The last chapter of a three game story Wizardry 8 is quite possibly the best computer RPG ever made. With Wizardry 8, Sirtech upped the ante and was the first, and last to offer a full three 3D environment with more or less modern 3d controls. It is easily the best old school computer RPG ever made despite Might and Magic X making a strong play. All three of the most recent trilogy are on steam
and have been up to 85% off as a bundle. If they go on sale again, they're all worth picking up. This is one of my favorite games of all times and i have beaten it with many different party types in many different ways
Permalink to Individual posts
Part 1: The Lower Monastery
Part 2: The Upper Monastery
Part 3: Cormac McCarthy's Road to Arnika
Part 4: Arnika: City of Bomb Towers, City of Knife Bombs
Interlude: Why we don't play Ironman
Part 5: Revenge of the Squirrel People
Part 6: The Ratfather
Part 7: There and Back Again
Before we get into the plot and mechanics of the game there are two things you will need if you want to play this
The Things you Need to Play the Game
. Made by this guy
. This is a simple utility that lets you change the combat speed to speeds above those supported by the base game. This is very important because enemies move very slowly even if everything is sped up as fast as possible. Combat legitimately takes forever without this mod
2) Another combat speed mod
. Remember how i said that combat was terribly slow even if you sped things up. Well even if you speed things up fast fast as they will possibly go, animations are still super slow. So some guy took every combat animation in the game and removed half the frames. It will crash every once and a while but its worth it
3) Flamestryke's(RIP) Wizardry 8 page
. This is the definitive resource for more or less everything Wizardry 8. Its super useful and just about all Wizardry 8 information can be had from there or from links from there. Additionally you can look at some of the info here
for what is known about skills
Before we get to classes and races, skills
are the heart of Wizardry 8. Every action is governed by three things. Skills/Attribute score, your character level, the enemy character level. Sometimes we know the effect of increasing a skill by one point (we know what "sword" does for instance) and sometimes we don't (We don't know what critical strike does for instance). Skills which are locked cannot increase in anyway but can still be used. Skills which are unlocked increase by use and can be increased when you level up. As is the case in all skill based systems. More use is required to level up higher skills than lower skills.
Each skill has one to two "governing attributes". As far as we know these don't modify the strength of the skill but rather determine how fast the skill levels up by use. A few points of attribute can go a long way to making a character stronger simply because it might mean 5-10 points of extra skillup over the course of the game.
When you hit 100 in any attribute you also unlock a special skill which relates to that attribute. Strength unlocks Power Strike, Intelligence unlocks Power Cast, Piety unlocks Iron Will, Vitality Unlocks Iron Skin, Dexterity unlocks Reflection, and Senses unlock Eagle Eye
There are four types of classes in Wizardry 8. Specialists, Specialist Spellcasters, Hybrids, and Elite. Specialists are composed of fighters, rogues, bards, and gadgeteers. Specialist Casters are composed of Alchemists, Mages, Priests, and Psionics. Hybrids are are composed of Monks, Samurai, Lords, Valkyrie, and Rangers. The Elite are Bishops and Ninja. So long as a character meets the statistics requirements for the class they can freely change classes on their next level up. Elites take more XP to level up than Hybrids, which take more XP to level up than Specialist Casters, which take more XP to level up than Specialists.
Each class has its own set of skills which are unlocked, a single skill which gets a 25% bonus, and some sort of bonus ability. All of these are only unlocked while that characters last levelup was in that class however. This means that you can turn your Monk into a fighter and still cast Psion spells and still punch people super hard but you cannot get better at casting Psion spells and you lose access to the Monk damage reduction.
Fighter: Fighters are your standard spank and tank front liner. They get a lot of HP and Stamina per level. They get no unique skills but have access to all weapon types. Their 25% Bonus skill is Close Combat. They have a bonus attack option called "Berserk". For an attack penalty, defense penalty, and extra stamina use fighters do double damage. Many people don't use this early because their fighters aren't hitting, and then forget to turn it on once their fighters get a bunch of bonus to-hit equipment and skills (or are attacking disabled enemies) and lose out on the second highest single target damage dealer in the game.
Rogue: Rogues are the highest single target damage dealer in the game. Their bonus skill is "Locks and Traps" which is almost useless (unless you don't have a mage then its simply handy). Any time a rogue is using a melee weapon which has a "thrust" attack they backstab. Depending on the rogue level this will do between 1 to 4 times normal damage. This is why rogues are the king of damage. Many people build rogues to dual wield, but this is unnecessary. They gain access to pickpocket as well as "locks and traps". Rogues have access to stealth.
Bard: Bards play instruments which cast spells. Their bonus skill is "Communication" which is entirely useless. Like rogues they have access to "Locks and Traps" and "Pickpocket" as well as being the only class that has access to music. Music, in conjunction with bard levels, lets you play instruments which have magical effects. Magical effects like "putting enemies to sleep" or "casting haste" or "nuclear blast". Bards ability is "fast resting" which saves you some real world time when you're using the rest feature and is quite nice. While bards peak early in order to use the best instruments late in the game, both a high level (up to about 26) and high music are necessary. This generally leaves two ways to build a bard, as a pure bard, not deviating. Or as a hybrid, changing to fighter or rogue as soon as the bard has enough levels to accomplish the primary instruments they want to play well enough. Even as a pure bard, bards are no slouches when it comes to combat, so long as you decide to actually spend time swinging that sword that they should be swinging since bards should almost invariably max Strength first.
Gadgeteer: The Gadgeteer makes gadgets which are basically bard instruments that you have to construct yourself though they tend to have slightly better effects. The Gadgets bonus skill is "Modern Weapon" which is nice because as they level up they start making their "Omnigun" better. It starts out shooting rocks and by the end of the game it will shoot any type of ammuntion including entire throwing weapons or arrows while having the longest list of potential status effect inflictions in the game. The only thing it won't shoot is throwing stars. Gadgeteer's are the only class that can create double and triple-shot crossbows... which are as awesome as they sound. Unfortunately gadgeteers get a late start due to the weakness of the Omnigun early, the dearth of other modern weapons, and the knowledge requirement for finding components.
The Specialist Casters
All of the specialist casters are very similar, mainly differing based on what school of magic they have access to. Specialist casters bonus skill is always the core casting skill which ensures they're always better casters than Bishops and Hybrids.
Mage: Mages blow shit up. They have few CC spells but lots of single target and AoE damage and a few key buff spells. They gain 5% resistance to all types. Notable wizardry only spells include Enchanted Blade, X-ray, Missile Shield, Firestorm, and Concussion. Notable shared spells include Element Shield, Summon Elemental, Remove Curse. Interestingly Mages are not the highest damage casters in the game. However, they are the first that can access Power Cast, and they have an easy time leveling up the individual magic schools due to large selections of spells in each as well as strong and important buffs which makes them very easy to develop.
Alchemist: Alchemists blow ship up and make potions. They have a worse selection of single target damage skills compared to Mages, but a more potent selection of AoE Damage skills. Notable Alchemist only spells include Death Cloud, Draining Cloud, Acid Bomb, and Boiling Blood. Notable shared spells include Element Shield, Summon Elemental, Resurrection, Chameleon, Purify Air, and Knock. Alchemists can mix potions (two light potions ->Med potion) which makes their primary skill extremely easy to level up while also providing as much gold as you could ever possibly use.
Psionic: Psions are masters of the mental realm. They have a few good spells in other areas but they can be hard to make use of. They have a wide selection of important buffs and debuffs. Notable Psionic only spells include Haste, eye for an Eye, Prismatic Chaos, Prismatic Ray, Might to Magic, and Hypnotic Lure. Notable shared spells include Soul Shield and Chameleon. Psions are immune to fear and other mental conditions like insanity.
Priests: Priests buff and heal. Don't let that fool you though they have a couple of really good AoE and Single target nukes. Notable Priest only spells are Resoration, Magic Screen, Armor Plate, and Guardian Angel. Notable shared spells include purify air, remove curse, resurrection and Sould Shield. Priests can turn undead (which is very powerful and scales on the priests level) as well as pray for a miracle which gives a more powerful random effect as the priest levels up. Priests have slightly better offensive and defensive equipment options compared to the rest of the specialist mages.
Hybrids aren't really a "mix" of two classes but are something a bit different. Once they're level 5 they get access to a single type of magic school and progress as if they were a specialist caster that is 4 levels lower. This means that they can be build as casters primarily and martial second, or martial first and casting second. Both methods are fraught with peril and its easy to mess things up.
Samurai: Samurai's bonus skill is swords. They have access to some armor and some swords (katana type) and have the potential to get the weapon with the highest kill % in the game on it (random drop). At level 5, Samurai gain access to spells from the mage book with all of the unique and shared spell advantages. The special ability of the samurai is "Lightning Strike" randomly Samurai will attack a whole bunch of times against a single enemy. No one is sure what precisely causes this to trigger, but its suspected it has to do with speed and the level of the samurai. Samurai as swordsmen rely heavily on the critical strike skill.
Monk: The Monks skill bonus is martial arts. They are the only class to have access to this skill besides ninja, which increases the to-hit, damage, and number of unarmed strikes significantly. Monks will attack far more than any other class and effectively dual wield without having to use to dual wield skill. At level 5 Monks gain access to spells from the psionic book, and all of the unique and shared spell advantages. The special advantage of the Monk is damage reduction. Monks as fighters rely heavily on the critical strike skill. Monks have access to stealth.
Ranger: The Ranger's skill bonus is Ranged Combat. At level 5 they gain access to alchemist spell with all of the unique and shared spell advantages. Additionally they gain access to the ability to mix potions. This makes rangers the easiest hybrid class to develop spellcasting for. The special ability of the Ranger is ranged criticals. Instead of using the critical strike skill this procs from the Ranged Combat skill. Ranger's as damage dealers are heavily dependent on these critical strike proc's. They will not do more damage than a fighter who has an equivalent amount of points in bow/ranged/eagle eye.
Lord: The Lord's skill bonus is Dual Wield. At level 5 they gain access to Priest spells with all of the unique and shared spell advantages that confers. Their special ability is health regeneration, which is not very valuable except if you're resting though it is half decent. Lords do not get access to critical strike and fall behind in effectiveness compared to fighters or the other hybrids which do. If you build a lord it should be primarily as a caster. This is perfectly fine due to the fact that many priests will have little to do in many situations. Lords can only be male
Valkyrie: The Valkyrie's skill bonus is Polearms. At level 5 they gain access to Priest spells with all of the unique and shared spell advantages that confers. Their special ability is Cheat Motherfucking Death. Its as awesome as it sounds. Sometimes when a Valk takes lethal damage or an instant death spell they just don't die. Like Lords they do not get access to critical strike and so fall behind in effectiveness compared to other hybrids or fighters and so should be primarily built as a caster. Valkyrie are pretty much strictly better than Lord's. Valkyrie can only be female
There are only two Elite Classes and they're both pretty unique
Ninja: The bonus skill of a Ninja is Critical Strike. The special ability is "auto penetrate" for thrown weapons and critical strike skill applying to thrown weapons. They're very limited in equipment and become alchemists at level 5 just like ranger does, they also get access to martial arts, lock picking, and pick pocketing. Playing a ninja is very difficult because they have the slowest XP progression in the game and because of their limited equipment. Strangely they're best suited for a solo play through because of the confluence of their skills and their reliance on critical strikes
Bishops: The bonus skill of bishops is Artifacts. The special ability of Bishops is that they're every caster type in the game at once starting from level 1. Bishops require a lot of planning to get right. If you cast a spell which could be from two different books of magic (say a mage and alchemist spell) only the skill which is highest is credited the use. This means that its very easy to leave one or two of the casting types behind which negates the very large advantage of a Bishop(that is, being able to let the bishop be the sole buffing / offensive spellcaster for a large group).
There are 11 different races that you can play. They're all more or less interchangeable bundles of stats and resistance bonuses which only make certain class/race combinations slightly better (get to bonus skills faster/multi-class easier/get race specific equipment)
Notable Races with regards to Mechanics
Dwarves: Get bonus DR
Elves: If you import with the Elven bow, only Elves can use it and its pretty decent
Fairy: 1/4 weight limit compared to normal. Bonus Mana Regen. Heavily restricted equipment. Best weapon in the game is Ninja Fairy only and also a random drop. They also get +2 AC and a limited on equipped weight.
Lizardman: Slower Magic power recovery
Dracon: Breathes Acid (on demand low damage AoE attack, good early, but quickly useless)
Mook: Get access to the best guaranteed drop in the game. An extended range sword with 30% KO and good damage. One is guaranteed on plot, a total of 3 are guaranteed in the game. Makes Mook Fighters easily the best fighters in the game.(they're good without it too). In fact the wookies are just freaking great at a lot of stuff
Generally there are three types of parties in Wizardry, small parties, medium parties, and large parties. These stem from the need to meet three special considerations which effect the entire party
: At high levels of stealth some enemies will not be able to target the character who has stealth. This is not a preference setting so that they will choose between two characters with stealth but an actual removal from their ability to target. If everyone in the party has stealth many enemies will simply be unable to do anything. If everyone has stealth this negates the need to have certain buffs active
: Critical Strike is the most hard to understand aspect of this game. Besides the raw value the most important controlling factor in critical strikes is the relative level of the character to the enemy. What most people don't realize is that enemies spawn based on the level of the highest character in a party. So parties which have specialists and hybrids significantly reduce the power of their hybrids if they do not intentionally slow the progress of their specialists and casters.
: Wizardry 8 is filled with AoE disables and instant kills. A disabled party is more or less a dead party and that cannot be allowed to happen. There are two key combat buffs which prevent this. Soul Shield and Element Shield. Each gives 10 resistance/level to the relevant areas capping out at 70 resistance. Additionally there are non-combat buffs which are helpful but not entirely necessary. Magic Screen gives up to 35 resist/all. Enchanted Blade makes it much easier to hit enemies. Missile Shield and Armorplate make your party much more resilient. You will absolutely need access to Soul Shield and Element Shield on high speed characters if you don't have everyone have stealth
So we can see how the parties build out of that. We have the 1-2 person parties which are combinations of Ninja and Monk's as well as the specific option of Samurai/Valkyrie. Ninja and monk have stealth and crit, if combined in the same team the monk should hold back his levels to equal that of the ninja. Together they get access to both buffs but only the utility buffs of Chameleon. Solo ninja and solo monk are totally viable. Solo Samurai is possible but hard. Samurai/Valk get access to most of the utility buffs as well as Soul Shield/Element Shield
As soon as we start adding characters we will notice that we want/need to balance the damage dealing/critical strike aspect of our parties with magic. Generally this means that a party of Hybrids is optimal for a medium sized party.
Once we start adding more characters we run into the critical strike problem. With 6 people its probably faster to just kill things than to rely on critical strikes. So you start trading hybrids for specialists and should end up with, roughly, only Bisops and Rangers as the non-specialist classes. Optimal parties include Psion/Mage/Priest+3 Fighters/Rogues. Bard/Gadgeteer/Bishop + 3 Fighters/Rogues and similar compositions.
This LP will be a screenshot LP. The game will be played on Expert with the possible exception of Gregor(because fuck Gregor). I will be importing characters to show off the unique import items but will be remaking an entire new party from scratch. I won't be keeping any of the import items unless the party has a ranger (can you guess what I will be keeping? Hint, its not the Elven Bow).
Here we get to decide on the party I will be using. I am partial one of four parties none of which i have run before. I will not be playing with a bard, gadgeteer, or bishop since i almost always play with those
Fighter/Rogue/Rogue/Psion/Mage/Priest: Probably the strongest party you could build so long as you don't mind resting to regain MP. The Fighter and two rogues dump out massive melee and ranged DPR while the Psion/Mage/Priest have every buff you need and enough AoE to level a city block. In this set the Mage and the Priest max out their speed in order to get Element Shield/Soul shield up. Everyone else will stay at 55 speed so the psion can cast haste to knock them up to the max of 125. The downside is that this has no crits, and crits are fun. Since all of the casters are specialist there will be almost no skill grinding on this, which is super nice.
Samurai/Monk/Valkyrie/Ranger: Lots of crits. All made as true hybrids though focusing on buffs instead of damage (not that i won't use damage spells, but it will take a while). This is probably the hardest party to develop and will require some grinding skills which if i do will be done off screen.
Ninja/Monk: Full stealth, full protection, lots of crits. Almost assuredly the strongest duo party so long as you remember to never level up the Monk before the Ninja. This require some skill grinding but the grinding is less than half of the amount of the 4 party due to how fast Alchemy goes up.
Samurai/Valkyrie: No Stealth, Full protection. Half crits. Probably the hardest run i would be willing to playthrough. This requires a good amount of skill grinding. A little more than half of the full four hybrid.