You’ve explored and surveyed the map, built a few cities and have trained their defenses, and now you’re also researching spells and amassing resources. Although you’re gaining power, you aren’t quite ready to take on the Sorcerer King just yet. So, what do you do with all of these powerful armies at your disposal? I suppose now we can talk about the last “X” in “4X”:
In Sorcerer King, you have a few things to consider as you get ready to begin waging rampant destruction across the map:
Rivals can either be befriended or destroyed
Bandits and other monsters will continue to spawn even after they’ve been defeated
Some units are more beneficial than others
You must defeat two powerful Lieutenants in order to get to the Sorcerer King
You get one stack of units to send to your final battle
On the map, you have plenty of unruly bandits and wandering monsters that you can exterminate without a second thought. When it comes to your rivals, however, things are a little less straightforward. The Sorcerer King’s power is growing. You are still the one person brave enough to stand in his way. Your rivals, if not aligned with you through questing and diplomacy, will begin to aid the Sorcerer King, which can lead to big problems for you.
The question is, do you want to put in the time and effort to make friends, or would you rather wipe them off the face of Elemental?
There are benefits to both approaches. If you befriend your rivals by utilizing diplomatic dialogue and peace treaties, they will eventually provide you with a powerful Champion. This Champion can join your army in the final confrontation with the Sorcerer King, which will greatly improve your chances of victory.
On the other hand, if you’re too impatient to court your rivals through promises and honeyed words and would rather act upon a desire for world domination, you can choose to destroy them. You won’t receive their Champion, but you will receive something for your efforts. Each rival faction has a powerful magical artifact that they guard. If you wipe them out, that nice, shiny artifact is suddenly yours for the taking. And who doesn’t like shiny things?
When building up your cities and training units, it’s important to consider what is going to be beneficial in the long run. Sure, the more you build, the more options become available to you, and the stronger the units you’ll be able to train. The temptation to start turning out units early on will be there, but I have found that it is better to wait. Units that you build within your cities consume logistics, which are an extremely important thing to make sure you have available to you as you expand. Soldiers are not particularly strong or helpful and consume valuable resources that you should save until you can start hiring units with a bit more survivability -- like pikemen.
In order to beef up your army, it is helpful to go out and seek quests. In addition to crafting items and experience, quests will often reward you with units. Tip: These units are free (who doesn’t like free things?) and don’t consume any logistics, which is an added bonus. You are better off gathering these types of units early on as opposed to spending lots of logistics training units that are just going to die after a few bites from a rabid wolf.
The Sorcerer King has lots of really nasty tricks up his sleeve and plenty of power to back them up. He has two lieutenants standing in your way. They’re lurking out in the world somewhere, just waiting to cause you some pain. One is an ice elemental and the other is a fire elemental, and in order to deal with them you will want some helpful combat spells for your Sovereign and some excellent gear and abilities for your units and Champions. Tip: It also helps to use item enchantments to beef up your elemental resistances before you confront them.
Sorcerer King is unique in that it has a final “boss battle” that is your cumulative goal for the entire game. Getting to that battle is a struggle in and of itself, but now that you’ve arrived, you have to win it. Everything that I’ve discussed in the last few pieces (and will discuss in the pieces going forward) is meant to lead towards building that “stack of doom” that will be prepared to lay some serious hurt down in the final battle. You really only get one shot at it -- if the Sorcerer King defeats the army you send at him, the next one that approaches will have to face him as if they were starting a fresh fight; he does not retain damage and will regenerate his health and all of the units he had to begin with.
The benefits of being an all powerful demi-god, right?
In order to give yourself an edge, you will want to make sure you have plenty of strong units in reserve to replenish your army after you fight the lieutenants (I assure you, there will be some casualties). You will also want to expand your army size through your Sovereign’s skill tree, which will allow you to have more units within a single group.
The Sorcerer King is a formidable enemy, but with careful planning, preparation, and a whole lot of sharp pointy things and flashy magic, you will be able to take him down and save all of Elemental!
...or, you could take the Sorcerer King down and replace him as a God. But, that’s another post.