This is an MMO with some definite potential. Wizardry Online is a game that brings back the necessity for parties. With the threat of permadeath looming around every corner, pvp enabled all over the place, and with safe places to stay for criminals, this isn’t an MMO for your grandmother. Also if you think that an MMO with permadeath is nothing short of rage inducing and stressful, the price of admission is free! So on the bright side, the only thing you will be “wasting” is your time if you die.
Now that all that doom and gloom is out-of-the-way, let’s break the game down a bit.
I would say that the fact that the treasure chests in this game can easily kick your butt back to the stone age so badly that you will want to stop opening them is just bad design. I love loot. I love getting loot and looting loot. I could roll around in loot even! So when they tempt me with loot and the poison me to death or explode my face off… it gets kind of lame. I also don’t learn my lesson very well so I keep opening them and getting myself killed.
This coincidentally brings me to my second gripe with this game. Keep in mind that I’ve died a lot and haven’t lost my character. Currently I’m playing at the lower levels, obviously, so I’m not dancing on any precipices of disaster yet. Later when you need to start carrying around items and gold that could be looted from your dead corpse just so you can bride death’s scales to rez you with a more of a sure bet, is going to make me lose hair. At the lower levels it’s free though so at least they start you out with… the wrong impression right? It is important to note that permadeath just doesn’t occur when you die, it’s only a possibility.
The controls are not as straight forward as I think they should be. You’ll definitely want to spend some time familiarizing yourself with the controls and tweeking them to a more workable setting. Even when you get things set up, some things are just downright frustrating. It took me a bit of time to select another player to heal them, and then unselecting… didn’t really happen. The mechanic to click and unclick people doesn’t come of as very intuitive and for a modern game, this shouldn’t be the case. Clicking bad guys was easy… healing yourself after healing your friends… not as much.
Free to Play is my next gripe. I don’t see too much to hinder me at the moment, but while not explicitly stated anywhere in-game that I’ve noticed, I believe they limit your inventory and I’ll have to spend actual dollars to open it up more via a premium model of play. I get it, but to me that kills the “Look, we’re free to play! Come play our game ’cause it’s free!” statement. I would prefer exp boosters or aesthetic items to differentiate yourself from others in a shop rather than inventory expansions. To me that’s them forcing a subscription on you. I paid for WoW for years and UO before that as well and had no problem with paying them monthly. However, after playing a few free to plays without gimped inventory, this just seems like a punk move.
The last thing that truly bothers me is that the world is instanced. I get the idea of it, but hate the implementation of it. There is no open world, everyone is in the same town before you go out to get ported to an instanced dungeon. There are a few instances of each dungeon, but you don’t walk/travel there, an NPC just poofs you there. Luckily this time, the NPC has a shirt on. The dungeons are only instanced in the fact that you can’t really travel to them and that there are multiples of them That doesn’t mean you can’t get ganked there though. They are shared with other players and you are just as likely to get killed there as well. It just doesn’t feel very large/MMOie to me. At least you don’t feel lonely much.
First and foremost, the most important thing a game can include to make me want to try it out is to have the option of creating a Dwarven character. I’m a simple person with simple desires and I love playing Dwarves. On my WoW account I had 9 out of 10 slots as Dwarves because they couldn’t be druids. Perfect World? Yup, only made one character since you could only make a Dwarven hunter. Didn’t completely like RaiderZ since there wasn’t a Dwarven option… Lord of the Rings movies didn’t have enough Dwarves, but the hobbit looks awesome! It’s a small gripe, but they are just the coolest so deal with it.
Also when creating a character you get to pick where you want a random number of stats to go. Whether you want to buff your vitality early on or intelligence for a more magical umph! That’s up to you, but the number is randomly given at the creation of every character you make. Also, you’ll have to decide your alignment be it chaotic, lawful, or neutral and that also dictates what class you can pick. Whether you’re good or evil depends on your actions in game. It’s cool to have all these decisions to add depth to the game that hasn’t even really started yet.
Some people will be turned off by the graphics. I’ve read enough complaints about this already to make my eyes roll into my brain. Really people? The game looks pretty good. They could have used more colors, but they are in the game. Personally, I like the graphical style they chose. Does anyone remember FFXI? WO reminds me of that. It’s kind of a gritty realistic feel. The first dungeon that you spend your time in though feels dark, dank, cramped, and creepy. I’m not the biggest fan of that, but everywhere outside of that first dungeon is nifty. That also means that they did a great job with atmosphere on that first dungeon so I just can’t complain too much about it.
The skill trees in WO are pretty good as well. They are pretty well fleshed out as far as moves you want go. There’s no real mistake on what each move does, but at the same time it does force you to choose and that is hard even at the lower levels. Do I want a defense boost or better heal… or cure poison or paralysis? In the long run you want them all, but you don’t have the points to play around with in the beginning. I would suggest cure poison though since poisons do tend to linger until you die if you don’t have a potion handy (stupid treasure chests). Also, to the right of the skill tree, you can see that every few levels you get perks for being that level of the specific class. This is important because you can change classes in WO and I believe those are what carries over. I don’t have a ton of experience with this, but this goes well with rerolling a character in a sort of D&D universe type game.
All in all Wizardry Online is a pretty solid title. Like I stated before, I do think this game has some amazing potential. I love that the game is kind of forcing you into parties. You can solo, there is no question about that, but it’s way more fun to play with others in this game (and easier and more safe). It also makes every class feel important. You’ll want your warriors to deal damage and your rogues to unlock things and your priests to heal you and your mages to… uh… mage. It’s nice to have that element. I believe in the gaming trinity. This game has a lot of good elements to it and I did mostly enjoy my time in this game. It’s still in beta so I may check it out again when it’s fully released even though I’m not fully sold on the permadeath idea with so many crazies running around out there. If you want to try it out, head over to the home page and sign up for the beta*. I do believe this game deserves a chance.
*Servers are now shut down.