For over thirty years Dungeons and Dragons has been one of the most popular roleplaying games, enthralling thousands of people around the world. With the arrival of computer games it was inevitable that there would be an attempt to recreate the roleplaying experience online for those fans unable or unwilling to meet and play with others in person.
When NeverWinter Nights came onto the scene in 2002 it was the most recent attempt to recreate the D&D environment in a computerized format and possibly the most successful. With two expansions and a sequel due out in late 2006 NWN has become one of the most popular ways for game enthusiasts to interact with other players from around the world. But how can you discover this brave new online world? Read on to find out!
The first thing you need to do is obtain a copy of this popular game, available at almost every store that sells computer games as well as online. The original NeverWinter Nights had three sequels, each building onto the original story and enhancing the storyline as well as adding new abilities and objects for the player to enjoy. But you don’t have to worry about obtaining all three sequels to get the maximum experience out of your online gaming! The Platinum version is currently on sale, incorporating all three sequels into the original game in one flawless installation that you can buy and install in minutes on your computer!
Of course you can play the singleplayer game and immerse yourself in NeverWinter Nights without going beyond the confines of your desktop but what’s the fun in that? Let’s get you up and going into the interactive online world where you can meet thousands of players from around the world and all for free!
When you start up the game you will see a window offering you the chance to play multiplayer, or online. By tapping this button you’ll enter a different screen that will prompt you to create a player profile, along with password security. This will create a “spot” for you in the online community. You don’t have to choose your character name here; just create a profile and a password that you can remember easily. The option is also given for you to have that data automatically remembered by your computer – something to consider if you are the only one using the computer.
Now that you’ve created a profile you’ll see options offering you the choice of either a LAN connection or an Internet connection. LAN, or Local Area Network, is primarily for those who have a small group of computers hooked up specifically to each other and independent of the Internet. Usually this happens in office or educational environments where you don’t want to necessarily access the Internet and all the problems therein but need to contact specific friends and family. But you don’t want LAN, you want the Internet – so click on that button and let’s keep going!
It may be blinding at first to see the list of available servers appear on your screen, scrolling past you with astonishing speed. But take heart, it’s not impossible to find your way through this maze of servers!
First, let’s figure out what all these names and numbers mean. Each server you see is run by another NeverWinter Nights player off of his/her own computer or computers; creating a virtual NeverWinter Nights world that can be personalised for each group of players. This means that you can play in worlds based on Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings or in a pure D&D environment; in a server based on popular roleplaying books or in something totally unique.
You can see the variety of servers listed on the screen and sort them out by using the choices offered on the left side of the screen – roleplaying, action-oriented, etc. This allows you to find the server that matches your type of gameplay without wandering all over the virtual map. By choosing a server you can also access information on the server in regards to what the module offers to the public and if you need to download any further packages to play in that server.
Some NeverWinter Night servers require “hakpacks”, or local expansion downloads to allow you access to the server. These special expansions add special items and objects to the virtual world that aren’t found in the original NeverWinter Nights package and are easily installed with little fear of computer viruses or compatibility problems.
Now that you’ve found a server to your liking and gameplay style, let’s get you into the server and get going! The first thing you’ll notice when you connect with the server is that any character that you may have created while playing NeverWinter Nights offline in singleplayer version is probably not available in the server. Player characters come in two versions: Local characters and Server characters. The character you create offline is your local character and may be ported to certain servers that allow it. Server characters are unique to that server only, enabling you to have a different character for every server you frequent. This is a more popular way of playing because it cuts down on the number of high-level powerful characters running into a new server and dominating the gameplay for all involved. You can also enhance your own online play by experimenting with different classes and races to find out what appeals to you in the way of gameplay.
Each server will have his or her own rules and code of conduct, usually posted at the very start of your arrival for you to see and read. Take the time to make sure that you agree with the rules before you proceed into the server and start your new online adventures.
Remember that you will be interacting with people from different countries around the world and that they may not have English as their first language. Be considerate of others and remember that you are in someone else’s playground that he or she has offered up for free to the public. The majority of these servers are up day and night, so don’t be afraid to come online at any time and see if you can find some new friends!
There are specific sites set up for some servers who will help new players find out more about the virtual world and allow them to post questions in a forum. Others will announce special events specifically set up for a time and date. By visiting these webpages you can find out a lot about a server before even going in – and save yourself a lot of time and trouble if you find out that the gameplay in that server may not be what you’re looking for in your online play.
Be friendly, learn from your talks with the other players and enjoy the virtual world and the fantastic adventures that you can find for free online playing NeverWinter Nights!