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we've had the chance to talk about the upcoming Neverwinter Nights
2 with the game's Lead Designer, Ferret Baudoin. Our current interview
focuses on the game's conversion to the 3.5e of the Dungeons &
One of the revealed new base classes is the relatively unknown warlock
from the Complete Arcane supplement. Can you tell us what has prompted
the inclusion of the warlock, and what the players can expect from
this class? How does it differ from the standard wizard and sorcerer
Baudoin: When Obsidian Entertainment first landed
the Neverwinter Nights 2 project there was much rejoicing
– queue Sir Robin’s minstrels. After the minstrels fell
into their drunken stupor, us designers got to decide what could
we do that’s new and hasn’t been seen before in a Dungeons
and Dragons computer game. One thing there’s never been
in these games is a new base class – and that seemed like
something really overdue especially in light of all of Wizard of
the Coast’s new Complete series of books.
why the Warlock, you ask? Because it’s a class that provides
a completely new way to play a spellcaster - all in one sleek, malevolent
package. Warlocks can cast their invocations at will which means
that spell conservation and the whole spell level concept isn’t
really relevant to them. Wizards and sorcerers always have a finite
resource they’re trying to stretch out for their day. They
have to juggle concepts like spells per day, spell levels, and memorization.
A warlock is well suited to fighting dozens of battles in one fun-filled
computer game session – and they’re easy for new people
to “grok”. And they’re just plain fun. :)
What will the XP/level cap be set at and to what extent will the
higher/epic character levels be supported?
Baudoin: There aren’t any epic levels in Neverwinter
Nights 2. The game does have 20 levels filled with new feats,
spells, abilities, prestige classes, and other things. So if you’re
so inclined you can still spend time pondering over the feat and
spell lists at level up figuring out the best way to lay waste to
all that oppose you.
Are you going to stick with the original Neverwinter Nights' multiclassing
limitation, or can we expect some more leeway in the number of allowed
classes in Neverwinter Nights 2?
Baudoin: There’s some balance issues when
you extend the multi-class limit – both good and bad. One
concern is that new players can accidentally pick up classes that
don’t stack well together. But people should rejoice, because
we’re supporting four classes now instead of three. One of
them is reserved for prestige classes, which will help make sure
that people don’t shoot themselves in the foot. But now you
can have a lot eclectic characters.
How is the XP distribution in regards to the number of companions,
summons, familiars etc. in the party going to be handled?
Baudoin: Chris Avellone, one of the owners of Obsidian
Entertainment and the lead designer of Knights of the Old Republic
2 and Planescape: Torment, is writing all of our companions.
After all the love he’s put into them, it would be a shame
if taking them along on the journey would cut significantly into
your share of the XP. So there are some changes on this front. Hee
To what extent will horses be integrated into the game? Essential
part of a class and gameplay ala paladin's warhorse (actually usable
in battle), or only there for travelling and carrying all the loot?
Baudoin: Unfortunately this is something we really
can’t comment on at this time.
Are you making any significant changes to any of the monsters encountered
in the original Neverwinter Nights and the expansions based on the
3.5e rules upgrade?
Baudoin: The biggest change for monsters is that
in 3.5 edition damage reduction has changed dramatically. In 3rd
edition you’d have damage resistances like “5/silver”.
That means that you’d need a silver weapon or any other magical
weapon to do full damage to that critter. The problem is that magical
weapons are pretty common items to adventurers so very shortly all
damage resistances that aren’t dependent on how strong the
base enchantment on your weapon is become irrelevant. But 3.5 changes
that and even a +5 longsword will not fully damage – let’s
say – a werewolf. It makes a big difference for certain creatures.
Is the intelligent monster concept going to be driven further in
Neverwinter Nights 2? Can we expect to see more monsters acting
as possible companions?
Baudoin: That’s not something we’re
exploring. You do have a host of the Forgotten Realms’ sub-races
to choose from, though. So yet more cool things to ponder at character
Sub-races (the drow) and prestige classes have already been confirmed
for inclusion in Neverwinter Nights 2. Can you reveal which additional
sub-races will be included, and which prestige classes are in?
Baudoin: The new dwarves available in Neverwinter
Nights 2 are the Gold Dwarves and the Gray Dwarves (duergar).
The Gold Dwarves primarily hail from the Great Rift, far to the
south-east of Neverwinter city. And the Gray Dwarves are some seriously
bitter people from the Underdark with some nice immunities (“Poison,
baa! Those only concern lesser races”) and other
fanciness. More of these will be announced later.
Can you tell us a little about the changes the 3.5e rules update
brings to some of the base classes, like the ranger? Which of the
changes and new features are going to be included, and will the
game's campaign contain anything specific to highlight the differences?
Baudoin: Our goal is to implement all the 3.5 changes
we can – not everything works in a computer environment. But
most class changes do, so it will be pretty faithful to the rulebooks.
You asked about the ranger specifically, so I can tell you about
that. The ranger will get to choose their combat style – either
archery or two-weapon fighting. Some of their abilities have been
changed and many have been moved. It makes it so that there’s
a whole lot more incentive to stick with being a ranger.
Which 3e to 3.5e transition changes do you believe make the biggest
difference in Neverwinter Nights 2 compared to the original, and
Baudoin: Your last question has hit the big one
- the class rebalance is huge. Almost every class has had some changes
to make it so that you get goodies at more regular intervals. Fighters
get access to some cool new Fighter-only feats, spell changes have
affected the spell-casters, and more. Wizards of the Coast did a
good job of making it so that there are more levels that have yummy.
have more news as the months go on, but thanks for the interview.
For the readers out there feel free to visit our forums at http://nwn2forums.bioware.com/
to get more information and chat with other folks. :)
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions!