One For The Mages: Warlock Multiplayer Beta

By Adam Smith on July 17th, 2012 at 9:00 pm.

Strategic spell-biffing is now available in a multiplayer form with the release of Warlock’s 1.2 patch. Multiplayer is still in beta and you can read what happened when I tested it or, if you own the game, jump into a match yourself. The patch also adds Lords and Artifacts, powerful heroes and items to bolster your uncanny forces, as well as addressing balance issues and tweaking the AI. Patch notes are here, although there seem to be lots of minor alterations that people are discovering, so it’s worth reading deeper into the thread if you want to know more. There’s no hotseat, unfortunately, with multiplayer working solely through Steam, but maybe that could change if there’s enough demand.

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28 Comments »

  1. dontnormally says:

    Neat.
    I hope it hits 75% off.

    • Kaira- says:

      Indeed, I’ve been itching to try it, but for reasons which are probably better left out of this discussion decided to wait until the game hits the 5€ mark. It seems like what Elemental: War of Magic was supposed to be (hopefully The Fallen Enchantress is as good as some of the previews have said it to be).

    • Xerophyte says:

      It had a “flash sale” at 66% or 7€ on steam. It seems that indicates it’ll be up for a daily at the same value at some point during the summer sale.

      I put a couple of hours in yesterday and my impression from that admittedly brief session is that it’s well made and fun but a bit bland. The magic spells especially lack oomph and it doesn’t seem to have Master of Magic’s (or Dominion 3′s, if you want something more recent, obtuse and obscure) sheer breadth and variation. The base mechanics and the UI are solid and the AI seems pretty confident.

      Anyhow, it seems worth 7€ when it pops up again if you have any sort of interest in 4Xs with orcs in them.

      • vedder says:

        I bought it in the flash sale, but can’t say it was really worth the money for me. I uninstalled it after only one play session and started playing Civ 5 again. I had really hoped it would be a worthy spiritual successor sort of Master of Magic. While there’s a lot of good ideas in there and I like how there’s action right from the start, the lack of balance just did it in for me. Why do I start next to some monster that oneshots all my units? Why do I have a spell list of dozens if not hundreds of spells if I can only cast one of them every couple turns?

        Also if you haven’t played Civ V (or some other 4X game) I doubt you’ll understand anything about the game due to a lack of tutorial. Luckily that wasn’t the case for me.

        • DuddBudda says:

          on the other hand, I’d argue that Civ V’s juxtaposed scales of sweeping history and micromanaged combat made for an disconcerting and less-than-fluid experience, whilst WMA’s center-stage combat makes much better use of the map system

          as for lack of balance, I thought that was brilliant; early game scouts have to be deftly managed to get the treasures from under that trio of Trolls’ feet
          and the time limitations on spell casting are an elegant way of handling a mechanic that could otherwise be utterly dominant

    • barelyhomosapien says:

      It’s definitely more worth getting then the initial release was.

    • perruci says:

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  2. Sardonic says:

    I hope Firaxis is getting royalties for this, given the blatantly ripped off interface and all.

    • dontnormally says:

      The studio that made this made a hex-based 1upt game before Civ5 existed. I’m pretty sure it was an inspiration for Civ5. Wish I could find the name of that game.

      • Donkeyfumbler says:

        It was Fantasy Wars, followed by Elven Legacy and it’s expansions. I prefer them to Warlock, truth be told.

    • Solidstate89 says:

      Because one can patent a game’s interface?

      • meatshit says:

        According to Apple, yes, you can patent every tiny bit of the interface, no matter how inconsequential and obvious it might be.

  3. Torgen says:

    I’m confused. I saw the screenshot and though this was a Civ V article.

    • Reefpirate says:

      Yes, it seems half the viewing audience here is under the impression that Sid Mieir invented the hexagon.

      • Torgen says:

        No, smug smartass, we’re talking about the UI, the very close similarity of the terrain graphics, etc. But you already know that, and just are grasping at smoke in an attempt make yourself feel superior to someone.

        • Xari says:

          I like the part where you use sarcasm and then get angry at someone else for using sarcasm.

      • Bobka says:

        What made me think Civ 5 was the movement arrows and move target circle, not the hexes.

  4. haze4peace says:

    I really liked this game but the AI was just too much of a pushover. That was a few patches ago, but I sincerely hope the AI has been given more brains.

    • LTK says:

      I started a new game on Challenging difficulty, and I’m much more able to maintain positive relations with other mages. The diplomacy has improved a lot. However, I declared war once on Miralbus and he is now steamrolling me with Cutthroats. So the AI has evidently learned how to upgrade units.

  5. MythArcana says:

    [snip]…”with multiplayer working solely through Steam”[snip]

    Yeah, forget about all the other thousands of losers out there who can install their own software. Another gleaming and glaring example of corporate ignorance executed with reckless apathy.

    • wcanyon says:

      So you expect the publisher to maintain extra software/servers etc so you don’t have to install Steam?

    • Donkeyfumbler says:

      Seeing as the game has always required steam, even when it was purely singleplayer, it would seem to make sense to use it for the mulitplayer.

      Hotseat would have been nice though.

    • RobF says:

      Are you going to do this every time Steam gets mentioned? I hope so. It’s always a thrill.

  6. piratmonkey says:

    I must be terrible at this because I was getting steamrolled on Normal by 2 mages and the mobs on the map. I think the best part of the update was the ability to set victory conditions finally.

    • LTK says:

      You’re going to love the new feature that periodically spawns monster nests all over the map. If that happens and your entire fighting force is at the front, you’re screwed. But if you have some units garrisoned here and there you can mop up plenty of amazing loot.

    • Gnoupi says:

      They obviously applied the same formula as the Majesty games: there are mobs on the map harassing you. And it usually culminates to the point where a giant ogre is crushing your unprepared city, out of pure bad luck. Or the city that you just managed to lower the defenses of, is suddenly taken by a giant tree before you can take it yourself from the other mage.

      If you take that as a given, that you are in a very hostile environment, and that surviving will be the main objective, more than conquest, it’s actually more or less ok.

  7. McDan says:

    Sounds like it’ll be wizard.