Armies of Magic
- Release Date: 2012
- Publisher: Playdom
- Developer: Playdom
- Genre: Strategy
Armies of Magic is a Facebook-based fantasy real time strategy game developed by Playdom. The game allows players to role play one of three characters including Human, Elf, and Dwarf to build an army, battle their enemies, form guilds, and save the realm from the invading Goblin Hordes!
However big a social game is, it doesn’t offer any challenging tasks-I believed when I discovered Armies of Magic and teased the introductions. But as I progress in the game, it turns out to be an amazingly extraordinary game like no other.
Three races, each with three avatars (for each gender), are available. Humans boast balanced leadership, dwarves master technology while elves are magical guardians of nature. There is word on the Internet that different races follow different storylines but I haven’t been able to try each race yet. I opted to be a human.
Most of the graphics and figures are anything but beautiful or fascinating. But the simplicity and uniqueness make the pictures friendly to your eyes and as you go into this game, you hardly notice that stuff. Like in so many strategies out there, you start building and managing a capital, or actually just a small port of land. Upgrade market, create barrack, and build war shrine and other faculties. Some tutorials are embedded into quests but still there is something I can’t understand at all. For example, sometimes the buildings have icons above their roofs indicating what state they are in and you could take actions accordingly instead of checking by clicking each building. That’s nice. But occasionally they disappear and I couldn’t find a single clue about how to make them appear and can do nothing to the buildings. For that reason, I went through all the icons on the interface. Hmm. If that is an effort dedicated to urge me to get familiar with the interface, I think it did its job. Anyway, after clicking across the screen in vain, I closed that web page and revisit Facebook. This time those long missed icons returned to my view and I was excited as if I was meeting a long-time-no-see best friend.
Building, upgrading, researching, and collecting. Those are the clichéd topics as far as strategy games are concerned. Of course they are not the reason I love Armies of Magic. The battles are my favorite parts of this game. With my avatar defending while standing still (honestly speaking, this very avatar barely plays any part in the battle), I can send miners to dig crystals, which are the currency used only for sending miners, conscripts, soldiers, and other characters to move rightward to battle for you. This seems stupid at first sight. Goblins, which come in increasingly various forms, have their miners coming and are always ready to fight over those resources. You’d better be careful. Only those to start with can be killed easily. A few battles would suffice for you to know that. There are some goblins carrying brown bags with them, who have much higher HP values and can launch fatal attacks by throwing stones from a certain distance away. Your conscripts, who are your only fellows in the beginning battles, on the contrary, are harmless unless they are close to enemies. The best countermeasure that I come up with is to send several conscripts simultaneously (not literally since they can only be sent one by one). That succeeds. And just when I content myself with the success, I observe that those goblins carrying bags appear in threes and fours too.
That is when I finally realize that a new strategy is a must to proceed. I return to my capital, only to find I have been credited with an archer who can shoot arrows from a distance. Several battles pass and I learn that you had better send miners to dig crystals first and when enough crystals are assembled, you are free to send soldiers or conscripts. And then you have to wait for the crystals before you send slingers and archers. During the battle, it is always advised to send miners whenever possible to accelerate the accumulation of crystals.
Unlike in other strategy games, the fellows don’t come easy in Armies of Magic. You are granted with several at first but quickly run out of them. Through trials and errors, you will find that some buildings in your capital are used to train those fellows for you, as long as you have enough coins to spend. I must admit that those expenses are so high that I soon find myself in no position to purchase anything, construct any building, or research any technology. I return to battlefield, because killing goblins are the quickest ways to earn coins. It was productive at first. And when it comes to a battle where only a few boss monsters present themselves, among which anyone is able take all my fellows and my avatar down, I have no choice but to plant crops for money. Here arises a question. There are several varieties of crops to choose from, at different prices and cooldown time. But how come that I can never have double income when I invest double money and spend more time? The prices and outcomes are disproportionately set. I can think of no other reason than that the developers are so desperate to keep players focused. If that is true, they achieved that goal, in a pretty annoying way.
Armies of magic has a very complicated system of currency, or to be specific, systems. There are silver coins, which are collected by killing goblins, collecting harvests, and completing quests and can be used for operations in the capital. Gold bars can be obtained by spending real money and can be used to speed up the process, employ fellows with special abilities, or skip quests that you dislike. Crystals, which are offered at a small amount at first of each battle, increase with time passing by and also with the work progression of miners, are used to send battle fellows. A certain type of life crystals are also available at the start of the game and are used to revive the casualties. At first, I don’t know the difference and soon spend all the life crystals, only to find that no fellows are there any more. That is one thing I loathe about online games. If anything is a privileged offer, they should acknowledge you from the second you are expose to it, right? Commercial trap, isn’t it?
Either way, I will still keep at Armies of Magic. Its battle throws players whoever are familiar with strategy games out of any comfort zone and provides excitement and challenges all the time.
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