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Tycho / on Wed, Jun 19 2002 at 11:21 am

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Claw Shrimp!

A few people have been telling me they can’t access the site, and it was all pretty funny until I couldn’t get in there to put up the new strip.  We had everything all lined up to work the Neverwinter angle today, but then we started talking about freshwater lobsters.  See, Gabe ordered some “cap kits” (I have no idea) from Louisiana, which is so far away I can’t be sure if it’s real or not, but anyhow it got me thinking about these crawdad things, which are also called crayfish, and are sometimes called crawfish, also (on occasion) referred to as mudbugs.  In fact, I think that any word currently in circulation might also mean “crawdad.”

We received several translations of the title “Zettai Zetsumei Toshi,” which means something along the lines of “the umbrella thieves.”  This actually kind of creeped me out - I thought it was sort of goofy to focus on losing our umbrella the way we did, but then I like fifteen people tell me that somebody taking your umbrella is practically a Goddamn epidemic in Tokyo.  What’s more, it’s a cascading effect, so when somebody takes your umbrella, you just go take Bob-san’s, and then Bob-San takes somebody else-san’s umbrella, and now we’re in this sorry state where proper preservation from the elements is concerned.

Amazon asked me to write a little something about Neverwinter Nights, and I couldn’t think of any legitimate sounding excuses not to do it, so what the hell.  Of course, I wasn’t writing to us in that editorial, by which I mean the hardcore, because you already know that it’s not like other games.  There are many details I can reveal, and with it being in stores today I can’t think of a better time to do it.

For one thing, I can tell you that I want to get my hands on this World Builder Guide, as I think it might be a good read even if I weren’t planning on flexing my DM styles.  It’s the same story with actual supplements for tabletop or roleplaying games - I mean, I’ve got Codexes here I never plan on using, I’ve got that Wraith: The Great War shit, and I’m not fielding any Necrons or doing any spooky stuff.  I wonder how common that is.  I guess that’s immaterial.  But it was clear - yea, even unto the demo they released of the toolset - though you could make playable stuff without it, you’d need to get good at it like one gets good at anything to really wow your crew.  And that means reference guides, by God. 

For two things, the graphics aren’t going to blow you away.  Some tilesets look better than others, and I think characters look pretty good in general, but coming off of something like Morrowind that makes my computer drop and give it twenty Neverwinter just ain’t that special to look at.  Now, obviously, that’s not a great comparison.  As robust as the Morrowind tools are, there’s nobody going to go “click, click, click” and add sixty-four player multi to it.  The games have fundamentally different purposes, and that deserves to be made clear.  You’ll never have two thirty-two player armies storming or defending a castle within a faithful interpretation of 3rd Edition.  It’s not going to get in the way of the game, in fact, I’m certain that it looks this way so more people can actually run it.  It’s just worth pointing out.

For three things, I guess I can’t say how I know, but the single player campaign they’ve included is nothing to sneeze at, unless you are allergic to it being very good.  Not to denigrate Bioware, but I really expected it to be little more than a proof of concept - and I wouldn’t have begrudged them that.  You know, work their tools out a bit as a sort of interactive guide to the game’s capacities and proclivities.  Nope.  If Bioware can do anything, it’s surprise me.  This is a full-on D&D campaign that you can play solo or multi, although I can’t imagine why you would want to go it alone.  The fact that you can look under the hood on any module and see how it works don’t hurt, neither. 

Probably premature, but I’m already wondering about how they plan to expand it.  Its pen-and-paper counterpart has the “supplements” they deploy at regular intervals, which strikes me as sensible even in this new context.  Obviously, this is a level of synchronicity that is impossible and probably inadvisable, but I’d love to see the actual books I buy at a roleplaying shop include a CD with it’s contents - new spells, monsters, areas - digitally transcribed for use in my campaigns.  If that’s going too far, and it is, deliciously so, I’d still like to see Bioware’s own additions delivered in such a manner - products that focus on a certain paper supplement, a certain area, and so forth.  I’ll go grab my copy today.  If I told you that I already had a character written out - Weyr Solus - would you still respect me?  Assuming you ever did, I mean. 

(CW)TB out.

hell doesn’t want you
and heaven is full

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