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.

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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.

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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
Pathfinding
Change Terrain
Transmute
Web
Corruption
Wraiths
Shadow Demons

LEARNABLE (can eventually be researched):

Regeneration
Iron Skin
Nature's Cures
Flight
Spell Lock
Pestilence
Warp Node
WraithForm
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
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December 27, 2011

3 Slices

Ready for a major-league time sink? 3 Slices is a flash-based puzzle game, and it's really well done!

UPDATE: I'm stuck on #14. Still working on it, though.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Gaming at 04:55 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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December 22, 2011

MOM -- A new record!

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I think this is the most expensive item, by far, I've ever been offered in Master of Magic.

I didn't buy it. I didn't have any need. By that point I had completely pacified both planes, and the only opponent left was stuck in a single town, completely surrounded by my units (8 stacks of 3 griffins each), with his town under four curses (famine, cursed lands, pestilence, evil presence) and every square around his town hit with corruption. I sometimes do that to an opponent so they stay out of trouble, and out of my way while I conquer everything else and work on the Spell of Mastery.

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What's frustrating is that even with all of that, he still had substantial mana income. I hate the way that the computer players cheat at the "Hard" level, you know that?

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December 07, 2011

Master of Magic -- You want me to fight what?

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Mortu actually breezed right through this fight and took hardly any damage. But he was juiced to the gills with magic items and spells. (Including Regeneration.)

His weapon was something I bought from a salesman for about 3400 gold, and it included Vampiric and Haste.

His shield I also bought and it included Invulnerability. He himself is Magic Immune, though that didn't figure into this battle.

Between items and him being a Super Hero, he had 34 attacks (doubled, because of Haste), armor piercing, first strike, and was +7 to hit. And since he was flying, he was able to obliterate each Wyrm in turn.

Torin couldn't have done it better. Of course, Mortu was costing me 10 gold and 24 mana per turn, but since he cleared the entire Myrran plane all by himself, it was worth it. Of course, he started slow, taking the easy stuff first, and worked up to taking out the hardest ones. This was just about the last battle he fought.

And the treasure? A retort of Node Mastery. But I already had 13 books and 5 retorts.

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November 12, 2011

MOM -- an interesting bug

If you put a Magic Spirit in a stack of Shadow Demons, the stack moves speed 2. Of course, you have to be careful not to take the Magic Spirit with you into any battles, because it'll be the target-of-choice for all range strikes, and it doesn't regenerate. But it's easy enough to leave it outside, and bring it in afterwards.

That can't have been intentional. It makes Shadow Demons unreasonably powerful as a board-clearer if you're playing a quick-game strategy, which so far as I can tell is the best way to get a really high score. When they move speed 2, and have scouting 2, they can locate enemy wizards pretty easily, and a stack of three or four of them can win any city battle in the early game, and of course without taking any losses as long as they win.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Gaming at 09:10 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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November 10, 2011

Steaming

It's been reported that Steam's database got cracked. If you're on it, change your password. If they have your credit card, keep a close eye out for unauthorized activity.

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October 22, 2011

MOM -- a puzzle

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You might be surprised to learn that I won this fight without losing anyone.

How? Notice that my Death Knights are all glowing? They all have Wraithform on them, which makes them incorporeal, which means they can't be webbed.

So the spiders just sat there the whole fight. The Knights move forward, take one shot at a Great Wyrm, do damage and take damage, then eat a spider to recharge. What with 7 spiders there, not only did the Knights manage to knock off both Wyrms, they came out of the battle with hardly any damage at all.

There isn't any other advantage to doing this, but this is enough to make it worthwhile. I routinely put Wraithform on my Death Knights now.

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September 29, 2011

MOM -- To dream the impossible dream

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Here's how.

UPDATE:  By the way, at least under Win 7 it has the weirdest installation program I've ever seen. It unpacks itself into a Windows temp directory and then auto-runs it from there. It does that every time you invoke it, using the only obvious file that permits invocation.

I ended up using the task manager to find out the real name of the executable ("MoMSaveEditor.exe") and then searched my entire C: drive to find it, which took about an hour.

Then I copied the entire contents of that temp directory to a real directory in "F:\Program Files (x86)", which is probably where it should have gone in the first place (or "C:\..." except I'm trying not to overuse C: because Windows makes that partition relatively small, after which it tries to put everything in it).

Except for the obvious audience (wimps) it strikes me that what this could be useful for is someone who wants the action to be hot and heavy without getting pulped. So you play at "impossible" but you give yourself 10,000 gold and 10,000 mana and a couple of good summons at the beginning of the game. And make your starting city big and put lots of buildings into it.

Well, another audience is for people who want to try loony stuff, like Invulnerability on Shadow Demons, or Wraithform on Archangels.

Or putting a war college and an alchemist's guild into a Troll village.

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September 21, 2011

Master of Magic, the weird way

So comments in the previous thread got me curious, and I tried a low-book game: 2 red, 2 green, 2 blue, Warlord, Alchemist, Conjurer, Node Mastery. And just to be safe I played High Men.

First observation: your initial mana income is one per book, so mine was just 6 a turn. That hurt a lot. Only having one node on my starting island hurt even more.

But I had some luck. I had a tower, and it connected to a moderate sized island on the other side which had two nodes. Once I got to the point where I could make paladins, it didn't take long to conquer them both. And since Node Mastery doubles your mana income from nodes, just those three plus my four developing towns ended up being a comfortable power base.

Second observation: Conjurer was a waste of time. Given what I had for magic, it turned out I had to do my fighting with the aforesaid paladins. The few summons I did were temporary, except for a couple of sprites I used for scouting. I'd have been much better served by an additional spell book.

I also had some luck in the spells I got. In particular I got Flight.

Folks, Ultra-elite flying Paladins with mithril weapons are overwhelming. Eight of those allowed me to conquer and take out both of the wizards I was up against, with little difficulty.

They started Elite because the town that had the mithril deposit also had a War College. So they were instantly formidable.

I also had some luck in spell trading. Kali gave me Spell Lock. Lo Pan gave me Flame Strike, which I used to good effect against him while wiping out all his towns except one. And taking all his nodes. And wiping out all his mobile forces.

Beetles are good units, but they are not able to handle flying ultra-elite paladins with mithril weapons.

Between Alchemy and Warlord, every unit I built was much better than average coming off the line. Alchemy also helped my mana-flow a lot. By the time I was involved in major wars and doing a lot of 3x flame strikes, my empire was producing about 200 gold a turn, and the 1:1 alchemical conversion to mana is really, really nice.

When I first started playing the game, my reaction was, "What in hell am I supposed to do?" Because I was used to playing a mana-rich, summon-rich game, and that wasn't in the cards. But once I got into the swing of this alternate way of doing things, it didn't end up being too bad.

I might try it again, except trading Conjurer for a white book.

UPDATE: I tried again. Alchemy, Warlord, Node mastery, 2 green, 2 red, 3 blue, 2 opponents.

It wasn't a high scoring game, but it was fun. It included a hunt for new spell books, something I'd largely stopped doing when playing all black. Before it was all over I had ended up with something like 7 blue books, and had a stack of 8 flying, invisible ultra-elite paladins zooming around on Myrror crushing everything in sight.

Between finding a retort of Charisma, and having an Aura of Majesty spell running for most of the game, I ended up with Shari and Tauron both well up the "like" scale, and had alliances with both of them.

So much so, that even casting the Spell of Mastery didn't make them hate me or declare war. That was surprising. The alliances were still on right to the end.

The toughest single fight was five Great Drakes in a Myrran node. At which point I learned that Mindstorm is a really handy spell against high level critters. I was able to cast it three times, and made short work of the first three Great Drakes. The last two I had to slug it out, but I made it through that battle without losing any of the paladins.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Gaming at 10:28 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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