Monday, January 5, 2015

Wizardry III: Won! (with Final Rating)

I'm pretty sure this is the first mention of either Queen Beyki or Queen Margda in the entire series.

Wizardry: Scenario #3 - The Legacy of Llylgamyn
United States
Sir-Tech Software (developer and publisher)
Released 1983 for Apple II; 1986 for DOS; 1987 for Sharp X1, PC-88, and PC-98; 1989 for Commodore 64 and 128, NES; 2001 for Game Boy Color; remade 1994 for TurboGrafx CD; remade 1997 for PlayStation, SEGA Saturn, Windows         
Date Started: 10 April 2010
Date Ended: 3 January 2015
Total Hours: 34
Difficulty: Hard (4/5)
Final Rating: 36
Ranking at Time of Posting: 74% (125/169)
Ranking at Game #458: 345/458 (75%)

Well, I was right about what I needed to do to win the game: rediscover the Crystal of Good on Level 5 and the Crystal of Evil on Level 4, re-fuse them into the Neutral Crystal, and trade it with a different statue on Level 6, a little harder to find than the first, but possessing the true Orb of Earithin. In planning this move, however, I was forgetting that I'd need a good-aligned party to go back to Level 4. Thus, after retrieving the Crystal of Good, I had to change alignments again. But it was just about as fast and easy as the first time. I wandered around Level 1 for about 30 minutes before I'd declined to attack enough friendly parties that all my characters had the "G" next to their names again. I'm glad I got to end the game with good-aligned characters.

The only other consequence was that my fighter could no longer equip his hard-won "ebony blade," as it was aspected to evil characters only. Later, I found a complementary "ivory blade," but I didn't identify it until after I won, so I never got to wield it.

I forgot to mention last time that both Crystals are in the hands of boss-level characters on their floors. In the case of the Crystal of Good, the battle is with "Soul Trappers" and Crusader Lords. The Crystal of Evil is held by a guy named Delf and "Delf's Minions." Both are relatively hard when you first encounter them, capable of mass-damage spells and paralysis, but my second battles were much easier (obviously), as I'd gone up several levels in the meantime and had plenty of high-level spells of my own to hurl at them.

A battle with Delf and his minions. I forgot to cast LATUMAPIC before embarking on this adventure, so the monsters are still unidentified for now.

Going from Level 4 to Level 6 is shorter than going from Level 5, but getting back was a bit of a nightmare. Level 4 has an area full of squares that say "look out!" followed by a random encounter no matter which way you step. You have to step on at least 5 of these on the way to the stairs, plus deal with a few other fixed encounter spaces--unless you can answer a riddle near the entrance, in which case you get automatically teleported to a square near the stairs. This is the riddle:

I tried an embarrassing number of options--WILD, WILDERNESS, NATURE, HORSE and EGO (the last fits perfectly!)--before I realized that the obvious answer, pairing with the AIR answer on Level 1, was FIRE. In my defense, there are no riddles whose answers are EARTH or WATER.

Up on Level 6, I explored the unmapped areas (including several 3x3 squares with no way in that I could find) before finally discovering a secret door leading to the real statue. This was proceeded by yet another tarot-based riddle, but I think I could have figured out the answer to this one without scouring online images.

Behind the riddle, a statue held the crystal Orb of Earithin and traded it for my Neutral Crystal. All that remained was getting back to town.

It was tougher than I imagined. I hit upon a couple of very difficult battles on Level 6, plus when I got back to Level 4, there was no teleporter back through the "look out!" squares, so I had to contend with all of them. In general, it felt like there were more random encounters on the way back than usual. But I had plenty of healing spells by this point, so while it was a bit nail-biting at times, I made it back with everyone alive.

Late-game obstacles.

When I reached the city, I was given a choice as to whether to turn over the Orb. I was curious what would happen if I said "no," but I didn't, and I got the endgame screen above. In addition to an asterisk in each character's profile, I got about 200,000 experience, enough for everyone to increase 1-2 levels. It's too bad that no game uses them again. My mage never did get MALOR or the other top-level spells--I was about 70,000 experience points short.

Later, I read that if you say "no," they just keep asking you every time you enter the city.

The lack of a major final battle was a bit odd, as it was in Wizardry II, but in general I found the endgame a lot easier than the first Wizardry, with less variability in the difficulty of encounters on the final level. The Priests of Fung aside, I thought the enemy difficulty was reasonably well-balanced throughout, though of course I did have to do a lot of grinding in the early game.

Since playing the first Wizardry, I've had a lot more experience with this series (aborted attempts at II, III, and IV, followed by winning Wizardry V and re-playing and winning I and II), and of course I allowed myself to back up the save disk every half hour. Both factors are probably responsible for my general sense that III was a bit easier than I. At six levels, it was also a better length. The sense of character progression was a bit more limited (though much, much better than II), but I liked the selection of equipment better here. Overall, I expect III to do about as well as I on the GIMLET. Let's see:

  • 3 points for the game world. There's a main plot, but unnecessarily embellished with an extra layer. The dungeon itself is non-thematic, full of monsters, structures, and NPCs that don't make sense together. (Who was Abdul, for instance?) It would have been cool if the natural disasters were all a setup for Wizardry IV, and the final screens revealed that the source of the evil was Werdna returning to power, but the game wasn't that clever. Overall, I had no love for the good and evil levels or the veiled idea that good and evil need to be in balance to prevail (a grade-school level interpretation of Taoism).
  • 4 points for character creation and development. I was grateful to be back at Level 1, enjoying the rewards that were absent from II. In terms of classes, attributes, and alignments, and their associated spells, item restrictions, and aspected weapons, the trilogy offers more than almost anything else on the market in 1981-1983. This is probably the first game in which alignment is used as a plot element. It wasn't used particularly well, but we have to give some credit.
  • 1 point for NPC interaction, and that's for having a single wonky NPC. It was not a strong suit of the trilogy.

Yes, I gave a point for this.

  • 5 points for encounters and foes. I liked the challenging riddles (even if I thought the tarot one was a little unfair). The Wizardry trilogy offers a better gallery of creatures, in terms of special attacks and defenses, than anything before its explosion of descendants came out in 1985-1986.

This is, and always will be, bull****.

  • 6 points for magic and combat. I think that's what I gave the first two games, and nothing has changed. You might protest that such a high score doesn't leave a lot of room for development over the next 30 years, but to me quality magic and combat systems aren't about the number of options so much as how well-balanced they are, how tactical they are, and how much the player has to put into them. With just a few options, Wizardry's system remains remarkably challenging and engaging even today, and it's rare to find a more well-balanced spell system, with just enough slots to help you survive, but not enough to let you get cocky.
  • 5 points for equipment. With a variety of helms, armor, weapons, shields, amulets, rods, potions, scrolls, special items, and unique artifact items, the game more than satisfies my craving for a solid equipment system. The only thing that mystifies me is why they didn't include more types of scrolls in the game beside KATINO and HALITO.

A final character and some of his gear.

  • 3 points for the economy. The game does reasonably well. You make your initial purchase of goods and then come back a few times throughout for +1 weapons and armor, when you can afford them. There are always potions and scrolls to buy with extra funds, though I generally found myself spending most of my gold on healing and resurrections.
  • 2 points for the main quest. No options, no alternate outcomes.
  • 3 points for graphics, sound, and interface. The sound is still negligible and the graphics okay. The interface is flawless, full of easy-to-learn keyboard commands. This reminds me: Early in my re-play, Brutus alerted me to a DOSBox setting that would produce better graphics and color. I did it, and agreed that it was better, but then had to switch back to the default settings for MegaTraveller. When I went back to Wizardry III, I completely forgot about the issue. Oh, well. You don't really play the game for the graphics anyway.

This is the color we could have been looking at. Sorry, everyone.

  • 4 points for gameplay. Challenging and not too long, but of course relatively linear and not very replayable.

The final rating is 36, which turns out to be 1 point higher than I gave it in 2010 after playing for only a few hours, 1 point lower than the original Wizardry, and 4 points higher than Wizardry II. I'm fine with all of these outcomes. Wizardry III is about equal to the original game. We haven't left the Silver Age, so there's not even any sense complaining that Wizardry hadn't evolved since the first game; it's still better than anything else that came out that year except Ultima III.

If you think that's high praise, regard the opening lines of Softline magazine's July-August 1983 review:

The third Wizardry scenario wasn't written; it was composed. The rhythms of good and evil, light and dark, earth and fire pulsate in counterpoint. The dungeon feels like a living, breathing entity. Llylgamyn's mythology is built around the Tarot. The juxtaposition of good and evil and the use of the Tarot as an eerily haunting submotif create a mood that pervades the playing of Legacy of Llylgamyn. It is fascinating and rich and very, very alive.

If that review had come out in 1987, I would have accused the author of overstating the case at best and taking money from Sir-Tech at worst. But it makes sense in 1983, when there was nothing else comparable, when a game like Wizardry III evoked things in the imagination and eager players' minds filled in the gaps in the story and setting.

In Dungeons & Desktops, Matt Barton clued me in to a fun historical curio: In 1982, Datamost Software started selling a Wizardry character editor called WizPlus, advertised to work with both Proving Grounds and Knight of Diamonds, allowing players to edit attributes, experience, gold, spells, and equipment. It retailed for $39.95, or close to $100 in today's money. Can you imagine spending that much just to cheat? Apparently, enough people did that Sir-Tech started including notes in their software boxes, warning that "it took more than four years of careful adjustment to properly balance Wizardry" and that "these products tend to interfere with this subtle balance and may substantially reduce your playing pleasure." According to a note in the July-August 1983 Computer Gaming World, "Sir-Tech tells us that if your Wizardry program has been modified by WizPlus, the warranty on your Wizardry disk will no longer be honored." Gaming was serious business back then.

Judging from the box, they had a better aesthetic sense than Sir-Tech.

Anyway, Sir-Tech got the last laugh, as something about the program made it so the edited characters couldn't be imported into Wizardry III.

I'll have more thoughts on the legacy of the early Wizardry trilogy in my 1980-1983 wrap-up, which I'll complete after I offer my post on Moria. For now, I'll just conclude that for a classic RPG experience, there really wasn't much to rival these games in the early 1980s. The Ultima series was getting its legs, sure, but until III, it didn't offer anything approaching quality combat or a quality magic system. Via its debt to the PLATO games, which themselves were directly inspired by Dungeons & Dragons, the Wizardry trilogy did a better job of re-creating D&D-style mechanics than the two officially-licensed D&D titles that came out during this period. 

I'm glad that I redeemed my horrible quasi-review of 5 years ago and won the game. That means Wizardry IV is the only one with a "no" in the "Won?" column. Don't hold your breath or anything.


  1. Oh, the siren call of Wizardry will call you again in about a year and I would wager that Wizardry 4 will fall. But no, I cannot hold my breath that long.

    I am pumped that we'll finally get to a Moria review! Looking forward to seeing whether you eventually beat the damned thing.

    1. Nah, W4 is a very different game that doesn't really have the same elements that I like. I can't think of any reason to return to it.

    2. Never say never...

    3. Ha. I'm surprised I was so definite 7 years ago.

  2. Wizardry IV is actually the only Wizardry I've managed to beat (albeit with massive, 100% necessary save scumming), simply because its puzzles and secrets are so interesting that they kept me going through hard-for-hard's sake nonsense. There's a ton going on under the comically unwelcoming surface of that game. Not saying you have to go back and give it a second chance, certainly not now while you're probably a little wizardried out, just saying that it is more than just a gamer hairshirt.

  3. I'd rather see you get to VII than IV.

    1. Trust me, the rest of these friggin' 1990 games are more of an obstacle to ever getting to W7 than W4.

    2. I think 1990 must be the worst year for CRPGs when it comes to quality vs quantity, at least before The Dark Ages of ca 2007-2013.

  4. Time to revisit Bard's Tale II and III?! >:-)

    1. With drifting's Unofficial Patch BT3 is now quite playable, and I actually enjoyed it enough that I finished it. Encounter frequency is still quite insane, and the game actually gets a bit too easy after the beginner dungeon, so if I was to play it again I'd run from battle much more often than I did, both to nerf level advancement, and to make the battles you do fight more interesting.

    2. BT3 was the only BT that I finished. I didn't think it was particularly bad (I did use someone else's maps and walkthrough, mind)

    3. From what I saw in the review compared to a relatively recent playthrough of BT3 I did, the DOS version was much worse than the Apple 2 version from an interface and Harmonic Crystal perspective. That may have made a difference.

    4. I also think the traps in the DOS version never went off. I finished BT 2 and 3, 3 was a joke compared to the first 2, could never quite get "lucky" enough to finish BT1, that last level of Mangar's tower was insane.

    5. I'll take a short-but-hard game over a easy-but-tedious game. BT1 was short but hard (as are almost all the Wizardry titles); BT2 and BT3 were easy but tedious, as was Dragon Sword.

      If I did look at BT2 and BT3 again, I'd try a different version, but I'm not going to do it again. I learned everything I needed to know about those games by playing the limited part that I played, and I was able to find winning screenshots online to help fill in the rest. There would be no point for me or you to have me spend more time on them.

  5. It is not my intention to be pedantic but shouldn't an asterisk be on the title? It is what you usually do when winning with some kind of "extra" aid, or do you consider saving every 30 min. something that could have been done in 1983?

    1. Yes, we pretty much did that - Duplicating the save disk was an essential part of playing Wizardry. That was also the only way I was able to win the original Rogue - After hundreds of unplayable games, I got a character with multiple Gain Strength potions and a Ring of Preserve Armor. I save-scummed that character to get past a couple bad RNG rolls, then managed to win with it.

    2. I see that my question is not clear enough, I know that technically it could be done at that time too. What I mean is if it could be considered not-cheating as oposed to, say, save-scumming every time your party or any character dies which would be clearly cheating.

    3. Oh save scumming was definitely on the menu.
      Frankly you did everything you could to win games and part of school yard pride was how many game titles you had won.

    4. I generally put asterisks in my titles when I violate my own rules. "My own rules" generally involve playing at the difficulty level intended by the developers, regardless of what players of the time might have done. By past tradition, the title should have an asterisk.

    5. So...why doesn't it?

    6. It's been a couple of years, but it's probably along the lines of I don't like people telling me what to do even if what they're telling me is what I would have done anyway.

  6. "Early in my re-play, Brutus alerted me to a DOSBox setting that would produce better graphics and color. I did it, and agreed that it was better, but then had to switch back to the default settings for MegaTraveller. When I went back to Wizardry III, I completely forgot about the issue."

    Isn't it about time (or rather, long overdue) you started using D-Fend Reloaded?
    That way each game has its own profile and associated CONF file, in addition to games often being easier to install and quicker to start.
    So it would be much easier to switch back and forth between games with different graphics setting, mouse sensitivity, sound output, etc.

  7. This replay prompted me to give Wizardry 6 a shot, which from your blog sounds like the first one I might stand a chance at finishing. I played the original way back in high school, but it always ended badly. Seeing posts about it do give me an itch for a little bit of that nostalgia, though. Three hours in, I think I've finished creating my party.

  8. It's interesting to note that, in Japan, there was an SNES version of Wizardry I-III all as a single cartridge with SNES-level graphics and some other enhancements. It was never released in the US, but enterprising fan translators released a translation patch for the ROM.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. There was a version for PlayStation in Japan as well, and another compilation with Wizardry IV, V, and a remixed (easier?) version of Wizardry IV. You can set them to be (mostly) in English too.

  9. Congratulations!

    I've realy enjoyed reading these Wizardry entries. I stumbled upon an interesting related link, where "Tommy" posted in comp.sys.apple2 about reverse engineering the pascal code for Wizardry III. It is on the technical side, but has some interesting insights into the Apple // version (admittedly, not the PC version that the addict played) and identifies many bugs in the code.

    People with a programming background might be interested. Also, there are dumps of the data files (maps, item information, loot tables, etc.)

    1. Interesting!

      Given all the discussion of attribute changes on level-up, I used the opportunity to check out that code. The reverse-engineered code is in Pascal (which I don't know) and I've never played the game, so I hope I got it all correct. The code looks quite simple, so I'm reasonably confident this is close to the truth. Also, the code is for the Apple II version, not the DOS version, so it can't tell us much about the game that Chet played -- but perhaps about the way it was intended.

      On level-up, each attribute is checked separately and independently. With 25% chance it stays the same. Otherwise it goes up or down with a chance that depends on the character's age (in years). The chance that the attribute decreases is X out of 130, where X is the age of the characters in years. Otherwise the attribute increases. So a fresh character (20 years old) has a roughly 85% chance of an increase rather than a decrease (110/130), and the point where decreases become as likely as increases is reached at 65 years of age.

      There are some special cases:
      - Attribute values cannot increase beyond 18. If an attribute that is already 18 is selected to increase, it remains unchanged.
      - Attribute values of 18 have a certain protection against falling. If they are selected to decrease, this only happens with a chance of 1 out of 6.
      - If vitality falls to 2, the character dies of old age.

      This means that age is quite important, so I also checked the parts of the code that affect age:

      Age is measured internally in weeks. Characters start out 20 years old (= 1040 weeks). There are only a few events in the code that modify age:

      - Certain items increase age by 1 year if invoked. Others decrease it by 1 year if invoked if the character is currently older than 1040 weeks.

      - Resurrection adds 1d52 weeks, i.e., half a year on average.

      - "Wading" through something (players of the game perhaps know where this happens?) has a random effect, with one possible outcome reducing age by 1 year. But that effect also decreases piety and IQ by 1, so seems to be quite bad overall.

      - Changing class increases age by something like 5-7 years (precisely: by 200 + 52 * 1d3 weeks).

      Aside from attributes, the calculation of new max HP on level-up is curious. When reaching a new level, the HP dice for *all* levels are re-rolled, i.e., it's not just one roll added to the previous total, but rather everything is rerolled from scratch, with one exception: the new max HP will always be at least the old max HP plus 1.

      So the overall calculation works as follows:

      - Make one roll for each level of the character and add up the results.
      - If the total is larger than the current Max HP, use it as the new Max HP.
      - Otherwise increment Max HP by 1.

      Each individual roll in this process uses a base roll and a vitality modifier:

      base roll:
      - 1d10 for fighter, lord:
      - 1d8 for priest, samurai
      - 1d6 for thief, bishop, ninja
      - 1d4 for mage

      vitality modifier (but cannot modify below 1):
      - -2 for vitality 3
      - -1 for vitality 4..5
      - +1 for vitality 16
      - +2 for vitality 17
      - +3 for vitality 18

      Samurais get one extra die roll.

      So, for example, if a Samurai with vitality 17 reaches level 8, his Max HP is set to 9d8+18 if this is larger than his old Max HP. If not, his Max HP is increased by 1.

      I also checked out the resurrection code: the chance of successful resurrection from "dead" status is "50 + 3 * vitality" percent, so guaranteed with vitality >= 17. For resurrection from "ashes" status, the chance is "40 + 3 * vitality" percent.

    2. Nice to see confirmation of what I inherently knew from playing hundreds and hundreds of hours of Wizardry in junior high. I always tried to keep my characters out of the Inn to keep their age low. My oldest characters were usually the Bishops that I changed class to. But all my characters usually had 18s in everything by level 9 or 10, and they rarely ever changed after that.

      The hit point determination is even more fascinating. It makes a lot of sense. Once you got higher levels, you'd see a lot of "increased by 1 hit point" messages. But then after a few of those, you'd generally get a big bump. And the back to 1 per level for awhile again.

      Thanks for the work and insight into the system.

    3. It is funny that changing class will add years into a character's age but not affect any other party members who exists in the same time line. Maybe their training requires them to go to this place?

    4. Thanks for explaining the system, Malte! A few comments:

      1. My characters never aged beyond 22, probably because I never rested in the inn except to level up. I did all my healing with spells in the dungeon.

      2. I feel like the DOS version must be slightly different. My sense is that the increases vs. decreases for my 20-year-olds were far less common than 85/15, though it was still weighted a little more towards increases.

      3. The hit point calculation makes a LOT of sense, and I was wondering how the calculation was done. Almost always, I got 1 HP when leveling, though occasionally I'd suddenly get something like 17.

      4. The resurrection chances seem commensurate with what I experienced in the DOS version.

      Thanks again!

    5. Re "wading":

      The reverse-engineered Wizardry III Pascal code contains what appears to be leftover code from Wizardry II here and there. The "wading" effect is one of them (II had a fountain of youth deep in the dungeon), several of the "invoke" effects for equipment are others (class change to Lord, class change to random prestige class, class change to random basic class + death)

      Wizardry I and III have items that cause a class change to Ninja when "invoked" (Dagger of Thieves in I, Butterfly Knife in III) but the other class-changing effects are only found in II (the Metamorph Ring changes the user to a Lord; the Coin of Power changes the user to a random prestige class and then silently transforms into a different item with the same name that instead class changes to a random basic class and also kills you)

  10. Wizplus has the best box art of any cheat device I've seen.

    1. Concurred. I didn't even know that cheat programs for a a singular game could be sold in a beautifully packaged box like that.

      Best I had seen previously was for Warcraft [] with a Jewel CD case.

  11. You played these via the Ultimate Wizardry Archives right? I ask because I also have the archives and I plan on trudging through them as well eventually on my old 8088 machine. I confirmed the archives work on actual period hardware but I had some concerns with the whole transferring characters across games. did it give you any issues? how did you back up the save every 30 minutes? does it create a .sav file that you manually had to copy and backup?

    1. Yes. I should have mentioned that in one of the posts. I'm assured that they're identical to the 1986 DOS (technically PC booter) versions, but something about the configuration and directory structure facilitates the transfer. The applications for W1-W5 are all in the same folder, as are the save disks, so there's no fuss transferring characters from W1 to W2 or W2 to W3; they just read the save disks out of the same folder. No issues whatsoever.

      When I say I backed up the save every 30 minutes, I mean that I created a batch file to copy C:\Games\Wizard15\Save3.dsk to a backup folder in the same directory. To "reload," I just copied it out of the backup into the same directory.

  12. I'd have expected the fact you didn't quite play the game as designed, and wouldn't have done so, would affect the GIMLET more. It feels like you're not assessing Wizardry III, but "Wizardry III while cheating".

    Getting a serious itch to check out the first Wizardry, especially the reflection about the difficulty. Interestingly, in this W3 replay series you wish more designers put similar restrictions into modern games, while back in the victory posting of the first Wizardry, you seemed thankful that wasn't the case.

    I do wonder if I'd find the combination of fixed content and permadeath as off-putting as I expect - permadeath with procedural content (as in roguelikes) is an excellent combo, as it keeps the stakes high but each replay is a fresh challenge in many ways. But what you've described about managing risk/reward each dive into the dungeon, when to turn back etc (and no saving or healing) sounds worth experiencing, not to mention the solid battle/magic system designed so early on.


    1. There's a nice medium between the two, of course. I don't particularly like the permadeath of Wizardry, but neither do I like the ability to save anywhere, any time, or the implicit assumption in most modern games that every player will inevitably win it.

    2. Oh, on your first point, sure. Every GIMLET rating is simply my experience playing the game the way I played it. Even when I follow the developer's rules, people are always telling me that I screwed up and should have played it this other way, and the way I did things affected my enjoyment. I stress again that even though that just because the GIMLET quantifies my experience with a game, it does not mean that the final rating is somehow "objective."

  13. Congratulations on winning Wizardry III, and IMO any "cheating" you did to win is justified payback for the game's innate cheapness.

    Oh, and thank you for including the boxart and information about WizPlus. That is just hilarious. I wonder how much money the WizPlus creators made off of it.

  14. If you're going back to finish games that you feel you didn't give a fair shake to earlier, what about Swords of Glass, now that you know how to deal with paralysis/sleep?

    1. I don't know. I don't really want to make a habit out of this, and while I admire aspects of Swords of Glass, I've never really felt a SoG "jones" the way I do with Wizardry.

  15. I recently played and finished Wizardry 1 and 2 but I hate the way the third game is designed. Having to fight the same set encounters over and over on level 1 just to get to level 2 is very annoying. I can't stay on level 2 very long so its back to the castle, just to fight all those level 1 encounters again. Are any of the later Wizardries designed this way?

    1. I am now on level 4. Without the Ship in the Bottle I might have given up as going through both level 1 and 2 just to get here (and then run back) was going to get very boring very quickly. I was lucky enough to get the ship in the bottle very quickly on level 4. Now I can map and level up here for awhile with quick access back to town.

      This game needs elevators.

    2. The ship in the bottle is a bit of an awkward way to go about it, but once I got it, I thought it was pretty easy to access the floors. You can't make it TOO much simpler or the game loses some of its challenge.

    3. I didn't find going through level 1 and 2 just to get to 4, fight a few battles, and then run all the way back out again hard. I found it tedious.

  16. Wiz 3 has some balance issues. Too hard in the beginning, but it evens out later (mostly).
    In Wiz 4 you'll have to fight the same encounters again and again and again, and only make incremental progress on each "run" on some levels, espially the Ziggurat I thought was brutal in that regard.
    Wiz 5 had lots of backtracking (especially if you don't find the hidden doors to the shortcuts), with huge levels, but fortunately not that much fighting.
    Wiz 1 and 2 are the _easy_ Wizardries.

  17. I keep re-reading your log entries; not sure if it's because I like your writing style, or simply because this is such an era I've remained nostalgic about.

    I've just finished Wizardry III, and hate, hate, HATE IV, mostly because there is sometimes no sense to immediate death on something that 4 out of 5 times you have survived before.

    Anyway, you mentioned that it was unfortunate your characters after receiving the Star as your end reward wouldn't get used anymore; however, you could actually import your characters into Wizardry V. They would change to Lvl 1 and have their attributes changed (usually going down a few points), but they come in with all their "legacy" wins.

    1. Thanks for mentioning that. I forgot that V allowed importing.

  18. I have a question for you Wizardry cracks out there. I finally tried to beat this one with my Wiz1-Wiz2 party.

    I made a bad mistake however and hit a dead end by playing too honestly. What I mean is I sucked up every attribute loss when leveling up. Turns out there were too much of them. Especially the core attributes for the fighter classes like strength are way too low, most under 10, for the level they already are. So I tried the temple and concluded there is no chance to survive the temple of fung and get that rod of fire.

    I really don't like to cheat with an editor, and of course don't want to do wiz 1 and 2 again. I have an idea how it could work: What if I'm letting my fighters deliberately loose some levels via battle with some level draining foes, and then level up again, would that do any good? Or is the accompanying status loss too much to catch up again? Any other ideas?

    1. BTW that was me.

    2. I've never played the expansions, but can you class change to reset their stats? Maybe get luckier on the next level ups?

    3. I don't see why switching classes wouldn't work unless you lost so many attributes that you're not eligible for anything. Honestly, if you got THAT unlucky with attribute rolls, I'm not sure it would be "cheating" to just, well, cheat.

    4. Thanks, I can see how this could work. Well, one of them is actually a lord. But I think the game is perfectly winnable without, so I will give up this prestige class.

  19. Thanks to reading these posts, I involuntarily (and thankfully, internally) scream YOU TOUCHED IT!!! every time I smudge the lens of my glasses while putting them on or taking them off.

  20. For some reason I had never thought about it but yeah I found a dozen or so "professional" CRPG character editors from Gosselin Computer Consultants when looking through my childhood late 1980s-early 1990s disk collection; considering each of those was $20 which is about $50 now, I understand more each day why my friends thought I was spoiled as a kid. "Here you go honey, your 2024 budget for CRPG character editors is $600"


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