by Derk Bil
previewed on PC
A crowd favorite
Wasteland Interactive is feverishly working on Worlds of Magic, the spiritual successor to the strategy classic Master of Magic. The game will be made reality thanks to a successful crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter where it gathered 7 times its admittedly modest budget of $5000. Adding more gravitas to this ambitious project, George Edward Purdy - involved in not only Master of Magic, but Master of Orion as well - is on board as lead artist. We hooked up with studio owner Leszek Lisowski to have him tell us all about his upcoming game.
If you have not played Master of Magic, then Worlds of Magic will need some explanation. It is a true 4X game in a high fantasy setting. Its explore, expand and exploit mechanics are reminiscent of games such as Civilization and Age of Wonders.
Explore, Expand, Exploit
Each game is played on a procedurally generated map which can contain whichever elements you desire. You can generate maps of various sizes, throwing either or all of the main elements Paradise, Shadow, Earth, Water, Fire and Water into the mix. An area with a lot of Shadow elements in it will pretty much look like your average spooky 90’s B-movie graveyard, replacing the sparkly blue water of Paradise maps with seas full of shadow-goo surrounding murky land.
Next you choose a Sorcerer Lord - essentially your avatar in the game - and your primary wielder of magic. You can research spells to use on the world map or for when you are locked into combat sessions. Pre-generated Sorcerer Lords allow for a quick start into the game, but it is more fun to create your own. Here you pick from twelve different magic schools and add specific traits. The latter of which come at the expense of ‘character points’ that you could otherwise have invested in a magic school, so there is a tradeoff. Most of the traits add small tweaks to the economic, combat or exploration segments of the game.
Lastly, you need to select a race to play out of a possible eight. The High Men are versatile humans without any specific strengths, the Grey Elves are attuned to nature, and the Unhallowed, well... they’re a little different. Most races build cities in a fashion you’d be familiar with if you have played other 4X games. Amongst other things, you balance food, money and production to make your cities prosper. The Unhallowed, however, are a race of undead and they care for neither food or money and for them such mundane frivolities are taken out of the equation. They have other challenges to balance out though. There are stricter requirements on where to build cities for example, as they can only build on so-called corruption tiles and to sustain themselves, the Unhallowed drain negative energy from the Plane of Death.
A substantial change from Master of Magic to Worlds of Magic, is the usage of the d20 system. For those who haven’t spent too much time playing roleplaying board games; all actions will be determined with the roll of a twenty-sided die with numbers. The dice will role often, as opportunities for combat are legion. You roam around with your armies and take on enemy cities, explore portals that lead to strange realms and generally do whatever you can to claim dominion over whoever - or whatever - you meet. Naturally, your enemies don’t sit still and defending yourself against attackers coming after your cities is a given.
You can use auto-combat to decide the outcome of battles, but what’s the fun in that? Combat is a major element in this game. When entering combat, you find your units on a chessboard of sorts, with your opponents units placed on one side. You cast offensive spells or buff your units once per turn until your mana runs out, supporting your units as they engage in combat. To boost your battlefield prowess, you can recruit both Heroes and Champions to your cause. These are more powerful units, often rather exotic versions of the units that are available to you through your cities.
It’s all about the community
Leszek was adamant that the community has been instrumental in the creation of the game, and will continue to be just that once the game is released. Wasteland is aiming for maximum moddability of the game, where not only units and buildings can be designed and imported, but the fundamental rules of the game can be altered as well. After all, Worlds of Magic is made possible thanks to crowd funding, so the crowd may as well enjoy this reborn classic to the fullest.