As the years have passed and I have continued to add material to my own campaign, one cannot help but notice the incredible strides in mainstream computer games in both the visual and sound, as well as gameplay and content. Don't misunderstand me, I always knew things could only "get better" as far as the games were concerned, simply because of the improvements made in computer hardware. However, credit must also be given to those designers like Bioware and Bethesda (to name just two of the many fine companies out there who make comparable games to the likes of my own goals), who have really done wonders with the software to take advantage of said hardware to make some truly great games.
My point being, when I first started this campaign, I believe a player's expectations from a fan-based module were not too far removed from what was delivered. However, is it possible that as the time has passed, player's expectations of what to expect from such a module have also grown? Now, I am aware that good gaming does not boil down to just visuals and sound. However, in all fairness, the games I am thinking about also contain reasonable/good content too. Can we (as builders) even be able to offer the players a reasonable gaming experience compared to what can be acquired nowadays? I am not saying we cannot do so, but what would make a player pick up a custom module and spend time playing it compared to picking up Skyrim, Dragon Age 3, or one of the many free MMO games and play that instead?
Now, I know there will be some players who have more time and can, perhaps, spend their time playing both types of game, but my question is, why would/do they? What is the attraction to playing a home-made module, which, even if it has some reasonable gameplay, is not going to be able to compare to a "retail" product which has had a professional design team and many more hours put behind it? I know I am probably asking the golden question that everybody would like to know the answer to .... i.e. What makes a good game? However, I ask it anyway, as such feedback is always good for the builder, and helps encourage them along the way.
So, why do you download and play a NWN/NWN2 module compared to any other game that is available? Is it because of the rules used? Multi-player functionality? You have played all the other games already and it was a last resort?
And when you have downloaded such a module, how much time do you give it? At what point do you give up on a game ... or don't you? Do you keep going regardless?