Elemental: War of Magic

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Re: Elemental: War of Magic

Postby emceng » Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:38 pm UTC

I hope so. I've wanted a good Master of Magic sequel, and E:WOM was a decent attempt. There were just way too many flaws. I liked the concept, and they did quite a few things right. There just was too much wrong. Hopefully since I bought E:WOM around release I'll get the new one for free.
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Re: Elemental: War of Magic

Postby Vaniver » Mon Jan 23, 2012 5:40 pm UTC

If I remember correctly, I pre-ordered E:WOM and so have the beta of E:FA and will get it free once it releases. The beta, so far, feels very similar to E:WOM but has been crashing (unsurprising, given that it's a beta) and so I haven't gotten far enough to make a strong comparison. (Rereading the thread, almost everything I wrote about E:WOM was positive, which is surprising to me because I remember being disappointed by the game. Maybe that was just after I had gotten to know it well enough.)
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Re: Elemental: War of Magic

Postby Jupiter » Wed Jan 25, 2012 2:58 am UTC

I hope Stardock manages to fix the game, I got Elemental in 2010, so I should get the beta showing up to download, but it's not available yet.
Please please, make the game what it should be !!!
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Re: Elemental: War of Magic

Postby Vaniver » Wed Jan 25, 2012 3:53 am UTC

Main impressions from the beta:

Hero creation seems a bit better. Leveling is a bit more interesting (you pick a trait from a randomly selected list of 5, based on your current traits). It's still difficult to get a good sense of the difference between Kingdoms and Empires. It's not obvious from in-game which buildings are Kingdom-only and which ones are Empire-only, and some of the choices have odd implications.

For example, there are rivers now, which are pretty cool, and river buildings, which can be built on them. Both have access to the dock, but it looks like only the Kingdom have access to the watermill. The consequence, though, is that Kingdom cities can span rivers (because each city building needs to be adjacent to another city building) but Empire players can't (because the river is a full tile, and city buildings only take up a quarter of a tile). That seems too bizarre to be intentional.

City specialization is now unlocking one of five possible buildings at each level, not getting a flat bonus.

Summoning is way weaker / requires leveling up to do. Starting your hero off with a hunter's shortbow seems to make a huge difference in your ability to kill things early on. Most monsters have only 2 move, and so I find my fast heroes and mounted archers can kite pretty much everything.

Random start locations bother me way more in this game than they do in others, but they also bother me in others. They got rid of lost libraries as resources (now they're treasure chests that give you research), which makes it take less restarts to find a suitable start location, but I wish you had more control over what you have access to at the start.

Overall, the game is better, but I think it's still fairly weak. We'll see as the beta continues / I play it more.
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Re: Elemental: War of Magic

Postby Coin » Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:19 am UTC

Thanks for keeping us updated!
I've been following the discussions on their forum and get a similar impression to what you are giving me:
Details!
They have a general idea of what they want to do, but there are too few of them to find and fix all the little details, like the bridging rivers thing.
If they have the time and money this Beta will help them find things like this and hopefully fix them, but I think they have a long way ahead of them.
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Re: Elemental: War of Magic

Postby Jupiter » Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:20 pm UTC

Coin wrote:Thanks for keeping us updated!
I've been following the discussions on their forum and get a similar impression to what you are giving me:
Details!
They have a general idea of what they want to do, but there are too few of them to find and fix all the little details, like the bridging rivers thing.
If they have the time and money this Beta will help them find things like this and hopefully fix them, but I think they have a long way ahead of them.


Hmm, not sure if it's that bad as you think, I have been following their forums too, and lots of people there are excited about this release, and I see positive comments there.
I know those are all stardock fanboys, but still, when I bought the game this same people were saying that the game was a total crap.
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Re: Elemental: War of Magic

Postby emceng » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:40 pm UTC

Just got a beta invite that starts tomorrow. If I find time(aka neglect more housework, and finish Skyrim) I'll give the new one a shot. All this talk has made me want to replay the original since it was like Master of Magic.


Ok, had issues with the download last night, but finally got it installed. Will try it tonight.

Also played WoM a little. Would help if I remembered how ot do things, like make money. Titan's Blacksmith also locked up my machine twice, so no trying that.
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Re: Elemental: War of Magic

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Jan 27, 2012 7:28 pm UTC

Got an email from stardock inviting me to download the Beta, since I bought E:WOM back in September before I realized it was unplayable then. Only 6 hrs of downloading to go.
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Re: Elemental: War of Magic

Postby Vaniver » Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:13 am UTC

So, I've been playing more, especially against "challenging" AI (I haven't bumped it up to the highest yet, but I get the impression I'll need to). So far, it looks like the AI waits way too long to expand to its second city.

Trade routes between cities give 10% (15 if both ways, 20 with the Merchantcross Bazaar wonder, and 30 with both ways and the wonder) extra gildar. This is sort of aggravating, though, because the only sources of gildar that I've come across are the Merchant building, gold mines, and Twilight Apiaries. So each caravan will give you .3 gildar a turn, unless there's also a gold mine, which makes it .6, or you have two gold mines, and so it's .9. But I've still found that peppering the land with cities as close as you can put them to each other (and with 7 spaces required, that's some distance away) is best because the location quality doesn't matter all that much. The number of grain determines how big the city can grow, the number of materials determines how fast things will build, but 2 materials is enough to build things decently quickly and 3 grain will get you up to a fairly good size, and location quality seems to range between 2/2 and 5/3 (with some 3/4s also).

As well, an outpost gives you access to a square 5 tiles wide (centered on the outpost), but the resources are all hooked to the nearest city. So you can have a distant gold mine that actually feeds your city with a ton of caravan connections.

There will be what I'm calling randomly generated neutral countries- a zone associated with an element (fire, cold, and stone (desert) are the ones I've come across so far) with a bunch of monsters and a boss monster hanging there. I've only attacked one boss monster so far, and he didn't appear in the battle (and was dead after the battle), so I'm suspecting those are bugged? They add a nice touch to the game, connecting the games together through landmarks / common quests.

They also only show up on the medium or larger maps, so I recommend going with those.

Shard density makes a huge difference on how useful magic is. Initiative essentially is your number of turns per round- it starts off at 10, but you can get up to ~20 and the person in question will go twice as often as everyone else. (This can be super awesome when, say, it's your channeler with Might and Discipline and an axe that gives them the Maul ability.) The Haste spell gives 2 initiative plus 2 per air shard, which means that a super cheap spell rapidly goes from good to brokenly awesome.

What I don't really like about that, though, is air shards are randomly scattered across the map. If you don't start off near them, well, sucks to be you. It also strongly favors the sprawling empire over the focused empire- if my territory has 5 air shards in it and you haven't expanded beyond your starting city, which only had one, Haste will allow me to just wreck your army.

So it feels like Infinite City Strategy is going to be a major problem with this game. The only real limits on growth are the map size and the wandering monsters that you need to clear out to settle in a region, but I haven't seen any downside to growing, and pioneers are dirt cheap. (Okay, there is one downside to growing- your prestige population income is spread out among all of your cities. But city level barely matters compared to total empire population, and so your capital growing slightly slower is not a big loss, and having buildings like inns or pubs in every city means your empire as a whole will grow much faster with many cities.)
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Re: Elemental: War of Magic

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:33 pm UTC

I'm not sure if I found a major bug or not (aside from the frequent crashes). It was auto-ending turn, like it would skip 10 turns in a row. Not sure if I toggled something by accident.


Anyway, I restart until I get a spot with a precious river. Rivers are awesome. You get watermills for extra production and food, and docks for a bit more gold and food. River with a nearby forest makes for fast production indeed.

Merchant seems to be the best trait, IMHO. The -25% wages is huge.

Also, all units have the same wage. So a stack of 9 redshirts is 3 times the upkeep of a stack of 3 Uberknights, even though the Uberknights have all that glowing armor and such.
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Re: Elemental: War of Magic

Postby Vaniver » Sun Jan 29, 2012 8:05 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Merchant seems to be the best trait, IMHO. The -25% wages is huge.
So, I've been going with Scholar just because I have the hardest time turning down a +research bonus, but +2 is really tiny as the game goes along. The +2 int is nice for the 4% xp boost, but doesn't seem that critical. I think General is strongest, though, because my sovereign will rapidly get up to level 10-15 and that's a pretty huge accuracy boost for the whole army. Gildar isn't a big issue once you hit midgame. (Warlord also seems tempting, since it looks like a 10% xp boost for each champion you have in your main army, but extra levels don't seem to do all that much.)

I also agree that river+forest = super awesome, and like mentioned before I'm bothered that the variation in start location quality is that high. I don't want to have to play a game before I play the game. (Remember rerolling attributes in Baldur's Gate?)

[edit]Also, the other benefits you can pick at the start are really not balanced well. The hunter's shortbow, as mentioned, seems like the best weapon hands-down. Thinks like Might and Brilliance seem hard to duplicate later in the game, whereas things like Impulsive (while good) are easy to get at a level-up.

I also just started a character without Scholar, and it does hurt your early research, but that's really not that big a deal.

I just started a game with the AI difficulty set to 'ridiculous' and, yeah, it is. One of them finished the Great Mill on turn 38.
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Re: Elemental: War of Magic

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:19 am UTC

Meh, the monsters seem to be more of a menace than the other opponents. Had an enemy declare war on me and I didn't notice for a 100+ turns.

Monsters, blegh. An early army of 5 3x spearmen get eaten alive by everything, from spiders to trolls.
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Re: Elemental: War of Magic

Postby Vaniver » Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:35 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Meh, the monsters seem to be more of a menace than the other opponents. Had an enemy declare war on me and I didn't notice for a 100+ turns.

Monsters, blegh. An early army of 5 3x spearmen get eaten alive by everything, from spiders to trolls.
The other enemies are mostly laughable, early game, and don't seem to grow well enough to be a menace late-game (but we'll see as my higher difficulty games progress).

On my current playthrough (I went with "hard"; one still finished the Great Mill before me, but not freakishly early), I find my sovereign with a bow and some move speed boosts is enough to kill pretty much any enemy army. In WoM (that is, not FE), units were way more effective than they should have been, because multiplying their attack or defense by the number of units got ridiculous quickly. In FE, most of the monsters seem to have something like Overpower, which multiplies their damage by the number of units in the stack, meaning your group of 9 will get flattened as easily as a group of 3.

And so it's nice that trolls or dragons need heroes to take them down, rather than just spearmen, but the spearmen really should be able to take out the spiders, or there's not much use to having them. The only units I've found worth making are warg-riding archers, but that means most of the army tech tree is simply useless.
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Re: Elemental: War of Magic

Postby emceng » Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:15 pm UTC

I haven't tried on harder difficulty yet, but on normal the basic units with some armor and weapons do pretty well against most enemies.

Overall the game gets a meh. It's definitely close enough to MoM to have things I like. There's just enough that annoys me about it to not want to come back.

The graphics are just a little bit off for me.
The turn order bug thing(essentially I go to complete one action, but due to army movement a window or something pops up first)
Game speed- maybe I haven't played enough strategy games lately, but with a large world it takes forever to find enemies, and they're usually easy to crush.
power concentration - I like the idea of heroes, but it causes gameplay problems. You want to have all of them in a stack to level them up, but that means on a bigger map it takes forever to do anything. If you split them up, fine. But then you have to have enough strong support units so you don't have to worry about your hero.

I do very much like that heroes no longer get killed though.
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Re: Elemental: War of Magic

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:46 pm UTC

Yeah, the penalties for death are better than dying, especially when you can never seem to find heroes after a certain point in the game.
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Re: Elemental: War of Magic

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Feb 07, 2012 6:20 pm UTC

Well, once your sovereign gets to around level 20, you've accumulated enough items and companions to just slaughter everything and cast for free. Game starts to get boring at that point, when you devour even the boss monsters. The only reason to not auto-calc combat is because even though all my champions cast for free, I still use up 100 or so mana doing so...
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