February 03, 2012

Master of Magic -- two out of four

Am I the only one who has noticed that on average about half the nodes are blue? Probably a code bug, but typically about a quarter green and a quarter red, with some random jitter.

My usual game lately has been to get Mortu, stack him to the ceiling with the best gear I can create, let him take out lairs to gain experience points, and then use him alone to wipe out all the nodes on Myrror, resulting in an obscene power base.

Today I tried something a bit different. Instead of Mortu, I decided to try Alorra.


I can't figure out whether Alorra is supposed to be a he or a she. Given the pink frilly shirt, something stuck in the hair, and big poofy lips, I've been assuming "she", but maybe that's just what elves are like, even the men. I've never met an elf; how would I know?

Anyway, it became apparent pretty early that the big problem was that Alorra only had 8 arrows, and for some battles that just wasn't enough.

So I got Mortu after all, and equipped him, and then let the two of the hunt together. And they are most impressive, I must say, laying a bloody swath through everything in their path. Even at "impossible" level, I don't remember anything that was too much of a challenge. For instance, when facing a stack of 8 Great Drakes, the plan was simple: Alorra puts an arrow into one Drake, doing about 25 points of damage, and then Mortu kills it. (Mortu has first strike and armor piercing.) Repeat until all the Drakes are gone. (Did I mention that Mortu and Alorra were both invisible and flying? The Drakes just float there, waiting to be killed.)

The only real problem with this plan is that it takes a hell of a long time to set it up. Between summoning two champions, and then creating a bow, a sword, two plate mails and two magic rings, you're looking at upwards of fifty turns.

But once you've got them...

UPDATE: I've run into another bug a few times recently: if an enemy wizard is banished, and casting the spell of return, and you're merrily marching around destroying his towns in order to defeat him, and he's down to one, and it's an outpost, then when you attack it the game crashes.

You have to leave it long enough for it to turn into a village, with one villager, before you take it out. Or better yet, be more careful about scouting the bastard before you embark on your genocide campaign, and make sure the last one you go after isn't an outpost.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Gaming at 08:33 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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1 I've been reading your entries about MoM with some interest. I work for a company that has been doing a lot of work on games for a while, but has never produced a game on its own. But we might start making games of our own soon. If it were up to me to decide what is fun I think I would do a bad job- my definition would be an enemy that played very well, but didn't cheat.

I've come to understand that my definition of fun is not the normal definition. I am thinking that I ought to spend more time thinking about how to present people with the illusion of a challenge, and making it fun for them to defeat that illusion.

Posted by: tds at February 04, 2012 09:28 PM (A1JNP)


Some people do like really good AI's. Stardock is legendary for making really excellent AI's in their 4X games. They're tough -- and they don't cheat.

Making the computer AI's cheat is the easy way to make the game more difficult, of course.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at February 04, 2012 09:46 PM (+rSRq)


And the medium way is making the game something that computers are very good at and humans aren't.

Which is why I've never found a real-time strategy game that I think is worth playing; I can control one unit at a time and can only skip between them if they can be on-screen at the same time.  The computer has no such limitations, and if it makes use of that, the game is Not Fun, even if the computer isn't using cheats like "more resources" and "no fog of war" and other stuff that MoM does.

Posted by: Mikeski at February 05, 2012 08:54 PM (1bPWv)

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