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"Wiz 7 class changing report & some research"

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zeldorn (4 posts) Click to EMail zeldorn Click to send private message to zeldorn Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-18-12, 03:31 AM (Pacific)
"Wiz 7 class changing report & some research"

Llevram wrote in some recent post:

' I guess those folks who "change class like underwear" have faded away.'

I suppose I would qualify as one of them. I played Wiz 7 first time 20 years ago and have been returning to it every few years. This time I returned with basic intention to explore "class changing" to the full, to see how fast I can make "godlike characters" and still be within the rules set by game designers (so any game editing is excluded).
With this in mind, the starting party is really important only due to the starting equipment. Ninja (their garb is hard to find/buy), a Samurai, a Valkyrie, a Lord, Fairy Mage and a Bard (with Lute of sleep). They all class change between similar learning path (ninja - ranger, mage - bard, ...) until all relevant stats are maxed, then move to another pair (with different spell school), on the fly mastering ninjutsu, kirijutsu and all other useful skills. Comfortable class changing should dynamically adjust to enemy level (experience points) the game generate. It is something like around level 4-5 in the beginning, then later between 8-10.
With this strategy around Orkogre castle (but before final battle with spectral ravens) nuclear blast is already available.
At the moment when my party finished mainland business all characters know 99% of all spells from all schools and have maxed all critical scores. At this point class changing stops and the party move to their final form and starts level pumping:
- fairy ninja (with cane of corpus and rode of sprites)
- samurai (with coil of the serpent and pandora's wand, intended to later wield muramasa blade
- ninja (to wield Staff of Doom, now Bushido blade + sai)
- Lord (to wield Excaliber later, now cat'o nine tail)
- Valkyrie (to wield Maenad's lance, now spear+2)
- monk (to wield Zatoich bo, now Hayai bo)
With magicfood items (Milk of Magnasia, Mana stone, Old'Jakes bottles) maxed to 99 charges. Aswell with thermal pineapple with 99 charges.

The critical point in this first part of the game (before sailing) is only one - getting *Legend* map immediately after you enter New City. It is fairly easy. Not critical but important is to buy at least one spear+2 from Cpt. Boerigard (it would be the best weapon in a party for a long time, and even more longer before it could be replaced with something better), and later cat'o nine tails in the Giant cave. If Dane tower is done early Fairy cape and rod of sprites are also useful.
Remarks so far - it seems the game recognizes high level characters not just by formal level but by skills too and generate more high level monsters. This means more experience and at the end it negates the experience which seems to be lost due to class changing. Party with characters who do not class change would come to the same point in the game fighting less monsters in total and would not be so level advanced as some people used to expect.
The drawback is that the game may become a bit boring. Even with nuclear blast it takes some time to kill 45 beetles. It is doubtful if few high level battles (like some Gorrors) can compensate for it.

I mentioned some research. At some point I started wondering how this old game (with bad old graphic etc) is still so addictive and gives so good feeling while playing, what many brad new superb games of today do not manage to do. What was the secret those ancient developers knew ? I came with some interesting realization, but I am not sure if this is appropriate for this kind of gaming forum, so let me know. In fact, I am not even sure if this forum is still alive. Let's see.

Z.

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Llevram (5331 posts) Click to EMail Llevram Click to send private message to Llevram Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-18-12, 05:43 PM (Pacific)
1. "RE: Wiz 7 class changing report & some research"
First, let me say, that I don't consider "change class like underwear" a bad thing, just a style or strategy, that is not for me.

Back in the day, when the forum was "alive", there were many heated debates on the topic, thus my comment ... alas, those staunch defenders of that style, don't seem to haunt the board anymore.

That said, I would be interested to hear your take on how this game is so addictive (as opposed to others, I venture to guess we have played, like Bard's tale, EOB, Star Trails, etc.).

My own opinion on this has changed with time (and perhaps wisdom). I think a large part of it has to do with when you first play the game. If I had never heard of Wizardry 7 and played it for the first time today, I doubt it would have the same impact for me.

Another large part, I think, is the length and breadth of the game. By that I mean the variety of ways you can play it: characters, races, strategies (breadth) ... and the amount of detail in the game: factions, treasures, spells, monsters, locations, puzzles, etc (length).

I also think it was a high quality product, that just stands the test of time. The other thing I didn't realize at the time (I do now after playing MW2), is the constant positive reinforcement ... every couple fights or so, someone levels up, or gets some good loot, or you solve a puzzle, etc. In other words, there is always something good just around the corner (unless it kills you )

Another factor that plays to Wiz 7's favor is coming out when we could become enamored with it more easily ... today, there are so many things to be distracted with ... oops, gotta go, I am up on Words with Friends

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sphynx (11 posts) Click to EMail sphynx Click to send private message to sphynx Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-18-12, 11:26 PM (Pacific)
2. "RE: Wiz 7 class changing report & some research"
Hey now, I still haunt this board... Multi-Classing is, for me, the only fun way to play without 'hacking' the game...

Now I am playing without changing classes, because I've used the CosmicForge to make each class more interesting. More skill points, wider variety of skills, higher mana regen, etc... not quite as powerful as super-multiclassing, but enough to somewhat compensate for never multiclassing. But... playing a straight, unhacked game, multi-classing just makes the most sense.

The only argument against it is that it's "not thematic", which I think is kinda a crap argument, but whatever. My Lord/Valkyrie made sense thematically, my Valkyrie/Ranger made sense thematically, my Mage/Priest (Ending as a Bishop) made sense thematically, etc, etc... not like we're going from Psionicist to Fighter to Mage to Lord.

Anyhows, I got enamored with Wiz7 because I was on a project that had me out in the middle of nowhere, getting food dropped off for me once a week, with only a notebook of graph paper, a non-internet computer and a copy of Wiz7 to keep me company. I got so frustrated with it that I killed Brother T'Shober, and never multiclassed, and had a level 128 Ninja who was the only one that could survive an encounter with the Ghost of Brother T'Shober, and would go up multiple levels every time he won.

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Llevram (5331 posts) Click to EMail Llevram Click to send private message to Llevram Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-20-12, 11:50 AM (Pacific)
3. "RE: Wiz 7 class changing report & some research"
I would have to add "Balance" to the list. By that I mean there was just (about always) the right amount of things in a given category. I don't think I ever felt overwhelmed by the choices available, just glad to have them.

Some games (like Skyrim) just give you way too much crap to manage. Not to say Wiz 7 was perfect (I always had too much loot to carry, and never wanted to get rid of it).

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zeldorn (4 posts) Click to EMail zeldorn Click to send private message to zeldorn Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-23-12, 04:33 AM (Pacific)
4. "RE: Wiz 7 class changing report & some research"
I am glad that this forum is still alive.
First, to complete my progress report, I came to Gorrors with characters buildup as planned. All relevant stats maxed, with ankhs from Dame Ke-Li all characters raised strength, dexterity and speed to 20. To note is that at this point my most advanced character was at just level 18, so all were teenagers (but with 15-25 class changes behind everyone of them). Still, first 5 gorror monsters were easy walk (including "fiend", even in f2f combat "fiend" was not able to score even one hit against my ninjas/monk with their -20 AC). "Beast" was a problem, as expected.
I agree with you, there are many more addictive games around (even from those old times I can count few like Panzer General, Fantasy General, Steel Panthers and many others).
If we agree that in the core of any addiction, gaming or not, is the pleasure it gives, than we can look at any addictive game as a kind of "pleasure machine". This would also explain why every player as a unique human being has also an unique response to it. The very existence of the discussion you mentioned shows that game designers of Wiz 7 successfully managed to target a very wide specter of users (to give them "pleasure" while playing it).
The mechanic (or tricks) used to achieve it are many. First is to try to get players to invest their time (and get a "reward") from the beginning (like character generation screen, it requires significant effort to create desired party ). Frankly, class changing was the feature which worked for me, the feeling that with a little time and effort spent on "improving" characters the game responds with "so much". The other RPG elements were more or less already present in many other similar games. And yes, Wiz 7 is perfect because there are many small details designed to improve overall experience and player's satisfaction. I would mention just one - thermal pineapple. Normally it would disappear after its use (to burn T'rang eggs). But it could be recharged up to 99 charges and used to great benefit in the rest of the game. At this point someone may argue that this is "unintended use" and it would unbalance the game. But game designers had the option to forbid recharging, so if it was still rechargeable it shows that it was intentionally done that way, as a kind of small reward for those smart enough to think outside of set boundaries and willing/daring to try. I must say that I discovered it just by myself when I played it for the third time and couldn't resist to feel "so smart" for a moment or two . As you said, "constant positive reinforcement" everywhere, but also when you play it again.
Is there anything more ? I believe it is. But I cannot prove it is by design, so I would just describe what I think I have found. Yes, a warning - for some readers this is the point where things can begin to sound a bit weird. I just managed to notice that while watching the combat text report (swing/thrust - hit - eventual kill) I tend to develop "expectation for killing a monster" on every successful hit, with distinctive physical manifestation (pressure raise and a certain sensation in the abdomen). I did some test and successfully excluded the sound from it, the effect is present even if the game is played without sound. Due to poor graphic it must be sole repetitive flashing of the screen with appropriate (relative) timing creating rhythm. I just happens to know a bit of yoga, so when I finally managed to connect those two it was a big surprise to me when I realized that while playing I was effectively giving to myself a stimulation (trough resonance) with lower energy centers (solar plexus and below). And not the one considered particularly healthy or beneficial. At least I believe I recognized the pattern which creates biofeedback leading to "final and permanent attraction". Of course, I still like playing it.

Z.

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Llevram (5331 posts) Click to EMail Llevram Click to send private message to Llevram Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
Oct-23-12, 05:51 PM (Pacific)
5. "One thing to be careful of ... "
.. giving too much credit, where maybe only some is due I enjoyed reading your take on this, and thought it was very insightful. I did however note a case where I think you may overestimate the powers of the programmers/designers. Just because the thermal pineapple can be charged 99 times doesn't mean it is necessarily by design.

Being a programmer myself, I know there are many times something like that has popped up unexpectedly. The problem with programmers (and designers, or people maybe) is we focus on the "happy path" ... the path things follow when everything goes as expected or planned. I can't count how many times I have asked for requirements and got answers like "hardly ever", "once in a great while", etc. in regards to how often a "bad" thing, like an unexpected input, might occur. Code doesn't respond well to "hardly ever" ... all it takes is once. But I digress.

It may just be that the thermal pineapple was created from the same model as things that can hold many charges, because it was an expedient way to create a "one use" item and no one thought about the "not so happy path" where someone might think to recharge it.

It may very well be it was intended the way it came out, I just found humor in your expectation that it was so

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kwahraps (2 posts) Click to EMail kwahraps Click to send private message to kwahraps Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
May-28-14, 04:19 AM (Pacific)
6. "RE: One thing to be careful of ... "
Love these old threads.

Multi-class changers = munchkins

There are multiple schools of thought on this.

At one end of the spectrum you have your munchkins. These are the min/max optimal builds to get the most damage output and survivability out of a character. They are always on the search for loot and items to help make their character stronger. In Wiz7, these are your class changers, looking to exploit the system to build powerful characters. I am guilty of this. Nobody wants a character that dies easily.

At the other end you have your serious role players, your purists, if you will. They could care less about the numbers, but would rather focus on the development of the character. The how and why of what they do. They would represent the vanilla party, class changing only when appropriate and perhaps logical.

Everything else falls between these two.

As much fun as it is to build an indestructible party of class changing ninjas, it can also be very rewarding to beat the game in its simplest form.

To each their own. But, I'm enjoying this game once again . . . .

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Llevram (5331 posts) Click to EMail Llevram Click to send private message to Llevram Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
May-28-14, 06:06 PM (Pacific)
7. "RE: One thing to be careful of ... "
I love that we still get posts every once in a while

I still haven't mustered up the will to (really) try that new throwback game:

Swords and Sorcery Underworld
http://www.gamersgate.com/DD-SSU/swords-and-sorcery-underworld-gold

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nomad (29 posts) Click to EMail nomad Click to send private message to nomad Click to view user profile Click to check IP address of the poster
May-30-14, 09:22 AM (Pacific)
8. "RE: One thing to be careful of ... "
As I have stated before, I have played Wiz 7 both ways and I still maintain that the most enjoyable game was with a team that did not change class even once.
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