Let’s Play: Elemental War of Magic – Setup

I’m going to do a Let’s Play of Stardock’s new game – Elemental: War of Magic.


What the publisher says:

Customization, Magic, Warfare, Empire Building and more

Design your sovereign in terms of talents, profession, race and appearance. Learn spells of increasing power to unleash on those who oppose you. Found new cities and build them up by researching new technologies, recruiting specialists or trading knowledge. Send your champions on holy quests to recover ancient artifacts, gain allies, or recover the great wealth lost during the Cataclysm.

A strategy game in an RPG world

With a vast storage of lore developed in collaboration with publishing giant Random House, Elemental ensures that every game is a completely new experience.

What Wikipedia says:

Elemental: War of Magic is a fantasy-themed 4X turn-based strategy game developed and published by Stardock.

Why I was interested:

Have you ever been in love with a concept but disappointed with every execution of said concept? If you have then you know how I feel about 4X strategy games.

I’ve been a big fan of turn based strategy games, both on and off the computer, for many years. And in terms of computer strategy games it’s hard to get away from the 4X genre. And conceptually I’m fine with that. In abstract I love the 4X concept. Unfortunately when it comes to the execution i.e. the games themselves. Things have never been that rosy.

I never had the chance to play, or when I did have the chance enjoyed, any of the early or classic 4X games such as Civilisation, Master of Orion, Heroes of Might and Magic, etc. I think the first game in the genre that I actually liked was Alpha Centauri, which was in the late nineties. Man I did love that game though, it sucked up far, far too much of my time.

After that I again returned to dipping in and out of the genre. The usual pattern being: a) Hear about game X, b) get excited about the possibilities of Game X, c) buy Game X, d) wallow in disappointment. That’s not to say there weren’t a few other games I enjoyed, there was the Total War series (of which the first, Shogun, was by far my favourite), Galactic Civilizations and Sins of A Solar Empire (the latter two I enjoyed but didn’t really get enough time with).

The latter two franchises are both designed by Stardock. One of the few gaming companies I have any respect left for, both their practices (no DRM, real incentives to buy the games, their approach to customers, etc.) and their CEO, Brad Wardell are impressive and much to my liking. As such I was already pre-disposed to like Elemental based on its genre and its publisher.

I was also impressed by its vaunted modding capabilities. Ah modding, as I was discussing with Dave last night modding is another one of those things that makes a computer game more attractive but which is only really taken advantages of by a dedicated few. Still Elemental’s modding/customisation options seem to range in complexity from quick and simple customisations (I don’t know why, but huge customisation in a game gives me a mental horn) to much more in-depth “traditional” modding.

I was also interested in other unique aspects of the game such as the increased “rpg element”, generational dynasties, multiplayer sandbox, etc. So all in all I was quite looking forward to the game.

(Un)Fortunately the game was leaked early by numerous retailers so in order that pre-order customers not get “cheated” out of early play Stardock released an almost complete version of the game. With a huge content patch to follow on the day of release (i.e. Today, 24th of August). I thought I’d start with the almost complete version while I waited for the patch to come out. But a faulty ebook reader, updating my manga collection and re-reading Kyou kara Ore wa!! (much better than it looks) took up so much of my time that I only got around to starting the game an hour or so ago. And it certainly did feel like it was lacking some polish. But the patch should be out in an hour or so, so I decided to type this up in the interim.

Whats a “Let’s Play” ?

Courtesy of the Something Awful Let’s Play! forum:

Q: What is a Let’s Play (LP) thread?
A: It’s a documented playthrough of something that, at the very minimum, resembles a game; how the author chooses to present it is incredibly varied. Some use screenshots, some use video. Some let the readers make decisions; others plough on through and use the thread for discussion. Some are serious and informative while others are parodies. For some examples, see the LP archive – details below.

Seems straight forward enough, yes? So why aren’t I doing a “Let’s Play” thread on Something Awful or RPG.net? Well because the former has a hard rule of not doing a LP until a games been out for three months and that rule is sort of the de facto across the interwebs. But I’m nearly one hundred per cent sure that no one who reads my blog (which would be me), follows me on twitter (big shout out to all my one post porn followers) or is friends with me on Facebook is either a) aware this game exists or b) planning to play it. As such spoilers aren’t really an issue.

I think I’m going to do the LP “in character” and with as much input as people want to give (in terms of naming characters, units, cities, enemies, troop design, faction design, etc.). So if you want to see the bear summoning forces of [your name here] attempt to conquer the elemental might of [other person’s name here] nation then feel free to stick your oar in.

I’m unsure of the exact format and update frequency of the lets play at the moment. Probably ten images per post and at least one post per day. Though it’s likely to be many more in a day. I’ll get the first post up as soon I have the new patch installed, which will hopefully be in the next few minutes. But is more likely to be around noon tomorrow.

For the moment here’s the intro to the game:

Elemental Intro

Listening to: The Saw Doctors - Sing A Powerful Song

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