An Unfiltered (and Unfair) Impression of Wizardry Online

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.

Some find me... disturbing

Some find me… disturbing

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!

Could almost change my mind about gnomes

Could almost change my mind about gnomes

“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?

13 thoughts on “An Unfiltered (and Unfair) Impression of Wizardry Online

  1. tipa

    I LIKED DOMO :) it was just kooky enough to be fun. WO, I dunno. Like EQ, I think you really have to commit to it in order to enjoy it. Unlike EQ, I don’t know if the journey will be worth the reward.


  2. carson63000

    I spent a few hours in the Wizardry beta. Didn’t encounter anything that made me want to spend more time. I found it ugly, bland, horrible UI, dull combat, poor dialogue.. just nothing that made me interested in playing.

    I really couldn’t give two shits about grand ideas like permadeath if the basic game isn’t fun.


  3. SynCaine

    At some point in some room, someone actually thought this would be a good idea.

    I would love to be in that room one of these times, just to witness the idiocy for myself.


  4. potshot

    Wow. You should have put a disclaimer “Warning: Cannot be unseen” at the top of the post.

    In retrospect, I find your email missive far too reserved.


  5. Linda "Brasse" Carlson

    Yep, it is definitely NOT a North American MMO. I kind of like a change from time to time myself, which is why I like the quirky grind of Maple Story as well. If you’re looking for EQ or EQII, those games are already made and Wizardry is not much like them, except for the fantasy realm aspect.

    Different is not bad, it’s just… different.

    One reason why we have such a broad range of games at SOE is precisely because one-size-does-NOT-fit-all in the gaming world.
    One of our core beliefs here is that experimentation leads to innovation. How can you know how a niche game will work if you never try it?

    Wizardry Online will definitely be a niche game, and that’s perfectly all right. If the niche is not big enough, a game will not survive long term, plain and simple.

    The WO Dev team has been perusing community feedback heavily (we send them daily and weekly reports, in great depth), and they are very keen on making their game more successful.

    As for the characters? They are better clad than some I have seen in other games. =)

    On Dwarves… I hate that WoW female dwarves are beardless (seriously? BEARDLESS??) – but still play it. I hate that LOTRO has no female Dwarf, but at least they don’t actually designate a gender, so I play mine as a properly bearded female.
    I actually really like the Gnomes in Wizardry Online. Dude, they have awesome HORNS. That’s as good as a beard, and they are actually pretty silly cute. Don’t tell my fellow Dwarves that I like to play cute stuff on occasion!

    To each his own. I love some unknown niche games and hate playing some well-known and successful titles, going against their mainstream admiration.
    I think you said it perfectly when you wrote, “But not every game has to be for me.”

    Vive la difference!


  6. motstandet

    I actually liked the one session I played in the beta. First dungeon was really difficult for my Mage; I had to team up with a bunch of people ad hoc for 90% of it.


  7. PoliticallyIncorrectJessica

    I’m glad this isn’t another barftastic North-American MMO. With all the looney-toons 13-year old crap combined. No north-american company would make a game like Wizardry, simply because of the porkul (which sadly some idiots out there will think are children, and therefore must be protected!1!1!1). North America simply cannot handle fiction from reality, as they must include reality into every fictional game, novel, or tv-show made without separating the two.

    This game is exactly what i’ve been looking for from all this Disneyfied substitution of what gaming “should” be and the politically correct invasion of feminist extremist who quote “scantily is bad” while pushing their propaganda off every so called “Game-Review Website” by their sympathizers and followers.

    Do I care that the character is dressed the way it is, do I loose sleep over it? No. Does all the video-game characters somehow represent that “the female race is bad”? No, and what a laugh. I call bullshit because I see females in real-life voluntarily dress with bra showing or short-shirt. I see romance novels with guys muscles buldging out and females hooked onto their arms half-naked, most of the romance novels written by women themselves.

    And they don’t get lectured by liberal feminist crybabies for it either because they couldn’t care less what some insecure or jealous feminist twat thinks. Unlike brainwashering white-knights QQing about clothes in a game and acting like they own everyone’s sexuality to be put in a box and key because it’s “uncomfortable” to them.

    The game is a old dungeon-crawler franchise, with the right set of eerieness and darkness in the game. It’s not so in a sense cartoonified like Looney-Toons WoW is (as Porkul can be just as evil despite their size and childish looks) and what is this about skimpy clothes?

    The girl character wore a leather-bra plate and shorts. Is it a big freaking deal? Are all asian games that have a mere belly showing be burned at the holy-than-thou stake? No. Should it bother someone that a video-game character is wearing a leather-plated bra? Unless their a prude, white-knights or religious sexless freak or an ugly unattractive cow, no. Are Asians usually more comfortable with sexuality than whinny, thin-skinned, over-sensitive politically correct and Americans? Yes? Is parts of Europe more comfortable and advance in the naturalist of the human form than America? Yes.

    Can groups and even some ‘players’ in the game industry be over-sensitive about sexuality or sexyness in video-games? Absolutely, especially if it turns into a politically route of censorship, wailing guilt-trips because of one’s attractive gender(Guys aren’t suppose to look at females, WAAAh!!! ABuuuuse!!!), and control.

    The more diversity in the market, the BETTER. I’ve been gaming since Windows 3.1 and the same old use tactics of mindless blood-shed plus guns just doesn’t work all the time is this wannabe FPS/Caucasian Male\Whinny Feminist only world is killing gaming that it’s almost pointless to buy these games, which help keep these game-companies afloat in the first place. What consumers want not some political group with an agenda to restrict/kill gaming.

    Particularly I see the bashing element come together whether there is a game quote “Not USA Made” or if it’s not produce by some Caucasian male group/company.

    Remember gaming is a world-wide Media platform of entertainment, and no single entity or genre “owns” it and the only form for gaming.

    I seriously cannot wait until the day of International Gaming occurs where more games from different parts of the globe are on the marketplace. But there’s still the old stereotypes and even racist curve and immaturity that keeps gaming held back in the States. Particularly when it comes to other cultures and sexualities.

    Thank god other nations are more keened to “freedom of speech” in gaming and not worried about some propaganda liberal feminist brownie-scoring politics and are advance in their technology. Gaming in the States is starting to turn into a stale joke.


  8. Alex Oh

    Asian American here. I hate Sony because they Anime-ize every freaking thing they touch. I hate that! Jessica, that was a shitty rant. Go take a look at the classic Wizardry games. Do they have anime characters? No. They have scary-ass lizards, rawulfs, and old men with big bushy white beards as PCs. Sony could at least respect that tone of the Wizardry games, but no. They tainted it like they do with every other game they touch: spiky hair hair, big eyes, anorexic characters (except if you’re small your fat with a big head and made to look like a cute furry doll), who swing swords 100x the weight and width of their bodies.

    SONY: F-U.


  9. Anonymous

    [Incomprehensible screed from anonymous at dissected and rewritten]

    @PoliticallyIncorrectJessica – I claim to be liberal and have serious anger issues, but I have to agree, I like me some boobs on my female characters. Let’s party.


  10. Anonymous

    the thing that pissed me off was the drastic departure from the actual wizardry series, both by sirtech and by the Japanese company. where are the rawulf, felpur, and mook? where are the subtle ‘arcane-science’ aspects [less pervasive in the japanese], where was the grandiose-ness of the other games? what the hell happened?


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