Wizardry IV: Going Up Levels

Wizardry IV has no experience points.

The portion of the character details UI where XP is normally displayed instead gives the number of keystrokes you have left to finish the game. This is a little alarming, but the limit is large.

What it has instead of XP is exploration. At fixed points in every level of the dungeon, there are pentagrams laid out on the floor. These are your base camps, like a Dark Souls campfire. Standing on a pentagram replenishes your health and spell slots, allows you to summon a fresh set of monsters, and, once per dungeon level, empowers Werdna, permanently granting him more hit points and access to higher-level spells. It’s not the same leveling process as in the previous games. There’s no randomness, no gap levels where you don’t learn spells, no possibility of stats going down. All your stats go up in lockstep, every time you level up. You start in the depths of dungeon level 10 with 8 in every stat; by the time you reach the surface, you’ll have straight 18s.

Thus, there is no grinding. The only benefit you get from killing stuff is that it’s dead now — something that I think even applies to the random encounters with wandering adventurers, who, being individually named, are finite in number. What I’ve said multiple times about how the ideal balance in CRPGs syncs leveling up with exploration? Wizardry IV manages that in the most trivial way, by making you literally explore to find opportunities to level up.

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