So about that whole Master of Magic thing

Talking of graphics and fantasy TBS, the comparison of AoW SM (the detailed scenarios full of little doodads, the units, the particle f/x for spells) and FE is… not in favor of Stardock’s game. Ridiculous how a 2003 game looks better than a 2012 game.

I think, if you don’t have enough budget to have good 3d graphics, it’s better to have good 2d graphics.

Can’t disagree with you there at all. I always did love how stylized the AoW games look.

People have talked on and off about graphical updates for MoM. I wonder if they’d be better served trying to hack a random map generator or other minor conversions into, for instance, AoW.

Assuming that a total conversion like FFH is far too much work.

For many people, it still won’t be MoM (and with good reason). So no, this is not what I would prefer to see done.

I’ve been saying this for years. AoW:SM is the closest thing to a MoM sequel that we’ll probably ever get.

Random map creation is there. Wizard creation is there (including selection of spell mastery and special traits). Spell research is there. Magic-item creation is there. Multiple map layers are there. Tactical combat is there. A ton of spells are available, including world-spells and overland spells. Spells are tied to the elemental schools of your wizard (and not by race).

As far as I can tell, the main differences are square-vs.-hex grid, squads-vs.-individual units, and a differently-diverse selection of races/units.

Anyone who claims that AoW:SM is nothing like MoM is either misremembering or otherwise biased by nostalgia.

In MoM, if you got a dragon it would literally vaporize most units. In AoW:SM, you’d spend huge amounts of mana summoning a dragon and with a bad roll it would lose like half its life in melee to a cavalryman. A single figure cavalryman that probably makes ridiculous squeaky noises when you hit it.

So yeah, MoM wasn’t afraid to let you get crazy shit and AoW:SM held back too much in the name of balance. It’s like this from top to bottom: economic system, the ruins, items, etc. I’m a big fan of competitive multiplayer games these days but I would still love to see a game that tried to take on the scope of MoM and really let you cut loose in the process, with a half-decent AI that didn’t spam cracks call against your most powerful unit every round.

I’m really confused. Why is everyone here talking about the lack of a random map generator in AoW? Shadow Magic has a random scenario (map) generator.

Personally, I haven’t played AoW:SM in years (since it was released), and I do recall being impressed by how much it lived up to MoM, even down to having 2 planes that you traveled between. I assumed that it was an explicit design goal.

But for whatever reason, and I think this is how a lot of people feel, it just didn’t have whatever special something it is that makes a classic game. It isn’t one that I’ve felt the need to go back and revisit time and again.

But…given the same tools, isn’t that what a person would do? (I understand the difference between a realistic and interesting AI…but still)

In AoW I you could vaporize most of units with a dragon, like in MoM. It was in AoW 2/SM where they chose to balance a bit more the game, as you say, at least the heroes, the level V creatures and a few spells (like invisibility, from what i remember).
MoM was much more over the top. I remember conquering full empires with my god-hero, or with a mighty Wyrm.

(And looking at stats, a cavalry can’t hit a dragon for half his hp, only 1/4 :P)

Despite being similar games at a higher level (fantasy TBS with detailed subsystems for magic, combat, and wizard creation), they’re pretty different in play. It does not “practically play just like MoM”. This is true on the small scale (look at how movement works in and out of combat) as well as at a higher scale (e.g. the strategic layer in SM is practically Warlords+). It’s not that any of these things is somehow wrong/bad. It’s just that they are, in fact, different.

I might have missed something, but I don’t think anyone in this thread said they were nothing alike. I have seen that argument before, and it’s inaccurate. But SM isn’t an proper followup to MoM. It doesn’t need to be; it’s a fine game in it’s own right.

Honestly, I just called it out because it’s really freaking annoying. In my ideal follow up to MoM, the optimal way to handle a super powerful individual unit would not be to repeatedly cast a “random chance of instant death” spell. Such a spell would not even exist.

I would also like to throw in another key difference between AoW:SM and MoM: tech trees and econ differences. The difference between, say, klackons and high men were quite large, whereas the tech trees in AoW:SM were copy/paste for every race besides one race specific building. Sure, some of the races were pretty borked in MoM but again, the extreme highs and lows in power were part of the charm of MoM.

The feedback and comments on this thread are definitely interesting. It just seemed strange to me that MoM would get all this love, and that AoM maybe popped here a couple of times before diving back into the murk of forgotten games.

I can understand the whole MoM “feel” – it has this loose, everything goes vibe in a game that is otherwise basically old-ass Fantasy Civilization. It is also as sloppy as hell, and I can’t really stomach playing it any more because of that. AoM, on the other hand – well, I wish it was more Civ than HoMM, but I’m still enjoying it regardless. I prefer the fiddly tactical battles over the fiddly city micro, to be honest.

But damn, that was one fine spell. I loved it myself.

there is a black spell call life drain or something from MoM, if you deal like 50% target creature’s health with life drain, after the combat, it will come back as an undead version of same creature.

I remember playing as death, and trying to see what kind of uber creature I can manage to kill with life drain so I can get an undead version of the uber creature.

Because they’re all a bunch of haters that probably only played the demo of the first game ages ago and never looked at the series since. Meanwhile they pine away for their broken, buggy sacred cow to get a pointless 3D facelift.

I really, really liked the first Age of Wonders, but I remember intensely disliking the second.

Probably because of some level of “They changed it, now it sucks”. :)

I still have both AoW:SM and MoM installed and love them both. But as other people have mentioned AoW doesn’t really have the MoM “feel” or charm. I got bored of the campaign and basically just played AoW with the random map generation, but as I recall there was a problem with it producing slightly schizophrenic-looking maps that don’t really seem like a proper world in the way MoM’s did.

Another thing that I think plays out in MoM’s favor is that as mentioned it doesn’t really care that much about unit balance, so while a top tier unit in AoW can take out any normal unit with some minor damage, a top tier unit in MoM can take out an entire army or two with just minor damage. AoW takes the balancing approach of having every race having all analogous units and all the spell schools having analogous spells. In the end AoW kind of gives you the same tools no matter what race and spell school you choose, while MoM feels like it gives you different choices that matter more in terms of gameplay. For instance, if you want to give yourself a bit more of a challenge you can try starting as a Gnoll warlord with just one or two books of every spell school.

That gives MoM a “greater than the sum of its parts” thing that AoW doesn’t quite match for me.

BTW, it seems that Implode’s MoM Java client/server remake project has just been open-sourced under GPLv2:

Maybe there’s hope for it to become full-featured, if it manages to generate enough developer interest.

Also, another active remake project at:

That’s the most ernest defense of ‘unbalanced’ I’ve read. Doesn’t change the fact that in no way could that “charm” of MoM pass for a well conceived game today. You’re literally trying to turn a strength of AoW into a weakness. Look, I had tons of fun screwing around in MoM, but it’s blindingly inferior in terms of mechanics. AoW is a fiddly wargame, not the fiddly wizard builder that MoM is. You can’t have that kind of unbalance in a wargame that lets you pick your potions. In multiplayer everyone would just make Paladins and Warlocks. AoW’s sides are not as replicated as you claim. There are significant differences between the races and the schools of magic, but you’re not going to see that with a surface comparison to the chaotic wreck that is MoM.

It’s disappointing that a really good game in AoW and others have been overlooked through the years because of this cult-like worship of a rather quirky game of yore. Let it go. Stop complaining that every other fantasy TBS isn’t MoM. It’s well past time to move on.