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Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer - All News

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Wednesday - August 27, 2008

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Design Interview #2 @ Iron Tower

by Dhruin, 23:57

Vince D. Weller has a second Mask of the Betrayer design interview, this time with lead designer Kevin Saunders:

3. George mentioned that Kaelyn was almost cut. I don't think the game would have been the same without her, so I'm curious whether you realized her importance during the development and what's involved in creating an NPC like Kaelyn for a game like MotB?

This might sound strange, but at least to some degree, she's as important as she is purely because she is in the game. Sometimes a character (or gameplay feature or whatever) will really come together and then you'll place a greater focus on it and its importance grows into something you can't envision doing without. Surely some aspects of the game and story evolved as they did because Kaelyn did exist.

With Kaelyn, and I think George mentioned this, we were planning to cut her early on. Chris Avellone, who wasn't officially assigned to the project, said something to the effect of "if I make the time to write her, can we keep her?" He did an excellent job (of course) and we also lucked out with casting the perfect actress for the role - her lines are superbly read.

At the risk of going on too much of a tangent, a similar phenomenon occurs with people on a development team. For example, if George were working on Storm of Zehir, it would be a different game than it has become. A better game? That's hard to judge objectively. Because instead we've got various aspects of George's role on MotB being filled primarily by Annie Carlson and Tony Evans. They've got their own styles, their own strengths. As another example, Tony Evans is the Lead Designer for SoZ. If I had been, it also would have turned out to be a different game. But not a better one.

Without Kaelyn, something else would have taken her place, at least to some degree. That said, we definitely made the right decision in keeping her and I am very thankful to Chris for his contribution.

Sunday - August 24, 2008

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Design Interview @ Iron Tower

by Dhruin, 22:34

Vince D. Weller has a great interview with NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer creative lead George Ziet, discussing the design aspect of MotB:

I guess you and Kevin Saunders really pushed the game into a different direction from NWN2. What was behind this decision?  What are your thoughts, as a designer, on NWN2?

NWN2’s biggest sin was probably ambition.  The team tried to do too much in too little time, and everything suffered a bit.  It’s an awfully common story in the games industry, as anyone who plays a lot of games probably knows.

So when Kevin Saunders and I started preproduction on MotB (before NWN2 had even shipped), we ended up being pretty conservative… and that was for the best.  Credit goes to Kevin for this - he recognized early that we had a short development cycle, and we had to focus on what we knew we could achieve, and nothing more, lest our game feel unfinished in the end.

For me, as creative lead, my unabashed focus was story.  That turned out well from a production standpoint, since we could implement story with existing tools and tech.  I really wanted to tell a personal story - more on that below - in a different part of the Forgotten Realms.  So we devoted our efforts toward telling that story as thoroughly as we could, and we kept the core gameplay largely the same.  There were some things we knew we wouldn’t have time to implement properly, like the NWN2 stronghold and a “full suite” of companions, so we dropped those features.  (In fact, Kaelyn the Dove - my personal favorite companion - very nearly got cut.  Timely assistance from Chris Avellone was all that saved her.)

That strict sense of focus taught me a lot.  As developers, we should identify early what we can achieve in the time we have, and we should focus on those features.  It’s better to build a game that delivers a smaller number of features at a higher level of polish than to build a game that tries to do more than development time allows, as NWN2 did.

Friday - April 04, 2008

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Walkthrough @ Sorcerer's Place

by Dhruin, 12:00

Sorcerer's Place wrote in to point out their rather nice walkthrough for NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer, complete with maps and screens.

Monday - March 10, 2008

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Review @ Crispy Gamer

by Magerette, 18:37

Sorcerer's Place posts a link to games site Crispy Gamers' review of Obsidians NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer. The site's scoring system has three options, Try it, Buy it, or Fry it--and recommends 'Buy It' for this one:

  Obsidian's Neverwinter Nights 2 was a sprawling story whose wonderfully grand moments were undermined by some major technical issues: a fussy camera, poor interface choices and curiously inept patching to name three. The promise of new mods and adventures via the toolset never quite materialized because of the steep learning curve and broken Dungeon Master tools. It was still a great adventure with rich characters and certainly good enough to earn an expansion. With a new version of Dungeons & Dragons on its way, Mask of the Betrayer will probably be the final computer translation of the 3rd Edition rules...

Many of the technical problems of the core game have been worked out. Drag select works as it should and the camera is less annoying. Packrats will appreciate the new "sort loot" button on your inventory screen. It neatly arranges your treasure by type; a handy tool when you run into a hoard...

...Because you have epic characters, some battles are over fairly quickly. Spell spam litters your screen with special effects until only your guys are left standing. But you'll run into the other extreme, as well...The variation in challenges gives the feeling that you are leading a powerful party, but that other more powerful things exist. Even superheroes need to feel vulnerable.

 

Source: Sorcerers Place

Friday - February 08, 2008

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Review @ GamerDad

by Dhruin, 21:18

This short Mask of the Betrayer review at GamerDad is from a week of so ago but we missed it until Obsidian pointed it out.  The score is 4.5/5 and here's a snip:

While there is constantly a battle to fight, the story of your travels and adventures in the planes and Rasheman are the focus. The game forces you to into a difficult moral position by giving your character a 'spirit hunger' - you will lose energy and eventually face diminished attributes and possibly death based on whether or not you consume souls or siphon off spirit energy or try to fend off this hunger. The choice impacts your alignment as well, and plays significantly into how you become part of this unfolding tale. It is an excellent mechanic that forces you to think about yourself and your choices - no longer can you just rest ever five minutes to replenish health and spells. It is this innovative thinking and creative writing that make Mask of the Betrayer such an excellent game. Even if you skipped on Neverwinter Nights 2, I recommend that any role-playing fans pick this up - with Planescape: Torment-quality writing and characters and epic D&D battles, this is a blast of a gaming experience!

Sunday - December 23, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Review @ Gamersinfo.net

by Magerette, 15:57

Gamersinfo.net   has posted a short but positive review of Obsidians's NWN2:Mask of the Betrayer expansion, in their usual scoreless format:

I'll skip the story of how much Dungeons & Dragons has influenced my life and habits as I went into a good amount of detail in my review of the original Neverwinter Nights 2, but I will rave about how much I love a good story. Plot is the key to enjoyment in most games I play. I must feel invested in the characters and events to truly find myself immersed in the game. The original Neverwinter Nights 2 game did a fairly decent job of pulling me in and making me care about the events, but this first official expansion drew me in and wouldn't let go...

...Beyond the battles with tougher foes and spirits, you will be solving puzzles to...progress through the plot. These are a nice change of pace at times and allow you to truly think rather than hacking and slashing through every part of the game. Mix in some plot development, and you have a great unfolding story.

...The expansion is more than worth it. The additional pieces of the toolset based on the newly designed areas in the game will be a great addition to any mod creator's arsenal, and the ability to make the new classes and races in the original campaign will keep those who love to replay the game interested. I highly recommend the expansion for those who own the original and want something more to try.
 

 

Thursday - December 20, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Review @ Worthplaying

by Magerette, 19:15

Worthplaying has posted their review of Obsidian's NWN2 expansion, Mask of the Betrayer, with a score of 8.1/10, though the reviewer seems to have had some significant frustrations with it:

It wasn't far from the end of the first chapter that I became completely overwhelmed: Enemies had gained the ability to slay my level 19 Barbarian/Weapons Master in one hit, and dumping every spell Safiya had in her inventory didn't seem to be helping matters any. Even with other characters doing support duty during the epic fight at the end of Act I, things often came to a bloody and brutal end. I ascribe a lot of this to my inexperience with high-level characters and monsters. Based on this, I really have to suggest that players interested in Mask finish NWN2 first, simply so they have a smooth grasp on the intricacies of the game...

...The manual takes great pains to point out the interface changes, optimizations and overall improvements to the engine, but to be very honest, I didn't see much of it, aside from a few new color and lighting effects. Mask still has one of the most severe problems I noted with the original package: In many ways, the graphics are just a notch above average, but even with a relatively powerful machine (more substantial than when I reviewed NWN2 last year), frame rates are rather low, the characters look strictly okay, and there is a lot of stuttering and slowdown when things get hectic. Again, I have to question an engine that has this many issues running adequately on a dual-core system with a strong video card...

The module itself, as with the original campaign, helps to move focus past the technical foibles and back to the game itself. Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer is every bit as tightly written as the original, though it moves much faster and is a fair sight shorter. I do, however, like the characters, and it's pretty awesome that your lead character can, in theory, be something completely horrific that you can embrace, if you feel the need. I've always been fond of wide-open forks in the plot, where a decision really does seem to have some impact on how the story unfolds. Mask of the Betrayer, as an extension of the original Neverwinter Nights 2 campaign, is a strong RPG and something any D&D fan should check out. 

Source: GameBanshee

Monday - December 17, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Walkthrough @ GameBanshee

by Dhruin, 11:02

GameBanshee dropped us a line to say they have finished their NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer walkthrough, which complements their equipment database and other helpful stuff.

Wednesday - December 12, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Missing Quest @ CRPG.ru

by Dhruin, 00:06

CRPG.ru has an article on the Patron of the Arts quest, which was cut from NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer.  After speaking with Obsidian, they have an excerpt from the design docs on this dropped content.  Here's a snip from the intro:

Have you ever felt that something was amiss in the otherwise wonderful Mask of the Betrayer expansion pack to the critically acclaimed Neverwinter Nights 2? A little drop of magic glue that would stick certain areas of Mulsantir together, and add some more soul to this forlorn city? Turns out your senses didn't fail you... or you just happened to read a recent interview with Kevin Saunders on GameBanshee in which he informed us of a very interesting quest that never made it into the game - the "Patron of the Arts" quest, which was intended to elaborate on this whole rivalry business between The Sloop and the Veil Theater. Yet, due to certain circumstances, this was not meant to happen.

Sunday - December 09, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Review @ Sorcerer's Place

by Dhruin, 09:52

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer has been reviewed at Sorcerer's Place.  There's no score as usual for them and the text reads highly positive for the story but frustration with some other elements:

Despite the definite playability of the original campaign in Neverwinter Nights 2, no-one could truly accuse the game designers of exhausting the barrel of original ideas. I mean, the bad guy at the end was a truly excellent depiction of evil and eventual Armageddon, but the entire lead-up to your encounter with him is something of a “same-old” dungeon crawl. So imagine my delight when I found out that the story of the expansion is decidedly better in almost every way. The game's ending was completely unexpected, right up until the designated moment where the game designers wanted you to go “aah!”. In a lot of games, you tend to find that a good half of the quests have little, if anything to do with the main quest, and most of your time is spent wondering why on earth your PC would be doing such a thing during a time of obvious need for haste. While I occasionally found myself mildly confused trying to follow several different threads of the story at once, they all came together brilliantly at the end.

 

Wednesday - November 28, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Review @ Gaming Nexus

by Magerette, 21:11

Gaming Nexus  has a concise and positive review up for Obsidian's NWN2 expansion pack, Mask of the Betrayer, giving it a score of 8/10:

The crafting procedure is -- just as every other square inch of the world -- rife with rulesets and wracked with number-crunching, made all the more apparent since the nature of D&D constantly exposes the “man behind the curtain.” There’s no fourth wall protecting you from your statistics, and the dice (metaphorically) clatter so loudly across the gameboard that you’ll wonder if anything happens in the game without a 20-sided die tumbling on the tabletop.

And that’s the great wall separating D&D players from the other Jello-mold computer game RPGs. And, frankly, D&D players are rather proud of their wall and wouldn’t have it any other way. Mask of the Betrayer introduces six new sub-races? Viva la Genasi! The Spirit Shaman and the Favored Soul, not to mention five new high-level prestige classes, come sharply into play? A classless society is a sham! And half of any instruction manual accompanying a D&D game is made up of spells, spells, spells. The more the merrier, and that’s true for every aspect of Mask of the Betrayer.

The polluted learning curve, however, has purchased a multitude of carbon offsets in the form of grand, high-fantasy storytelling; none of it watered down. No dialogue is wasted, and character development is meaningful and sensibly pieced together in tangible snippets. The soundtrack is as lush as ever, the cutscenes continue to be the antithesis of action-packed, but the scripting is massive and occasionally lights atop the Shakespearean (we’re still talking contemporary video games, though, so don’t overrate that statement).

Source: Bluesnews

Wednesday - November 21, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Review @ YouGamers

by Magerette, 16:47

YouGamers posts a lengthy review of Obsidian's NWN2 expansion, Mask of the Betrayer, calling it a worthy sequel for hardcore NWN2 players, but faulting it for poor game design and tech faults in the gui and load times, for an overall score of 77/100:

While the original campaign told a story written and paced for teenage gamers, Mask of the Betrayer is better suited to more mature gamers: there are many disturbing themes, and the player is faced with tough decisions. A world of shadow hides unspeakable secrets, and the player will have to make choices between corrupting power and personal integrity. In some ways the story reads out like a drug addict's: after a certain point in the story, the player will constantly fight an urgent, consuming desire, and giving into it is destructive to both the player and whoever they face. This can get pretty creepy, and at times frustrating; Mask of the Betrayer is much more of an adult's game than the original campaign was [odd, considering ESRB gave it a teen rating - Ed]

The story is told mostly through interaction with Rashemen's various inhabitants, living and incorporeal. The writing is of high quality throughout, although I have to say it's somewhat wordy. To really get into the plot, you'll have to read page after page of dialogue, books, notes, and so on with a fair bit of focus. Perhaps then you get the satisfaction of guessing the various possible outcomes behind dialogue options, and make informed rather than random or alignment-dictated decisions...

 ...Mask of the Betrayer is a chilling, almost horror-like adventure, but there are very few opportunities for chillin' in it. Your terrible affliction haunts you most of the way, and you'll have to be at the top of your game to beat the odds stacked against you. In practice, this means a lot of effort and quite a bit of headache trying to figure out the best items, weapons and spells for your character and companions. On the other hand, an uber careful character build makes it possible to waltz through the game, soloing every combat (or so I'm told).

...Mask of the Betrayer is a great epic level fantasy role playing campaign, based on aging and limited technology, with two glaring flaws: a dysfunctional multiplayer mode and a very high barrier of entry. That said, if you finished Neverwinter Nights 2, this expansion is definitely worth getting.

Source: Bluesnews

Thursday - November 15, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Review @ Hooked Gamers

by Dhruin, 12:07

Despite headlining the article "Not a Huge Fan of Roleplaying Games", Hooked Gamers liked Mask of the Betrayer enough to give a score of 8/10:

Another feature of Betrayer is the fact that more puzzle-solving seems to be required than in Neverwinter Nights 2. Indeed, some of the puzzles in the original could have been solved by firepower, but this is not always the case with all puzzles in Betrayer. The gamer will need to think through some puzzles without using brawn. However this hasn’t been at the expense of the fighting. Starting with a levelled-up character, you’d be safe to assume that the battles can get more intense earlier than what you were used to in Neverwinter Nights 2. The control system hasn’t been largely tampered with, so players of Neverwinter Nights 2 will feel right at home. 

Saturday - November 10, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Review @ GameBanshee

by Dhruin, 22:51

The text of GameBanshee's review of Mask of the Betrayer gives a mixed impression but the score is quite strong at 8.3/10.  Here's an  example:

Overall, the campaign gets some good points for being interesting and different and well-written, but it also gets some bad points for its execution and mood -- not to mention its balance, since the combat is pretty easy throughout (think Shadows of Undrentide here) -- and that’s why it only gets a “nice” rating from me. But I’ll add this: I played a mostly good character who tried to suppress his affliction when I made my way through the campaign, and I’m looking forward to trying it again with an opposing type of character and different companions to see how it goes. For me, intriguing campaigns with a few problems are always better than run-of-the-mill campaigns with no problems, and Mask of the Betrayer has an intriguing campaign.

Thursday - November 08, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Review @ CVG

by Magerette, 18:24

Computer and Video Games website has given their impressions on Obsidian's recently released expansion pack to Neverwinter Nights 2, Mask of the Betrayer, scoring it 8.4/10: 

The story begins in your new homeland, Rashemen, which is wrapped up in the aftermath of a rebellion against the gods, and the betrayal of Myrkul, the god of Death (who rather fittingly was killed)...

...It's a whole new tale, with all-new locations, companions, etc. Where it falls short, however, is with the levity.

NWN2 was immediately joyful, with hilarious characters and dialogue juxtaposing the dark story. MotB is far more serious, and while the companions fulfil the role of representing personality extremes, none of them are particularly entertaining company. 

Things pick up very quickly after[ the opening dungeon]... and the story - while embroiled in yet more 'chosen one' cliché - flows neatly. And Obsidian's trademark ethical dilemmas feel more meaty than previously.

There are some pretty significant choices to be made, emphasised further by how you approach your need to gobble up spirits. And for the D&D aficionados, there are plenty more epic feats and spells leaping from the pages of the rulebooks.

If only it could have retained its sense of humour, this would be really good stuff. As it is, it's too po-faced too often, and still contains some of the bugs that bothered the original. However, with a tidied toolset and 25 more hours of story, it's still a solid and well-written expansion to an admirable game.

Source: Bluesnews

Thursday - November 01, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Post-Release Interview @ GameBanshee

by Dhruin, 09:37

Mask of the Betrayer lead Kevin Saunders chats to GameBanshee in a post-release look back at the game:

GB: Is there any content that you regret leaving out or didn't have time to add?

Kevin: No (but see below). There are a few things I wish we could have added. One was a side quest we called Patron of the Arts. It was a complete tangent from the main storyline and mostly for nostalgia value and comic relief. It involved organizing a play using the actors at the Veil (and competing with actors at the Sloop).

The play would be about your adventures from the NWN2 campaign and would culminate in a cut scene of the play that would have depended upon how you "wrote" the script and which actors you convinced to play the roles. It was an idea that we all really liked, but it became clear that we just wouldn't have the time to do it well, so we dropped it from consideration early on.
 

Wednesday - October 31, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Review @ Jolt

by Magerette, 17:41

Jolt uk has put up a favorable (8.6/10) review of Obsidian's NWN2 expansion, Mask of the Betrayer, commenting on its improved story elements, combat strategy and epic levels:

Neverwinter Nights 2 certainly built upon all that had been learned from previous releases, but once again it has taken an expansion pack to truly exploit the potential that the Aurora engine offers. Though some token new classes such as Red Wizards and Spirit Shamans, as well as the option of playing planetouched humanoids add an element of novelty and replayability to the game as a whole, Mask of the Betrayer focuses mainly on providing a really enjoyable new adventure...

...One thing that we really liked about this adventure is that it penalises you – sometimes quite heavily – for resting more than once per day, so if you’ve gotten into the habit of resting every five minutes to heal up or refresh spells, you’d better think again. By forcing you to think carefully about what spells you want to memorise and ration your resources, Mask of the Betrayer captures the core concept of realistic adventuring in Dungeons & Dragons much better than previous attempts have managed.

Source: GameBanshee

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Contest @ RPG Codex

by Dhruin, 07:34

Taking a break from their traditional cynicism, RPG Codex has a Mask of the Betrayer contest to highlight its awesomeness:

Since MotB has so many different options and outcomes, we'd like to spread the word about it and a contest with prizes directly from the developers is a good way to do it.

How to play:

Take a MotB screenshot showing an interesting in-game event, an event that requires certain past actions or choices and may not occur in every game, and submit it to us, explaining what exactly we are looking at and how you managed to achieve that.

Sounds like fun - hit the link for the full details.  Signed games and other loot is on offer to winners.

Thanks to Badesumofu and others for sending this in. 

Sunday - October 28, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Review @ Columbus Alive

by Dhruin, 01:07

Lucky Day sent in this short review of Mask of the Betrayer at Columbus Alive:

What happens to the hero after he's saved the world? What's the cost of sacrificing your soul to defeat darkness? These esoteric questions drive the actions of the player, without the bravado traditionally associated with epic fantasy tales.

The companions and moral situations the player encounters are also better developed. The side effects of defeating the shadow enemy leave the player cursed with a hunger for souls that adds an interesting new mechanic to the D&D game.

 

Friday - October 26, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Reviews @ RPG Codex, GameZone

by Dhruin, 12:11

RPG Codex is pretty quick off the mark with a review of NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer. There's no score as usual for the Codex but it seems they really liked it:

That’s where the game starts to shine so brightly that you completely forget about any flaws the game has and get lost in a well crafted gameworld. It’s like a dream come true – a non-linear game loaded with well-written dialogues, interesting quests, more choices than you can handle, and enough consequences and to make the game highly replayable. It’s hard to imagine a better feature list.

...Meanwhile, GameZone has short review with a score of 8.3/10:

This is a truly solid and enjoyable expansion. It can be very hard on the player, but part of the magic of the NWN series is that it requires you to think about what you are doing. Graphically the game does the job, the sound is well done, and the story is very strong. The original NWN2 had a few problems, something that has been addressed with this expansion. While the game has a few problems, it still is a reward for those who have played NWN2 and hungered for more. 

Saturday - October 20, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Review @ GameTap

by Dhruin, 13:51

7/10 is the score for Mask of the Betrayer in GameTap's review:

Ignoring the various technical issues that marred Neverwinter Nights 2, you can see that it was a pretty safe game. It had a traditional high-fantasy storyline about the player working to gather some shards to make a powerful sword to take down the intimidatingly named King of Shadows, and it had the usual array of dungeons, forests, castles, orcs, elves, and so forth. Now after having played the expansion, NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer, it feels like the original NWN2 was just a high-fantasy contract job that Obsidian had to fulfill, and that Mask of the Betrayer is the product that Obsidian wanted to make. Instead of saving the world from a massive menace, you'll find yourself figuring out who's placed a nasty curse on you and why. In the process you'll explore people's dreams (which are a shadow version of the normal NWN2 universe), try to cut in line in a sort of interdimensonal version of the DMV, and even take part of a sort of Paradise Lost-style uprising. Simply put, Mask of the Betrayer is quite possibly the most original, and best, Dungeons & Dragons game since the days of Baldur's Gate II and PlaneScape: Torment.

Thursday - October 18, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Game Guide @ Gamespot

by Magerette, 17:28

Gamespot has posted this comprehensive player's guide to Obsidian's expansion to NWN2, Mask of the Betrayer. It includes tips on gameplay and followers, and a detailed walkthru:

 After the events at the end of Neverwinter Nights 2, your character finds him or herself transported thousands of miles from where you finished that game, with a dark and terrible curse brewing within you. It's up to you to find new friends, explore the new portion of the world that has been opened to you, and attempt to find the reason you've been cursed, and hopefully eliminate it before it overwhelms you.

GameSpot's Game Guide to Mask of the Betrayer offers up the following exclusive features:
Follower Details
Curious about how best to use your followers, or where to find them? Check out this section of the guide.
Spirit-Eating Tips
The new spirit-eating mechanic is tough to control, but this section will help you out.
Walkthrough
A detailed walkthrough for proceeding through the game's three-act campaign.

Tuesday - October 16, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Review @IGN

by Magerette, 23:13

IGN has posted their review of Obsidian's just released NWN2 expansion, Mask of the Betrayer, scoring it high with 8.5/10 :

Like in the original campaign, if you feel like taking a break from casting Meteor Swarm and swinging your + 5 mace, you can talk to party members, ask what their life was like before meeting you, earn loyalty bonuses for being sympathetic, and ultimately gain a better sense of the game world and why you're doing what you're doing. It turns out those you eventually meet up with have quite different, elaborate, and interesting takes on how events eventually need to be resolved, which adds depth to the narrative and colors your decision-making with twinges of emotional attachment.

You can expect the same kinds of dynamic dialogue options and outcomes here as with the original campaign, though these are ultimately more engrossing. If you prefer the brute force method you can mow down many of the game's obstacles, but there are some particularly intriguing dialogue options should you take a more diplomatic approach....

 

Source: GameBanshee

Monday - October 15, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Review @ Eurogamer

by Magerette, 17:11

Eurogamer has posted it's review of the recently released NWN2 expansion by Obsidian, Mask of the Betrayer and they seem to be fairly pleased with it, scoring it 7 of 10:

What's it like? Well, the new material's welcome and pretty damn neat. The two new classes are Favoured Soul and Spirit Shaman. The former is basically a Cleric who doesn't do the work - God Just Loves Them - and basically acts like Sorcerer to the Cleric's Mage...

Oh - and special mention for the new crafting system, which is considerably less fiddly than the original one, and involves lobbing essences into a bag, casting spells at it and BINGO! magic weapon...

It's immediately clear that Obsidian is a lot more at home with NWN2 than it was the first time out. Going back to the original campaign confirmed it, but it's a lot prettier than before, which deserves some applause. The developers are also doing, on average, much more imaginative stuff. NWN2's opening seemed like a well-executed slog through a lot of standard fantasy tropes. MoTB has a lot more personality, putting you in fantasy situations a little more interesting than "Orcs are angry!" Not wanting to give anything away, much of the game focuses on Spirits, which as well as introducing the Spirit Shaman (and explaining why they're not just Druids with a double-barrelled alliterative name) gives it a unique dreamlike timbre. Hell, there are bits which bring to mind things like Gaiman's Sandman graphic novels, which is high praise indeed.

 

Sunday - October 14, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Review @ GameSpy

by Magerette, 02:06

GameSpy has their review up for Obsidian's just released expansion to NWN2, Mask of the Betrayer, scoring it a 3.5 out of 5:

The basic storyline and structure of the single-player campaign mark the expansion pack's greatest strength. While it's not in the same league as classics like Baldur's Gate II or Black Isle's Planescape: Torment, Mask of the Betrayer boasts the best story and most enjoyable questing seen in a D&D game for quite some time. Although the campaign is a bit linear, the story of the spirit-eating curse is riveting from beginning to end, touching on an extraordinary number of themes ....

Since Mask of the Betrayer begins immediately after the end of the original game, one of the big appeals is the ridiculously high level areas players will traverse. Players can import their original Neverwinter Nights 2 character or start a fresh one that will be leveled up to 18 upon creation. At that level, players start accumulating 9th level spells and epic feats like Halloween candy and Obsidian provides plenty of great new stuff for high-level players to fool around with...

Mask of the Betrayer's campaign is at its best when presenting the player with non-combat options. To that end, the game presents a group of great adventuring companions with their own involved storylines and a ton of dialogue and fun sidequests to work through. While they don't rise to the level of the quirky companions in Planescape: Torment, ...[they]... are three or four cuts above the standard fantasy campaign sidekicks...

Even here, bugs and poor implementation mar the experience. Character movement and spellcasting AI has been improved but characters still seem to have a hard time figuring out when to cast a healing spell and occasionally forget to follow the party leader....

Despite its problems, Mask of the Betrayer is a good-but-not-great expansion pack that will certainly interest any D&D fan. The new modding tools are an excellent addition to any homebrew RPG designer's bag of tricks and the single-player campaign is worth playing simply for the terrific story. If, in the end, Mask of the Betrayer's reach exceeds its grasp, better a game that tries to soar with the Celestials than one content to wallow in earthbound mediocrity. 

 

Source: GameBanshee

Saturday - October 13, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Review @ GameSpot

by Dhruin, 01:03

GameSpot's review of Mask of the Betrayer criticises the spirit-eating mechanism and camera but praises the choices and puzzles, calling the expansion "mature".  The score is 8/10 and here's a snip:

The expansion also does a great job of diversifying the gameplay. In NWN2, there was almost no situation that couldn't be solved with a little combat. On the other hand, Mask of the Betrayer is packed with all sorts of devious puzzles. For instance, a trip to a wizard school will have you trying to figure out an elaborate mirror puzzle, as well as attempting to break a contract with a devil. This is an expansion that will make you think, and that's a good thing.

Friday - October 12, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Review @ Action Trip

by Magerette, 02:57

Another early review  of Obsidian's NWN2 expansion, Mask of the Betrayer comes to us from the folks at Action Trip. The quick summing up covers the problems with camera angles, but mainly focuses on gameplay:

 

At the outset, it should be said that Mask of the Betrayer is designed for high-level characters, as it involves high-level enemies, deadlier traps and a variety of challenges created specifically for experienced avatars. In other words, you cannot play the game unless your avatar is at least level 18 or higher. Luckily, there's a selection of pre-made characters at the ready.

Upping the ante with tougher enemies and a more challenging experience altogether, Obsidian successfully implemented a number of new features that make the game a joy to play, particularly if you are a fan of the series... 

...experienced RPG gamers and D&D hardcore gamers will surely find it a challenge all the way. You should also know that some of the key new gameplay features won't kick in until you've explored a decent portion of the area and completed several quests. When your character reaches "Epic" status, you'll be able to exercise new feats and spells that vary according to the class (or Prestige Class) you've chosen. Also, you are now able to try out new D&D classes like the Red Wizard of Thay, Invisible Blade and Spirit Shaman, each with their own unique abilities.

Source: GameBanshee

Thursday - October 11, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Digital Download Option

by Dhruin, 00:33

Atari has announced the digital download option for NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer is now available (through their partner, Digital River):

Atari, Inc. is pleased to announce that the Digital Download version of Neverwinter Nights™ 2: Mask of the Betrayer for the Windows platform is now available on http://www.Atari.com/us.

Neverwinter Nights™ 2: Mask of the Betrayer will present players with an exciting new campaign, epic levels, dozens of new feats and spells, new races, base classes and prestige classes, new companions, new weapons, armor and crafting options, hordes of new monsters, and enhanced modding tools. This is an expansion pack for Neverwinter Nights™ 2 and requires the original NWN2 game to play.

For More Information on Neverwinter Nights™ 2: Mask of the Betrayer please
click the following link:
Click Here

Features:

  1. Challenging 20-30+ hour adventure complete with strategic action, a rich story and deep characters.
  2. Advance to Epic levels (above level 20) and choose from over 100 new spells and feats.
  3. New toolset features and improvements make creating your own adventures easier than ever.
  4. Includes new monsters, weapons, items, classes, races and environments.

To purchase a copy of Neverwinter Nights™ 2: Mask of
the Betrayer for your PC in Digital Download format Click Here We are offering it on our website Right Now!

Why wait? Start playing today!

Note that this is currently only available for NA and Mexico.  There are few FAQ answers further in the thread and I think it's worth pointing out you can only re-download for free for 30 days (2 years if you buy the extended service).

Wednesday - October 10, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Walkthrough @ Thieves Guild

by Corwin, 03:42

It doesn't take long. Thieves Guild has sent us notice that they've posted a Walkthrough already for Act 1 of Mask of the Betrayer. 

Here's their introductory paragraph:

Welcome to the Mask of the Betrayer walkthrough. As of yet, we only have Act 1 up, but are currently working on Act 2. We just want to take a minute here to let you know that the walkthrough we made was intended to be a guide for helping you find your way around in case you get stuck. It's not intended to tell you how to win the game. And what type of character you play can and will ahve an effect on th outcome of events in the game. For this version of the walkthrough, a wizard was used with a neutral alignment. Future version will have different characters and alignments. Hopefully this will bring out more details in the game play. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them on the walkthrough thread. So enjoy the walkthrough and the game.

 Thanks Calls

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - A New Review @ NWVault

by Corwin, 03:35

A new review of the expansion has been posted today at the Vault. It is a fairly brief, but comprehensive one as is usual for NWVault

Here's a short snip:

The attempt to draw the player in and feel as if they are at the center of the story’s attention is quite obvious and much appreciated. Being that this campaign is more story and dialogue driven, it presents a multitude of opportunities to use social skills and conversation options to progress and affect the outcome.

 Thanks Lucky Day

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Review @ 1Up

by Dhruin, 01:09

1Up has the first NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer review from the major sites, penned by Gaming for Windows' Jeff Green.  Describing it as "a stronger, more complex, and ultimately more satisfying game" than NWN2, the score is 8/10:

Me, I chose to import my trusty level 18 Dwarf Paladin, Doofaeus Moronico -- and had my best D&D RPG experience since Black Isle's 1999 masterpiece, Planescape: Torment (though it's not in the same league). Planescape is, in fact, the best point of reference here for describing Mask's campaign. Rather than sending you on a save-the-world quest, Mask focuses on an inward journey: You awake imprisoned underground for reasons unknown, and you soon find yourself victim of a horrific curse. You spend the bulk of the game hopping through portals into surreal planes and dreamscapes in search of who put this curse on you, why, and how to get rid of it.

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Now Available in NA

by Dhruin, 00:21

Atari has announced Mask of the Betrayer has hit NA stores:

Neverwinter Nights(TM) 2: Mask of the Betrayer Ships
Tuesday October 9, 9:00 am ET
-Highly-Anticipated Expansion Hits Retailers in North America-

NEW YORK, Oct. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Atari, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATAR - News) and Obsidian Entertainment today announced that the highly-anticipated expansion Neverwinter Nights(TM) 2: Mask of The Betrayer has shipped to stores nationwide in North America. Developed by Obsidian Entertainment, the expansion to the award-winning Neverwinter Nights 2 is set in the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS® Forgotten Realms® universe created by Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE: HAS - News). DUNGEONS & DRAGONS is under license from Hasbro. Rated "T" for Teen, Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer is available for Windows platform at a suggested retail price of $29.95.

In Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, players are transported back to the Forgotten Realms shortly after the events detailed in the original Neverwinter Nights 2. Following the climactic battle against the King of Shadows, the player awakens alone and stranded deep beneath the earth. Surrounded by a horde of evil spirits, the player embarks on an epic adventure that reveals his true destiny. In addition to more than 25 hours of new game play, Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer allows characters to advance to Epic levels (above level 20) and provides over 100 new spells and feats.

"Atari's commitment to the Neverwinter Nights franchise and its enormous community is strong," said Larry Liberty, Senior Producer, Atari, Inc. "We're confident that Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer will deliver a truly satisfying role-playing experience that further engages fans."

The Neverwinter Nights franchise has sold more than three million copies worldwide, is translated into 10 languages, sold in more than 40 countries and features one of the largest and most active fan communities in all of gaming. To date, fans of the franchise, which includes Neverwinter Nights, Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide(TM), Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark(TM) and Neverwinter Nights 2 have created more than 5,000 modifications to the original game using the award-winning toolset included with the full game that allows players to create their own universes, quests and storylines.

More information about Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer can be found at www.nwn2.com, which includes user forums, project news, development updates and more.

Source: Bluesnews

Monday - October 08, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Peek #3 @ RPG Vault

by Dhruin, 23:40

Mask of the Betrayer Peek #3 is now up at RPG Vault, looking at Thaymount:

 Thaymount

Feared and despised across all of Toril are the Red Wizards of Thay, whose unbridled ambition has brought war to countless lands across the Realms, kept in check only by their own inability to prevent in-fighting and backstabbing among their order. Theirs is a brutal civilization, with its economy steeped in slavery, its governors and bureaucrats corrupt and power-thirsty, and its cruel ruling wizard class for whom mercy is weakness and violence is strength. They are perennial enemies of Rashemen despite the fact that their lower class shares blood with the Rashemi - a fact that neither people is eager to acknowledge - and have brought war to Rashemen and enticed others to do the same on countless occasions.

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Review @ ComputerGames.ro

by Dhruin, 23:23

Bossman from ComputerGames.ro wrote in to point our their review for NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer.  This is the first review we've tracked and the score is 88%:

Secondly, the designers have put a lot more emphasis on the decisions that you will make during the game and their consequences, which will greatly influence your companions, as well as the final outcome of the game. Speaking of which, there are four possible endings: one good (considered optimal by Obsidian), two neutral and one evil (which is very cool by the way). Barring the increased replay value that these endings offer (because you can’t see all four just by making one choice at the end of the game), they are also a lot more satisfying than the ones in NWN2, so fans will be pleased in this regard.

Saturday - October 06, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Monster Mash Trailer @ IGN

by Magerette, 19:55

IGN has another new trailer up Obsidian's NWN2 expansion, Mask of the Betrayer. This one takes a look at some of the monsters to be confronted, and shows a few different player characters and spells. You can stream or download it here.

 

Thanks to Lucky Day for the info. 

Friday - October 05, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Peek #2 @ RPG Vault

by Dhruin, 22:34

The second of RPG Vault Peek at Mask of the Betrayer is up, looking at the location of Ashenwood:

Rashemen is known broadly as a land rich with spirits, and in few places is the spirit population more numerous than in the Ashenwood. Those who die defending Rashemen, be they man or beast, may return as telthors - fearsome and powerful guardian spirits - so that they might continue to protect the land in death. For many of these telthors, the Ashenwood is a haven where they may exist in peace and relative seclusion, awaiting the day when their homeland is threatened and they are called upon to fight for it as they did in the past.

Some nice screens accompany the article.  Meanwhile, IGN also has a new trailer and and a "classes and races" clip on their media page.

Thanks, Lucky Day!

Thursday - October 04, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Trailer @ IGN

by Magerette, 18:32

For those still awaiting their copy of Obsidian's NWN2 expansion, or just curious, this trailer at IGN gives a short, spoiler-less look at the basic story and some gameplay footage, really living up to the idea of a 'teaser'. You can stream or download it here.

Source: GameBanshee

Wednesday - October 03, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Peek #1 @ RPG Vault

by Dhruin, 00:27

It seems a bit late to kick off a Peek series with the Euro version alrerady out and the NA edition just days away, but RPG Vault has their first Mask of the Betrayer Peek.  Jeff Husges writes about The Barrow of the Bear God location:

The Barrow of the Bear-God harkens back to an era when Chauntea was a young goddess, and packs of feral, sentient beasts ruled the wilds of Rashemen. The greatest among these creatures were the bear-gods, and the Barrow was the place they came to die, shedding their mortal forms and becoming powerful spirits so that they might continue to watch over the land. As the centuries passed, the number of bear-gods dwindled, many of them drifting off into eternal slumber. Not all of the great bear spirits are gone, however, and a number of them yet remain, ready to awaken to defend Rashemen from the gravest threats.

Monday - October 01, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Installation Tips & Hotfix

by Dhruin, 14:21

We mentioned the Mask of the Betrayer hotfix in passing in the nearby newsbit about NWN2 but Sei Daneic wrote in to point out this thread on the official forums and it's probably worth highlighting:

When installing MoTB, please use the following instructions:

1. Install NWN2
2. Patch NWN2 to the latest version (1.10 as of Sept. 29, 2007)
3. Install Mask of The Betrayer
4. Download and apply the hot fix for your language, listed below.

Italian: Click Here
French: Click Here
German: Click Here
English: Click Here
Spanish: Click Here

If you do not apply the hot fixes, when you attempt to play the game you will see sections of missing text and the Campaign name will say it is undefined.

Saturday - September 29, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Updated FAQ @ NWN2Vault

by Magerette, 23:35

Neverwinter Vault has updated their excellent MotB FAQ with some additional information on new cleric domains, several of the prestige classes (Red Wizard of Thay, Stormlord, Spirit Shaman) and  the base class, Favored Soul. The updates reflect information from posts made on the MoTB Bioware forums by various community members.

There's a ton of information in this FAQ and you can check it out here.

 

Thanks again, Lucky Day! 

Friday - September 28, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - European Release @ NWN2 Vault

by Magerette, 21:53

According to this post over at the NWN2Vault site, the Mask of the Betrayer expansion for Obsidian's rpg NWN2 has been released in Europe:

Mask of the Betrayer is on sale in the UK and the rest of Europe according to reports. Game have it on sale for £19.99 in stores and £14.99 if you buy over the net. So far very few bug reports have been posted, the main ones concering a lack of new MoTB resources showing up in the Toolset; this however could have something to do with installing MoTB ontop of patch 1.10 that was released a couple of days ago (manual patch)...


It seems that there are portraits for some Companions, but that the PC still has the 3D avatar, crafting is much smoother with lots more essences, dialogue is well written and atmospheric and the new music is a hit! Area design is much better than the OC, the games performance is much better and the re-vamped facial textures are much nicer. New heads, hair styles etc are looking pretty good.

 

Wednesday - September 26, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - First Look @ RPG Vault

by Dhruin, 23:02

RPG Vault has one of their brief First Views for NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer:

Commendations
The team is promising a polished product with a compelling campaign that will reveal the protagonist's true destiny. With an estimated 25 to 30 hours of gameplay, double the original target, plus new content that includes three races, several classes and six companions, each with roughly twice the dialogue of their predecessors, it looks like there's plenty of substance and high replay value. The addition of an overhead tactical camera mode facilitates play when you want to see more of what's going on than you can from the usual behind and above angle. Shadow portals that lead to alternative dimensions comprise another interesting feature, and of course, we'll see various enemies, items, feats et al that we haven't until now.

Thanks again, Lucky Day.

Tuesday - September 25, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Preview @ YouGamers

by Magerette, 17:06

Another preview of the NWN2 expansion, Mask of the Betrayer, is up at You Gamers. This one is relatively spoiler-free and goes over the new races, prestige classes and community inspired technical improvements:

The NWN modding community is stacked with talent – so much that Obsidian included a number of user-generated enhancements in Mask of the Betrayer. From AI improvements to spell fixes, the best community-made content found its way to the codebase. For the modding set, NWN's toolset has been expanded. There are, of course, new tilesets and creatures, but improving the usability of the tools has been a focus. The terrain editor now features an 'undo' option, and sorting through the various armor sets has been made easier with the addition of a creature wizard.

Sunday - September 23, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - French Community Q & A @ NWN2Vault

by Magerette, 21:19

Lucky Day wrote in to tell us about this translation of some questions answered by Rob McGinnis on the MotB French forums posted at NWN2Vault:

MotB's events occur in Boo and Minsc's homeland. Will we ever cross their path or even have a chance to recruit them ?

Unfortunately not. Minsc and Boo, while they were great characters, were created by Bioware developers. As with every character, a lot of the writer's personality went into Minsc and Boo. For us to try to bring those characters back, we wouldn't be able to give them the same "feel" and don't think it would be right to attempt it...

I heard that the new add on will be more hack n slash, is it true ?

Combat is always important in a Neverwinter title, but we have also spent a lot of time on dialog. Many of our less important characters in MoTB have twice as much dialog as the most important characters in the NWN2 OC.

 

Thanks, Lucky Day! 

Thursday - September 20, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Preview @ NW Vault

by Dhruin, 23:11

NW Vault has joined several other sites in having a Mask of the Betrayer preview from a recent Obsidian visit:

Interestingly enough, one of the companions that can join you is an undead creature called "One of Many" that looks great and has some interesting interactions that affect your influence. Many people will be happy to note that influence changes now appears in the main screen as well can be seen in the character sheets. If you upset your companions enough, they will leave you for good, so it's important to take care in how you treat them and handle yourself.

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Previews @ Gamespot, Gamespy & IGN

by Magerette, 09:16

In more NWN2:MoTB news, the first new previews following the recent media presentation at Obsidian's offices are beginning to appear. These 3 are just out at Gamespot, Gamespy and Ign respectively.

WARNING:There are definitely some SPOILERS in these hands-on previews, so if you want the game to be a complete surprise, you may want to stop reading here.

 

Gamespot goes into some detail on how Obsidian has given a plot-related cost to the former 'rest and refresh' system in NWN2:

If NWN2 had a weakness, it was the ability to rapidly rest after every battle, which let you fully heal and recharge all of your magical spells in about five seconds. Consequently, the game seemed a bit too easy. You weren't forced to make the hard choice about using a fireball spell or saving it for later on. Mask of the Betrayer has an interesting solution to this issue, and it's tied heavily into the plot.

The dark hunger that resides in you forces you to consume spirits to survive (the magical kind, not the alcoholic type). You become a spirit-eater, an entity that is feared in that region of the world--exactly how you find and devour spirits is something that will be revealed over the course of the game. Unfortunately, being a spirit-eater is a lot like having a drug addiction. The longer you go without consuming a spirit, the weaker you become, until you eventually die. However, if you eat too many spirits too quickly, it's like being addicted to a drug. You'll need to consume more and more spirits just to get the same level of satisfaction as before. So the trick is to balance spirit consumption carefully. A spirit meter will show your character's current hunger level, and it slowly drains while you play the game (though it pauses during conversations). If you rest in the game, you lose a fair amount of your spirit reserve. So if you rest repeatedly, you'll find yourself in big trouble quickly.

 

Gamespy gives some information on the setting and the Plane of Shadows:

 The Rashemen city of Mulsantir will act as the "hub city" in the game, the place where much of the storyline plays out and the majority of the game's quests will be garnered. Mulsantir, like most of the other game locations, also has a dark reflection of itself on the Plane of Shadow that the players will visit. The Plane of Shadow uses a new color desaturation technique (that will be available to modders) to turn everything except the color red to black and white. In these shadowlands, certain truths are revealed so a small, benign temple of a god of healing in the "real world" is instead a huge cathedral to an evil deity. A collapsed pier in an otherwise ordinary swamp is revealed to be whole in the Plane of Shadow and it leads to the home of a group of hags called the Slumbering Coven.

IGN  covers the races, feats and new prestige classes, as well as the revamped influence system:

The influence meter that's found in MotB is similar to what we saw in KOTOR II, but a bit more refined, with actual ramifications to consider. In the example that we were given, the party that we were traveling in had two companions that were on entirely opposite ends of the morality spectrum. One was Kaelyn, a half-angel, with a more divine and kind sensibility, while the other was One of Many, an incorporeal demon, who was evil through and through.

As you gain more influence with Kaelyn, it would eventually unlock new talents that you can only get through her that were probably a bit more geared to defense, while One of Many had a handful of dark powers to imbue upon you, should you prove that you're worth his trouble. The only problem is that you can't possibly get a solid reputation with both, as when you gain influence with one, it goes down with the other. Eventually, if you gain too much influence with one, it won't sit well with the other, and they'll eventually leave the party. If you really upset a companion, they may even turn on you and attack, forcing you to battle a formidable opponent. 

Source: Bluesnews

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - New Screenshots and Trailer @ NWN2 Vault

by Magerette, 08:01

NWN2Vault  has five new screenshots from Obsidian's soon to be released title, Mask of the Betrayer, as well as a new video showing off some of the NWN2 expansion's epic feats.

 

Thanks, Lucky Day! 

Friday - September 14, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Release News@ NWN2 Vault

by Magerette, 22:43

Lucky Day wrote in with the news that according to this post at NWN2 Vault, Mask of the Betrayer has gone gold and is scheduled for late September release in Europe and October 9th in North America. As of this moment, there's nothing up at Obsidian or the Bioware NWN2 official forums, so no official confirmation as yet, but we'll keep you posted.

Thanks, Lucky Day!

Thursday - September 13, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Official Site Live

by Dhruin, 23:30

Lucky Day wrote in to point out Atari's new official Mask of the Betrayer site, which offers the usual game overviews, screens and so on.  At this point, there doesn't appear to be any new content/special content but we'll try to keep an eye on it.

Wednesday - September 12, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Mini-Preview @ YouGamers

by Dhruin, 00:08

Another short overview article on Mask of the Betrayer is up, this time at YouGamers:

NWN 2 is known for its long and very involved story. If 50-plus hours didn't satiate your need for exploring, fighting and chatting up NPCs, then Mask of the Betrayer offers up another 20 hours or so to your questing. Details are sparse at this point, but Obsidian have released some story snippets. Picking up directly after the events in NWN 2, the story plays out in Rashemen. The Red Wizards call the nearby Kingdom of Thay home, so they'll play a pivotal role in driving the action. Neverwinter Nights lead designer Kevin Saunders sets the stage for the story: "You awaken in a pool of your own blood. Your immediate goal is survival. The shard of the Sword of Gith has been ripped from your chest and in its place is a dark hunger, a craving that threatens to consume you." Dark and mysterious, indeed.

Source: Bluesnews

Tuesday - September 11, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Screens/art @ NWVault

by Dhruin, 23:59

Lucky Day wrote in to point out three new pieces of Mask of the Betrayer media at NW Vault.  They appear to be in-game shots or renders with logos that will be used as cover pictures.

Monday - September 10, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - PAX Preview @ MPOGD

by Dhruin, 23:34

Multiplayer site MPOGD looked at NWN: Mask of the Betrayer at PAX, kicking up a short preview that provides no new information but gives a very general overview:

Even though I found it under the Atari banner, it is really a compilation of several companies, including Obsidian, Bioware, Wizards of the Coast, Hasbro, and, of course, Dungeons and Dragons. Which leads to the obvious question: how many companies does it take to release an MMO game? Answer: as many as needs to license it.

Yet all joking aside, I discovered a lot of great new additions to this game that takes place right after the original Neverwinter Nights 2. For example, the addition of four different Genasi, elemental characters that the D&D crowd knows pretty well. There is, of course, the Fire, Air, Earth, and Water, and there are all sorts of graphic iterations to make them look very cool. For example, the Fire Genasi have a fiery look to them, the Air Genasi have wind flowing about them, and so on.

Source: Bluesnews

Wednesday - September 05, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Preview @ Jolt, Obsidian Forums

by Dhruin, 02:26

A short preview of NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer can be found at Jolt, providing a basic overview of the game:

On top of the new playable races, including the Gensai – elemental planetouched humans – are advanced playable classes, such as Spirit Shamans, Red Wizards of Thay and Favoured Souls. Right from the outset you’ll get your hands on advanced spells and abilities, with many more epic spells and over 60 epic feats just around the corner. Then, of course, are all the new items and crafting options appropriate to the most near-deity-like levels of the Dungeons & Dragons system.

Probably more interesting is this "review" from tester Cantousent on the Obsidian forums.  Obviously, he can't give away too many specifics at this early stage but it's an interesting read:

On that note, I can switch gears, because MotB tells an excellent story. Like I’ve said previously, I prefer PS:T to MotB, but the two games are similar. Both tell a personal story. However, the point of PS:T is to discover something about yourself. You must understand the things you’ve done in the past and decipher the activities of your previous “incarnations.” In MotB, the game is refreshingly centered on something (and someone) other than yourself. Sure, the game revolves around the PC and his actions, but the point of every endeavor is to understand something that happened in the far distant past. If PS:T were a story of self discovery, then MotB is a story of other discovery. The PC learns something of himself along the way, of course, but MotB serves as the final chapter in a very long book. It is an important chapter, to be sure, but most of the book was written well before the PC enters the story.

Monday - September 03, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Community Update

by Dhruin, 23:30

Rob McGinnis' latest NWN2 Community Update focuses almost entirely on Mask of the Betrayer, with a preprint of the preview patch notes and a look at the Invisible Blade prestige class:

Invisible Blades are deadly fighters who prefer to use daggers and related weapons in combat. Their training and techniques with these weapons make them just as lethal as any well-armed fighter. Invisible Blades enjoy cultivating misconceptions about the level of danger they present, and they relish any chance to demonstrate that the most unimposing weapons can be the most lethal.

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Comprehensive FAQ @ NWN2 Vault

by Magerette, 17:11

An exhaustive FAQ has been compiled over at NWN2 Vault covering a myriad of questions concerning Obsidian's next addition to the world of NWN, Mask of the Betrayer:

 

14.2.25 How will the expansion start?


The very first companion that you obtain in the expansion will be a neutral Red Wizard that will act as your introduction to the world, and you'll also be visiting sections of Thay in your travels. You'll find her right at the start of the expansion content, which sees your character recovering from the events at the end of Neverwinter Nights 2, where you and your party were trapped underground in the aftermath of a giant earthquake. Waking up in a cave, with the silver shard that existed inside your chest having been unceremoniously ripped out, you're left disoriented and confused, with none of your previous companions by your side. Unfortunately, it appears that few, if any, of them will reappear as a party member, although we're told that some of them will come back in cameo appearances. You'll still have companions in the expansion, of course, but you'll be drawing on an entirely new set of potential friends.

 

Source: Sorcerers Place

Thursday - August 30, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Interview @ Joystiq

by Dhruin, 00:06

Joystiq talks to Obsidian's Nathan Davis, discussing Mask of the Betrayer mostly by comparison to NWN2:

Now this is a design choice, but another issue that some longterm Baldur's Gate/NWN fans had with Neverwinter Nights 2 was the fact that you moved away from attractive high quality 2D portraits for your characters and instead got a zoomed-in look at their 3D model's head instead. And honestly, it looked like crap.

Haha, well we've actually made it now so that players can customize their portraits with their own pictures and also increased the quality of the provided portraits for your NPC teammates. That's one of those things - we get a lot of feedback from the community and we respond to that.

Source: Bluesnews

Wednesday - August 29, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Chat Log @ WarCry

by Dhruin, 00:42

An edited log from a recent Mask of the Betrayer chat at WarCry is now available:

In attendance:

Andrea Bobick, animator
Andy Woo, programmer
Brandon Adler, production QA
George Ziets, creative lead
Jeff Husges, designer
Rob McGinnis, community mgr
Jean-Eric Khalife, artist

What can you tell us about the new prestige classes? Favored Soul, Spirit Shaman, Invisible Blade, Red Wizard, is this the full list?

For prestige classes we also have Sacred Fist, Arcane Scholar of Candlekeep, and Stormlord
[OEI]Jhusges: yeah, favored soul and spirit shaman are the new base classes
[OEI]BAdler: You forgot Invisible Blade
[OEI]awoo: Invisible Blade and Red Wizard were mentioned in the question.

Tuesday - August 28, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Screens @ Worthplaying

by Dhruin, 00:07

Grab four new NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer screens at Worthplaying.

Monday - August 27, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - PAX 2007 Preview @ GameZone

by Magerette, 04:29

This short preview put together for the Penny Arcade Expo is a general overview of the coming expansion for Neverwinter Nights 2. After discussing the developer's response to the community input, and some of the graphical content, they go on to mention some gameplay features:

There are also different planes of existence. Not only will players be able to adventure on the prime material plane, but they will be able to enter the shadow plane to fight monsters that are not visible on the prime plane...

Influence will play a larger part in this game as well. The demonstration of the game showed a party system reminiscent of Baldur’s Gate. Players can be very involved with party members, building influence and even convincing them to think along your lines.

Mask of the Betrayer is a lot more story driven and there is a lot more dialogue in the game. The spell effects showed not only solid graphical elements, but also a bit of a wry sense of humor.

 

 

 

Source: GameBanshee

Saturday - August 25, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Dev Profile @ WarCry

by Dhruin, 13:28

WarCry has an interview with Obsidian Art Director Justin Cherry, profiling his work and background.

Source: Bluesnews

Tuesday - August 21, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Preview @ GameSpy

by Dhruin, 13:59

An early GenCon preview of Mask of the Betrayer is up at GameSpy:

One of the key new elements in the game's single-player campaign is that the Nevewinter Nights 2 team really listened to fan feedback. The new campaign sports quite a few improvements from both a technological and storytelling perspective. The game now has an "AI on/off" switch and a host of new interface controls designed to make it much easier to control the party's actions.

They've also re-worked the camera, allowing players to switch at will between a "Character" cam that defaults the camera to a position over the main character's right shoulder for a perspective similar to that seen in Knights of the Old Republic. The other mode -- "Strategy" -- moves the camera to an overhead perspective similar to that employed by the classic Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale adventures.

Sunday - August 19, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Community Update & Interview

by Dhruin, 01:06

Stepping in for Shane DeFreest is Rob McGinnis with the latest Mask of the Betrayer Community Update on the official forums:

1. Will we see PrC's for classes like Warlock and Druid that really have no options now?
The Stormlord PrC has full divine spell progression and works very well for druids. (Note that the War Priest is also a decent option for druids, though it doesn’t fit as well thematically). We aren't adding a PrC for Warlocks.

2. Are there going to be any new base classes introduced in this expansion? If so, could you tell us what class(es) might be added, or at least hint at it/them (if unable to reveal such details as of this time)?
We have implemented the favored soul and spirit shaman.

3. With the new setting placed in Rasemen, will the Monk finally get a prestige class that caters to it?
The sacred fist PrC is great for monks with any divine caster levels.

While we're on MotB, RPG Vault is pointing out an interview at InGame.de:

ingame.de: Two new base classes have been announced: The Spitit Shaman and the Favored Soul. Both of them use divine magic. So what’s the difference between them and a Druid or Cleric?
 
Kevin Saunders: The biggest difference is that both cast spells spontaneously (like a sorcerer) instead of memorizing them in advance. This makes them more flexible in some ways, though they are restricted by how many spells they know (as sorcerers are). Except for their spell list, the spirit shaman and druid are very different, with both having many class abilities. For example, spirit shamans cannot wild shape, but they have many powers over spirits, which includes creatures such as elementals. The favored soul also has some unique abilities, gaining energy resistance and weapon specialization in their deity's favored weapon.

Source: RPG Vault

Saturday - August 18, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Preview @ MPOGD

by Dhruin, 12:40

Multiplayer specialist site MPOGD has a preview of NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer from GenCon.  It's a pretty general article but this bit is interesting:

NeverWinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer will be available mid September to early October.  The game is finished and ready to hit the shelves, but Atari wants to ensure that they can do a simultaneous world-wide launch.  As soon as those translations are complete, you'll see it at your closest game store.

I would have thought v1.07 would have been released if the expansion is already finished.  Thanks, Lucky Day! 

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Diary #1@ RPG Vault

by Dhruin, 01:04

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer lead designer Kevin Saunders writes their first diary for RPG Vault, discussing the goals for this, um, game:

Many will call Mask of the Betrayer an "expansion". I hate that term. I think the expansion designation really means two things: 1) you have to buy the original game to be able to play it; 2) it's less expensive. Expansion suggests something that's unworthy of being called a game. We even get our own special category in annual game awards to emphasize that an expansion shouldn't be compared to a real game.

Many will call Mask of the Betrayer an "expansion". I hate that term. I think the expansion designation really means two things: 1) you have to buy the original game to be able to play it; 2) it's less expensive. Expansion suggests something that's unworthy of being called a game. We even get our own special category in annual game awards to emphasize that an expansion shouldn't be compared to a real game.

Wednesday - August 15, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Interview @ Sorcerer's Place

by Dhruin, 02:58

Sorcerer's Place has a nifty interview with Obsidian's Nathaniel Chapman on NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer.  Here's an excerpt on the refined influence system:

SP: The influence system is said to have been improved or even redesigned. Could you please cast some light on this? 

Nathaniel Chapman: The influence system is something that we’ve used in all of our games so far, and it’s something we’ve given a lot of thought to in Mask of the Betrayer. We’ve done a lot to improve both visibility and reactivity. In Mask, you can open up any of your companion’s character sheets and see your influence level with them. In addition, influence is broken down into broad levels based on the current value, and at higher levels companions will both gain feats that make them stronger and grant the player feats that make him or her stronger. Additionally, if you lose enough influence with companions, they may choose to leave your party, or even attack you. As a result, the companions feel much more responsive and you feel a lot more rewarded for currying favor with them.

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Interview #2 @ RPG Vault

by Dhruin, 01:02

RPG Vault continues their conversation with Designer and Producer Kevin Saunders on NWN2.  Here's a question on companions:

Jonric: How many henchmen are you adding in Mask of the Betrayer, what will each be like, and how will they be distinctive? Will the old ones still be available, and how will the new ones differ?

Kevin Saunders:
Mask of the Betrayer has five companions. Two are mutually exclusive, and all are optional. At the beginning of the project, we decided to stay away from the NWN2 companions in general. There is a cameo (or two or three...), but we wanted a fresh start. It was challenging enough for us to craft the story based upon the NWN2 character, and we decided that trying to make the old companions make sense with the Mask story would have watered it down too much.

The new companions are very distinctive and unique characters - each has an obvious "hook". Safiya is a Red Wizard of Thay, and perhaps the companion most integral to the story. Kaelyn the Dove is a half-celestial cleric of Ilmater who also has pretty deep ties with the story, depending upon your choices. Gann is an unusually charismatic hagspawn spirit shaman whose specific talents complement what's going on in spirit-rich Rashemen.

The global dialogues for all three of them are richer and longer than even the most developed NWN2 companions - our writers really outdid themselves. In Mask, the companions also have more to say throughout the general course of the game; for example, they'll comment on specific events or places you come across - without breaking the flow of action.

Friday - August 10, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Interview #1 @ RPG Vault

by Dhruin, 23:48

RPG Vault's Jonric talks to Kevin Saunders from Obsidian about NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer.  Here's an early question to set the tone:

Jonric: How will Mask of the Betrayer build upon the base game, its strengths and your initial goals for it? What aspects have you focused on improving?

Kevin Saunders:
Our goal with Mask of the Betrayer was to get it right, to build upon what we learned on NWN2 in order to craft and convey a rich story and a compelling RPG experience. One of our difficulties with it was an initial scope that was unrealistic. So from its conception, Mask's focus was to emphasize quality above all else. We were highly conservative in many respects, and quite a few cool ideas were discarded because they were too risky. We considered how much any specific idea would really add to the players' entertainment, and chose our battles carefully. We didn't try to reinvent what NWN2 was - we built upon the design and decisions of the original game and concentrated on polishing it.

Thus, the Mask team has placed emphasis on strengthening the core NWN2 product. Throughout the course of the project, we fixed many bugs, optimized performance, made better use of the graphics technology, and in general, tied up loose ends. For example, we revamped the camera and party controls, adding an RTS-like strategy mode that makes combat much more enjoyable.

We greatly improved upon the Dungeon Master client (courtesy of programmer Anthony Davis), making it easier for players to run their own NWN2 games as a virtual DM. We made numerous improvements to the toolset, thanks to the efforts of programmer Josh Verrall. When possible, we've included these general improvements in updates (patches) to NWN2, but these enhancements have been part of Mask's development. Our goal is that when gamers pick up Mask, they view the overall NWN2 product as one of the best computer role-playing experiences created.

In all respects - graphics, gameplay, story, characters, audio, performance - Mask is a much more polished product. We built upon all of the amazing work that had been done on NWN2 and tapped into the experience of the team to show what we're really capable of achieving.

Wednesday - August 01, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Fact Sheet

by Dhruin, 06:01

Atari sent out a fact sheet on Mask of the Betrayer today for no apparent reason,  although it might be useful if you haven't read any of the previews and interviews we've previously linked.  Here we go:

Following the climactic battle against the King of Shadows, you awaken alone and stranded deep beneath the earth. A dark hunger grows within you, threatening to devour your very soul. Will you fight against the hunger within or will you embrace it, revelling in your newfound power?

Set in harsh, spirit-rich Rashemen, near the powerful nation of Thay, Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer presents players with an exciting new 20-30+ hour campaign filled with meaningful choices, rich characters, and surprising outcomes. Continue the adventure of your Neverwinter Nights 2 character or create a completely new epic hero – no previous Neverwinter Nights experience required. Hundreds of new gameplay options include epic levels; feats, spells, races, and classes; powerful weapons, armour, and crafting options; and hordes of diverse creatures.

PRODUCT FEATURES:

  • Major improvements to the Neverwinter Nights franchise: enhanced graphics, including extensive use of specularity, environment effects, and normal maps; improved performance; streamlined party control; and an easier to use and more powerful toolset. Experience Neverwinter Nights 2 at its best.
  • Epic storyline provides the most riveting RPG experience since Planescape: Torment, with the compelling characters and plotlines for which Obsidian Entertainment is renowned. Play the official campaign either alone or online with your friends.
  • Stunning new environments include the Astral Plane, sunken Imaskari ruins, a Thayan wizard academy, and the Shadow Plane. Immerse yourself in the Forgotten Realms as you’ve never seen it before.
  • Explore an amazingly reactive world, where your decisions affect those around you and the passage of time realistically impacts gameplay.
  • Switch seamlessly between exploration and tactical combat with the immersive, over the shoulder view of Character Mode and the top down perspective of Strategy Mode with its RTS-like controls.
  • Combat and negotiate with dozens of new creatures including many D&D favourites such as blue dragons, treants, hags, solars, and the two-headed fell troll.
  • Choose from over 20 classic and exotic D&D races, including the new genasi: planetouched humanoids hailing from the elemental planes of air, earth, fire, or water.
  • Customize your character with over 60 epic feats including the monk’s Blazing Aura, the rogue’s Epic Precision, and the druid’s Dragon Shape.
  • Master more than 50 new spells, including epic spells such as mass fowl, damnation, and vampiric feast.
  • Play new D&D classes such as the Red Wizard of Thay, spirit shaman, and invisible blade.
  • Collect souls from defeated foes to create mighty artefacts using an expanded item enchantment system.
  • Create your own D&D adventures to play with friends online with enhanced modding tools.

Friday - July 27, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Interview @ GameSpot

by Dhruin, 01:02

GameSpot has a nifty interview on Mask of the Betrayer with Feargus Urquhart.  Here's an excerpt on endings:

GS: What was some of the feedback that you got for the single-player campaign of NWN2, and are you adjusting the expansion in any way in response to that?

FU: A lot of the feedback we got about the single-player campaign came down to one of two things: How we implemented the D&D rules and the satisfaction that one got from the ending of the game. We're continually working on the game based on comments we get from people about how we've implemented the rules.

We also often pose questions to the community as to what they would like to see. As we get that feedback from them and from our own continual play of the game, we are adding in changes to update both NWN2 and the expansion. As for the ending, we want everyone to feel a sense of closure with the ending of Mask of the Betrayer--in a good way. We don't want them to have too many questions. So, we've already designed and implemented the ending of the expansion and have started to play through it. Based upon those play-throughs, we are going to make sure it's the ending that everyone would like to see for how they approached the rest of the game. There are, of course, multiple endings, and we're working hard to make each conclusion satisfying.

Thanks, Dark Savant!

Wednesday - July 25, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Interview @ GameShark

by Dhruin, 00:48

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer lead Kevin Saunders talks to GameShark in this new interview.  I like this answer:

How pivotal will the Influence system be in the expansion? Have you made any changes to it?

I think we've made some major improvements to the Influence system. First, now your companions (and you, perhaps) will gain game play benefits for having high influence. Second, if Influence goes low enough, the companions will behave more realistically and actually leave you. Also, we've spent a lot of energy on polishing how Influence works with the companions. For example, increases and losses will feel more natural and appropriate to the characters' personalities and goals. Except for the very beginning of the game, none of the companions are required and players who don't like them can adventure alone if they wish. So if you don't like dealing with Influence, it's entirely optional. Of course, if you're into the story, you'll find the companions add a lot of depth.

Sunday - July 22, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Community Update

by Dhruin, 01:53

Shane DeFreest has kicked up a 7th Community Update for Obsidian's NWN2 expansion, Mask of the Betrayer.  Here is the whole post:

So this week Kevin Saunders wanted to give a preface to the update answers that are forthcoming as many of them might not exactly be what the community wants to hear. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

-Shane


Preamble:

"Hi folks. Unfortunately, my answers to a lot of the questions below are "no." It give me no joy to let you down like this, but I'd rather inform you of the reality than just ignore your questions. We really do wish that we could implement everything you'd like to see and more. We do our best to concentrate on where we think we can benefit you all the most - when we don't address certain concerns it's not because we don't think it's a good idea or that it's unimportant issue, just that for the resources required it feels like the wrong thing to focuson.

As always, thank you for your patience and know that we're listening and doing what we can.

Note that I'm answering based upon what we expect to have implemented by the time NX1 launches. Details of subsequent improvements are to be determined. -Kevin"

Question: Could you explain more about the changes being made to the crafting system? Will we ever be able to craft from scrolls? Can Warlocks imbue items?

Obsidian: Our work on the crafting system is primarily related to enchantments. You'll be able to add enchantments to any equippable item. You'll be able to enchant items using a container you carry instead of having to use a work bench. Overall, the system is more flexible.

We hope to allow crafting via scrolls.

Warlocks will be able to use Imbue Item with the new NX1 recipes and you'll be able to create new recipes that work with the Warlock's ability.

Question: What will be done to make the toolset more accessable and easier to learn/use to streamline the current process?

Obsidian: We've fixed numerous minor bugs with toolset and added many small features. For example, you can now look in the Area Contents section to see which creatures and placeables contain droppable treasure. As you know, we also added terrain undo.

We would love to create a more beginner friendly toolset, but it's not in the cards this time around.

Question: I would like to know what work, if any is being done on the walkmesh system to make it work more reliably with placeables that should be walkable?

Obsidian: Nothing further at this time.

Question: Will we get a Script Generator Wizard like ScriptEase or Lilac Souls Script Generator for NWN?

Obsidian: Sorry, no.

Question: Can you have more than four classes? And can I give Npc's as many levels in as many classes as I like?

Obsidian: No, we looked into expanding to five classes, but it turned into a major undertaking that felt like it wasn't the best way to spend our programming resources.

Wednesday - July 18, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - E3 Walkthrough @ Gametrailers

by Dhruin, 01:36

Obsidian is pointing out an E3 Mask of the Betrayer walkthrough video at Gametrailers, featuring Nathaniel Chapman covering "new races, classes, and environments".

Tuesday - July 17, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Preview @ GameZone

by Dhruin, 13:44

GameZone has a generic preview of NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer-

Mask of the Betrayer introduces Red Wizards as a prestige class and a new race called the Genasi, a group of half-breeds incorporating earth, air, water, or fire elements. Players will be able to begin the game by bringing over a previous character, by starting a new character from scratch, or by using a pre-loaded character. 

Sunday - July 15, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - E3 Stage Demo @ GameSpot

by Dhruin, 00:28

This is pretty groovy.  GameSpot has posted a 14-minute "stage demo" video of Obsidian's Feargus Urquhart presenting NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer at E3.  Once you've watched this, you'll be able to write your own preview.

Thursday - July 12, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - E3 Preview @ GameSpot

by Dhruin, 23:56

GameSpot has been the most active E3 campaigner for a while and this year looks no different.  Anyway, here's a look at NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer -

Obsidian has also overhauled the influence system that governs your companion's reactions to you. You can actually check a numerical influence rating on your companion's character sheets; raising this number will allow both you and your companion to gain power. A high influence with a companion will let them give you bonus feats, and you'll return the favor. If you like playing in an especially hardcore fashion, though, you'll be pleased to know that all of the companions are optional in the expansion; you'll never be required to take anyone along on your adventures if you don't wish to. However, one of the cool new features of the expansion is the ability to select units by dragging a selection box around them, just like in an RTS, which makes it much easier to position your characters just the way you like them before an encounter.

Back to the future, I think.

Saturday - July 07, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Interview @ IGN

by Dhruin, 00:49

Feargus Urqhart chats with IGN on Mask of the Betrayer in a new interview they have online:

IGN: In your mind, what's the most important aspect to deliver to fans of D&D games like this? Immersion? Strong tactical elements? A wide array of gameplay options such as classes and races?

Feargus Urquhart:
I think you've hit on the difficulty of making D&D games, because the answer to your question is "Yes". More seriously, the answer is probably that the greatest D&D games focus on immersion in the world of D&D through having tons of classes, races, spells, items and creatures, plus a huge number of gameplay options, strong tactical elements, an engrossing story - all capped off with memorable characters. That's what makes D&D games such a challenge. You have to focus on every element of what it means to play D&D and not just on a single one of them. You can't let the story overshadow the gameplay or the fun of killing monsters won't be there. You can't let action win out over tactics, because the party based nature of D&D can get lost. And, you can't just focus on immersion in the world and not put time into the D&D game system, or the type of character the player expects to play won't either be there or won't work the way they expect. That may all sound like we would rather shoot ourselves in the head than make D&D games, but the truth of the matter is that it is a challenge and when we get it right - it is really rewarding.

Monday - July 02, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Community Update @ Official Forums

by Dhruin, 00:09

Shane DeFreest has kicked up the latest Community Update for Mask of the Betrayer:

This week we wrap up the last of our monster themed questions and we'll be staring on the tool-set next week. In other news we have not formally announced what conventions we will be showing off the game to yet. but expect that very soon.

Enjoy!

-Shane

Question: Where there be more detail put into the 'monsters'? An example of something that would be neat in my opinion would be an army of skeletons that wear and wield equipment of ancient armies, such as the equivalents of an Athenian or Roman force, and what's more having the armor match the weapon... Example, you would not see one wearing a Linen Curess armor and a Hoplon (heavy rounded shield) for protection while wielding a sling, though with a spear or a sword it is entirely probable.

Obsidian: This is a great idea and we certainly did some of this. The Thayan gnolls I mentioned above are kind of an example of this. I'm not sure we took it as far as you're suggesting here, though.

Question: Would it be possible for some of the monsters this time around to have a bane weapon enchancement for one of the pc races???

Obsidian: I think that could be too harsh for poor players who were of that race. It's hard in a real-time game to provide good enough *** about what's going on. So I don't think victims would even realize the problem until after they killed the guy and got the weapon.

Question: Will we get better dynamic control over monster appearence - particularly armour etc? eg will we be able to alter the appearence of a creature as part of the spawn event for it?

Obsidian: The new Creature Appearance Wizard will definitely help in this regard, as you can design and save armor presets. We didn't add the ability to change appearance on spawn in, though. It's an interesting idea, just not something we got to.

Question: Will we see any of the more "unique" monsters that were originally found in the old 1st ed books like Fiend Folio or MM2? I mean we already have Gith.

Obsidian: We really wanted to add the Flumph, but didn't. =)

Wil there be any new Flying Monsters?

Obsidian: Not really. I mean, the blue dragon (and some others) "fly" but flight isn't really part of the game. Safiya's homunculus familiar flies.

Monday - June 11, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Interview @ CVG

by Dhruin, 23:40

Feargus Urquhart has been interviewed at CVG about NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer.  Here's a clip:

So what made Rashemen an ideal setting for the Neverwinter Nights 2 expansion?

Urquhart: It really became an ideal setting for a few different reasons. The first was that we wanted to place Mask of the Betrayer in a Forgotten Realms setting that hadn't yet been explored in a computer role-playing game. Second, Rashemen is rich in spirit energy, and has many interesting elements around which we could craft a compelling story.

And finally, it's close to Thay, which is an area that many people who play D&D in the Forgotten Realms are very aware of. We have often been asked to put an adventure there.

There's also brief news about DM Client improvements for those that play MP.

Saturday - June 09, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Interview @ FiringSquad

by Dhruin, 02:10

Obsidian's Kevin Saunders has been interviewed about Mask of the Betrayer at FiringSquad.  Here's an intriguing hint about a new gameplay system that has yet to be revealed:

FiringSquad: What other new features will the expansion pack have?

Kevin Saunders: There's one major gameplay system that we've developed with Wizards of the Coast. It's not something from D&D, but it's D&D flavored. This new feature has both combat and conversation implications and is intimately tied into the story and characters. We'll be releasing more information in the near future.

We implemented many other new features, most of which are to further polish the NWN2 experience for both the player and for the content creator using the toolset. For example, we added the ability to use any 2D graphic as a custom portrait for creatures instead of the automatically generated 3D portraits.

And, of course, we added a lot on the gameplay side, including over 50 new spells, over 50 new feats, new items, crafting system enhancements, etc.

Wednesday - June 06, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Community Update #3 @ Official Forums

by Dhruin, 00:49

From Shane DeFreest on the Mask of the Betrayer boards:

So we had hoped to get this information out sooner but due to some logistics we didn't want to announce it to the community until we had all of our ducks in a row so to speak.

Obsidan will be doing two special Mask of the Betrayer presentations this weekend at AKON in Dallas Texas. This will be the first time that we show of the expansion in considerable detail to the public. So for anyone in or around the Dallas area we'd love to see you there.

The AKON Presentations will be conducted by NWN2 Lead Designer Josh Sawyer, and Mask of the Betrayer Programmer Andrew Woo.

Information on the presentations are as follows:
Friday June 1st 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm Adams Mark Hotel
Sunday June 3rd 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Adams Mark Hotel

Full details on AKON can be found at http://a-kon.com/

Now as for the remainder of the setting questions for this month:

1)Will some of the missing creatures from the original campaign, and new creatures from Rasheman be added?

Answer: We are adding many new creatures, both to bolster the options for the mod community and to correctly portray the inhabitants of Rashemen.

2) How much of a cultural shock will our PC experience? Will it be so different that he may actually *go crazy*? As Dracula says "Our ways are not your ways...". Will he fall of the straight and narrow road into dark temptation? Will paladins, so far away from anything they know become Blackguards at last?

Sorry, that would be telling. Lets just say that there will be unique challenges that your character will experience.

3) Will Liriel Beanre make an appearance?

Nope, sorry.

More to come...

Enjoy!

-Shane
_________________
Shane K. DeFreest
Maverick Public Relations
Neverwinter Nights 2 Community Manager

Friday - June 01, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Screens @ Worthplaying

by Dhruin, 23:13

Worthplaying has a pair of NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer screens on offer.

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Presentation @ A-Kon

by Dhruin, 00:04

This weekend's A-Kon convention in Dallas will play host to Obsidian's Josh Sawyer and Andrew Woo as they present NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer.  If you live in the area, make sure you get over there and tell us all about it.  Here are the details:

Obsidian’s Josh Sawyer and Andrew Woo will speak at this year’s A-Kon and provide convention-goers with insight into Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer. Obsidian team members will also discuss the internal workings of a game studio.

Where:

A-KON CONVENTION
The Adam’s Mark Hotel, 400 Olive St. Dallas, TX

When:

Fri-Sun, June 1-3
8:00am to 7:00pm

Obsidian Speaking Slots:

Friday, June 1, 6:00-7:00 pm:
Neverwinter Nights 2 Presentation

Sunday, June 3, 1:00-2:00 pm:
Neverwinter Nights 2 Presentation

Source: GameBanshee

Monday - May 28, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Interview @ Eurogamer

by Dhruin, 21:55

Obsidian's Feargus Urquhart talks to Eurogamer about NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer in an article format interview:

However while promising a hugely increased level-cap, new races and classes as well as a full stand-alone campaign, Obsidian are keeping many details close to their chests. So when offered the chance to exchange e-mails with Obsidian's very own Elite-class level CEO Feargus Urquhart, we clearly grasped it and tried to resist the urge to just descending to a conversation about how much we liked Planescape Torment when he was back at Black Isle.

We fail, rapidly, when we ask him what other game does the 15-20 hour included campaign feels most like, in terms of experience. "This may sound strange, but the other character based RPG that I can think of is Planescape: Torment," Feargus notes, "Both of them are character focused, but in different ways. Torment was about discovering who you were, while Mask of the Betrayer is more about saving yourself. Another difference is the focus on combat with Mask being more about fun combats and Torment more about your relationship with your companions."

Monday - May 21, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Community Update #2 @ Official Forums

by Dhruin, 21:58

Shane DeFreest has stopped by the official forum for a second update on NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer.  There's a hint of "cool news coming later this week" and then several questions relating to Rashemen:

1) Which kinds of new content should we expect? (New voices? New tatooing subsystem? Hair styles or new system? Other Rashemen flavored character customization? New equipment? Spells? Weapons? Minature hamsters? Ice weasels?

Obsidian: We are adding some new Rashemi heads and hair styles, which will also be available for players to choose. We decided to not pursue any tattooing system for Mask of the Betrayer. You will get to wear masks, though. I'm not sure we've added much in the way of rodents.

Wednesday - May 16, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Preview @ Game Daily

by Dhruin, 10:41

A short and generic preview of the NWN2 expansion Mask of the Betrayer is up at Game Daily:

Mask of the Betrayer provides more than just a new storyline. With that come new quests and rewards, but also a great deal of new content from plenty of new foes, loads of new gear, buckets of new companions and, of course, new land to explore. The adventure primarily takes place in the lands of Rashemen, near Thay in the lands of Forgotten Realms.

Thursday - May 10, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Community Update @ Official Forums

by Dhruin, 00:43

Shane DeFreest has kicked up the first Community Update for NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer at the official forums:

So to start off our MotB Community Updates we went to Obsidian producer and Lead Designer Kevin Saunders to answer the communtiy questions on the Rashemen setting. Here is what he had to say...

1) Will there be any benefits of picking one of Rashemens patron dieties "the three" (Chauntea, Mielikki or Mystra) as the player characters diety?

Obsidian: No, sorry. As we intend for you to continue your character from NWN2, we wanted to concentrate on content that wouldn't depend on what choices you may have made way back when.

2) For those of us that know nothing about D&D outside of NWN and the BG series, can someone (doesn't even have to be a dev I suppose) give some general information about who or what the Rashemen are, and how they differ from the people on the Sword Coast?

Obsidian: For people not familiar with Rashemen setting we recommend you pick up the Forgotten Realms game accessory The Unapproachable East. In liew of that, here is a link to a basic overview of the setting as provided in that book:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unapproachable_East

3) Where *in* Rashemen will the game take place?

Obsidian: You'll spend much of your time near the edges of Lake Mulsantir. The game's primary hub is the city of Mulsantir.

4) Will the game take place entirely in Rashemen, or will be just starting out there? Also,will we be seeing any neighboring countries or lands close to Rashemen?

Obsidian: The majority of the game takes place within the borders of Rashemen, but you will visit a couple other locales as well.

5) Are we going to be able to play our old characters (choose one if we have multiple that finished NWN2?

Obsidian: Yes. This is what we are hoping you'll do!

Tuesday - May 01, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Interview @ Gamespot

by Corwin, 03:04

There's an excellent new interview over at Gamespot with Lead Designer Kevin Saunders dealing with several aspects of this expansion for Neverwinter Nights 2. Here's an interesting insight into how the game begins:

GS: What details can you share regarding the story beyond the basics that we know? The game starts immediately after the events of the first game, and it starts with the character deep underground. What's going on?

KS: The story in Mask of the Betrayer isn't about saving the world. It's an epic story, but it's a very personal one. You awaken in a pool of your own blood. Your immediate goal is survival. The shard of the Sword of Gith has been ripped from your chest and in its place is a dark hunger, a craving that threatens to consume you. The early part of the game involves determining the source and implications of this craving.

You can read the entire interview here

Thanks Magerette for passing this on to us. 

 

Source: GameSpot

Saturday - April 14, 2007

NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer - Interview @ GameBanshee

by Dhruin, 01:52

GameBanshee has scored the first interview on NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer.  Designer Kevin Saunders is supplying the answers and here's a snip:

GB: Aside from the usual gameplay additions, do you plan on making any expansion-specific tweaks to the engine, interface, or multiplayer component?

Kevin: Many of these types of improvements have been made through patches to NWN2 – we don’t want to make players wait for Mask of the Betrayer to be released to enjoy an optimized engine and other features that benefit the community. But, yes, we are continuing these types of improvements throughout the development of NX1. =)

We’re implementing some expansion-specific gameplay elements that will make Mask of the Betrayer stand out from Obsidian’s previous titles and other D&D computer role-playing games. As one example, the passage of time will have important impacts on gameplay. Mask of the Betrayer will also feature major enhancements to the companion Influence System that Obsidian has pioneered through Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords and Neverwinter Nights 2. Of course, these new elements will be things that the community can modify to their own modules and campaigns if they wish.

Information about

Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer

Developer: Obsidian Entertainment

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Combat: Pausable Real-time
Play-time: 10-20 hours
Voice-acting: Partially voiced

Regions & platforms
Europe
· Homepage
· Platform: PC
· Released at 2007-09-28
· Publisher: Atari