Nathyrra, The Seer and Valen

Neverwinter Nights Hordes of the Underdark


Although a relatively young development studio, Bioware already has an impressive library of released games. With Knights of the Old Republic, Baldur's Gate, Baldur's Gate II and Neverwinter Nights under their belts - as well as more than a few plates of poutine...or so we hear - the folks at Bioware are known best for their finely-crafted RPGs (although let's not forget the equally finely-crafted MDK2).

Now Bioware has branched out into expansion pack development. Although the second expansion pack to Neverwinter Nights, Hordes of the Underdark is the first fully internal Bioware developed expansion for their popular D&D-based RPG (the first expansion, Shadows of Undrentide, was co-developed with FloodGate Entertainment). I was personally a little disappointed with the first expansion, so I was wondering if Hordes of the Underdark could live up to the impact of Neverwinter Nights. Sure, Shadows of Undrentide was good, but it just wasn't as polished and epic as the original, and it didn't really add much to the game. Luckily, Hordes of the Underdark doesn't suffer from the same problems, and reconfirms that Bioware is the premier Dungeons and Dragons videogame developer.

As I said before, Shadows of Undrentide just didn't have an "epic" feel, but that's something Hordes of the Underdark has in droves. This is an epic adventure for character level 15 and higher, so you can expect huge battles and plenty of heroic quests to fulfill. When you start the game, you can either pull in a character from a previous adventure, use a pre-made character or create a new one that will automatically be raised to level 15. Since you start at such a high level, you'll already have a variety of options, skills, feats and, where appropriate, spells that you can use in the game. Making the game even more epic is the fact that Bioware has raised the level cap to 40, although you'll probably end Hordes of the Underdark somewhere in the range of level 25 to 30.

There's the usual assortment of D&D character classes to choose from as well as the prestige classes added in Shadows of Undrentide. In addition, Bioware has added six new prestige classes: Champion of Torm, Dwarven Defender, Pale Master, Red Dragon Disciple, Shifter and Weapon Master. These classes tend to favor fighter and spell-caster types, and round out the prestige class offerings from Undrentide quite nicely, allowing for something special for nearly every base class.



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