Currently playing: 7 mages, Drive to Moscow, Ravenloft: Stone Prophet

March 7, 2012

Wizardry VII - Exploring a huge but empty world

Last time we just left the starting dungeon. My party had at the time raised to about level 3. We where now eager to explore the outdoor, forested area and so we did. There was not much to be found. We stumbled upon a field of orchids that seemed strange. Strange because just after a few steps the whole group felt asleep and woke up somewhere else. After awhile we found our way back, but I have yet to explore this orchid area fully.

Anyway, we came to the New City and entered. The city is quite big. I begun to draw my maps in a tool supplied by the Pyromancers.com but lack the ability to write text for important locations. I have to find a new tool.


Half of the citys doors are locked but my thief managed to pick most of them. There are some special places like an inn, an armourer, a black market, a priest and a librarian. You could buy armours and a few weapons. The problem when buying weapons is that you cannot examine them, so you don´t know which weapon skill is required or what damage they do. You have to buy them and then identify them with a spell to be sure. That is ridiculously cumbersome. I found a list of all items on the net and just check the weapon name there for its damage. I won´t do that for magical or special items though. Just to make life a little easier when shoppping.

I have yet to found any clue or have been given any mission about any greater goal. When talking to NPC:s you are free-text communicating like in Ultima. So you must enter keywords to lead the dialouge forward. This is cumbersome because you cannot scroll back in the dialogue. You have to try to remember the keywords or names that was spoken so you could ask about them. The interpreter seems to be very simple as well. 


The clerics here could heal your wound and ailments


The happiest moment in the game

It was obvious at one place in the city that you where to try to free a prisoner that was held captive by Savant Troopers (which are very difficult to defeat by the way). After casting the Enchanted Blade spell we went in to deal with them. The interesting part is that the fixed encounters have random number of enemies, so if I was going in and was met with two groups containing 5 and 7 enemies I had just to reload and enter again to have other numbers as well as races. The difficulty also ranges from easy to hard. This exploit is of course used by me, so after a few reloads I met a resistance I could deal with.

I rescued this prisoner and was rewarded with a letter of free passage...
I freed the prisoner who turned out to be a captain of a rival enemy. He gave me important information of how to pass a guard patrol later on by showing them a written pass from him. I should also tell his king about the threat. This is my first strong hint of what to do outside this city.

Regarding pussles in the game I´ve stumbled into at least one. When I came upon this note below I was just puzzled of what to do with it:


Later on I found some sort of lock with yellow, red and blue buttons. I figured out the strange message could be related to pressing Blue, Yellow, Yellow, Red and was able to pass. Regarding strange messages I have still to figure out what this means though:

My reflections after spending 10 hours with the game now have changed a little. To level up is still a most rewarding process. It is crucial to be lucky to get just the right kind of attributes raised so I figure this has to be crucial for successfully changing professions later on. If I would have been serious I would have re-fought my battles prior to raising a level to try to maximise my luck but I have not the patience for that in this playthrough.

The combats are beginning to be tiresome. Especially random combats. There is not much difference in random encounters or fixed encounters when it comes to difficulty. You almost never get any loot from random encounters so you have not much to look forward too either. I wouldn´t say the random encounters are too frequent though, but they still occur every 20 steps or so.

I found a Journy Map Kit and put that with my thief that has the highest skill in mapping. To use it I have to click on the use button, select my thief, scroll through my list of items, click on my map and then on the button use. Then I will see a small map in the middle of the screen with every square I have stepped into as cleared and the rest as black. The details are decided by your skill in mapping. I lack a shortcut just to press a button to show the online map. Otherwhise it does not replace the need to draw your own maps as well. The online tool program I found is to slow to draw my maps so I´ve abandoned it for going back to draw by hand.

Not a replacement for handdrawn maps

Is there anyone out there who have found an easy way to draw walls and doors on a grid layout without having the complexity of putting furnture or other tiles on it ? I just want the most simple way of drawing like one did on paper as a kid. The only drawback with drawing for hand is that you never know how large levels are or  at which relative position you start in them.

 
There are not many items to choose from in the shops. We have now reequipped ourselved with somewhat better armour and weapons but my priest or monk have not found anything better than their original Bo stick or quarterstaff. We left the town at the other end to explore the world outside it.

I know there are a few strange places left in the city but I will return later on to deal with them. Right now I want to have some variety and explore the world and find a purpose. We left the city through the east gate. After navigating and fighting for an hour while mapping out the terrain we stumbled into a clearing. An officer claiming to work for the Gorn empire stopped me and warned me to continue. I showed my paper the prisoner gave me and was allowed to pass. But not before I talked to him. He gave me some interesting information. The castle mage had been killed by assassins to the Gorn empire. Actually I don´t remember exactly what he said but I should search out the Gorn king in his castle. Perhaps I can be of help ?



We continued onward for a bit but since my map span over to a new page I decided to return back to near the New City and finish mapping the areas I have missed. I´ll be back later for the Gorn lands.

We moved south again and battled our way forward. At this stage the group has now all reached level 6 and my mage had finally been able to get some useful group attacking spells like Fireball. I am still craving for better weapons but have found none so far. My fighter Rizlo is my main tank. He can attack three times each round. The Monk has not impressed me yet with his Bo stick. I wonder if it is better to use his hands and feet ? Anyone knows ?

 

We came upon a river, only crossable by paying 150 gp to Brother TShober. So we did and was transported over to the other side. He also had some useful armour to sell.


After continuing our exploration we finally reached the city of Munkharama. Not surprisingly the main enemy here is variations of munks/monks. They are hard to hit with spells, can themselves hurl spells and are quite tough.


I hope we will find something interesting here and something that will lead us forward with a clear goal. Most houses are empty. Fights are more frequent but we will continue exploring this part. I found a place to enter below the city but save it for later.

I am also wondering when I should decide to switch profession. Should I wait until I reach a certain level ? That would be wise to give my spellcasters the highest level spells first but what about my warrior or monk ?

4 comments:

  1. Boy, you're really deep in the weeds now. I had a similar experience when I was playing the game, but I was lucky enough to have just come off Wiz 6. The story is really esoteric and will start to come through once you get to the castle. Not sure what to do about your characters, I left them mostly as default and didn't attempt to change professions. I know other Wizardry players would balk at this, but I'm no powergamer. As long as you are getting the job done, don't worry about it, I say.

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  2. It's just a myth that combat in the game is hard and that not optimizing characters will get you stuck, if you're high enough level the battles will be a breeze.
    I'd rate your party even better than the average parties classic players of this game had.

    For monks and ninjas it's better to fight unarmed. Damage increases as the skill increases and you get attacks as if dualwielding.

    You don't need to switch levels, even in the sample parties in the official cluebooks there's no class switch so it's safe to assume the game was balanced for pure class characters, reloading at level up isn't recommended anywhere either.
    If you want to switch classes don't do it too late, else the final class which is most important will be lower.

    I'd say the optimal point for class switching is about level 8 which costs about 10-15 percent of the XP required for a level up in the final class, the requirements for leveling up double with each level until level 11.

    If you really want to abuse class switching have your fairies switch to bard (alchemist levels first are even better if you have the stats) and continue switching between bard and thief at level 3 until they have maxed all skills they get and know all mage spells, it will be quite unbalanced however if you're maxed long before you're supposed to get your first level 5 spells.

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  3. @cure888
    Thanks for your input.

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  4. I'm currently playing this game myself, and I've just rescued the Gorn captain from the prison, having explored most of New City.
    In addition to go to Orkogre Castle, there seems to be another path which it seems you partly missed. The priest in Thesminster Abbey wants you to deliver a message to Brother TShober, and he hints that this is the next step on the party's journey. Or maybe I'm reading too much into the priest's comments?

    I agree with your comments about random encounters. New City has a sensible amount of them, but in the wilderness and beginner dungeon it felt like Bard's Tale 3 sometimes...

    I'm glad I imported my party from Bane of the Cosmic Forge. Starting as lvl 5, with skill levels at about 30, and with weapons like the Murmasa Blade and Maedan's Lance in addition to some superior armour makes things less frustrating.

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