Have you ever wanted to play the villain, instead of Prince Charming? To dress like an Ogre and smash the heads of valiant heroes? If so, then Dungeon Keeper surely indulged you when it was released, a long time ago. Or how about playing the old king who wishes to rescue his captive daughter? To lead the NPCs that sell health potions? To convince stubborn adventurers to save your kingdom?
Majesty 2: A Fantasy Kingdom Sim is the sequel of a cute strategy game that manages to create a funny universe where the player no longer controls the hero, but his project manager. And so we find ourselves again in the shoes of the king of Ardania, a land filled with monstrous creatures and determined heroes. Unfortunately, your throne has been taken away and you must work hard throughout 16 missions to get it back.
But since it’s not fitting for a king such as yourself to take the sword and venture into the battle, you must enlist the help of heroes in search of wealth and glory. The system does remind us of Dungeon Keeper up to a point, with the difference that you are not given direct control over your minions; instead you must gently push them in the right direction.
The adventurers come in different shapes and sizes, all specific to the fantasy genre. We have Warriors, Archers, Healers or Mages, each with their own set of attributes and special skills. To lure them on your domain you must build a guild, and once summoned they will act like any typical RPG player. Meaning they will brutally kill squirrels in the woods until they levels up, and then move to the caves to hunt orcs. With the loot gathered they will buy superior armor and weapons, as well as health potions and the like, and in the spare time will accept a quest from Your Majesty, since we don’t want the storyline to linger.
The producers have attempted – and succeeded, for the most part – to give life and personality to the little heroes, who act as they see fit. The archers will happily explore any dark corners of the map, while the warriors will rarely refuse a fight. And the thieves, well… they will pickpocket for their own personal pleasure. Furthermore, we also have inter-ethnic conflicts, which is why you need to keep the elves away from dwarves. They are an advanced type of heroes, very useful but, as mentioned, caution is advised when using both. Each do-gooder has its own statistics of attack and defense and some special abilities which are class-specific. These improve as the adventurer rises in level, as well as gaining better equipment.
Pay up, your majesty!
These brave souls represent the only way to achieve your goals and cannot be commanded directly, but only pointed in the right direction. If you need to attack or defend an objective, you only need to place a defense or attack flag in the right spot, add a few gold coins to it to make it attractive enough and watch them all come to collect the bounty. You can also put exploration flags on the map, as well as fear-flags, designed to scare away unwanted visitors.
The main idea here is the amount of gold you put on the flags. If you’re cheap enough, the tast won’t present the slightest interest for a high-level hero, who will prefer instead to chat with the maidens of the city. If the offer is too generous, well, you overpaid for something trivial. This way, the objectives must be achieved not by manually sending troops to battle, but with decent financial reasoning.
There are a few ways to collect the gold necessary for these investments. The hard-working peasants that build and repair will be heavily taxed by a fat collector. Also, the heroes themselves can be taxed, and in certain points on the map trade posts can be built, which then send profitable caravans to the market.
But perhaps the most interesting way to make money is to have buildings that sell goods to the heroes. In the marketplace for example they can buy health and mana potions, vital to all. The blacksmith will sale, after research, better armor and weapons, for a decent price. In other words, the money you spent on flags will come back to you two-fold through the commerce with the same heroes. Which cannot survive for long in the outside world without decent equipment and potions, which makes it a win-win situation.
So what’s a monarch to do?
There are four types of buildings you can construct in your town. The Guilds will serve as headquarters for various types of heroes, use not only to summon them in your service but also to research abilities specific to that class. In the thief guild you can uncover the art of poisoning the blades, and in the mage tower the knowledge to enchant any weapon. These discoveries however aren’t restricted to the heroes of that guild, so the warrior can coat his sword in the poison jar, and the archer can have his bow enchanted, for a fee. Also, you can discover some spells which can be directly used by Your Majesty, such as healing or offensive spells, but their use costs gold in an amount that increases with distance from that specific guild.
The economy buildings, such as the marketplace and the blacksmith, will ensure a steady flow of money to your coffers. As already mentioned, trade posts can be built in specific locations, but they need to be protected by towers, as they are a primary target for wandering monsters, not to mention the caravans themselves.
The defensive towers are mandatory for any self-respecting city, although some types will only be available after a specific research or a pre-requisite building. Another thing to consider is that their cost increases after each one is built, making their exclusive use for defense a very costly idea.