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NWN 2 has arrived...


Andyr

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I haven't played a special class yet, such as plane-touched, so I'm not 100% sure.

 

However, since the game assigns an effective character level (ECL) to such characters, and displays that in the Character sheet, I'm guessing that's the level used when determining if you hit the cap or not. Otherwise the game would have to allow standard classes to reach level 21 to 23 to compensate, and that's clearly not the case.

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You misread. I was trying to say all characters can reach level 20 because their ECL is used, not their ACL. Josh verified what I meant, along with the thought I had that the limit was imposed by the campaign, not the engine. The data is kept in 2DA files so it's editable.

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*Reads again*

 

You're right, my apologies, I did misread. Well... at least there's the official info :).

 

On-topic, I've quit playing my Warlock, who really felt slightly underpowered, and have started playing a Sorcerer/Eldritch Knight, which feels like a lot better combination.

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Thanks for the information about ECL races - I might look a bit more seriously at trying some of them out if they can get to high levels.

 

On-topic, I've quit playing my Warlock, who really felt slightly underpowered, and have started playing a Sorcerer/Eldritch Knight, which feels like a lot better combination.

 

My first character is a Fighter/Wizard/EK who's just started Chapter 3. The idea is Ftr2/Wiz8/EK10 for four attacks per round and 9th level spells, which you can't do with a Sorcerer/EK build as far as I can see. He's a good melee fighter but a little fragile, I would recommend the beetle familiar for +1hp/level. I'd also suggest having a proper "tank" in the party to absord the majority of enemy attacks. Don't take Combat Casting as you'll get it free with your first level of EK :). Do take Craft Magic Arms and Armour, and put skill points into craft alchemy and craft armour - weapons are less important. Then try to get hold of some mithril and make yourself either a mithril chain shirt or mithril chainmail, to reduce the arcane failure chance. Weapons matter much less than armour for this sort of character, since you won't have enough fighter levels for the more powerful feats (Weapon Specialisation, Greater Weapon Focus, Greater Weapon Spec).

 

What's odd is that I've just started a second character, a Human Warlock, so I've gone the opposite direction to you. I've only run through the prologue and the very start of Chapter 1 with her, so I haven't much experience with the class. What would you say is underpowered about it? So far it's seemed like a pretty powerful class to me. Though with the resting rules as they are I don't think she shows her best advantage very well.

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The warlock's strength may be shown in the final map, where resting fails 99.9% of the time with a nice fat spawn of enemies. Conventional magic users (arcane and divine) tend to run out of spell power in this area, but not the warlock. He has the gift that keeps on giving. :)

 

Edit: just wanted to add that only non-roleplayers abuse the rest system. I prefer to rest only when necessary, otherwise I feel like I'm cheating.

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I've completed the game once and am playing it through a second time to fix up some of the mistakes I made the first time. Thus I haven't really anything new to share. There are several bugs/issues, some more serious than others, that will hopefully be addressed in the next major patch. And almost everyone is hoping performance will be improved, if even a little bit.

 

There have been some interesting posts by developer lead J.E.Sawyer in this thread on Obsidian's forums. I'll quote most of it here, edited for brevity.

A large amount of area content (and some companion content -- poor Casavir) was cut. Also, features. I always thought that, even with the cuts, there would be enough content. My concern was mostly about the quality of the content.

In spite of the cuts, the game still takes 50-60 hours to complete for those who like doing most of the quests. It doesn't seem that anything cut is still in the data files, so I doubt there'll ever be a UB for NWN2. It's easier to use the toolset to make a new campaign anyway.

 

Another Sawyer post on this matter of cuts:

Before Ferret left (to Bioware - ed.), several areas and some features had already been cut. When I became lead, a few more areas and a lot more features were cut. As far as what was hard and what was easy -- very little was easy. When a game has been under development for a year and a half, there's only so much you can change in the home stretch.

 

Most of the big stuff that was cut was detailed on the Bio forums, usually when I let people know, "Hey this isn't going to be in." You can't find a single laundry list of it, but there's a slow trickle of expectation-killing over several months in various threads.

Someone responded to Sawyer's first 'cuts' post with this:

This is so sad to hear. If there was to be an expansion, would this stuff be brought back in? Or perhaps we need to rely on modders to restore it?

To which he replied:

Could it be? Sure, it could. Should it be? Probably not. There are a lot of beefs people have with the fundamental design of the OC (original campaign - ed.), so I think expansion effort would be best spent on fresh content. If we make an expansion, I won't be working on it anyway, so take my opinion for what it's worth (not much).

There's no commitment here to making an expansion, but neither is it ruled out. Hopefully one of the beefs he mentioned is the forced party 'feature' borrowed from KotoR. I like having full control of the party, and you don't get that in NWN2's current campaign. Often it feels like the game is making my decisions for me. I just assemble the party I want and the game breaks it up to insert someone else. Argh! Aside from that little beauty, the game is a lot of fun. Otherwise I wouldn't be playing it again.

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WARNING: SOME SPOILERS BELOW

 

 

 

 

Finished it for the first time with my Sorcerer/EK, and I'm looking for a character to replay it, soon. As for armor: the Spell Resistance craft in the game is bugged, and instead detracts an amount of arcane spell failure; my EK was walking around with an adamantine full plate at the end.

 

All I will say about the ending: I smell an expansion, with a smell of the magnitude of ten rotting, dead elephants (although apparently, the alternate evil ending to the story comes with the exact opposite).

 

My complaint about the Warlock is simple: his unlimited casting ability favors a situation you just never encounter in the OC, which is a long, lasting set of scenes without any resting in-between, and it is the only advantage he has when compared to the classic wizard or sorcerer. I found him very much lacking when it came to damage output and versatility (the main use for Ammon Jerro in the end battles was casting and recasting "Flee the Scene"), whereas my Sorcerer/EK was nearly a match for Khelgar in melee (although Khelgar was still better) and for Qara in spellcasting (again, not completely).

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So far, I've only gotten a bit into the first act: my problem is that I keep on rolling up new characters to try different races, classes, and alignments. I've been enjoying the game up to now--the NPC's have been very well done and their dialogues for the most part well scripted.

I've been running with a fairly high end machine (AMD 64 3000+; Nvidia 7800GS card, 1 gig RAM) using moderate settings for the most part and haven't had any gamebreaking problems or CTDs yet (keeping fingers crossed) Had a problem with 'rubberbanding' early on, but the latest patch seems to have corrected that problem.

 

The inclusion of the different races and subraces makes for a far different experience from NWN 1--as well as encouraging different play styles. Patience is a must if you play a high ECL race such as drow or svirfneblin, as is the proper use of their natural abilities--"Hello darkness my old friend..." has bailed me out of several potentially ugly situations while playing my drow rogue/fighter eventually to become Divine Champion of Elistraiee. Also, if you're going to play a casting class with an ECL race, you have to pick your spells very carefully and know how to get the most out of your companions.

 

Speaking of which: The AI, just like in NWN and to a large extent in the BG series, blows chunks. The nice thing though is--like in the BG series, you can turn the AI off and go into puppet mode. While there have been some complaints regarding having to do that, those of us used to doing that in BG should have any real problems adjusting--it just means you have to keep an eye on what everyone's doing during battles.

 

There have been some new feats added and old ones tweaked: Wielding two weapons is a very valid game option if you're a ranger or willing to expend the feats--there are some very nice weapons combinations--my drow is currently using a special longsword and in her off hand a special light warhammer--both of which appeared in the NWN OC.

 

I think most of the especially harsh comments regarding the game come from raised expectations--very highly raised expectations. Does the game have problems? Sure it does, all newly released games do. Obsidian seems to be doing a good job listening to constructive suggestions in the forums and with a new patch on the horizon will hopefully correct many of the technical glitches in the game, and hopefully Obsidian will continue to give the game the same support that Bioware did with its predecessor. Well, I have to go now--I have a class to teach, but I'll be back later with further thoughts. The most important thing though is to have fun playing the game!

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Darren Monahan has posted information about the upcoming patch 1.03 over on Bioware's NWN2 general audience forum:

New Features

 

General

• Weapon combos in hotbar: Added the ability to set up dual weapon, weapon & shield, or weapon & torch combos in the hotbar. Clicking the hotbar button for a weapon you already have equipped will unequip it.

 

• Camera Changes: We’ve made a series of camera changes to this version:

o New options for adjusting sensitivity for controlling the camera by keyboard, mouse, and edge of screen.

o Chase Cam adjusted to work more like NWN1.

o In free cam mode, the arrow keys now pan the camera, and holding down CTRL will zoom and yaw the camera.

o Added bindable keyboard key for mouse look / camera control. This mimics functionality of pressing down the middle mouse button for those without a middle mouse button.

 

• Graphics Optimizations: A number of new graphics optimizations have been added:

o Anti-Aliasing Support: Anti-aliasing is now supported and can be enabled in the Options Menu. Please note: This could significantly affect frame rate, depending on your hardware.

o Shadow Rendering: Shadow rendering speed has been improved.

o Tree Rendering: Speed improvements to the rendering of trees.

o Water Rendering: Speed improvements to how water is rendered by the engine.

 

• New Options:

o Buy/Sell Confirmation: You can now turn off the buy/sell confirmation dialog.

o Options menu has been reorganized to support many new camera control options.

o You can now change keybindings in game.

 

• Database Support:

o The database script functions from NWN1 have been re-enabled. They are now significantly faster in many cases.

 

Multiplayer

• Improved /t style chat.

 

DM Client

• Added initial support for hotbar buttons and context menus.

• Added in party bar. It will only list the connected players in the game and not who is in your faction.

• You can now hover over menu items in the Chooser instead of having to click on them first.

• “Very Easy†difficulty option has been restored.

• The DM chat channel is once again available via the /dm prefix.

 

Scripting

• EffectWildshape() – New function for Wildshape effect.

• GetEncumbranceState () - Added script function to get the encumbrance state of a given player

• GetPlayerCreatureExamineTarget() - Added script function to get the current creature examine target for a player

• PackCampaignDatabase() – A new database feature to NWN2, this will pack the campaign database and purge deleted records from a database.

• GetPlayerTargetObject() – New script function to get the current selected target object for a given player.

• UnlinkDoor() – New script command to turn an area transition door into a normal door.

• Database support has been added, including new PackCampaignDatabase() function.

 

Toolset

• Added a load screen image previewer.

• Added item icon previewer.

• Area names and tags now default to the area’s file name for new areas.

• The spell tab now shows multiple instances of spells, so creatures can have multiple instances of a spell with different metamagic types.

• Right-clicking while placing tiles now rotates the tile.

• The first column and row of the 2DA viewer are now pinned, making it easier to use.

• Changes on item blueprints will now be propagated to items in creature or placeable inventories, or that are equipped on creatures.

• Added new option to the File menu that allows the user to compile only currently open scripts.

• There is a new panel in the script editor that allows the user to insert scripts from the NWN2Toolset\Templates folder into the current script.

• Script search functionality changed to bring up all results in one result window and the user can double-click to open up that search result.

• Item cost calculations added to the item properties.

• New visual style.

• Doors now have a flag that allows them to render an invisible area transition (aka an invisible "black door.") This is adjustable in the toolset. This is to address concerns with the “black area†behind open doors and how silly it looked on open gates in the middle of Neverwinter, etc.

• When users enter a string ref, they can also check a box to say that the string ref is from the custom file and the string returned will be from that file instead of the main .tlk table.

• Feminine versions of strings are now editable.

• Hex values can now be used as string references within 2DAs. This makes it easier to use custom TLK files with 2DAs.

• The script editor runs faster and uses less memory.

Bug Fixes

 

General

• Animal Companions, Familiars, and Summoned Creatures are now unsummoned when a roster member is being despawned. This will address problems where companions can become familiars on transitions.

• Some minor adjustments to the pathing system to prevent characters from being put into illegal areas.

• Split out Armored Caster feat into class specific feats for Bards and Warlocks to properly apply spell failure percentages. This will allow users who add new classes to give them specific armored casting ability easily.

• Some minor fixes to drop shadow rendering.

• The debug DirectX check has been removed – some users had problems running the game, even without the DirectX SDK being installed.

• The game would crash when a module with more than 16,000 objects was loaded.

• Fixed a memory leak related to grass that would occur in certain areas.

 

Multiplayer

• Fixed issue when a player was resurrected by another player, the “respawn†button would stay up on their screen, and could be used to restore life and remove effects.

 

DM Client

• Added larger “+†buttons for the Chooser and Creator to make them easier to click on.

• Fixed some issues with keymapping.

• Player list is used instead of the party list when displaying party members on the minimap and areamap.

• DM’s can now area transition while possessing something and the entire faction doesn’t come with them.

• Fixed issue with trying to possess a creature in a different area than the one the DM is currently standing in.

• Fixed mouse action target for Dungeon Masters, so they don't start conversations with everyone. Also fixed highlight, so they can't always highlight themselves.

• DM can now move around while game is paused.

• Moved feats granted to a DM character from being hard-coded to a new flag in the feat.2da, "DMFeat". If it's marked as 0, the DM doesn't get it; as 1, he does.

• NWN database bug: Variables names are now properly truncated to 32 characters in all cases.

 

Effects/Spells

• If weapon trails are disabled in the options menu, hit and parry visuals are disabled as well.

• Character validation was not taking Spellcasting Prodigy into account for a number of spells wizards learn at first level.

• You no longer get max spells after unequipping an ability boost item, then an extra spell slot item. Also, changed extra spell slot items so that they only grant extra spell slots if you are capable of casting spells of that level.

• Neutralize Poison should not remove Disease and Ability Decrease effects.

• Lowered Frenzy damage to 6 per round.

• You can no longer recover traps with DC 20 or higher if you do not have the Trapfinding feat. If you try to disarm or recover a DC 20+ trap without Trapfinding, you will receive feedback that success is never possible; it is still possible to suffer a critical failure and have the trap go off on you. You can still flag, examine, and set a trap of any DC without Trapfinding; you can also always disarm or recover a trap you set yourself.

• EffectShareDamage() was not actually applying damage to the caster.

• Some fixes to global scripts on how spells affect NPCs, etc., in Hardcore mode.

• Finger of Death affects players in multiplayer mode now.

• Heal spells no longer call a touch attack when cast on undead.

• The Mass Inflict Line of spells now properly call a will save instead of a Fort save.

• The Mass Inflict Line of spells have now been updated to have the same behavior as Mass Inflict Light Wounds in regards to target discrimination and undead.

• Mass Inflict Light Wounds no longer harms hostile undead. Neither will it heal them. The healing effect is only applied to friendly undead.

• Casting Mage Armor on a character who already has Improved Mage Armor applied will no longer remove the stronger spell.

• Improved Mage Armor now correctly provides +6 AC rather than +8.

• The duration on Tymora’s Smile has been corrected.

• The spells Foundation of Stone, Body of Sun, Jagged Tooth, Tortoise Shell, Swamp Lung, Storm Avatar, and Nature's Avatar now properly apply their metamagic abilities.

• Tymora's Smile is now self-cast only.

• Crafting wands, potions, and scrolls was not working for many spells. All spells should now craft properly.

• Soothing Light will now auto-cast when selected.

• Guarding the Lord will now only target other creatures.

• Warlock Darkness now has the same targeting UI as arcane Darkness.

• Mass Heal now has a range of "close."

• The Mass Cure line of spells now uniformly have a range of "close."

• Old behavior for Bigby's 3 was causing some creatures to become paralyzed rather than immobilized in order to simulate grappling. This allowed them a chance to break out on a will save. The paralysis effect has been replaced with an immobilization effect.

• Prismatic Spray was always petrifying, rather than applying a random effect. This is fixed.

• Web and Greater Shadow Conjuration/Web now have the same targeting UI.

• Greater Fireburst will no longer damage the caster on hardcore difficulty.

• Fireburst will no longer harm the caster.

• Iron Horn now properly uses a cone shape instead of a sphere.

• Foundation of stone was calculating its duration in seconds rather than rounds. This has been fixed.

• Magic Fang and Greater Magic Fang now can be applied to any animal, beast, or vermin. This includes wildshaped druids.

• Missile Storm will no longer target friendlies on hardcore mode.

• Bombardment now knocks down targets on a failed save.

• Blade Barrier now plays a species specific blood spray when it damages a target.

• Destruction now checks the target for death immunity.

 

Items

• Changed Holy Avenger bonus damage from 1d6 to 2d6 vs. evil.

 

Scripting

• AttemptToDisarmTrap() - Returns FALSE if character cannot path to trap instead of assuming they don't have the skill points to do so.

• GetArmorRank - Returns whether an equipped item is ARMOR_RANK_NONE, _LIGHT, _MEDIUM, or _HEAVY

• GetSpellLevel() wasn’t taking cleric domains into account. This has been fixed.

• GetWeaponType() – Lets Keen Edge spell also affect piercing weapons.

• TalentSpellFilter() – This has been standardized in regards to Keen Edge and Weapon of Impact.

• Added script command gr_character_xml run from console that will export character data in XML format to the log.

• Fixed X2_inc_switches constant that was causing the override spellscript and the tagbased script prefix to overwrite each other.

• NPC casters can no longer affect themselves with AOE spells in Hardcore+ difficulty

• NPCs of non-opposed factions can no longer affect each other with AOE spells in Hardcore+ difficulty

• Added additional effects and fixed parameter listing for ga_effect.

 

Crafting

• 'Medalion of Thought' recipe now gives that item instead of the 'Talisman of Pure Evil'

• The 'Armor of Arrow Deflection' recipe now gives the correct effect and not 'Spell Specialization: Abjuration' on the Armor enchanted

• 'Invulnerable Armor' recipe now give Damage Reduction Effect

• 'Posion Weapon' recipe now give poison effect

• The 'Armor of Spell Resistance' recipes now gives spell resistance effect.

• Crafted wands, and scrolls now give the correct class restrictions based on class spell lists.

• Wands and potions now take into account the class and level of the caster for determining if the max spell level is surpasses instead of using the innate level of a spell.

• removed item cast at item restriction for spell storing devices (wands, potions, scrolls)

• Reduced cost of 0 level spells for wands, potions, and scrolls by half

• Added warlock darkness crafting recipes for Gold Filigree Charm and Infernal Focus

• Number of charges for newly crafted wand now defaults to 50.

 

Interface

• Fixed a bug where screen edge turning was frame rate dependent, making the camera behave differently based on graphics settings or area.

• Fixed a few minor bugs with mouse selection.

• Save game name will now show up properly when overwriting savegames.

• Fixed issue where gaining bonus feats from items were not causing a refresh of the character sheet.

• The character ‘ø’ has been added to our fonts.

• Context Menu Delay slider and Weapon trail Option are now properly saved and read in correctly.

• You can no longer resize on of the multiplayer chat windows offscreen.

• You can now click past feat selection if you have no feats to select. You lose that feat pick permanently. This was added so characters with low stats in core abilities could process through level up.

 

Toolset

• Turning off fog along with the “use area far plane†option now works correctly, and will render the area up to the far plane specified in the Graphics section of the Options screen.

• Oriented billboards in visual effects will now render correctly in the toolset.

• Weapon scaling now looks correct in the toolset.

• Fixed a bug with the script and conversation search windows stealing focus.

• Fixed a bug with changes to spells not getting saved if the active tab was changed before changes were applied.

• Level 9 spells are now saved correctly for creatures.

• Font preferences are now saved correctly.

• Fixed a bug where docking windows would snap closed if a drop-down box was used while they were shown.

• Reduction in memory pre-allocation by half. This should address some customer reported issues with the toolset crashing on load.

• Some improvements to script editor speed and reductions in memory usage.

• Fixed a bug where placed instances of stores weren't copying the "infinite" flag for items.

• Fixed memory leak when erasing grass.

• Fixed issue for non-English versions where some required toolset preferences were not being loaded.

• Module variables are now displayed under the “Scripts†category.

• Fixed bug where turning off light spheres would turn off sound spheres.

• Focus wouldn’t change properly when clicking on the propertygrid or the blueprint view. Fixed.

• Fixed crash when trying to modify prefabs in the universal blueprint changer.

• Fix for an exception that could be thrown if a journal was modified from code (like a plugin.)

• Fixed inability to modify camera orientation, Orientation has been re-enabled.

• Some fixes to toolset memory management to improve stability.

• Floating windows that are offscreen will be moved back onscreen on startup.

• Newly-created blueprints will have their template property set to the same name as the blueprint.

• Fixed a bug where creating new item blueprints, assigning them to a creature or placeable, and then immediately placing the creature or placeable would result in the item having incorrect properties.

• Fixed a bug in the script editor where certain NWN-specific data types would confuse the parameter info display.

• Using the “Find All†button in the script search window now displays all results in a popup window. Users can select the matching script/line they want to view.

• An estimated value for the cost of an item (before appraise rolls etc) has been added to the properties of items.

• Updated look and feel of the tab controls.

• Fixed a bug with the “Save†button in the world map editor. It will no longer corrupt map images.

And finally,

In addition to the fixes listed above, there are a series of single player campaign fixes coming as well! More info on that next week.

I wouldn't have posted the campaign fixes anyway because they'll be full of spoilers.

 

If Obsidian has been paying attention to bug reports from various players, including myself, the list of campaign bugfixes will be fairly large.

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I decided to try out the beta patch since I had a four day weekend and little else to do. The patch runs very well in my case, though some people seem to have no end of trouble with it. Some folks report big performance increases, but I've seen only 20% or so. Anti-aliasing makes the game look even better, especially at 1024x768, and I utilized my 20% performance gain to enable 4x FSAA (full-screen anti-aliasing) and still have a little performance left over. For the non-tech folks, anti-aliasing smooths rough edges of 3D objects and textures.

 

I'm tempted to post a screenshot of an Erinyes from the game, but I'll post a devil instead. This guy's got a great voice. ;)

 

Other people and myself post game screenshots in the screenshot thread at Obsidian's forums if you want to see more. They have unlimited attachment space so I prefer to post there. (I post as Wistrik there.)

 

Edit: removed attached picture.

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I'm waiting for official 1.03 patch myself. I tend to be a little leery of beta patches. I've been reading that some people have had some bug problems--although apparently they've taken care of Neeshka lacking a certain appendage in this patch. I'll have to try the anti-aliasing when the patch comes out.

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Heh, yeah, I had noticed the constant in-game references to her tail ("Tail-for-brains" ;)), and I was like "What tail?". I've downloaded the 1.03 beta patch, but for some reason the thing won't even try to install, even though I've got the latest game version installed. I suppose I'll watch for the final one.

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I got this as a Christmas present *big grins* so I'm anxious to install and play. Hopefully, I won't have the buggy problems I've been hearing about.

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I didn't see any bugs in my first run, I didn't even have any of the patches installed. The only problem is its a hardware hog, it high hardware requirements. It plays fine but you may encounter slow downs, I usually encounter them when there are big spell battles.

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