Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Elemental: Fallen Enchantress

Today I bought a game with a weird history. Once upon a time Stardock promised to make the best fantasy 4X turn-based strategy game since Master of Magic, and they called it Elemental: War of Magic. The game released, and it was a complete disaster, full of bugs, bad user interface, and severe flaws in the core gameplay. Although some of the problems were fixed with patches, the game never got anywhere close to living up to the hype. So to make up for War of Magic, Stardock made a much improved sequel in Fallen Enchantress and even gave the game for free to early registered buyers of War of Magic.

While I am a big fan of turn-based strategy games, I had gotten word of the Elemental controversy in time to not buy War of Magic. My idea at the time was to wait for the game to get patched. As no miracle patch emerged, I never played War of Magic. And I was sufficiently skeptic of Fallen Enchantress to not buy it on release, but put it on my Steam wish list instead.

It turns out that Steam has a nifty feature that if a game on your wish list is on sale, they send you an e-mail. Until tomorrow Elemental: Fallen Enchantress is 66% off on Steam. At that price I'm quite willing to risk it. Now I just need to find the time to actually play it, as it appears to be rather epic in scope.

Did you try Warlock: Master of the Arcane?

Very good TBS strategy - was playable at start and still get updates with new features (terramorphing spells in latest patch).

I did not play Master of Magic so it seems like mix of Civilisation and Heroes of Might and Magic for me.
I'll second that Warlock endorsement. As a huge player of MoM this game is a great successor. It's kind of a MoM with Civ 4/5 overtones. I've played it a great deal and it definitely scratches the itch that Master of Magic used to do.
Yes, I played Warlock: Master of the Arcane, and I liked it. I'll see how Fallen Enchantress compares to that.
Fallen Enchantress is much improved over Elemental: War of Magic. I'm one of the poor suckers that pre-ordered the original, and am happy I got Fallen Enchantress for free since its much more the game I thought I was buying in the first pace.

It still has its flaws, and they're still putting out big patches periodically that can change the game in big ways (for some reason they removed the "campaign" game in a patch, and it hasn't come back).

Warlock is a lot of fun (I have many many hours spent on it) and has much better game balance than Fallen Enchantress, but Fallen Enchantress is a much deeper game.

If you can get past the flaws in Fallen Enchantress (such as a bad random starting area leaving you unable to expand) it can be a fun game, but nowhere near as accessible as Warlock.
I loved Master of Magic to bits, and no game (including Warlock) has quite satisfied me in the same way. So that's why I am considering putting some time into Fallen Enchantress...
From the comments, procedural terrain generation seems to be its flaw. HOMM avoided this by using only pre-generated maps. And Civ gets away with it because the usability of terrain is relatively consistent.

Seems to me the tech just isn't there for auto-generating maps when the map contents are crucial. It can work in roguelikes, but not 4X games.
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