February 14, 2011

Master of Magic -- things I learned today

If your enemy's capital is protected by nightshade, Call the Void bounces. But Corruption can be used on the squares containing the nightshade, and once you've done that, you can nuke away to your heart's content. (I wish I'd figured that out a lot sooner.)

Paladins are a real problem if your main striking force is wizards.

Draconians are still my favorite race to play.

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February 11, 2011

MOM -- rut

I've gotten into a bit of a rut in Master of Magic. I've played about five games in a row as Myrran, with Draconians, 2 white books, 3 green, and 3 red.

Or some variation on that. The last game I was Myrran and Node Mastery, 2 white, 2 green, 2 red, and 1 blue.

So I'm going to try something completely different. Myrran (that part's fine), Dark Elves, 4 black and 4 red. Should be amusing.

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January 31, 2011

Master of Magic -- I HATE AIR ELEMENTALS!!

There are all kinds of summons in this game, ranging from the miserable (e.g. skeletons) to the astounding (death knights). There are three elemental summons, too: earth elementals (green), fire elementals (red), and air elementals (blue).

Earth and fire elementals are decent units, but air elementals are absurdly dangerous. They're flying speed 5, and they're invisible, and they have poison immunity, stoning immunity, weapon immunity, and immunity to death magic.

I'd rather fight a Djinn or a Storm Giant, I tell you. I've had no end of grief with them the last couple of games. In one of those games I simply gave up, and any blue node guarded by them stayed unclaimed.

This last game I got stubborn. There was one Myrran blue node guarded by fully four of the bastards. It was the last Myrran node I hadn't conquered. I lost something like three stacks trying to take it.

I was playing Draconians again, but I had captured a Dark Elf city, and had it fully developed. My problem was that I didn't have any blue magic, so no True Sight, which meant no range strikes, which meant that even Warlocks would have been helpless. I ended up building the Dark Elf city up to a fantastic stable, then building 8 nightmares, then cast Eldritch Weapon, Flaming Weapon, Holy Weapon, and Invulnerability on every one of them. And I seriously considered juicing them even further. (I also had Holy Armor and Stone Flesh.)

That stack finally won, but I still lost one of the 8 nightmares and several others were badly wounded. Air Elementals aren't supposed to be that high; that summon spell is the same level as Earth Elementals, which are nowhere near as tough!

I also hate fighting Great Wyrms, but those really are supposed to be tough; it's the same level as Great Drakes, Archangels, and Demon Lords.

I think that Air Elementals are a case where Barcia loused up his play balance.

This game I played Myrran, 2 Green (so I can get Wall of Stone), 2 White (Guardian Spirit), and 4 Red, and over the course of the game I found three more Red, plus a retort of Nature Mastery. What with 7 red books, I ended up with a couple of the "totally foul up an enemy's city" spells that Red magic specializes in, and really ruined Jafar's day.

I think next time I'll try 2 white, 2 green, and 4 blue. Should be interesting. And man, I do like the Draconians.

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January 29, 2011

Master of Magic

I've been overdosing on Master of Orion. Though there's a lot of variety in that game, based on which race you play, which races are your opponents, and which technologies are missing from your research tree, it was getting old.

Back when all this stuff appeared on GOG, I also bought Master of Magic. And I played a few games. But the problem was that I kept running into my opponents long before I was ready. What I really wanted was to be left alone to develop my empire in peace.

Finally, a few days ago it occurred to me that there was a good way to do that: be Myrran. So I started a game with trolls, 4 white books, 4 green books and Myrran. But I loused it up, and quit.

Yesterday I tried it again. And it went a whole lot better. Not the most sterling win of my life, but a win nonetheless.

Some of that was luck. I was playing "Easy" and one opponent, and it turned out to be Freya (swoon), who is all-green. I eventually researched Nature's Awareness, and got a look at her empire and her army. And it was rather terifying, in fact. She probably had three times as many units as I did, and a lot of them were high class (e.g. priests, paladins). she easily had four times as many cities as I did.

But she didn't have as many nodes as I had by that point, and hers were Arcanian so my Myrran nodes yielded twice as much power. And I started having luck. I ended up with three red books found in various lairs and nodes, as well as one blue book and an additional white book. And I had some luck on which spells they gave me. By the end of the game I had Nature's Awareness, Great Wasting, and Planar Seal running.

Which meant I could watch her, and her land was becoming fouled, and she couldn't get to me. She had gotten through one tower and sent one scout unit through it before I got the Planar Seal going, but I hunted that one down and killed it easily.

And then I lucked into the Call Chaos spell, which is a lot of fun, if you're into mindless destruction. Costs 500 mana to cast, and it nukes any city, having a chance of destroying each building, and killing defenders and citizens. I had, by that point, captured all 15 Myrran nodes, and all my cities were mature and on trade goods, so I had a huge income. Most of my mana income went into spell research, and I ended up converting maybe 35,000 gold into mana (over the course of a couple of hundred turns) in order to power a major series of nuke attacks on Freya's cities. With my skill level, I could set one off every third turn.

By the time I was through with her capital, it only had one citizen and the only building in it was her tower (which can't be destroyed this way). I nuked all her other cities multiple times.

And it was interesting to watch how her units started disappearing nearly everywhere. Between all the corruption from the Great Wasting, and the corruption created by the Call Chaos, and the loss of things like farmer's markets and granaries, her economy was wrecked and she had to disband most of her military units. She couldn't feed them, and she couldn't pay them. The summoned ones, she didn't have the mana for.

By the time I was ready to cast the Spell of Mastery, most of her cities had no defenders at all. I watched two of her cities get trashed by wandering monsters, and three of them get conquered by raiders.

And she had nothing left to threaten me with when I started casting it. Finish.

I tend to favor green magic for a lot of reasons, but it has to be admitted that red magic is loads of fun.

But next time I think I'll try three white and five green. I think white magic is the most useless color, at the higher levels, but I just gotta have Guardian Spirits! And Healing! And Prayer!

UPDATE: Turns out I had a saved game left from before my rampage, so here's what Freya's area looked like before, and after.

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The AI really values ships, for some reason. While most of Freya's cities had nothing in them for defense, she had nine ships left sitting around doing nothing.

I've seen that in games with blue mages, too. They'll end up with piles of floating islands, just sitting next to their cities accomplishing nothing whatever except to soak up mana for upkeep.

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December 19, 2010

Ah, the good old days

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December 13, 2010

So there I was...

So there I was, attacking a Psilon planet with a fleet of mediums. All the defenders were gone, so it was just me and their missile bases. They had a class-V planetary shield, and also had class-V shields on the missile base, total 10.

I had a hundred medium ships, each of which carried two megabolt cannons. They do 2-20 points of damage. And in two rounds of fire, 400 shots, they didn't do a single point of damage. By all rights they should have won easily.

I've noticed this before: planets in MOO seem much more resistant to beam attacks than they ought to be. Is this a bug, or is it something I missed in the manual?

(I came back a bit later with a new class of ship which was carrying Omega-V bombs, which do 20-50 points of damage, and I obliterated the place.)

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October 26, 2010

MOO -- three opponents

The big problem I've been having with MOO is that the games I enjoy most are those where I can spend quite a while developing my empire and doing research before I make contact with any enemy. To that end I've usually played against a single enemy on a Huge board, and I've taken to hacking the save game file to turn on the visibility bit for their home world. Then I search the board until I find it, and if it's too close I toss that game and start over.

Which is really painful and dull. This last game I tried something new. I found some documentation online about the save file format and it showed me where the coordinates are stored for each planet, and I tried moving the home world of my enemy to the opposite corner of the board. I wondered whether it would work, and it worked fine.

So this last game I played against three opponents, and set things up so that each of us four started in a different corner. I played the Klackons, and my opponents were the Sakkra, the Psilons, and the Mrrshan.

And it really was an interesting game. I had put the Psilons in the opposite corner so that they were furthest away. I took out the Sakkra first, at least enough so they weren't a challenge anymore. But by the time I started fighting the Psilons, their tech was as high as mine. They had ships which were nearly as good as mine were, and their damned planets (at least the oldest, most developed ones) had 24 points of shields on their missile bases. Here I was, sailing around with a fleet of 20 huge ships full of Stellar Converters and Pulse Phasors and Antimatter bombs and I could barely scratch his planets. Bombing would kill maybe 8 million people a turn.

It turned out that the only way for me to neutralize his planets rapidly was to invade, for quite a while. Eventually I researched the Mauler Weapon, and then I was able to build a ship which could destroy his planets in a single bombing round. (20 Maulers per ship, 15 ships, each also carrying a Black Hole Generator.)

By the time I had genocided the Psilons and Sakkra and turned my attention to the Mrrshan, they had actually developed quite a ways. Usually the Mrrshan are no threat, and they ended up not being this time either because the ships I had eventually developed for the Psilons cut through the Mrrshan defenses like a hot knife through soft butter.

But it was quite a struggle for most of the game, not least of which was because for a long time my fastest drive was warp 3. I eventually had to steal warp 5 from the Psilons to remain competitive.

I think the Psilons and the Klackons are the two races I most fear playing against.

Anyway, hacking the save game file at the beginning is making it possible for me to have more fun with the game.

UPDATE: It might be interesting to put each of the four opponents in the middle of a different side of the board.

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September 26, 2010

Master of Orion -- nightmare ships

Here's a medium bomber:

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Here's a scout:

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How, you may be wondering, did I get all that into such small packages, at such a low price?

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September 02, 2010

Master of Orion -- random disasters

Some disasters are more disastrous than others.

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Semifinal Fantasy

Final: "pertaining to or coming at the end; last in place, order, or time"

So Final Fantasy is up to version 14? How "final" can that really be, anyway?

(This is like how the word "ultimate" is routinely abused, one of my pet peeves.)

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