I want this thread to be strictly about game play and mechanics issues. Please, do not talk about the main campaign in any detail, no spoilers please.
Anyway, questions / observations after my first night playing:
My friend and I are going to do the campaign together. Well we sign up and register (I can't believe the amount of bullshit you need to go through to enable multi-player play) and my friend hosts a game.
I go to game-spy and try and join, and it keeps saying he is behind a firewall. He says he has all the ports open, and even puts himself in the DMZ. Still nothing works.
I notice *most* games list in game-spy have no ping times listed. I try and join about a dozen and all of them give me the fire wall error. He tries and join them, and gets the same result.
I then try and join the few games that do not have passwords and have ping times. Some of these I can join, others I can not.
Anyhow, I tell him to host again, and Ill try the 'direct connect' option, bypassing game-spy. I try and it instantly connects to his game server and we start to play.
Question 1 for developers: Why on God's green earth do you STILL use game spy? Can you name a SINGLE game ever made for game-spy that doesn't have hideous connection issues? I can't remember a single game that wasn't a huge pain in the ass for multi-player that uses game-spy. What do these people do to con you into using them? Do they offer you gold-plated Cadillacs or something? This service has seriously sucked from the beginning and IMHO will always suck.
So I go through character creation (it would be nice if you could do this without starting a new game). My own complaint, which is one that nearly every RPGish game has, is that you can't really make a red-head. I know, a trivial complaint, but I would like to point this out. I have certain characters I make for every RPG with certain looks. I have a monk named Zin, with fair skin and red hair. Not off color orange or brown, but RED. You can do blue, green, or purple hair, but you can't do red. What is the deal with that? Also, where did the flat-tops go? They were in the original NWN. Zin has a flat-top.
Anyway... I make my monk and I also make a sorcerer. I decide to use my sorcerer for multi-player.
Familiar time, what will it be? A pixie or a panther? Oh wait... they are non-combat, non utility pets. Why does a pig give me resistance being bluffed? Umm, I guess Ill go with a cat since none of the skill buffs have any use to me. Maybe Ill train some hide and sneaking at some point. I named him Tepid after the cat that killed mice in the tavern in the original Baldurs Gate. To bad there is only one cat model. Oh well.
I can see how the old pets were over-powered, I mean the pixie could unlock any door / chest and disarm traps. Who needed a thief if you had a pixie? The panther would pwn at low levels too and made a great distraction while you got a few spells off.
Question: Does anyone know if your familiars ever gain abilities when you level? When my sorcerer leveled, my kitty despawned. I assumed that when I summoned him again he would be improved in some way, but I could not see any differences.
Anyway, the tutorial starts and my frame-rate is horrible. I turn off shadows which improves things decently. However, once I go outside, it gets unplayable bad. I turned off water reflections and refractions which dramatically improved my framerate. However, adjusting or turning off the anisotropic filtering for textures made zero impact on my frame-rate. It is kind of amusing to see the world drawn with no texture filtering. It reminded me of what games looked like before there were 3D cards. I ended up having to lower my resolution down quite a bit to get a playable framerate.
Ok, so I am in the world with Tepid my cat. My friend is running around in the tutorial area. I have no idea where he is. The camera control is sluggish and hard to manage. I do not remember having this much difficulty in NWN.
I found that the middle mouse button allows me to rotate the camera. To bad it is wildly spastic when you use it. It is hard to rotate the camera a little bit. I would like the devs to work on this and see if they can make it less sensitive so it doesn't go nuts when you try and pan around a bit.
Another annoying issue was that whenever you 'zoned' the camera angle was reset and the quick casting panel would go away. This is very annoying. When you zone into a building I have a nice view of the back wall of the room and I have to manually rotate the camera up every time so I can see into the room.
I have some feature requests in this regard:
1. Can you make interior walls that are between the camera and players become invisible?
2. When you zone, keep the old camera angle or use a default that is appropriate for the area you zone in to.
3. When you zone, please keep the UI panels that were open before zoning open after you zone.
Ok, back the the game world. So my friend is running around and I can't find him easily. Clicking on the mini-map doesn't allow you to move the camera to that location. Can you make it so that clicking on the mini-map does do that and/or will tell your characters to walk to the location on the mini-map?
Clicking on distant characters doesn't allow you to control them or jump to their location. Tepid got lost and I could not click on his icon to select him. I had to walk around until I could select him. I also could not click on an NPC following my friend to locate him.
Finally, there is a big feature missing from NWN2. What happened to the context menus? You know, when you could right click on a person / item and then choose a bunch of actions like pick-pocket, follow, attack, cast a spell, etc... Please bring these back. Currently I do not know how to attack anything unless the default action is attack.
For example, I see Tepid has an attack. I decided to see if he could attack a chicken. I could only get info chickens and saw no way to initiate hostilities. I then tried it with my main character and once again could not see a way to attack chickens. I tried this wither other objects / animals and found no way to initiate hostilities.
Anyway, those are my comments / impressions from my first night of NWN2.