Wizardry Online - One of the most challenging MMORPGs to dateBy: End_Break_Fomar posted at Nov 28, 2012 12:19 pm
Have you ever felt a feeling of dread and fear of what monster could lie around the corner? The tension of having a sliver of health remaining and one more hit could be IT for you? If you're looking for a MMO that will challange you, this is the game. This game is difficult, and not simply because the developers decided to pump the HP of the monsters. Your HP and mana does not regenerate and if you die and fail to rez twice? You will suffer perma-death. As if that wasn't exciting enough, the dungeons actually require thinking to progress. Dungeons are not places to grind, you need to figure out clues to proceed while watching out for traps that are actually deadly. You can use potions or the rare healing fountain to recover, but if you try to go charging into the dungeon and take on everything, you're going to be in trouble.
Of course, some of you are probably thinking Perma-death? (After 2 failed rez attempts) - No thanks. I wouldn't let that dissuade you from playing the game, the possibility of success can be tipped in your favour by offering items from your limited inventory, or even your equipment and gold. On top of that, the soul levels you earn are kept after perma-death and give you increased leveling speed up to certain levels, and you won't lose your quest progress, along with other perks. Perma-death will actually improve your experience. You'll be more attached and that does wonders for the online community. People cling to their parties because they want to live. People actually talk to their party members, strategize and figure out puzzles together.
However, not everyone will want to party with you. Wizardry Online has open PvP, but there are consequences. If you kill someone or steal an item from a dead player's corpse, you'll be given a red aura and be known as a criminal to town guards. Meaning, the penalty for murder is you'll have to live in the slums instead of the main city and if you want something from the city, you'll have to sneak around and hope no guards or players catch you and send you to prison.
Being good at fighting is one of the things you'll have to do to stay alive. Luckily for you, the combat in Wizardry is real time, yet very simple. You have your basic attack and class specific attacks (Plus a maximum 5 other skills if you cross class). This game could draw a lot of parallels to Dark souls and Demon's souls. The combat is very similar, except you have skills and it's not as smooth. Traveling with a party definately makes things easier, because one person can draw the monster's attention (Kirito, switch!) as opposed to a solo player who has to continually watch for the monster's attack and block/dodge. Of course the party members can also mess things up for you by stepping on traps or brining home too many monsters to chew.
While it is true you can't customize your character's appearance too much (Maybe in the cash shop?), you can build a pretty unique build for combat with skill tree choices. Two fighters can be completely different, with one choosing agro skills, a self heal and defensive skills while another chooses the pure offense/defense sacrifice route. Additionally, classes in this game are unique and have their roles in the game. For example, thieves are not just another damage dealer, they are best at disarming chests and sniffing out traps. Yes, most treasure chests are trapped, although everyone can have a go at disarming them - thieves have many skills for disarming traps that the other classes lack. It's a gamble to try disarming a chest without one.
Like I wrote earlier, dungeons are leagues different than the dungeons you find in other MMO's. For one, there are lots of traps in this game that actually are there to kill you instead of being slightly damaging after thoughts. Second, you need to read the clues to advance. I won't give any spoilers, but they can be cryptic and require you to think about what the characters in the dungeons tell you. There are a lot of puzzles in the game as well. You need to remember what a tombstone may have said, or where a chest with a symbol was. The game doesn't hold your hand and tell you where to go.
When you first log into the game, they give you a background story and then it sets off on your quest as an adventurer. Like all good JRPGs, there's also some background story stuff that plays if you leave the start menu on for a bit. You'll be surprised to see that this game actually has the RPG half of MMORPG. Quests/missions are more like JRPG quests instead of the kill x quest with a long paragraph attached. Quest givers will tell their tale, story cutscenes occur, and background is set. Of course there is also traditional style quests which you can pick up and repeat if you want for exp and items, but those are optional. Usually it's a good idea to because while trying to survive in the dungeon, you end up killing what those quests ask for, but the majority of your exp comes from doing the story.
As a perfect complement to a good RPG story, the music is superb. If you adore the soundtracks from many a legendary Jrpg then you'll like the ambiance game has to offer. Some of the notable games they've worked on are Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, Shadow Hearts, and some of the Mana series. Just ignore that CG opening with the Heavy Metal. Don't know why they randomly put that music or the odd CG movie in.
There's a lot of nostalgia from old day of RPGs (The Wizardry series specifically) that is in this game. When you create your character you need to do a dice roll for bonus points. Your armor is also calculated in AC and you have an alignment of lawful, chaotic or neutral (Which can change through your choices). If you're looking for a challenge and a great JRPG/MMO, then Wizardry Online is a game you should try. I think it would be safe to say that of the many MMORPGs released, Wizardry Online is one of the most difficult.
Of course, I have to mention the obvious negative of the game. The graphics. Personally, it doesn't bother me but I do acknowledge that it looks like a Playstation 2 era game. Turn on anti-aliasing, it's off by default and it helps a little. Outside of graphics and some clunkyness, I don't see a reason not to play. If you like challenging games give the game a chance.