Wizardry Online taking western beta applications

Wednesday, 26 September 2012 05:12 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Wizardry Online is the result of literally decades of misunderstanding between Japan and the west, and you’ll soon be able to try it for yourself.

You can sign up for the beta on the MMO’s website. Players will have access to Human, Elf, Gnome, Pokuru and Dwarf characters, and can choose from the Fighter, Priest, Mage and Thief classes.

I don’t know much about the franchise’s first MMO, but That VideoGame Blog reports it includes permadeath. If players fail to complete the second of two corpse runs, which get harder at high levels, they’ll lose their character and equipment forever – although you can buy items which help prevent this, using real world money.

If that’s not frightening enough, how about the integrated PvP which makes death even more likely? Happily, PvP is only allowed between characters of comparable levels, and player killers will be punished with bans from shops and guard attacks – although they’ll also be granted access to an area inaccessible to law-abiding citizens, which includes a rare item black market.

I haven’t even finished. Player killers are marked with bounties, meaning other players can off them without criminal consequences, and your loyal comrades have access to a “betrayal” function in order to turn on you. Parties can be up to 100 characters in size, too, which is a lot of opportunities for unpleasantness.

It sounds pretty dreamy, actually, especially if like me you geek out a bit about Wizardry. The important thing to know about the franchise is that it started as a western-developed, tongue-in-cheek poke at fantasy RPGs, but the jokes didn’t translate well from English to Japanese, resulting in an eye-opening number of Japanese-made sequels in the popular “fantasy is serious business” genre.

Wizardry Online launched in Japan late last year. Check out the E3 trailer below.