the amount of content the P:E team is already slated to produce, that's probably not such a big loss.

 

What I think might be an interesting feature for an area map is some type of hidden annotation that is revealed based on the findings of your Ranger-like characters (among others). For example, attached to a point on a map is a scrawled note saying "heavy foot traffic" or "undisturbed dust" or "danger: trap". Or they could just add icons indicating a finding and have the associated message briefly appear on the screen.

Edited by rjshae
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"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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What I think might be an interesting feature for an area map is some type of hidden annotation that is revealed based on the findings of your Ranger-like characters (among others). For example, attached to a point on a map is a scrawled note saying "heavy foot traffic" or "undisturbed dust" or "danger: trap". Or they could just add icons indicating a finding and have the associated message briefly appear on the screen.

Ooh! As a supplement to this, what about your Ranger (for example) finding traversable paths through sections of otherwise unpassable terrain? You know, very rocky/thicketed terrain that typically just puts up an invisible wall on the game map, so that you've got to go around it. But, a knowledgeable enough Ranger-type could find a valid path through it, allowing you to emerge in a unique spot on the unsuspecting foes in the clearing on the other side. Without that knowledge (whether it's specific to the Ranger class, or just a skill they get a boost in), your party would just say "Well, obviously we can't go THAT way... there're no footings." etc.

 

Oh, AND/OR the skill could allow you to alter fast-travel times, in certain areas. Going from this ruin site on the world map back to your stronghold? Well, it just so happens that, based on what you now know of the surrounding area, your Ranger has found a shorter way. Or, if there are random encounters during world-map travel (a la BG), maybe your Ranger can sometimes give you a heads up about them, or allow you to avoid them, or at least negate their advantage of ambush, or even ambush them in return.

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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