New release: Worlds of Magic

Worlds of Magic
Robert Łukaszewski writes in to tell me that fantasy turn-based tactics / 4X game Worlds of Magic has been released. Developed by Wasteland Interactive, WoM bills itself as “a true spiritual successor” to Master of Magic.

As a Master of Magic clone, WoM follows a similar formula. You select several spheres of magic to specialize in, pick character perks, then procedurally generate a world in which to do fantasy strategy. Combat and character development proceed according to the D20 ruleset, which is an innovation unique to WoM. The trailer gives a sense of how it all looks in practice:

Now, I actually tried a beta version of the game back in September 2014 with the intention of making an Checks Out episode on it. However, it didn’t quite work out. I should probably preface this by admitting that the one time I played Master of Magic, I bounced off the game hard. My play session consisted of me starting the game, struggling for a few minutes to figure out the interface, finding a tower right near my starting city, sending my spearmen into it, and then immediately getting slaughtered–by pixies, of all things. That was around the time I decided MoM might not be for me.

Worlds of Magic’s tutorial told me how to use the interface, but due to my lack of MoM experience, I was left with zero clue as to how I should actually proceed in playing the game. One email to the developers later, and I learned how to start out. Their advice: “max out Craftsmen in your city, but leave enough food to maintain your starting units. Begin building Granary, then Sawmill (for Dracs) or Armory (Elves). Cast city-improving spells if you have some (Tranquility, Fertilize Soil, Prosperity to name a few). After the second building has been constructed, recruit 2-3 javelineers or 2 glaive guards and an archer unit.”

Even with this advice in hand, the early game proceeded so slowly that recording the thing just wasn’t a viable option. We’re talking dozens of turns to build those first two structures and produce my first set of cannon fodder units. During that period, all I could do was slowly, painstakingly scout a few spaces around the map with the one unit the game started me with, then click the button to end my turn, then wait for the two other AI players to move–scout a few more spaces, click, wait. Rinse and repeat that several dozen times, and you basically have the video. I think it might have actually literally bored you all to death.

Due to the above, I never got very far into the game despite starting a play session 3 or 4 times. Consequently, I don’t really have an opinion on WoM right now other than to say that it has a really slow start. Then again, Alec Meer of RPS fame thinks the game plays briskly by 4X standards, so maybe my expectations are off. If you liked Master of Magic, it’s likely that you’ll have an easier time getting into this than I did.

Worlds of Magic is available on Steam or direct from the developer at a $39.99 price point; Windows (64-bit only), Mac and Linux.

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