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Borodin 14-08-2010 05:51 AM

Elemental - War of Magic
This is the site. It's the very-similar-to- Master of Magic game that Stardock is doing, and it's in the home stretch. Should be out within the next 2 weeks, though from everything they've said, it will be "polished" over the next 2 months. That's a euphemism in modern games, meaning they'll be using their audience to beta test final code. Still, it does look and sound as though they've expanded on almost everything in the original, save that some heroes are left out. Expensive game, but probably worth it. I'm seriously considering its purchase, as I've enjoyed MoM since it first came out and I reviewed it.

Borodin 14-08-2010 03:04 PM

I've looked into this, a bit. Here's what I've found out, as far as differences go (beyond the expected visuals, memory consumption, etc) between Elemental and Master of Magic.

1) Dynasties. Yes, you can actually found a dynasty, presumably passing along your artifacts as you age (and I imagine, die) to your kids, who have their own set of skills.

2) Spell books. I'm not sure about this, but it looks as though each magic type has one book, rather than a group that provide access in numbers to higher level spells, and more of them. Too bad, if that's the case.

3) Visual customization. Plenty of that. Pure fluff, but pleasant.

4) Lots more diplomatic options than MoM. But that's to be expected from Stardock.

5) Heroes are less powered up, but that, too, was to be expected. Some were frankly way over-powered in MoM (especially with the random jackpot coming through), though I got a kick out of each.

6) More involved in the actual construction of buildings than just putting them up. These take time.

7) Research is general, rather than specific.

A lot of what's left seems to be very much like the older game, including the general mechanics.

Borodin 19-08-2010 04:13 AM

Just read this from Wardell, the Stardock CEO and main developer, in an interview:

In the final version the diplomacy tree allows you to make alliances with minor third-party races - not the little minor cities but minor tribes - and actually train their special units. You can literally train up Ogres, Darklings and more."

...and this:

The diplomacy just got in. I write the AI for the game and the diplomacy was the part that I just really started getting into because I had to wait for a bunch of stuff. In the latest version you can gang up on players, trade items, trade champions back and forth, there's a lot more arranged marriages than what's in the version you're playing, etc. One of the things that's a lot more fun now is that they'll talk to you and say "let's gang up on so-and-so" or they'll gang up on you, or they'll message you and say we have to look out for "such-and-such" - and all of that is such a big part of the game experience.

I'm a big fan of AI-based diplomacy when it's truly good. If this works as planned, it should be excellent.

Borodin 21-08-2010 03:32 PM

Some relatively recent screens, posted by the developers:

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