A Neverwinter Nights 2 Persistent World is any hosted module that is not using "as is" campaign modules from the the OC or MOTB. While considered similar to a Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG) and generally playable 24 hours a day, the number of players is very small in comparison. Many Persistent Worlds are highly customized, each following the vision of their developer, with customized classes, gods, races, encounters, and stories. The majority are in the role playing and story categories, but there are PWs for every style of play.
Difference Between Multiplayer and Persistent Worlds
Persistent worlds are part of Multiplayer by virtue of there being more than one person playing at once, but are much more involved than a typical multiplayer game, with dedicated forums, scripters, developers, artists, modelers, and DM's all participating to make the world live and function. There is often confusion between these terms, in that they are considered to mean the same thing, but those who play the OC and modules online tend to use the term "multiplayer", while those who play custom worlds prefer the term "persistent world".
Types of Persistent Worlds
Playing on Persistent Worlds
Running a Persistent World
- PW Admin Roundtable Library
- Starting a PW
- PW Guidelines and Best Practices
- Finding and Joining a Persistent World
- Marketing a Persistent World
- Designing a Persistent World
- Persistant World Utilities
Discussion about what "Persistent" means
At the minimum, a Persistant World allow characters made by players (localvault), as well as restricts characters to only ones leveled up inside of its games (servervault). Generally, at a bare minimum a character is the only thing persistent in the world, but an Admin can do things such as change the module's areas or quests to reflect actions by the players. However, these worlds allow different players to interact, and even sometimes compete or kill each other ( this is called a PVP Persistent World. )
More advanced Persistent Worlds will actually link the module to a database using NWNX, and can have quests, banks, storage lockers, and stories that retrieve their state from this database. However, the module still is loaded anew upon each reset, and it is then updated based on the database data to reflect the current state. If well done, this can make the module seem like a MMORPG.
Discussion of what is a persistent world http://nwn2forums.bioware.com/forums/viewtopic.html?topic=567738&forum=118