So about that whole Master of Magic thing

So the whole fantasy TBS thing revolves around a MoM remake. In correcting a startling oversight, I finally got around to buying and playing Age of Wonders - Shadow Magic. After doing so, the question is: uh, don’t we already have pretty much a definitive MoM remake here? AoW practically plays just like MoM, other than the whole random world thing.

So, MoM adherents – what are we missing with AoW that still makes us wait for a MoM remake? As far as I can tell, it’s already been here for years.

Well IMO the random map is a big deal. You need the random map for replayability.

I’ve always loved AoW, and felt it was an adequate replacement - but it didn’t feel quite enough like MoM for me for some reason. Maybe the random maps or some gameplay thing I don’t recall.

AOW: Shadow Magic is one of my favorite strategy games. I was pretty disappointed when Triumph abandoned TBS to work on the Overlord series.

Age of Wonders Shadow Magic felt little like MoM to me and I was pretty disappointed by it. Can’t put my finger on it but it just felt bland and dull, without the over the top powers, spells and heroes MoM had and you couldn’t make magic items. I guess it was more balanced as a result, but felt soulless. You didn’t have a magic plane, and it didn’t have a civ-like feel. I’m sure there are things I’m forgetting that other people can comment on.

Edit: its wizard creation sucked compared to MoM as well (did it even have wizard creation?, it’s been a long time since I played it).

You could make magic items in AoW:SM.

Its was a pretty good MoM successor really. The big differences were the lack of random maps and the game being less 4Xish than MoM was.

Ok, I forgot you could make items in AoW. It was probably lack luster which is why I forgot about it.

I was pretty sad about that too.

The lack of magic item forging is the one area where I’m really disappointed with the Fallen Enchantress beta. I loved forging stuff in MoM. My other main complaint with it, is I would have preferred classic fantasy races like elves, dwarves, goblins, and orcs to what they have.

AoW:SM is a great game in its own right, but it just doesn’t scratch the MoM itch. They differ in numerous ways, but the most significant to me are that AoW:SM map generator is pretty bad, and the AI does not know how to use pioneer units. Granted, the MoM AI was no great shakes, but it could actually cobble together an empire of its own before you trounced it.

MoM is a highly dynamic game, while the AoW games feel static by comparison.

Rumor has it that Triumph’s next game will be a strategy game, btw…

In my opinion, Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic was more like Master of Magic than the previous games in AoW series because you could found new cities. It was a good game in its own right, but it wasn’t MoM.

I pre-ordered Elemental: War of Magic because it had started out to be the successor to MoM. It wasn’t.

Sad to say there hasn’t been a true successor to MoM. MoM had warmth and personality. AoW:SM seems more sterile.

I like AoW:SM a lot but it failed pretty miserably in some departments. I haven’t played in a long time but I recall the high level magic for each type being the same spells but with death/ice/wind/etc. effects. I’d still rather play it than any of the other MoMlikes.

It did, but it was barebones.

The game shared a complete lack of AI with MoM.

I think the sacred cow that is MoM needs to be turned into sacred hamburger. It wouldn’t be a good game in 2012. The lack of AI is a huge killer.

MoM is a good game in 2012 - I and plenty of others play it regularly.

The wizards in MoM are extremely distinct - Not in terms of gameplay, but in terms of what they look and feel like. Its very simple, actually - but Lopan, SSasra, Merlin, Horus and the like all hit the exact spot where they evoked something we could identify with, or at least understand and remember because they were so very very well defined by simply their portrait, their names and partly their skills.

In MoM you feel like you are competing with other wizards, not an AI to become the friggin master of magic by casting frigging doomsday spells to ruin the world - What other MMO aspirant has let you do that ?

In my opinion, balancing has ruined games that aspires to become MoM - It simply isn’t needed in this kind of single player game and Fallen E should stay away from MP, and go nuts with its spells as well in my opinion.

I don’t see many threads here with AoW:SM roundabout, or Elemental, or even Civ games where you take turns playing the game, but plenty of MoM love - Why is that? Because it oozes personality and has its gameplay nailed down perfectly- It does exactly what it wants to - Let the player have tons of fun!

/dons flameproof suit.

Age of Wonders 2 and AOW:Shadow Magic are both better games than MoM. I say that as a huge fan of MoM and Civ. Age of Wonders pretty much captured everything that was great about MoM, while stripping out the repetitive micromanagement.

Tony

Thats easy to say - Tell us why? Better gameplay? More memorable characters?

And why don’t we have roundrobins of AoW then?

I agree with Razgon on what are the basic elements of mom. I also find other games fell characterless.

The whole MoM thing.

First, to say i love both Master of Magic and Age of Wonders SM. I think they are the two essential references in fantasy TBS. (I never got in to Dominions 3, sorry :P)

But AoW is not like MoM, it doesn’t scratch the same itch.
MoM is much more Civ-like, with a faster pace, settling new cities and the way you build stuff in them, and in general is more dynamic, thanks to the over the top monsters, spells and heroes, and the random maps.
Therefore, no, it can’t be said it’s the definitive MoM remake.

That said, AoW SM did a number of things is better than MoM:
The campaign is pretty good (oh yes, I went there), there are 15 distinct races, fairly balanced, the art and music are still lovely, the tactical combat is much more interesting, and in the areas of diplomacy/race relations, the interaction with the environment, the set of special properties and skills, it’s the game to beat. Though that extra complexity supposed an even bigger strain to the AI: it really ignores tons of stuff considered by humans.
AoW innovated and advanced the genre in some features since 1995 standards.

What I like about MoM is that the percentage of time you spend doing strategic stuff vs. tactical stuff is heavily skewed in favor of the strategic. It’s basically a strategic game with some very quick tactical battles tossed in that give you a sense of managing tactics without ever feeling like you have to slog through X number of turns to win a tactical battle that you knew going in you were going to win.

One of the things we gamers dislike in tactical battles is that moment when we realize, hey, I’ve got this but it’s still going to take me 10-15 turns to win what I’ve already won. MoM avoids that, at least at the tactical level.

As mentioned above, MoM is a lot more like Civ - with a stronger emphasis on building stuff in towns and such.

AoW:SM is more like HoMM than MoM, I find. Perhaps it would be fair to say it’s 50% HoMM and 50% MoM. But it’s more straightforward than MoM and more about sending heroes with armies around the map, than it’s about building stuff.

But I never really cared for AoW - even though the latest version allows for random maps and what not. I’m not entirely sure what it is, but it certainly has to do with how cities aren’t quite as involving as in MoM - and I find the single-unit combat system clumsy and awkward. MoM has a lot more flavor and charm that’s hard to put into words.

Nah, we’ve yet to see any game really doing what MoM did. I suppose FFH is considered to be close, by some people, but to me it’s too much of a re-dressed Civ 4. It doesn’t stray far enough from that formula to stand out as a unique experience - to me.

I’m very curious about Fallen Enchantress - but it does seem to suffer from being based on WoM. It’s clearly much better - to be fair - but like FFH, it’s based on another game and it’s very hard to escape not feeling like a mod, rather than a new experience.

Not saying it can’t be great. It’s more about how I, personally, have a hard time adjusting when the core is so similar.

AOW captures whats good about MoM, the spells/schools, the races, the units. But it ditches the repetitive city management.

The early Civ games had painful mid-end games that were drawn out because every additional city added to the management overhead, while adding very little to the strategic interest of the game. Civs 4 and 5 made some strides in combating this problem, but MoM inherited the old civs long endgame.

Both games were fun to start, AOW was fun to finish.

Regarding flavour and personality, I found both games to be lacking. Unimaginative fantasy. The appeal is in the mechanics, not the setting. The turn based strategy genre is in general lacking in personality. We don’t get many equivalents of Arcanum/Bioshock/Grim Fandago etc in the genre. Off the top of my head the only Turn Based Strategy games I can think of (not counting turn based RPGs) that had personality: Alpha Centauri, X-COM, Greed. Two of those are considered classics, which might not be a coincidence.

And why don’t we have roundrobins of AoW then?

Because I’m in the minority. That doesn’t mean I’m wrong :P

Tony