Now that the beta NDA is down, I can share my reaction to Wizardry Online.
This is the content of an email I sent to Potshot, November 13, 2012, which constitutes my initial, and only, impression of the game.
Somebody sent me a beta key so I tried it last week. I think I am finally able to speak of it now.
Basically, every negative preconception you have about the game is true. Horrible scantily dressed, all-looks-alike anime character models, including the requisite Down’s Syndrome gnomes.
Bizarro world controls. It is WASD, but W isn’t “move forward,” it is “move north.”
A camera view that is completely uninterested in whatever the hell you are doing.
And you don’t even get to start experiencing all that until you get through 10 minutes (though it seems like an hour) of really bad exposition unworthy of even the most half-assed, shown after midnight anime series you can think of.
Let me tell you, the idea of the blissful release that permadeath might bring you could be the only motivation to play the game.
The whole thing is just a cat-girl race away from simply being DOMO taking a crap on a classic Apple ][ video game.
I am not sure if I actually played the game, or just dreamed that I played something so bad. Yet there is the icon on my desktop.
That was my gut reaction to the game.
Of course, that email is full of errors. The so-called “Down’s Syndrome gnomes” are actually the Prokul, and not gnomes at all. And they apparently do not actually suffer from Down’s Syndrome, or any other genetic related malady. In fact, they seem to enjoy it.
I do not know what the affinity is for little races with melon heads is in Asia, but it is clearly not to my taste. You can see some of the other character models as well.
Meanwhile, gnomes are really just female dwarves… with horns… and other features. Somebody tell Brasse she’s a gnome! I dare you!
“Naturally!” I hear you say, “Of course gnomes have horns!”
Their aura is enhance by the soft core porn style soft focus effect. You can almost see the Vaseline on the lens filter.
And the controls aren’t actually absolute, but relative to the camera. DOMO, which I mentioned, is Dream of Mirror Online, another not-quite-westernized Asian import that I tried (and never wrote about) which had a similar control scheme. Another clearly regional distinction.
Still, not exactly an in-depth review of a game I probably wasn’t going to like anyway.
But given my affinity for the original, I had to go and take a look. It might be the hardcore dungeon crawler somebody is looking for, but it was too hard on the senses for me to get far enough to find out. The Wizardry franchise has taken a different path since I played back on my Apple ][+.
If you want somebody who gave the game a fair shake, Tipa has you covered. (She also has you covered if you want to read something about DOMO.) As does Stropp now. And there is the official wiki, because SOE has partnered with Wikia for the moment. (Didn’t SOE partner with Zam previously for something like this? How did that work out?)
Anyway, not a game for me. But not every game has to be for me. There are plenty of other MMO choices out there.
(Though I am not going start wringing my hands about there being too many games out there in the eternal search for the reason PC game game market is dying. I think PC gaming has been “dying” for the last 20 years.)
Somebody will enjoy the game I am sure, and I will be interested to see if it does turn out to be a decent dungeon crawler for those who can handle the art style.
Have you given it a try yet?