Let's talk about the Priest

Published on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King

The next sovereign to come up is the Priest.

The priest is going to be the sovereign that does the best at keeping the Doomsday counter under control as well as decreasing the perceived threat they pose to the Sorcerer King.

Broadly speaking, the Priest is going to get a special resource called Destiny's Favor. They will start with 3 of them and come with an assortment of unique to the priest spells that are incredibly powerful but consume one of these favors. So consider the priest as being the sovereign with a bit of a connection to higher powers.

I intended to go into more detail but I'm a bit under the weather. So I will open the floor to hear some of the things you would like to see and see how we might be able to fit them in to the priest.

SK’s Sunday night work

Published on Sunday, November 16, 2014 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King Dev Journals


For Sunday I spent the day doing lots of various little things.  I’m not sure where to even start.  One thing I can say is that we still have a long way to go. Not just in terms of bugs but just balance and feel.

The mid-game has a death-lull in it.  That is, where you’re well into the game, you think you have a pretty good handle on things but there’s nothing exciting happening.

In a traditional 4X game, this is where diplomacy/world council type mechanics come into play.  That is, you’re having to make sure your primary objective isn’t derailed by other forces (people ganging up on you, someone building a nuclear weapon, someone gaining control of the United Planets/United Nations, having your technology obsoleted, etc.).

Sorcerer King doesn’t address the death lull yet.  As enjoyable as it is to research new spells, leveling up heroes, crafting items and such, it is a very linear progression.  There is nothing forcing me (or encouraging me) to put resources and effort into a secondary direction.

In Sorcerer King, this is where the Dungeon Master comes in.  However, as a player, I’d like to see more levers for the player to control how the Dungeon Master is going to affect the world (i.e. I don’t want it all quest based). 

If you’re part of the Early Access, please feel free to comment on levers you’d like to see.

Screenshots from today:


The tactical maps are getting more and more interesting as the sovereign spells come in.



Random large maps are really cool.



Painful programmer art but the end game is very different based on your previous choices.



Huge end game battle.


Check in:

+ Most city improvements are slightly cheaper
[7:32:41 PM] Brad Wardell: + Fixed bug with icelords first contact
[7:33:13 PM] Brad Wardell: + Fixed display issue with Grisly politics
[7:33:38 PM] Brad Wardell: + Added conversation quests with each minor that come at you if your'e allied with them.
[7:34:11 PM] Brad Wardell: + Various fixes to Do the dead even need respect quest and traits added
[7:34:25 PM] Brad Wardell: + hole in the ground quest ends successfully
[7:34:47 PM] Brad Wardell: + About a dozen quests updated to support giving traits, enhanced loot
[7:35:12 PM] Brad Wardell: + Fixed Procipinee's crown quest to put lairs around 4 tiles away
[7:35:38 PM] Brad Wardell: + Fixed bug where a player could use persuasive option even if they didn't have the trait
[7:35:50 PM] Brad Wardell: + Updated the shadowlands stamp
[7:36:14 PM] Brad Wardell: + Life ability added (only priest has it right now) which will tell the AI in tactical to focus on buffing
[7:36:48 PM] Brad Wardell: + Guardian now starts with Sleep, Mass SLow, Soothing Melody, Obstruct Tile, Harvest Shadow land, and awkard movement spells
[7:37:20 PM] Brad Wardell: + First attempt to have more varied encounters with monster lairs
[7:37:34 PM] Brad Wardell: + Fixed typo for persuasive
[7:38:09 PM] Brad Wardell: + New craftable items: Aspects. Give units +1 damage of a particular type.
[7:38:33 PM] Brad Wardell: + Added a bunch of new recipies including ones for bows (not testeD)
[7:39:02 PM] Brad Wardell: + Unhide a lot of spells from the hiergemanon. This will introduce spelsl that are buggy but we'll fix them. Just want to get them in.
[7:39:25 PM] Brad Wardell: + Cleric given a Cleric's staff making it a rangeed unit. Also given life ability
[7:39:50 PM] Brad Wardell: + Champion death penalty increased to 25
[7:40:13 PM] Brad Wardell: + Procpinee Crown quest monsters nerfed
[7:40:51 PM] Brad Wardell: + Raise and lower land sound effects reeadded to spell
[7:41:12 PM] Brad Wardell: + Changed colors of healing and mana potions
[7:41:34 PM] Brad Wardell: + Crafting nag quest added (will need balancing)
[7:41:52 PM] Brad Wardell: + Fixed karma dice bug (now rolls karma dice for every possible event rather than just 1)
[7:42:19 PM] Brad Wardell: + Minor races greatly enhance their military strength once they're at war with the SK (allied with the player)
[7:42:39 PM] Brad Wardell: + Minor races build up more interesting military forces
[7:43:00 PM] Brad Wardell: + Minor race interaction with allies added
[7:44:00 PM] Brad Wardell: + Sorcerer King now will cast spells into battle. However, we need the game to do a better job at indicating that the sovereign cast (some sort of...something to communicate to the player that the SK has interveneeD)
[7:45:00 PM] Brad Wardell: + First (crappy) attempt at making auto resolve mroe satisfying if you have an overwhelming advantage (i.e. less random)
[7:45:24 PM] Brad Wardell: + SK Spells given their own class (for use later when we list what spells teh SK has)
[7:46:21 PM] Brad Wardell: + Player can now begin conversations with minor factions by clicking on their capital building
[7:46:59 PM] Brad Wardell: + Tactical battle window now indicates how much mana and attention the SK is willing to dedicate to a battle with his forces
[7:47:18 PM] Brad Wardell: + random map controsl enables
[7:47:58 PM] Brad Wardell: + New stamps to support new spells
[7:48:04 PM] Brad Wardell: + Nymph egg, creature added
[7:48:28 PM] Brad Wardell: + Lots of debalancing little tile modifier spells added (will balance as we go forward, enjoy them while you can)

SK: Saturday’s additions

Published on Saturday, November 15, 2014 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King Dev Journals

Unit_Misc_Wraith_PortraitHad a busy Saturday playing and adding new stuff.

Here’s a sampling:


  1. Lots of tweaks to quests to give players more intangible traits.
  2. Lot of work on the Guardian sovereign in general
  3. Guardian gets a mass sleep spell
  4. Guardian gets a mass slow spell
  5. Guardian gets an obstruct map spell (rains rocks onto the tactical map causing those tiles to slow down enemies)
  6. Guardian gets a damage reflection spell where damage is 2X back at the enemy as long as that unit is standing in that tile (i.e. it’s tied to the tile)
  7. AI updated to be smart about tiles (darkling unit will exchange places with player unit on these tiles sometimes so be careful)
  8. Guardian gets a spell called harvest shadow land. Turns shadow land back into grasslands and creates a Nymph egg that can be picked up.
  9. More monster lair variation (still working on this)
  10. Nymph egg item created and it can be used in battle as an item too
  11. Lots of new chaos spells based on forum feedback
  12. Nymph unit (it’s a baby Morian)
  13. Minor races you ally with now crank out bigger armies to clean out SK units on the map in their part of the world
  14. Beautify Land spell increases movement in that tile
  15. Some fixes to raise and lower land spells
  16. Fixed coloring of potions (health is red, mana is blue)
  17. Sorcerer King casts spells into tactical battles IF you’re fighting his forces.
  18. Sorcerer King focus on your battle depends on your player threat (i.e. the more he’s paying attention to you, the more he intervenes)
  19. Sorcerer King has some unique spells including summoning darklings and other units and spells that turn your part of the tactical battle into a snowy slow mess
  20. AutoResolve better at providing more consistent results
  21. New quests to remind player if they’re forgetting to craft and other such events (done as quests so there can be fun)
  22. You can now right click on minor faction capitals to talk to them
  23. Various UI tool tips written
  24. Random maps now ready for general availability
  25. Lots of new tiles designs and stamps made
  26. Spells made generally cheaper to research

From playing today, I still don’t feel like I have enough “tools” to fight my battles. This is an area I plan to keep adding and adding to.  I wrote some World Spells (like a Time warp spell) but there isn’t sufficient feedback to the player that they’re doing anything.

Going to probably mess around with the magic slider option more tomorrow and add a lot of new spells, particularly summoning spells.

I also want to get a lot more recipes in.  The quests give a lot of recipes but they don’t display what recipe you got in the quest complete window so you don’t realize you’re getting recipes. Sad smile

Sorcerer King contract work

Published on Friday, November 14, 2014 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King

Hi guys,


We have a ton of quests that need to get into the game and are finding that we are just not getting them in fast enough.  We have a great editor but it isn't super user friendly either (i.e. it's not for a non-technical person).  

If any of you would be interested in helping on this, we'd pay by the hour.  If you're interested, respond below.


Sorcerer King will support highDPI displays

Published on Friday, November 07, 2014 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King Dev Journals


4K and 5K monitors are coming. And we think they’re going to become common much faster than most people think.  That means gamers will be in a bit of a pickle. Either they’ll have to run their games at a lower resolutions (blurry, non-ideal) or face games with tiny tiny text and UIs.

Sorcerer King will be the first Stardock game to explicitly support high DPI displays.  The screenshots below come from my mere 2560x1440 display but as the last screenshot shows, the super-high DPI (for 4K monitors) doesn’t result in blurry text or graphics.


Normal (what’s in the game now being displayed on a 2560x1440 resolution, things start to look pretty small)



High-DPI UI (same resolution as before but now the UI and text is larger but remains super sharp).





Super-High-DPI (Can’t really show this on my monitor as I don’t have a 4K monitor but you can get an idea of how big this quest appears and yet how sharp things remain).



We expect this feature to hit sometime between Beta 2 and Beta 3 of Sorcerer King (www.sorcererking.com).

Sorcerer King Beta: 1 Month Status

Published on Tuesday, November 04, 2014 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King Dev Journals



We cannot wait for you to get Beta 2.  I always hate the first beta. They’re so painful. They’re basically a “does this work on your machine”. Very boring.  Beta 2 is where the actual game starts to matter a little.

So where do things stand with Beta 2?

Beta 2 is due out this month and it’s going to be big.  It’s where the Minor factions start to matter. A lot. It also starts to really show off what makes Sorcerer King unique as a strategy game.


Yea, I may have burned down the forest but it was for a good cause so it’s ok.


We will be trying to reinforce that Sorcerer King is a game where you start off as if you won the previous 4X game you played. You are mighty.


Again: this is a contest between very powerful beings. Your group is elite. You’re just vastly, vastly outnumbered.

Below in no particular order are some notes for beta 2:

  1. Important to remember, this isn’t a traditional 4X. The Sorcerer King has already conquered the world. He’s the guy who has strongholds as your neighbors.
  2. Part of your job is to sneak under his radar as long as you can.  He has an overwhelming power advantage over you.  You need to make sure you aren’t blatant until you’re ready to take him on.
  3. The minor factions are NOT neutrals. They are generally familiar with you.  They’re the ones you were previously competing with in Fallen Enchantress/Age of Wonders/League of Legends/Warlock/etc.  They don’t necessarily like you. It’s just that they, like you, were overwhelmed by the Sorcerer King.
  4. You do not want the remnant factions (minors) to go to war with you. Their units are horrific.
  5. You will have powerful, cheap, nuke spells that can be used on the enemy but they won’t work on ruined land (And once cast, the land in that area becomes ruined).
  6. Your job is to create the most powerful stack of doom in the history of gaming. To do that you will need to craft craft craft.
  7. Crafting ingredients aren’t random (they are in beta 1 but beta 1 sucks).
  8. You can harvest crafting ingredients from the land if you’re willing to ruin it.
  9. You might be surprised how hard it is to keep from ruining the land if it means easy wins. Winking smile

Sorcerer King–Lazy Sunday Dev Stream at 1pm EST

Published on Sunday, November 02, 2014 By Frogboy In Sorcerer King Dev Journals


Draginol-streamingFor those of you who might be interested in seeing the sausage factory of game development in action, I’ll be streaming my antics at 1pm EST at http://www.twitch.tv/draginol today at 1pm EST.

I’ll be playing Sorcerer King, debugging it, writing code, complaining and answering your questions, comments, criticisms.


Update: Thanks everyone for coming by! That was a blast.  I'll try to do a pre-beta 2 one soon with more lead time.

The backstory for Sorcerer King

Published on Saturday, November 01, 2014 By Frogboy In Elemental Dev Journals

5SeersYears ago the world was at war. Ceresa, The Fallen Enchantress, had unleashed an army of the undead upon the Kingdoms and Empires of Elemental.

The adventurer, Relias, managed to acquire the necessary pieces to build the Forge of the Overlord and with it, defeated Ceresa and her allies.

For a time, there was peace.

Then, one day, a powerful Sorcerer named Mirdoth found the ancient artifact, Curgen's Bane.  It was thought that the bane had been lost in the cataclysm. This was the same artifact that the ancient titans had used to try to consume the magical energy of the world before they were stopped by the great uprising.

The bane transformed Mirdoth into a being of unspeakable power.  He became the Sorcerer King.  With his power, he annihilated all those who stood in his way.  At the very last, Lord Relias, with the help of the Forge of the Overlord, managed to prevent the Sorcerer King from destroying the last city of Relias's realm, Athica but at the cost of his life.

The Sorcerer King's advance was blunted but not stopped.  With his grip on Elemental secure, he devised a new plan. He would send his minions out to sacrifice themselves by attacking the remaining shards of magic. Once shattered, the shards would unleash their power into the bane and fuel the Sorcerer King's new plan - to become a god.

With Relias and the other great channelers gone or ruined, only you, Relias's heir, stand between the Sorcerer King and the end of all life on Elemental.  While you master the Forge of the Overlord, you must send your champions out to find the necessary components to craft the powerful weapons and tools necessary to send an elite force into the heart of the Sorcerer King's realm and stop him before it's too late.

The game itself

The Sorcerer King (www.sorcererking.com) will have both a campaign that enables the player to take on the Sorcerer King through through the scripted story of his rise and godhood or downfall.  It also includes a sandbox mode with both pre-made maps and random maps to fight the Sorcerer King in lots of different and new ways.

Random Halloween thoughts on dark paths

Published on Friday, October 31, 2014 By Frogboy In Everything Else

Happy Halloween everyone! Just pouring some thoughts out into the ether here.

I <generally> don’t like boycotts

imageI’m only speaking of myself here. So don’t think that those of you reading this who engage in boycotts are being tut-tuted by me.

Here’s my rationale:

I don’t like coercion. I don’t like the idea of using economic power to stifle someone’s speech. The answer to speech I don’t like is more speech.

When we decide to exert our economic power to punish people for speech we don’t like, I think we, as a society, start to walk down a very dark path.  Imagine if business owners did this with their employees? I’m sure it happens sometimes but it’s definitely not the norm.  Do we want a society where it’s socially acceptable for companies to start firing people for their opinions? I realize that this sometimes happen but it is definitely not the norm and I’m talking about simple differences of opinion on say marriage, religion, politics.

I think the best path for society is tolerance of other points of view. As long as they’re not hurting you (and I mean literally) I would recommend tolerance and not trying to materially harm people.


Punishing your enemies with lawyers (or Lawfare)



Her intent became pretty clear. Under the guise of “fighting harassment against women” she wants to start a legal fund to go after the people who are upsetting her.

I can understand that urge. I can really understand that urge. But that line of thinking takes you down a different dark path.  That isn’t to say there’s never a case to go after people who are making your life miserable. But it should be an absolute, last resort.

Imagine the scenario:

Brianna Wu decides to file a libel lawsuit against some website or some individuals. And, as you can imagine, the gaming press would probably not condemn this given the recent political climate of that industry.  That sets a dangerous precedence.

As someone who has gotten a lot of sustained harassment I know the temptation:

There was a forum where one of its users had sent me a box in the mail with shredded paper and a note “Elemental materials” TO MY HOME and the same forum later had had another user post google directions with my house with the caption “we should pay him a visit” [to the forum owner’s credit, that person was banned] with that very evening receiving an email death threat directed at me, my wife and my oldest son). While I did call the police (or mainly, my wife insisted I call the police) I chose not to go after the site as I thought it all very circumstantial and also: It’s generally considered shitty to sic lawyers on people. 

I know some of the people from that forum read this blog so assuming they’re not totally lost causes, I would hope they can imagine why I have so much antipathy towards that group (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg).  Knowing some of the people involved I can imagine how freaked out they would be if they were receiving anonymous packages in the mail and death threats and had an inkling that it came from someone loosely associated with me.   I suspect they would not have shown the same restraint I have.

Anyway, imagine it became socially acceptable to go after people who piss you off with lawyers. I suspect some of the people who have harassed me (and feel totally justified doing it because I am, well let’s let them speak for themselves):


…probably believe the only thing that’s saved them is that it is considered incredibly socially unacceptable to go after people for saying words with lawyers.  Imagine if that taboo disappeared. Imagine if there was no PR hit for people who have the resources to legally go after people who were harassing them online.  Is that what people want? I bet some people reading this right now are thinking “Well, if they’re harassing someone , yea…” See how tempting it is to try to criminalize mean words?


This is a term I just learned about and it’s possible I’m using the term wrong.  I think it means sic'ing your followers on someone. I have been accused of this and I wanted to respond to this allegation.

I have my own term: Spotlighting.   This is where someone is engaging in abusive or insulting behavior and you link to it. 

So what’s the difference? Basically, Brigading is proactive. Spotlighting is reactive. Some have tried to say it’s the “exact same thing” which I assume they think that a mugger and someone who punches a mugger are the “exact same thing”.

Regardless though, if someone objects to spotlighting my suggestion is: Then don’t attack me / Don’t engage in objectively abusive behavior (like wishing someone would die in a fire).

What ISN’T spotlighting

However, I had an unnamed indie developer get upset today because he RT’d the Brianna Wu tweet and I wrote a . in front of the RT to start, what I had hoped, a new conversation between us on the topic Wu had started.

I wrote “I think that path would lead to a very dark place.” And he accused me siccing my followers on him.  I was fairly offended at the implication that my followers are somehow inherently abusive.  I have dozens of interesting conversations on Twitter a week that start with this syntax.  Last night I had one with someone who is very against GG where we discussed “behavior shaping” in online game design.  It was one of the best discussions I’ve had online in many months. 

And…I don’t think anyone promoting the idea of creating a legal fund to sue people on the Internet is in any position to claim a moral high ground but I digress.

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