Based on some good player feedback, I thought it would be worth a discussion about the intended difficulty of the server. Arenthyor is hard; intentionally so.
The difficulty of a server is a complicated balancing act. On one hand, you must respect the needs of the player, who wants to feel the rush of success, gather loot and xp, and a sense of accomplishment. On the other hand, you must balance the needs of the server to create a challenging environment, a balanced economy, and a sense of danger/the unexpected.
Why? Well, a few key reasons..
First, there's a saying, "People don't respect that for which they do not pay." Essentially, people will appreciate more the things they had to work for than the things that were given to them for free. That is the driving thought behind Arenthyor. For example, magic is rare, especially at low levels. When you get your first magic weapon, you will remember it and savor it. It may only be a +1 sword, but it will have significant value because of all that you had go through before getting it. The difficulty of the server will actually make you value your accomplishments more.
Second, Arenthyor is intended to be group-action based rather than a solo adventure server with the encounters built to challenge a 4-party group. As a result, the experience system rewards party-based groups with bonus xp (though groups over 4 do not get xp). Quests are also built for parties and are probably not completable with 2 or fewer PCs. Why is a 4-party group recommended? Because with only 4 members, PCs must give serious thought to the composition of the party. Typical parties including a couple of fighter-types and a cleric are then required to make a hard choice - take a rogue to handle traps...or maybe a wizard to provide added firepower...or something else. You can't have it all. Thus, the process of finding party members, forming a party, and figuring out the best configuration of your party becomes part of the fun.
Next, there is a maximum number of levels that you can gain in Arenthyor (40). If you logged on and were instantly leveled to 20th, all the in-game encounters would have to be of 20th level as well to be challenging. That challenge is the same relative difficulty as if you are 2nd level in a 2nd level encounter. The difference is that at 20th level, you only have 20 more levels to reach your max 40th level as opposed to at 2nd level, you have 38 more potential levels of enjoyment. Therefore, a higher difficulty level actually lengthens the opportunity for development of your character.
Lastly, pure economics. One of the key pieces that determines the difficulty of a an encounter for a player is the type of equipment and armor used. Better armor and items means a more powerful character. A more powerful character needs more powerful monsters to provide a challenge. More powerful items are also more valuable, which means that a character has access to more gold with which to buy things. Having more gold means that merchant items need to cost more to balance the economy. Therefore, harder encounters with lower magic loot actually keep the economy from experiencing drastic inflation. That's not to say that Arenthyor does not have magic. It does, but it is rare (especially at lower levels), and thus, exceedingly valuable and less likely to be converted into gold.
Hopefully this gives you a good understanding of why the difficulty of the server is such. I believe you'll ultimately have a more enjoyable time because your success will be hard-fought and well-deserved, you will establish friendships formed from common adventures, your character development and roleplay will have ample time to influence the world around you, and the gold you earn on your adventures will actually be worth something.
Rise to the challenge!
Well, it's here! The NWN podast team is back and they asked Arenthyor to be the featured interview in their welcome-back podcast! Check it out a www.nwnpodcast.com to hear the interview. If you haven't heard the podcast, make sure you listen to them all (start with the one about Arenthyor first, of course). They are full of great dialogue about all things NWN from builders, community members, developers, and more.
In the Arenthyor interview, we go deeper into the basic premise of the server and how it is set up to facilitate your efforts as the player to grow and develop your roleplay and character progression in an engaging atmosphere. You'll also be able to learn more about some of the systems that make Arenthyor truly unique - like the Accolade system, our Dungeon Quest system, or the Destiny system.
So please give it a listen and let us know what you think!
Destiny system expanded - check out all the new potential destinies your character can fulfill. There are a total of 21 different destinies that you have the option of overlaying your character advancement with. Give us your take on what each of them mean. Let's see...there's the Mad Oracle, Black Magic, Blind Seer, Heroic Sacrifice, and many more! The concept of the destiny system is that it will enable you to apply a thematic role to your character progression so that at certain points throughout your character's life, you will advance one step closer to the realization of your destiny. Some steps are beneficial and others may prove to challenge your character. As Atropos warns, 'The gifts of the gods are never free'. Of course, adopting a Destiny is completely voluntary. You can choose to have "no" destiny and progress your character as normal.
Also, please let us know if there's anything special topic you'd like to hear about from us as we prepare for our interview on the NeverwinterNights Podcast. All comments are welcome.
Module development continues. NPCs in the racial factions have useful information. Try interacting with them. Who knows? You might just learn something useful. Also updates to the non-linear quests.
Also, if you haven't heard, the only NeverwinterNights podcast, http://www.nwnpodcast.com/ has asked Arenthyor to be a featured interview for an upcoming show. The date has been set for not-so-far-in-the-future for the interview and the hope is that they'll be able to slot it into a show soon. If you haven't listened to them, go download them (right after you play, of course ;). It's a great, entertaining and informative show about the game we love.
As always, if you'd like to see something incorporated in the module, send us a note from the homepage.
The gods have temples! Yes, it's true. Your deity now has a home on the world of Arenthyor. Much work has gone into building a special corner of the world for each of the 22, yes 22, deities. Make no mistake to assume that each temple is a glorified church. One might be a quiet grove, or a rowdy tavern, or a dank crypt. These temples have been designed with the philosophy of the god in mind. In addition to providing PC's with a roleplay environment, these temples have a practial benefit for characters, as they serve as the respawn point for the faithful. Those out of alignment with their deity or who are agnostic will spawn in a really special place...
Lots of updates since the last post - pretty much every day. Most notable, a few key subrace system bugs have been corrected. Also, have modified the conversation with Lakhesis so that non-clerics can choose a deity. Also refined alignment effects and added in bonuses/penalties associated with race and deity. Now, the more quests accomplished that match your alignment, race, and deity accrue bonuses to your PC. Alternatively, if alignments, races, or deities other than yours hold sway in the land, well....
Additionally, given the number of haks required, I've been looking for a way to make it easier to download everything. To that end, I have created an .exe file that will automatically install all files (other than CEP and CTP) to your hak folder. Pretty nifty. Compresses the files, then extracts them. Will significantly aid the ability to add more haks by making it super easy for players to maintain the right haks without having to go download each and every one.
Checked the logs and saw that over 10 different people have logged in. A big THANK YOU!!!!! to all who have logged in. Hope to see you in-game. I'd love to hear your thoughts and give you the grand tour.
Been busy with upgraded hardware that should make the server run faster, completely overhauling the subrace engine (may need some additional work), modifying areas, especially around Bastion, to make them feel more inhabited. Also, I modified spawn rates in Lowlands to give new PCs improved chances of actually surviving to make it to the city. Heh, when I test PCs, most were having difficulty making it to the city....and I know the way! Lastly, working on the starting area conversation with Lakhesis so that non-cleric PCs can choose a deity (so that in the event you don't make it to the city, well...at least you have somewhere to respawn to...)
Announcing the Arenthyor Trailblazer's Challenge!
The first character that can prove he/she has completed each quest will recieve an bonus of 500gp and 500xp. Use the contact form on the homepage on the day that you completed the quest. Then, we'll meet in-game to confirm that you have completed it.
Continued conversion to NWNX2. New monsters added. Working on randomizing magic systems to a greater degree and optimizing the new player experience.
Significant new content added to website, though still need to add screenshots and a worldmap. Server updated from NBDE database to more efficient NWNX2 with external database backend.