Impressions: Elemental – Fallen Enchantress Beta

It wouldn’t be fair to look at Fallen Enchantress as simply an apology for a broken game, even though it is fulfilling that role to an extent after War of Magic collapsed onto hard drives around the world. Oops, said Stardock, if you bought that, have the next one on us (although it’s still possible to buy War of Magic for $39.95) . However, they also hired Derek “Fall From Heaven” Paxton, so this is as much what he did next as what happened to Elemental next. I’ve been poking at the beta.

You wait ages for a turn-based fantasy-themed strategy game to come along and then you miss the bloody bus you were supposed to catch because you haven’t got around to putting your pants on yet because it’s vitally important that you take just one more turn, and then just one more turn after that, and, seriously, forget it, I don’t even know where the bus is going anyway and all my pants are at least as far away as the other side of the room, and there’s an ogre eating my livestock.

I’ve been playing Elemental and another superficially similar game this year. Warlock was really all about those first there letters. WAR, it bellowed, spittly spells flying out of its mouth. There were settlements to build and new magicks to learn, but if the game ever caught you trying to do something that wasn’t warlike, it’d throw a tree at you and then the tree would punch you. Either that or spiders and bears would just eat all of your cities.

Elemental isn’t like that. There is war, although it feels particularly skirmishy rather than world-rending, but there are heaps of other things piled on top of the war. The war is like that David Foster Wallace book you keep meaning to pick up again, but it’s always buried under a heap of clothes, boardgames, magazines and paperwork.

You’ll get to the war and it’s little tactical grids of fireball-flinging fancy, but it might take you a couple of hours just to start a new game. Is a couple of hours an exaggeration? Maybe, but designing a faction and a leader doesn’t just involve choosing which element you want your wizardly warrior to emit from his nostrils whenever he/she sneezes, you can also pick a race, some strengths and weaknesses, and the colour of almost everything from nostril hair to socks and underwear. Oh, and a pose.

Would you follow this man into battle?

That’s not the pose I went with eventually. I don’t think my eventual choice has any impact on how other factions deal with me, although maybe everything in the world – animal, mineral or vegetable – doesn’t immediately attempt to end the existence of people who aren’t quite so gothtastic. I don’t know. I’m too busy doing a boyband squat while gripping a golden hammer.

This is the pose I went with eventually.

Enough dress-up for one day. Now, on to the infinite jest that is turn-based strategy and conflict, and to the bewildering world of Elemental. Imagine Warlock, the neat, tidy spellbiff game, and then imagine that somebody thought there wasn’t quite enough depth, breadth, length or girth to it. Now it’s been pumped full of all sorts of different things, all sorts of choices and random events, all sorts of spells and monsters. It’s as if everything that might be fitting has been stirred into the pot and then a few other things have kind of fallen off the shelf and ended up in the pot as well.

Too many cooks? Doubtful. Even though there’s a huge amount to dabble with and more being added incredibly frequently, Fallen Enchantress is rarely incoherent, although it is occasionally a tad overwhelming. It’s more a case of too many ingredients, perhaps, than too many cooks, but as long as they’re all adding to the sorcerous seasoning that should benefit the whole rather than diminishing it. At the moment, despite the existence of decent tutorials for just about everything, some aspects of the game feel much more necessary, much more designed, than others.

Let’s take that super sovereign I created. He could star in an RPG, he could, with the number of quests he gathers as he gads about the blighted countryside. Fetching things for folk, killing things for other folk, and collecting trinkets, armour and weapons as he goes, he’s not just an avatar for the kingdom/empire, he’s a little fellow just like all the other champions he meets and can hire. Depending on his individual qualities and race, he might not be able to use certain types of equipment, just like in an RPG(!), so he can trade with other members of his party.

The spells that he casts come in two varieties, strategic level and tactical level. The latter are used in combat to kill or weaken enemy troops, or to heal or buff his own troops. Because of his mastery of magic, he’s like a walking arsenal of destruction, very handy to have in the thick of it. In fact, problematically, the sovereign can become overpowered, dominant to the extent that armies are barely important at all. His/her strategic spells can also affect living things, but I find myself using them more often on my cities, making them more productive. See, along with all those RPG bits, there’s city management to keep an eye on as well, and as is Fallen Enchantress’ way, it has its own complexities and oddities.

A settlement only gathers resources from the tile that it’s on, even though it has an influence box around it, as is always the case when settlements are built in an isometric world. To benefit from other tiles, a building must be placed on them. Simple. Some buildings will cause the influence zone to expand faster but if a resource is outside that zone, a pioneer unit can be trained and sent to build an outpost, allowing that resource to be harvested even if there is no settlement nearby, which makes the zones less prescriptive and simple than they often are in games of this sort.

Then there’s specialisation. When a settlement grows it must choose whether it will be a town, fortress or conclave, each with specific advanced buildings available to it. It’s another tweak to an expected formula, another way to add an extra layer to an expected measure of progress. Settlements have an ‘essence’ rating alongside production. Essence limits how many spells they can have buffing them at any one time. Another detail, another thing to keep an eye on.

The whole game seems to work at that level, which is to say on multiple levels. Things seem to work as anyone familiar with the genre would expect, and sure enough they do, but there’s usually at least one detail, one further option, to take into account. Units can be trained, for instance, but they can also be customised, though not quite to the level of a sovereign.

Having all of this fantastical stuff to play with is great, or at least kind of great, or at least it should be great. I find myself complaining that games aren’t overflowing with kitchen sinks, a recent example being FTL, which, while I’ve been enjoying it very much, doesn’t have enough encounters and flavour text to suck me back in every day. Borderlands 2 is at the opposite extreme – a constant barrage of bullets, guns and braying, most of which I happily ignore, writing it off as inconsequential noise.

I can’t do that in a strategy game though, not without being haunted by the feeling that I’m missing something important, or that not everything is as balanced as it should be. When a campaign runs long, there’s often a lack of activities left in the world, as if all those exciting goodies are swept up too early, so the seeming abundance of ruins and heroes fades by the mid-game.

Fallen Enchantress does so much but, even with this late beta, the entirety doesn’t quite form a whole and the experience feels somehow less than the sum of its parts. I’ll cover all of the systems in more detail after release, but at the moment, much as it has improved over the months, and detailed and intriguing as it is, I don’t feel comfortable calling how this Elemental will shape up. The oddest aspect is that I find all of the RPG elements more memorable than the strategic elements, so that despite all the options, the business of governing feels somewhat hollow.


  1. Bhazor says:

    Ever had the thing where a word is forever ruined for you? Where you instantly think of something else whenever it’s mentioned? Yeah.

    • remon says:

      And did you have to ruin it for the rest of us too?

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      Just stop. Right now, just stop.

    • HisMastersVoice says:

      Nice try, but this one’s better

    • Orija says:

      Fuck ponies up their equine ass.

    • Randomer says:

      So you’re saying that Elemental ruined My Little Pony for you too?

      • Unaco says:

        This new, abomination that they call My Little Pony ruined My Little Pony.

    • Kaira- says:

      Oh you bronies.

      It begins.

      • wodin says:

        Whats with this bronie shit..seems abit fucked up to me…adult men into a little girls cartoon…odd

        • MadTinkerer says:

          What’s really fucked up is when grown men decide that they want to play soldier so badly that they actually pay good money for MW3.

          Alternate (more positive) comeback: Enjoying a well-written, well-acted, and well-animated show which has copious amounts of content clearly aimed at an older audience doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with it being associated with toys for girls.

          • Nick says:

            No, enjoying a show like that doesn’t make you weird, but self identifying as some sort of internet cult of obsessive idiots does.

          • mbourgon says:

            Nick: cue joke about posting this on a hardcore gaming site. ObDisclaimer: not a brony, but I’m very very glad that my daughter enjoys Phineas & Ferb, since I’d be watching it either way. Tl;dr there lots of small selfobsessed cults, and you bitched about one to another.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      So Zecora is the Fallen Enchantress? Suddenly everything makes sense!

  2. Joote says:

    I have been playing this through several betas, and the game is now brilliant in every way.
    Where WOM was a disaster, EFE has to be a major success. The game play is just so right it’s very hard to put down.

    • Underwhelmed says:

      I feel the opposite, about the beta anyway. It is certainly a lot better than WOM, but that isn’t a very high bar to get over is it? It has a lot of good ideas, but most of them still have that “we crammed it in here” feeling instead of any sense of coherence.

      The art is also still painfully bad. The graphics engine isn’t the issue, just the whole design aesthetic. This isn’t that big of a deal if the rest of the game can deliver, but still.

  3. Reapy says:

    I’m basically going to choose to ignore that I think I dislike brad wardell on some primitive level and focus on how I think this will be a really fun game.

    • pakoito says:

      I am soooo gonna pirate the shit out of this.

      Still owe me 50$ for Demigod, Wardell.

      • lightstriker says:

        I like how your poor purchasing decisions are apparently his fault.

        • pakoito says:

          Long Term Support and Technical Support did were his choices. I was there during the beta pointing all flaws retail game had but they refused to acknowledge me.

      • demonarm says:

        You could have gotten a refund for Demigod. I did.

        • Zakski says:

          exactly, pakoito saying you will pirate it just because you didn’t take advantage of their liberal returns policy at the time is toolish behaviour. Also Gas Powered Games made Demigod, Stardock mainly published it.

          • pakoito says:

            It was a collboration between both, and there was a legal and social contract about LTS. He broke both, I’m breaking mine about buying games.

        • pakoito says:

          No you couldn’t, they had a “x months policy” and I preodered to get into the beta. Once it released and was broken beyond repair my refund time was over.

          • demonarm says:

            It had nothing to do with their “policy”. I just wrote them a friendly email asking if it would be possible to get my money back because the game wasn’t usable in multiplayer. A couple of days later, they revoked my key and refunded my payment. They were really, really nice about it.

          • Squirrelfanatic says:

            Wardell himself (for what it’s worth) has mentioned that they offered customers the option to get their money back after their terrible release of the game.

            Edit: Source: link to

      • Reapy says:

        I get this bad boy for free so no need to pirate I guess ;) I pre ordered elemental like a tool, I thought I was pre ordering masters of magic 2, silly me. Actually though I haven’t pirated anything in a good 7/8 years now. Combination of job (money), kids (lack of free time), and steam sales (this title is worth 5 dollars to add to the list of things I could most likely download and play but probably never will! ).

      • Jenks says:

        I feel sorry for content creators trying to sell anything to this generation of self entitled losers.

  4. thvaz says:

    I agree with the review, it put it brilliantly: the game as it is feels like less than the sum of its parts. I hope they solve this issue before release.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Aquarion says:


    Looking at this, I wonder what would happen if, say, Civilization V was released today as Civ 1. Would it get the same comments about different simulation levels and interacting game mechanics?

    It’s not a comment on the whole preview, the whole being less than its parts is a damnation-filled praise of some of the parts after all, but I wonder if any game released now that tries complexity without the weight of prequels is going to get this kind of side-swipe comments.

  6. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    Just a reminder that the CEO of Stardock games, Brad Wardell, is an awful person.

    He made very loud noises about a Gamer’s Bill of Rights but when it turned out Elemental was awful and under the Bill he should thus give a refund he quietly removed all mention of the Bill of Rights from his website.

    He regards all his employees as his personal property:
    “I’m not some manager or coworker of yours. I own the company. It, and your job there, exist to suit my purposes, not vice versa. The company is not an end unto itself, it is a means to an end which is to further the objectives of its shareholders (in this case, me).”

    Which you know might possibly be sort of acceptable if it weren’t for the fact this was something other than a female employee requesting he stop sexually harassing her:
    “#3, however is not acceptable to me. I am an inappropriate, sexist, vulgar and embarrassing person and I’m not inclined to change my behavior. If this is a problem, you need to find another job.

    #4, Again, I am not willing to adapt my behavior to suit others. If you find my behavior problematic, I recommend finding another job.

    I’m not some manager or coworker of yours. I own the company. It, and your job there, exist to suit my purposes, not vice versa. The company is not an end unto itself, it is a means to an end which is to further the objectives of its shareholders (in this case, me).”

    What was the harassment Wardell deemed the female employee should put up with or quit? Well from court documents from the sexual harassment suit she launched after being forced to quit we know that:
    “Court records from the lawsuit show several troubling messages from Wardell to Miseta, as well as allegations of problematic in-person behavior. E-mail messages included in the records go back as far as March, 2008, and include a link to a sexually explicit YouTube video, a comment that Miseta was chosen to go to a conference “not just because you’re ‘hot’,” and a 100-question “purity test” that he asked her to take and then send him her score from. The purity test includes questions like, “Have you engaged in group sex?,” “Have you engaged in intercourse with an unconscious person, while conscious?,” and, “Have you had anal intercourse?”

    Witness depositions included in the case documents refer to multiple comments from Wardell to female employees about their breast and bra sizes, and one incident where he asked Miseta to attend a media tour because “[her] nipples look better on TV.” They also describe a time on a media tour when Wardell’s visit to the hotel room Miseta and another female colleague were sharing made Miseta feel uncomfortable.”

    And note he has not denied any of these actions, he simply thinks because he owns the company he should be allowed to do this without consequence.

    So yeah, whatever the content of the game is, and given how poor Elemental was it might well be terrible again, if you buy it you will be giving money to a truly awful human being.

    • Atic Atac says:

      This is my problem as well. This game was very much on my radar since I love Galciv and didn’t take the jump on Elemental. I am someone who would have bought this game….if it weren’t for all the things about Wardell in the news lately.

      I can’t support someone like that. It’s an ugly affair and whether the whole sexual harassment thing is true or not is very much beside the point. It’s all his comments about the whole thing that make me sick.

      • Reapy says:

        I guess they already have my cash and FE will come free when its released, but I’d be equally torn. I though think of it as supporting Derek Paxton and just try to push wardell out of my brain.

    • thvaz says:

      He could eat babies for all I care, if his game is good I would buy it.

      • pakoito says:

        I stick with Maliken and S2 for the same reason, a company is not just a douchebag boss. But Stardock has a bad CEO and has swindled people several times with their games, and that’s a no-no.

        • Malibu Stacey says:

          In Stardock’s case & in his own words, the company is very much just the ‘douchebag’ boss.

          “I’m not some manager or coworker of yours. I own the company. It, and your job there, exist to suit my purposes, not vice versa. The company is not an end unto itself, it is a means to an end which is to further the objectives of its shareholders (in this case, me).”

        • RodHope says:

          How have they swindled people with their games? I thought they gave refund for Demigod (which they didn’t develop) and this game is free if you bought elemental within a few months of release.

          • Droopy The Dog says:

            1 – They only offered partial refunds to anyone who pre-ordered, not full ones. Though some got full ones for kicking up enough of a fuss after the release.

            2 – Stardock developed the netcode for Demigod, the by far least fit-for-purpose part of the game on release

            3 – Very few of the promised fixes for Demigod or War of Magic appeared, giving some of the customers a free game doesn’t change that.

          • Randomer says:

            The game part of Demigod was actually pretty awesome. It was the first big budget MOBA, and it launched with a whole suite of tech-tree type options that subsequent MOBAs still haven’t explired. It’s a shame that the launch of a sweet game got ruined by horrible netcode.

          • RodHope says:

            There’s a guy on this thread who got a refund for sending a nice email. Also, giving people a free game that fixes the problems of the previous game (hopefully) does kind of change that.

    • santheocles says:

      Well said. People should be reminded from time to time about unpleasant stories like this one… they tend to be forgotten too quickly.

    • Chuckaluphagus says:

      I’m with you on this. I have a number of Stardock games – GalCivs and Sins of a Solar Empire – but I won’t be buying any more. Even if Fallen Enchantress turns out to be amazing, well, so what? There are a ton of amazing games coming out soon or in my backlog right now, and I can buy and play them without supporting a reprehensible human being.

      • RodHope says:

        I agree! Reprehensible! I like to judge people I’ve never met based on accusations I read on the internet before verdicts have been reached.

        On a side note, I heard that you steal from charity.

        • PleasingFungus says:

          Most of the quotes that are pasted here are from Wardell’s attempts to defend himself. He released these intentionally.

          This is proven, dude.

        • Dark Nexus says:

          He’s fully admitted to some of the stuff in the accusations. Not enough to be legally liable purely on the basis of the admissions, but enough for me to decide that he’s a jackass.

    • Lawful Evil says:

      Oh, thank you SO MUCH for this reminder, for I’d completely forgotten how people can make useless and unrelated comments regarding the article in question, in an attempt to divert the comunication from discussing the potential quality of the game to discussing what naughty acts were (purportedly) commited by a owner of the company making the game.

    • lordcooper says:

      He is a rather awful person, but keep in mind that the success of this game likely has an effect on all the other people who worked on it too.

      • hemmingjay says:

        I agree Lord Cooper, Let’s hope they can find better employment as did the 38 Studios folks.

    • Baines says:

      And when the sexual harassment suit wasn’t thrown out, Wardell decided to counter with a suit that effectively claimed Elemental failed because she’d sabotaged it.

      One would think that, if Wardell’s allegation were true, he would have used the “missing files” excuse back when he was defending Elemental’s release state. (He wouldn’t even have to say “sabotage” or “intentionally deleted”.) Instead, he never mentioned it previously and only talked about how he thought the game was in a good state.

      link to

    • mouton says:

      Many acclaimed and/or classic philosophers, composers, artists were, in fact, horrible people. Deviants, egoists, sadists, you name it. If his assholness is balanced by creation of great games, I can live with it.

  7. Andr says:

    David Foster Wallace reference in an article about a turn-based fantasy-themed strategy game. That’s right there the reason why I absolutely love RPS. And go read that book already, Adam! The bandana shall never die!

    • pakoito says:

      What book, now?

      • Andr says:

        Infinite Jest, probably.

        • Tilaton says:

          Infinite Jest, probably the best book I’ve ever read, but also a mountain of a book.

          • Joshua Northey says:

            Really, I think it is wildly overrated. Nice if you like drug induced nonsensical maunderings, not much merit for the sane and erudite.

  8. hemmingjay says:

    I would like to purchase 2 boxed copies in addition to the free copy I receive for being a loyal Stardock victim. The first copy I will send to Brad with instructions on where to shove it, sideways, for treating me so poorly as a customer over the years. The next copy I will send to the previous marketing director so that she may also enjoy shoving it in the same, now sore, place on Brad in some effort to console her for the abhorrent way she was treated and libeled.

    • Unaco says:

      I thought it was still in court… Has the trial been concluded? I assume Wardell was found guilty then. If that’s the case, I’m kinda surprised RPS are still giving Stardock exposure like this.

      • Zeewolf says:

        He’s been found guilty by the angry internet men. Surely that’s enough?

        • Crazy Horse says:

          Some day there will be a legistlative arm of society that would enforce justice decieded by the popular consenus of the angry internet men. It would be powered by kittens.

          • Baardago says:

            And the internet tough guys will be the ones carrying out the sentence, too.

      • Dark Nexus says:

        Last I heard it was going to trial, but a date had not been set. And Stardock has filed a suit (not officially a counter-suit) against Alexandra Miseta over supposed actions she took upon leaving the company that (supposed) damaged the release timeline of Elemental.

        • LintMan says:

          Stardock’s “it’s not a countersuit” countersuit against his accuser is really what put me off on Stardock.

          For the harassment suit itself, I would be somewhat willing to treat that as he said/she said (aside from the fact that he admits to at least some of it), but the legal pursuit of her for destroying company materials strikes me as a pure hatchet job in retribution for her lawsuit.

          We’re supposed to believe that somehow during all the excuses and mea culpas he put out in the forums and in interviews after the botched Elemental release that he never once mentioned this “devastating” loss of “marketing materials” that he claims now was a critical setback and distraction in Elemental’s release just 3 weeks before release that likely impacted the game’s quality. Nor does another ex-employee recall any internal distress over this matter.

          Elemental was just a disaster at launch and is still a poor game today. Ttrying to shift any of the blame for it onto a departed PR person is just shameful and pathetic.

      • Baardago says:

        I’m actually glad that RPS is still giving this game exposure.

        The way I see it, a good game doesn’t suddenly stop being a good game just ’cause the CEO of the company that created it is a total ass. RPS would be doing it’s community a disservice by not covering a good/worhy game on that totally biased basis that really has no bearing when it comes to whether a game is good or not, whether it should do well or not.

        Perhaps it might be overstepping my boundaries to say this, but, in my opinion, it’s RTS’ role (in the case of an impressions post like this) to give a game the proper, impartial exposure it deserves, not cast judgement on the behavior of the CEO of the company that owns it and, based on that, choose whether or not to give a game any exposure. (Not accusing RPS of doing this at all, just saying)

        Similarly, I think it’s silly to boycott the game just because the CEO is an ass. Will we give him money by buying the game? Sure, unfortunately. We’ll also be giving money to the dedicated team of non-asses who worked hard on the game, and we will be fostering this type of game.

        To argue that RPS ought to totally ignore a potentially good game, just because of this (let us be frank) minor media spectacle, is petty and unconscionable.

        Let the courts cast judgement on the Wardell x Miseta issue and take the proper measures against Wardell himself (or not, depending on the result of the case). It’s their job to take care of it. Not ours.

  9. Didden says:

    Feeling the love in this thread :)

  10. slerbal says:

    “Oops, said Stardock, if you bought that, have the next one on us” <– yeah not so much. They are pretty weasily about it (check the fine print) and Stardock customer services are… well… shit. Despite being eligible for the free version it has proven impossible for me to actually do.

    That and as people mentioned Brad Wardell is a tool and having now thought on the matter for a while I think I am going to exercise buyer power and avoid Stardock games now. The combination of fucknut as MD plus Demigod and Elemental being awful has closed that door for me.

    Tis a shame – I really used to admire Stardock, but when they secretely buried the Gamer's Bill of Rights I understood that they were all talk and no trousers.

    • Dark Nexus says:

      It is a shame, as they said all of the right things regarding DRM, gamers rights, etc. before showing everyone that it was only lip service.

      • Baines says:

        I think it was around the time of the Elemental explosion that people noticed that not only had Stardock removed the links to it from their site, it had also been silently rewritten.

        The blunt and strict:
        “Gamers shall have the right to demand that games be released in a finished state.”

        had been changed to a more lenient:
        “Gamers shall have the right that games they purchase shall function as designed without technical defects that would materially affect the player experience. This determination shall be made by the player.”

    • RodHope says:

      How were you eligible and why didn’t they give you the free copy? I’ve got my beta access fine.

    • Shaun239 says:

      I’ve had FE automatically ever since the very first beta release.

  11. Randomer says:

    I hear you. Free? Not so much. Last I heard, my purchase of Elemental entitles me to something like a $10 discount on Enchantress.

    Do I want to spend $30 on this? A wise man once said, “Fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.”

    • Zanchito says:

      I have access to the Fallen Enchantress Beta and the full game for free, but I preordered [Elemental: War of Magic] quite some time in advance, I think later purchases had less benefits. Anyway, the Fallen Enchantress people are a nice bunch and are truly working hard to deliver a good game.

    • Phinor says:

      When did you buy your Elemental that is only eligible for a $10 discount? Because Stardock was pretty clear upfront as to who is eligible for a free copy of Fallen Enchantress but if they have broken that promise, then it doesn’t look pretty. Quick googling tells me that the deadline was either October 31 (2010) or December 31 (also 2010). Uhh, so not 100% clear then but either one of those dates ;)

      I know I got mine months and months ago although I’m not completely happy with it because for whatever reason, they decided to a) put the game in Steam and b) not give us Steam activable copies. It was never explained why but I’d guess they are looking to get a bit more business their way if people double dip for a Steam copy although they already have a non-Steam copy. Other developers keep saying how easy it is to work with Steam and have managed to pass Steam codes to their customers just fine, but shrug, who knows.

      • RodHope says:

        I’d guess that the copy you get from the Stardock site is DRM free and there’d be an additional cost to give everyone Steam keys. It’s the same game either way.

      • Randomer says:

        I’m not sure exactly when I bought it. I know I didn’t pick it up right away. Instead I waited a few months (long enough that it should have been relatively bug free) and grabbed it when Impulse had it on sale for $20. So I definitely got it before Impulse was bought out.

  12. MythArcana says:

    I still can’t get over the art direction…which, ironically, was in much better shape than everything else last I tried Elemental. I wish they’d just stop mucking around with this and get on GalCiv 3 already.

  13. Laephis says:

    I’m not buying anything from a company where Brad is involved. Too many other great games and great companies that are more worthy of my support.

  14. BradWardell says:

    Y’all just jealous I pay myself to feel up titties and park in handicap spots.

  15. ShoMeYaMoves says:

    All I want to know is if they’ve managed to make something nearly as good as Master of Magic. Failing that, at least as good as Age of Wonders.

    • Baardago says:

      Judging from what I’ve experienced in the beta, no. They haven’t managed it, yet.

      However, the game has some potential to get there. Don’t think it’ll get as good as Master of Magic – there’re many mechanics that make Elemental different from that one (yet others that make it similar). But Age of Wonders? Sure.

      Adam is kinda’ right when he says the whole is less than the sum of it’s parts. It is, but not by much. With a little work, it can be fixed.

      With Derek Paxton there, I think we might get a final product as good as Fall from Heaven/Master of Mana, which is not that bad at all (damn those two mod-games! I only discovered them this year, but immediately started losing hours and hours to them).

      We’re still a bit far from release, so I’ll wait and see.

  16. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    “The war is like that David Foster Wallace book you keep meaning to pick up again, but it’s always buried under a heap of clothes, boardgames, magazines and paperwork.”

    What have you been doing in my house?!