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Great Hierophant

Transfering Characters in RPGs

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One of the best features of an RPG series is the ability to meaningfully transfer characters from game to game. Transfers from a game to an expansion should be taken for granted. By "meaningfully" I mean there should be some reward for such a transfer. I will begin by analyzing what happens in several transitions.

 

Wizardry I - Wizardry II

Wizardry or Wizardry II - Wizardry III

This isn't so much as a transfer as a requirement, but I hear that the second scenario becomes perhaps easy if you transfer a well-developed party. On the other end of the scale, Wizardry III gives you very little incentive to transfer developed characters as they are only the descendant's of the developed characters and start at the bottom. Some versions of Wizardrys I and II allow you to transfer your items to the second game, some don't. I consider Wizardry II (at least on the computer) to be really an expansion pack than a standalone game because you can't play it without importing characters from Wizardry I (unless you cheat.) Same goes for Wizardry III, although by that time there was no reason to keep players from using the third game to create new characters except greed.

 

Wizardry VI - Wizardry VII

Wizardry VII - Wizardry VIII

In both cases, there are some minor benefits from transferring, but you are pretty much restarted at the beginning.

 

Might and Magic IV - V

Whatever the original idea was, these games have been combined into one title, World of Xeen and are essentially two halves of one huge game. You can use your party to switch between Clouds and Darkside, so it is among the most favorable of transfers.

 

Ultima IV - Ultima V

Ultima V - Ultima VI

I don't know if there is any real benefit to transfer as the statistics used in these games vary, moreso from IV to V than from V to VI, but I doubt it.

 

Pool of Radiance to Hillsfar or Curse of the Azure Bonds

Curse of the Azure Bonds to Hillsfar or Secret of the Silver Blades

Secret of the Silver Blades to Pools of Darkness

It is said that the transfer from Pool to Curse is very generous, as in "monty haul" generosity. Also, you can use Hillsfar as a training ground for individual characters between Pool and Curse. That is offset by the increased number of character classes available in Curse and the later Gold Box games. The transfer from Curse to Secret requires some pruning of excessively high levels for game balance. I don't know what happens from Secret to Pools but as Secret is not known for its excessiveness I doubt that transfer is as arbitrary as the last time. In all games, you can't keep your weapons from game to game.

 

Baldur's Gate to Baldur's Gate II

As you can get close to the low level limits in Baldur's Gate, even with the expansion pack, your experience points are not significantly altered in the sequel. But according to that old standby, you lose all your items but can recover a few of them semi-randomly. Only the main character can be imported, not any of the NPCs who you developed in the first game and are available in the second game.

 

Quest for Glory Series

You can carry your character from either the 16-color Quest for Glory game or the 256-color remake through the rest of the games in the series, even Quest for Glory V! Its a bit better to import from the original QG1 than the remake because you can earn some magical ability in the earlier version. But importing a powerful character into QG2 can make the game too easy. I don't know if that applies or not to the later games, but I haven't heard anyone complain either way.

 

Eye of the Beholder Series

By far the most generous when it comes to importing, Eye 2 allows you to import every thing except quest items from Eye 1 and the same goes for Eye 3. The difficulty of the sequels encourages importing, even though Eye 1 boasts some very powerful items.

 

As the above samples show, many companies fail to get transitioning right. Either they give too little of an incentive, annoying previous fans or they give too much and discourage new fans. Importing should make the game a little easier overall but the non-imported game should not be so much more difficult as to discourage new players.

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I could have sworn there was a thread about this a while back, but I can't seem to find it anywhere... maybe I was thinking of a different forum or something.

 

Anyways, the most memorable use of transferring characters for me was the SSI Gold Box RPG games released back in the 80's. There were two different series of games, the Forgotten Realms series and the Dragonlance series... both of which took place in different worlds with slightly different rules and different items, so you couldn't transfer your characters between series, but you were encouraged to play your characters through multiple games within the series. It was a little restrictive though, in that you could only transfer your characters from earlier games to later games... so if you wanted to take the same party through both Curse of the Azure Bonds and Pools of Radiance, you HAD to play Pools of Radiance first, because you could import from Pools to Curse, but not the other way around. I guess as they added new stuff, there wasn't any way to let you use it in earlier games. I always thought this was a great idea though, because it made the games similar to actual pencil & paper D&D games where you could buy a new adventure book and play through it with your old characters. It's too bad they don't still do stuff like that.

 

Somewhere in there, there was also the non-RPG game Hillsfar that would actually let you transfer from/to both Curse and Pools and let you take individual characters through some action sequences and other strange stuff that was not at all like the rest of the RPG's in the series. Kind of an odd diversion to shake things up a bit.

 

--Zero

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There was a big advantage when importing characters in the Bards Tale series. You got all the experience and most of the spells and items from previous games.

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There was a big advantage when importing characters in the Bards Tale series. You got all the experience and most of the spells and items from previous games.

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You could also trasfer those charactors over to Dragon Wars, although the transfer was inexact. (Some items and magic would still be there, but not all.)

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I wish I could find out what each of the eight classes from Wizardry became when transferring into The Bard's Tale; Tales of the unknown.  I believe fighters become warriors, thieves become rogues, ninjas become hunters, mages become conjurers, and lords probably become paladins; but what about priests, bishops, and samurai?

In The Bard's Tale; TotU, monks make the best fighters.  It would be cool if Samurai became monks, but I have no idea if they do.

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I have not yet finished the first, much less the second, but the Xenosaga series (on the PS 2) allows the importation of characters from the previous game. I am unclear on what the benefits are.

 

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You could import characters from Ravenloft: Strahd's Possession to Ravenloft: Stone Prophet.  It didn't work out great for me though, because there are no wizard NPCs in Stone Prophet, so I had to go through the whole game without one.  It didn't stop me from completing (or enjoying) the  game, but kind of annoying.

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You could import a character from AR:City to AR:Dungeon - of course in the initial release you ended up seeing the FBI :)

 

There was almost no benefit to importing as you were basically "reborn"

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