Why We Still Play: Neverwinter Nights

Last Updated on July 14, 2020 by Michael Brockbank

Released in 2002, Neverwinter Nights has always held a special place in my heart. Not only was it a great game, but it allowed me to explore my creative side. And thanks to Steam, I am able to still play Neverwinter Nights nearly 20 years later.

Mostly because now it’s supported on my computer without having to make a ton of settings changes. The support for monitor resolutions alone was enough to convince me to buy the enhanced edition of the game.

8 Reasons to Still Play Neverwinter Nights

Although it doesn’t have the mind-blowing, flashy, cause-an-epileptic-seizure graphics that games have today, Neverwinter Nights still delivers a great time. Even for a new generation of players.

As for Dungeons & Dragons-based games, it’s easily one of the better versions aside from rolling dice on a tabletop. For me, it ranks up there with Baldur’s Gate and Pool of Radiance.

So, what is it about a 20-year-old game that really drives me to load it up today?

A Great Storyline

Neverwinter Storyline

I am a huge fan of story in video games. It’s one of the biggest reasons why I love StarCraft and Diablo. And Bioware delivered this attraction with Neverwinter Nights.

The character lines are well-developed, the plot is engaging, and the side quests are quite plentiful. Add in the expansions such as Hordes of the Underdark and Undrentide, and you can immerse yourself in hours upon hours of gameplay.

Though, I think I like the plot line in the original Neverwinter more than Undrentide.

An Excellent Open World to Explore

The sheer size of what Neverwinter campaigns can become is quite astounding. In the original game, there is so much to explore that it’s almost a completely different experience each time you start a new campaign.

And because of how the game is set up, each class, gender, race, and ability score can greatly influence how you play and things you can do. This is especially true when you start building your own campaigns.

I’ll go into more on that in a moment.

D&D Gameplay Mechanics

Dice Rolls

One of the things I like most about Neverwinter Nights is its feel for playing Dungeons & Dragons. Your skills and abilities require “dice” rolls, which the game delivers as such.

And the overall feel is pretty close to 3rd Edition rules. Obviously, there had to be a few adjustments simply because of the limitations of a video game versus the boundless limits of imagination.

Still, I like to play Neverwinter Nights because it offers that sense of actually playing D&D. Though, I am still a 2nd Edition player at heart.

Many, Many Ways to Play

Because it’s Dungeons & Dragons, of course it’s going to have a plethora of different ways to play. How you build out your character influences everything from start to finish.

Beat the game using a sorcerer with a custom package? Why not try making a multi-class fighter / wizard who uses a katana?

Not only do the classes in the game make a difference, but how you customize them will as well.

Building My Own Worlds and Campaigns

OK, so this is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why I still love to play Neverwinter Nights. The Aurora Toolset, the game builder that comes with Neverwinter, has an amazing amount of potential.

It lets you create worlds of your own imagining to host campaigns for yourself, friends, and family. Using a version of C programming, you can customize the experience in code as well as using the Aurora builder tools.

In fact, this aspect alone is worth buying the game if you like to create. Though, you’ll need to disable Threaded Optimization if you use a newer nVidia GPU to properly run the Aurora Toolset.

Still, it’s a small price to pay for creating a vast storyline.

I’m able to create NPCs, backstories, customize items and weapons, build on side quests, and really flesh out a unique world. Though, usually, I try to come up with something that feels more like Ravenloft.

My point is that the Aurora Toolset gives you the power to create an endless stream of incredible content and gameplay.

Can Still Find Online Resources for Development

As I’ve been working on a new campaign, I decided to Google Neverwinter scripts, as I did back in the day. I’m quite surprised that many of the sites I used in the early 2000s were still up and running.

Not to mention how there seems to be a lot of support on the Steam forums for the Community Expansion Pack. This expands what you can do within the game’s toolset.

Learning to code a bit in C is vastly important if you want to really explore what Neverwinter Nights can do as a game. And there are still plenty of places available online to learn.

Getting My Kids to Play Neverwinter Nights

Yes, my kids love the latest and greatest games. But, it’s also interesting to learn that my 15-year-old wants to play the entire storyline of Neverwinter. And because the game is customizable, we can go through all kinds of campaigns together.

It’s not that there is any shortage of games we can play as a family. After all, we love playing Raft, Don’t Starve, Minecraft, and GTA V. But, it’s cool that the girls want to join me in something that meant a lot from my past.

My oldest teen was writing her own scripts and making quests in Spore: Galactic Adventures when she was much younger. So, I bet she would get a kick out of using the Aurora Toolset once she sees what’s capable.

A Lot of Fond Memories

Magic Missile

A driving motivation behind why I play Neverwinter Nights is due to having some incredible memories surrounding the game. And I’m not just talking about playing the main campaign.

I remember having huge groups of us going through and exploring the game together. At one point, we had 8-player family games cranking out some D&D goodness throughout the weekend.

I also grew fond of some of the custom servers that were online back then. One team of developers created a Ravenloft Roleplaying-Only server that was simply incredible. In fact, I still have the custom start menu saved somewhere.

At my age, a lot of what I play and do revolves around nostalgia.

Do You Still Play Neverwinter Nights?

I know there are a lot of newer games for Dungeons & Dragons today. And many of them are a decent representation of the tabletop game I played in my teens. But, I’ll still play Neverwinter Nights over many of them.

It’s one of those games that can keep giving long after its prime. And until technology makes it impossible to load it up, I’ll continue to dive into Neverwinter to see what I can build.

Perhaps one of these days, I’ll start publishing campaigns on the site. Who knows, maybe one of you might enjoy something I’ve created.

Michael Brockbank
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Michael Brockbank

Michael developed ColoradoPlays to help various charities through his favorite pastime. Since then, the blog and Twitch channels have donated several hundred dollars to Extra Life, Geeks of Grandeur and Operation Supply Drop to name a few.