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Wizardry Online Launches

Sony Online Entertainment announces the launch of Wizardry Online for North American and European gamers, offering a free-to-play MMORPG based on the classic fantasy gaming franchise. This producer's letter accompanies the launch, talking about the transition from the betas to going live, and the announcement talks of the various features, such as a form of permadeath, that leads them to claim this to be "the most hardcore fantasy MMORPG ever created" (carefully avoiding an invasion of EVE Online spacecraft by specifying a genre). Here's the feature list:

  • Lost System: Not even death is easy in Wizardry Online. Players will need to donate to revive themselves -- and a poor donation runs the risk of failure. If they are unsuccessful twice, their character will vanish, said to be "Lost" and become unplayable forever. The player's experience will be noted on the Soul (account), allowing for an easier start for the next character.
  • Massive Dungeons: The game's dungeons present a variety of traps and powerful monsters for those who dare to invade their territory.
  • Skill Customization: Players can customize characters by combining skills from current or previous classes. With Wizardry Online's skill heredity system, players can create a fighter who can heal or a mage to steal items from monsters.
  • Bounty Hunt System: In addition to monsters, players will try to kill and rob other players for rare items. Such players are deemed Criminals and may attack anywhere and at any time. Players may offer a bounty such as gold for the death of any criminal and other players will compete to bring that character down.
  • Familiar Races: The game offers a variety of races known from previous Wizardry games, including humans, elves, porkuls, gnomes and dwarves. These races have different advantages towards weapons and skills.
  • Wizardry Online is now available as a "Free to Play. Your Way." game to all PC players in North America and Europe (optional content is available for purchase).

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20. Re: Wizardry Online Launches Jan 31, 2013, 07:21 Tomas
 
Ok...so I've played a bit now. Not much...I'm like level 3 or 4. Anyhow, I'll try to break this up. Find what you want or just ignore this thing completely right now. It's a mess, but I'm willing to suffer for the good of the team. Or at least because in some small way it reminds me of how games used to have some fear of death in them.

* CRASHING AT START *

If you can't start it and it does that annoying resolution thing you have to just start a few times until it fails to load fullscreen and forces 1024x768 windowed mode. After you make a character and get past the initial story blob you can finally change resolution. Then exit and crash a few more times and then it finally sticks. Not a joke. But it should be, because it's just so insane to think someone thought it was ok to release a game that has to crash several times before you can start only to...blah...anyhow...

* CONNECTING FOREVER *

So you got into the game finally and now see two buttons. Start and exit. When you hit start you're going to see connection for 1-infinity minutes. I guess it's the login server being slammed. Again...could have used a queue system or something. Did they think it was so bad nobody would try to login and overload the system?

* CHARACTER CREATION *

So you finally made your character. Haha...the random stat points is so like games of old. I hear you can get something like 50+ bonus points. Most I've gotten in the 10 minutes I was willing to waste was 12 with most cases being about 8. I guess it's a huge difference in the beginning, but I'm not sure about long term. All in all there seems to be a fair amount of options for characters considering you can change classes in the game and maintain some of the skills from your old class. Or something.

* POLISH *

The games a messy, giant, pile right now. Seriously...it's about as unpolished as can be. It's ugly, the menus are horrid, and it feels like circa 1995 at best. But it's passable. You can play it if you can figure out what in the world the menu options mean. I still have no idea if I'm running on max graphics settings because the terms used are more or less cryptic.

* GAMEPLAY *

So you basically go around town and get quests. Then you can go to the dungeon instance guard and choose what dungeon you want to go in. In there you will find really bad AI and lots of shiny things to click on. Also you might run into other players who can slaughter you (not until you reach a few levels into the game, though) or help you. Respawn rates are mad insane for solo - so I can hardly kill off the mobs in an area before new ones are spawning (they tend to clump together). Sometimes they drop chests which you can open, risking a trap going off. There are things you can do to improve your odds of success or disarming, but not being a thief I nearly died every time.

Anyhow, the dungeons so far aren't horrible, just somewhat ghetto feeling and rather uninspired. I'm optimistic that with a party and further into the game they might become quite fun. Especially with the whole perma-death and other players can kill you bit. If you're into that.

* OVERALL *

It's a bit of a hot mess. I'm not sure how well the free to play aspect will pan out yet, and I can see the draw of spending money to get stuff as it's a hard grind for me so far (again, I played like an hour or so). There are some cool ideas...but the game lacks mountains of polish. The lack of the option to set your resolution for the first 10 minutes of the game or so is madness. The rest of the game seems to follow that same philosophy. Is it the worst game I've ever played? No. Is it not fun? No... Could it be fun? I think so, with the right group. It's seems like a more hard core D&D Online with some serious tweaks and a lot more quirks.


 
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