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Default Elemental: War of Magic - Day 0 Preview

August 26th, 2010, 20:08
Even with all these bad reviews I'm grabbing the collectors edition tomorrow. I would of bought it on release, but I had to wait a few days for my credit card to get recharged with cash

They have a great track record of patching up their games so I'm not worried at all that they won't fix these problems that have been mentioned. I was thinking about becoming a beta tester anyways and so now I'll get to be one If it had been any other company that did this I would hold off buying this game till they officially patched it, but stardock is completely dependable when it comes to updating their games.

Maybe I'll do as you guys said and play the sandbox one first and wait till they patch it further to play the campaign.

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August 26th, 2010, 20:12
Ooof, Elemental is really cool, but the memory leaks, the crashes and the extremely bad performance really makes it almost unplayable atm.
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August 26th, 2010, 21:21
Originally Posted by SveNitoR View Post
I've had no performance problems or bugs yet. Of course I only played for an hour or so.

Really fun game this far, though the spells seem a bit too generic. Will try it some more tomorrow and see how it is a bit futher in.

I did not even bother with the campaign, jumped straight into the random maps.
whats crazy is I have been following this game for a while and had to have it when it came out. Im now drowning in work and just have had enough time to come home eat and answer some emails, then its bed time. Im waiting for the weekend to spend some time with it, but now I'm thinking that I really wasted my money. I was even thinking about getting the limited edition…

Does anyone have anyhting good to say about this game? Is it a complete write-off? I wonder if its at all possible to get my money back from a download.
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August 26th, 2010, 21:29
Originally Posted by spiraling69 View Post
whats crazy is I have been following this game for a while and had to have it when it came out. Im now drowning in work and just have had enough time to come home eat and answer some emails, then its bed time. Im waiting for the weekend to spend some time with it, but now I'm thinking that I really wasted my money. I was even thinking about getting the limited edition…

Does anyone have anyhting good to say about this game? Is it a complete write-off? I wonder if its at all possible to get my money back from a download.
Just wait some weeks. Stardock has a great reputation regarding patching there games up. Iam gonna wait atleast another week to make the choice to buy it. It got alot of potention and i have fate in stardock. As someone said in the comments, Fallout 2 was bugged as hell too. Guess what, its my favorite game alltime. Even beats morrowind.
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August 26th, 2010, 21:35
Originally Posted by spiraling69 View Post
Does anyone have anyhting good to say about this game? Is it a complete write-off? I wonder if its at all possible to get my money back from a download.
I haven't played it enough yet to give a fair verdict, but so far it's been pretty fun.

If you want a refund contact Stardock's support. They might be swamped at the moment though…
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August 26th, 2010, 21:46
Originally Posted by ikbenrichard View Post
Just wait some weeks. Stardock has a great reputation regarding patching there games up.
Yeah, they patched GalCiv2's latest expansion as far as 1.5 years after release, and they always ask for suggestions from the fans.

Elemental will be a stable and polished product eventually. The question is if it will be fun enough to keep my interest until then, and whether the modding scene gets big or not.
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August 27th, 2010, 02:28
Originally Posted by SveNitoR View Post
Yeah, they patched GalCiv2's latest expansion as far as 1.5 years after release, and they always ask for suggestions from the fans.
.
Yeah and even though the game was "good" at release, and each expansion was at least "good" at release as well, the latest patched version is so much more polished it's ridiculous. The most noticeable improvements overall are those in performance and in the AI. If you have a powerful CPU you can set it to use that power and perform greatly increased calculations for the AI.

I hadn't played the game in quite some time and started playing it again when E:WoM refused to behave itself with regards to memory usage. It was like I was playing a completely different game (in a good way) than the one I had put down about a year and a half ago. The AI actually did some relatively clever things that I had never even had to bother doing myself against its previous incarnations. For example, I played a game where I was turns away from taking several key enemy planets with relatively overwhelming force. I was foolishly relying on undefended star-bases to extend my ships range to reach them. They used several small fleets of very fast ships to take out my critical star-bases, forcing my fleets to retreat for fuel. While I was quite aware of this flaw in my attack plan, it had never mattered in previous play troughs so I didn't think the AI would capitalize on it. Looks like they had made it a bit smarter.

In a year I imagine E:WoM will be as polished as the latest version of GalCiv 2… but it would have been much less frustrating to play at release if they had waited until after the new year. Ah well.
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August 27th, 2010, 10:05
My first thought was that they wanted to release the game before the upcoming release of Civ V; no idea if that is actually true, though. It might also be that Brad Wardell is "simply incompetent and delusional", as one commenter wrote in this thread In any event, from the previews of the game I was almost tempted to buy it at release, but now I will be waiting till they patch E:WoM into a playable state, at which point it will probably be cheaper than now as well.

If more people do as I do, this will mean a net loss for Stardock, which is kinda sad, because I like the company. It is unfortunate though that good games of one genre recently had a tendency to cluster in time. E.g. the releases of Dragon Age: Origins and later Mass Effect 2, added to the long time I spend on games as a (by now) very casual gamer, were the reason I bought Drakensang 2 only recently, which was probably a mistake in retrospect (again: if more people think on this as I do).
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August 27th, 2010, 10:18
Originally Posted by coyote View Post
My first thought was that they wanted to release the game before the upcoming release of Civ V; no idea if that is actually true, though. It might also be that Brad Wardell is "simply incompetent and delusional", as one commenter wrote in this thread In any event, from the previews of the game I was almost tempted to buy it at release, but now I will be waiting till they patch E:WoM into a playable state, at which point it will probably be cheaper than now as well.
We're all incompetent and delusional in certain areas. That's part of what being human is.

I could be wrong, but everything about Brad tells me he's an incompetent game designer - and he's CERTAINLY delusional, claiming in public that the 1.05 is in good shape. Either that, or a great liar - but he doesn't strike me as one.

That said, he seems like a competent businessman and a decent bloke. That just won't change what Elemental is - at this stage.
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August 27th, 2010, 11:22
Oh, and let's not forget Elemental: Destiny's Embers - the book by Brad published at the same time.

I wonder if that's a coincidence in terms of how they went about this

I don't buy the Civ 5 thing, because there's a significant difference between a fantasy TB game and a historical one, and they'd be almost 6 months apart in february.

Nah, this is ego and greed.
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August 27th, 2010, 12:26
By the way, thanks for the quick review of the game, DArtagnan! I believe your comments really helped me to get a better view of the state of the game.

You are right about everyone being incompetent and delusional in some areas, of course, though personally I try to make my living in areas where I am confident in my abilities From what I read, Brad Wardell had a stressful last several weeks, and they could not have had enough time to properly test the patch, so he might have been overly hopeful because a stable patch would give him and the team justification to finally get some rest. It is not the right way to handle things, especially not in business, but I can somewhat relate to that and would not immediately accuse him of being delusional.

Regarding Civ V, last I heard it will be released on September 21st / 24th this year, only about one month after E:WoM. Interesting, I did not know he also wrote a companion book to the game. I wonder how that one will be received.
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August 27th, 2010, 12:31
Originally Posted by coyote View Post
By the way, thanks for the quick review of the game, DArtagnan! I believe your comments really helped me to get a better view of the state of the game.
Welcome

But keep in mind that I'm very harsh in general, and some people seem to think it's in a decently playable state.

Regarding Civ V, last I heard it will be released on September 21st / 24th this year, only about one month after E:WoM. Interesting, I did not know he also wrote a companion book to the game. I wonder how that one will be received.
No idea, but there's no incentive in the game that inspires me to read about the setting in a book.
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August 27th, 2010, 17:30
I bought the game today and expected the worst. I expected a buggy crash ridden mess of a game which wouldn't be playable for a few more months.

What I got wasn't near as bad as a lot of people are saying. Not one crash, not one bug (yet), the sandbox game is fun although a little confusing right now. The campaign is ok. Nothing out of the ordinary concerning the campaign, but that is about par for course concerning fantasy strategy. Fantasy wars or Age of Wonders had your usual big bad guy you have to defeat and honestly how can you have a strategy game without some faction to destroy. Although Majesty 1 and 2 were a lot more interesting.

One thing that really annoys me is the combat. In more than one battle the enemy will ignore all my other units and head straight to my heroes. Two of them are so weak right now that I'm just bringing them along for the ride to get some experience. So while the monsters head to my heroes I get to pound the living daylights out of them. I hope that changes later in the campaign.

The manual needs to be updated as well. It's very extensive in some ways and woefully lacking in others. Just give me a dang tech tree so I know what I'm researching. I may have missed it somewhere, but I can't find a tech tree anywhere in the manual or the help button. The help button does show you a list of all of the available technologies, but not in any kind of order. Maybe I need to just play through the campaign to get a handle on that. The other thing is buildings. If I have researched a building then show it somewhere in the city screen even if I don't have the resources to build it right then. It shows you all the available units you can build, but buildings keep popping up only when you are able to buy them. This may only be for the campaign, but it's annoying as heck.

I do not like the graphics. I can forgive them that, but Dart had it right when he said they should of went 2D.

Now for a couple of things I do like about this game. Factions!!!! Not only do you get to choose what race you want, but what faction you want to belong to. I like being able to mix and match my civ that way. The other thing is unit customization. Finally! A MOO like fantasy civ game where you can customize your units. I can't recall any fantasy civ game giving you this option. Right now in the campaign my units are very limited in what I can add to them, but later on this should become as fun as MOO was when I was customizing ships.

After some polishing and future tweaking I can see this game becoming one of those games that are always installed and played years on down the line.

Edit: I almost forgot to mention. My version says 1.06. They must have patched it right before I downloaded it. That might explain the totally different experience I had versus others. Here's a link explaining what's new in v1.06. You'll have to start a whole new game unfortunately.

Also I was a bit hasty with my gripe about the greyed out buildings. I hadn't progressed far enough in the campaign and didn't play the sandbox that long to see they do show you what buildings your able to build whether you have the resources or not. It's those dang huts that keep popping up out of the blue that confused me.

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Last edited by skavenhorde; August 27th, 2010 at 18:34.
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August 27th, 2010, 17:55
Yeah, they released a new patch yesterday sometime. Hopefully it fixes a lot of stuff because it killed any existing games. The game is fun to play which makes the flux it is in kind of frustrating.

BTW, the AI now is pretty stupid. In combat the AI units seem to pick out some specific unit on your side and head right for that unit ignoring all others.

At the strategic level the AI appears to just move about randomly. For example, I encountered an AI that immediately declared war on me. I was right near one of his cities with my sovereign and another unit so I attacked and took it over. Both of my units were badly mauled and I noticed a BIG stack of that AI's units within striking distance of the city as well as several other individual units. So I moved my two units out and teleported them to safety figuring the city was lost. A few turns later the city was still sitting there with no defenders. I left it empty to see what would happen and another 20 turns later the AI hadn't attacked it even with his units moving right past it.
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August 27th, 2010, 18:06
It took a few days before I realised just how broken the game is.

The bugs aren't bad, and with 1.06 it's definitely playable - if you can call it that.

Sadly, many issues are so fundamental - dealing with intricate systems, that it will take a LONG time to fix. I have no doubt that Stardock will continue to support it, and the mod community will definitely help a lot.

But, I wouldn't expect a thoroughly engaging game for AT LEAST 3 months. They need to completely revise the magic system, the combat system, the faction variety, the quest structure, the overall balance, the AI, and a host of other very serious flaws.

Naturally, that's just my opinion - and it should be noted that I wasn't expecting a light Civilization game - but an experience comparable to MoM.

In terms of variety and pure game design, MoM is SO much more consistent and entertaining, even today.
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August 27th, 2010, 19:43
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
I bought the game today and expected the worst. I expected a buggy crash ridden mess of a game which wouldn't be playable for a few more months.

What I got wasn't near as bad as a lot of people are saying. Not one crash, not one bug (yet), the sandbox game is fun although a little confusing right now. The campaign is ok. Nothing out of the ordinary concerning the campaign, but that is about par for course concerning fantasy strategy.
Thank you for your point of view.
Makes my choice easier, gonne play it.
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August 27th, 2010, 20:45
I don't get why things should be this messed up either—they've been working on it quite a while, but I really appreciate hearing from everybody that there's a good game in there, especially the MOO stuff. I don't think I'll have a problem waiting a few months to get a better game, but I can imagine it's frustrating for Day 0 buyers.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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Default My posted review on Stardock.com that was deleted

August 27th, 2010, 20:49
I didn't find this particularly venomous by mods did not like and removed …

My time with Elemental (Since when do unpolished, unfinished indie games set you back fifty clams?)
By wynams Posted August 27, 2010 1:55:41 PM
New to Stardock games, I tried Gal Civ way back but found the atmosphere of MOO/2 more to my liking.

I don't fault those who find Stardock games appealing, just as I expect to not be faulted for voicing my preferences <smiley> as one size does not fit all when it comes to games!

Things that I do like are: unit design (although due to balancing issues exposes AI weakness even more); tactical combat (although there are vastly different damage throughput vs letting combat auto-resolve); the dynasty aspect of marriage, progeny; the ability to quest; equipping your units. I like that Stardock has a track record of supporting games long after they are released.

I don't like that this game was shipped with such a large amount of immediate support needed I hold any $50 game up to higher standards than I would say a $30 game. I don't expect Eschalon to peg cross-fired GPUs much in the same manner I expect a Blizzard title that is $60 to be polished and ready to play for hours as soon as it is installed, as well as to include subtle nuance programming touches that make me think 'ooh nice touch'!

The thing that puts me off in Elemental to begin with is the races. Call elves 'elf' not mancer, etc. Why do the different races all look like man? They look like them both in portraits and on the zoomed in map. There is not enough coding done to set one race apart from another. So much could have been done here that wasn't to flesh these out: race specific spells; more race specific abilities; race specific tilesets/UI color palettes, music, sound effects etc.

Suggestion: Let players rename races, factions and allegiances in game options.

Suggestion: Add more diversity to races via spells, abilities, units, tiles, etc.

Do away with naming a sandbox game and the opening book cinematic telling me some random backstory with my champion's name pasted in for the protagonist. Instead, do all the subtle nuance programming touches that game companies used to do to give each new sandbox game some feeling of distinction.

Suggestion: For sandbox games have different music, different map tilesets, different creatures that thematically make sense for that tileset, different lists of random names pulled from for cities/heroes, different subsets of random event possibilities etc. for each new game.

The technology trees are already stale and i've only played a few days. In it's current state, there are 2 or 3 civ techs to grab, a few more in war, then zerg with your best stack, rinse repeat. Diplomacy needs to be fleshed out a lot more than current to be meaningful/worthwhile pursuit tech tree wise). The Adventure tree seems to actually penalize the player in making the roaming monsters grow stronger. Magic tree would probably be a lot more lucrative if shards actually did something of benefit.

Suggestion: Give technology lots of balance and redesign consideration(s)

Tactical combat, in particular, seems to have a completely different set of damage calculations done regarding shards than auto-resolve. This should not be the case.

The multiplicatve nature of modifiers for units, spells, city development and tech advances will make long-term balance tweaking quite challenging for Stardock. Not going to suggest anything as this is one area Stardock has a decent record of eventually getting right.

The game engine is not my cup of tea. I wish it was just the cloth map view constantly and that zooming it would stick with the clothmap tileset as opposed to some clunky 3D rendered mess if red-clay earth and pastel towns. Not going to suggest anything as many man hours were logged on zoomed in view and I have the option to not zoom in!

Suggestion: Add some sound to re-enforcing you selected a unit, city, town, resource, etc.

Suggestion: Add more information to UI. Maybe even simple and detailed views which explain how stats/modifiers are adding up.

Suggestion: Revamp path-finding code

It is difficult to tell when a turn ends, and I often feel I am being cheated of movement if I don't move each and every one of my armies manually every turn.

Suggestion: Units should make a sound on selecting them with mouse and another sound on movement.

Suggestion: End turn should make a sound. There should be the option to have a nag screen pop up if a city, unit, research etc. is idle at end of turn

Too much is left to luck (resource/quest/lost item placement, wandering hero/monster level, auto-resolve where an 80 combat rating hero can be defeated by a 9 combat rating stack of wolves).

Suggestion: Add checks to resource placement on initial map generation to even out some placements.

The stability of the game overall is poor on a wide variety of system configurations. Suggestion: Fix it!

I do not need to speak on the poorness of the campaign, and I cannot speak to multiplayer as feature is not yet implemented.

Nitpick: I also do not see the need to separate factions and allegiances. The amount of benefit this adds to diversifying gameplay options is not worth the cost of initial confusion in my opinion. If sovereign = man then player leads men end;
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August 28th, 2010, 11:13
Originally Posted by wynams View Post
I didn't find this particularly venomous by mods did not like and removed …

My time with Elemental (Since when do unpolished, unfinished indie games set you back fifty clams?)
By wynams Posted August 27, 2010 1:55:41 PM
New to Stardock games, I tried Gal Civ way back but found the atmosphere of MOO/2 more to my liking.

I don't fault those who find Stardock games appealing, just as I expect to not be faulted for voicing my preferences <smiley> as one size does not fit all when it comes to games!

Things that I do like are: unit design (although due to balancing issues exposes AI weakness even more); tactical combat (although there are vastly different damage throughput vs letting combat auto-resolve); the dynasty aspect of marriage, progeny; the ability to quest; equipping your units. I like that Stardock has a track record of supporting games long after they are released.
I highly suggest that you place your findings at the stardock forum too. If you dont i will quote your text for you.
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August 28th, 2010, 11:16
Originally Posted by ikbenrichard View Post
I highly suggest that you place your findings at the stardock forum too. If you dont i will quote your text for you.
Didn't he just say he tried that and the moderators removed it?

Maybe I got it wrong.

If true, I think that's pretty telling of their attitude, though.
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