Bastions of War
Profile by Jay Watamaniuk
Bastions of War is a team-based, player versus player, arena module where NWN fans can flex their powergaming muscles, work out their daily stress, and beat the crap out of gnomes, bards, elves, and other deserving folk. :P We spoke with BoW's chief admin and scripter to find out more about this entertaining mod.
Who are you and what is your involvement with BoW?
Two years ago I did everything, but I'm now lucky to have a greatly expanded team, including [DM] Rainywinter who is responsible for most module changes, [DM] Aggaron Wraithstouch who handles arena maps, [DM] Abby who creates our server tools, and a team of other Dungeon Masters who hail from all over North America, Europe, and Asia.
Is there a website where I can learn more about BoW?
Alec: Sure! Our website at www.bastionsofwar.com includes information about our servers, screenshots, and a gallery of all our arena maps. Most importantly, it includes a duplicate of the important information found in the in-game journal: server rules, frequently asked questions, and a list of how we've customized many spells, feats, and abilities. We try to stay very close to the Dungeon & Dragons ruleset, but, as people like to point out, D&D; wasn't designed for PvP, so we've made several changes for the sake of gameplay and balance. The journal section on the website includes a comprehensive list of all modifications to the base NWN rules.
The website also includes a link to our Bioware guild forum at forum.bastionsofwar.com. We're proud that our guild is on top of Bioware's list of Most Active Guilds, and it's mainly due to our lively forum discussions. Every minute rule and gameplay issue is hotly debated, and it's where we admins get feedback to best serve our players.
The forum also includes a section on building strong PvP characters, which is especially helpful for new players. Some players treat character building like an R&D; project, and they're nice enough to share their secrets with others--which we encourage by running an ongoing contest to build the "best" character.
What is BoW?
Alec: Bastions of War is a team PvP arena module that is only available on our multiplayer servers. The characters are server vault, so it's really a persistent world, but it's totally focused on player vs. player combat instead of roleplaying or battling NPC creatures. We require both NWN expansions (SoU & HotU) but nothing else--no hak packs or passwords. It couldn't be easier to play: just direct connect to IP address nwn.bastionsofwar.com or find us in the Arena section on GameSpy.
The two teams are Good and Evil, so your alignment determines your side. New characters are boosted to level 28 and outfitted with armor and weapons that you create yourself at a blacksmith. The options are limitless, which can often be a bit daunting for new players, but it's best to just jump into the battle and have fun. You're automatically partied with your teammates, so switch to party chat and enter the portal to join the fight.
The gameplay is focused around half-hour combat rounds in which each team attempts to score the most kills and take control of designated capture points on the map. XP and gold is awarded based on team performance, so you can level up and afford even stronger items. The arena map changes every half hour--players can even vote for which terrain they want to play.
The pace is pretty fast and furious, and the battle wages day-and-night, so it's easy to jump in at anytime.
Where did the idea for BoW come from and how did it develop?
Alec: BoW was started by [DM] Jibekn in late 2002, and I joined him shortly after it went live in January 2003. He stepped down after three months, and I took the reigns. I had previously created and hosted a one-on-one PvP server shortly after NWN was first released, but my interest quickly shifted to the more exciting dynamic of team play.
BoW started small, but has steadily grown as we've added new features and sophisticated scripts that manage the gameplay and balance. Hordes of the Underdark brought the transition to epic characters, and we now only play the top character levels.
Besides the Dungeon Masters I mentioned above, many of our players have contributed ideas and suggestions to improve the module. Most of the arena maps have been submitted by players, and we regularly try new maps on a trial basis.
Not only have our players been generous with their time and ideas, but they've also donated the money to buy all the hardware on which our two 32-player limit servers run. Both servers are often full, so we're about to expand again.
How long has BoW been around and what sort of players do you attract?
Alec: BoW celebrated its two-year anniversary in January. We attract a good mix of players. The focus is on action and powergaming, but we're proud that many serious roleplayers join us to blow off steam and have a little fun. Like any persistent world, we have a base of long-time and dedicated players, but we still see new players join every day. According to our server logs, we've had nearly 25,000 players try BoW in the past two years. It's a credit to Bioware that the NWN community is still vibrant and attracting new people nearly three years after the game was released.
What kind of things do you have planned in the future for BoW?
Alec: The BoW module is constantly being tweaked for optimum gameplay. We just finished the implementation of fully craftable items, so players can design the look and properties of their equipment (much like they could using the toolset). Next on the agenda is revamping our power rating system, which is how we balance the battles between different size teams and levels.
We've received enough donations from players to purchase another server, so we'll be increasing the number of players we can handle soon.
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