Number Five Multiplayer
Ladies and gentlemen, let me welcome you to FiringSquad's all-time Top 10 PC Games list. We're going to feature five multiplayer and five singleplayer games. These games have merited their position for various reasons - addictive gameplay, lasting effect on the industry and occasionally, popularity. Some are newer and some are older, some have broad appeal, others hit their target audience dead on and were ignored by everyone else. So without further ado, please let me present the list.
Number 5, multiplayer
Tied for fifth spot are two games that revolutionized multiplayer by bringing roleplaying games to the market.
Blizzard's gothic epic Diablo created a new sub-genre and brought multiplayer RPGs to the spotlight. This simple, eerie game can be summed up in one sentence: kill stuff to get gear and experience to kill tougher stuff to get better gear and more experience. Originally an independent development, the Diablo team was bought out by Blizzard shortly before their game was released, and dubbed Blizzard North.
Often called the most addictive game of all time, Diablo polarized the gaming community. At a time when traditional RPGs were dying, this RPG-lite title appeared and stole the show, creating much resentment among the roleplaying enthusiasts who didn't want their cherished games to become simplified hack and slash clickfests. Yet, it's quite possible that Diablo kept the RPG market alive and injected fresh ideas of realtime combat, ideas that perhaps influenced the eventual savior of PC roleplaying, Baldur's Gate.
Diablo is remembered for more than its gameplay. It gave gamers yet another reason to connect to the internet, and it revolutionized online internet play. At a time when most people were going to websites to check for Quake servers online and QuakeSpy (later GameSpy) was just catching on, Diablo introduced us to Battle.net. Online matchmaking was easy, simple and done with just a few clicks, not trying to remember IP addresses and port numbers. With Diablo, the mainstream masses had the first game that brought them online.
On the other side of the fence is BioWare's Neverwinter Nights. Five years of development created a game that tapped into a market that no one believed could exist. Explicitly designed to appeal to D&D players who wanted to bring the tabletop experience to the PC, NWN boasts ever-rising player numbers, with an average of 7500 players online at any given moment and 30,000 unique users logging on per day.
The Solstice Toolset permits Dungeon Masters and even mere designers the ability to create entire worlds for players to explore, conquer and interact in. Any content from Neverwinter or its expansions is available to designers, and the robust scripting language permits construction of complex quests and dialogues. With the toolset, a Dungeon Master can design new items and weapons, customize creatures and characters to his liking and populate the world as he sees fit. The new Hordes of the Underdark
expansion permits players to go all the way from level 1 to 40, from safe city tiles through wild woods, deserts, the underdark and even the planes themselves.
Adam Miller, creator of the highly acclaimed and popular Dreamcatcher
series for Neverwinter Nights, was kind enough to share a few comments about the game:
I've long toyed with the idea of making my own roleplaying computer game, but not until Neverwinter Nights was released was I able to make it a reality. With the game came incredible tools, allowing me to construct an epic tale that over a hundred thousand people around the world have played. A legion of fans supports the game, creating thousands of modules and bringing such worlds as Planescape and Dragonlance to life.
BioWare's gamble that a market for such a game exists and that independent content designers will deliver the goods paid off. Few, if any, other games permit end-users so much power over their own product. Many of the modules for Neverwinter Nights were better than the original campaign, and some rival the expansions in popular appeal and quality.
For revolutionizing multiplayer gaming, introducing multiplayer to RPGs and creating a new kind of community, Diablo and Neverwinter Nights share position Number 5 on FiringSquad's Top Multiplayer Games of All Time.