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News & Features Discussion  » [Review] Wizardry Online: Not Quite Fully Cooked

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Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 16323

OP  2/19/13 6:54:20 PM#1

Wizardry Online has billed itself as a hardcore permadeath game but does it live up to the notion? We've been giving it a whirl over the last several weeks. Keep reading to see what we think before lending your voice to the discussion in the comments.

It was a bad start. After much hype, Wizardry Online went live on a Wednesday, but it was Saturday before I could reliably even get into the game, let alone play it. SOE made, in my opinion, a series of missteps, not the least of which was a barely publicised, five hour maintenance lock-out right in the middle of their launch day. While connection issues had somewhat improved by the weekend, they hadn’t been (and have yet to be) corrected entirely. The threat of an unpredictable connection time, as of this writing, still looms.

Read more of Lisa Jonte's Wizardry Online: Not Quite Fully Cooked.

Associate Editor:
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom


Novice Member

Joined: 12/12/12
Posts: 2

2/20/13 8:53:30 AM#2

The game looked like crikey from the beginning but what I really don't get about the review is this:

"I really like the idea of an eventual permadeath; a final, oops-you-blew-it-one-too-many-times point of no return"

Why? Do you like frustration, punishment  and repetition so much?

Sometimes I hear that people like permadeath mechanics because it makes it more "real", but  permadeath doesn't bring the game closer to any real life stakes because everything else about it is game-like so it's still unrealistic. It's just annoyance for the sake of annoyance.





Advanced Member

Joined: 11/10/06
Posts: 639

2/20/13 8:55:18 AM#3
Tried it, didnt care for it, moved on....
  User Deleted
2/20/13 8:58:16 AM#4

Originally posted by bakabröd
[mod edit]



Uhmm... Sony handled the transfer from east to west, the game is decent in Japan ergo it's SoE's fault.


Advanced Member

Joined: 7/15/08
Posts: 3730

2/20/13 9:02:12 AM#5
This game was so bad it was probably my last beta......There wasn't a single good thing about it and I'm a big fan of the wizardry series.

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 2/05/11
Posts: 1593

2/20/13 9:06:15 AM#6
Originally posted by Dihoru

Originally posted by bakabröd

[mod edit]



Uhmm... Sony handled the transfer from east to west, the game is decent in Japan ergo it's SoE's fault.

Unless the Japanese version is 90% different I don't believe that the game is decent anywhere.




Novice Member

Joined: 8/15/06
Posts: 8

2/20/13 9:07:56 AM#7

After reading this It seems like 

1. You didnt give the game a fair shot from the start.

2. You didnt play any class long enough to get a more accurate idea of how they play.

The game has a learning curve and its not forgiving. Your not being spoon fed they way they do now in almost every other mmo.

This game is a great change of pace from the same ol WoW clones.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 10/05/04
Posts: 331

It''s like kissing an ash tray, but in a good way.

2/20/13 9:15:10 AM#8

There are a few things left out in this review:

1. Classes: You can change your class. This is a big part of gameplay, as changing your class allows you to carry a maximum of 5 skills/abilities over from one class to another, making character customization more diverse. Also you may choose to reroll the stat points you received when you first made your character. When you change class, your character goes back to lvl 1(keeping the skills it carried over from the previous class).

2. Crafting: You can improve items by forging them. There is a % based chance to forge items into better versions (a la +1) dependent on what items you use and what the luck stat of your character is. If you do not succeed in your forging, you lose the item, unless you used a helper item with station cash. The helper item's penalty is steep as well, allowing you to only keep the basic version of the item, losing the previous enchants it would have had.

3. Condition: there's a condition stat that goes up to 200 (although only 160 is reachable via staying at an inn). Condition worsens very slowly as time goes by. If you die or step on traps, you lose condition. At certain condition milestones(140 for example) your performance decreases slightly when your condition falls.

4. Alignment: You choose an alignment at the start, and it influences certain skills for every class. Also completing certain quests will shift your alignment depending on how you respond to the npc.

5. Player shops: Typical for asian mmorpgs. The player can afk and others can buy items off of him/her for the amount the shopkeeper player has named(so you don't have to buy anything off of npcs, but npcs do have decent items for beginner players for decent prices).

There are also a few factual errors/misenterpretations:

1. Stats going down when leveling up is based on rng as well as your "condition" when leveling up. Also by changing class you can negate what negative stat changes may have occurred. The negative stat changes also seldom happen to your primary stats.

2. Game mechanics are the similar for every class and the first monsters in the first dungeon are zombies that move like sloths = Practice is available for any class.

3. Many of the low tier items are safe from theft, as well as quest items up to a certain point. It's not a hard landing for a newcomer as you are also shielded from pvp until your soul levels up. Also no sane or permanent pvper is going to be killing others until lvl 10ish. The pkers you run into before that are habitual(for example there was a guy waiting inside the church for anyone that leveled up their soul for the first time, only to instantly kill them. He couldn't loot or corpse camp them, but he just wanted to stab people.)

Final points:

As the initial flood of players has gone, the load times are currently working consistently. It takes me a couple of seconds to load a new zone.

The game is nowhere near perfect, but it's also not worthy of the slamming it has received in terms of a working game. The threshold to keep playing the game at the beginning is quite high, as some of the more rewarding game mechanics do not reveal themselves until later.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/16/04
Posts: 380

2/20/13 9:28:15 AM#9
I noticed it had about the same score as DK Online, does it mean it's about on that level?

Novice Member

Joined: 1/08/10
Posts: 12

2/20/13 10:07:19 AM#10

For the dude that think permadeath is only frustration: Yes, it can be frustration, but it is also a challenge. To get at a high level in these conditions, it really gives a sense of awesomeness. And, rewards are for hard work only, in most games it's given to players at the end of any kill-rabbits quest.


Novice Member

Joined: 1/20/05
Posts: 30

2/20/13 10:09:19 AM#11
Originally posted by firelilyx

The game looked like crikey from the beginning but what I really don't get about the review is this:

"I really like the idea of an eventual permadeath; a final, oops-you-blew-it-one-too-many-times point of no return"

Why? Do you like frustration, punishment  and repetition so much?

Sometimes I hear that people like permadeath mechanics because it makes it more "real", but  permadeath doesn't bring the game closer to any real life stakes because everything else about it is game-like so it's still unrealistic. It's just annoyance for the sake of annoyance.


I like the challenge and the idea that you can't just derp your way through a game, knowing that nothing is dire or really matters. But I also don't care for instant and irrevocable permadeath either. That would certainly be annoyance for the sake of it. The idea of a graduated, as you learn and improve, raising of the stakes intrigues me.

Of course, that doesn't mean I'd be any good at it. 


-Lisa Jonté
Writer, Gamer, Malcontent
Fair Game at


Hard Core Member

Joined: 3/03/09
Posts: 2714

2/20/13 10:14:22 AM#12

I play this game and dying permanently is very very easy to avoid.

When you level your soul you get a passive boost that increases chance to revive, some items increase chance a lot and funny thing, there's a sign in town that shows how many people have died in this week lol.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/22/11
Posts: 179

2/20/13 10:36:23 AM#13

Thank you for this review, for this 1 reason only:  It was horrible.   I will now know to discredit any review by one Lisa Jonte.   You clearly went into this like a crack head WoW player wanting to be spoon fed everything.  Yes it has some serious short comings, what game at launch doesn't?   

A review like this makes me wonder, if the original Everquest (a game that defined the genre, has lasted 13+ years and received 18 expansions) came out today in today's MMO market and was reviewed in a similar fashion, how would it fair?   In the original Everquest, it quite honestly took a couple days to figure out what in the hell you were doing.   Gear that in today's standards is shitty, took a bit to save up to buy.  I remember saving up as I battled through Greater Faydark and Clan Crushbone  for my first set of bronze armor (No Stats, Only Armor Rating) for my warrior.   I hated dieing and I thought twice before risking my characters life in fear of losing EXP and having to go on a tedious corpse run (remember corpse runs? those things we all "hated" but still have some of the greatest memories from)   

I suppose games like this can easily be over bashed (please note I'm not entirely sticking up for the game, it does have some big issues) for not instantly rewarding players, for making you work for armor and rewards, and for not giving you a hand-held path to "end-game," whatever that has come to mean.   But seriously, its clear you didn't give this game a fair chance, and for that I give you, Lisa Jonte, a Stephen Colbert's "Wag Of The Finger."   Yes in the time you spent in this game you probably could have given many modern MMOs a fair chance and probably been max level, but seriously...come on!   

And one final all my beloved reviews remember this.   MMOs at launch are not final products, think about games such as Everquest and compare their current state to that at launch.   18 expansions later it has gone through so many changes, for better or worse, so stop writing off games at launch and let them do what MMOs are created to do, live.



If I want a world in which people can purchase success and power with cash, I'll play Real Life. Keep Virtual Worlds Virtual!


Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/23/10
Posts: 163

2/20/13 11:13:43 AM#14

This game is really good at one thing.


Showing UI designers how to not make a UI. Seriously, the UI is atrocious and horribly painful to navigate. Seriously, I tried to give this game a second shot and couldn't handle the UI.


I have no issues with it being a more "hardcore" oriented game, but the quality is so painfully low at times, and it's so arduous. It's not that it's "hard" or "challenging", it's that it's just annoying to deal with -_-


Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/20/05
Posts: 1251

2/20/13 11:15:21 AM#15

tried it , after tutorial , my health was low and the heart beating non stop drive me away from the game so fast.....uninstalled :(

horrible game


Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/13/11
Posts: 544

2/20/13 11:31:18 AM#16 change in brutal honesty lately is undeniable. I gave Wizardry online a try and I have to agree with everything in this article. Thank you for keeping it real.

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/01/03
Posts: 1155

2/20/13 11:44:16 AM#17

It seems to me by reading this that the reviewer Lisa Jonte only did dabble with Wizardry Online in the beginning, nothing in the text indicates that she actually played more than the tutorial and a few swings in the dungeon after the tutorial, and did a review of that..Infact it is more of a proof that she only did this since so much is left out.

This in itself is really bad because the tutorial and characther creation  in this game is REALLY bad, It's bad because it shows Wizardrys shortcommings more than anywhere else in the game, all from the poor dialogues to the slow scrolling conversation text and mediocre cut scenes..Even the tutorial dungeon is bad and only gives you a confusing idea what Wizardry is all about, sure there are some combat in it, but the critters in this dungeon is so weak that it really never picks up in pace to give you a real clue about combat either.

Some other negatives is the asian influences from say older Final Fantasy games, like the race Porkul, It's not even funny..If you do deceide to make a game based on a old IP namely Sir-Tech's Wizardry, why not indicate this more and skip the odd manga/anime style races for just a second. Porkuls are just horrible. And this together with the crappy totorial and consolish asian RPG style dialogues does more bad than good to this game, they SHOULD have changed this when they westernised it.

The better parts :)

As a previous poster noted , MANY of WIzardrys great features in not even mentioned in this text, multiclassing beiing one of the bigger ones. Others is the bandits and the system much  like the one in Ultima Online, and the Bounty System..She mentioned some of this but didnt really explain it ..ganking is part of almost any game today , yet the PvP system in Wizardry is something not seen since well...Ultima Online, Lineage 2 had something similar, but only partly.

I even had problems to recommending this game to friends , since I knew what would happen once they started to play the tutorial, they would quit before the real game even started..I told one friend , that usually not is picky, but he played a few minutes and then stated he would never play this game..Yet I had told him to NOT to judge the game based on the beginning and the tutorial, and yet he did..I even gave up on this game myself when I played it for the first time, but I got curious for some reason after reading some other players posts about it., and I didnt regret it, and even became a royal member (subscriber)

The game that  picks up, slowly ...Is good even close to great, It's a rather good mix between Dark Souls and Dungeons and Dragons Online, If you like a good dungeon crawler game with a good group to team up with, well than Wizardry Online is that game, rather well designed dungeons with traps and small puzzles, the puzzles is not hard as far as I have played in the game atleast. The combat is not as good as in Dark Souls, but well close, It will still give you a rather good idea how the game plays out.


Disregard the ugly tutorial and really try this game..You won't regret it :)

Ill give the game a 7/10 and would probably get higher if the beginning wasn't so bad.



Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/10/05
Posts: 1017

2/20/13 11:55:28 AM#18
I agree with the reviewer 100%. I was in beta and have played the release game since launch. I wanted to like this game. I gave it more chances than I usually give any mmo to grab me, to impress me, but i just wasn't there. No thanks this game is not for me. However it being f2p if your curious, try it but remember you've been warned.

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/08/08
Posts: 13

2/20/13 12:03:22 PM#19

Wait what? so now reviewers can review a full MMORPG only throught the first 20-30 minutes of gameplay? Thats quite the achievement if you ask me.

Many gameplay facets weren't mentionned ( mult classing, bounty system). Wasn't a game reviews supposed to show everything about a game and criticise it and point out pro/con?

Comon for the love of god this isn't an FPS that you can review after 15 minutes of gameplay. 




Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/09/12
Posts: 2704

2/20/13 12:09:52 PM#20

Finally an honest review that doesn't try to decorate a mediocre game with false praise just for advertising endorsements ..  and people are upset over this?


I'd rather hear an honest opinion.  I wish other games had honest reviews.

Want a nice understanding of life? Try Spirit Science: "The Human History"
Recognize the voice? Yep sounds like Penny Arcade's Extra Credits.

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