Actually, it's still accessible but all of the graphics and logos are broken and you can't download anything. And I think that's a good thing (that it still works), because like you said the search function is right now quite bad at the new vault so you can still search the old vault for interesting modules and then download them off the new one. How do you lodge a request btw? Send a PM? I don't have an account there yet and I don't plan on one right away.
No downloads = no service, in my book. If the IGN search helps you locate a project at least that's something, but I would get overly warm and fuzzy about the scant usefulness. Better to begin to experiment with the new Vault's search engine. Projects can be found. It's just not intuitive. Like finding the right item on ebay. Can be an exhaustive process, but there's a payoff.
The new vault also doesn't contain any screenshots which I think is a pity, especially for all the various graphics and portrait mods/hakpacks.
I view the screenies as pure cosmetics to brighten up a project page a bit. You'll only get a small sample anyway so just delete the file if it doesn't meet your expectations. The issue with the action that IGN pulled is that even though the new Vault staff had backed-up the files themselves, the peripheral information like images & descriptions were not scraped out, at least that';s been my impression. I could be wrong, though. All the metadata may have been retrieved.
The patches are also available at the new vault, however maybe some of the ones which aren't used much anymore (older builds) may be missing now as the list was missing some of the English patches, but it was numbers which I don't think you'd use anyway.
Interesting. Hadn't poked around for them myself. That's good to hear since there are still a lot of versions of the game floating around.
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And as far as the NWN gaming community goes...
Death is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose. Compared to the new MMOs, the subscribership is small. But what remains are the dedicated remnants who continue to build new content and utilities to make the game more enjoyable than was viewed possible 10 years ago.
The community is still alive and vital. Closing the Bioware legacy forum couldn't kill it. Davis's acquisitiion of Gamespy and subsequent shut-down couldn't kill it. And IGN's underhanded tactics will also not kill it. Whether you folks realize it or not, the NWN community is wholly unique entity, one that will likely never exist again. Enthusiasts who give unselfishly of their time and labor to develop a game free-of-charge just has no place in current gaming environment headed quickly toward on-line pay-as-you-play environments. So get in line and keep your charge card handy.
NWN is far from dead. Just check out the development sections of BSN and you will see that work goes on. The major difference between today and 2003-ish is that in those 10+ years the membership has aged. The 30 year olds are now in their 40 or higher and RL has away of becoming more and more of an impact than when they were mere embryos starting out their NWN careers.
As Ford Prefect's guide publicized... "DON'T PANIC."