Those of you following the comments in RPG: Live Vs. Almost-Live know that Bruce inveigled me into joining his online NWN campaign. I admit to being curious as to how these games really work. Curiosity, however, has its price.

Signing up with NWN Connections and creating a placeholder character to reserve my slot was no problem. I just needed something there to be in the group. Then the fun began.

My version of NWN was 1.66. The most recent version is 1.68. After the multi-meg downloads to update my video drivers and get the patch for Mage Knight, I was not looking forward to upgrading NWN. But there was no choice.

So I got online, brought up NWN, and started the 44 meg auto-update. It was wonderful just sitting there, alternately reading a book and watching the download line nano-inch its way across the screen.

Finally the download was done and the patching started. Until it reached file NWN2E, and stopped with a warning that the file was corrupted. The message advised me to get the (haha) 75 meg critical rebuild.

I advised Bruce of this, and warned him I might not get everything done in time. Then I started the download. It grabbed about four meg or so before I lost connection. Your imagination is probably not up to what I was thinking about then ;)

Then I remembered – it’s been a long time since I played – that I had messed around some with the original files. Hmmm. Good thing I backed them up first. So I wiped the files in the NWN directory and brought back the original ones. With claws crossed, I once again started the auto-update.

This time – huzzah! – it worked. NWN was finally patched. It was also around 8 PM. It had taken almost seven hours to update the game. In the meantime, being in no mood to write anything important, I worked up the word search puzzle. Already had the titles, so that didn’t take too long. After posting that, I logged out for awhile.

So now it’s coming up to game time. I log on and check the NWN Connections page to get the server address and password for the game. Then I bring up NWN and Mulitplayer, which connects to GameSpy.

So I type in my id and password and it doesn’t take. After three attempts, I bop out of that and consult the NWN Connections player guide (a pdf file I downloaded the day before; RTFM is part of my creed).

Turns out GameSpy and NWN Connections don’t, ummm, connect. I needed a separate login for GameSpy. And would you believe, someone had stolen MY name? Yep, couldn’t use Scorpia, so I had to come up with something else. Fortunately, that worked.

At last everything is set. I get on the server and connect to the game. Here is where I created the character I actually wanted to use. Then I’m in. Yay!

Of course, this is a first-level char, and the game wants eighth, so now there is a delay while I shop and level up. I already had worked out what I wanted, but one still has to go slowly to avoid mistakes.

Then I notice we seem to be a bit short-handed. The game was open for five, but only four had joined by game time. And now one of those was a no-show. Sigh.

Well, we will just make do with a trio instead of a quartet. We hoof it to the city, and on to meet the main NPC of the story. While the conversation is going, one of the players drops. After awhile, though, he made it back in.

Then I typed in a comment and it didn’t show on screen. Uh oh. Tried again. Nothing. After that, I lost my connection to the server, followed by the connection to my IP.

Got back on as quickly as possible. No sooner am I back in and apologizing for the drop when I hear thunder. ARRGHH!!! I sent a hasty farewell and logged out.

Some days, you just don’t have the luck.

So it’s tough to give a definite impression overall. I was much impressed by Bruce’s handling of the NPCs. His possession of them (and there was more than one at this meeting) was done quite smoothly.

I didn’t seem to be experiencing much lag, although I had a bad moment when I opened my inventory and it was blank. After a few seconds, though, everything showed up.

There wasn’t much time to become acquainted with the other players, but from what I did see, they look to be good.

Still, I am looking forward to the next session, despite this rocky start. I’ve been here before with stuff like this in some of my own games. Drops and no-shows are, alas, nothing new.

So stay tuned, sports fans. Next week there may be better news. I sure hope so!