GKick Review: Warlock - Master of the Arcane

FACT SHEET Warlock: Master of the Arcane | Available Now PC | Publisher: Paradox Interactive | Developer: Ino-Co Plus I never found myself as much of a strategy gamer, whether...

Warlock: Master of the Arcane | Available Now
PC | Publisher: Paradox Interactive | Developer: Ino-Co Plus

I never found myself as much of a strategy gamer, whether it was real-time or turn-based. They were never my thing. Then, later last year, I got into StarCraft 2 and decided I should revisit those genres that I previously overlooked. Thanks to the kind folks at Paradox, I was given the chance to try out their upcoming Turn-Based Strategy game, Warlock: Master of the Arcane. In the preview we did earlier, I found myself enjoying the game and trying to put all my pieces into position before clicking that damned “End Turn” button. While I still have a lot to learn about the TBS genre, Warlock has proven to be very gentle in introducing me to these kinds of games, and the same can be said for anyone else.

Warlock: Master of the Arcane pits you in the role of a Great Mage who uses his armies, his magic and your own personal skill to explore the world, encounter other Mages, and protect your own expanding empire. The game follows traditional TBS rules where you are given a turn to move your units, build structures, attack, and cast spells before the turn moves on to your opponents. Most games of Warlock will involve you, neutral “monster” races, and other AI controlled Great Mages. These mages will often control larges plots of land on the map and you’ll have the choice of being neutral to them, aligning with them or declaring war. Of course, your decision should all depend on how strong your foothold is in the game.

But aside from taking over as much of the map as possible, you’ll also be given quests throughout the game to complete certain objectives. Some are simple - construct X building, kill X creature - but others may require a bit more work, such as to conquer a specific neutral city or build a new city. You can choose to accept or decline these quests, but often failing or declining the quests may result in a penalty against you, either in gold, mana or other resources.

The interesting element behind this game is that, since you control a Great Mage, you have a repertoire of spells at your disposal to cast each turn depending on your mana situation. The spells can be anything from healing, buff abilities, or outright damaging spells. Some of the more useful spells even allow you to create new units that are often more powerful than the standard units on the field. However, you can upgrade your armies as they fight with more power, greater range, higher defense and more. The composition of your army is also pretty versatile, as it all depends on the city you start with and the cities you conquer. Take over an undead or goblin city and you’ll unlock the ability to create different skeletal or goblin units, depending on if you have the proper buildings in place. This gives you a much more versatile attack or expedition force, depending on what you need to explore.

At the start of the game, you’re allowed to decide what size of map you want, and even the smaller sizes can still be fairly large as you begin exploring the world. In addition, you can discover and utilize mystic portals which take you to worlds that are often much more dangerous than what you find on the surface, so it’s recommended to send in a strong army or expendable unit to see what’s on the other side.

But beyond all that, the game has a lot of versatility for players of all skill sets, with five levels of difficulty and the ability to personalize your Mage before each game with the exact spells and even aesthetic choices you want. So let’s take a look at the game a bit closer now to see just how Paradox delivered on Warlock.

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About Steve Perry

The owner of GKick Network, co-host of the GKick and Bottom Line Live podcasts, and hero to millions worldwide.