In my introductory post, speaking about the difficulties of balancing CRPGs with my busy schedule, I wrote, "If my problem was that CRPGs were competing with my to do list, they would become part of my to do list." My success in this area was made manifest over the last few days. Traveling on both pleasure and business, I didn't have any time to play, let alone blog, and (absurdly) I started to worry about how far beind in CRPG playing I was falling. I'm back, thankfully, and continuing to try my hand at Wizardry.
Through some experimentation, I figured out how the game's "save" works. Basically, every time you end your session and leave the game, it saves whatever has happened to your party through that point, including if your entire party is dead. You cannot choose when to save and, therefore, when to reload, so death is more-or-less permanent (more on that in a sec). The really odd thing: Wizardry saves the game even if I force DOSBox to quit instead of leaving through the normal method. How does it do this? Isn't forcing DOSBox to quit essentially like killing the power?
Whatever the mechanism, the only way to preserve your save game, apparently, is to make a copy of the save file before you go adventuring. That way you can restore it if things go ill. That would be cheating, though, and cheating is against my rules.
But here's the thing that makes Wizardry unique among role-playing games: when your characters die, their bodies remain in the dungeon, and another party can "find" them! I discovered this quite by accident when my third party wandered into the room where the second party had been killed, chose to (I)nspect (I thought it was for secret doors) and found their brutalized corpses.
|"Let's just check over here and see if there's any treas--....oh, yuck."|
Apparently, I can recover these dead characters, get their equipment, and take their bodies up to the temple for resurrection. Unfortunately, this only helps to the extent that your new characters can survive long enough to reach the dead ones. And by that time they're probably about the same level as the dead ones, so you don't need the dead ones anymore anyway.
Still, a strategy becomes clear. I must create double the number of characters as the party will accommodate (6). Every time I leave the dungeon, I'll rotate a few out and a few more in, keeping their experience levels as equal as possible. That way, if one party is slaughtered, the other can go rescue them. Unlike Rogue, I won't need to keep starting over at level 1.
I thought you might be curious what the gameplay looks like, so I took a movie of about 4.5 minutes. When you see the cursor moving around, I'm not actually clicking on anything, of course--the game is all keyboard-driven. I'm just trying to give you a sense of what options I'm choosing.
I'll keep playing away at Wizardry and let you know what other cool things I find.