Sorcerer King: Rivals
Sorcerer King: Rivals is a new direction for strategy game design, pitting the player against a single overwhelmingly powerful enemy instead of a set of evenly matched factions racing for abstract victory conditions.
Think of the Sorcerer King as the evil mage who already won the last traditional game. He has already conquered the world. His enemies (including the player) are scattered, their armies broken and cities torn down. His dark minions have free reign to terrorize the survivors everywhere except a few tiny outposts of civilization (like the one the player starts in) too insignificant to crush.
Expanding the Kingdom
What do you know, there was another one of those darn cataclysms. It's up to the player to rebuild a kingdom that can stand up to the bad guys.
The player will need to clear out monsters and bandits with heroes and armies, then send pioneers to build cities on arable land and outposts to claim outlying resources.
Expanding your kingdom via pioneers is vital, and should be one of the player's highest priorities.
Exploring the Land
The landscape is dotted with a random selection of the hundreds of quests in Sorcerer King: Rivals. Completing them grants crafting components, lore for researching new spells, new units, magical artifacts, and more.
While exploring, the most important thing to do is note where the shards are and make sure to claim them before the Sorcerer King destroys them. Their magic is needed in order to cast the spell to become a god before he does.
If one sees something interesting on the map, chances are they should explore it and see what it is. At the very least, they will probably get a chuckle out of the writing - Chris Bucholz of Cracked.com writes all of the quests, and he's a funny guy.
Battles in Sorcerer King: Rivals are quick and to the point. Nearly every unit in the game has a special ability, from Tandis' sweep attack that hits all adjacent enemies, to the Stalker's deadly maul, which hits over and over again until dodged.
The sovereign can cast spells to help the player's forces out. A quick heal or weak summoned skeleton might give your armies the edge in the early game, but later on calling down devastating blizzards or walls of living flame can practically win battles by themselves.
Becoming a God
The Sorcerer King is trying to destroy the shards. If not stopped the player will not be able to ascend to godhood themselves.
Each shard destroyed by the Sorcerer King makes it harder for the player to come in and claim victory and become a God. They need to protect the shards and build up their magic in order to defeat him.
Facing the Sorcerer King
Now, there’s a new way to win in Sorcerer King: Rivals - become a god. Naturally, it's easier said than done.
The player must fight off the Sorcerer King and his onslaught of terrible minions in order to protect the shards so that they can use their magic. They must cast their own spell in order to ascend to Godhood before the Sorcerer King does and win the game.
In order to protect the shards and their towns, it will help to find his two lieutenants. It is hard to miss them - they’re large, ferocious, and will rip to shreds anyone who attacks without being prepared! Bringing lots of friends and a full mana bank to any confrontation with the lieutenants is highly recommended.
Once both lieutenants have been bested, one must fight their way to the heart of the Sorcerer King's domain. Even more friends and as much mana as one can possibly scrounge together are a good idea at this point.
Crafting is critical in Sorcerer King: Rivals. Killing monsters and completing quests gives crafting materials, which can be turned into everything from basic chainmail to epic flaming swords.
Both heroes and regular units can use crafted items. A fully equipped unit can be several times more effective than a bare one.