Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir Interview

The editors at GameShark have published an informative three-page interview with Obsidian Entertainment's Rob McGinnis about Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir. A small sampling:
One of our writers was at Gen Con and saw a demo and came away puzzled about the new trading feature. What's this all about?

Storm of Zehir's storyline involves many economical aspects. One of the reasons that you're allowed free passage around Samarach is that you earn the patronage of the leader of a powerful merchant empire; otherwise the Samarachans would greatly restrict your movement. Also, when you return to the Sword Coast, you find that the economy has been greatly weakened by the war with the King of Shadows; whether you choose to exploit this or attempt to repair the economy is up to you.

The core of the system revolves around trading raw materials to towns and cities that you come across in exchange for trade bars, which are a kind of currency that is used by various merchant guilds that you will have to interact with to advance the story. The better your relations with these merchant guilds, the better the gear you will be able to purchase from them. You will also be able to set up merchant caravans between cities, but they will also be in danger of attack from roaming monsters.


If you had to narrow it down, what do you think is the biggest single selling point to the expansion? For those who aren't die-hards, since you basically already have that group's money already, for new players or for those that may come back what's the biggest hook?

For hardcore RPGers, the draw will be the improved party systems (including full party creation and party dialogue, which allows all of your party members to speak and use skills in conversations), as well as the focus on making all of your skills meaningful. But everyone will enjoy the new overland map system, as well, which has a very large impact on the way the game is played.