Neverwinter Nights 2

From Before I Play
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  • Your main character's class isn't as important as in the first game as you have access to a larger party with the ability to directly control them at will. Some classes are stronger than others but the game is finishable with any of them, so you can go with whatever sounds interesting.
  • Your actions and words determine what your companions think of you, and it's worth trying to keep them as happy as you can (even if playing as an evil character) as it does have an impact on the story and gameplay.
  • It's probably worth leveling at least one communication skill (Diplomacy, Bluff, Intimidate) if possible, with Diplomacy being the most frequently used one.
  • Just like in NWN1, it's good to keep your enemies' (and your own) weaknesses in mind. For example brutish enemies are likely to have low Will but high Fortitude saves, making them vulnerable to Will-targeting effects like Confusion but resistant to Fortitude-targeting effects like Poison.
  • Despite its intimidating name, "D&D Hardcore Rules" is arguably the most balanced difficulty level as the lack of friendly fire on Easy and Normal leads to area of effect spells trivializing most encounters and Very Difficult is just flat +50% to enemy damage.
  • You can broadcast commands to your party from the Context Menu brought up by briefly holding down the right mouse button. This can be useful if your companions aren't doing what you want, or if for example you want them to stand still while you disarm a trap.
  • Crafting isn't essential, but it can net you some powerful gear and enchantments later on. It's probably best to let a spellcasting companion handle crafting instead of spending your own skill points and feats on it, though.
  • If you do plan on crafting magical items or enchanting gear, keep an eye out for leather hides, iron ingots and rare gems as they are the most common ingredients.
  • If you have a thief in your active party, you can occasionally pickpocket some useful items from NPCs using Sleight of Hand. Note that you can't sell stolen items to most merchants.
  • If you want to specialize on a weapon type, magical falchions and longswords are particularly common.
  • If you make a spellcaster, the 'Spellcasting Prodigy' feat only available at level 1 is amongst the best feats in the game, essentially acting as free +2 to your primary spellcasting stat(s) for casting purposes.

Storm of Zehir

  • Try to make your group of four as diverse as possible. Covering as many different skills and alignments as you can will let you get the most out of the expansion.
  • You will almost definitely want to have a Ranger in your group as the previously weak skills such as Survival and Spot are extremely important in traveling the world map in SoZ. You'll want a combination of at least Survival, Search, Hide and Spot on the character doing the traveling.
  • Extra goodies on the map are often located near each other, so when you spot something with a skill check try cycling through your party members (while unpaused) to see if their skills can discover more stuff.
  • Don't sweat the trading system too much in the first half of the game. You can make practically infinite money in the second half by creating and upgrading trade caravans and exchanging the Trade Bars you earn for gold (which you should then spend on upgrading and creating more caravans to make even more money).
  • You can find a certain "friend" from Mask of the Betrayer somewhere on the Samarach map to whom you can feed extra companions you've no use for in exchange for experience and stat boosts. Doing this requires having at least on Evil party member, and they obviously won't get an ending slide.