Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Crusaders of the Dark Savant: Gorn and Scumbles

As I arrive in a new dungeon, the game again tells me my own thoughts.
My trip to the Holy City of Munkharama didn't last very long. I mapped the small temple area, but my progress was impeded by a series of doors that had cups attached to them--they clearly want me to drop something in. There was also a group of four urns in each corner of the temple that also clearly want something.

Progress to the east was impeded by an inability to swim multiple squares at a time. There was a wishing well that had this riddle:
I know a thousand faces, and count the tallied heads, feasting bright upon the eyes, of the many who have died. Wielding well a mighty power, who hath but humble stature, masses fall upon their knees, to scarce behold my only side!
The game asked what I wanted to shout into the well, but I didn't know what it was looking for. If the text is supposed to be a riddle, I suppose the answer might be COINS, but somehow this didn't occur to me when I was there. I left the temple exploring the forest to the south, but overly-difficult combats turned me back.
Nothing in particular. Is shouting in a well something you typically do?
A few of my characters got extra levels during this process, and my alchemist finally got something I'd been waiting for: a mass-damage spell. In this case, it was "Acid Bomb," which does damage to every enemy in a group for several rounds in a row. I decided to head back to New City and try storming the jail one more time. This time, it worked. I defeated the Dark Savant's groups of guardians and troopers and got the jail key. There was a colored keypad blocking access to the jail, but I figured out the code from a "black wafer" I had previously found in the city.
Rescuing this prisoner set off the entire "Gorn" episode.
The prisoner turned out to be a Gorn captain named Boerigard, who said he had been betrayed while trying to find a secret fortress called Orkogre Castle. (The game is inconsistent and sometimes spells it "Orkorge.") Upon further questioning, he begged me to travel to the castle and warn the Gorn king that "the Dartaen Alliance is broken." He gave me a letter to show Lord Galiere--the Gorn we all have the hots for--and thus get safe passage through the forest.

I returned to where I had met Galiere and showed him the letter. He let me pass but warned me that the Gorn Empire was embroiled in a civil war and that I'd find plenty of hostile Gorn. He also mentioned that the Gorn wizard Murkatos had recently been assassinated.
My map of the land I've explored so far.
The land beyond Galiere opened up into several large branches. Orkogre Castle ended up being just a short way to the northwest, but owing to my exploration pattern, I got pretty far afield before I found it. The road split into major northeast and northwest sections, and only an increasing combat difficulty kept me from exploring in those directions indefinitely. Ultimately, the combats had the effect of funneling me to Orkogre, but it took several hours.
These guys were way too hard for me.
Orkogre Castle took up several small underground levels. I had to find a series of keys and levers to open the necessary grates to move forward. One puzzle involved a caged ape, to whom I had to give a bunch of bananas (found elsewhere in the dungeon) to get him to open the lever to his cell. There were numerous combats with hostile parties of Gorn.
Using keys to open a door.
The level culminated in an encounter with the old Gorn king, who sat feebly on his throne. I transcribed his speech to give you a sense of the game's long-winded approach to text:
So the gods have decided to put the old king out of his misery at last, eh? Look you now upon this soulful guise, but once it were not so. How the orchard blossoms have faded in the fields. Though my army still stands strong, their strength is but a shallow weakness, for their spirit is broken. And now they wage war upon themselves, having lost that fleeting essence which fuels the heart and makes possible all loves and desires. The vision of their destiny has been broken. Shattered by the crushing presence of you who come from the stars. What grim irony that your visage now stands so mockingly before me. Shall you be the ghosts of my tormentors to haunt my dreams in the hereafter? Or merely be you that come to put the sword in my heart and end this mortal suffering. I see it all now, so clear. Worlds within worlds continually unfolding. The boundaries of time crossed and overlapping as easily as one might step from the garden into the forests. Like simple fish in the oceans, flipping and darting, living out their days unaware of the unseen universes which lie in the sky above their heads, so near and yet so far. How likened unto every man, that all these galaxies swing and orbit around him, continually in his sight and yet never seen nor glimpsed. Save that small portion which leaks into his momentary vision and births a thousand tales of miracles and divine conception. I pray you, grant this King these ramblings. Would that I could take my mind and thrust it upon you! But instead am forced to fling only the feeble stones of words. But tell me strangers, what cause brings you this day? 
Finally, I had my chance to tell him that THE DARTAEN ALLIANCE IS BROKEN, only to get hit with another monologue:
What's this?! The Dartaen Alliance at end?! Then the prophesy is indeed come. So be it. We shall all play our part as was foretold. And meet in the infernos of the hereafter. But perhaps there be slack enough for dangerous sport with the oracles in this. For who is to say that an end is naught but a gateway to some new beginning. And the pages yet unread be but deliberately concealed! I think I see much mischief in the fates. And perhaps it not be too late to learn their game. But what say you, be you willing to take a part?
YES, I offered, and got a key to his treasure chamber, where I might find a "sacred piece of parchment." The king decided to rouse himself and "find sport amongst [his] troops." I later encountered him a few times in the hallways, where I amused myself by selling him the various bits of weapons and armor I'd looted from his own castle.
Selling the king a cuirass from his own armory.
It isn't just the volume of text, nor David Bradley's bardic aspirations, that make the readings a little tiresome. It's more the way the text is presented, about 10 words at a time in a huge font, every sentence ending in an ellipse. It frequently looks like you're done, because a sentence will end three words into the screen, but then it just picks up again on the next screen, as if the developers wanted to make sure every sentence started on a fresh screen. When you see it all written out above, it perhaps doesn't look so bad, but when it's being fed to you one line at a time and you don't know when it will ever--for gods' sake--just end, it's like Chinese water torture.

When you meet an NPC, you sometimes just get dialogue options. Other times, you get options to do things like steal, trade, and share lore. I haven't done much with the latter, but when I tried it with the Gorn king, he gave me several pieces of information, some of which seem like they conflict with each other:
  • Mick the Pick has formed an alliance with King Ulgar. (Ulgar is the king giving this information to me.)
  • Our party has been fighting Mick the Pick at Orkogre Castle. (Mick the Pick is a ratkin NPC who I encountered but couldn't get anything useful out of.)
  • The "Legend" Map is rumored to be hidden near Old City.
  • Captain Boerigard has been sighted at Lost Temple.
  • Captain Boerigard has been sighted at Ukpyr.
The king's chest was a bust. I opened it to find it empty."Someone else has been here recently," the game noted. Some commenters warned me that this could happen. I only hope it's both possible to get the item later and obvious when the opportunity appears.

Continuing to explore the castle, I was attacked by the spirit of the wizard Murkatos. He had some powerful draining attacks and it took me a few attempts to defeat him. As he faded away, he told me (as part of a long speech) to seek the Tomb of Vilet Kanebe in the church of Nyctalinth. "There you will find a hidden part of what you seek." His rooms had a lot of magic treasure and a Bonsai tree.
"Borne of Gorn" would be a good name for a rock band.
During this process, I lost about one-quarter of the combats that I fought (meaning at least one character died, a condition I couldn't cure until the end of this session, when I found some resurrection scrolls). I'm finding the combat system a lot more frustrating than previous titles in the series. First, there's a lot of variability to the difficulty. I remember this was true of Wizardry VI as well.You wander into a square and face 4 Gorn leaders, 4 Gorn shamans, 6 Gorn rangers, and 6 Gorn lancers. Thoroughly trounced, you reload, re-enter the same square, and get 3 Gorn rangers.
This was one of the unlucky times.
But even the easy battles are never throwaway battles. The game is genre savvy. It knows you can rest after every combat if necessary, so it's not content to try to whittle down your hit points with endless parties of easy foes. And thus you can't just blow through the combat with a series of physical attacks. With every other enemy capable of poison, paralysis, blinding, itching, stamina drains, or something worse, you have to strategize almost every battle. This almost always means casting at least one spell.

There are a lot of useful spells--so many that I'm only beginning to explore them. I'll leave a longer posting about magic for later. For now, suffice to say that the mana bar is a bit misleading, because you really have separate pool of points for each spell "realm" (fire, water, air, earth, mental, and divine). Within each realm, you can only cast one or two spells (at least, at a decent power level) before needing to rest again.

In the rare case that you do just want to use physical attacks, the animations and sounds slow things down enough that you can't simply hold down the ENTER key and blow through it.
Three of these hateful bastards destroyed me.
I don't want to complain too much because so few games offer truly tactical combat. Crusaders is a bit exhausting in the number, lengths, and intensity of the combats, but I suppose that's preferable to games that offer no tactics at all. 

The final issue is that character development doesn't seem to make as much difference as I feel it should. A couple of my characters are maxed in their primary weapon skills, but it doesn't feel like they hit more often or do more damage than when they only had 25 points. Of course, it doesn't help that leveling slowed to a standstill after everyone passed Level 9.

At some point, I noticed that Gideon had enough points to change from a fighter to a lord, so I made the switch. Now I'm toying with moving my bard to a proper mage; I feel like my major weakness in combat is a lack of traditional mage power. The problem is that I'm still getting plenty of use out of his lute, but then again my alchemist has a "Sleep" spell now and plenty of points in that area. I'm also running out of reasons not to switch my thief to a ninja. I was thinking about doing both when they cross Level 10. As for the rest, I sort of like their existing classes, frankly.
Bix puts a bunch of T'Rang to sleep.
I'm not sure I put enough time into thinking about how to handle class changes strategically. When you switch, you lose a lot of attributes (to the minimums of the class you're switching to) but not your health, stamina, mana, spell points, spells, or skills. Part of me feels that the best way to "game the system" would be to keep switching at Level 2, thus keeping the number of experience points needed for the next level low and maximizing the frequency with which you earn points to put into skills as well as new spells. Then, after switching a lot at low levels early in the game, finally settle on one class for the bulk of the game and try to get a high a level as possible. Unfortunately, I didn't approach it that way and will probably have most characters switch only once and some not at all.
My lord has managed to gain some high attributes since switching to this class.
Miscellaneous notes:
  • My characters haven't really aged much since starting the game, but I have no idea how far I am, and all the resting is giving me the heebie-jeebies. I wonder if there's any real chance of dying of old age.
  • I got so sick of not being able to swim more than one square at a time that I spent a lot of time swimming and resting (since the skill goes up with use). Almost everyone is over 50 in the skill now, but I still can't swim more than a few squares without stamina running out. I'm guessing you can never build the skill to such a level that you can swim long distances with no trouble.
  • The game re-uses a lot of art. At least 6 creatures use the "giant bug" animation and at least that many use the "giant black bird" animation. This makes it hard to keep track of the enemies. I always forget whether a "Dragon Rook" is worse than a "Vampire Rook" or vice versa.
  • It's frustrating that you can't target specific enemies. If a group has 4 enemies asleep and 1 awake, I want to target the awake one, not spread my attacks out so that everyone wakes up.
  • I've learned to hit the "search" key at just about every environmental message. If there isn't something to find, there's often a supplemental message. 
This is exactly the sort of place you want to hit the "S" key.
For my next move, I can go back to Munkharama and try the potential answer to the riddle. I still have several squares in New City for which I need keys and clues. When I was there, I wasted some more time with Professor Wunderland but still couldn't figure out how to get the key to the Old City. If this is something I should know by now, I wouldn't mind an explicit spoiler. Finally, I have at least three forest directions (two north of Munkharama and one south) left to try, in addition to the poppy fields near New City that I still have no way to navigate.
I really don't know how any of this stuff ties in with the backstory yet. My party seems to have gotten embroiled in local matters and lost sight of the whole Astral Dominae business.

Time so far: 23 hours


  1. level 9 is a much better point to switch at than waiting for level 10. I usually switch at 7 or 8. Your bard will still be able to use the lute (its dependent on the music skill, not the class). Best switch is generally Bard -> Samurai. Bard -> Mage -> Samurai is the ideal I think, but takes a lot of bonus points to roll up from mage to Samurai depending on the race.

    1. Yeah, you need as much xp to go from level 9 to level 10 as you need to go from level 1 to level 9. I did all my class changes in the Gorn dungeon.

  2. Yes, everyone with music skill can use instruments. This is a change from Wiz 6 where you had to be an active hard.

    Switching to base classes has the problem that you lose a lot of stat points, especially if your race seems like a natural fit (since you get reduced to the max of the class requirement and the race base stat). But is definitely playable and the thaumaturgy spells offer the best selection by far.

    1. I missed that bit in the manual. That makes it easier to switch. Still, I'm halfway to Level 10 so I figure I might as well go all the way.

  3. Also after switch you only get 1 HP (and 1 Stamina?) as long as your level is lower (equal?) than your max level ever reached by this character.

  4. There's also some level based resist checks that aren't really shown anywhere, so higher level characters will be better off in some respects. Also High Speed is key and you'll lose some on switch probably. High Speed and dex at the most important stats for Fighters, along with skill they give the extra hits and extra attacks. But given that its the same amount of XP to get from 9 to 10 as it is from 1 to 9....

  5. Monsters not only share the same graphics, unless you identify them via the mythology skill they also have the same generic name. I think birds in particular have many different variations, ranging from very easy to very hard. I often got confused, but usually tougher enemies appear in smaller numbers, so you can just go by that.

    Getting a true mage will definately help you, since they have the best mass damage spells. Samurais and Bards will get there, too, but spending some time as a mage will increase your Thaumaturgy much faster, allowing you to pick high level spells sooner.

  6. Concerning Prof. Wunderland, apparently you're supposed to find a hint "later in the game", but it might be missable. I just got annoyed with him and looked up spoilers myself. If you'd like to get it out of the way now, you need to nfx uvz nobhg gur nepuvirf.

    1. I'll leave that un-rotated for now. I'd rather play organically.

  7. Jack's a doughnut, what a reference!

    1. It made me realize I haven't read any Dave Barry in about 20 years. I wonder what he's been up to since Big Trouble.

  8. I honestly don't think I ever found the keyword for Prof. Wunderland in the game itself at any point. I got from the cluebook and that was that. I mean, it has to be in there somewhere I assume...

  9. I power-gamed by changing classes all the time at level 9. I think each character changed roughly 20 times by the time I was done, so that they could get all the spell schools and tons of skill points. Cycling at L2 is bad because effectiveness in combat is dependent on character level, so you really want to mix grinding (combats while training L1-4) with questing (combats while at L7-9).

    1. There's an awesome grinding spot in New City that endlessly spawns Savant Guards and Troopers. Once you're level 9 or so across the board, you can switch one or two of the party and get them up to speed in no time with the power of the other four or five party members. I switched everybody a few times to give everyone two spellcasting schools, swimming and Ninjutsu; hiding in combat is very potent. Also, this quickened the pace at which my specialists learned Music, Mapping, Skullduggery, Mythology and Artifacts.
      If you want elite classes at the end, Lords, Ninjas etc., you need to watch attribute increase at levelup, which can get tedious, but all in all, a few switches per character make for a much smoother ride down the road. I also found this to be a fun aspect of the game. It may feel gamey, but so is quit-reloading after the random encounter generator decided to hate your guts another time...

    2. Yes, the grinding spot where you can insert the black wafer instead of the proper code card, right?

      I ended the game with 6 Ninjas all hiding in the shadows. Shame that some magic can still hit you then.

      Also, I remember that some saving throws were only increasing with level instead of skill.
      So yes, class changing a lot is a fun game.
      Actually it was the best part of the game.
      What is more, you do realize that attributes at level gain are completely random?
      Like, one try, you receive 1 stat increase and the next try you receive 5 increases and one decrease?

    3. I w6 I just grinded (ground?) at the bats from Lev 1-6 repeatedly. 6 would be very hard to maintain if you weren't save scumming for stats, but any higher took too long v bats and with non ninja prestige classes it meant 4 spells per cycle which was solid.

      Leaving there with nuke blast and mind flay, and everyone able to hide made combat a bit of a joke for the rest of he game.

      Was wondering if any of those strategies were needed in w7. Guess not once you find the right spot.

  10. Concerning how texts are being presented in the game, I think it's still better than being hit by a wall of text.

    1. I think the only bad thing with how texts are shown in the game is that you can't simply bash space or enter to skip them.

  11. I've never had anyone die of old age. I think you'd have to try for it to do so.

    Status effects are vary good in these games. It's why the lute is so powerful. Blinding light (or something like that) and silence as well. Though different monsters are resistant or immune to specific effects or schools of magic.

    As I've said before, if the fights get too annoying, lower the difficulty. It's not hard to beat the game on normal, but the fighting can take a long time.

    Yes, you can find any maps you missed. That's what the game calls them, even though they aren't. You just miss out on some good exp rewards for finding them yourself.

  12. The extreme wordiness of the dialogue is very much like in Japanese visual novels. The fans of those are willing to accept it, I believe, because many of them are emotionally engaged with some of the teenage characters, and therefore want to learn all the nuances of their thinking. It's harder to imagine that the same would apply to the Gorn King in the Orkogre castle, but then again, there is the thing going on with Lord Galiere!

    1. Planescape:Torment was wordy, and didn't quite fit on one screen. But they managed to keep it to two or three!

  13. For Prof. Wunderland if I recall correctly the phrase to get what you need had to be something about 'old city access'

    1. While it won't break anything to slip into Old City early, you're not supposed to have the clues to get in yet. Basically, Wunderland has given you the background on Old City. Keep it in mind. But you'll eventually have a reason to go somewhere specific in Old City, and then you'll want to revisit your options.

      (I can get more explicit if desired.)

  14. Do you reload level ups to get more stat raises ?

    1. No. Among other things, stat raises usually come at the end of combat, so you'd have to re-fight the combat. I'm usually happy enough just to have won. Plus, I see it as cheating.

  15. I loved the class change system in thus one. A lot of it is based around luck--since attribute gains are random there will be times where you want a character to gain, like, a single intelligence point to achieve access to a particular class and whole levels go by where they just absolutely refuse to. And you can definitely make some poor choices--difference species/job combinations complement each other better, and it's easier to switch between similar jobs (ie fighter to a barbarian) than between different ones (fighter to a mage).

    But you do have six characters, and if you screw one up you've got five others, and you'll likely end up stumbling onto one or two characters who will actually be a really effective character, and so the party will even itself out and be balanced. It felt like enough of a safety net that I was comfortable experimenting with some builds, and I ended up stumbling upon some tricks. There's ways you can get yourself out of holes, and you begin to learn the timing for when to most effectively swap classes, and I found it really satisfying to be rewarded with some very OP characters. I'm normally not a grinder, I normally play these games because of the mapping rather than the stats, but the metagame of Wiz 7 just clicked very nicely for me.

    Some approaches I found helpful--

    --Characters only having one or two jobs over the course of the game is unnecessarily conservative, and they'll end up being weaker than characters who've had more than that. Most of my party went through at least 4 jobs. Eventually you'll figure out a final build and keep them there until the end game, but that's not even remotely on the horizon.

    --Think of your attributes as temporary buffs. Don't get attached to any of your numbers--until you figure out your final build, these numbers will just be in flux. Your equipment and the passive modifiers from your weapon/magic skills will do a lot more.

    -You very much want to stagger your class changes. Do one at a time until you get a feel for it. For most of the midgame I had two characters who were "in training" in a new job class while the rest were gaining proper levels and HP and all of that.

    --It's true that class changing won't give you major HP gains, and you need to strike a balance, but the name of the game is Wizardry and magic is appropriately EXTRAORDINARILY powerful. You will end up with several godly casters that are carrying your tanks. Every level, you get the opportunity to pick another spell from any of the available ones associated with your class. The ones you have access to are tied to an appropriate skill (thaumaturgy, alchemy, etc), which you also have the opportunity to increase with every level. And when you pick a spell, your MP increases by the amount of the spell cost. What this boils down to: If you've class changes and are now at level 1 again, and you, carried by the rest of your party, win a high level combat and gain 5 levels as a result, you get 5 spell picks. And if this is your second or third class, your associated spell skill will be a bit higher than a brand new character, and so you will essentially have access to a lot of spell picks very quickly in a row if you change your casters a bunch. And if those are a bunch of high level spells, you'll gain MP exponentially.

    Sorry to ramble, I just loved this game so much. I've got my handdrawn map of the overworld pinned to my bedroom door. It's such a fantastic trilogy. Try to save your characters for 8--after the 4000 hours you'll spend on 7, you'll get very close to these people, and in 8 they get a massive upgrade in presentation that I got a real kick out of.

    1. If you are going to cheese the game that hard, you could save a bunch of time and use a trainer...

    2. Sorry for playing the game wrong, I guess. I mean, I thought that, since it's such a long game, intuiting the quirks of the system over the time of it becomes one of the game's several overarching puzzles, and I thought I did stress that I found the process enjoyable and that having strong characters was a side effect of that process, but you're right. I should have just created godly characters from the start. Sure, that would have made every single combat in the game boring, but I'm sure your way is much more fun. Probably I should have also just gone with an already-drawn map instead of drawing it all out, even though I enjoyed the mapmaking too--it would be much more fun to just use someone else's. Hey, maybe I didn't even need to have played the game, I could have just watched a video of it!

      Man, I am not going through life at all efficiently!

    3. I take the opposite view and much preferred the system in Wizardry 8 - this has class changes but extreme class cycling seems unwarranted.

    4. Thanks for the tips, Richard. I feel like all the class changing goes against the spirit of role-playing, but then again there are times it's as fun to play with logistics as with a traditional role?

      Burzmali, what do you mean by "Trainers"? I didn't have any inkling there was such a thing in this game.

    5. A "trainer" is a cheat program.

      Burzmali is saying that anyone who goes out of their way to cheese the system that much should just cheat to get the same result with much less time.

    6. A trainer is a cheat program specifically written for a game.

    7. Cheat is a strong word, many don't let you get unreasonable stats, they just cut out the depopulation of multiple biomes needed to get there. W7 is pretty balanced around changing class once or twice, changing every level is an exploit that would have been patched out these days.

    8. Hey, it's Richard Goodness! Everyone should check out his blog posts on the Wizardry series for asome great and insightful reads. And I think you are being a bit unreasonable Burzmali. Wizardry 7 is a huge game, and you can play it many different ways and that is one of the great things about it; calling someone out for playing the game a different way than you seems a little silly. Calling the class changing an exploit is incorrect if you ask me. It is included for a reason, and I don't think DW Bradley would patch it out if it was a modern game. Anyways, great to see so much discussion on the game, it really is one of the wonders of the cRPG world.

    9. However strong the word is, using a trainer is cheating and wholly missing the point for many of us; it is about the journey, not the destination.

    10. Unless you're having fun doing so, there's no need to constantly change classes. A couple times can help with making sure everyone had healing, but you can beat the game without doing so at all.

    11. A cheating is about the journey and not the destination unless you find the constant reload as something that definitely not should be part of the journey.

    12. Due to how the magic point and spell systems work, rapidly changing all of your player's classes will allow you to build a team where all members have access to high power spells which they can use to alpha strike to win any combat in a single round, aside from bosses. I own the developer's published strategy and it discusses two primary strategies for class changing, starting with normal classes to advance quickly and switching to advanced classes later in the game and starting as fighters across the board to rush hitpoints early on, then switching later. The devs clearly thought the stat hit was enough deterrence to stop rapid class swapping, but it is easy enough to scum every level up to max stat gains to bypass that.

    13. This is the strategy I used in the first two Wizardry games. Get enough HP from being fighters so I could survive a Tilt or two, then switch to either a mage class or advanced fighter (samurai or lord).

  16. This appears to be an awesome game with the awesomeness obfuscated by layers of unfriendly game design and fanfic-level exposition.

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. Here's what I did to keep track of the lengthy dialogues: capture it as a video! In DOSBox you can do this with CTRL+Alt+F5 (this starts and stops recording and saves an AVI in DOSBox' CAPTURE folder. Many of these dialogues contain hints to riddles and are well worth reviewing.

    If combat feels too slow, crank up the text speed to maximum in the game options. Once your party is advanced enough that you don't need to keep track of every single hit, this really makes fights more fluent.

    I would also advise everyone to play with the keyboard, not with the mouse (to be able to do so COMPLETELY, you will have to disable the mouse in the game options, if I recall correctly). You'll need to get used to it and check the reference sheet at the beginning, but after that I found it much faster that dragging the mouse around.

    Resting is also a pain, especially when you're always being interrupted, and in later stages it get's even more annoying (at least if you're like me, and are not satisfied until your mages have recovered ALL their 1000+ mana points). What worked for me was resting in short steps. The longer your rest in one place (square), the more likely it is that you will be attacked. So rest, and disupt resting by pressing enter. Save the game, move one step, continue to rest and so on.

    But in the end, I found this an extremely satisfying and rewarding game. I bought in 1992 (still have the manuals, map, ref-sheet and mordor charge card :-)), but by the time I was not ready for this game. I played it bit by bit over the last couple of years and finished it only last year! This is something I'd like to see a Witcher-Skyrim-Diablo-spoiled modern player sit through! Hard work, really! :-)

  19. I was reading all the comments here on class changes and how it was "necessary" or "useful" to game the system... I think when I played Wizardry 7 I did it with the same party start to end. I don't know, from a role-playing perspective, changing 5 times classes doesn't make any sense. I really prefer games where you make up your party and watch them develop in their respective professions, and you get used to them, oh he's my mage, he's my paladin... If you change all the time where is the identification? Also you get to replay the game with different combinations for a different experience.

    To me the idea of unrestricted class-change is a really strange design decision. Are there any other examples? This could be an interesting general discussion post.

    The only way in which I would see class change as being logical is in situations where you can gain access later to classes not available at first. Like in the Bard's Tale with the sorcerer and the wizard later. But you should not be allowed to reuse starting classes ad libitum like that.

    1. In Wiz 7 the problem (at least it was for me) was that unlike Wiz 6 you don't have a shared pool for skill points. Instead you get a certain amount of skill points for weapons skills, another amount for magic skills etc, instead of being able to use it all on magic skills, which is the really important ones in order to get spells like Cure Poison and Cure Disease ASAP.

      In fact the whole idea of skill points lead to this OCD player behaviour, since you get skills points "for free" when switching classes. Wiz 6-7 must be an accountant's dream game, with all the clas change juggling.

      I recently played Wizardry Gaiden IV, which combines the mechanics of Wiz 1-3 with the classes and races of Wiz 6-8. There's no skill points, so the only incentive to switch class is to gain a class you can't start with, like Ninja.

      It was quite refreshing. But then I don't have the heart of an accountant...

    2. Wild speculation on my part, but... Since it takes the same amount of exp going from lv 1-9 as it does from 9-10, by class changing you can thus gain a lot of levels in fairly short order. If you are strategic about it then, you probably won't need to go out of your way to grind exp. As such, I think it is mainly a system designed to facilitate faster grinding, possibly eliminating dedicated sessions of grinding entirely.

    3. From a role-playing perspective, most computer RPGs don't make sense. Who goes from kobold-fodder to dragon-slayer in only a couple of weeks? The way (Mega)Taveller handles it makes sense, but it's not much fun, at least as a computer game.

      Wizardry 7 doesn't really need much grinding. But there's a point in the game where leveling up slows down (it picks up again later). Class changing once or twice during that period bridges that gap nicely.

  20. When first playing the game I used the class switching extensively, repeatedly switching classes and reloading level ups to get more stat raises.

    When playing Wizardry 6 afterwards I decided not to change classes at all and not reloading at level ups and it felt far more rewarding.

    1. Just to be clear, when you say "reloading level ups," you mean reloading the entire combat that preceded the level up, right? I otherwise can't think of any way to do it. I don't think I'd do this anyway, but I'm still curious.

    2. Exactly, I mean reloading the combat before level up. Just be clear, I don't recommend doing so.

  21. Just one piece information on endgame/good loot: Except the *Light Sword* which you can pick up much later if you want, many of the best weapons are from some powerful chests, which are randomized when you open them, so reloading is a good idea. The best weapon in the game is the Cane of Corpus, which only a fairy ninja can wield, but to get it you have to kill a certain individual and hope he drops it. I don't name him nor hint at him. But I could if you wish.

    1. That sounds great, but how would I possibly know what I COULD have gotten from the chest, and thus need to reload?

    2. Bix: "This chest looks like it holds treasure fitting for a king!"
      Noctura: "There is only a piece of string and few gold coins."
      Esteban: "I swear I felt disturbance in the force moments before you opened it, Noctura."

      That does it in a pretty cRPG way if you ask me :P

    3. Me again, you can't really know, except as a guideline, if you find a chest in a big and important dungeon/region or somewhere hidden in the wilderness you might want to go for a few reloads.

      A tip for swimming, cast rest/restfull on the party. IIRC levitate reduces stamina drain as well.

  22. I was very envious of PCs getting Crusaders of the Dark Savant, back in the day, when I saw the adverts on computer magazines, I wished it would come for Amiga.

    Then when I got a PC, years later, and the Gold Box version of this, which ran only in windowed mode I think, I came to positively hate its length and controls:D I think I dropped it halfway through.

    I'm curious, when you complete the game, how will it compare with Fate, Gates of Dawn.

  23. "the animations and sounds slow things down enough that you can't simply hold down the ENTER key and blow through it."

    Only the sound prevents this. I always disabled the sound and then blew through combats by holding the ENTER key. This also prevents the lag encountered when opening doors. (Posted long after the original discussion to give future players a choice between sound effects and extra hours of combat).

  24. Well, I've finished my thesis defence, so I'm hoping that will leave me with the time & energy to actually catch up again. Got to do something with the hour-long lunch breaks at my new job.


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