January 04, 2012

Master of Magic -- cheating

I'm a cheater. I cheat massively at Master of Magic. Since it's a single-player game, no one else is harmed by it. But I thought I ought to confess.

When I play, I set the game up to Hard, four opponents, small land size, powerful magic.

I choose a custom wizard and use Tlaloc's image, rather arbitrarily.

Setting up the wizard, I go with 4 black books, 1 red, 1 green, 1 blue. Then I add Node Mastery, Artificer, Archmage, and Alchemy. For my initial spells, I choose Ghouls, Darkness, Mana Leak.

For my race, I choose the Nomads. (Why? Nomads can build Animist's Guilds and Merchant Guilds, and I really like rangers and griffins.) And I always use the blue flag.

So far, so good. This is the point where the cheating happens:

Once I'm in the game, I save the file and then use a program called MOMSaveEditor to modify it.

I start the game with 60 casting skill. My initial mana is 5000 and my initial gold is 5000. I give myself the following spells:

KNOWN (can be cast immediately) :

Summon Champion
Call Lightning
Change Terrain
Shadow Demons

LEARNABLE (can eventually be researched):

Iron Skin
Nature's Cures
Spell Lock
Warp Node
Black Prayer

And then kick in with playing. The result is fun but not particularly challenging, which I suspect is obvious. Initial exploration is done with Shadow Demons and Wraiths, who also take out all lairs and nodes on my initial landmass. All nodes get a Ghoul as garrison.

Once things have slowed, and I have the leisure to do a big summon, I start Summon Champion. I monitor its progress and when there's only one turn to go, I save the game.

If I don't get Mortu, I reload and try again. It tosses a random number each time, so you don't necessarily get the same one. If I get Ravashack, I keep him and cast Summon Champion again.

Once I get Mortu, I create a sword for him: +3 Attack, +3 Defense, +3 To Hit, Death. Cost is 1050 mana. Then I create armor: Plate, +6 Defense, +4 Movement, +6 Resistance, Wraithform. Cost is 1950. Usually I have to do some alchemy to get enough mana for that.

Then he gets Pathfinding, and off he goes to start conquering the world. As soon as they become available, he gets Iron Skin, Regeneration, Flight, and Spell Lock. And once my bank account recovers, he gets a ring: +4 Defense, +2 To Hit, +3 Movement, +6 Resistance, cost 2375.

If I find black spell books, then I create a sword which adds Vampiric. And if I get any blue books, sometimes I create a ring that substitutes Flight for +2 To Hit.

So I'm a terrible cheater. (Or maybe it might be more correct to say that I'm really good at cheating.) But who is harmed?

I think I might try this at "Impossible" some time just to see what it's like.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Gaming at 02:17 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
Post contains 511 words, total size 3 kb.

1 I never played MoM myself, but I often find that when I play strategy games where a single round lasts very long, I simply don't want to play the (usually very slow) first stage every time. Or I want to play my battles with huge armies against extremely strong AI, but I can never keep up with how fast the AI builds up its economy at the start of the game.

I also recently used a memory editing program on Terraria, because I lost my character and world files, and didn't feel like investing another 100+ hours into getting back where I was before I lost them.

So I do enjoy occassional cheating in games, but only ever in single player. At times it just makes it more enjoyable.

Posted by: Jordi Vermeulen at January 04, 2012 03:08 PM (AJZdn)

2 I used to do that a lot back in the Doom II days, just for fun, and not until I'd played the game all the way through without it.  In MOM, I tend to backup to an earlier save point if my game goes south, but that's about it for cheating.  Everything else is as the game rolls it.  And who doesn't do that?

I've been playing a lot of HOI3 lately, and in that I use one cheat code only: "noneutrality", which lowers neutrality to zero and makes it possible to declare war immediately.  Of course, other nations are still hampered, and can't declare war for a while, but I don't do it with major countries; instead I play a minor country and use the head start to build up.  The time I conquered most of the world with Czechoslovakia was pretty cool.  Currently, I'm playing the Random player mod, which creates fictionalized countries/borders, etc across the world. 

Posted by: ubu at January 04, 2012 07:30 PM (GfCSm)

3 What does "HOI" stand for?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 04, 2012 07:36 PM (+rSRq)

4 Hearts of Iron 3  Sorry, it's a WWII grand strategy game in which you can micromanage global campaigns at the divisional level, research technology, deal with internal politics and foreign policy, and managed your economy.  Not for the faint of heart, a game can take weeks to play..  I've been thinking about doing a post on it, but haven't recovered all my posting tools yet.

Posted by: ubu at January 04, 2012 07:46 PM (GfCSm)

5 Hmm, sounds almost like War in Europe.

(We used to play that at USMA in the late '70s.)

Posted by: Mark A. Flacy at January 04, 2012 07:56 PM (Lbkvv)

6 Yeah, Hearts of Iron is for people who take their WW2 wargaming quite seriously. Lots of detail and, frankly, a learning curve up there with Dwarf Fortress.

Sounds like you've got the recipe for a fun romp in Master of Magic. For some games, there's very little space between "computer is smart enough I don't feel like I'm picking on special-education kids" and "computer cheats so much that taking it on from scratch is just punishing".

Posted by: Avatar_exADV at January 04, 2012 09:42 PM (pWQz4)

7 I used to play Diablo II all the time with a trainer to enable god mode, before I got into WoW.

I also had a lot of fun editing magic items to make them do ludicrous things, like the charm that gave whatever character carried it +461% experience for each kill.  Then I'd take a 1st level character, give him a weapon that could do some serious damage, and let him loose in "Hell" mode with that charm.

I'd go up 3-4-5 levels the first time I killed anything.  It was hilarious.

Posted by: atomic_fungus at January 04, 2012 09:49 PM (bRi+J)

8 ubu, that sounds rather useful--my first game, I played as the US (natch), and while I was able to pull out of the Depression, I despaired at getting anybody to attack me so that I could actually go to war.  Japan somehow shrugged off every provocation, and my pacifist citizens hog-tied me.

I finally gave up around 1946, and started over as Germany, where the only problem was in trying to grab as much land and resources as possible before the Allies wised up and declared war on me.

The one unrealistic moment came when my invasion forces broke out of Newfoundland and swept through New England and the Great Plains.  The US should have a dramatically higher partisan rating to account for the 2nd Amendment.

As for cheating in MOM, I have done some save-scumming, but I don't really bother anymore.  I can generally win with a custom wizard on Impossible/Large; if I'm going to fail, it's going to be within the first 50 turns or so, and more often than not, I'll just start over.  Ditto with MOO2; if I don't like the starting position, or space monsters/Guardian eat my scouts too soon, it's restart time.

Posted by: BigD at January 04, 2012 11:05 PM (u0/7E)

9 Yikes.  I usually play on Hard, but I don't think I've ever taken on MOM in Impossible. Well, not more than once...

Posted by: ubu at January 05, 2012 02:33 AM (GfCSm)

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