Wizards and Warlords

Wizards and Warlords

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A Complete Beginner's Guide
By alguLoD
Feeling lost? You're not alone! Wizards and Warlords is an early access title with (currently) poor documentation and an unhelpful UI. Herein is a quick introduction to some of the basic elements of the game.
To be clear, the reader is not the only beginner being referenced in the title of this guide. I have extensive experience with 4x titles ranging from the venerable Master of Magic itself, to much more recent fare such as Fallen Enchantress, but Wizards and Warlords only very recently entered into its early access phase.

As an early access game, if you're playing the game, it's very likely that you will encounter various bugs and features that are not yet implemented, or implemented improperly. Much more commonly you will find that the game doesn't really explain what anything actually means. This is a rather common affliction with small indie titles like this one; it took many years before even Dwarf Fortress accumulated the extensive documentation (and even then, how likely is the average player to realize that you can fly in Adventure Mode if you're playing a Hawkman?) it now has.

But that's what this guide is for; while it will inevitably become obsolete as I lose energy or interest and cease updating and as the game's development cycle continues, I hope it will explain enough of Wizards and Warlords' basic gameplay that you might find your footing. We'll be taking things one step at a time - first, the world!
Za Warudo!

Emphasizing again that this game is actively in development. If you have any questions the developer seems rather active here on the Steam forums - post a thread with any issues or bug reports you might have and an answer is imminent!

This menu is fairly self-explanatory. Feel free to leave the Quick Start box selected - there's nothing wrong with the default options. For the purposes of this guide, though, I will assume you unticked the box, selected the Wizard and continued onto the next menu, which I will explain now.

World Size: Self-explanatory. Small worlds make for quicker or more crowded games, while larger worlds are the reverse. I do not yet know the exact numbers for these.

Planar Invasions: These are not yet implemented (nor are the alternate planes themselves), so this option can be safely ignored. Later in the development cycle this option will, presumably, determine how often you are invaded by the Circus. For those of you who've never played Dwarf Fortress, that's a meme. Don't ask me to explain it.

World Age: Works a bit like you might logically expect it to; younger worlds have more special resources, particularly primordial trees, while older worlds have more pyramids and various independent societies and cults. Plate tectonics are also simulated, and therefore the height map is affected: older worlds have more mountains and hills.

Civilization: This option determines how many villages, towns and other settlements there are in the world, and possibly how well-developed they are. If you want to tinker with any of the options for your first few games, this might be the one: set it to "settled" if you want more reliable access to settlements, and thus sources of recruits and targets for conquest.

Wilderness: Determines how dangerous the wilderness is. Fairly self-explanatory, though the mechanics at play are a mystery. The higher settings presumably increase the frequency of monster-spawning events.

Magic: Presumably determines how many magic nodes there are in the world and their potency, and may have other effects. Despite the name, "Uncommon" is still common enough that you'll rarely find yourself short on nodes to bind to yourself.

Cultures: Wizards and Warlords is somewhat unusual in that many elements of the game are randomly generated, and others are picked from a list from which the majority of options will inevitably be excluded. Cultures are basically racial and social variations for primary races: it includes such things as different tribes of Bugbears, but also determines how likely the Elf race is to be split into Sylvan and Dark Elves, Goblins into Goblins and Hobgoblins, Ogres into Ogres and Cyclopes, and the like.

Races: This determines the number and variety of primary races within the game. This can be left as is, or else I would recommend "classic" for those in the mood for a more traditional fantasy setting with dwarves, elves, halflings and their ilk.

Here you can also set the number, difficulty and types of computer opponents in the game. For your first game you'll likely want to restrict yourself to easy enemies. There's no shame in that, not for a game like this. Think of it like playing Dwarf Fortress Embarking near a river in woodlands by the side of a mountain with lots of soil and shallow metals in it.

Now, hit the "Accept" button and we'll get onto character selection (or creation).

(As a sidenote: If you're on a laptop, you will most likely want to change the UI scale in the options menu. Adjust to taste.)
Character Creation
Currently in Wizards and Warlords, your character is a combination of traits that have varying effects on how you play the game. The game comes with a collection of pre-generated classes, but you may create your own if you so wish.

For the purposes of your first game, I'd suggest an archmage - a simple choice with a good selection of starting spells. Most importantly, he starts with the ability to summon frost wolves - a good, cheap, rapid-moving combatant that costs only mana, and most importantly allows you to easily accomplish an early quest with an excellent reward.

If you create a custom character, you should keep in mind that many traits are currently not properly implemented or have no effect - the Planewalker trait in particular has a very interesting description, but the different planes are not yet implemented into the game. You should also try to make sure that you pick at least one starting Research with a summoning spell - I would recommend Air or Frost magic.

Some do have a very dramatic effect - the racial traits in particular change what kind of workers, troops and followers you start with (otherwise determined randomly based on what races and cultures exist in the world) and have other effects as well - or are at least intended to.

And that's it. Hit the "Continue" button and, after a quick loading screen, you'll be able to start playing the game proper.
Basics of Gameplay

This is the screen you'll spend most of your playtime on. There's a lot of things to look at, so let's cover them one at a time.

On the top left, you'll see an info-box displaying your available resources and income. There's a lot that'll be hidden from you, but that's what the Economy screen is for. Speaking of which, there's also a row of buttons which are quite important.

From left to right, they are: Research, Recruitment, Followers, Diplomacy, Economics, Encyclopedia and Quests. I'll cover the Recruitment and Economics screens in more detail below. The others are self-explanatory enough that I'll leave it to you to explore them on your own. Below these buttons and the info-box there is a button to cast spells - take note of it.

The Recruitment screen is also fairly self-explanatory, but what might not be is what determines what you can recruit. Unlike in most other 4x games of the fantasy genre, summoning and conventional recruitment takes place on the same screen and largely has the same mechanics. As you research, you may gain access to new types of recruits. Starting with the Frost Magic research gives you access to Winter Wolves. You can also recruit warriors from local settlements - I'm uncertain of the exact mechanics at play, but this is likely determined by some combination of proximity, relations, and your sphere of influence.

The recruits available to you can thus vary widely: if you have no neighbours and did not start with any summoning rituals, you may not have access to any recruits at all. Otherwise, you may have access to anything from savage ettins to dwarven warriors, elven archers, or halfling cavalry.

Moving on to the map itself. It's hex-based, as you can see. The map is divided into provinces separated by black lines, where each province contains a number of tiles which may contain a variety of terrains and resources. When you select a tile, you'll always see a number of possible actions on the center-left of the screen. In this case I could opt to build a farm or a vineyard in the selected tile, command my followers to search the selected province, or explore the world on their own intiative. Most buildings take a lot of time to build and require a worker to construct and then to run it. Outposts are an exception and are built instantly.

Under these buttons is a context-sensitive info-box that generally contains information on whatever you have selected at the moment.

One very important concept that may not be immediately obvious is your territory. While the numbers involved are unknown to me, you may only construct buildings and perform certain other actions in provinces you control. You can gain control of a province by building an outpost or claiming a mana node within it. At the start of the game, the number of things you can build is quite limited indeed - not just by research, but also by the number of workers under your control.

On the top right of the screen, you have another info-box, this one telling you about what Armies, Followers and Workers you have available to you and what they're currently doing.

On the centre-right, below that box, you have your notifications (where you'd expect them to be) and also the end-turn button. Left-click on notifications to gain more information about the subject; right-click on them to dismiss them. Below that is, of course, the mini-map. I'll simply trust that you can figure out what that does yourself.

To move an army, left-click on its' shield on the main map and right click where you want them to go. Currently movement orders are not preserved between turns nor are you asked to give your armies orders if they're currently idle, leading to a bit more micro than might be desireable.

Once you move your army onto an enemy target, whether another army or a settlement, battles do not start automatically. You will have to select the tile in question and press the "attack," "lay siege" or "assault" buttons. You can merge two different armies, or split up units from one army into two armies, with the same group of buttons you use for most other things.

Once you have gained the ability to see nodes, you will need to move your armies to them, select the tile and press the button to bind them to yourself. Focus on tiny, minor and small nodes to begin with, as they require much less mana to bind to yourself - after they have been bound, they will of course contribute mana to your cause. I am not yet aware what the meaning of the different node types is - it may be that they interact with your race or alignment in different ways, though. Once you have the research for it, you will absolutely want to construct a Crystal Storage in your tower, otherwise you'll be limited to holding a hundred units of mana at once. This is not enough to bind most sizes of nodes.

By selecting the tile with your wizards' tower in it, and selecting the tower using one of the buttons near the bottom-center of the screen, and then the "Inspect" button that appears in the info-box, you can get to this menu. It displays what kind of income your tower provides, how many workers are in it, and here you can also add expansions onto the tower and upgrade it. You'll want to do both of those things as time and resources permit. For now you're unlikely to have much to do here.

The empty boxes on the right can be selected to construct expansions - each box has a coloured outline which displays the category of expansions you can build using them. I am not sure what the difference between Red and Green is, but Blue is mostly or arcane expansions that enhance your magic, research or wizarding followers in some way.

Upgrading your tower requires a lot of resources and several expansions, and a higher-level tower has better income, can support more workers, and has room for even more expansions.

Your tower is the center of your power as a wizard. Think of it as your capital. It is, as far as I know, unique and irreplaceable. Lose the tower and you lose the game.

This is the aforementioned Economics screen. Here you can buy and sell resources, some of which are quite expensive and not all of which will be available in every world. Collecting and selling gems or other valuable resources on the world market is an excellent way to earn some extra gold, and many construction and recruitment projects require some kind of special resource that can often be bought here.

Perhaps more importantly, the buttons on the right allow you to recruit workers and followers. Followers are like hero units; they are very expensive and do everything from explore the world, search your provinces for hidden sites, lead your armies (and grant them bonuses), raid dungeons, perform diplomacy, espionage or sabotage with other factions, and more. The economy used to rely entirely on workers, and they are still very useful, though sites will now produce resources without them. One of the early quests gives a permanent influence bonus, which can be used to purchase them.

Speaking of which, you'll want to pay attention to and follow those early quests. You'll get a notification whenever you receive a new one or complete an old one - there's a number of "tutorial quests" that you always gain in a sequence and that are easy to complete in exchange for significant rewards.
18/3/2017: Published

18/3/2017: New information on World Age setting and effects.

28/3/2017: Changed the Gameplay Basics section to reflect the changes to worker/site mechanics (sites now produce some resources without workers).
This guide, much like the game itself, is far from complete. Always remember that you should report any bugs you run into and that you can always ask questions on the Steam forums.

Nevertheless, I hope this guide has been of some use to you.

If you see any indiscrepancies in this guide, or have anything you would like to add to it, feel free to add a comment.
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[PdL]JoSeLillO Mar 19 @ 5:41am 
alguLoD  [author] Mar 18 @ 2:32pm 
Thanks for the compliment and the information. Personally the guide feels a bit rushed to me - the intent wasn't to make something excellent so much as it was to make something serviceable in the absence of any other guide.

That's pretty much what I suspected the World Age setting did (I spawned in the middle of hilly terrain next to a Pyramid on an Ancient world) or at least intended to do - wasn't sure how much of it was implemented yet or the exact details, though.
Valravn Games  [developer] Mar 18 @ 2:22pm 
Awesome work! Thank you very much for making this. About the "World Age" setting, it currently has the following effects:

* Ancient pyramids are generated if the World Age is not Primeval (or if the Civilization setting is Developed). The number of pyramids is affected as well, with older increasing the number.

* The seeding of special resources is also affected. Primeval worlds have a slightly increased number, and ancient worlds have a slightly lower number. The 'Primordial Tree' special is more likely to be generated in Primeval worlds, with the chance decreasing with increased age.

* The number of cults / secret societies is higher on Ancient worlds, with the number decreasing on younger worlds.

* The number of Ancient Evils is increased for Ancient and Old worlds.

* When generating the height map, the world age is taken into account. (A basic simulation of plate tectonics happens).
Tchey Mar 18 @ 12:56pm 
Good enough for starters, thanks for writing it.