Neverwinter Nights 2 is a 3D RPG for the PC based on Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition rules. The game already has one expansion pack available, Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, that provides enhancements such as new camera angles and a higher level cap, but which still basically follows the same gameplay formula as the original game. The upcoming second expansion, Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir, has just gone gold and will be released later this month. Storm of Zehir makes foundational changes to the way the Neverwinter Nights games are played, such that even those who didn't enjoy the series previously should take a look at this expansion.
One notable change in Storm of Zehir is that all members of the four-player party can be created from scratch. Previously, only the main character could be created, and the rest of the party was filled in using NPCs met along the way. These NPCs, called cohorts, are still free to join the player's party, and the player can swap members in and out at any tavern. A new dialogue system has been implemented which will take advantage of the new customizable party, as players will be able to control which of their characters are engaging in dialogue to use character-specific skills such as Intimidation and Diplomacy.
Storm of Zehir also completely changes the overland map, allowing the player to navigate it in 3D rather than by clicking on destinations to instantly travel to them. With the new map system, the player will be able to see and attack enemies, or use skills like Spot, Survival, and Hide to avoid ambushes and find hidden areas. Modders will be able to create their own overland maps using the game's toolset, putting something new and interesting in the mod-community's hands.
The main campaign will take around 20-30 hours to complete. Three new confirmed classes are the Swashbuckler, Hellfire Warlock, and Doomguide, in addition to two new confirmed races, the Yuan-Ti Pureblood and the Gray Orc. A large part of Storm of Zehir's gameplay involves players running their own merchant empire, trying to build influence while competing with other empires throughout the game world. These new gameplay elements accompany those which Neverwinter Nights has come to be known for, such as the battle and character progression systems. Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir will be released in North America on November 18, 2008.