hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

WarMage Battlegrounds
 BLOG ABOUT THIS

Preview: WarMage Battlegrounds

2:00 PM on 12.09.2012 // Fraser Brown
  @FraserIBrown

It's pretty hexciting

Is it weird that I have a favorite shape? Probably. Regardless, I have one, and it's the hexagon. It's all Heroes of Might and Magic's fault, really, and I can't look at the shape without thinking about kicking the living daylights out of a griffon. I once found myself in a courtyard where the ground was made up entirely of hexagonal slabs -- I was there for days.

So, the premise of WarMage Battlegrounds was more than a little bit enticing; I'd be doling out orders to fantasy creatures and heroes on a hexagonal map, while also launching all manner of devastating spells at my foes. In that respect, it is a great deal like HoMM, but exploration is out, and even more focus has been put on battles, particularly of the multiplayer persuasion.

WarMage Battlegrounds (PC)
Developer: Burst Online Entertainment
Publisher: Burst Online Entertainment
Released: Q1 2013

WarMage's core concepts and mechanics are not tough to wrap one's head around, though there are tutorial videos, a detailed battle tutorial at the start of the game, and hints that crop up afterwards (they can be turned off). By the time I was able to start picking my fights, something I was rather eager to do, I was a well-trained killing machine.

Battles are selected from the map, with different regions representing different levels of challenge, and within those regions are a variety of missions that make up the game's scraps. There are villages that need defending, wilderness begging to be explored, NPC Mages to do battle with, and waves of monstrous enemies to slaughter. 

Each mission type comes with a cooperative option, which ramps up the challenge, but lets you fight with another player by your side. Then there are the ranked PvP matches, also available in cooperative mode. Completion of these missions rewards players with currency -- which can be spent at the in-game store -- new items and spell scrolls, and experience points. After only a few missions and ranked matches, I'd managed to accumulate a rather large inventory and a decent amount of gold and experience; so there's still a strong sense of progression even should you only want to jump in for a few hours a week.

Before a mission can be undertaken, a squad and loadout must be selected. Initially, Mages begin with a few handy scrolls and spells, along with a basic human fighting force that covers most of the bases like melee and ranged damage, healing, magic, so on and so forth. It's actually a pretty reasonable squad, and will certainly be more than adequate for tackling the first region and some ranked battles. 

The randomized battle maps are, while simple to look at, filled with obstacles, aid, and terrain with plenty of tactical application. Ruins, trees, and rocks litter the landscape, and though they can halt progress, they can also create bottlenecks or provide cover from ranged attacks. Some of the spaces have magical properties, giving special bonuses when stood on, or even regenerating mana -- a resource constantly in demand during fights. Unit placement is, then, of the utmost importance, and is often the deciding factor in a battle between evenly matched adversaries. 

On top of a unit's basic abilities (move, attack, defend), there are special "morale" powers; potent spells and strong attacks that consume morale, a resource gained from using regular attacks. Players start with a little stockpile of the resource at the beginning of a battle, but once that's spent, they will need to generate more through combat.

There's a huge list of units to choose from, although most must be purchased through the store. One can do this either by spending real money, or spending gold earned through completing missions and competing with other players.

While the broad range of potential soldiers gives rise to experimentation and testing out different squad builds, having the freedom to do this requires a bit of investment, either time or cash. I've tried out a few different combinations, but I've mainly stuck with my Dragonkin army. They are a weak bunch when it comes to ranged assaults, but up close they can be rather deadly. Dragons, ever the intimate monsters. Most of my units have area-of-effect morale abilities, with plenty of damage-over-time spells and debuffs.

To make up for my squad's lack of ranged strength, and to augment their DoTs and debuffs, I've put together a rather dangerous spell and scroll loadout that deals a lot of direct damage, more DoTs, and most of them cover a large area. A Mage's spells can turn the tide of a battle, but are reliant on mana which regenerates over time, and faster if a unit stands on a mana hex.

When I was playing with a ranged squad I had constructed, I'd usually try to lock down as many mana generators as possible, but my Dragonkin's melee focus meant that I had to keep moving them forward, ignoring a mana hex should I pass one.

The purchase or discovery of artifacts may also greatly aid your squad, improving specific types of magic, increasing damage against particular races, or providing certain racial boons, like greater defense for Dwarves, as if they weren't stalwart enough. Tiny buggers. There are also one-shot spell scrolls that can be discovered or bought; great for the Mage who likes to keep a trick or two up their sleeve.

The diversity of the items and units adds a great deal of depth to what is a rather simple -- though no worse off for it -- game. It opens up a wealth of tactical options, and makes every battle a chance to test new rewards or purchases. During battles, there's a lot of information to devour, from the abilities, strengths, and weaknesses of your opponents army to the affect of the spells used against you, and at the end of every fight I'd immediately begin to tinker with my squad all over again, trying to find the perfect combination -- which doesn't exist, of course.

Making my trials and battles all the more enjoyable was an excellent community, far more welcoming than one might expect from a free-to-play title focused on conflict. I'd barely been playing for ten minutes before random players started offering sage advice and plenty of hints and tips. It's still in beta at the moment, though I hope that even when new waves of players join, the community will remain as warm. 

There's been no dearth of fantastic f2p titles lately, so hopefully WarMage doesn't get overlooked. It's a huge amount of fun and should appeal to strategy and HoMM fans like myself, as much as those looking to dip their toes into the world of turn-based PvP for but a few hours a week. 



Fraser Brown, Former Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure FraserIBrown Tips
Fraser Brown is that bearded, bespectacled Scotsman that covers PC gaming who is not Alasdair Duncan. Got a splinter stuck in his hand nineteen years ago and just left it in there. True story. ... more   |   staff directory



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Flegma avatarFlegma
Spotted some "The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3" (1989) DVDs in a store. Hearing music and sound effects from the game is more amusing than it should be - although the running shrill gets old quickly.
extatix avatarextatix
Diablo 3 patch 2.3.0 equals more grinding. Good.
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Funny coincidence: Last week saw the release of Until Dawn, which talked about a Canadian tribe of Native Americans called the Cree,and last night a Cree woman (Ms. Canada) won the Ms. Universe contest. Butterfly Effect updated.
MeeGhoulz avatarMeeGhoulz
Playing UNTIL DAWN 1st time:I'm alright with QTE,but an option to use direction as choices instead of buttons poppin' on screen would be welcome!Also:NO SHINY ITENS TO INDICATE CLUES!LET ME DISCOVER THEM!All in all,it's fun enough...
IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
If I was to play through the NES library, besides being madness, what order do I do it? Alphabetically or Release date-wise? Whats the Dtoid universe think?
Gundy avatarGundy
Maybe someday I'll finish Natural Doctrine AKA Natty Doc...
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
You've got guts, a powerful soul You've got guts, sweet and sour You've got guts, do the guts A man sweats, he really does, go!
Flegma avatarFlegma
Finished Xenoblade Chronicles for the first time in about 107 hours. Got tired of attempting to clear as many sidequests as there were left available. Maybe in NG+...
techsupport avatartechsupport
Woah. I consider myself a nerd and all, but the trophy hunting community is next level. Is there a biopic about the people at the top of these leaderboards? I'd find that very interesting.
Paul S avatarPaul S
GeoHolmes [img]https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/ntf3p5PqS2GteYfXUH33[/img]
Mr Knives avatarMr Knives
I have no idea what this game is about but if this isn't the best goddamn cover art ever, I don't know what is. [url=http://imgur.com/3yw3G8S][img]http://i.imgur.com/3yw3G8S.jpg[/img][/url]
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
#thanksnintendo.
Shinta avatarShinta
Xenoblade X limited edition on Amaxon now. Will probably sell out very fast like usual. http://m.neogaf.com/showthread.php?t=1103729&page=1
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Just got a Vita with a 16GB card for super cheap. What games should I be looking out for?
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
So the XCX Special Edition was marked as in stock for 20 seconds and I got a copy! I am disproportionately excited considering what it comes with. Hopefully the art book and packaging are high quality. WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Surprise, Xenoblade Chronicles X Special Edition has already sold out on Amazon.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
Just a heads up, the Xenoblade Chronicles X Special Edition is up for preorder on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Xenoblade-Chronicles-Special-Edition-Wii-U/dp/B014LNTVGK I think it'll be available elsewhere but you know. Nintendo. Love em but hard to find.
Clicks Clacks avatarClicks Clacks
Picked up Valkyria Chronicles for $5 in the Humble Store, figure I'd advertise that for anyone that doesn't have it yet. Sale ends in less than 42 hours after this post yo. https://www.humblebundle.com/store/p/valkyriachronicles_storefront
gajknight avatargajknight
My copy of National Geographic came today. Best subscription I've paid for, worth it for the lovely pictures alone. This one has a story about elephant poachers and ivory tusks with spy chips in 'em. James Bond shit man.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
If someone used the blog reply feature to just divide a somewhat long blog into easier-to-digest chapters that could be consumed at the leisure of readers, would that be kosher?
more quickposts


Contest!


destructoid's previous coverage:
WarMage Battlegrounds


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!



Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -