Eberron, Neverwinter Nights and other computer games

It’s cheating somewhat, but I’m going to repost an article I originally wrote for Endless Games.

So far Wizards’ Eberron setting has been sadly neglected in the world of comuter games, despite a great deal of potential. Even the the extensive Neverwinter Nights module community has as yet not created a single Eberron module. This article examines the current situation of Eberron computer games.

We’ll begin by looking at the Neverwinter Nights situation. Although Eberron has been out for well over a year and the fact that the NWN module writing community is extensive, there have been no Eberron modules created so far. This is presumably down to several reasons. Firstly, the Eberron adds a three new races, which would be hard to impliment. In fact one of those races uses psionics, another feaure that core NWN does not have. Add in the extra prestige classes, spells feats and a new core character class, the Artificer, and you have quite a lot of hacking to do to create some of the components of Eberron that give it it’s unique flavour from a rules perspective. As for the flavour Eberron from an atmosphere perspective, while the setting has the opportunity for dungeon bashes, the setting really shines in urban, high-roleplaying scenarios. These are always harder to code using the Aurora toolset. Finally of course, Eberron is a D&D 3.5 setting. While this would not be critical, it is certainly a factor

It was hoped by some that Neverwinter Nights 2, due in 2006, might have an Eberron single player campaign, this was quickly quashed by Obsidian, pointing out that it was in fact Neverwinter Nights 2, and hence would continue to be set in the Forgotten Realms setting, in the environs of the city of Neverwinter. NWN2 will be based on the 3.5 Edition rules-set, which removes on potential obstacle for the writing of an Eberron module. Beyond that, it will be interesting to see if the new toolset makes the adding of Eberron specific content any easier.

Then we have the specific Eberron games. Foremost of those we have the much delayed Dragonshard. Dragonshard is a real-time strategy game, set in the world of Eberron. Reviews and previews have been excellent so far, but delays have been stacking up. It was originally due to be released in June 2005, but has now been delayed to September 23rd 2005. Here’s the official blurb about the game: As players direct troops over the land, they also plunge smaller, hero-led parties below ground to an RPG-modeled world of beasts, battles, and bounty. Experience and items gained in this underworld result in great powers and abilities above ground.

Using magic, weaponry, and skilled maneuvers, players command armies from varying races to control, protect–or destroy–the powerful Heart of Siberys. Obtaining this omnipotent artifact will unleash its full forces, good or evil, upon the entire world.

And finally we have perhaps the biggest announcement in Eberron computer games. Turbine Games is writing Dungeons & Dragons Online a D&D based MMORPG set in the world of Eberron. The release date for this mammoth project is provisionally set to the second half of 2005. Realistic estimates put the relase date at around christmas time and beyond. It will be interesting to see how this game fares, as it has stiff compeition from a great number of fantasy based MMORPGs, like Everquest, EQ2, Guildwars etc. Comparing the results of past MMROPGs, we look at DDO with some trepidation, as it would be a shame to see this project turn into another endless dungeon crawl, killing endless monsters for experience and ph4t l00t.

So there you go. It all looks a little pessimistic doesn’t it? Hopefully the next update on this topic will be a little more optimistic.

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