A HOMECOMING [Author: Riprend]

It’s definitely not what it was, but it’s good enough for me.

You’ve heard me spout off about it before. The old Neverwinter Nights on AOL was, just like the Neverwinter Tribute Site claims, one of online gaming’s greatest achievements to almost everyone who played it. When it was cancelled at the height of its popularity in July 1997, I heard friends cry over the telephone, grieved beyond belief because not just their favorite game was gone, but an online home was erased.

For more than three and a half years, Neverwinter has been gone. For two of those, a small group of coders has been trying to bring a facsimile of it back, under the name of Forgotten World.

Recently, they finished a web-based game, open to anyone for free, that captures just a part of Neverwinter’s magic. There’s not much strategy to it, the EGA graphics are still there, and it’s definitely not a complex piece of code. And it’s very much a far cry from the strategy-intensive original PvP.

But the people are still there. I can step into there any night of the week and see people I haven’t seen online in almost four years. The poeple – the true magic of what Neverwinter was – have been brought back. Unbelievably, the NWN community has held together even thought the last vestige of NWN, Nyrthellan’s Woods (chat-based roleplaying set with AD&D rules), was ALSO cancelled from AOL several months ago.

Field of Dreams was right. If you build it, they will come.

And I’ve come home.