Warlock: Master of the Arcane Review

Warlock: Master of the Arcane Review

Rule a fantasy empire as a Great Mage

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Sounds to me like an updated version of the old microprose title master of magic, without the game killing bugs. Its nice that paradox have kept making games form unfashionable genres.

Is this the same game you were talking about in one of the recent Podcats? I remember someone describing a strategy game that made me go "Ooooo."

Seeing some screenshots has helped sway me.

Also... not too long ago (in the same Podcat, I think) someone was describing a game where your units could switch planes. What game was that?

Mumorpuger: I'm pretty sure that's "Master of Magic" - there were towers you could capture that would shift your units to another world, with more resources and treasures to find. :)

I remember the lore from the older games. Must play for nostalgia!

Mumorpuger:
Is this the same game you were talking about in one of the recent Podcats? I remember someone describing a strategy game that made me go "Ooooo."

Seeing some screenshots has helped sway me.

Also... not too long ago (in the same Podcat, I think) someone was describing a game where your units could switch planes. What game was that?

Yes, this is that same game I mentioned in that Podcast. You can indeed travel to different planes in Warlock and kill the strong monsters there for experience.

This game is crack, and they aren't done with it yet. I thought they were going to get DLC crazy with it, but the heroes just got added in the last patch for free. Use King Lich V's default loadout next time, you'll end up with more mana than you are physically capable of spending and can still buff each and every one of your units.

Greg Tito:

Mumorpuger:
Is this the same game you were talking about in one of the recent Podcats? I remember someone describing a strategy game that made me go "Ooooo."

Seeing some screenshots has helped sway me.

Also... not too long ago (in the same Podcat, I think) someone was describing a game where your units could switch planes. What game was that?

Yes, this is that same game I mentioned in that Podcast. You can indeed travel to different planes in Warlock and kill the strong monsters there for experience.

Thanks!

image

This is giving me an Age of Wonders feel as well. Maybe I'll check this one out.

Is this just Heros of Might and Magic? Sounds very similar.

ALso 2 player co-op?

the_green_dragon:

ALso 2 player co-op?

There is multiplayer, but there is no way to make it co-op other than creating an alliance with eachother.

oh this does look interesting have to pick it up soon

My experience with this game is a tad different:
It felt like a mashup between age of wonders and civ 5, except that age of wonders is better at everything. That is: Spell mechanics, AI, city management, diplomacy, exploration, combat complexity, unit diversity, balance and story.
The balance part is espacially schewed: undead are much better than any other race because you can just completely ignore food, allowing you to min/max every city to either gold or mana.
The most common feeling I had during this game was disapointment. Especially the other worlds you can travel to could, in my opinion, have been so much better. As it is, it's just some more land filled with monsters and some bonusses, but the monster occupation there is stronger than anything the AI will muster even on the highest difficulty level. So there is very little insentive to go there.
It seems there has been a new patch that incorperates a hero-concept, but I'm not about to reinstall the game to try that out when I've got age of wonders.

This may be a bit harsh, but I'm disappointed that this game failed to surpass a game that's that much older.

I played all the civilization games to death
I played the old Master of Magic so many hours i lost count
I played Age of Wonders fervently, over and over.
I played Warlock: Master of the Arcane for 3 hours and got bored.

... and i have no idea why.

albino boo:
Sounds to me like an updated version of the old microprose title master of magic, without the game killing bugs. Its nice that paradox have kept making games form unfashionable genres.

It's similar to MOM in that you have the alternate planes you can explore, and that of course you are a wizard building a civilization, and you do a lot of work researching spells and the like. There's also various ruins and such you can "explore" (which means your unit steps on them)

Unlike MOM, you don't have unique heroes or magic items, and you don't have a separate screen for battles.

There is a very very heavy focus on combat in my experience, much moreso than MOM--while you can explore and build, the emphasis is heavily on fighting the enemies around you, whether wandering monsters or neutral enemies or other mage civilizations, and if you don't build up your army right away (maintaining your resources to do so) you can get easily screwed over.

The aesthetic, sense of humor, and drive for combat and to possess resources reminds me of Warcraft (no, not "World of," but the RTS), just turn-based.

NEHZ:
My experience with this game is a tad different:
It felt like a mashup between age of wonders and civ 5, except that age of wonders is better at everything. That is: Spell mechanics, AI, city management, diplomacy, exploration, combat complexity, unit diversity, balance and story.
The balance part is espacially schewed: undead are much better than any other race because you can just completely ignore food, allowing you to min/max every city to either gold or mana.
The most common feeling I had during this game was disapointment. Especially the other worlds you can travel to could, in my opinion, have been so much better. As it is, it's just some more land filled with monsters and some bonusses, but the monster occupation there is stronger than anything the AI will muster even on the highest difficulty level. So there is very little insentive to go there.
It seems there has been a new patch that incorperates a hero-concept, but I'm not about to reinstall the game to try that out when I've got age of wonders.

This may be a bit harsh, but I'm disappointed that this game failed to surpass a game that's that much older.

If you don't raze the cities that aren't undead, you need food to sustain those cities. Also, only certain races can build a temple to certain gods. As for the monsters, yeah, no argument there. The greater fire elementals piss me off more than pretty much anything else in the game due to their high resistance to pretty much everything apart from spirit magic (imo, shamen are the best monster killers).

lancar:
I played all the civilization games to death
I played the old Master of Magic so many hours i lost count
I played Age of Wonders fervently, over and over.
I played Warlock: Master of the Arcane for 3 hours and got bored.

... and i have no idea why.

Lol I know what you mean. I have played games that have all the elements that I love but I just can't get into. I had the same problem with Age of Wonders, I just couldn't get into it and I have no idea why.

Good AI? My experience with this game is that the AI sucks, mostly because it plays way too passively and defensively.

Still the game is a little better already than the time when I reviewed it. If the devs keep it up with more patches and expansions this game may become good.

Right now you can have some fun with Warlock for a few sessions and then you figure out the game and you lose interest.

I can't say I agree on the AI being good. I found it worse than in Civ V. Or at best, no better, but Warlock has a whole slew of fun tactical options that Civ V doesn't, but that the AI fails to exploit. A big one is that the AI seems to rely on such masses of basic units that the upkeep would trash my economy (an inland-sea near my opponents captial had every visible hex filled with a ship) , but those armies get pounded into the dirt by 2 or 3 high-tier units with most of my available buffs on them.

And it's just pitful to see the AI's units attack my ghosts with melee, ranged or death damage types i.e. the most common damage types in the game. Guess what kind of damage types ghosts are completely immune to? And did you know that, like Civ V, units that are attacked in melee strike back at their attackers? Park a unit of ghosts near some trash mobs and watch them commit suicide with their futile attacks.

I've still had fun with this game, let that be clear. I don't regret my purchase. But it is a shame to see them squander their fun mechanics with botched AI and balance. Yes there's diplomatic options, but every single AI will, within 20 turns of meeting you, send a demand for half your mana or gold, else they'll declare war (even if my super units aren't even done cleaning the blood of their trash-mob army from their fangs from the last war). The armor system with different damage types is nice, but as with the ghost example, the AI doesn't use it. And there are portals to other worlds where you can reap big rewards... but holding your ground and clearing the other worlds takes a strong army about as long as it would take that samy army to curb-stomp 3 more AI opponents. The setting and units are inventive, and the spells give a lot of fun options in the mix, but after the mid-game your AI opponents will counterspell anything that takes more than 1 turn to cast while you need to go through several menus to see if any of them are casting anything. And there's no multiplayer yet, so you're stuck with the AI. Such a pity.

I played the demo a couple months ago and was very unimpressed. Loved the concept, loved (loved, loved!) MoM back in the day, but Mast of the Arcane didn't quite get it done.

Maybe it was because the game kept crashing, but I really wanted to like the game and was bored. Have they patched it and should I check it out again? I love turn based strategy...

Aggieknight:

Maybe it was because the game kept crashing, but I really wanted to like the game and was bored. Have they patched it and should I check it out again? I love turn based strategy...

Can't speak for everyone, but the game is very stable for me. The only crash I found was, again, due to a lack of polish: The game kept crashing at a certain turn while reading through the turn notifications. Y'know, the "This unit needs orders" "This city can build something" stuff. I found that there was a "This city can build" notification of a city that I'd demolished that turn because it was a rather pointless city I just conquered. Normally, if you click on the notification, the screen jumps to the unit or city in question. When the subject of the message didn't exist, rather than doing nothing or discarding the message, the game tried to jump the camera to a non-existent city and crashed to desktop. As long as I didn't click on the message, I could just end the turn fine.

It's kind of telling for the game as a whole. They have some very nice features, but they didn't think the implementation through.

Other than that though, the game is stable and functional, which is more than I can say from some of Paradox's promising releases.

samaugsch:

NEHZ:
...

If you don't raze the cities that aren't undead, you need food to sustain those cities. Also, only certain races canbuild a temple to certain gods. As for the monsters, yeah, no argument there. The greater fire elementals piss me off more than pretty much anything else in the game due to their high resistance to pretty much everything apart from spirit magic (imo, shamen are the best monster killers).

The food shortage only decreases city growth for non-undead cities. Wich means you can keep conquered non-undead cities if you believe they're big enough already. Point is, ignoring food and razing every non-undead city puts your economy ahead in ways that other races simply can't match. The high amount of mana and gold means that you can easely max out your top units in upgrades and unit enchantments.
You're right about the temples, but having less choises doesn't balance out the huge advantage of the undead. It might have been different if lack of food decreased your gold the way a surpluss increases it. The different units for each god/race combo is actually one of the few things they did right instead of just half-right.

I was given this game to review a while back and found it really addictive. It hits the sweet spot in terms of difficulty level-- it's easy to pick up the basic mechanics, but not so easy that you never feel challenged.

Great review, Greg. I'll be buying this game.

 

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