New details about Stardock's Elemental: Fallen Enchantress have arrived this afternoon by way of a third developer diary video (narrated by associate producer Toby Sarnelle) that focuses on the game's magic system, as well as two more hands-on previews courtesy of Games Radar and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Let's roll the diary first:
Fallen Enchantress isn't a sequel or an expansion as much as it's a... well, it's sort of a remake. Stardock went back to the drawing board and decided to completely remake everything about Elemental, only keeping the things that worked and gutting everything else. If it didn't work, it was removed - even multiplayer, a major draw of the original, was cut in favor of fleshing out the singleplayer experience.
Part of fleshing out the gameplay meant adding in new spells and abilities. Lots... of spells and abilities. Stardock CEO Brad Wardell showed off the game's spellbook, which contained literally hundreds of different spells to choose from. Some were small-scale, like healing a group of units, while others summoned giant volcanoes that actually destroyed the earth itself. Wardell joked that casting some of the larger spells is akin to dropping a nuke in a game like Civilization because it not only screws over the player you landed on, but ruins the actual world. In other words: it's sort of a mean thing to do, but it looks cool, so you're totally going to do it anyway.
The beta is available to anyone preordering, whether you were involved in the war on the War of Magic or not, and initial reports suggest that, as is expected in a prerelease release, there are issues to be ironed out. However, I also hear large portions of the internet giggling in an excited fashion and hope to join them in doing so. Regular updates are being rolled out and I believe the third is due on the 12th. Maybe that’ll be the cue for me to bury myself in the game for a day or two and return here with thoughts.
Factions have more individuality now and that variety carries through to magic, weapons and monsters as well. Indeed, one of the most exciting aspects of the game appears to be the sheer amount of stuff thrown into the world and while that may lead to difficulties in accessibility and/or balance, it should boost the sense of discovery that can be such a powerful driving force. Scroll down to page 111 of the Master of Magic manual to see the appendices, then marvel at the quantity of everything that the game contained. Also marvel at the fact that 100+ page manuals used to be a thing that existed. I read that one on the way home from buying the game, a bus journey that seemed to take hours, every page I turned filled with fuel for my burning anticipation.