Welcome to Sorcerer King a different kind of fantasy 4X from what you’ve played before. Sorcerer King is a game where the events of a traditional fantasy 4X game have already happened: A group of rival civilizations built up empires fought wars with one of those civilizations coming to dominate the others. In this case, the winner was the Sorcerer King.
The game starts out with you and your rivals relegated to a single city under the terms of peace set by the Sorcerer King. Now, however, rumor has reached you that he is looking to become a god and is destroying the magical shards to consume their magic. He must be stopped.
If you’re new to the Stardock Elemental games, here is a brief history:
- War of Magic. Released in 2010, it introduced the various fantasy civilizations of Elemental, a world filled with magic.
- Fallen Enchantress. Released in 2012, it dealt with the rise of Ceresa, the Fallen Enchantress who sought to unite the Fallen of the East and crush the Kingdoms of the West.
- Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes. Released in 2013, it focused on Lord Relias, the hero of the Kingdoms of the West and Procipinee, Queen of the West in their struggle to defeat the Fallen Enchantress.
Ultimately, the hero Mirdoth found a mysterious artifact called Curgen’s Bane and used it to help Relias and Procipinee defeat the Fallen Enchantress and bring peace to the land.
Two hundred years later, Mirdoth returned. No longer a hero but as the black sorcerer who has mastered Curgen’s Bane and with it, has annihilated the kingdoms and empires turning them into shadows of their former selves.
Mirdoth returned as the Sorcerer King and annihilated the kingdoms of Elemental.
This story is about you and how you will save (or destroy) the world.
How do you kill a god?
The Sorcerer King is powerful. He’s not your typical fizband waiting for you to walk up and kill him. He has vast armies and at the start of the game, you rely on his tolerance to exist. Nothing stops you from antagonizing him but that is the quick way to defeat. You must use some discretion early on.
You start out incredibly powerful but the Sorcerer King is a demigod. Tread lightly.
It’s not all bad news though. You are also extremely powerful and you control the Forge of the Overlord, a magical device that allows you to craft powerful items that you can equip on your most powerful champions and lowest soldiers. With skill, patience and a little luck you will be able to rebuild your kingdom, raise powerful armies and defeat him and his minions.
Choosing your sovereign
At the start of the game you will be choosing your sovereign. You start with 6 and each one is very different. Your sovereign choice determines:
- What units you will have access to
- What technologies (skills) you will access
- What spells you can learn
- What your initial relationship with the Sorcerer King is
- What champion you start out with
Setting up your world
The difficulty level matters a lot. We’ve had two years to work on the AI. The normal difficulty is designed for those who are already pretty good at these kinds of games.
We recommend playing on small or medium land size when you’re first starting out. Larger than that requires a lot more care and strategy in dealing with the Sorcerer King since his domain is that much larger. We also recommend the random map generator in general but we include many different pre-balanced maps.
The shards and doomsday counters should be left on their defaults until you are familiar with the game. The more shards, the more powerful you can become but then again, it’s also how powerful the Sorcerer King can become. Doomsday speed determines how quickly the Sorcerer King is able to acquire the necessary magic to become a god.
The Doomsday meter is not a clock. It represents the Sorcerer King’s progress in casting the spell that will make him a god. It can be sped up, slowed down, even reversed based on your actions. And some champions and even one of the sovereigns (the Tyrant) feed off of it.
The higher the doomsday counter, the more powerful the Sorcerer King becomes. He gains access to more powerful creatures and more powerful spells as it goes up. Keeping the doomsday counter low is generally a good thing…unless there’s a really good trade.
Your rivals are the other kingdoms and empires that once competed with you for dominance of the world. Like you, they were defeated. Unlike you, they are unaware that the Sorcerer King is looking to become a god. They have not evolved with the times yet. They are still trying to reclaim their former glory. You must convince them otherwise (or at least keep them from going to war with you).
You start the game already with a single city. This city was once the capital to a mighty kingdom. Now, you are a vassal of the Sorcerer King. Early on you will be exploring and scouting out the world.
You can build on any resource that is in your zone of control. Click on it and choose build. Any enemies within that zone of control will be attacked automatically.
Shards provide magic which you can divide one of 3 ways:
Lore to learn new spells
Mana to cast spells
Skills to gain access to new technology
There are also 4 other key resources in the world:
Logistics. Every unit and structure in the world consumes logistics.
Crystal. Magical units require crystal in order to access Elemental’s magic.
Metal. Weapons, armor, etc. for soldiers require iron.
Horses. Riding units need something to ride.
Magic can be directed towards lore which allows you to learn new spells. Choose wisely.
Your cities can train units or build city improvements. The resources they have are food (which the city needs to grow), production (for constructing things) and essence (which allows enchantments to be cast). As the Sorcerer King grows more powerful, some of your citizens will become thralls reducing your logistics.
IMPORTANT: If your city has essence, use enchantments on it. They cost mana but they help your city out.
When a city has enchantments, you can see it on its info bar. You can have 1 enchantment per essence and most of them stack.
PRO TIP: You can go to the advanced options and turn on the Story Teller camera which lets you use the middle mouse button to move the camera angle.
It won’t be long until the Sorcerer King summons you. Remember, you are not at war with him at the start of the game. In fact, he will happily help you..for a price. You, like him, are a magical channeler, able to use the shards. He will give you things in exchange for using your powers to fuel the doomday counter.
Scattered across the lands are plenty of opportunities for adventure and questing. How you deal with these quests will shape the game’s progress.
Quests can pretty much do anything. They can change your stats (in this case, +1 cruelty) as well as provide items, weapons, armor, units, spells, more, you name it. In addition, they will change what future quests within that game are available and what options you have.
Each sovereign has their own skill tree. Think of this like a “tech” tree in a traditional 4X. They unlock new abilities, city improvements and unique features.
You can build more cities but only on tiles that can grow food. Recommended locations will show food icons. However, often, you cannot settle on these tiles until the local warlords, ruffians and other scum are cleared as they have their own zone of control.
Across the world, lots of other would-be leaders have set up their own camps and claimed areas. Look carefully at their combat rating (the 17 in this screenshot). That is a decent estimation of how powerful they are. If your own combat rating is less, you will need to be very careful in confronting them.
Inevitably, you will find yourself in combat.
The tactical battle screen shows who is going to move next on the left along with what combat round it is to give an idea of the passage of real-time. How far a unit can move is shown as lightly lit tiles on the map. Your units typically have special abilities as well. Your units can also call on you to cast a spell on their behalf. However, your ability to affect events far from you is based on your own clairvoyance skill.
When your champions level up, they gain access to new skills.
As you explore, you will be kept informed of the Sorcerer King’s progress both in terms of the doomsday counter as well as notifications when he has attacked one of the shards. You must balance your own expansion with that of protecting those shards. Each time one of them is wounded, you they will become reveals on the mini map.
The map will reveal where a shard is once it has been attacked.
Other realms have their own plans. You will soon encounter them.
Each rival kingdom has their own wants and needs. You can trade with them, gain favor with them (or lose favor) by acting in their interests.
They can also be powerful enemies…
As your cities grow, they can gain access to additional tiles.
What to choose? More food, more materials or more essence?
You can also train pioneers to build outposts (which extend your zone of control) or new cities if you can find fertile land.
Building new cities makes your kingdom more powerful but also attracts the attention of the Sorcerer King…
The Sorcerer King is not pleased.
Depending on how much groveling you do, you can control how much threat you generate.
The discussion of Threat takes us to the report screen.
The report screen
At this stage of the game, the Sorcerer King considers me a minor annoyance. In this world, there are 22 shards, 1 of which I control. The doomsday counter is still very low. I can also see that the Sorcerer King’s standing army is much…MUCH more powerful than mine.
Also at this point, you should have gathered enough items to start crafting things. Click on the crafting button to bring up the Forge of the Overlord.
It takes skill to use the Forge of the Overlord effectively. At first, you’ll be making very basic items.
Pretty much anything can be crafted. For example, with the right ingredients you can learn to make scrolls that will reveal where the Sorcerer King has imprisoned rival champions.
Your champions are powerful but beware, if they are killed, it takes 25 doomsday essence to revive them.
On the other hand, dangerous quests can lower the doomsday counter and bring other spoils with it.
However, your increasing power and meddling will slowly turn the Sorcerer King’s attention at you.
You must be very careful when to reveal your true motives to the Sorcerer King.
As soon as possible you will want to find or acquire more champions. Most of the sovereign skill trees allow you to free a champion directly.
Lord Tandis is one of the most powerful champions in the game.
Transforming the world
You are encouraged to do whatever it takes to win the game. The stakes are very high. You can alter the shape of the world through magic. For example:
One easy way to prevent evil from attacking your cities and shards is to raise mountains as fences against them.
Pick a choke point
Cast the spell
and voila, instant mountain. The Sorcerer King can’t get to your capital city without either lowering the land or using naval which he rarely does.
You can also harvest the lands for resources though this has the chance to generate doomsday (rarely).
The Sorcerer King is also trying to tame your rivals. While you have the Forge of the Overlord, the Sorcerer King commands Curgen’s Bane, an ancient artifact of incredible power* (as seen in Galactic Civilizations III).
You are in a race with the Sorcerer King to win the favor of your rivals
Once you have enough power to confront the Sorcerer King, you have to obtain a key to his magical fortress. His two lieutenants hold this key and are somewhere in the world. Finding them can be difficult.
A “lucky” scout finds the Vetrar..for a few seconds.
Winning your rivals over to your cause not only gives you access to their resources but also gives you a unique champion.
Gaining allies is crucial but difficult
By this stage of the game you will star to use auto-resolve more. Those units that were so intimidating early on are now fodder for your might. That said, it’s sometimes fun to watch how powerful you’ve become.
By late game, your champions are so powerful that those early game thugs you still occasionally run across are no match
It is during the later part of the game that you will gain the ability to create your own unique items via the Forge of the Overlord.
The second tab on the Crafting screen allows you to enchant weapons. This becomes unlocked through your sovereign skill tree.
Destroying the Sorcerer King in combat is not your only option. There is also the TOWER of MASTERY. Most sovereign skill trees have this at the end. But doing so is perilous as the Sorcerer King will bring his wrath on you. However, you can build lots of outposts to extend your zone of control which will attack anything that enters them. You can also upgrade your outposts by sending more pioneers to them. If you can hold off the Sorcerer King long enough, you, instead of him, will become a god.
The Sorcerer King can be confronted directly or alternatively replaced by you as a god.
Have fun and Good luck!