We take a look at Wizardry Online

Wizardry - Review - EN

We've recently tried Wizardry Online, a game which its editor called the “most hard-core fantasy MMO ever created” but in all honesty is not something at this stage we’d try to refute. The game offers a choice of five different races, each with four different classes to start our adventure within the game. For our own journey we took on the role of a dwarven thief.

The character creation is quite a simple affair, and holds to a classic old school RPG style where players get to choose their race, their alignment (lawful, neutral and chaotic) in doing so this determines which classes you can play as. Players are given a random number of bonus points that they can put into their various statistics, different stats will help the various classes in different ways, some being more important than others. The actual cosmetic appearance customisation is rather poor, because players can only choose between 5 preset faces, the hairstyle and hair color.

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When you create your first character the game launches straight into a cinematic intro in which several adventurers fight  for their lives in a dungeon full of dangers, you being one of these unfortunates. When all seemed lost a hero known as Zero appears and saves your group, and then the group goes on their merry way. The game then takes you into the starting zone of Illfalo Port, and arrow icon rotates around your character in 3-D mode navigating you towards your currently active quest, the first of which is to join the Adventurers Guild, a prerequisite that is necessary to leave the starting zone.

To complete the initial mission (become a member of the Adventurers Guild) players will have to delve into a small instanced based dungeon, which can be completed solo, to retrieve a "Dragon Placard". Within the Dungeon there are a couple of NPC's, the first of which gives you a tutorial overview of how to attack and defend in combat and generally use the basic controls, while the second (met when you accidentally trigger a trap) explains that you have died, you're a soul, and you have a chance of returning to your battered body and revive. Is surprising that a trap kills you in one hit and so demonstrates how the death mechanics work.

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When you're a soul you will appear over your dead body, and to revive you will have to find a Guardian Statue to resurrect at, in doing so the player will appear with all their items and gear, however outside the dungeon in public areas players are actually able to loot from your fallen corpse as it waits to be resurrected. While dead players bodies continue to deteriorate, once this happens the body turns to ash and the player is unable to revive themselves, thus the character us permanently killed off. Second to this players may encounter “walkers” when in soul forms, mobs that will attack your soul and reduce its condition, making it harder to resurrect once reaching a Guardian Statue. The more soul damage character has taken, the higher the percentage chance that their resurrection attempt will fail (your chance of success is shown to when reaching a Guardian statue), if you’re attempt fails then your body turns to ash. This can be mitigated by sacrificing items and gear, the more powerful items from the higher the increase of success for your resurrection. Really hardcore.

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Exploring the dungeons you'll move by different levels and platforms filled with dangers and interacting with doors and actively having to open them manually (make sure that there are no monsters close if you do not want to die while you are trying to open the door). One of the other challenging features is the map, unless players have recovered a map of the area it simply flags up as an unknown map and so players can only have an overview of the nearby vicinity and can quite easily get lost among the labyrinthic dungeons.

In our adventure we managed to complete a Dungeon, fight against some enemies, trigger a trap that almost kill us, but eventually managed to come out relatively unscathed with only a minor brush with death. The tutorial is relatively simple (and yet we almost die),hardly unexpected for a tutorial area, the game is definitely going to be one of those that either you love it or hate it. Wizardry Online's hardcore style won’t appeal to everyone, and if we add the fact that there is a possibility that you have to sacrifice all your gear to resurrect, or you can lose it at the hands of a thief (although they can not steal those objects for which you have paid real money) and even worse, losing your character permanently is enough to scare away many players. However, if you like your MMOs challenging them would definitely recommend trying Wizardry Online out for yourselves.

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  • The good: Pioneering permadeath feature that is a core system the game is built around truly adds the hardcore element that it boasts for those who want a challenge in their MMO.

  • The bad: Pioneering permadeath feature means that a lot of players are going to be put off playing due to the high likeliness of losing their hard to acquire gear and items to death tax and looters.

  • Graphics: 6

  • Gameplay: 8

  • Sound: 7

Overall: 7

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