Majesty 2: Lords

Three levels from the end, the difficulty spikes. I have now spent long hours on a single map. Forget what I said last time about making steady progress once you’ve survived the initial onslaught. At this point, it seems like the initial onslaught never ends.

The premise of the level is that you’re caught between two rival clans, one of elves and rogues, one of priests and paladins — which is to say, a subset of the hero types available to the player. They’re quite willing to fight each other if they meet, but since your palace is in the way, they both gang up on you instead. Even if you could manage to get them fighting each other, it’s not clear that it would be a good idea: hero types tend to flee battles before they die, and that which does not kill them gives them experience points. Yes, even for non-lethal encounters. Maybe they’re not so much enemies as sparring partners. Regardless, the last thing you want is for them to level up faster than you.

Paladins in particular are very hard to kill, and overpowered for their nominal level. Creating some paladins of my own would be a fine thing, but just getting to the point where you’re allowed to create the building that produces them takes more time and money than I seem to ever have. The only way I’ve managed to last any length of time is by bringing in Lords. Lords are a device peculiar to this game: basically, when you finish a map, you get to choose one of your heroes to become a Lord that you can call up in other maps, for a fee that fee depends on the Lord’s class and level. (Any experience gained after becoming a Lord persists, too, so if you use the same Lord a lot, it becomes more and more expensive.) It’s an interesting touch that gives a little bit of overarching strategy in a game where levels are otherwise self-contained.

Generally speaking, I’ve been promoting my most powerful warriors to lordhood. On the level where I’m stuck, I can basically afford one of my weakest Lords at the very beginning, and perhaps one more later on if I’m willing to ruin my kingdom saving up for it. I’m starting to think that I’ve taken the wrong approach here — that what I really should do is go back and replay a couple of earlier maps and lordify some level 1 paladins, ones that will be cheap to re-hire and then level up in the map where I need them. At any rate, it’s an experiment that wouldn’t take nearly as long as I’ve already spent replaying the level I’m on.

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