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How do you feel about the OC? Why?

ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,971
It's a topic that came up in another discussion where it didn't fit, but it still interests me. Moderators, please delete if there is a similar thread already that I overlooked.

I'm genuinely interested if it's true that many, or most, NWN players don't like the OC, and why. Or if they do like it, also why.

I ask anyone to be respectful of different opinions. Discussing points of view is welcome, attacking or insulting them is not.

I'd also like people to include in their post if they usually play single or multiplayer or prefer POW, and if that explains or influences their opinion. And I would ask people to say if they have completed the OC once or more often, and if not, why.

So, let me start with my opinion: I've played the OC only once, finished last week or something, and I liked it. I like the variety of approaches you can take to solve different issues, and that your choices have consequences, whether you like them and intended them or not. (I have to say that I played "no reload, only respawn on character death" with a roleplayed paladin, so I couldn't reload when I failed the innocent Uthgardt's defense and had to see him executed and his whole tribe named me "Oathbreaker" for example).

I like that there are many optional sidequests, and that you don't have only "kill them all" solutions. You can play your alignment and avoid quests that don't agree with it (unless you want to destroy the city instead of saving it). I like the random loot, although it worked against me many times. I like that more than always knowing from which opponent or which chest you get a powerful item. So, even playing again with the same character I might end up with different equipment.

I also liked the story, especially as a paladin, because it contains many warnings about human failure in times of crisis, and I would play it again.

I don't do multiplayer or POW, no time for that.

Now, I'd like to hear what you people think.



  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 1,266
    I didn't like it too much, though it got better the longer it went on.

    The first issue I had was that the premise is ludicrous. There is a plague striking the city of Neverwinter, so they open an academy for would-be level 1 heroes to save the day? This must be one of the most silly responses to an acute threat I have ever heard of.

    Otherwise, I feel D&D without a party it not ideal - the game system is not really balanced about it. And the campaign suffers from that. One henchman is not enough.

    Arvia[Deleted User]EnialusMeliamneleeux
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  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,971
    @Ammar and @chimaera, despite my conclusion that I liked the OC, I agree with the negative points you brought up.
    The beginning is less than realistic, and I also asked myself how the imprisonment, experiments and harvesting of body parts of sentient races can possibly be justified. In the end, the only neutral or good creature was the dryad, who gave her lock of hair willingly, but it could have been her heart that was required, and then what?

    Also, does the inherently evil nature of a species (a thing unique to D&D) justify treating them the same way? The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?

    By the way, the beginning of the story was probably meant like this: The city is quarantined because of the plague, many guards have died or are overwhelmed by chaos in the district, we're recruiting every able-bodied young person to train and support the guards.

    I also prefer to play with a full party, and the bad companion AI and lack of inventory control didn't make me happy.

    Still, despite all those differences to, for example, the BG series, the developing story grew on me.

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  • EnialusMeliamneEnialusMeliamne Member Posts: 399
    edited July 2019
    As mentioned in the minimal reload thread, for me, the NPC AI and lack of NPC control are why despite numerous (and I do mean numerous) attempts to try to beat the OC I always end up purging my saves and moving to something else. Of the three games, I’ve only ever beaten SOU (a few times). Even then, the NPC AI drives me batty. Ironically, HOTU gives you a bigger henchman pile but the story didn’t draw me in so I never beat it either.

    That said, back in the days of really active PW’s (I’m looking at you early 00’s) that’s what I preferred to play on anyway (Mossbourne, FTW).

    Comparatively, NWN2 provides a robust party AI customization system, NPC control, larger party dynamics out of the box, and an OC and expansion story that I really enjoy. Of the two games, I VASTLY prefer NWN2 for solo play and have beaten both OC and expansion multiple times (though not SOZ...maybe someday). To me, NWN2 is the better game, and that’s why I’ve returned to it.

    When I bought the EE of NWN, I expected more than we received, to be honest about it. I don’t regret the purchase, but I was hopeful that NWNEE OC would get some of the better aspects of NWN2 incorporated into it. Had they done so, I’d probably have beaten the OC by now.

    EDIT: clarity.

    Post edited by EnialusMeliamne on
  • AaezilAaezil Member Posts: 177
    edited July 2019
    Things i disliked about it:

    Huge 128x128 areas that were all but empty besides random crates that had junk loot that i would waste 2 hours looting for little reward. Inventory almost full of useless junk items every couple of areas is tedious and hurts more than it helps.

    Only one companion and no control/inventory. Community built mods solved both these problems so it wasnt a limitation of the engine they were just too lazy to make this part good. . .

    Pacing is either way too slow or way too fast in terms of narrative / action flow.

  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,971
    The music is definitely something I forgot to mention as something I liked, too. I couldn't enjoy it as much as I wanted, because I played mostly with volume turned low, so that I wouldn't have a heart attack every time a spider appeared.

    I know the feeling you describe, @BelgarathMTH, about flaws in story building, be it games or movies. People say "It's absolutely unrealistic that they did this and that" and I think, "You're absolutely right, but I never noticed before, or it didn't matter to me." So, even agreeing with most of the negative aspects mentioned here, I still don't regret playing it and will do so again.

    I mean, if I play games with swords and magic and watch movies that include spaceships, or mutants with superpowers, or whatever, I don't expect "realistic". I don't expect Shakespeare in a game story.

    It's interesting to hear the perspectives of people who have experience with tabletop D&D. I don't, so I have no idea which game comes close to that experience.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,649
    @Arvia , Baldur's Gate comes the closest, no contest. Just imagine if Jaheira, Imoen, Khalid, Dynaheir, and Minsc were being played by your real life friends. Maybe the guy playing Minsc is on the football or wrestling teams. The girls playing Jaheira, Imoen, and Dynaheir are your "clique", and you're all best friends in school, do similar activities, etc. Maybe "Khalid" is in all your AP classes, wears glasses, is kind of skinny (or maybe a little overweight), and is in the chess club. Maybe he and "Jaheira" are dating, and that's why they wanted to play a married couple in the game. Maybe "Minsc" is dating "Dynaheir".

    There's a special feeling of friendship that's hard to describe when you're in a D&D group with a group of people who are also your friends in real life. It feels like you're on a team and fight together and save each other's lives and the world on a regular basis.

    Sometimes D&D friends get into fights like all friends do, especially young D&D friends, but when D&D is working its magic, and all the friends are getting along and working together to beat the problems being presented by the game, there's no other feeling of friendship quite like that.

    If anybody ever writes an AI that can make game companions behave as intelligently as real friends, I'll be throwing my money at them. :)

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited July 2019
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  • ghowriterghowriter Member Posts: 35
    I like the OC, personally, but I've never finished it. Not even once. The closest I've come to the end was I think seeing Aribeth kneeling before someone. It was a while ago so I don't really recall.

    I usually quit because the companion is not AI, as AI implies some level of intelligence and it has absolutely none. My PC is usually rogue and by fifth level OP for Acts 1, 2 or 3.

    Also, watching my rogue or Tomi pick locks or disarm traps with a weapon in hand is too funny. As a DM, I deduct an automatic 50 points from the roll on any character trying to use these skills with their hands full. That the game doesn't astounds me.

    Spellcasters cast spells for free, no "ingredients' required is another negative factor.

    I would love to finish the OC and/or the expansions, but I doubt I ever will. It's not time that stops me, I just lose interest too easily.

  • EnialusMeliamneEnialusMeliamne Member Posts: 399
    Agree for a LARGE chunk of your post, but particularly your last sentence, @sarevok57. Like, 1000% agree on that last sentence.

  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,971
    @JFK, I agree that total companion control is not like playing with friends, but neither is the AI, and it won't ever be. And there should be an option for companion control for those of us who don't have the luck to have enough time and/or enough friends, or interest, to do multiplayer games.

    I ended up going solo in the OC somewhere in Chapter Two, because my henchman got himself killed all the time, and Stand Your Ground all the time doesn't help, because there are some places where you have to go in together. I know I miss interesting content if I don't take a companion. But he was consuming all my healing supplies, and from a roleplaying perspective I can't be responsible for his death over and over again, just because it doesn't cost anything.

  • Peter_JohnsonPeter_Johnson Member Posts: 36
    Remembering from the time I played and finished the original NWN OC years ago.

    The OC campaign was the weakest part of the game. It was a failed attempt to create a great epic - moving tragic story of the heroin who fails partially because of her own weakness, partially because bad luck and cowardice of others. It had ambitions.
    The problem was that it did not work. I felt nothing for the tragic heroin, just feeling acutely that the author of the story really overestimated his abilities.

    The NWN is a great game, but not because of the OC. Rather despite of it. Thinking about how bigger splash it could have made without the OC disaster...

  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,971
    @Peter_Johnson , thank you for your opinion. Until now, I disagree. I like the OC much more than SoU, can't say much for HotU yet, because I'm still in the Undermountain.

    But that's probably also because I have a different attitude towards Aribeth than you, as I'm playing a paladin and like to get immersed, identify with and roleplay my character. I found the story of a paladin's fall from grace pretty credible. But tastes are different, of course.

  • StummvonBordwehrStummvonBordwehr Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 1,033
    I like the OC, and going through the campaign is a real treat.

    The story makes a lot of sense to me. Yes the send newbies to solve a dire situation, and no it doesn’t make sense - unless you’re actually not trying to solve it in the first place. Honestly who chooses a mentally frail paladin to lead such an important quest only aided by a bunch of newly trained rookies?

    Choosing Aribeth and the academy heroes to deal with the crisis aught to be a guarantee for failure - only charname makes the difference against all odds. Odds that seem skewed towards failure. And even despite charname success the conspirators still have their bet hedged by luring Aribeth to their side. The dice seem rigged and somebody have placed their bets against you. I like it and I like the odds.

    When letting the story unfold I always feel that much is left unspoken and that the OC still has lots of stories untold. Who in the city besides the conspirators have helped the them? What does Lord Nasher or his counsel know? How much is incompetence and what is on purpose, and who is pulling what strings. It’s like the minor side quest in BG2 in the Athlaka sewers, where the Alhoon is building an army. You dip into a part of the story, but not the full picture. And it left me longing for more.

    So what other sees a flawed and a unbelievable story, I see a very compelling mystery in the making. But that’s just me. Either way I like the story so much better than the rest of the original campaigns and BG2 (which is my favourite game), who all have nonsensical stories ;)

    The lack of henchmen control is actually relieving, they are not NPC’s but hirelings. You may have paid their fee, but you don’t control them. Henchmen and joinable NPC’s would be treated differently in PnP as well I’d reckon. Play solo or get over it :#

  • leeuxleeux Member Posts: 115
    I have to wholeheartedly agree with @StummvonBordwehr above, myself :)

    I haven't played the OC to completion personally (yet, but I have seen it played to completion... and I still hope to do it myself someday! The further I got was Chapter 2, Charwood village/castle) but the thing that frustrates me is that I really like the story and the characters and the dialogues in the OC, the part I dislike is the mechanics of it... in my mind the OC could have been so much better if it was better thought as places that made actual sense, instead of trying to gamify every aspect of the locales.

    By that I mean, mostly the traps, the locks, the puzzles, the ambushes out of thin air when you walk over a floor tile, to me all of them don't make sense, mostly... and they're annoying to deal with in this game.

    Also, take into account other aspects like the area design, the monsters, the encounter design, the level scaling (which is *crazy*, really aggressive level scaling,) the fact that you're mostly soloing and babysitting an AI at the same time, the fact that there are a trillion locked crates/boxes/containers that you're *expected* to open, since they are the ones that often contain the loot needed to progress in power, the fact that there are also trillion traps all over the place often blocking critical doors.

    All those mechanical aspects are what made me not want to play the OC (i.e. made me give up several times) and the reason I couldn't finish it to this day, sadly.

    Also w.r.t. the starting of the campaign, yeah, the starting premise is kind of nonsensical to me too, but it could have been easily fixed by making the whole "training" something that happened way *before* the events in the OC, for example, in a different module that you're supposed to play before it, and let you start the game as an about to be graduated adventurer... The scene with the attack can still happen as it is at the start of the OC, but with a bit tougher enemies, since it would be happening during your graduation, the only thing that changes is the fact that it doesn't happen all in the same instant as you start... (and then you can remove the delay from the end of the "fighting" (when the WDC escape in the barn... what kind of adventuring academy has a "barn", and why were the WDC held in a barn?!) to make more sense even. "The creatures JUST escaped! Let us take some time off to rest before we go after them!")

    I.e. in detail, move the training/tutorial to a mini-campaign outside the main OC, and assume that the plague still hasn't happened yet so no mention of that, and then change the OC to make the PC start at L2 or L3 (i.e. the training made you actually tougher so you're now a real "entry" level adventurer.) You can import characters between modules, so, you could just import the char from the tutorial and have it just be boosted to L3 if it isn't already.

    So it can make some sense to have someone like that take care of the investigation then, and during this mini-campaign you can use the goblins and weak goblins here, as a sort of surprise final test before you're given the "adventure" title :)

    ((Don't worry about the Spoilers for me, I already know what happens and how it goes... I watched several playthroughs of it.))

  • BalkothBalkoth Member Posts: 147
    Arvia wrote: »
    I'm genuinely interested if it's true that many, or most, NWN players don't like the OC, and why.
    I dislike it less than most but still think it's the weakest of the three official campaigns (and massively worse than many custom campaigns).

    I'd say there's probably two major problems:

    1, too many random loot containers

    2, too many big areas of nothing but killing enemy after enemy (you could cut those areas in half and lose nothing, for example)

    Fix those and a lot of smaller issues are more easily overlooked. For example...

    - Not being able to equip companions is annoying (and the game calling them henchmen in-character), but both SoU and HotU fix the equipping issue
    - The story is lackluster at times (at best) but it's mostly serviceable enough (and there are gems like the whole Charwood substory)
    - Somewhat formulaic "Welcome to hub X, go to the 3-4 areas surrounding it and get multiple doohickeys for the plot to continue" in the first three chapters
    Arvia wrote: »
    I'd also like people to include in their post if they usually play single or multiplayer or prefer POW, and if that explains or influences their opinion. And I would ask people to say if they have completed the OC once or more often, and if not, why.
    Probably like 60% single player/15% multiplayer/25% persistent worlds overall. I've completed the OC at least 3-4 times, going to do another playthrough soon while trying to imitate my original playthrough like a decade and a half ago (Elven Sorcerer with Weapon Finesse to stab stuff with a rapier, plus relying mostly on having a small army of companion, familiar, and summoned monster).
    chimaera wrote: »
    But the worst part was by far the combat. No party control takes away a lot of fun. I don't mind playing smaller parties, I've done 'two people' runs in IE games, but there I can take a mage & a druid and have them coordinate their spells together. NWN's companion ai is capable of casting negative energy spells on undead enemies, healing them.
    chimaera wrote: »
    But when you are a beginner mageling yourself, you can't really afford your companion to summon a badger again and again, or heal your enemies, or charge into the fray as if they were a mighty warrior. How many players did even take Boddyknock Glinckle as their henchman?
    Arvia wrote: »
    @JFK, I agree that total companion control is not like playing with friends, but neither is the AI, and it won't ever be. And there should be an option for companion control for those of us who don't have the luck to have enough time and/or enough friends, or interest, to do multiplayer games.
    So I lumped three quotes together on the same subject -- people griping about the AI (justifiably for spellcasters) and wanting full party control.

    I don't want full party control.


    If I play a Fighter, I want to play a Fighter. I want to be my Fighter, be immersed in my Fighter, and see everything from my Fighter's point of view. But if Full Party Control exists, then if I bring along Linu or Boddyknock I will wind up spending 90%+ of my time playing Linu or Boddyknock because the spell system in NWN requires that kind of micromanagement.

    Which is what happened in Dragon Age (2). I spent 90% of the time managing the mages and pausing a ton to micromanage everything.

    I liked Mass Effect (2/3) a lot more where you always play your character but have some control (orders and rough build choices) over your companions. And I feel like NWN is closer to that.

    Also, other games like Divinity: Original Sin (2) are turn based in combat meaning there's no opportunity cost for controlling your companions -- unlike NWN where everything happens all at once.

    If you use something like my minion control tool (which I think I need to go back and polish up in a few corner cases) and avoid companions who are primary spellcasters, I think the NWN system works well (also, the spellcaster AI definitely CAN be improved, Bioware just did a horrible job).
    JFK wrote: »
    Those who say lack of total party control means the game is further from D&D than Baldur's Gate might be thinking of a version of D&D I've never played for the last 35 years. Because in D&D only the DM controls more than one character in a game. Everyone else plays a single character in a group, and the rest of the players get to control their PCs. So to me, lack of party control makes NWN MORE close to D&D than Baldur's Gate (or NWN2).
    Yep. And you're not constantly yanked away from your character.
    ghowriter wrote: »
    Also, watching my rogue or Tomi pick locks or disarm traps with a weapon in hand is too funny. As a DM, I deduct an automatic 50 points from the roll on any character trying to use these skills with their hands full. That the game doesn't astounds me.
    Would making people click a few more buttons in-game to unequip and then reequip weapons before and after picking locks/disarming traps REALLY add anything?

    In PnP you just say "I pick the lock with my hands free" or something.
    sarevok57 wrote: »
    and speaking about that, in the OC i love seeing this; you cannot rest because enemies are near by, 99% of the time when i see this i imagine myself that kermit the frog meme where he is looking both ways trying to find said enemies, enemies to close to rest? so what, tell those ninnies to go pound sand and get out of the way then, its funny, i can definitely tell they didnt want you to rest spam
    ...actually it's funny that you have it completely backwards and didn't play on initial release.

    Originally (through SoU I believe) you just needed to not be able to see any enemies to rest. In HotU they made it so any enemy anywhere within your entire screen (like 20 meters or something) prevented you from resting -- even if that enemy was on the other side of four walls between you and him.

    Which then makes stuff in the OC like the lockdown rooms in the prison not work properly (when they did on launch).

    So...yeah, they definitely wanted you to rest spam and resting used to be much easier.
    sarevok57 wrote: »
    and infact, chapter 3 is actually so short it is entirely possible that you won't even grow up one level, despite the fact it feels like it took as long as chapter 1 and 2, you level uping is basically stopping here, because the puzzles are so drawn out to take as long as humanly possible just for the sake of game play hours, its kind of a real bummer
    Show me a character that starts at level 25 or below and doesn't gain at least one level and I will be very surprised. Pretty sure I usually gain at least two levels.

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  • StaranStaran Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 295
    My issue with the OC has always been this: to save a plague that will kill thousands you need to kill tens of thousands.
    Reminds me of the intention behind the “I am legend” novel: you become the monsters you are trying to kill.

  • megamike15megamike15 Member Posts: 2,646
    i find it kinda boring. chapter 1 is not that bad but once i got to chapter 3 i got burnt out and just went and played the expansions whitch are much better.

  • ElysianEchoesElysianEchoes Member Posts: 475
    edited July 2019
    Aribeth's story is interesting. Getting through the OC to see that story is tedious. I only know the story from wiki pages and discussions on forums.

    As for the idea of recruiting green adventurers, giving them a modicum of training, then sending them out hoping at least one of them will survive to complete the mission has been the method of many a military force I've heard of, especially with medieval armies. If they didn't just conscript them and send them to die.

    It's a policy that fits perfectly well with Nasher's character.

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited July 2019
    The user and all related content has been deleted.

    Post edited by [Deleted User] on
  • ElysianEchoesElysianEchoes Member Posts: 475
    Well, I see the plague outbreak as a biological weapon. I think they knew it wasn't a natural disease.

    Seek and destroy a (biological) weapon is a potential military operation. Or even searching for ground zero of an outbreak.

    Hireing some green mercenaries simply shows desperation.

    And maybe the students were meant to guard the creatures or something after the graduation. Or to be sent to fan out and investigate. Curing the plague doesn't stop the terrorists from developing a new bio weapon. A large scale hunt might.

    Who knows how Aribeth would have proceeded, had her little army not been slaughter except for one...

    But, you probably paid more attention to the dialogue than I did, so I could be entirely off base.

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