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Wizardry Online

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Online Multiplayer
Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
Developer: Headlock
Release Date: Jan. 30, 2013 (US), 2012 (EU)


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PC Preview - 'Wizardry Online'

by Erik "NekoIncardine" Ottosen on June 16, 2012 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

A revival of the legendary Wizardry titles, Wizardry Online is the next-generation incarnation of a series that has been called the godfather of the role-playing game (RPG) genre.

You're not ready for Wizardry Online.

I don't care if you've single-handedly held entire stations in EVE Online nullsec wars. I don't care if you have world firsts in World of Warcraft. Even Demon's Souls and Dark Souls are not enough to prepare you.

You are not ready for Wizardry Online.

It might be the latest entry in the classic RPG series, but it is not merciful or even polite. At the E3 booth, I saw some of the game and witnessed its terrifying brutality.

The core gameplay of Wizardry Online is standard MMO, with Phantasy Star Online-style, click-based, timed attacks in addition to the traditional skill library. There's an array of classic monsters from across the Wizardry series' history, but the biggest monster is when — not if — they bite you.

The game doesn't just simply go for permadeath, a word that has drawn fear from many a player. Although many MMOs have threatened to implement permadeath, all have persistently backed away from it, aside from optional modes. Instead, Wizardry Online gives you a percentage chance of this death becoming permanent, including the loss of all gear and purchased items. The more often you die, the higher the chance gets, though one of the items resets the chance to zero, and you can sacrifice items to improve your odds of returning. Yes, the game's risk is exceptionally high.

Worse yet, it's not just monsters that can kill you. Not only can your allies accidentally nuke you with their own fire, but intentional player-killing can occur absolutely anywhere. If you kill someone, though, you encounter two penalties. First, you become a target of town guards in most cities for some time, and if the guards kill you, it's not permadeath that you will encounter. It's jail time … for your entire account. On top of this, whoever you killed can, as long as you remain wanted, set a bounty on your head, and all other characters can see this. So be exceptionally careful with that wide-area magic!

Mercy is not a word in Wizardry Online's vocabulary. It is not a game for the soft — or even the insufficiently hardened. Its mercilessness is planned to come to North America sometime this year. Good luck to all those who will stand against it.

You're going to need a lot of it.

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