Wizardry III: Signing Off

A TPK of my second party has left me in a poor position. Oh, it’s a better position than starting over from scratch — I meant everything I said last time about saving up the snazzy gear, and I still have a few back-up characters waiting in the wings. The highest-level one remaining is a priest, which is probably the best class to jump-start a new party, what with all those healing and protection spells. Nonetheless, the plan was to pull out a new game every two weeks, and since it’s pretty much time for that, I’ll take this as an opportunity to bow out for a while.

It’s funny. After mastering dungeon levels 2 and 3 so handily, I really thought I was going to finish the game before my self-imposed deadline. But that sort of attitude just encourages recklessness, and this is a game that rewards patience — the reward being those “I can’t believe I actually pulled that off” moments, rendered meaningful by the very real possibility of failure with major consequences. With that and the major role of randomization, the game plays more like gambling than most CRPGs do, albeit gambling where the odds are really tilted in your favor, however it seems sometimes.

I do want to get back to it, and will probably take it up as this year’s game-to-play-between-other-games. As I mentioned before, I’m finding it’s a good thing to play on the bus with a laptop: it occupies the attention, but doesn’t absorb it so much that you miss your stop. Dealing with maps on the bus is awkward, but that just means mapping is best done at home and the bus is better for grinding. After you’ve spent some time grinding on a level, you don’t even really need to consult a map very often; you just develop an orbit that takes in a few guaranteed monster encounters and returns to the exit.

Maps are still necessary if you trigger a teleport trap, mind you. Traps are the single deadliest things in the game — my latest TPK was the result of triggering a teleport trap and winding up in a place that I was in no position to get through, and in the near-TPK I described last post, the reason my party was mostly poisoned was a gas cloud trap. Traps are also completely avoidable: they’re only found on treasure chests, and opening treasure chests is optional. But pass them up and you’ll never get the buff gear that makes it so easy to train up your replacements. I’ll admit that it’s kind of a circular argument, but there it is.

Next up: Another old RPG from an anthology package! I have a lot of those. If I stick to schedule, it’ll be mid-March before I play anything else.

4 Comments so far

  1. Jason Dyer on 16 Jan 2010

    Only 1984 RPG of any note I’ve been able to think up is Sundog: Frozen Legacy.

    Unless you mean to skip a year; Bard’s Tale 1 was 1985.

  2. Carl Muckenhoupt on 16 Jan 2010

    Well. Hm. I have Wizardry III listed in my notes as 1986, which, according to mobygames, is when the PC version was released. (The Ultimate Wizardry Archives is all PC versions.) Likewise, my next game — the only game in the Stack that I have listed under 1987 — was originally released on the Apple II in 1986.

    I don’t think my notes are terribly consistent about this, though. For these older games, I generally used the copyright date in the manual, which is presumably the date that the manual was written. Maybe I should revise them. Anyway, it’ll all even out a bit when I get to the point when companies stop making computer games for any platform but PC. (Although I do have a few console-to-PC ports.)

  3. Jason Dyer on 17 Jan 2010

    I think I know what’s coming up then. Somehow I think it won’t be finished in 2 weeks either.

  4. Carl Muckenhoupt on 17 Jan 2010

    For what it’s worth, the full list is still available at Google Docs and Backloggery. But if you’re having fun guessing, don’t let me stop you.

Leave a reply