Wednesday, June 18, 2014

No, Neverwinter Nights is NOT Dead, Despite EA's Best Efforts

There's been a minor kerfuffle over this announcement EA made saying how they would shut down services for older games, Neverwinter Nights being one of many.

Here's the funny thing: Neverwinter Nights ALREADY had its official online services shut down.  And it made zero difference.

First they shut down the Master Server persistent world admins simply created their own security systems to link player accounts to passwords.  If you're curious about the technical details an example is here.  So the Master Server became irrelevant.

Then they shut the Gamespy for listing servers.  Guess what?  People made alternatives, from lists with the direct connect info (allowing you to bypass Gamespy's listing) to flat out modifying the game client to GET the info from those lists and display them instead of Gamespy's empty space.  Some examples here.  So Gamespy became irrelevant.

If you're curious for more information about the game in general, check out this page.

NWN's potential has always amazed me -- and people collaborate and share their expertise.  Some people make new tilesets.  Others make new creature and item models.  Others still make new visual effects.  Yet others STILL make mechanical improvements to the game and scripting systems (which is personally what I generally do).  And, aside from custom work done for specific online worlds, all of this is openly available for any builder to use and make something amazing.

But, of course, you don't need to how HOW to build in order to play the content.  Can easily log onto worlds and install entire custom campaigns superior to the official campaigns and most modern RPGs.

It's really quite inspiring and why the game still interests me so much, even building my own online world with some major mechanical changes and have produced a few modules already (like the Siege of the Heavens I've mentioned in previous posts).

I still haven't found another game that offers the same -- not Dragon Age modding, not WC3/SC2 modding, not whatever.  Maybe something equivalent will be released someday, but the fact I can produce an online world superior to many AAA MMOs with the right design and enough effort is not something you see very often.

P.S. Turns out that NWN is actually on sale again, so if you email me at balkothwarcraft at gmail dot com before 9 AM CST on June 19th I'll send you a free copy.

P. P.S. In WoW related news, my guild switched from 10 man to 25 man last week and killed 13/14H with H Garrosh to 10% in P3 in two nights (which is all we raid per week, Sun/Mon from 7:30 to 11:30-12:00 CST).  Been 14/14H on 10 man for 15 weeks on that schedule and should be 14/14H 25 man after this week.  Could still use a few more people, though, so if my guild interests you then head over to our website and apply!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Return^3 of the "Want a Free Game?"

I know I've been quiet lately.  Been doing a lot of guild recruitment (switching to 25H from 10H this week), busy in RL, and what little free time I had was spent working on a Neverwinter Nights project.  I'm going to do a post about the design process and the new module itself for anyone who likes that kind of stuff in a few days when it's finished.  But imagine my surprise today when I learn the game is on sale again!  Time to offer the game to more people!

Neverwinter Nights is on sale again for the next 17 hours (until 8 AM CST on June 14th)!  That means it's time to offer more free copies of the game to those who are interested in trying it and getting hooked on it.  The following is a repeat of my previous "Want a Free Game?" posts, so if you already got NWN from me feel free to pass the information on to a friend so you can play with them!


In addition to WoW I'm quite fond of a game called Neverwinter Nights.  It's an RPG that came out a few years before WoW which is completely amazing because it is immensely customizable.  You can play solo campaigns, you can play multiplayer campaigns, and you can play online on what are effectively MMOs (abet with playerbases in the dozens to hundreds instead of tens of thousands).

 It has a complete toolset that can be used to tweak almost every mechanic and create custom content - the original "official" Bioware campaigns make up like 0.1% of what's available for the game, and a ton of the user made content blows the original campaigns out of the water.  Users can also add new content in the form of ".hak" files, which add new creature models, new tilesets, new weapons, new feats (like talents), etc.

And all of this is free except for the original purchase.  It's available to buy on a site called Good Old Games for $9.99 normally - which includes the original campaign, both expansions (so two more campaigns), and an additional "premium" module - but it's on sale right now for less.

Except I'll sweeten the pot even further - if you send me an email at balkothwarcraft at gmail dot com before the deadline mentioned at the top, I'll buy the game for you and send it to you as a gift.  Absolutely free.  Because I think the game deserves to be promoted.


I also made a module of my own earlier.  There was a "building challenge" where participants had one month to create a module (the game is separated into modules, which can range from being a single testing zone to a MMO-like Persistent World which spans hundreds of areas and offers hundreds of hours of playtime - you just load the module you want to play or join it if it's already being hosted).  I created a solo adventure for max level characters called Siege of the Heavens, which is an action adventure focused on scripted boss fights, similar to what you'd find in WoW raids and dungeons (or Brawler's Guild if you've done that).  The Heavens are under attack by devils and demons and the celestials enlist the help of mortals heroes like yourself to help lift the siege.

It's not something you should immediately play - you'll want to familiarize yourself with the basic mechanics of the game before trying my module.  It's also only technically halfway finished since I only had a month to build it - which is still 3ish or so hours of playtime, and once it's done you'll be able to pick up where you left off and play the remaining 3ish hours that are planned.

Speaking of familiarizing yourself with the game, I would be happy to play through the official campaigns (or some custom campaigns, I'd strongly recommend the Aielund Saga at a minimum - among many other custom campaigns - which is much better than the official campaigns but again somewhat expects a familiarity with the game) with anyone interested, provided we can arrange suitable times.  The first official campaign probably takes about 40 hours to play through, the second two both take about 20 hours each.

You will need to request a unique multiplayer key once you claim your game or else you will be unable to sign into some multiplayer modules for security reasons.  There are instructions on how to do so on the GOG site.

Also, some of the old multiplayer services (like game listings provided by Gamespy) are no longer active - but members of the community have recreated replacements that are just as good (or better in some cases) as the originals.  More information can be found here.  Feel free to contact me (via email or private message on the boards - this is my profile there) or post on those boards for help if you need it.

Again, email me at balkothwarcraft at gmail dot com if you want a copy of the game, want to find out more about the game, want to try to play the game with me, or whatever.