Why MoM?

By on September 4, 2010 9:40:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Tiberonmagnus

Join Date 02/2008
+2

I've never played Master of Magic, but what exact qualities are you looking for that you wished were also in WoM? I've been hearing so many people talk about MoM and wished WoM was more like it, but since I have nothing to go on myself (might actually go pick it up eventually here to see what the scoop is), it would be nice to hear. Rant away, I'd like to read this.

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September 4, 2010 9:54:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Check out the new ideas for elemental post.  I love MOM and would recomment buying it.  but, it is a pain to get to run on windows.

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September 4, 2010 10:16:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Why because MOM was probably the first fantasy based turn based strategy game out that focused mainly on magic, and sad to say it success was never duplicated even after close to 20 years.

Some other games came kind of close, but missed the mark when it came to the spell casting elements. For instance the best one out of these clones was Age of Wonders Shadow Magic. The problem AOW had is that they duplicated damn near everything about MOM, but slacked on the spell portion and this was a dissapointment.

Now we have elemental, and unfortunately Stardock dropped the ball because they tried to reinvent the wheel. Instead what they should have done was take all of the things that everyone liked most about MOM, then slapped some current graphics and sound on to it, put a better AI in and then leave the game open ended to where we could mod the hell out of it.

Here is a list of the items that set MOM apart from the rest.

  1. 6 distinct spell books that each had their own strategy of play. These included arcane, nature, chaos, sorcery, life and death.
  2. Several distinct races you could choose from that each had their own special abilities and play strategies.
  3. Literally hundreds of spells to learn and use. Also the spells were literally powerfull.
  4. Hundreds of special abilities for the units. It ranged from regeneration, to having something killed by a ghoul come back as undead.
  5. Your wizard could create powerful magic items and artifacts then deck out your heroes with them.
  6. Oh and heroes that kicked arse.

In constrast where Elemental falls short is:

  1. Very few spells.
  2. Little difference between the spells and spell books.
  3. No difference between the races.
  4. Not enough special abilities for Units and Npcs.
  5. Enemy sovereigns very rarely use magic outside of combat.
  6. Poor AI.
  7. Bugs...

What elemental has going for it:

  1. Stardock in that they have dropped the ball but are picking it up.
  2. Elemental can be modded heavily.

Seriously once Stardock fixes the bugs, and then adds different races, more monster models, fleshes out the spell books and then fixes the AI this game will be hands down the best fantasy game period, but until then its sad to say that that title goes to a game that is close to 20 years old.

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September 4, 2010 10:26:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

MoM Also allowed VERY custom wizards.  On top of selecting which schools of magic to invest in you also selected the degree to which you focused on them.  You could spend all your creation points on one school of magic and dominate with it, but be weak everywhere else.  You could also reasonably focus on leadership and military talents with very little interest in magic and still do very well if you played well.  You could play a huge empire spread across the world, but you could also succeed with just a few cities if you played well.  Heroes were powerful once you built them up with artifacts, which were of course rather costly in time and resources.  No game (that I have played) of the same time has even come close to MoM yet. ;(

That being said I have high hopes for the future of Elemental as it is a decent game now (I would rather spend my cash on the current elemental than a lot of games i have purchased in the last few years even without any more improvement) and should be a great game in the future.

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September 4, 2010 10:30:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You can buy a version of MoM on Good Old Games (gog.com)that is windows compatible for $6.

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September 4, 2010 10:34:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

yeah, I have MoM  Unfortunately I have played it WAY too much.  If only it was heavily modded

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September 4, 2010 11:09:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Delmoroth,
yeah, I have MoM  Unfortunately I have played it WAY too much.  If only it was heavily modded

 

Delmoroth, what do you mean heavily modded. I play MoM on Dosbox, which works great on Windows Vista. But I just play it straight with 1.31 update. What other mods are there? I know there's a ITEMMAKE, but I could never get it to work right, and I remember once I corrupted the game if I had too many powerful items there. Are there other mods I'm missing.

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September 4, 2010 11:23:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

1. Amazingly rich content. (Hundreds of spells, units, abilities, etc.)

2. Unbelievable replayability. (Playing one game pure Nature and another pure Chaos were two totally different games. Or you could play as mixed Nature / Chaos wizard, but both fields were weaker as a result. Or, for example, as a Warlord who doesn't rely on summoned creatures, but rather on normal units augmented by magic. Heck, even two games with the same starting setup were very different!)

3. Super balanced flow of the game. You could easily play HUNDREDS of turns without getting bogged down in micromanagement, without getting bored from repeated elements in gameplay, even at 200th or 300th turn there still were better units to get, better spells to cast and better buildings to construct in your cities. Also, you can play till 200th turn, for example, without reloading the game even a single time, - just because if you knew the rules and content and AI behavior well, you could play for days without the need to redo in a different way even the smallest thing.

4. MoM created an impression of intricately designed and very carefully polished gem - being very "proportional" inside, very cosistent, very "whole", complete.

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September 4, 2010 11:44:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

For the uninitiated, here's Master Of Magic Spellbook (PDF):

http://www.machinations.org/mom/downloads/Master%20of%20Magic%20-%20Spellbook.pdf

 

Look at the variety, the creativity. Zombie Mastery, Flying Fortress (ok, this one still doesn't work even after 2 patches). Astral Gate, to travel to the other plane. Stardock says other planes are for when you have small memory and ignores topological implications. You can transform your units into undead, this is permanent and they'll stop healing. Invisibility, Lycantropy, Move Fortress, Planar Seal, Enchant Roads, Spell Lock, Time Stop (I believe it's actually a winning condition if you can pay its ridiculous 150/turn upkeep), Transmute, Wall of Stone/Darkness/Fire, Warp Node, Water Walking, Wind Mastery, Wraithform. There are many others, and these are just spells.

Quoting Master_of_Magic,

Quoting Delmoroth, reply 5yeah, I have MoM  Unfortunately I have played it WAY too much.  If only it was heavily modded
 

Delmoroth, what do you mean heavily modded. I play MoM on Dosbox, which works great on Windows Vista. But I just play it straight with 1.31 update. What other mods are there? I know there's a ITEMMAKE, but I could never get it to work right, and I remember once I corrupted the game if I had too many powerful items there. Are there other mods I'm missing.

Well there's Multiplayer Shell, for one. For PBEM play. It works by turning one or the other player into AI and back. One drawback is that in player-player battles (tactical combat) only one of you can give orders, the other is played by AI. This of course changes the value of some spells and units. So the most fair way is to use autoresolve in player-player battles.

http://home.no/michbert/mmom42s.zip

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September 4, 2010 11:51:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting hairrorist,
You can buy a version of MoM on Good Old Games (gog.com)that is windows compatible for $6.

 

 Thanks for the info, I am going to grab it right now. Now if only we could find someone to sell Dungeon Keeper 2 Digitally.

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September 4, 2010 11:52:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

For the record though, although there were lots of spells that did lots of cool little things and lots of options you could choose from for your wizard, none of it really mattered all that much. Advanced mundane units were extremely powerful, generally much more so then summoned ones, and you could easily win the game without ever casting a single spell. Meanwhile the AI was so incredibly bad that outside of getting overrun very early in the game, there was no realistic way to ever lose.

Of course it was still really fun to cast epic spells that spawned volcanos all over the world destroying everyones land (except yours) and things like that. But it kind of worked as more of a fantasy empire simulation then as a strategy game. I think the reason why other games never came close is because they cared about the actual strategic game play, rather then just putting in lots of cool and flashy spells that are completely unnecesary to win.

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September 5, 2010 12:09:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting niteshade6,
For the record though, although there were lots of spells that did lots of cool little things and lots of options you could choose from for your wizard, none of it really mattered all that much. Advanced mundane units were extremely powerful, generally much more so then summoned ones, and you could easily win the game without ever casting a single spell.

Options. You could also start with 11 books and wipe the floor with Wraiths, without training a single mundane unit. You can also win on Impossible with Gnolls and scraps of Death magic - I have. You can transform War Trolls into undead, negating the only practical disadvantage of undead with regeneration. They weren't the strongest unit, but still very good.

Nomads were one of most interesting and overall balanced races. They offered you decent choices all through the game, and Horsebowmen were good enough to win the game with when helped by Resist Elements, Counter Magic and Mana Drain. Still talking about Impossible. The same strategy could be used with other moderately strong races, like Lizardmen (javelineers).

You could optimise your Wizard for Word of Recall, establish a bridgehead and overwhelm the enemy with masses of unremarkable units.

You could take the Myrran perk, and... take an Arcanum race for challenge.

You could take Infernal Power, use Dark Rituals, and completely ignore nodes as your source of magic income.

You could win with powerful heroes or artifacts, I never enjoyed it but some people did.

Meanwhile the AI was so incredibly bad that outside of getting overrun very early in the game, there was no realistic way to ever lose.

That's why I invented my own rules, used weird race/magic combos, and typically played on Impossible. Anything else felt like cheating. Ever won by permanent Time Stop ? 150/turn upkeep.

MOM lacked good balance, but so does Dominions3 and people have modded it until it makes a good resemblance of it. If Elemental does have any magic underneath, and decent tools are released, players will make it shine.

Of course it was still really fun to cast epic spells that spawned volcanos all over the world destroying everyones land (except yours) and things like that. But it kind of worked as more of a fantasy empire simulation then as a strategy game. I think the reason why other games never came close is because they cared about the actual strategic game play, rather then just putting in lots of cool and flashy spells that are completely unnecesary to win.

I don't know what to say. Master Of Magic and the options it gives to a creative player can easily set your imagination ablaze.

 

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September 5, 2010 12:11:46 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

WooHoo feel like im twenty years younger reading this...

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September 5, 2010 1:13:52 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree with everything except the game wasn't really well balanced. You could win the game in a few turns by having the correct book combination that gave you a powerfull summon to own the map. Does "Torin the Chosen" ring any bells? That said it is a fantastic game.

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September 5, 2010 1:50:29 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That's why I invented my own rules

As for me, I used ItemMake to nerf all existing artifacts to max +1 movement. Made wonders to gameplay.

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September 5, 2010 2:08:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting b0rsuk,



I don't know what to say. Master Of Magic and the options it gives to a creative player can easily set your imagination ablaze.

 

Yeah and I agree, there were a lot of things that stimulated the imagination. Crazy fantasy races, spells with cool effects, etc. It's just that it wasn't so much a strategy game as a sand box for creating your own fantasy empire. It wasn't the type of game you played because you wanted a challenging battle or because you wanted to have to weigh the strengths of one strategy versus another. You were guaranteed to win no matter what (other then the possibility of your starting town getting taken over very early game), even if you somehow played a wizard with no magic and no abilities. And usually the best strategies were the more boring and mundane ones. It was more a game you played because you wanted to play out a fantasy empire, researching and cast some epic spells and level up some heroes and you didn't care if anyone ever put up a fight to try and stop you.

The problem I think is that people want a game that has all the cool stuff in MoM but which also works as a challenging strategy game. But I think the whole reason that MoM was able to put in so many cool things was because they clearly didn't care about things like AI and balance. When you care about those things it becomes a lot harder.

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September 5, 2010 2:14:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Nothing like looking at the past through Rose colored Lenses eh? Mom has and had more then its fair share of problems as well. You had to purposely force yourself not to game the game a lot of the times with it as well. Or have you forgotten that?

(and in case I need to remind you when it came out it was buggy as all fuck, crashed all the time and the AI was garbage, it took a year of patches to make it fairly stable and fix the moronic AI to be better...gee hmm sound like another games recent launch doesn't it?)

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September 5, 2010 2:56:05 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting dragoaskani,
Nothing like looking at the past through Rose colored Lenses eh? Mom has and had more then its fair share of problems as well. You had to purposely force yourself not to game the game a lot of the times with it as well. Or have you forgotten that?

 

Nobody denies that.

Yet the game was so funny that everyone accepted those issues and played the hell out of it anyway.

16 years later the memory of the fun we had is so strong that we all ended up meeting here.

And the desire of having another game even remotely like it is so strong that it keeps many of us here, even after the disastrous launch, and even if the chances of Elemental becoming what we initially hoped are slim at this point.

This is how great MoM was, issues and all.

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September 5, 2010 3:05:10 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting mastroego,

Quoting dragoaskani, reply 16Nothing like looking at the past through Rose colored Lenses eh? Mom has and had more then its fair share of problems as well. You had to purposely force yourself not to game the game a lot of the times with it as well. Or have you forgotten that?

 

Nobody denies that.

Yet the game was so funny that everyone accepted those issues and played the hell out of it anyway.

16 years later the memory of the fun we had is so strong that we all ended up meeting here.

And the desire of having another game even remotely like it is so strong that it keeps many of us here, even after the disastrous launch, and even if the chances of Elemental becoming what we initially hoped are slim at this point.

This is how great MoM was, issues and all.
And with luck and a bit of elbow grease in 16 years we might be saying the same things about Elemental when some other game is coming out. Just remember MoM got slaughtered in the few reviews that existed back then for pc games as well. hehe. So Elemental is its "spiritual successor" in a lot more ways then one.

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September 5, 2010 3:54:47 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Kryst07689,
Check out the new ideas for elemental post.  I love MOM and would recomment buying it.  but, it is a pain to get to run on windows.

You can find it free via torrents, and it's easy as pie to get running on DOSbox (DOS emulator for windows).

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September 5, 2010 5:04:59 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I am a huge fan of MoM... I will list a few features that I want Elemental to have and a few features that could fix weaknesses that MoM had.

Disclaimer: I have not bought Elemental yet, but I have been following it for a long time. Once it has a more complete set of features I will definitely buy it but I am content to wait for now. I have read a bunch of reviews, watched all the developer blog videos, and seen an in-game walkthrough so i am familiar with most or all of the game.


MoM had a great Wizard customization system and the races were unique enough that the combinations made it fun to replay over and over even though the actual game play was identical (randomly generated world, conquer your AI enemies).

Another great thing was the way unit enchantments worked. The fact that you could take a group of inexperienced spearmen that were worthless and make them into killing machines with the lionheart spells was really cool. I can see how this isn't crucial to overall strategy but its one of my favorite features.

The RPG progression system was WAY ahead of its time. In addition to having up to 6 heroes that had a mix of pre-determined and randomly generated attributes chosen from a long list, they would also have items that you could create yourself or find/buy. Furthermore, every non-magical unit in the game had experience points too and would gain significant bonuses from getting experience.

Finally, I really liked the tactical combat system in MoM. This is something I have little experience with in Elemantal but I would like for it to have the same ideas of moving your units so as to engage at the right time, keeping a protective formation, and being able to use spells to summon creatures, enchant units, attack enemies, and reshape the battlefield (walls, holes in the ground, smoke screens, etc).

Here are some things I read about Elemental that are promising to me:

The unit customization system seems awesome. This is something I always wanted in a strategy game, Empire Earth's wasn't compelling. If you can customize the following things with it, it would be amazing:
Choose from a large variety of weapons (long sword, short sword, 2 handed sword, lance, shield, bow & arrow, crossbow, axe)
Choose various qualities of materials (bronze, iron, steel, magical, mithril, etc) 
Choose a mount (horse, wolf, tiger, giant eagle, elephant, chariot)
Choose various armor levels (cloth, leather, chain, scale, plate) and also add cloaks, capes, hats, coat of arms etc
Add special abilities to the units (Could be fire enchanted weapons, battle cries, healing spells, carrying poison antidotes into battle, knowing how to fight against cavalry, etc).

I think that the quest system is a good idea. It must have difficult challenges, varied objectives, and compelling rewards.

The city system looks like it might be better than MoMs. I suggest making it so that each city specializes in certain ways, economically and militarily. I also suggest a system where every city has a unique advantage, like allowing a special unit to be built or giving a bonus to units built there, or a multiplier to certain resource income. Also make sure that there is a strong trade bonus or alliance bonus from neighboring cities (minor cities) to give an alternate route to divide and conquer strategies. 

Finally, one main thing that MoM did wrong was make it too easy to win if you went an extreme strategy. If you go all spellpower or all military its too easy in that game, in Elemental there should be trade-offs beyond if you can survive X turns then the game is a cakewalk. In fact, you should strive that the player must try to end the game or at least pressure opponents or else be completely outclassed after many turns have passed.

 

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September 5, 2010 5:41:27 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting dragoaskani,
Nothing like looking at the past through Rose colored Lenses eh? Mom has and had more then its fair share of problems as well. You had to purposely force yourself not to game the game a lot of the times with it as well. Or have you forgotten that?

 

I remember playing MoM on my 486 and getting crashes and glitches etc, but considering that Stardock had MoM to base the game off and use as a reference throughout the development stage, one would think that Elemental had a much greater chance of being released as a more respectable game. It seems that even the greatest aspects of MoM were not considered to be released with Elemental, where as they should have been the fundamentals of the game. (Heavy character customisation, magic being a major factor, dozens of passive/active unit abilities etc)

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September 5, 2010 6:19:04 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

MoM had simply a purely unbelievable amount of features in a single game. Yes there were severe balance and AI problems, but the game overflowed with ideas and things to do. Even listing them is going to take all the day, so just consider that if something could be imagined in a fantasy strategy game, then it IS included in MoM, and probably in fifty variations.

Add to this that it had a very immersive ambiance. The graphics were very low-quality because of technical limitations of the time, but their design (and the general design of the game) transcended those limitations. It's a bit like Blizzard's cartoony design : there is few polygons and all is very blocky, but you don't really notice unless you actually really try to.

MoM was choke-full of good ideas, features and things, and was immersive. This was sufficient to overlook the (very real) flaws and have a wonderful time. I'm NOT taking about rose-coloured glasses. I STILL play MoM (the last game was only a few days ago) and I'm STILL having a blast. And the thing is, it could be even ten times better with only a few tweaks - balance a bit spells and creatures/units, include Civ4-grade AI and allows us to have more players in the map.

The game is wonderful, and is not that far away of being even more wonderful - hence the very high level of bitterness and angst to see that nobody managed to do these little improvement over a game that is SIXTEEN YEARS OLD.

 

If you really want to understand how MoM is fantastic, just go to GOG and buy it. It's 6$, which is nothing, and if you're able to not be disgusted by 320x200 graphics, you'll probably find that it's the best bang for bucks available.

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September 5, 2010 6:32:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Elemental isn't trying to be a remake of MoM. It's got a few influences from various games. The dungeons and questing for example, along with the focus on NPC's, is heavily reminiscent of Sierra's Lords of Magic. Which by the by, if you're a MoM fan and haven't played it yet I suggest you do, and it'll probably tide you over till Elemental is fixed. Good Old Games have it in an XP/Vista compatible format for a few dollars.

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September 5, 2010 6:57:59 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I find it fascinating how some people feel the need to discredit MOM in defense of Elemental. That's like admitting Elemental needs the competition to suck in order to stand out. That's sad. Can't Elemental distinguish itself on its own merits ?

It's not just nostalgia. I know full well memory works by discarding unpleasant events. I play Master of Magic to this day because I enjoy it. It's a good game even by today's standards. Dozens of games haven't learned from MOM. It's not easy to rip off a game properly, it requires either blind imitation or strong analytical thinking. Yes, to copy features to a different game you need to understand why they worked in that context and how to make them work again. Good games have consistent philosophy.

 

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September 5, 2010 11:44:49 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think in many cases the fond memories people have for MoM is not so much rose colored glasses as nostalgia. The game came out a long time ago, and many of us were quite a bit younger, more easily impressed and less critical back then. For many people no game could ever be better then MoM because we can't go back in time and play it as a kid (or teen or college student or whatever).

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