Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Wizardry Online: So long, and thanks for all the death, or something

Posted by Rampant Coyote on January 28, 2014

Looks like Wizardry Online didn’t last long. At least not in North America. Sony Online Entertainment is shuttering four MMOs this year, and that’s one of them…

It was a pretty hardcore online game featuring permadeath, no auto-healing, and server-wide PVP. While my own history comes from somewhat more hardcore role-playing games, this always sounded a bit much for me to get interested in, so I never got that interested. On top of that, the videos showed that it was very manga-style (which isn’t a problem in my book, just a major disconnect from what really “feels” like Wizardry in my book) and … very action hack-and-slashy.

So, while it’s demise is still a ways off… when I think “hardcore MMORPG”, PVP and permadeath isn’t what I usually think of. I’m sure that’s what it means for some folk, especially those who played a bunch of MMOS in the late 90s and early 2000s. And of course, the hardcore roguelike players will definitely be comfortable with permadeath. But for me – and I freely admit I’m not nearly as much of a hardcore gamer as I was in my younger years (when you kinda had to be) – I think of something totally different. I think more in terms of a deep rule set, admittedly difficult progression, and challenging combat (generally turn-based).

Arguably, that’s already been done, and can be used to describe several games already out on the market – especially the deep rule sets. Turn-based is a bit more rare, but there are smaller MMOs that use it.

So if you were to identify the pieces that make up a “hardcore” MMORPG, what would they be? Would permadeath be part of it?


Filed Under: Biz - Comments: 4 Comments to Read

  • McTeddy said,

    Oh… that’s too bad. I actually really enjoyed Wizardry Online and hoped to go back and play it again one day.

    It really wasn’t as dangerous as it sounds. You basically have a 1% increase in chance of death every time you are defeated (After about 12 free deaths)… and you can boost your chances of survival by sacrificing items. I died PLENTY and wasn’t ever worried.

    As for the PVP… it was a cool concept, but I never saw ANYONE do it.
    It had this clever system where anyone can kill or steal from you… but you can put a bounty on their head. The bounty will slowly decrease, but anyone who kills the criminal gets monetary rewards.
    It was a good idea, but there was nowhere for criminals to hide out and the penalties were too high.. so people ignored the feature.

    The only hardcore thing was that it reminded me alot of Dark Souls. If you dodge or defend attacks and use your brain… you’ve got nothing to fear.
    You screw up… you respawn.

    – – –

    But for me, a hardcore MMORPG would get rid of the grind and reliance on mindless combat.

    Richard Garriot told a story about a Fisherman in Ultima Online. A knight runs up and drops loads of high level gear assuming he must be a new player.

    The fisherman says “Why would I need all that? I am but a fisherman? All I need is my rod and a river to fish in.”

    ^THIS^ is what I want.

    I want the option to play my way. If I want to be a fisherman in modern MMO’s…
    – I need to grind goblins to get a rod.
    – Kill spiders to get the string.
    – I need to grind to get baits
    – Reach level 7 to unlock fishing.
    – Reach level 21 to unlock “More fishing per day”

    If I want to be a street-side basket weaver… I should be weaving baskets. My hardcore MMO would treat me like an intelligent person who knows his own idea of fun.

  • Bad Sector said,

    …that’s… unfortunate.

    I bought it a couple of months ago, but didn’t played much because other games. I suppose that’s now money down the drain.

  • Maklak said,

    I’m done with MMOs, but the best one I’ve ever seen was Ultima Online. It was still a lot of grind and combat, but there was all kinds of other stuff to do, including decorating houses. Pretty much the only thing that I didn’t like was thieves, PvP and PKs.
    Any other MMO I’ve seen after that was about as choke full of nonsense artificial constraints as DnD is.

  • Bad Sector said,

    …and i just realized that Wizardry Online is F2P.

    I must be getting old 😛