After much adventuring and exploration, I ended up at the final battle a bit too early. All party members were around 13th level and collectively got their tails handed to them by the final encounter.
I really enjoyed SoZ because of the stark differences between it and previous NWN/NWN2 releases. While I have always had the problem of being either completely open ended such as the Cormyr PW I worked on in NWN 1, or very very linear and story driven such as the Solvheil campaign, SoZ seemed to blend these two elements together.
This does present some problems, as evidenced by my untimely demise (and rather one-sided battle). Without the proper controls in place, it is entirely possible to wander into something that your party is not nearly prepared to handle. While many of the adventures required activation from an NPC conversation, the random encounter tables and overall story arc was completely accessible whether you were ready or not.
This did indeed add the danger that was present by wandering monster tables and other elements of traditional PnP. However, it was without the divine intervention, aka DM discretion, that was there to make sure the gameplay was enjoyable.
Again, I know that many were less than pleased with the latest release. I just happended to find it a bit more interesting than previous. I've always had trouble being guided through a main story without much room for deviation (although I design SP modules the complete opposite because I just want to tell a story). This title gave me a blank sheet to make my mark upon, and retire whenever I saw fit.
2 months ago