THE DEMISE OF NWN

Neverwinter Nights ceased to be a game world, and became a community "only" on July 18th, 1997. That evening the plug was pulled on the game server, and the six years of NWN faded into gaming history. Why do you ask? There were many underlying reasons...and many rumors still abound:

WAS THE GAME A DRAIN ON AOL RESOURCES?

Definitely not! AOL survived on NWN Player bills in its early years, and Steve Case was often seen playing the lead character "Lord Nasher" to promote the game and what it meant to AOL. Average players spent a hundred dollars or more per month to play NWN, and this was serious revenue for AOL. Add to that the fact that NWN was DOS based AND running off a single server, and you can see that America online would not have been hurt by leaving the game intact.

DID THE GAME BECOME UNPOPULAR ON AOL?

Again, no. Every night there were hundreds of players waiting on one single person to leave the game so they could log in (as it only held 500 max at the end). This occurred until the night the server was shut down in mid-97.

DID AOL HAVE TROUBLE STAFFING THE GAME?

Ironically, the game was staffed by players! Long-time players could either apply to be a guide (called an "NW") - or were asked after showing they were a large part of the community. Many of the oldest and most well known players were NW's.

DID ANYONE TRY AND SAVE THE GAME FROM EXTINCTION?

Certainly so! There were news conferences scheduled with local television stations across the United States, there were articles in gaming magazines, on websites, and protests held on AOL. This was a huge endeavor for nearly four months, with thousands of people participating all with hopes to convince AOL to leave the game intact. All, to no avail.

In small defense of AOL (very small) - the three companies owning copyrights to the game DID try and come to an agreement. AOL wanted to expand the game, add areas, and make the game "pay to play", and place it in the new "Gaming" section of AOL. TSR and SSI did not want the game returned to a pay-to-play atmosphere, and wanted to remove it from AOL's proprietary service. This was debated for almost a year between the three companies. Finally, with no end in sight, AOL no longer wanted to invest time in the discussions, and announced it would take the game down when the agreement expired.

The contract ended July 15, 1997, and the game was shut down a few days later.

For the AOL explanation of what happened to the graphical game - click here.



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