You begin by choosing a race and sex. Yes, sex actually plays a part in this game. You are either more strong as a male or gets more personality and karisma. You choose amongst a dozen different races, each with their differernt starting base attributes. Each race also have certain bonuses like poison- or sleep resistance.
You are then randomly given a bonus pool of points you could spend on increasing attributes of your choosing. The attributes are as complete as could be expected from this kind of game. There are strength, vitality, dexterity, personality, speed, intelligecne, piety and karisma.
Each profession has its own requirements of attributes. You could change profession in the game so you are not stuck but you should carefully plan ahead. Of course, playing this game for the first time it is almost impossible to know what is a good starting party or not.
The skill system is divided into three areas: Weapons, Physical skills and Academia which is more intellectual and contains magical skills. When you create your characters you get skills points (random or based on your attributes, I am not sure) for each skill class which you can spend.
There are a lot of tips and hints on the internet about this game. I spent about one or two hours building up my party. That was much less than usual for this kind of game but I really don´t have the time right now to give it more than that. I will surely regret that later on when I got stuck somewhere but at least I have tried. Because this game is hard. Make no mistake. Users out there complains about getting stuck because of not optismising the character building section.
My group consisted of a fighter, monk, priest, alchemist, mage and a thief. Eager to start we entered the world. We started out in a forested outdoor area with no clue of where to go at all.
|So....where do we go from here ?|
Below is my male priest Rawulf. He has just advanced to level 2 and I am awarded with a bonus spell. Spells are choosen from 6 different classes depending on your profession. These are fire, earth, air, water, psionics and divine. See the dices below ? These are the power level of a spell. Each spell could be cast with your choosen power level. The higher the better. It either adds to damage, duration, stronger effect or whatever. I really like that kind of system as well. That means that lesser direct hit spells could be used for a longer time in the game before becoming obsolete.
Level advancement happens automatically as soon as you reach the next level. You could not choose when to level up. The drawback of this is obvious. One could not reload easily in order to get better results since you have to at least complete your last fight to gain the XP needed and if several of your party memebers levels up at the same time you are having a hard time to try to let them all get good results. This game is said to be so unforgiving and hard later on that I believe all tricks should be used.
Our exploration of the dungeon continued. There are some fixed combats, perhaps 5 or so of the entire map and then there is a chance for a random encounter. So far the amount and frequency of random combats are not very high. That is a very positive sign.
I made the mistake of entering the water and immediately drowned with most of my characters. So water is very, very dangerous. I have to put more skill points into swimming. I was a little dissappointed not to get any loot from my defeated foe, but I soon found a chest in the far end of the room that - when disarmed - contained a lot of potions, a scroll and an amulet of life.
There are so many combinations of races and professions to choose from and I am not sure my team is the best. For example, my thief is a Fairy. Very high dexterity but also extremely low on strength. What use do I have when my thief hides in the shadows and tries to backstab the opponents ? Hmm. Also my monk is not very good in combat either. I hope he will become better later on.
Between fights you have to rest to regain stamina, spell points and hit points. It takes a lot of time but at least in the starter dungeon you are not interrupted so often by random encounters.
As far as I know there is no way to replace your characters when starting the game. Or, if I am lucky perhaps there are when I come into a town or city ? Anyway, before leaving the dungeon - there where no other exits - I cast the spell Detect Secret in order to search every hex of possible hidden rooms/levers/buttons I might have missed. I didn´t find any and so I returned to the wilderness again.
When finished, the first dungeon level looked like this:
Anyway I returned to the outdoor area and continued my exploration. It took not long before I was greeted with by a group of hostile Rattkin Bandits. They where pretty hard to defeat but allowed me access to continue my exploration further.
What lied behind them was the first town called New City. I was not allowed to pass at first. A guard blocked the way and asked for my business. Only after having entered the name of the shop (found on the parchment in the dungeon) was I allowed to pass him. But it seemed I could pass him anyway but then I had to fight myself past.
I have just entered the town and not met any NPC yet or any shop. That will be part of my next post.
I´ve put 5 hours or so into this game by now and so far I like it alot. I will continue to explore what Wizardry is all about and if it will become as hard as previous installments. I have no illusions about completing this game though. I don´t want to spend the next six months with this game but I will play as long as I am making good progress.
Before I forget. The manual of this game is very, very good and comprehensive as well. Detailed descriptions of all attributes, skills, spells, professions, races and game mechanics. Its at least 100 pages thick. I really regret we don´t get these kind of manuals these days.
Until next time...