I remember watching a friend play Ultima Online way back in the mid-90s. It was a game he was addicted to, and I could see why. It would be hard for AI to be programmed to replicate the inane things that happen in an online world. In town I saw that someone had laid dozens of filets of fish out on the ground. Why? Who knows. It couldn’t have been because he was worried about the homeless going without a decent meal. Another interesting aspect of Ultima Online was that you could buy and own a house. If you happened to leave the door of said house open, you could expect the possibility of strangers barging their way in. It was a crazy, chaotic world, and that’s what made it interesting. You never knew what to expect.
Beware. Death can be permanent
Wizardry Online is set to bring a similar sense of chaos and uncertainty to the free-to-play online world this Fall when Gamepot is scheduled to bring it over. What uncertainty, you say? Even a PVP server on World of Warcraft has more safety than what Wizardry Online is about to unleash. Wizardry Online is a third-person dungeon crawler that will allow individuals to roam around, destroying monsters and creating factions as they please. You will happen upon strangers in your travels, and friendly fire is always on. It is up to you to side with people you think you can trust to protect yourself from the inevitable trolls.
If you die–and certainly that will happen–you will have to deal with a weight scale that has the power to bring you back to life. On one side will be your soul. On the other side, you will have to place items that you’ve gotten on your travels to equal the price of your soul–don’t worry, it shouldn’t be too steep. Things like healing potions and the like can be placed, and if you don’t happen to have enough, you can either pay with real-world money to buy some items to make up for what you don’t have. The tough thing is that the items you place will give you a certain percentage towards the possibility of reviving. You might have an 87% chance to revive, but that still leaves a 13% chance to fail. You will have two chances to revive your character, and if you fail the second time, your character and his/her items will be lost forever. You can always make another character, but certainly at the higher levels that’s not going to be preferable. It will be interesting to see how this system is balanced.
Getting back to trolling, well, you’re in for a heck of a time. If you die, malicious players can do evil things like move your body further into a dungeon and closer to monsters. So by the time your soul gets back to your body, you may be in for some trouble. Player killers can also get the chance to steal items from your dead corpse, so they have an incentive to kill you. Don’t go around flashing your dungeon best, and that may increase your chances.
I was a Mage
I decided to play as a Mage, and I rather liked it. The mage’s spells take time to cast. Some are auto-targeted, and others will require you to aim at the enemies while they’re moving and your spell is charging. I found this latter mechanic to be interesting. That spell is a small area-of-effect spell, and it requires a little bit of strategy, and some good timing to pull off well. You have to patiently stand still while your magic is charging and your enemies are advancing, increasing the tension. If you don’t happen to aim well and hit the enemies you intended, you might need to back up and try again.
Wizardry Online is looking to be a rather interesting proposition for a free-to-play game. I’ve tried a few in the past, but haven’t found anything to my liking. This time could be different. I liked that even characters such as the Mage have the ability to side-step and back-step. The game is very action-oriented for an online RPG. As a fan of Dark Souls, the chaos of the game world seems like it could make things interesting. I’ll be looking forward to further exploring it when it releases this Fall in Europe and North America.
If you’re interested, check out the official site of Wizardry Online.