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Elemental: War of Magic Strategy Guide
Elemental: War of Magic is the new strategy game from Stardock. It is essentially a splice of Hero of Might and Magic with the Civilization series. As a result, the gameplay is a bit different from most strategy games.
That’s fine, but Elemental also lacks a decent in-game tutorial. But never fear. This strategy guide will help you get up to speed.
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Building and Expanding Cities
When you start a game of Elemental (sandbox mode) you will be starting in a ruined world. There are no cities. Just your Sovereign unit and a lot of land ripe for development. To forge your new kingdom you will need to build cities. But where do you build them? There are not any obvious pointers in the game.
The location of your cities should be based on the availability of resources. Resources are special tiles you’ll see on the map that, when you cursor over them, inform you that they provide some special resource. Clay, for example, is a resource. Resources can only be used when they’re in your city’s sphere of influence, so it is important to build close to resources whenever possible.
When you first found a city it is small and useless. To make it grow you need to build improvements. There are essentially two types of improvements: housing and everything else. Housing is very important because it is what actually lets your city grow in population. All the other improvements exist to help your city produce things, like units or research.
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Cities have a limited number of slots for improvements based on their population. The bigger the city, the more improvements you can build. As mentioned, housing restricts your city’s population limit. However, food also restricts it. The amount of food your empire has access to can be increased by building on food resource tiles or by building structures that enhance existing food production, such as granaries. The unused food you have available will be listed at the top of your display – if none is listed, you can’t build any more houses to expand your population.
You can also improve food production by establishing trade routes between cities – both foreign and domestic. This is accomplished by building the Caravan unit in a city and then sending it to a different city once completed.
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Sovereigns can establish one city at the beginning of the game. Once they’ve done that, they can be used as heavy-duty explores, moving across the map to discover new things and kill monsters. Elemental is a strategy/RPG game hybrid, and the Sovereign represents the RPG portion of the game.
Like all units, Sovereigns level up as they gain combat experience. Unlike all units, this gives them access to stat bonuses and other enhancements. It is a good idea to place your Sovereign into combat early and often so that he or she develops into a strong combat character. You can see the level of creatures on the map by placing your cursor over them. If they’re the same level as your Sovereign you should be able to take them on.
Your Sovereign can die. If defeated in combat in a space that is neutral or owned by your faction (as determined by you’re the influence radius of your cities, the color-coded outline you see on your map) your Sovereign will retreat but will spend a unit of Essence, a stat related to casting and the size of your mana pool. If your Sovereign dies in enemy territory, you lose the game. So try not to do that.
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There are two types of research in Elemental – Arcane Knowledge and Tech Knowledge.
Arcane Knowledge is related to the research of spells. When you obtain a new level of research in Arcane Knowledge you are given two choices. One is to pick a new spell from the options listed. The second option is increase your level of Arcane Knowledge, which opens up new, more powerful spells for selection.
Tech Knowledge is related to the research of technological improvements, like ways to make better swords or produce more food. There are five areas of tech knowledge, the names of which change depending on if you’re playing a Kingdom or an Empire. They are below .
- Civilization (Kingdom) or Imperium (Empire) – relates to improving city growth, economy, production, etc.
- Warfare (Kingdom) or Conquest (Empire) – makes it easier to beat up your opponents.
- Magic (Kingdom) or Sorcery (Empire) – improves magic abilities and provides new magical items.
- Adventure (Kingdom) or Domination (Empire) – provides more quests, can unveil more notable locations and resource tiles.
- Diplomacy (Kingdom) or Cooperation (Empire) – makes it easier to deal with others on friendly terms.
Your ability to research new Arcane or Tech Knowledge is determined by the Arcane or Tech resources being produced by your cities. You can improve your production of those resources by building on appropriate resource tiles or by building city improvements that generate knowledge resources.
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At some point in Elemental you’re probably going to want to get into combat another kingdom. If you do, you need to have a strong standing army.
The units in Elemental are built at your cities. Elemental features the ability to customize your units so that you can add in the exact stats that you want. Generally speaking, there are just a few important stats that change how a unit performs.
- Movement – Determines how quickly your units will move across the map
- Combat Speed – Determines how many action points are available in combat
- Weapon Damage – Determines the maximum damage a unit can do in combat
- Defense – Provides a counter-roll to weapon damage that reduces damage taken
- Health Points – The total number of damage a unit can take before it dies
Obviously, higher stats are better, but you’ll often have to make sacrifices. A unit that is extremely fast, well-armed and heavily armored will also be so expensive that you may never be able to afford it. You should try and specialize units – defenders don’t need much movement, raiding units do.
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There is even more to Elemental than what is listed here, but this brief primer should get you up to speed so that you can understand how the game works. The learning curve can be harsh, but stick with it – the game is fun once you get the hang of it.