Once again, my thanks to Linda Currie (answers in bold) for taking the time to answer our latest questions, listed below:

Question 1- Ranged/Thrown Weapons

One of the pitfalls of using projectile attack weapons (arrows, bullets, stones, darts, shurikens and such) in Wizardry® 7, was having to go out of your way to restock your characters.  Conversely, many people thought that ranged attack had an unbalancing effect in Baldur’s Gate.

We have heard of (and are looking forward to) many changes to almost every facet of your upcoming game.  What kind of changes can we expect to see in regards to Ranged Combat and restocking our supply of Ranged/Thrown Weapons?  (i.e. Will we be able to retrieve any of our spent ammunition?)

Ranged attacks have taken on a lot more significance in Wizardry 8.  It can be a real kick to protect a character with ranged weapons in the center of your formation and let him pick off targets at a distance.  However, it’s not a situation where you can just brainlessly wipe everything out at range (e.g. bows and ranged attacks are not so powerful as to let you do this) nor are the hand-to-hand brute force attackers minimized in any way.  Ammunition is used up when you fire at range but basic ammunition, (e.g. plain arrows, simple sling stones, etc...) will be available in reasonably abundant supply and be common enough that you don’t feel that you have to “go our of your way” to re-supply. Trust me, having to run around after a battle to pick up your arrows would end up feeling like major micromanagement.  Unlike Wizardry 7, monsters in Wiz 8 will drop items on a more regular basis.  The deadlier ammunition types will be more rare and so you may want to think twice before burning one of those viper arrows on the simple rat wandering around in the distance.

Question 2- Ranged Spells

Keeping on the topic of Ranged combat, how will this affect the magic spells? Will there be lessened effects for distance?

Well, range is of course a major factor in spell casting as is the way it targets creatures.  Generally speaking, the effect (e.g. damage, duration, etc…) of a spell is controlled by the power level at which you choose to cast it.  The range is a component of the actual spell itself where different spells have different casting ranges. You get feedback whenever casting a spell about which targets are valid and which aren’t.  So long as the target is within the chosen spell’s range, the damage done isn’t affected by the distance from the target.  It’s magic after all.

Question 3- Races

As previously stated, we know there are many changes coming in Wizardry® 8.  You have recently given us some insight as to what changes are currently planned for the various character classes.

In previous interviews, someone recalled reading that each race was also being “worked over” and being given its own individuality -- could we get a brief rundown of how the races will shape up in W8?

The work that’s been done on races is one of balancing versus any drastic change or introduction of other characteristic.  There are 11 races to choose from, each of which has had its base statistics and resistances reviewed and modified to be balanced and made to better model the race’s characteristics.

Question 4- Personality

Many of us are really interested in the Personality aspect of Wizardry® 8. Will we pick one personality trait, or will we pick one trait and then get to pick a related qualifying trait? A few of us seem to recall previous articles that said there would be qualifiers. Also, can you tell us how many different personalities we will have to choose from?

You will choose a personality for each of your characters from 9 different personality categories.  Personality is the primary definition of your character voice and each voice has a unique attitude towards things and of course a unique script.  Within each category there are basically 2 male and 2 female voices, again, each with a unique view of the world so to speak.  However, unlike a game where you play “ready made” characters, these characters are of your own creation.  So we’ve decided to let you change your chosen voice should you find your initial selection is not exactly how your see the personality of your character.

Question 5- “Editability”

Whether it be due to a corrupt copy of a saved game file, dissatisfaction with a current aspect of your character(s), or simply boredom with the sound track or character portraits, Wizardry® 7 gave us something many of us feel was invaluable … “editability”.

Can you tell us if the picture and sound file formats been selected yet?  And perhaps more importantly, will the savegame format be as “edit-friendly” as previous Wizardry® titles?

Character portraits use a proprietary format; sound files use MP3’s.  Internally, we have discussed implementing a system where the player can create a portrait and use a utility that we’d provide to convert their image.  For the speech side of it, we’d include a basic script which would spec out what the content of various lines and define the naming specifications that the player would be required to follow to incorporate their own character voices.  Now, we really want to do this but I have to admit that there is a pretty high chance that we will not be able to get it implemented in time.  If so, it’d be something we’d look to provide in a patch.  So ultimately, we’ll try, really, but we can’t give you any guarantees.

As far as editability goes, I guess it depends on how good a job we do encrypting stuff… We can’t stop you but we can make it more challenging (it’s part of our fun <g>).  I’m sure those who are knowledgeable will be able to do things to their saves that we might rather they didn’t, and “c’est la vie” I suppose.  Of course, there are downsides to editing saved games.  We always worry that players rob themselves of the experience that we’ve worked a long time to create, that they may miss things, or end up having a less than satisfying experience.  And of course, from a standpoint of support, it’s impossible for anyone to provide support where someone starts experiencing problems after having edited a game.

Third time is a charm