While Neverwinter Nights takes place in a real-time environment, BioWare was careful to keep the combat system from becoming a "click-fest", where the player with the lowest ping and fastest reflexes wins. Instead, combat involves a multi-layered approach. The base layer consists of a single-click combat system, in which clicking an opponent initiates combat and characters repeat basic attack actions until either the target is slain or another action is assigned (by the player). The second layer consists of a queued combat system, in which special combat actions (such as disarm) are entered into an action queue and one of these is performed with each attack until the queue is empty, at which point the character reverts back to basic attacks. The result is a very lag-tolerant system that keeps the player actively engaged in what is going on while not penalizing those with high-latency Internet connections.
BioWare produced a detailed combat animation system for Neverwinter Nights. Reflexive combat actions, such as dodges, thrusts, and parries, are visually represented in the game, with combatants interacting in a dynamic fashion that remains true to the Third Edition D&D combat rules.