Screw Balance: How Warlords Battlecry 3 Blended Genres

There’s this obscure game called StarCraft – you probably haven’t heard of it. It was one of those games that was so well designed that for years afterwards, most that came after its throne were either failed experiments or pale imitations, and even those that succeeded were just more of the same. Here are a few factions, they’re unique but equal; here’s a campaign where you fight each other faction then a civil war, with each level unlocking more stuff. Get unit x to position y, hold your ground for 30 minutes, insert tab A into slot B. You must construct additional… Mylons. Yeah, that’ll do.

StarCraft numbed me to the RTS for years. Everything wanted to be it, but I’d already played it. Even to this day, I find very little to recommend from that era. In a shock twist, however, there’s an exception in Warlords Battlecry 3.

It came out in 2004, as the last in a series of real-time strategy games spun off from the turn based Warlords series that utilised RPG elements as far back as the late 80s. It’s one of very few RTS to sustain my interest for more than an hour or so, and has consumed me for weeks on end when I boot it up. The RPG RTS hybrid wasn’t unheard of even when the the first Battlecry came out in 2000, but until the third, no other game had brought the genres together so well without also bringing the baggage along.

The joy here is in the execution rather than the premise, which is simple enough. Though there’s a little backstory and a hint of flavour here and there, it’s never prominent. We need very little reason to murder tiny electronic people, after all. Sixteen fantasy races, including all the usual suspects – undead, orcs, insects, elves subdivided into snobby/hippy/teenaged – are split into factions, given a selection of leaders, and pitted against one another, either in skirmishes or the campaign. The latter is a map covered in hubs, each home to a specific faction and a couple of battles or other encounters, in which you might buy items or hire mercenaries. You’re free to travel about these as you see fit, and some can be replayed, with a few offering a permanent choice between factions to ally with, which allows you to play as their side and access different strategies and units for your retinue.

What’s the retinue? It’s a system that should have been made a genre standard years ago. At the start of the battle you get army setup points to spend on standard units for your faction or any units in your retinue, but every unit gains XP for killing, and once they’ve hit a few levels, you can bring them with you on any mission until they die. Depending on your hero’s stats, this can even be the focus your strategy. At one point mine included a flying zealot with a flaming sword, a witch who laid spider eggs in her victims, two gigantic building-stomping ents, and a triceratops. Quite a few battles end early with a hell of a shock for some poor sod expecting squishy elves.

This, and the alliances, are as close to decision-making roleplaying as WB3 gets. It’s not a character- or narrative-based game at all. The plot is hands-off, and the bulk of your time will be spent pootling around to uncover more of the map and level up your hero. Experience and units accrue even in skirmishes, which can be customised as you like, bringing to the foreground what WB3 is about.

It’s not a heavily scripted, linear campaign like Spellforce, nor is it meticulously balanced like StarCraft. Battles are mostly freeform, and units are fairly autonomous too, despite individually tracked XP and many spells and special abilities, avoiding the micromanagement that turned Warcraft 3 into a bit of a chore.

Rather, it’s more like someone squeezed some essence of Master of Magic into the free for all structure of Total Annihilation. You can’t build the same army every time and be sure that it’ll stand a fair chance, but you can summon an undead dragon that steals XP, build golems that spawn free kamikaze units, or make leprechauns fight a T-Rex.

As a result, factions in WB3 aren’t meticulously balanced. Each has entirely unique buildings and units, and even similar ones will vary in cost, and in the significance of that cost to their faction. Say your spearmen hits harder than a rival’s swordsman, but the latter are resistant to your piercing weapons. But while yours is inferior in raw stats, you only need gold to train yours, and you have no other use for gold, whereas your opponent needs stone and ore to train theirs. You’ll have nothing to lose by burning useless gold, but they’ll have to divert stone away from a building upgrade to keep up.

This applies to the faction level, too. The Empire, for example, start out with exclusively piercing weapons, while the insectoid Swarm have several low-level troops who take reduced damage from these. If the Swarm strike early it’s a one-sided battle. Life is even tougher for the laughably weak Fey. Their troops are tiny, weak, and vulnerable to all physical damage – a common oaf with a sword, fully expected to die in droves on some demon’s claws, will effortlessly tear apart Fey troops, who have little choice but to keep swarming and hope to hold out.

Then, fifteen minutes later, you’ll notice a Fey scout with twenty times the xp of your soldiers, and the corresponding upgrade in stats. What’s happening? Well, given time and resources (some of which they get for free every time their towers score a kill), the fey can upgrade all their units to a terrifying degree, and turn those campily prancing jokes into an unstoppable tide of magic-flinging death, led by dragons that generate free resources with every kill, and units that add gold to their coffers just by existing.

Economic warfare becomes more nuanced, too. There’s no guarantee that you’ll start near any of the resources you need. Dark Dwarves have almost no need of crystal, but are crippled without plenty of stone, whereas Orcs get free stone every time they destroy a building.

Making the most of these quirks and mismatches is where the RPG bit comes in. Your hero isn’t a beefed up grunt that you daren’t risk in any fight where they might be needed (there is a permadeath option wherein death ends the whole campaign and deletes your save, but any unit can get a lucky shot in that instantly mangles another, so good luck). Your hero’s class defines which stats they can level up, which in turn give direct bonuses to them or their troops.

Take my Wood Elf Bard, who I’m going to call Cass and not the anatomically suspect name I actually typed in, presumably while drunk. She’s loaded up with Dexterity, which translates to moving faster, hitting more often, and crucially, capturing mines faster. Even when the enemy retakes them, Cass converts them back again so fast that it’s a net gain to simply keep doing it – for every minute their hero is tied up stealing my mines, she only needs 20 seconds to take them back. Of course, that comes at the cost of lower hit points and weak spellcasting, and giving the game a strategic emphasis, whereas different builds pull the game towards Nox territory, personally laying waste to small armies or casting spells that instantly wipe out thirty attackers. Exactly where it belongs on a scale that includes StarCraft and Dota is impossible to pin down.

All this speciation trickles down from one principle, really: screw balance. Each side is truly unique, and tuned well enough to play its own way, not to be equal. Heroes differentiate them further, and the retinue system and the need to roam and capture mines cut down on the early game tedium that wears out so much of the genre. The sheer variety of playthings on offer lends it a lot of long-term replayability. Its conventional layout and sprite-based graphics give it an unremarkable, old-fashioned appearance, but Warlords Battlecry 3 is comfortably one of the best base building games ever made.

40 Comments

  1. EhexT says:

    Blizzard has done so much damage to so many genres just by putting out a polished amalgam of ideas other people had before them and then selling it like it was the one-true-way-to-make-a-game.

    Because those polished frankensteinian monsters sell so ridiculously well all publisher funded innovation in that genre stops completely as the only games that get funding are clones of Blizzards games. Ironically because nobody is left to innovate Blizzard can’t make sequels worth a damn – there’s nobody to steal advances from because their own success has stopped all advances from being made.

    That circumstance is brilliantly illustrated by Starcraft 2, which is simply a clone of Starcraft 1 with no innovations whatsoever. The hardest part of making that was trying to find an angle to market it like a good thing instead of the stagnant joke it really is.

    • MisterFurious says:

      Hear hear! Well said. I loved ‘Warlords Battlecry’ so much. It was much better than StarCraft or WarCraft and yet, hardly anyone played it. It really pisses me off when people give credit to Blizzard for putting heroes in RTSs when Warlords Battlecry did it long before WarCraft 3 came out. Blizzard are nothing but thieves, which sucks in and of itself, but the fact that people give them so much credit for things they didn’t create drives me insane.

    • australopithecus says:

      Starcraft 2 is not a stagnant clone of Starcraft:Broodwar. The evidence? I still prefer Broodwar to Starcraft 2, and there’d be no reason for that if it was a clone.

      Blizzard have fallen between two chair with Starcraft 2. It’s not enough of a clone for the people who loved Broodwar as a multiplayer game and wanted nothing more than a graphics and limited UI upgrade, but it’s too similar for those who are only mildly interested or loved the single player campaigns.

      I understand that there are many who are focused on the single player aspects of games. But you should understand that for those of us who make our stories not through the characters or campaigns that are given to us but in the endlessly changing responses of other players, a game that can still be called truly balanced and still foster innovation and changes to the meta game after a decade is a beautiful and exceedingly rare thing.

      Broodwar did not need innovation in the same way that chess does not need innovation. All the long-term fans wanted was a shiny new chess set to play with, not new rules and pieces, and Blizzard made the mistake of half-listening to them.

      • ThornEel says:

        Even the single-player part, they managed to screw it up. The original (Broodwar included) had a pretty good story and nice (if simple) characters, as well as a fantastic ambiance, among other things through visual and sound design.
        StarCraft 2 not only has uninspired, bling-bling visuals but also one of the worst scenarios I’ve ever seen in a videogame. It seems to have either been made by someone secretly hating the original and trying to systematically, thoroughly ruin it, or by someone with a script to give tomorrow and getting the first fanfic spat by Google. Or, as I kind of suspect, both.

        For those of us who play videogames as (also) a narrative medium, it felt like a treason at the level of what many Star Wars fans felt with the prequels, for similar reasons.

      • Jerkzilla says:

        There’s actually a bunch of people arguing that chess does need innovation. Something about all endgame scenarios being memorable and very high rate of stalemates among high level players.

    • Reefpirate says:

      You’ve somehow put me in the awkward position of defending Blizzard… Which happens occasionally just because they get so much unbridled hatred thrown at them these days.

      Blizzard is a massive giant, but I have no idea how you expect me to believe that they single-handedly stifled innovation in every genre they produced games for. As if the subject of this article isn’t enough evidence of other RTS franchises that were able to innovate in the genre, you also have Kohan I and II, Company of Heroes I and II, Total Annihilation, Total Annihilation Kingdoms, Supreme Commander I and II, Dawn of War I and II, Myth I and II, 7 Kingdoms, Age of Empires (and other Ages I don’t even know how many there are), the entire C&C franchise, Sins of a Solar Empire series, the more recent Grey Goo and Planetary Annihilation. Please someone else feel free to contribute to the list because I know I’m forgetting other RTS games that are contemporary with Blizzard’s work in the genre. How in the flying hell are you supposed to convince anybody that Blizzard somehow prevented others from working or experimenting in the genre?

      I can run through a similar massive list of MMOs that have been developed to varying degrees of success since the release of WoW. Countless ARPGs popping up all over the place since the success of Diablo.

      What you call stifling innovation I call doing it better than almost everybody else. Not in a subjective sense, since there’s many non-Blizzard RTS and MMOs that I have enjoyed very much, but in an objective, holy crap they got millions and millions of people to buy their hyper-polished brand of game. If anything their success has paved the way as proof of demand for these types of games, and have in fact facilitated a whole lot of development in the genres that they entered (or in some cases invented).

      • fuggles says:

        I think the stagnation was\is tied to success of StarCraft. The list you make were all contemporaries and shortly after the genre died off, although I’m sure all it did on some level was change the c&c clones with two asymmetrical sides into sc clones with 3 sides.

        By being so successful blizzard shaped the genre and caused the rise of multiplayer being aimed at the e-sport markets. Perfect balance is more important than fun or else your competitive crowd flock away.

        Largely though its just unfair as total annihilation was a mechanically superior and I think the genre should have gone that way with proper physics and individually calculated shots.

        Hard to form a discussion with a two year old attacking you with a pink tea pot. Blizzard harmed RTS and mmorpg by being too successful as the industry then spent years making clones which were never as good or progressed the genre. Perhaps not their fault, but was the result. Total annihilation had navy, submarines, aircraft, hovercrafts, bush fires, acid lakes, nukes. Star craft had fixed damage and a better campaign. Sigh.

        Another time I could probably write this better, sorry.

        • airmikee says:

          Owning most of the games in Reefpirates list, and not a single Blizzard RTS game, I’ll back him up in saying that the RTS genre is nowhere near dead. I’ll also add the Total War series of games, only two years younger than Starcraft, but they somehow managed to put out nine compared to SC’s two. The Homeworld series went above and beyond Starcraft in terms of RTS play. And while the Blitzkrieg series had most of its thunder stolen by Company of Heroes, they’re still great games. And later this year we’ll see Blitzkrieg 3, War for the Overworld, Dungeons 2, Etherium, Stardrive 2, and a new Total War game.

          You seem to think that Blizzard somehow made their own success within the genre, and that the people purchasing Blizzard’s games have absolutely no responsibility. If simply wishing to be successful was all it took then every company on the planet would have all the customers they could handle and more. Blizzard made a mediocre RTS game, and people gobbled it up in droves. I blame Blizzard for making a mediocre game but not for it being a hit, I blame the masses that bought the mediocre game and made it a success.

          The RTS genre is not stagnant, there are plenty of games available and coming out in the near future. Unhook Blizzard from your veins and start supporting the other devs instead of complaining about the long list of non-Blizzard RTS games they have been pumping out over the years. We’re talking about 20+ series of games over the last sixteen years, if you think that is stagnation I have to wonder how you’re defining the word because it’s not one familiar to me.

      • MartinWisse says:

        Most of that list are either products of the 1998 RTS boom and older than or contemporary to Starcraft, or sequels to same. Therefore they can’t refute the idea that Starcraft stifled innovation.

        • airmikee says:

          LOL. You say they’re all older and not contemporary, fuggles said the exact opposite.

          But you’ve got to be joking that most of those games are older than SC, right? I mean, you can’t really be serious, cant you?

          Most of those games series came out years after Starcraft, only a few were released prior. And those that were released prior to SC had massive improvements that brought real change to the genre after SC’s release.

          I’m willing to bet real money that most of the people that think RTS is stagnant because of Stacraft haven’t actually played much of the RTS games except Starcraft, because speaking as someone that only played Blizzard RTS games when friends and family weren’t playing their copies because I’ve never bought any of Blizz’s mediocre RTS CRAP, RTS is doing just fine.

        • Reefpirate says:

          I wasn’t talking just about Starcraft. Warcraft was also an RTS that Blizzard developed well before 1998.

  2. Anthile says:

    Man, I played so much of that game. Bought it for a couple of bucks from a dodgy seller on a flea market after having played Warlords Battlecry 2 before (which is also almost identical). It’s so much fun, especially in multiplayer. There is actually a very large selection of classes and races, from alchemists that can create items on the fly to the merchant who dominates through the power of FINANCING.
    I do remember that demons with fire magic were pretty op in the campaign. For some reason they gave pyromancers a healing spell, a spell that gives unit XP but also an Armageddon spell that can flatten most of a base. Also the sssnakepeople…

    • MisterFurious says:

      Dark Dwarf Alchemists were really insane, as I recall. They cranked out super buff golems like crazy.

  3. RARARA says:

    A big mainstream RTS geared for SP fun is almost inconceivable now.

    No wait, I mean, a big mainstream RTS is almost inconceivable now.

    :(

  4. SwiftRanger says:

    Rival Realms did these things earlier in a fantasy setting though it’s uglier and clunkier. Battlecry finetuned a lot and was instantly adorable/likeable. It’s really one of those “I am installing this for the 667th time…”-experiences.
    If you truly want to dig a bit deeper for those unique RPG-influences then War Wind (II) (and later on its spiritual successor Original War) shouldn’t be forgotten. Caring about every(!) unit takes on a whole new meaning in these games. Multiple storyline paths only add to it.

    And yeah, in a certain way StarCraft II and the DoTA-clones can be blamed for the downfall of more varied RTS-games. But other RTS-developers are also at fault and have slipped down the drain with poor titles or by being bought out by big publishers who subsequently crushed them or which used them for non RTS-goals (what a waste of Massive with The Division). We’re very, very far removed from the golden RTS-years, it’s frankly awful to see that no RTS-Kickstarter ever captured what made those older games worth it. I also fear that, just like big publishers, most game journalists aren’t up for an RTS-revival, even on RPS. :(

    There are some promising signs now that the RTS-ships are turning into another direction (Blitzkrieg III, Shipbreakers, Offworld, Servo, Ashes of the Singularity, …) but we need a real blockbuster to put its foot next to the big players in the genre. A Dawn of War III for example (quit the CoH2-stuff, Relic)… or a Total Annihilation 2 (Wargaming Seatlle, come on guys)… or a C&C-reboot (ditch it, EA, you screwed it up)… or Dark Reign 3, KKnD 3, Seven Kingdoms 3, Age of Empires 4/AoM2, or something totally new that isn’t influenced by DotA.

    • MisterFurious says:

      ‘Warlords Battlecry 4’ was in the works for a while, but I guess it got cancelled. I haven’t heard anything about it in years.

    • EhexT says:

      ” … or Dark Reign 3, KKnD 3, Seven Kingdoms 3, Age of Empires 4/AoM2, or something totally new that isn’t influenced by DotA.”
      Or Battle Realms 2 or Conquest:Frontier Wars 2 (there’s an alpha of this floating around on the internet – it is/was going to be incredible) or Heroes of Annihilated Empires 2 (HoAE still one of the best fusions of 2D spritework and 3D graphics ever made) or Earth 2170 (not a sequel to the dreadful 2160, but to 2150 which still has all other RTS beat in terms of depth of environmental and campaign mechanics despite coming out a decade ago).

  5. megazver says:

    The word you are looking for is “symmetry”, not “balance”.

    • airmikee says:

      A ‘balance’ between factions or character types in video games have been an acceptable term for at least two decades. ‘Symmetry’ is an acceptable synonym, but ‘balance’ is just as apt in this context.

      • ensor says:

        That is incorrect – the two terms are not interchangeable. To illustrate, we have the perfect model before us: Starcraft is asymmetrical, but balanced within an inch of its life.

  6. Olaf the Merchant says:

    I loved this game to bits back in the day. It’s a bleeding shame you can’t get working multiplayer in the re-releases- that’s where the game truly shined.

  7. BlackeyeVuk says:

    Nice one Sin Vega, now, do this with Kohan 2 please. Such epic game forgotten.

    Oh, and peeps check this mod on moddb for WB3 . link to moddb.com

    • Luckz says:

      Kohan 1, too, please.
      (2 is nice but I thought 1 was truly brilliant)

  8. misterT0AST says:

    My love for this game knows no bounds.
    Amazing cheap clusterfuck of a ripoff of Warhammer (it had “BARTONIAN” knights in it!).

    I’ve been trying to find a bargain copy of it online, but it’s either seldom discounted or I’m always distracted when it is.

  9. Anthile says:

    Since I can’t edit: it’s also the same setting as Puzzle Quest for whatever reason.

  10. catscratch says:

    I played the lights out of this game back in the day. I played all of the Warlords Battlecry games and the original Warlords games too. This game was so innovative on so many levels, but its lack of balance is what ultimately killed it in the end. That, and the lack of polish, since the netcode was wretched, there were bugs and stability issues eveywhere, and the dev team just never had the resources they needed to fully polish things up. That, and there was no quality QA that I could see so they were operating in the dark on many levels.

    But man, the ideas this game had! A side that had units which were entirely inefficient in terms of cost/effectiveness, except that they could be instantly created by upgrading cheap, low-tier units, which allowed you to counter your opponent’s army composition on the spot and overcome the lack of cost efficiency. Or a side that had higher tier units summon lower tier units for the cost of regenerating mana only, letting you set up chains of summoning and putting emphasis on high-tier unit preservation. Or the elf sides, which instead of getting the same ability to boost resource production as everybody else had units that continually generated the main resource they needed, except that said units were also a valuable fighting force, making you play a delicate balance between exerting yourself militarily on the map, and preserving your economy.

    Plus, there were so many possibilities in terms of what heroes could do, and how it all interacted with what sides could do. It was an endless, brain-teasing pandora’s box of possibilities.

    Except that, in the end, having hundreds of possibilities that aren’t that balanced boils down to finding the one or two things that are the most broken, rendering everything else pointless. So in a sense, Starcraft with its handful of carefully balanced units had more variety by the end of the game’s lifespan than WBC did.

    That, and the idea of bringing persistent heroes that were built-up offline into online matches was patently ridiculous. Fortunately, you could play with temporary tournament heroes that started off on an equal footing.

    Really, it was a brilliant, flawed, unpolished, and endlessly adventurous game that took more liberties with game design and had more promising ideas vis-a-vis the game mechanics than any other RTS I’ve seen – EVER. It was also funny, charming, and a joy to play, at least initially and for a while.

    It’s too bad no AAA studio has the balls to do a game like this today, and no indie has the resources.

    • Luckz says:

      Fortunately for playing coop with friends it’s irrelevant how unbalanced it is.

  11. Winnetou says:

    DOOM IS AT HAAAAAAAAND!

    That’s what the doom knight (one of the best units in the game) yelled when striking a death blow. They were slow, tall, had good health, good damage (with a giant sword and a giant shiedl) and very good armor. They also stroke terror into their foes, leaving them defenseless. And would still lose in a 1v1 battle vs a sprite.

    What WBC series lacked in balance they made it up in flavour. The units/races/heroes design, voices and abilities are truly those of an AAA game. I still remember lots of units voices and portraits, as much as I remember from StarCraft and Warcraft 3 which I also enjoyed greatly (in single player).

    And even while not very balanced, you could have fun & balanced multiplayer by using some limiting factors. Usually no hero and eventually same race. I think that what really made the game not go big was it’s lack of polish (and then lack of marketing maybe). Really a shame considering (as someone above said) how many concepts (and features) the games in this series had.

    Sigh.

  12. RedViv says:

    Looking at the most popular topics in the Infinite Interactive forums… Yep, “If we were making Warlords Battlecry 4” is still at the top.

    My heart aches.

  13. Gus the Crocodile says:

    WHO SHALL DANCE WITH A PIXIE?
    WHO SHALL DANCE WITH A PIXIE?
    WHO SHALL -WHO SHALL DANCE WITH A PIXIE?-WITH A PIXIE?
    WHO SHALL DANCE WITH A PIXIE?

    <3 Fey swarms. Units that build quickly and only cost crystal, towers (and a dragon) that give you crystal for killing things, of course backed up by a Merchant hero for even cheaper units and more resources. I've no doubt I would have been crushed in "serious" multiplayer, but "screw balance" is right: that's not really what this game was about.

  14. Aetylus says:

    The warlords Battlecry series were my most hated games that I never played. As a hardened turn-based grognard I LOVED the TB warlords series, but aside from playing Dune never got into RTS’s, and I watched mournfully on as every game under the sun became an RTS. The conversion of warlords to RTS was about the worst thing (imo) that could have happened to TB games (except if civilization had gone RTS).

    Thankfully in 2015 the plague of RTS has passed.

  15. CKScientist says:

    I played the first Warlords Battlecry when I was about 10, and for me at the time the plotline was high art. Your character goes on a military campaign for his lord, and along the way picks up an elf child friend. Half way through the campaign, she dies, and you can then follow an evil branch where you take revenge for this (and end up destroying the world) or a good branch where she comes back to life for a while, but then ultimately dies saving the world.

    I imagine it would seem incredibly generic to me now, but when I was a kid it was the best thing ever.

  16. dskzero says:

    It’s as if nobody ever played War Wind.

  17. Mara says:

    I utterly loved this game, and unlike its two prequels there was no maximum level your hero character could have.
    Meaning that you could, if you were mad and didn’t have much else to play that summer, train up a level 600 Human Merchant that got 92% discount on all structures and units.

    …too bad enemy heroes scale with you in both the campaign and Skirmish modes though, meaning they could and would steam roll through everything I held dear.

  18. airknots says:

    Ahhh, Warlords. This is the game I used to introduce my gf to PC gaming (modem-to-modem).

    Also loved how you can put in a password for you characters, so that your little brother can’t accidentally destroy your save games.

  19. Immobile Piper says:

    For some reason I have this purchased at GOG.

    I guess I know what I’ll be playing this weekend.

  20. TheSpaniard says:

    This was a good article about a game that’s highly underrated. That being said, this game is not that imbalanced, especially not after the recent patching. There’s been some great work done to fix some of the game’s many problems, some mentioned on this very article. The latest patch introduces the developers were thinking of implementing but were unable due to budget/time issues.

    So, all and all, a great article but not very informed because the game has changed since its initial release. It’s important to keep tabs on any game’s existing community, regardless of how small you may find it, because you will find a lot of interesting and nuanced content that would help in an opinion piece like this. Otherwise, an awesome article, I know it made me happy to see people speaking about this great game in March, 2015!

    If anyone wants to play with me, I would be down to make a new hero and level up together, my steam name is : the_spaniard14 -> from Texas and i have a picture of Akira as my account Icon.

    • Sin Vega says:

      Thanks for the kind words. The version reviewed is the latest, though, as it’s the one on sale at the linked shop – the patch made several changes that put the balance out as much as fixed it – e.g. Ancient Wisps now generate even less crystal, choking the already starved income of the elves. Overall I don’t feel the patches are significant enough to mention in a relatively short piece (though they’re exactly the kind of detail it’s good to see come up in the comments).

  21. TheSpaniard says:

    Well, the latest unofficial patch for instance includes a new spell sphere that was originally going to be implemented in the game: the time sphere. Due to budget/time constraints, it was not included with the final release or subsequent official patches. Therefore, for this and other reasons, this is somewhat considered the official “unofficial” patch for the game. There are tons of subtle changes that truly polish the game (for example, switching the model for squire and archer, is a noticeable change to the aesthetic of both the Knights and Empire that just plains makes sense and makes you think that’s how it should have looked from the beginning). So, it’s a shame to not mention, it virtually polishes and makes the game what it should have been and more balanced.

    Also, there are more quests, and now you can even answer riddles or questions in order to complete your quest. It’s great , and while you may think that something like adding a lot of items may potentially imbalance the game, the items included (which is a vast amount in the last patch) are carefully thought out and work to balance the game as a whole. The people that worked on this material to release the patch are very savy with the game and understood the where the biggest areas of concern were in terms of balance.