Neverwinter Vault (the Vault) was a website (in the IGN.com domain) that featured general news, modules, custom content, reviews, ideas, and more for Neverwinter Nights (and for Neverwinter Nights 2, but the technical differences in the games necessitate segregating content by game within the site). While not run by BioWare or Atari, Neverwinter Vault became the de facto standard location for finding and sharing custom content for the game. In 2014, the Vault began redirecting visitors to an IGN wiki with the announcement
The Neverwinter Vault is currently undergoing maintenance [...] Apologies for the inconvenience -- we know Neverwinter Vault is an awesome resource and we're working to restore nwvault.ign.com as quickly as possible.
Much of the content that had been available from the Vault is now available from Neverwinter Vault (community).
The general layout of Vault pages has a sidebar on the left with links to the major sections (a site map of sorts) and one on the right with the top entries in the site's Hall of Fame, broken into categories and with tabs for selecting between content for Neverwinter Nights and content for its sequel. The top of each page has a search bar for simple searches; the search results page has links to the advanced search pages.
The Vault's front page features daily updates about the site, the site's content, and various news items relevant to Neverwinter Nights. (This included copies of posts by game developers in the official BioWare forums when the games were still supported.) Of particular note, new entries cannot be viewed until they are announced on the front page. There is also a recurring list of Vault entries that need votes to potentially qualify for the Vault's Hall of Fame, part of an effort to give those entries more exposure.
Voting and Hall of Fame
Just as most of the Vault's content comes from players of Neverwinter Nights, that content is evaluated by players. Each entry on the Vault has a form by which registered users can leave comments and rate the entry on a scale from 1 to 10. (The ability to leave comments without logging in was removed years ago.) These comments and votes serve both as feedback to the entry's author and as guidance to those thinking about downloading the entry.
The votes are averaged using a trimmed mean system, meaning that the top and bottom 10% of votes are dropped from the calculation. In practice, this means that when an entry has 1–4 votes, the average is based on all of them, but when it has 5–14 votes, two of them (the highest vote and the lowest) are ignored; when it has 15–24 votes, four of them are ignored, etc. In particular, at the key point of 25 votes, the three highest and the three lowest votes do not contribute to the average. This system was adopted so that the outliers would not influence an entry's score.
When an entry achieves 10 votes, the average score is displayed in the advanced search results, and the entry qualifies for the front page's lists of entries needing votes. When an entry achieves 25 votes, it can be considered for inclusion in the Hall of Fame.
The top files in the Vault are inducted into the Hall of Fame at the beginning of each month. The criteria for induction is a minimum of 25 votes with an average score of at least 8.0. In addition, the entry must have been available for at least three months (to give the community at large time to evaluate the entry, reducing the influence of "fan boy" voting). Modules have an additional requirement of 2500 downloads. On the first day of each month, the top three entries in each category that meet these criteria (and that are not already inducted) are inducted into the Hall of Fame. In addition, entries that are part of a series can be included if any part of that series makes it into the Hall of Fame.
In 2004, the scoring system was revamped and all entries had their votes at that time compiled into a single (average) vote. Individual votes from before that time are no longer available (as are some comments from that time frame).
End of the Vault?
In 2014, reports started that people visiting the Vault were finding it inaccessible, followed shortly by communications from IGN personnel that the Vault was experiencing technical difficulties.
Anticipating that at some point the Vault may be unavailable for an indefinite period of time, several NWN community members undertook a project to preserve the contents of the Vault in a way such that the community content would not be lost if IGN ever decided not to maintain the Vault. Thus, Neverwinter Vault (community) came online, the result of this preservation effort. The new site (a.k.a. the "New Vault" or "Community Vault") contains the vast majority of content that had previously been on the old Vault and is a primary repository for newly created custom content.