Large-scale multiplayer Neverwinter Nights persistent world Arelith is getting a new city tomorrow

    
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If you’ve been following The Game Archaeologist column all the way back to Massively-That-Was, you maybe will recall a piece from June 2014 about Arelith, a player-operated Neverwinter Nights multiplayer persistent world (PW) that has been running for nearly two decades and has been home to over 20K players.

We unearth this bit of history to shine a light on the fact that Arelith is still going strong and is even going to expand further. In 2021. Awesome.

The upcoming update will introduce the city of Guldorand, bringing over 100 new areas, the Deep Wells dungeon, new creatures, six new vessels for the PW’s ship system, and the promise of dozens of new player houses and shops. The launch of Guldbrand will also grant all unique players with a Neverwinter Nights Enhanced Edition CD key a reward that lets them start with a mid-level character so they can get right in to the new city.

If you’ve never heard of Arelith before, it’s an online persistent world that currently has around 2,000 players in total, hosting as many as 300 players at peak or as few as 60 during “quieter” hours. The PW tries to closely emulate the tabletop experience, with regular player characters and a rotating team of volunteer in-game DMs. The stewards of the PW have posted a new starter’s guide with instructions on how to connect, how to build a character, behavior expectations, and details about the PW’s five starting locations. As for the launch of Guldorand, that’s expected to begin this Friday, February 12th.

source: official site (1, 2), thanks to Joseph for the tip!
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Gipfeli
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Gipfeli

oh.. so if you also cover NWN, then please also mention ‘a Dawn of Heroes’. IMO the best PW with many people still playing !

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Dug From The Earth

This is one of the many reasons I loved the Neverwinter Nights game. I was one of the people involved in content creation for the Neversummer server and it was some of the best online gaming experiences of my time. (fun fact, game dev David Allen was one of the people who worked on this server too.)

The only downside was that its based on a system that is designed to be punishingly and insanely difficulty during the first 15 minutes (to an hour) of play, and then becoming easier and easier the higher level you get. This is simply due to the poor way the D&D ruleset translates from a pen & paper experience, to a video game one.

For example:

Pen & Paper – Your character might encounter a small goblin encounter or two. during your first play session, along with lots of roleplaying with npcs, other characters etc, all which take course over the period of 3-6 hours (or more).

Video game – Your character might encounter a small goblin encounter or two within the first 30 seconds of playing… and another in the next 60 seconds of playing… and another within the next 30 seconds… and so on and so on. The ruleset for health, damage, recovery, rest, etc doesnt translate well for this vast difference of time scale.

Thus, in the video game, many servers would start you out in your cloth armor, with a short sword, in a sewer somewhere… and you would be half dead after fighting your first goblin or rat (because you only had 4-12 HitPoints), and then when you came across the next goblin or rat you would be at the risk of dying.

Either way… its awesome that servers like this are still running.

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Joseph Meyer

Reasonable observations! Arelith begins characters at level 2 (or 3 if you begin in Skaljard) with enough gold to purchase weapons and armor safe enough for low level exploration. Moreover, they’ve recently introduced hireable henchmen if your class cannot summon, and many classes have been customized to support one-man-small-group gameplay (i.e., rangers can ‘dominate’ up to 2 wild animals plus their companion and a summon as an example).

With that said, yes, Arelith is certainly more ‘old-school’ in design in that it encourages group-based gameplay and exploration (although the main human starting city is purposefully balanced for easy solo play for new arrivals or those wishing for a more relaxed session).

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Joseph Meyer

If you don’t have a NWN1 copy, it’s on sale for only $5 at GOG:

https://www.gog.com/game/neverwinter_nights_enhanced_edition_pack

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HighclassXD

Color me intrigued

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Eboni

I remember NWN RPs from AOL days. I didn’t know this was still around. Awesome!