Warlock: Master of the Arcane

Warlock: Master of the Arcane is a new turned-based strategy game set in the fantastical world of Ardania, popularized in Majesty franchise. Warlock: Master of the Arcane invites players to take on the role of the Great Mage and build a powerful magical empire, giving mightly mages the ability to control armies and wield magic to wage war against another, as they compete with other wizards for the title of Warlock.

Warlock: Master of the Arcane Review

When I was a lot younger than I am now, I had some difficulty getting my head around the idea that a frog could be dangerous. In spite of how tiny and placid they are, my teachers insisted that certain kinds of frog were among the most poisonous creatures in the world, their secretions used to tip the darts of South American Indians. They simply looked very cute and very colourful to me, how could they possibly cause anyone any harm?

Travel through the lands of Warlock: Master of the Arcane and you'll uncover all sorts of creatures that might as well be those South American frogs. They're cute, they're colourful and they're so very deadly to the touch. A new flavour of pain is waiting around every corner and everything is extremely bloody dangerous. First-time players encountering a new monster needn't ask themselves "Do I need to worry about this one, too?" because the answer is always, always "Yes."

The game goes like this: as a Great Mage, you're somewhere between Dumbledore and a dictator, a powerful spellcaster who lords it over cities, researches new spells, recruits armies and gradually expands your territory. Be the first among your prestidigitating peers to achieve a spectacular feat, such as defeating a God or researching and casting the all-powerful Spell of Unity, and you can consider yourself a success. Alternatively, there's always the option to beat your rivals into submission with the knobbly bit on the end of your staff.

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Warlock: Master of the Arcane Preview: Reviving Microprose's Magic

It's not immediately obvious to everyone, but to us beardier, strategier PC types, the ongoing lack of a decent fantasy grand strategy game makes for a painful hole in our collection. While a spellcasting setting might have suited all sorts of RTS and turn-based titles, more than a few weary wizards will point an aging finger all the way back to 1994, to Microprose's Master of Magic, when they want to cite the definitive example of fantasy empire building. Paradox is hoping to finally change that with Warlock: Master of the Arcane.

"There is always the spirit of Master of Magic wandering out there," says senior writer Pavel Kondrashov, whose own brand of magic might be necromancy. "This spirit is demanding to be brought back to life. Although we started as a developer of sci-fi games, fantasy worlds seemed to have claimed us as their servants." That would explain the towns populated by rogues, ratmen or the living dead, all of them researching new spells or constructing strange magical apparatus under the orders of their Great Mages. Outside their city walls, ogres and giant spiders roam the lands.

Much as Master of Magic resembled the original Civilization, with magical research in lieu of technological and elves instead of Europeans, Warlock is clearly inspired by the latest in Firaxis' series, though from the very start the game's world of Ardania is not only prettier but also much more dangerous.

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