Wizardry Online SOE Live Early Access Part 2
By Darren Henderson (DizzyPW), OnRPG Editor-in-Chief
Now while RNG holds strong sway over much of the game, the combat is where this title shines brightly and skill dominates. First to get into combat you will need to talk to an NPC to fast travel to your location akin to Vindictus’ set-up. As soon as I engaged with my first monster I was in awe at how far they have departed from the normal whack-a-mole. For starters your control scheme completely changes between when your weapon is sheathed or out. While sheathed you can run faster, crouch and move around while crouched (yes this is useful, no not just for roleplayers), and jump over traps. With your weapon unleashed, you can do swift back-jumps (think TERA dodge), block, and access your varied attacks – each with unique strategic bonuses such as slows, enemy power debuffs, and so on along with the chance for your attack to miss if you misaim or your opponent gets out of the way in time. As masochistic as the devs are, they even decided to put in some platforming elements using this advanced movement system to test your ability to gauge distances. Welcome to Mario Hell Online! A small side note about the combat: This game has as many status types as a hardcore console JRPG. Petrify, disarm, and fear are just some of the unusual effects not often seen in the online realm. And trust me when a cockatrice petrifies you for 10 seconds in a game with permadeath, they are the longest 10 seconds of your MMO life.
To say monsters in this game are vicious is a gross understatement. They are crafty, reactive, and will do whatever it takes to see your character buried once and for all. In my first encounter with an imp I got smacked around pretty harshly until I finally learned how to block. As soon as the imp smacked my shield he immediately ceased his assault and ran to flank around to my side to bypass my defense. Jumping, blocking, and effective use of skills is not just recommended, it’s imperative to continuing your story. To up the skill curve a little beyond, you also have a resource system called OD that is used whenever you execute any physical abilities or defensive maneuvers. This can only be earned back by landing melee attacks, ensuring that no one can just sit there blocking throughout a fight as their friends deal damage. I highly suggest if you meet an enemy you are unfamiliar with to throw the annoying guy that always takes the guild’s loot into the fray first to test the waters. After all trial and error methods of figuring out dungeons no longer apply in this realm.
Now if you think that’s tough enough, let me throw this phrase at you. Non-instanced full PvP dungeons. This isn’t a unique challenge my friends. This is how you describe all dungeons in this game. And don’t think a GM is going to save the loner player just because a group of four bandits roll through a dungeon and destroy him either. This game is designed for playing in groups so don’t get caught with your pants down just because you’re a loaner.
The third element to these dungeons that make them so fascinating and dangerous is the puzzles and story quests. The first time you enter a dungeon you will often be faced with a system that integrates the lore with puzzles inside the dungeon, forcing you to take notes and think to find a way to the end. You may find the knowledge provided at the start of the dungeon is required to disarm a trap or unlock a door blocking the final room of the dungeon. But not only that, there are plenty of lesser traps throughout such as poison arrows, pillars of flame, and just about anything you could imagine from the world of Skyrim brought back to life in the online world. Yet another reason to travel in pairs as characters don’t automatically regenerate health or mana.
The final piece of this elaborate puzzle I’m going to touch on is PKing and consequences. This is what I’m sure most potential players, both PvErs and Griefers alike, will be watching closely. If you kill a player you gain infamy that builds up over the life of your character. There was no mention of ways to remove the infamy once you have it so I’m assuming your personality grows more infamous the longer you stay alive. For the griefers the benefits are of course the full loot system they gain from their prey, unique titles that unlock labeling them for who they are, and, most obviously, the ability to attack other players anywhere you like. Yes if you’re incredibly sneaky about it you can even pick someone off in town, though you’ll have to contend with some seriously mean guards so it’s not advised.
For the PvE focused players, you’ll be glad to know that players that overly engage in griefing will eventually be blacklisted by the guards. This means they won’t be able to visit the ‘rich’ part of town where the high-end hotels and shops are. Instead they will slink into the darkside of town, surrounded by other rapscallions and murderers to fair for themselves among their own kind. This in turn will eventually hinder their power if they live long enough to level multiple times as the hotels in that part of town offer lower chances to gain beneficial stats on level up.
However if your foe is the head of a local mafia and holds power and prestige you could never hope to exact revenge against, you can place a bounty on them. And your friend can place a bounty on them. And eventually that guy you know down the street will also place a bounty on them. Eventually enough bounties are going to get the attention of a true bounty hunter who will set up to seek revenge on your behalf. Just be sure you watch your back as these bounties will be public knowledge and you can’t pay your bounty if you wind up dead before they do.
That’s about all I have to say on Wizardly Online at this time. The game enters into limited closed beta testing on the 29th and will slowly begin to allow more players in as time progresses. Think you have what it takes to survive? Think you can kill me? Laughable. But I’ll tell you what. If you’ve read this far you are probably interested in doing just that. So head over to MMOFlag and click the MMOFlag like button on this article and we’ll enter you in a drawing to win priority access to the game. 7 Lucky winners will be announced on Tuesday of next week. I look forward to crossing blades with you soon. Oh and be sure to check out this gameplay trailers! Huzzah!