Friday, November 13, 2009

The End of NWN2?

So Dragon Age arrived... finally. And it had to come just in time for me to release TMGS. Oh, well. Truth to tell, I'm getting more and more eager to just finish the damned campaign. I'm looking forward to moving on to other projects (non-modding-related), or maybe I'm just in a pessimistic mood today.

The truth is that NWN2 has been in its death throes for maybe a year now, but it's been allowed to linger on because there was no CRPG successor. But with Dragon Age out, the dagger's just been driven through the heart of the NWN franchise. Honestly, it saddens me. NWN was a fantastic community that thrived for five years. NWN2 flashed for half that long... maybe. It could have been so much more and so much better, and I guess I'll never understand why some things went the way they went.

But enough of the vague lamentations. It's not like I can divulge anything more than I have, so complaining about it serves no point. Maybe Dragon Age will revitalize the genre because I don't see much else in the pipeline. That said, let's move into more positive directions.

Alpha Testing
I got feedback from one of my alpha testers over the last couple days, and I'd say it was generally positive. There are a few bugs he noted as well as a few suggestions for improvement. As I agree with nearly all these suggestions, I have some work to do. There's nothing that's going to take an obscene amount of time to implement, but a few of them aren't trivial either. That will serve as my work for the next week.

So who was my alpha tester? Ossian lead designer Luke Scull. Most of his comments are specific and therefore contain too much spoiler information to reveal, but some of his general quotes about the overall campaign follow. Before you think that the whole review was glowing, most of the specific comments regarded things that needed to improve (as one would expect).

"Let me just say that was a fantastic adventure ... it took me a good 18 hours overall. The whole thing was excellently designed and really well written. In fact, the last third contained some of the best writing I've seen in a game in a long while."

"Overall, the game was a really terrific piece of work; probably the best module I've played for NWN2."

I've been working on the project documentation as I've waited for the alpha testers to finish, and I'll be releasing the Character Creation Guide shortly. As a head's up, one issue that did arise is that the start level for the game is going to move to 6 with the ending level being 10.

So the schedule: The next week will be spent implementing improvements. The week after that (Thanksgiving week here in the States), I'll be on vacation and out of the country. When I return, I have 3+ weeks until Christmas vacation. That will be spent target-testing the new material, playing through the entire campaign again, and then implementing fixes from that play-through. By Christmas break, I anticipate releasing the Character Creation Guide to the general public and getting 2-5 beta testers to try out the campaign. I have a couple people in mind already, but if anyone else is interested in joining the beta group and playing TMGS over their Christmas and New Year break, let me know. Note that it won't be all fun and games; I will expect detailed feedback if you join up, and the payment will be sincere gratitude.


Jclef said...

I think some people will stick around until the next D&D-based CRPG hits the shelves. That and the PW crowd from NWN1 may start to migrate. We'll see...

I'm totally stoked about this module though, so at least there's one player left ready and waiting! ;)

Nacaal said...

Make it two players left ready and waiting!

I will stick to d20-based games!

Wyrin said...

yeah, gotta say as much as I'm enjoying DA so far, its much more arcade-RPG than the d20 I prefer

E.C.Patterson said...

I think a lot of NWN1/2 players have gone to play DA for now. I expect many of them to come back to playing NWN community content once they are finished the OC, and while they wait for DA mods. I also expect quality DA mods to take as long or longer to appear than NWN2 mods did (at least a good 9-12 months).

Anonymous said...

Dragon Age is at it's core so vastly superior to NWN2 at release (or now, really) that I really loathe the idea of going back.

Dragon Age get right and makes fun almost everything NWN2 was trying to do and failed, and it's all backed up by a seriously great single player campaign.

It doesn't even matter how hard or easy the tools are: I love this game, I tolerated NWN2. I suspect a lot of people (who probably didn't even buy the NWN2 expansions and considered NWN2 wasted money) feel the same way.

I mean, good luck for the people sticking with NWN2, no ill will intended...

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm looking forward to TMGS about as much as I looked forward to Dragon Age (ie, way excited for it!). I really do like NWN2; it just seems that it was more difficult to mod than NWN1. I myself could play around in the NWN1 toolset, but the NWN2 one only confused me, so I stayed away from it. DA:O is new and has many good qualities (though I wouldn't say it's perfect), so of course it's going to be popular, especially so soon after release.

However, just because there is a new game released doesn't mean that NWN2 will fade into total obscurity. Look at the BG2 and NWN1 communities. Yeah, they've slowed down, but they are far from dead. As long as there are mods being made, people will play them.

Anyway, looking forward to TMGS and that character guide! On one hand, I want to volunteer to be a beta tester, but on the other, I'd have to make sure I could commit myself to it and not just play and not give feedback, so we'll see how busy December looks for me. If you are in desperate need of testers, however, I'm game. :-)

- Alez

Anonymous said...

I know that I will stick around as long as there are mods coming down the pipeline.

This being said, I agree with the quality of release of DaO. In terms of scope, community building and quality, the game is vastly superior. Let's not forget that Obsidian was tasked with delivering NWN2 in less than two years so it's not that simple.

Well, I'll be waiting for your mod (as I've been waiting for two years now ?) I don't really care about rulesets and I feel that NWN2's graphics are good enough for immersion provided there's a good story and I don't doubt that for a minute about TGMS.


Anonymous said...

Hi Tiberius from an old friend.

I never got a machine that played 2; but santa is bringing one for DA-O.

The reason the 2 community never thrived as did the 1 community has a lot to do with patches, breaks, DRM and content. Stuff you know of - but likely cant speak to - more than we know.

Expect the dao community to be much like the 1 community I expect.

Congrats of TMGS. I too will play it with the new machine. But D&D 4E seems to be killing the Faerun faithful so look for me in Felderen.


Sean B said...

I think a lot of people are wondering the same thing. Dragons Age looks promising and definitely offers several tools that open up a lot of opportunities. Having said that, it comes with a lot of limitations. Very few monsters, limited class options, limited spell options. Add to that a toolset that is powerful, but less refined than NWN2 and you have to wonder how many people will make it past the learning curve. Definitely be interesting to see where it is six months from now.

PJH said...


Anonymous said...

Good riddance to NWN 2, stupid old fart. I knew after MOW flopped dismally there would be no more adventure/expansion packs. Probably sold like 100 copies.

It's time for: DA:O FTW! I hope Ossian wakes up and leaves the decrepit NWN 2 behind, and does something for the new great Bioware game.:)