Once again Linda, many thanks for taking the time to answer our questions regarding Wizardry 8®.
(answers in bold, links to the original questions)
1. Summoned help
Will there be any kind of display or indicators showing how our summoned/created help is faring in battle? In Wizardry 7, we had a few ways to "call for help" (i.e. the Illusion and Create Life spells) but had little indication as to how our helpers were faring.
Though we did get messages stating that our "helpers" may have been hit for damage, drained, paralyzed, or otherwise afflicted. After a few rounds of battle, it was easy to lose track of how many there were, how many were still active and how many were ready to kick the proverbial bucket.
Assuming Wizardry® 8 will also have ways for us to "call for help", will we have any display or better indication of how our little helpers are faring? And since this is now a 3D environment, will we be able to see our helpers fighting along side of us?
Yes, in Wizardry 8, your summoned companions are physically present in the world and so you will see them attack and be attacked. They appear as a green dot on your radar (as does anything that is friendly towards you). Like any being in the world, you can right click on them to bring up an info panel that will give you information about health or any conditions that are active. And not only can you summon help, I’m sure you’ll also love turn-coating monsters to get them to fight for you side ; ).
2. Oh say can you see
One of the hallmarks of the Wizardry® series has always been the first-person view. With Wizardry® 8 moving into a 3D environment, the question comes up: What happens when Monsters/Attackers sneak up behind us or from the sides?
From some of the screen shots, it appears we will be provided a radar-like viewfinder that will show our party formation. But what we really want to know is how will combat be joined? Do we manually have to "turn and face" the opponents? If so, does everyone turn in place or does the whole party rotate in formation? Or perhaps, can we choose which party member our viewpoint is based on?
The small radar will show you icons for nearby items, monsters, NPC’s etc…. I’m not sure I totally understand what you mean when you inquire how will combat be joined so let me just give you a general explanation about how combat starts.
Things move around in real-time, as do you. When in combat, movement is handled in rounds and, since a round is a small segment of time, you can only move so far in each round (you can choose to run or walk which does affect how far you can go). When in continuous mode, rounds elapse automatically so your actions and the monsters happen in one continuous stream.
Monsters will initiate combat based on 2 things: their hostility towards you, and the range at which they can act. You can also choose to enter combat and take actions against things in the distance. Monsters that might be nearby may choose to join in to a battle in progress, and of course they’ll do what they need to do to try to get the upper hand. It can be very deadly when you are surrounded so where you choose to stand and fight can really make a big difference!
Party members will automatically turn and face the appropriate direction based on the direction their target is in, or the direction they are being attacked from . Their "facing" is represented in the formation window. When you choose to "move" in combat, your formation is respected and characters will keep their position and facing.
Characters will automatically target nearby opponents for you although you can change their target easily by clicking on another opponent. To look in another direction, you just turn as you would normally do in realtime. Should you select another target that lies in another direction, your character’s facing will adjust itself. Of course, your position in the formation, and the positions of the monsters do affect what you can physically attack. Monsters that are in range will highlight green when your mouse is passed over them, while those out of range will be shown in red.
There are controls for you to adjust how the camera behaves in the "resolution" phase. You can choose to have it pan or snap to the action, or be stationary at all times. When the pan or snap is enabled, the camera will automatically show you the monster(s) attacking you, or being attacked by you. Should you be looking around, the snap or pan is overridden. You can also use spacebar to "hold" the camera in position. (The override and hold functionality is important when you are in continuous mode since the "resolution" phase is happening continuously and you choose your actions while other actions are going on).
I’m not sure if this gives you a decent picture of how things will work but I will add that combat has really come together extremely well. Of course we spent all kinds of hours discussing the combat design, and we were happy with the design on paper. But the proof always comes in the implementation and I’d be lying to say that things always feel right when implemented. There’s often a little niggling worry – will this be fun? and now that we’re close the end I can happily I can say that, yup, it’s a heck of a lot of fun actually.
3. Gorrors for Wizardry® 8?
Will there be a "Gorrors" type section in Wizardry® 8? Part of the incredible replayability for many players has been the challenge of defeating all of the Gorrors monsters in Wizardry® 7. Well, maybe not just defeating, but defeating without any characters dying in the process. As GlennRN writes:
"I keep a savegame of a level 50 non super team (no class changes) at the door to the Thing, decked out in their nonhacked finest. Sometimes I hack in items, sometimes not, but I go in about once a month at least. Always a good way to kill an hour or so!".
So, how about it? Do you have a similar gauntlet for us to run in Wizardry® 8?
Wizardy 8 certainly has its notable super-deadly creatures but it’s not exactly set up like the Gorrors in Crusaders. There are what you’d call boss creatures but these guys are things you’ll have to defeat vs. the Gorrors which were basically optional. In the final level of the game however, there are creatures you may or may not encounter that would present a Gorror like challenge.
4. NPC's: required and number allowed
It seems a common theme of many online games today is the inclusion of special quests, only available to those playing in multiplayer mode. We know (and most of us are grateful) that Wizardry® 8 will not feature multiplayer capability. But, will it include any special quests or sub-plots that require us to incorporate specific NPCs into our humble party? Perhaps more importantly, will we be required to inlcude/use any NPCs to complete the game?
Also regarding NPCs, we have heard that we can include up to 2 of them with our party of 6 adventurers. Will we perhaps be able to add more NPCs if we have fewer party members? Or are the "NPC slots" fixed and limited to 2?
You will be allowed to begin the game with fewer than 6 characters (though this is something you’d do for a real challenge), however the NPCs in your party at a given time are limited to 2 – this is a game about your characters after all ; ). There are special quests and subplot events that are connected to particular NPCs but you can choose to complete them or not.
5. The Story – linearity
One of our hopes for Wizardry® 8 is that the non-linearity of the story will be maintained, in the Wizardry tradition, especially as it was in Crusaders of the Dark Savant. For instance, Jimbo writes:
"In CoDS, my party is currently half-way through Nyctalinth, Witch Cave, Rattkin Ruins and general wilderness bashing, all at the same time. I love the way I would do about half of Munkharama, get stuck, go do Orkogre, do a bit more of Munkharama, get stuck again, go off and do some of Ukpyr, come back to Munkharama, and in the interim have gone through Old City.
What I'm trying to ask is, is the game still essentially nonlinear? How much? When you get down to it, the *only* linear 'plot' component of CoDS was needing to get the Legend Map before you could finish the game - the order you do the other 'sub-quests' was entirely up to you.
This in my opinion is the main feature that leads to the Wizardry® 7's re-playability, which is why it's the classic we all know and love."
So, what can you tell us about the linearity, or perhaps more to the point, the non-linearity of Wizardry® 8?
In some ways you could say it is both linear AND non-linear. As a player, you have some degree of flexibility as to where you choose to travel to in the world. There are also multiple beginnings that reflect whether you are importing a party from Crusaders or starting a new party. This impacts who you meet and when, so not all players will encounter things in exactly the same way. In that way it is non-linear.
But it is story-driven and therefore there is an overall progression of events that is more linear than non-linear. It’s always a matter of balance between giving you the freedom of exploration and providing interesting story-driven content.
6. Special Abilities
"The more we learn, the more we want to learn."
Looking at the list of Special Abilities (under the Classes section of the Wizardry 8® home page, some questions have been raised, probably too many to list them all here. Could you perhaps give us a brief explanation of some of these new abilities that stand out as interesting or worthy of more verbiage:
The Ninja’s chameleon powers allow him to conceal himself in shadows, thereby increasing his chances that the monsters will look right past him when choosing their targets. What’s changed from Crusaders: There used to be a combat choice to Hide. When hidden, characters would not be attacked and if they attacked, they had the ability to backstab, doing extra damage. There is no longer a Hide combat action. The Ninja has an innate ability to conceal himself and avoid attack. The Rogue can with great agility, sneak, leap or otherwise attack opponents from behind… his special ability is backstabbing opponents at anytime.
- Ninja - Chameleon Powers
- Fighter - Can go Berserk
- Bishop & Priest - Dispel Undead
- Samurai – Fearless
You can choose the Berserk attack for your fighters that basically means they attack with cold-blooded frenzy no matter what weapon they are fighting with. While the attack might be avoided, should you connect and do damage, you’ll be doing some NASTY damage to your opponent. What’s changed from Crusaders: The weapon dictated attack modes and some weapons would allow you to choose to Melee (which was a basically a berserk attack). In Wiz 8 the weapon you fight with automatically determines the type of attack. Your fighters though have this special berserk ability no matter what weapon they fight with.
Dispel Undead is basically just that. Calling upon the favors of the gods, your Priest or Bishop can try to destroy a foul being of the undead. If the gods answer their call, nearby undead creatures will take damage and possibly become afflicted with some other conditions as well.
Finally, the Samurai will never feel fear, either from magical or other means. When a character is afraid, there is a chance they will be paralyzed with fear and be unable to act in combat. Even if they do act, they certainly don’t do so with their full potential. The samurai is immune to this condition.