May 13, 2011

MOM thoughts

So you're playing a red game, and you're sailing around a Great Drake, butchering everything you come across. One of the things you attack is a pile of triremes belonging to Merlin. Here's the  question: If he uses Web on the Great Drake, does it splash and drown?

I don't know. I got paranoid, so I put Water Walking on the Great Drake just in case. But it didn't matter anyway, because Merlin didn't have enough mana to cast any spells during that battle. Still, I'm curious. Would that kill the Great Drake? Or would it effectively get water walking for free?

I've been trying to mix up my starting setup, just for variety. I'm pretty much hopelessly hooked on being Myrran and playing the Draconians, but that still leaves a lot of opportunity. I spent some time playing a variety of different magic colors, but in the end I really love Green too much. (With, or without, a bit of white for spice.)

A couple of days ago I started messing around with different retorts. One interesting game was 2 white, five green, Myrran and ArchMage. Getting Archmage late in the game doesn't really do too much, but starting with it is incredible. My skill level grew enormously, and it really did make a difference in the game.

But the game I just played was even more fun: Myrran (obligatory), 1 blue, 1 red, 5 green, and Node Mastery.

Node Mastery is scary powerful. Getting it late in the game is great, but starting with it is obscene.

In particular, what it meant was that I could use Web and Crack's Call in every node I attacked, which made a huge difference. So nodes were easier to conquer early, plus giving twice as much power as normal. It's overwhelming, because of course having lots of mana means your skill rises and your spell research accelerates and you can carry more continuing spells and summons.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Gaming at 08:02 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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1 Yeah, I can see how that would benefit.  The tradeoff would be, of course, that you pretty much have to go after nodes.  Which can suck if you draw a bunch of nodes with really nasty stuff ( air elementals, illusionary warriors until you have true sight or potent ranged attacks, any critter in large enough numbers to make Cracks Call unviable ).

Posted by: metaphysician at May 13, 2011 08:44 PM (hD30M)

2 I've been playing on Hard for the first time lately, and it's been a pain.  This is my third try at an all-white start, and I only succeeded this time because I saved on the first turn and was able to go back to it, knowing where the towns were, and where the best spots to settle were.

I summoned up four of the big spirits, and used them to knock off two of those, settled the two best spots and played defense for a couple hundred turns, until I got Paladins. Unfortunately, Jafar's in the game, dispelling my enchantments, and S'sra has Great Wasting running.  I don't have any of the major city-boosts yet.

My retort is Warlord... come on, Altar of Battle!  If you get that early, it's utterly devastating.  Ultra-elite units out of the gate.

Posted by: ubu at May 13, 2011 09:37 PM (GfCSm)

3 I'm a wimp, and I play "easy".

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 13, 2011 09:50 PM (+rSRq)

4 I'm going to have to crack it open again soon.

But all this discussion makes me wonder if perhaps the REASON the game works so well is BECAUSE it's not totally playtest balanced out the wazoo, and there are so many ways to give it a shove over the tipping point.

Posted by: Mauser at May 13, 2011 10:45 PM (cZPoz)

5

"If he uses Web on the Great Drake, does it splash and drown?"

Nope, but the great drake can't move.  It just sits there on the surface of the water while the triremes rush up and slaughter themselves against it.

That goes for any flight dispelled during combat over water; the unit acts like it's perma-webbed.

Dispelling flight or windwalking outside of combat drowns the unit, though.  Usually.  When it's not acting all buggy.

Posted by: Mikeski at May 14, 2011 01:55 AM (GbSQF)

6 Mauser:  No, more the opposite.  It's relatively balanced in that there are so many ways.  If there's one thing I hate in any game, it's the One True Path to Victory.  (WOW fell into that, but it was more a social thing.)

The second thing is that the learning curve isn't in the rules or the UI, it's all in the strategy.  That's what a game should be.  Challenging to master, not to figure out how to play because of a gummed up UI or rules that define arcane in a decidedly non-magical way.

Posted by: ubu at May 14, 2011 08:18 AM (GfCSm)

7 Yeah, about the only "required" strategy in MoM is mana supply expansion.  You can't simply stay in one city and focus entirely on research, because all good in MoM ultimately derives from either mana supply or gold supply.  You have to go out and expand, whether by colonization, conquest, or dominating mana nodes.  Beyond that, there are a hundred paths to victory, each with their own pitfalls.

And really, that's not a bad thing.  Can you imagine the boredom of a game where everyone spends the entire game turtling over three cities each?

Posted by: metaphysician at May 14, 2011 12:13 PM (hD30M)

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