Elemental - War of Magic is a fantasy 4X game released in August 2010. The game is set in a world ravaged by a catastrophic war against the Titans, beings of great and powerful magic.The player is a "Sovereign", an immortal ruler capable of reviving the land and great feats of magic. Depending on racial choice (between Fallen or Human), the player either turns the land into lush green plains or volcanic hell zones.The game was almost unplayable right after release but a large number of patches have been cleaning up some of the problems.In 2012, it received a sequel, known as Fallen Enchantress. A stand-alone expansion/updated rerelease called Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes was released in 2013.
This video game provides examples of:
After the End - Technically the game is this. You start out in a magical wasteland, and you have to expend your "essence" to change the land to suit your people.
Censorship Bureau - The ESRB forced the developers to remove "Ale" as a resource / item from the game.
Copy Protection - As with all Stardock games, there is none. No copy protection, no DVD required.
Brad Wardell's statements suggest that the Copy Protection is really in the patches - see Obvious Beta, below. Note that this is standard practice for Stardock: no copy protection, but if you want the updates (which generally make the game better, and not just in a "tweaking" sense), you'll need to have purchased it.
Death World - An arid barren waste, filled with giant spiders, trolls and golems? Sounds good.
Desert Punk - To a certain extent, the world of Elemental is a post-apocalyptic low magic fantasy world. The game mechanics and game style try to encourage this but the genre expectations of the players get in the way.
Elemental Powers - Four of the magic schools your character can learn are fire, ice, air and earth.
Good Kingdom Evil Empire - Used as a game mechanic. Civilizations with Kingdom in the name all have some concept of human rights, the importance of collective social action, and the importance of individual liberty, while civilizations with Empire in the name believe in a Might Makes Right philosophy. Both philosophies are reflected by their corresponding technology trees.
In addition, Kingdom-aligned civilizations revive the land, making it lush and green. Empire-aligned civilizations corrupt the land, making it black and barren (though not as barren as the default terrain).
Hero Unit - The sovereign, his family and any champions he picks up along the way.
The Kingdom - The other possible political system, favored by the humans. Fond of things like public institutions and human rights. They have professional soldiers who gain experience, and their research, education, and economy depends on civic institutions such as schools and markets.
Mundane Utility - "I'm just going to use my near infinite power to give you guys bigger houses."
Obvious Beta - The release version of Elemental had six patches in the first four days of release, and was accused of being a beta version by a writer at PC Gamer, among others.
To put this in perspective, Galactic Civilizations and Sins of a Solar Empire both shipped in somewhat-buggy states, and also received a couple patches each within the month of release. Elemental was shipped (against numerous suggestions NOT to release it as-is from the preordering beta testers) and patched more times in a shorter timespan than both of those titles.
It has been implied, after the release, that very few people at Stardock wanted to release the version they did, but were pressured into doing it.
Implied by whom? The official version is that the development team was very badly organized and that everyone was too close to the project to see the flaws. This is why Brad Wardell says that even another six or twelve months of development would not have made a difference, because they really did think the game was ready. Since then the game development side of Stardock has seen a major overhaul with many new people coming in to fill key positions, the most notable being Derek "Fall from Heaven" Paxton who has experience managing enterprise projects.
Stardock acknowledged the difficulties and problems of the initial release, regardless of why those reasons existed. In an act of apology and thanks, Stardock allowed anyone who paid full price for War Of Magic to download the beta for the sequel Fallen Enchantress, in addition to getting a free copy of the game when it is released.
Summon Magic - A type of magic in game. Includes, but is not limited to (it's limited to how many mods a player wants to use, technically), giants of the four elements, demons, familiars etc.
Technology Marches On: As you explore your tech tree, new weapons and armor become available, along with new units based on those technologies. However, this trope is averted: none of your units ever become useless. They keep their experience and can upgrade their weaponry whenever you want, as long as you have the money to do so.
Zeerust - You can opt to play on a virtual cloth map the entire game.
The sequel, Fallen Enchantress, provides examples of:
Cool, but Inefficient: Resoln's corrupted elemental units. While you get them for free from the shrines you build on elemental shards, most of the first two tiers ("Young" and no-adjective) are honestly too weak to be much use and while the third tier "Ancient" monsters are considerably more powerful, the technology needed to build tier 3 shrines takes longer to research than the Spell of Making victory condition technology (which shares its prerequisites).
Awesome yet Practical: On the other hand, the Crow Demons (corrupted Air Elementals) are useful right from the get-go since, even if they're not up to much in combat, they're 4-movement flyers (which means they ignore almost all terrain) which automatically respawn if they die, making them the best scouts in the game by a LONG shot. Grave Elementals also make pretty decent tanks, with Ancient Grave Elementals being damn near indestructible.
Curgen's Volcano is amazingly powerful- but costs 1200 mana and takes 10 turns to cast.
Fantastic Nuke: Curgen's Volcano. Completely razes an area of the map — including cities. Originally left your victim without recourse, but subsequent balancing gave it a ten-turn casting time, the same as the game-ending Spell of Making.
Geo Effects: Tile Yields, which determine where you can build a city and what the city will be good at. Initial grain yields come from fertile land (with blue or green flora), while initial material yields come from rivers and woods.
Lightning Bruiser: The unique hero Ascian, a glowing purple demon cat that Lady Umber used as her personal assassin. Optimised for killing enemy hero units with high movement and initiative, lots of bonus damage when attacking heroes, improved critical chance and damage multipliers and, most importantly the 'Maul' ability that allows it to keep attacking until it misses. Under the right circumstances, Ascian can hunt down an enemy hero or sovereign and tear them to shreds in a single attack.
Obvious Beta: Not nearly as bad as Elemental, but Fallen Enchantress shipped with an astonishing number of bugs, many (but not all) of which were resolved in a flurry of hasty post-release patches.