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Beyond the MMORPG: Neverwinter Nights

Posted Oct 23, 2007 by Jon Wood

Beyond the MMORPG: Neverwinter Nights

This week in Beyond the MMORPG, Dan Fortier steps out of his usual mud-slinging role to talk about Neverwinter Nights and elements from that game that could be of use in the modern MMO.

This week for Beyond the MMORPG I figured I’d bring out the heavy artillery. The original Neverwinter Nights stands alone as one of the best RPG games ever made. Its reputation is further enhanced by its incredibility simple, yet powerful, toolset that allows players to create their own adventures and persistent worlds. The scripting used to create events and special effects in the game was fairly easy to get the hang of even before the player made script-makers were developed. Coupled with Bioware’s strong support of the community, this ease of use made it one of the most modded RPGs of all time. Even today there are dozens of persistent worlds hosting as many as sixty players at time (which is more than I can say for Dark and Light).

There are tons of great comparisons between NWN and MMOs: One of the most obvious is the faction system. This tool can be used in conjunction with customized scripts to make NPCs react properly to a player’s actions. If you run around murdering peasants it won’t be long before the town guards become hostile to you and inversely the ’bad guys’ might stop trying to put a sword in your gut. With clever use of scripting, you can create an entire web of interrelated factions that the player can gain or lose favor with by their deeds that can determine who they can accept quests from and where they can travel in safety without being chased by a lynch mob. Most MMOs have similar systems that work in more obvious ways, usually involving a player grinding reputation in order to get access to special quests or items.

Read it all here.

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