Stardock’s upcoming strategy game has just entered a new testing phase.

Elemental: War of Magic is a fantasy strategy game in development by Stardock, publishers of Sins of a Solar Empire and Demigod. A bonus to those who pre-order Elemental from Stardock’s website is the ability to download beta builds of the game via Impulse, Stardock’s digital download service. Stardock recently gave some good news to those who have taken the pre-order plunge already by revealing that Elemental‘s beta phase 1 has begun, and is now available for download.

The accompanying “screen” here was released as the announcement for the beta, and it couldn’t make me happier. At first sight, Elemental: War of Magic immediately reminded me of Master of Magic, a childhood favorite, and indeed it is considered a sort of successor to that game, just not an official one. It almost was, but talks with Atari, the rights holders of Master of Magic, stalled when legal mumbo jumbo became involved. This screen, however, shows me that Stardock still has the classic experience in mind with Elemental.

Master of Magic was a fantasy turn-based strategy game where players would explore and attempt to dominate a map, Heroes of Might and Magic-style, while managing armies made up of dozens of different types of units. Elemental: War of Magic is very much in the same vein, but seems to add even more depth. To find out more about Elemental, visit its official site.

As for the beta, Stardock CEO Brad Wardell has stated: ” … beta 1 will NOT be fun in any way. We are not kidding about this.” From the game’s blog, beta 1’s goals are:

  • 1. Initial Build: Basic Compatibility
  • 2. Beta 1A: Initial Gameplay Skeleton
  • 3. Beta 1B: Initial Economic system Implemented
  • 4. Beta 1C: Initial AI system Implemented
  • 5. Beta 1D: Initial Diplomacy system Implemented
  • 6. Beta 1E: Initial Dynasty system implemented
  • 7. Beta 1F: Initial Magic system implemented
  • 8. Beta 1G: Initial Quest system implemented

It looks like beta testers for Elemental: War of Magic are really going to be beta testers, which is not a bad thing. A beta test for a top-notch product is a great and rare experience, and this one is pretty easy to enter. Wait too long to pre-order, though, and you’ll have to wait until beta phase 2 begins.

Via: BigDownload

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