Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic

Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic

maniacal<1> Mar 29, 2014 @ 9:33am
Too casual for this game.
I bought this via GoG over a year ago, just couldn't play it. Even on easy it was punishingly hard for me, and I don't like being frustrated so I uninstalled. Saw it yesterday on Steam, surprisingly, and read about mods for it that supposedly 'fixed' the AI and balancing issues, so I re-installed and gave it a whirl.

This game is just frustratingly difficult. I spent 70+ turns raising 3 cities and five roving groups of heroes to slowly expand my area, but regardless of how many or what you have there are 2 things that inevitably happen:

1) The enemies will send just enough troops to each of your nodes to re-capture them, then retreat. Even if you put guards up, they have a seemingly endless supply of monsters and will do this for the entire game. That means it comes down to fluxuating income, with the player having to spend every 4 turns re-capping points. This is just stupid.

2) No matter how strong you are, or how expansive your army, the enemy will suddenly out of nowhere pull out of their♥♥♥♥♥a huge group of super-powered monsters that will wipe your entire civilization out. In my instance, it was 3 Hydras. Their stats were not impressive, there was only 3 of them, but they systematically destroyed every hero group and every city I had control of until I was down to 1/3 of my power. At that point, I just uninstalled.

I love fantasy strategy games like these, ever since booting Masters of Magic via floppy disk all those years ago...but the Age of Wonders series does not seem to scratch that itch that exists just between challenging and fun, and instead forces you to overreach until you are in 'hard and frustrating'.

But again, as I initially stated, I think I may be too casual to enjoy this game.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 comments
*****.10.efaferal May 10, 2014 @ 4:09pm 
That seems a bit harsh of a review. The fact is that point 1) is just good game play. If you are a strategy game player you will always keep pressure on resources using just this tactic.

Point 2) seems to demonstrate another prinicipal of strategy games ( not stupid RTS twitchers ) . Namely, RECON. In AOW if you dont have a good recon network those power stacks will just bust right through especially in tricky maps with teleporters or caves in your back yard. But that is all part of strategy. Remember strategy is part resource management and part unit deployment. AoW is one of the few perfectly balanced games which demands a player pay attention to BOTH sides of strategy.
ChibiCthulhu May 23, 2014 @ 4:05am 
I remember playing this game when it came out (2003). I was around 11 years old back then. I didn't really had any problems with this game, I'm pretty sure I played on medium difficulty and the game wasn't hard for me.

So if someone didn't find the game to be hard at medium difficulty when he 11 years old, and you find it hard on easy difficulty then you sir must be doing something wrong. Not to mention I didn't really know english very well back then, so I was just playing without reading most of the information and stats...
Fredrik Dunge Jun 5, 2014 @ 12:13pm 
Yeah the game is stupid hard even on easy difficulties. Perhaps it's becuase of my habit of turteling but that's how I like to play, I like to build up and watch massive armies of top level creatures do battle. The base rush so common in RTS always broke the immersion for me. Reminded me it was a game, that I wasn't the wizard leading his minions into battle.
I usually end up cheating and even then never finishign the game becuase winning was never as fun as playing to me anyway.
Last edited by Fredrik Dunge; Jun 5, 2014 @ 12:14pm
Edelward Jun 25, 2014 @ 4:15am 
Yes this game s hard .Played it and mods with intervals for years before getting the knock of it First of all design wizard - the best one is Survivalist for you so you can upkeep more units .
Then you can take red trait - Pacifist an get one more green trait for it . Don't forget that some races don't like Life or Death magic . The best starting units for level 1-2 are Archons ,but Archons have it bad with Gold and good with Research .
Try to use your units strengh for example Archon's Defender lv 2 unit with melee and some ranged ability .If Archon is besieged he first uses Holy Bolts sending enemy into vertigo then kills them off with sword .
There are also some tricks for example if you block the entry to cave with an army AI ,generally, will not attack from other side . In such case - being isolated and shutting off AI with an army blocking exit/entrance you can develop if you need time .
Last edited by Edelward; Jun 25, 2014 @ 4:17am
Edelward Jun 26, 2014 @ 1:49pm 
Always research your Wizard additional skills they are researched as spells in the same book
Survivalist , Spelllcaster ,Explorer ,Constructor etc
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