John McCarroll
E3 2011: Wizardry Online Announcement + Impressions
Think UO was hardcore? Turns out you're a wimp.
06.16.11 - 9:41 AM

Gamepot is a well known name in Japan - they've published Pangya, Fantasy Earth Zero, and La Tale in Japan, amongst other titles. They're working with developer Headlock, creators of Pandora Saga and, according to their website, contributors on the Atlus title Radiant Historia, on Wizardry Online, an MMORPG iteration of the popular RPG series. Wizardry has never been known for being kind - the recent PS3 iteration is probably the most hardcore title on the system - and Wizardry Online is slated to have no sympathy for the players - you're looking at dying. Possibly permanently.

Yes, that's right, Wizardry Online has permanent death. It has corpse looting. It has no PvP protection system - if you are outside of the town, you are free game to be murdered. There isn't a PvE server. There isn't anyone else you can trust. There isn't any mercy in this game. Wizardry Online is a title that's set to return to the roots of the MMORPG genre; old school MUD players like myself might remember dying to a boss, having it loot and wear all of your equipment, and all of a sudden you were totally screwed. That's the type of game that Wizardry Online is aiming to be. The folks at Headlock feel that the genre has become one that coddles the player - there's no real loss when you die; failure isn't something that coalesces into a punishment in modern titles. Wizardry Online not only punishes you, but requires you to be on your toes - not only will there be monsters you can't conquer on your own, the dungeons themselves will become your enemy as they're labyrinthine and contain quite a few traps. Don't expect automaps or pointers on where your quest objectives are, either. This isn't World of Warcraft we're talking about here.

When will you be able to get your hands on this game that, according to the developers, "delights in killing players?" If you're in Japan, the title will see release this year, but those of us in Europe and North America will get our hands on it sometime next year. We didn't get to see a whole lot in regards to gameplay - and details were shy in regards to things such as crafting systems, but we do know that there will be a way to hold on to your items beyond death - almost akin to the rooms in roguelikes like Shiren the Wanderer. While I don't think I'm a member of the target audience for Wizardry Online, I'm interested to see how this one turns out. We'll find out next year.