Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir E3 Previews

GameSpot and IGN were both able to spend some time with Obsidian's Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir expansion pack on the show floor of E3. Here's a bit of what GameSpot had to say:
The first major addition that fans of the NWN franchise will eat up is the new party-creation feature. Instead of starting off on your voyage with a cast of pre-set characters, you'll design your own friends, give them names, and even create your very own motto for your party. Obsidian said that many player felt the relationships with pre-set characters felt forced and artificial, while this new creation system will allow for relationships and personalities to evolve dynamically. We didn't get to see the tool for ourselves, but love the idea of creating our own friends -- we always need more.

You'll navigate the high-seas on board the Vigilant when it quickly become apparent that your trusty ships has been sabotaged. With your party in tow, as well as the famous bard Volo, you'll begin to explore the land of Samarach and all the mystery that it holds. We watched as Volo ran into a group of menacing goblins. Not being fluent in their language, Volo managed to insult the goblins and instigate a full scale battle. You can expect plenty of such tomfoolery from Volo as you progress through SoZ.

And a sampling from IGN:
We don't want to give too much away but we can tell you that the rest of the story involves Zehir, god of snakes, poison and darkness, and an uncomfortably militaristic faction of snake-like Yuan-Ti. We saw a bit of the Yuan-Ti action in a sort of jungle temple ruins that has some great new tiles for modders. (Modders can also use the new shipwreck elements, which should allow for some amazing environments.)

Overland travel has also been changed substantially. It now takes place in a full 3D environment that lets players roam in real time through a sort of miniaturized version of the world. Cities, forests, roaming monsters, merchant caravans and all the other expected elements will be present on the overland map, giving players the chance to explore a variety of options. The spot skill will also work on the overland map, so if an innkeeper tells you that a number of adventurers have gone missing in a nearby forest, you can roam around, hoping to spot some clues to their whereabouts. The team also tells us there's a new trading system with some interesting tie-ins with the story, but they weren't willing to share any specific details.