‘Wizardry: Online’ Announcement

Looking for more challenge in your online gaming? Do you wish that death in a game actually had some kind of consequence? Trying to rekindle a sense of adventuring in an adventure game? Game publisher Gamepot shares your wants and desires and is incorporating them in their new MMORPG Wizardry: Online. As the trailer illustrates, this game is going to be tough and sometimes running is the only option.

The Wizardry brand has existed for 30 years and offered fans of role-playing games countless hours of enjoyment through the property’s various incarnations. Now as an MMO, players can take on a brand new adventure, traveling solo, with a small party or in a group as large as 100 strong. The story of Wizardry: Online revolves around a global dilemma: magic is slowly draining from the planet and no one understands why. As such, adventurers are sent into the depths of the many dungeons punctuating the world to discover the cause.

The dungeons in other popular MMOs can sometimes feel more like amusement park rides rather than an actual adventure. Wizardry: Online aims to change players’ perspectives on dungeons, making these dank locations truly a place of dread. “Life and death is a main theme and creates a sense of tension,” says Shuhei Ueda, President of Gamepot. During the game’s presentation at E3, presenters illustrated how the dungeons would not be linear exercises and that players would have to pay attention to their surroundings lest they get lost in the maze. Additionally, traps await adventurers at every turn, including floor spikes, flame bursts and other horrific implements of death. Even the treasure chests are trapped, making any loot truly earned.

The most intriguing aspect of Wizardry: Online is its permanent death mechanic. The idea of losing a character permanently has been a point of intense debate for many MMO gamers. On one hand, having permanent death makes choices and actions more meaningful and reduces reckless behavior. On the other hand, losing a character permanently can mean losing months if not years of real world time invested in leveling. In Wizardry: Online, when a character dies, he or she becomes a ghost that can attempt to recover its body. If the player fails, he or she gets one more attempt. If the player fails a second time, then the body is gone for good and so is the character. To help mitigate the loss, valuables can be placed in a cloak room to be retrieved by the player in his or her “next life” in the game.

So far, the game looks great by MMO standards. The characters have an anime-inspired vibe to them while the world has western medieval sensibilities. 3-D models appear to have real-time shadows and the environment features some beautiful light bloom effects. Wizardry: Online uses DirectX 9 and is compatible with Windows XP and above.

Wizardry: Online will be available for the PC and will be free to play with optional micro transactions. The game launches in Japan this summer and in Europe and North America in 2012.