My thanks, and I'm sure the thanks of many others, go out to Linda Currie for taking the time to answer these questions for us ...
In Wizardry® 7, if you choose not to kill something/someone it is because you think you might have something to gain from not doing it or fear something bad will happen later in the game. The Monsters page on the Wizardry® 8 site lists the following description:
Giant Roach. These human-sized carrion eaters are generally peaceful, but will attack anyone who disturbs their feeding.
So the question: Are there any other monsters, "creatures" or people in the Wizardry® 8 that are not aggressive and do not have an active part in the story line? (i.e. People or "things" wandering about here and there)
There definitely are monsters and people that are not aggressive; after all Wiz 8 is a living, breathing world. Things in Wizardry 8 will generally have a hostility range. Just as you might expect some creatures in real-life to aggressively attack on sight, others will only become hostile when you "invade" their territory. And again as in real-life, how close you need to be to them to be "invading" is different depending on the physiology of the creature. In many cases, especially in the wilderness areas, you might easily come across creatures that arenít particularly hostile towards you, that is, until you do something to make them feel otherwise.
We encountered many NPC races on Lost Guardia and have seen some of them in various Wizardry® 8 screenshots. Will all of the NPC races be returning in Wizardry® 8 or were some of them not able to make the journey?
You wonít see everyone from Crusaders making an appearance in Wizardry 8. You will see the return of the TíRang and the Umpani, along with the continuation of their racial feud. Having followed the Dark Savant to Dominus, the planet where Wizardry 8 unfolds, the TíRang and Umpani each are determined to be the one race to reach universal domination, the prize thatís up for grabs. The Rattkin also have a role in Wizardry 8 as do the Mooks themselves. In addition to these intergalactic travelers, though, youíll meet some of the original long time inhabitants of Dominus, from the advanced Higardi and the inquisitive Trynnie, to the feared and psychopathic Rapax. There are some other important players as well, but this covers the major races you can expect to see in Wizardry 8.
Is there a possibility of attacking a group of monsters with ranged weapons prior to being detected?
Yes, absolutely. You can declare your hostile intentions at any time. As mentioned above, there are definitely creatures that might not care about you until you "feel" like a threat to them. And if youíre really into sneaking up on peaceful (or not so peaceful) creatures, you might consider using the Chameleon spell to try to conceal your presence. Of course, youíre not the only one capable of concealing yourself, and generally speaking there are few things that take kindly to being attacked out of the blue; ).
Will the number of points given for "level up" be random (as it was) or fixed (e.g. like in Diablo)?
When you level up, you will gain points to spend on both attributes and skills giving you more control over how your characters develop. (Skills also go up through use). No longer is it random which attribute goes up on leveling. The points you get are based on internal calculations and are not random. We felt that by having a random point system, weíd just be encouraging people to try that save, load, save, load routine until they were "happy" with the result. We favored instead giving players the ability to really craft characters according to how they wanted them to develop, not based on our random number rolls.
Will our characters in Wizardry® 8 have a safe place to store their belongings? Or will it be the same as Wizardry® 6 and 7, where items can get stolen or moved?
Dominus, for all its other problems, remains a safe place to leave your belongings. Creatures and NPCís will not steal items left lying around. From the design standpoint, too many of us feel that, while "realistic", it isnít all that fun to have your stuff disappear. Making things even worse is that many players interpret stolen items as disappearing item bugs. All in all, the peoples of Dominus are about as interested in the stuff you toss on the ground as you obviously were to have dumped it there in the first place ; ).
On to round two