Top F2P MMORPG 2012 Series: Permadeath in Wizardry Online

Yes, you read the title of this post right. There is one free to play MMORPG scheduled to launch in 2012 that is reportedly planning to implement one crazy idea – permadeath. Wizardry Online is the brainchild of Japanese MMO developer Gamepot, makers of some popular and very successful MMO titles such as Pangya (a unique MMO golf game), Cabal Online,  La Tale and  Fantasy Earth Zero, a re-launch of Square Enix’s massively multiplayer online action game.

wizardry online permadeath mmorpg

Can permadeath work in an MMORPG? We will find out in 2012

Wizardy Online – hardcore role-players’ heaven?

Setting: Classic medieval fantasy D&D fantasy
Status: Currently being beta tested in Japan
North American and European release: 2012
Pricing: Confirmed free to play

Wizardry Online is the next-generation incarnation of the legendary Wizardry series that has been called the godfather of the computer role-playing game (RPG) genre. Wizardry first came to computers in the early 1980s, and the popularity of its “Dungeons & Dragons”-style gameplay led to the creation of countless sequels, spin-offs and collections across multiple platforms.

In Japan this series is so popular that there have been numerous spin-offs such as light novels, manga (Japanese graphic novels), pen-and-paper RPGs and even an original animation video (anime OAV). This series was a strong influence on such famous Japanese RPG titles as Dragon Warrior and Final Fantasy. However, it is not as well-known in the West.

Here’s a quote from the official website:

“Wizardry Online hearkens back to the original allure of the groundbreaking Wizardry RPG series, but brings an updated flare for modern gamers,” said Shuhei Ueda, president of Gamepot. “Now, for the first time ever, players around the world can step into the impressive action and captivating lore of this world in a free-to-play, online format. We’re confident the return to hardcore role-playing elements will be a shot in the arm for gamers looking for a new challenge in the genre.”

So far so good, right? Not so fast, according to the official press releases “Wizardry Online features permanent death (permadeath), in which player characters can be removed from the game upon dying, creating a more immersive experience.”

Dang! That’s really hardcore role-playing right there.

Update: Oct. 17, 2011 – commercial service of Wizardy Online is now live in Japan with more than 100,000 sign-ups on the first day of testing alone. Permadeath confirmed and the release date of the English version for the US and Europe is still set for 2012.