Well, where to start. That’s easy. I start by uninstalling the game. I’m pretty certain thatElemental: War of Magicis the worst game I’ve ever completed.
A few other thoughts follow below.
First of all, Ele:WoM’simplementationis worse than Cyanide’s crap PC implementation of Blood Bowl. Which is saying quite a bit, as Blood Bowl has a crap, sluggish and unintuitive interface.
Also, the underlying game mechanics of Ele:WoM are far worse than King Arthur: I’m currently playing through KA1 and while it’s unbalanced, unpolished, unchallenging, and a little bit broken, it’s also a lot more fun.
Probably the best comparison if with CivIV:FfH2 which has a far more interesting magic system, despite the fact that it all had to be modded into the CivIV engine.
The quests and dynasties in Ele:WoM can be ignored completely. As can the diplomacy section of the tech tree. Also, you can probably just skip the magic part of the game, as all the interesting spells are pretty expensive, and if you can get a lead in the warfare branch, troops with decent armour and weapons will likely wipe the floor with any opponents.
The tactical combat in the game is not tactical. Especially once you realise the simple algorithm the AI uses to select its target. not only does it fail as a game about fantastical wars (and remember, the game is called war of magic), it also completely and utterly fails to be an interesting small scale party based tactical combat game. King’s Bounty it is not. It even compares badly to most party-based RPG battle systems. The only thing Ele’s battles achieve is to make a boring game last longer than it has to.
I now have very low expectations for Elemental: Fallen Enchantress. Despite the fact that the leader designer of CivIV:FfH2 is working on it, and Stardock are obviously trying really hard to make a good game, I just don’t see it happening. Even though they’re cutting a lot of features, they still don’t seem to know what they want the game to be about, and as such, the underlying mechanics don’t sit well together. Although, granted, Ele:WoM has bored me so much that I can’t be bothered to read the latest dev journals on Ele:FE, so I could (am probably am) wrong. In which case, I will be happily surprised. But, they’re keeping tactical battle and don’t seem to be focusing on large armies, city sieges, castle building. And I think they’re also keeping custom unit designs as a USP. Although at the same time stating that the AI can’t use it. So is this just giving the human player another way to use exploits against the AI? Does the game need to be made any less challenging?
We’ll see. Maybe it will all turn out ok. And heh, the cloth map is pretty nice.