Wizardry Online Impressions: No Magic, Just Disappointment

You play an adventurer new to the town of Illfalo. Surrounding the town are various dangerous dungeons that the townsfolk aren’t too happy about. Your goal, as in all these sorts of games, is to clear them out. There’s a bunch of lore concerning souls and the adventurer guild, but it’s so tedious and boring and standard that it completely left my thoughts as soon as I passed it. I can tell you the ongoing story of Vindictus, or wax nostalgic about Warcraft lore from Warcraft 1 through Cataclysm, but I can’t remember any of the details in Wizardry Online. It’s that cookie-cutter.

The art style, much like the lore, is forgettable at best and excruciating at worst. Colors are dull and lifeless, and textures are grimy and unintelligible. Everything runs together, which completely wrecks the player’s ability to quickly distinguish and identify enemies and allies. While I did not get too far into the list of dungeons, the ones I did play had such boring environs that I doubt the high-level dungeons will be any different. Most bewildering of all, all the character designs are very anime-inspired. There’s nothing quite as strange as seeing a cutesy gnome traipsing through a dungeon that looks like the middle of a gross, unclean alley. More “dark fantasy” designs would have been appropriate, but instead we have wide-eyed anime elves.

The UI is just as bad. There are too many windows with too much information that matters little to the starting player. Wizardry Online breaks the two most basic rules of UI design: Hide information that doesn’t matter to the average user, accentuate information that matters. Some more glaring issues include windows that can’t be resized and text that is cut off by default. If the first thing you see when playing at 1920×1080 is “Abil…” and “Attr…” then you’ve built your UI wrong. There’s absolutely no excuse.

With awful art and boring lore, you might hope the combat is good. And you’d be wrong. It’s functional, sure. But it’s not fun in any real capacity. To fight, you lock on to an enemy and swing your sword/staff at them, occasionally popping off a skill or blocking. Imagine Diablo 3 and its click-fest, except make all the monsters ten times harder to kill and the art terrible to look at. Thankfully, enemies have an incredibly small aggro radius (except in boss fights), so getting grouped up on and murdered isn’t something that happens too often.

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3 Comments on Wizardry Online Impressions: No Magic, Just Disappointment

Kevin

On February 7, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Someone actually mentioning Star Wars Galaxies in a positive light? Hot damn, that’s nice to see.

quicktooth

On February 8, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Not to nitpick, but Dark Souls also has grinding. I found that it was REALLY helpful and appreciated at first, but as costs rose and grinding rewards stayed the same (and were boring as HELL to get), then I was driven to do more of the plot. Perhaps this is okay? At any rate, I really enjoy playing Dark Souls (sans grinding), and if that weren’t true then I’d never put up with the very hard difficulty and super gritty atmosphere. If Wizardry online has the difficulty and grind with no rewards, I can instantly see that it’d be something to be actively avoided.

ben

On February 12, 2013 at 1:05 am

huge dark/demon souls fan here. just tried out wizardry and most of your points are pretty spot on if perhaps harsh. what dark souls does with brilliance and skill, wizardry appears to flop and poke new players in the eye with a dildo.

I’m sure the game is nostalgic to some and the throwback to old school gaming, but to most other players I believe this type of old school represents tedious and inconvenience instead of being difficult per say. and honestly, i dont think most people care for permadeath; especially in an mmo style game where you spend some decent time on a character. spend time building your character and grinding, then eff it up and lose it. soul level or not, that wasted time is a pure incentive to go play a better-crafted game where the time you spend doesnt increasingly attempt to erase your save file.

honestly the controls are clunky and it reeks of micro transaction fraud. oh look, youre dyyyying, how bout spend some cash in our RMT shop to prevent losing allll that time you spent? buy an item, oh but you still lose it if you die so u better stay alive, forever, while we constantly try to sucker punch you into losing it.