May happened to be a notable month for the lovers of Fantasy video games, since the new Turn-based Strategy titled Warlock: Master of the Arcane, Review of which is already here, came to its official release. In this Article we will take you on an adventure to the magical world of the Hexagonal Ardania, and we will explain, why, in our opinion, relying on time-tested ideas is not always a bad thing, if it comes with a knowledge of their proper usage.
Ardania in Flames
The Ino-Co Plus studio based in south Krasnodar enjoys the guidance coming from a very experienced Swedish publisher Paradox Interactive after breaking all its ties with the 1C Company. The team at Paradox gave the Russians an unique chance to deliver their new titles to a very broad international audience, reaching out to gamers from Europe and the United States and other counteis. Thanks to Paradox as well Ardania doesn’t look like a forsaken world, since the publisher directs the development of various games helping it to evolve from its original RTS form.
After 2007, when Paradox Interactive has acquired the Majesty IP rights, we have already seen the release of the long-awaited sequel, Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim (2009), and this year everyone could smash enemy towers in a new arcade entitled Defenders of Ardania (2012). Frankly, when the publisher first announced their Warlock: Master of the Arcane, I expected the gameplay to move closer to the Total War (2000-2012) series with the introduction of a global map, or to the adventures in the style of King Arthur II: The Role-playing Wargame (2012).
However, the Russian developers have managed to surprise all, while remiding of your favorite Strategy games released in the past years. It is a fun thing for a Russian developer not to have a separate Russian publisher, but if you look closer at the situation, you can notice the bold move by Paradox, which decided to distribute their product through Steam adding the Russian language pack for those, who do need it. Regional market differencies doesn’t scare anyone anymore, because the Russians got used to Steam as an online shop for buying new titles. Even more, some visit it more often than Russian online vendors, because of the wish to play in original English without any Russian VOs.
Frankly, it is a pleasure to Review a good title, which Warlock: Master of the Arcane really is in many aspects. Though I will try to think less about how much it got me involved focusing on the points that could get some improvements as well. By the way, the game is technically stable, what is a rare miracle for the Russian developers and even for many foreign ones often releasing a bunch of fixes after the Day One. If you have read our Preview, then you already got a part of the picture that I plan to expand substantially by adding many details about this Strategy.
First look at it can mislead any experienced strategist. It might seem that the developers mixed all the ideas taken from other well-known projects such as the Warlords (1989-2003), Civilization (1991-2011), Master of Magic (1994), Heroes of Might & Magic (1995-2011) and the Age of Wonders (1999-2003 ) series, when trying to incorporate them in the Ardanian realm. However, everything is not so simple here. It is like accusing an inventor of a high-speed express train in borrowing the basics of the transportation idea from an old train powered by coal and steam. The new project feels more like a nostalgia or another attempt landing in the genre, which nearly no one cares about anymore, because, of course, it is much easier to sell Shooters (FPS) & Action titles nowadays.
In fact, Warlock: Master of the Arcane is much closer to Master of Magic than other games named above. Though some familiar options might be absent and are already missed by the fans. Additionally, the tactical battles screen has gone away, what is very unusual for any titles based around Fantasy worlds. However, who said that you can’t make a Wargame with some nice touches advancing it to the global strategic level? Long ago Civilization proved that it is possible. This famous series sometimes made you wait for new events, and some of my fellow friends rejected the pleasure of playing Civilization for hours, just because it was being too slow for them.
By tradition, any Russian game can cause a wide range of users emotions from admiration to complaints, but this one looks very polished thanks to its western management and production efforts provided by Paradox Interactive. Still there is plenty of room for new improvements. For example, the Tutorial could be made better, although veterans of the genre wouldn’t have a much need for it. All the basic information is provided inside the 27-page color Manual, which is written in a very accessible language. At this point, the game has no story campaign or individual missions, so all the adventure unfolds in the Sandbox or Free Play mode games. Before starting your match, it’ll be good to adjust its main settings.
Read on further to learn more about the economy, construction in Warlock: Master of the Arcane.
Warlock: Master of the Arcane
Warlock: Master of the Arcane:
A new turned-based strategy game is once again set in the fantastical world of Ardania, popularized in the Majesty (2000-2012) franchise. The title invites players to take on the role of the Great Mage and build a powerful magical empire, giving mightly mages the ability to control armies and wield magic to wage war against another, as they compete with other wizards for the title of Warlock. Only the one can rule them all, and it might be you, if you defeat all the competition.
In the Warlock: Master of the Arcane game you have to develop the cities presenting the core of your realm. Construct new buildings, collect three kinds of resources, conduct the research of new spells, handle diplomacy and wage war to extend the borders of your Empire. Your actions will be challenged by Rival powerful mages, who will be ready to unleash everything they have against you, and the Gods of Ardania will also play a major part in this massive struggle for Domination.
Key Game Features:
- Epic battles with large armies of Warlock: Master of the Arcane marching across the land;
- Use the forces of three races, along with summons and wild creatures including greater variety;
- Innovating city management system with less routine actions in Warlock: Master of the Arcane;
- Research and master dozens of spells, conjure strong enchantments and find out powerful spell combinations.