GC 2008: Neverwinter Nights 2: The Storm of Zehir Impressions

We meet with Obsidian to check out a work-in-progress version of the second Neverwinter Nights 2 expansion pack.

Earlier today, during a visit to Atari's booth at the 2008 Games Convention in Leipzig, we had an opportunity to meet with Obsidian Entertainment's Matt Rorie and take a look at Neverwinter Nights 2: The Storm of Zehir. Currently scheduled for release toward the end of this year, the second Neverwinter Nights 2 expansion will add a number of new classes and gameplay features to the popular role-playing game, many of which we got to see in action today.

The Storm of Zehir takes place during the same time period as the first NWN2 expansion, Mask of the Betrayer. The upcoming game takes place in a completely different area of the world, though, and tasks you with preventing Zehir, the god of poison, snakes, and darkness, from taking over the Forgotten Realm. The new content is designed for characters between the levels of 3 and 15; although it's possible for you to import an existing character, the idea is that you'll create not just a new one, but a whole group of them. The new party-creation system lets you create up to four characters from scratch and, as you progress through the game, you'll have room to add two of the scripted characters to your party for a total of six.

Somewhere in that mix you'll almost certainly want to check out the new classes that are being introduced in The Storm of Zehir, which include the swashbuckler, the doomguide, and the hellfire warlock. We were afforded brief looks at all three today, and they should be a fun group to hang out with. The swashbuckler is a fighter class that employs precision strikes and, as such, is more reliant on dexterity than strength. The doomguide is a cleric prestige class that's incredibly powerful against the undead. And the hellfire warlock is a prestige class that's more demonic than a regular warlock and, as we witnessed today, can use a hellfire-shield ability that consumes the character in flames to reflect damage back at attackers.

The Storm of Zehir will also add a party-conversation system that, put simply, gives every character in your party the ability to converse with non-player characters and creatures that you encounter. You'll want to be choosy about who you let speak up though, and sometimes--for example, when the party was confronted by a large group of jungle goblins like those we saw today--it won't matter how skilled your characters are in diplomacy or intimidation because enemies like that just aren't going to be talked out of fighting.

Other new features that we got to see during today's demo included the 3D overland map, on which you can interact with other characters and encounter monsters, and the new death system, which forces you to resurrect your fallen party members or have them healed in a town rather than simply bringing them back to life at the end of the current combat. We didn't get to see it, but we're told that The Storm of Zehir will also introduce a new crafting system that will let you create many items simply by using your inventory screen (whereas you might previously have had to visit a blacksmith).

Look for more on Neverwinter Nights 2: The Storm of Zehir in the coming weeks and months.

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Discussion

37 comments
karateguy1
karateguy1

I enjoyed NWN2, but MotB was a mess. Way too confusing. I rather thought they should have continued th eoriginal storyline and had th eparty work it's way out of Shadow. Anyway, I hope the 2nd expansion will be better.

Arabin
Arabin

I'm looking forward to this, and the map looks like an interesting feature, sure to be adopted quickly by the mod community. Also glad we are getting back to reasonable levels though. For me, D&D was always more fun in the lower levels when it was about adventure. The upper levels, planes travelling, armies marching... didn't interest me as much.

Kraheera
Kraheera

I rather enjoyed MotB, to be honest. Gann was certainly unusual in his background, and I rather enjoyed the fact that you teamed up with a Thayan wizard. Highly unusual in Forgotten Realms mythos.

Cleanholio
Cleanholio

I wish there were more games in the IWD, BG, and NWN genre...

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

Well, I hope this expansion'll combine the intersting storyline and wonderful voice acting and gameplay in NWN2 and combine it with the well-paced gameplay of the MOTB Expansion. I found the gameplay rough, unpolished, and buggy in the NWN2 OC, but the characters and plot to be wonderful, but the characters and story in the MOTB expansion to be mediocre despite the great gameplay.

blueliquidplus
blueliquidplus

NWN2 had its moments but it was plagued by series of issues.. NWN2MotB has been quite interesting so far.. the 8 hour time delay on resting was a cool addition.. but honestly I was looking forward to more end game content.. more for my epic characters to plow through.. oh well I'm sure it will be fun none the less :) Oh and BG, ToSC, BGII, ToB, were much better than the NWN series by far.. although they too had thier issues it was easier to forget them.. and the first time you turn into that bhaal spawn in BG2 just brings a smile to my face =D

forhekset
forhekset

NWN2 and especially MotB were a narrative delight. Obsidian finally learnt from all their mistakes and got it right for MotB. Hopefully your create-a-party involves some characterful and interesting narrative options, or at least gives them some form of character to begin with. I don't want to be followed around by a bunch of soulless drones that don't speak up.

Death_Masta187
Death_Masta187

bradfel: NWN 2 is utter crap compared BG1-2, IWD1-2, PS:T I miss BIS now.. I know ill miss pre EA Bioware also :( Im sure NWN2 would have been a great game if the voice acting wasn't so hit or miss and there wasn't so many bugs..

bradfel
bradfel

@Elhan Baldur's Gate was not developed by BIS. It was developed in full by Bioware, including the Infinity Engine which was later used by BIS to develop IWD and PS:T... The only part BIS had in the process was some assistance in developing the audio/movie engine and publishing it. Other than that... I mostly agree.

Elhan
Elhan

Anyone who thinks NWN 2 is the best CRPG needs to play BG 1 or 2 or IWD or PS:T. Those are the true classics. NWN 1 does not qualify, though HOTU does. NWN 2 is great, and so is its expansion, but it is just not on the same plane as the BIS games. Not even close. First come the BIS games, then TES games, and then NWN1/2. NWN2's expansion was a classic, though. Excellent game, however linear it may have been. This game sounds great, and much more similar to the BIS classics. Let's hope it is. BTW I agree with those who found the Warlock underwhelming. Relative to the Complete Arcane version, which is one of the coolest D&D classes ever, it is. Aside from BG2, CRPGs have never been able to capture D&D's magical splendour quite well. "... I wonder how flawed this title will be since it's obvious they are just trying to milk some more money from the people who bought the original..." Oh, you mean actually produce for the sake of making money? Yeah, what a sin that is! In truth, Obsidian did a bang up job with NWN 2. The expansion was terrific, and they surpassed my expectations with it, given that the original NWN 2 was good, but not excellent. If you don't like it, do not spend your money on it. That simple. You're not forced to. If I thought Obsidian was "milking" my money, I wouldn't buy the game, or if I did I'd sell it off. It seems gamers always know better than producers what to produce, what to do and how to do it - if so, please get a loan, or otherwise locate funding, open your own company, and stop whining, or spend on companies that satisfy your preferences (which is really what is at issue here.) As it is, I think it's better than the original NWN...

Elhan
Elhan

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Elhan
Elhan

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Elhan
Elhan

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

mrpuppy89
mrpuppy89

But this game is need a very long time to fully complete and that make somebody feel bored and the other thing is the level is limited.

SysDefect
SysDefect

Oh also the only thing that really made NWN1 stand out was user generated content.

SysDefect
SysDefect

@rockatanski If you enjoy the illusion of roleplaying and a highly streamlined combat system, sure! You realize that Fallout 3 isn't even a d20 based game right? It's SPECIAL, and really from what I've seen Bethesda is ignoring what those stats have traditionally meant. @Johnangeljack Definitely will have to agree that WRPG's have been constantly degrading, NWN1 in my opinion was pretty trashy, though the combat may have been more fun to play than say BG's per se because it was a little slower paced and easier but honestly, has D&D combat been anything but bland without the elaboration of a good dm?

johnangeljack
johnangeljack

Baldurs Gate 1&2 were much better but every year comes with worse rpg than the last....NVN 1 was better too

rockatanski
rockatanski

NWN2 is easily the best D&D experience ever on the PC. I think the US version of Fallout 3 is still worth the attempt too ;)

Sohryu
Sohryu

I didn't expect to see a 2nd expansion after MoTB since the story pretty much came to an end. I absolutely loved MoTB so I'm pleasantly surprised by this announcement. Can't wait to play it instead of a watered down Fallout 3.

S3RAF1M
S3RAF1M

The witcher is a lot better than NWN , but NWN has it's charms..

butsomuch
butsomuch

I'm looking forword to SoZ. Mask of the Betrayer, the first expansion pack to NWN2, is one of the best role-playing game ever made.

thebanewolf
thebanewolf

sounds really awesome, and i like the 2 new additions of overland map and the improved crafting system, because it's always been more of a hassle to craft in the older games. the swashbuckler doesn't sound very intriguing and the doomguide is absolutely horrible imo but the hellfire warlock could turn out to be fun, i didn't really appreciate the normal warlock.

Poodlejumper
Poodlejumper

@I C E-Cube. It won't be BG2 until they have some serious banter and good writing. Lets hope it's true.

l_C_E-Cube
l_C_E-Cube

it seems theyre really trying to bring it back to bg2 style, i like it

jekaboom
jekaboom

while nwn2 wasn't as good as 1, i still get this addon :)

damnstraight003
damnstraight003

"2. Where are the ridable horses?" If I recall correctly... Apparently rideable horses were supported in MOTB (though not in the campaign) in scripting that was sort of hidden in the deep places of the toolset. But that may be an overstatement, an understatement, or completely wrong. :D

dual_barrel
dual_barrel

It's good to see where they've taken their engine written with .Net C#.

macmert
macmert

1. What is the difference between the swashbuckler and the duelist? 2. Where are the ridable horses? We were told that we could ride horses... 3. I hope it will not be a power play like the mask of the betrayer, I would like to roleplay rather than pump up and swing swords... P.S: Zehir means poison in Turkish :D

Atombomb1981
Atombomb1981

Obsidian almost destroyed KOTOR2 And NWN2...And now instead of correcting their mistakes or simply moving on to another title, they keep making these add-ons... I wonder how flawed this title will be since it's obvious they are just trying to milk some more money from the people who bought the original...They should do things properly or simply shake hands with the Blizzard leftovers that created Flagship Studios...

Zondergrod
Zondergrod

Now we've got to revive our characters in some special place? That's the whole reason I stopped playing Dragon Quest 8! Saving and reviving were just too much of a damn hassle. I really think this is a bad idea.

deganawida
deganawida

gatsubzk, Planescape: Torment was designed and produced by Black Isle Studios using Bioware's Infinity Engine. Black Isle Studios also produced both Baldur's Gate I and Baldur's Gate 2, designed and produced Icewind Dale I & II, and created Fallout 1 & 2. After Baldur's Gate 3: The Black Hound was cancelled by Interplay, Feargus Urguhart, president of Black Isle Studios, left with some other members of BIS to form Obsidian Entertainment. Others who left BIS after the cancellation of The Black Hound and the original Fallout 3 include J.E. Sawyer and Chris Avellone (writer for Planescape: Torment).

lev_six
lev_six

I agree, Zee. Dump the nwn2 and get back on track with 3.

Zee666
Zee666

Obsidian are idiots, nwn has great potential but number 2 ruined most of what made the first one great, personally they need a nwn3 not more expansions of a highly flawed game.

gatsubzk
gatsubzk

Good to know that one more D&D game will arrive for the pc. Well forgotten realms is a nice world to play but planescape like Bioware did with Planescape:Torment is absolutely the best world and game experience of all time. Obsidian plz we need a new Planescape!!

Mar044
Mar044

i always liked the fact that d&D added new things and i cant wait to play this game