Developed by Sony Online Entertainment and Gamepot, Wizardy Online is a hardcore MMORPG where your character can sustain permanent injury and even death. The game includes four classes and five different races – human, elf, dwarf, gnome and porkul. As in every role-playing game, each race has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some are actually weaker when they’re associated with some of the classes.
Like most old-school role-playing games, Wizardry Online uses instance-like dungeons instead of an open sandbox world. Even though you play inside these instances, you always have access to other players inside the game world. Wizardry brings back the core rules of Dungeons & Dragons. It’s been some time since we’ve seen an online role-playing game that offers the flexibly of Wizardry.
Not only does the game include PvP (Player versus Player), but it allows the player to be a criminal/thief. Aside from PK’ing (Player/People Killing), you can steal items from players once they’re dead. Doing this labels you as a ‘criminal’ and it can also get your character outlawed from town. Additionally, players can PVP inside town and even instances, so gamers need to constantly watch their backs.
Wizardry’s instances closely resemble Guild Wars Online, but with one exception – you share the instances with other players. The only way you can enter the instances is by using an NPC inside the city.
Another nontraditional approach that Wizardry has taken is its action-based combat system. While some MMORPGs use a dice rolling system, Wizardry Online is more action-based. Once you lock onto a target, you are forced to mash the left mouse button to initiate combat.
This style of gameplay allows the player to dodge incoming attacks and take less damage. The skill system is set on a timer; it’s the only part of combat that resembles turn-based gaming. Gamers who do not particular care for turn-based role-playing games will enjoy Wizardry’s fast-paced combat.
Every time you enter an instance, you can choose to search for a party or enter the instance solo. There’s nothing in Wizardry that forces the player to group, but it’s very hard to level your character in the beginning. Even if you don’t assemble a party before entering the instance, you can always find other players to group with once you arrive.
The death system can be very unforgiving. When your character dies, you are given a certain amount of time to retrieve your corpse before it turns to ash. There is also something called Permadeath. This means that once you die, there is a good chance your character will be lost forever. Yes, this also includes the gear, weapons and items you were carrying at the time of death.
You can visit a Guardian statue to resurrect your character. Every character that lives inside the world of Wizardry has a soul. Like the gear and weapons you equip, your soul has a durability level. The longer you wait to resurrect yourself, the lower your revival ranking becomes. This determines whether you can revive your character or not. You have a 100% chance of resurrecting at lower soul ranks. When your character turns to ash or if you fail to resurrect at a Guardian statue, your character will be deemed permanently dead. You then have to delete the character from your roster.
The real downside to dying is how you lose all of your equipment. If your revival ranking is below 100%, you can add either items or gold to the Scale system to help improve your revival percentage.
Wizardry online is a hardcore role-playing game with very unforgiving death penalties, making it the hardest MMORPG available by far. Not only do you have to worry about Permadeath and its effects, but you also have to watch your back for other players who are looking to steal from you.
Don’t get me wrong; Wizardry Online is a fun game to play either solo or with a party. It’s unlike anything I have ever played online before. In fact, it plays more like a pen and paper D&D game than an MMORPG.
In some ways, the pen and paper gameplay works in Wizardy’s favor. It not only sets the game apart from other online games that currently saturate the market, but the hardcore play mechanics have established a unique footprint in the online RPG community. If you are looking for an authentic role-playing game that fits all the criteria of a pen and paper RPG, then look no further than Wizardry Online.
James ‘Daripp3r’ Pittaro
Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
Price: F2P (Pay option for in-game items)