I spoke with with Pavel Kondrashov, lead writer of Ino-Co Plus, to ask him some questions about their recently released fantasy strategy game, Warlock: Master of The Arcane.
BD: Why are spells for research dealt out randomly rather than in a predictable fashion like a traditional tech tree?
Pavel Kondrashov: We made the decision with the intention of adding some randomness, so that each game would be unique in terms of the spells initially available to the player. This approach also means that, by the end, players will usually have access to all of them.
Still, we’ve received a great deal of feedback about the randomized tree, with some suggestions about changing the system. As such, we now plan on getting back to a more traditional style by re-balancing the whole spell tree to make it more predictable.
BD: I’ve heard from several players that using the portals just “aren’t worth it”. Are you looking at adjusting the risk/reward balance in a future patch?
PK: Firstly, we think that multiplayer will change the ”price of the prize”, as the first player to explore a portal will have a significant edge over their rivals. However, we are also planning on reviewing the portal system with an eye towards greater differentiation and balance, particularly in terms of the number and level of inhabitants.
BD: Will future DLC for the game revolve around adding new factions or are there other things in the works?
PK: At the moment, we still plan on adding artifacts and a lord hiring system, but later, yes, there just might be some new races! Our primary focus at the moment, though, is finishing and launching the multiplayer component.
BD: What separates Warlock from other titles in the strategic fantasy genre (Heroes of Might & Magic, Tactics Ogre, etc) to make it stand out?
PK: Well, I think the comparison would be with such 4x titles as Master of Magic, Age of Wonders, and Civilization. In my opinion, Warlock’s gameplay is a mixture of the MoM and Civilization games, as it features a fantasy world and ”strategic” combat system, with combat taking place between units fighting on the global map, and not on special battle maps. And from those 4x titles, Warlock stands out thanks to the simplicity of its economic system, its many role-playing-styled leveling elements, and less micromanagement.
BD: With the advent of motion and touch controls, do you think there will be more of a place for hex-based strategy games on consoles?
PK: I’m sure there will be more of a place for them, as games are always at the forefront of technology. Touch, motion, and voice controls are easier to ”grasp”, and so games utilizing such controls will definitely win the market.
BD: Did you draw any influence from classic table-top strategy games when you were designing Warlock?
PK: Not directly. But yes, it can be said that we inherited some traits from tabletop games, as we developed Warlock’s battle system with another of our games, Elven Legacy, in mind. Elven Legacy was inspired by Fantasy General, which in turn was descended from classic tabletop games.
We’d like to thank Pavel, Susana, Boel, and everyone at Paradox who took the time to help us make this interview happen. Warlock: Master of The Arcane is available now.