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Master of Magic: Scourge of the Seas DLC Review

Six months after the previous DLC Rise of the Soultrapped, the second paid DLC, Scourge of the Seas by MuHa Games and Slitherine for the remade Master of Magic continues the trend of solid core additions to the gameplay options with a new race, new wizards and new heroes, but also adds new core game mechanics related to ocean travel and fighting. This DLC coincides with a free patch as usual, largely focused on the new ocean mechanics but also includes a number of general improvements additions and fixes. The new race is a lot of fun to play with great sounds and graphics to go with their new units and the new water movement, combat and resource dynamics add even more gameplay to an already rich experience.

New race

The main content of the Scourge of the Seas DLC is of course the new race, and the related sea based combat. The Scourgers are primarily an orc based spectral undead force with some interesting force building dynamics that set them apart – as is the case with all MoM races. The lack of a cheap spearman and a focus on high cost high power units leads to a more elite force that thanks to being ethereal is more maneuverable than all races other than the Avians with their natural flight bonus. It will take a while to fully determine the synergies, but there’s a lot of fun to be had with the Captain and the Sharknados summoned by the Sea Creature, both large hard hitting units in their own right.

The Scourgers are “crewed by the cursed”, and boast four distinct units each with its own ghastly skills:

  • Sea Creature:  A mutated deep ocean beast, bound in servitude, wields a powerful melee strike, a petrifying gaze and the ability to summon the Sharknado!
  • Rusalka: An exotic water nymph, captured and forced to dance for eternity, mesmerizes the battlefield with her mud-dazzling spells.
  • Captain: Twisted by the curse, the spectral Captain mutates across the deep sea, haunting multiple ships simultaneously. The shackles in his grasp bind boundless prisoners into servitude.
  • Paragon Ghostship: The incarnate curse of the wraith-orcs, this infernal vessel rises from the ocean depths to claim the souls of the fallen. This king of the seas will be a powerful force once you can finally make them – and afford their substantial upkeep.

The Scourgers, being non-corporeal, defy the boundaries of land and sea. Their ghostly ships and troops seamlessly traverse both realms, a formidable force haunting the waters.  Cloaked in fear, the Scourgers embody the terror of the undead, striking fear into the hearts of those who dare cross their path. These cursed pirates introduce three unique buildings to their spectral cities:

  • Raiders Hut:  Harvesting the bounties of the seas, this building brings prosperity to seafront cities
  • Ghost-Shipyard:  Crafting incorporeal vessels anywhere, even on land, ensures the Scourgers’ dominance over the waters
  • Indentured Workers Guild:  Prisoners captured during pirate raids contribute to the city’s well-being, but beware of potential rebellious citizens!

New Content in Scourge of the Seas

Three New Water Lairs
Reef Island:

  • This submerged paradise hides untold treasures beneath the waves. But be prepared to face formidable challenges, as new enemies lurk in the coral-covered caverns. The unique design of Reef Island offers an entirely fresh combat experience, setting the stage for epic battles.
  • Wind Caves:  These mysterious underwater grottos are shrouded in secrets. As you venture into the Wind Caves, you’ll encounter formidable foes and discover hidden riches. The intricacies of the Wind Caves provide a unique combat challenge that will test your strategic prowess.
  • Pirate Scum:  With these new water lairs, the seas won’t just be a tranquil expanse. The pirate scum will be unleashed upon both the seas and the lands, creating chaos for the Wizards. Brace yourself for thrilling confrontations and unexpected encounters with these maritime marauders.
  • Terrifying Boss  Lairs: As if the new water lairs weren’t enough, the oceans themselves spawn two terrifying boss lairs, one on each plane. Each boss lair is a treasure trove of loot, a custom-made battle map with unique combat challenges, and a monstrous Kraken boss! Defeating these titans of the deep will reward you with a unique Wizard Trait that can’t be obtained anywhere else.

Water Resources

The seas aren’t just for adventuring; they also offer valuable resources to shore up your cities such as:

  • Pearls:  Precious and lustrous, pearls can be harvested from the depths of the sea to enhance your cities with their beauty and economic benefits.
  • Reef:  These underwater ecosystems are a source of great wealth and biodiversity. Harvesting reef resources will give your shoreline cities a significant boost.
  • Fish:  Abundant and nutritious, fish can be a vital resource for sustaining your cities. With the bountiful waters at your disposal, your coastal cities will flourish.

New Arcane Spells
To make the most of these newfound sea resources, a powerful Arcane spell will be at your disposal. This spell allows Wizards to harvest sea resources that fall outside of the city catchment, ensuring that nothing goes to waste in your coastal dominion.

The Sea Creature unit also gets a fun new spell in the MoM tradition of fun but fitting references with the Shark Cyclone. An expensive to maintain spell, it is still a situationally useful sacrificial unit that can do a lot of damage and help control the battlefield.

New Wizards

Four new wizards have been added to the game to give a nice theme and associated traits both for them and custom heroes. These provide a wide range of playstyles from the Klackon focused Queen Xar’xa to the Hye-sea Fleet Commander (I’ll never not love that reference). After playing a Scourge focused campaign for this review I’m really looking forward to a Klackon focused campaign with my Queen Xar’xa for a totally different experience.

Queen Xar’xa
The Queen of the Klackons has two new interesting traits which provide for a unique new experience completely separate from the primary naval content of the DLC. Be they Gizureans or Klackons, insect girls deserve love too!

Her journey from hive ruler to arcane sovereign adds a new layer of complexity to the great contest. As she seeks to unite arcane users under her banner, players will navigate a path filled with mystical challenges, loyalty tests, and the inexorable march towards a shared destiny.

Magic and Traits
Hive Master: establishes a link with the klackon collective, enhancing efficiency and providing game-changing bonuses. Additionally, this trait enables the Wizard to commence the game with the hero Ph’ym The Philomath.

My queen! You have my loyalty, and my fetish!

Books: Death, Nature

Belit the Cursebringer
Legend has it that Belit led the first orcs onto the seas in an act of rebellion, breaking away from orc traditions and her husband, Bladud, who later embraced necromancy.

Magic and Traits
She wields the powers of Death and Sorcery, aiming to display the might of her cursed destiny.
Pirate: The Pirate Wizard thrives on conquest and raids, offering additional bonuses and rewards for raising enemy cities. Successful raids provide mutated and indentured workers.
Sea Master: Belit’s expertise bestows additional movement points on all units capable of swimming, and she can build an experienced fleet of ships at a discount, making sea conquest a breeze.

Books: Sorcery, Death

Horatio the Sea Tamer
Horatio’s realization that the games played by other Wizards left him at a disadvantage fueled his pursuit of high magic. As he claimed mastery over the seas, he ascended to the rank of the Sea Tamer. His disciplined background as a soldier blended seamlessly with his newfound magical prowess, shaping him into a master tactician on both land and sea.

Magic and Traits
Tactician: allowing him to command his troops with unparalleled efficiency. This strategic advantage provides extra movement points in combat, offering a significant edge against slower adversaries. Horatio’s ability to outmaneuver his foes makes him a formidable force on the battlefield.
Sea Master: Horatio’s influence extends beyond the land, as he bestows additional movement points on all units capable of swimming, and he can build an experienced fleet of ships at a discount, solidifying his reputation as a true master of the seas.

They Hye-sea fleet commander.

Books: Life, Chaos

Gayn the Sea Hunter
When faced with the true threat of the Wizards, Gayn realized that mere mortal efforts were not enough to protect the seas. He elevated himself to a new level of power, determined to be the guardian the waters needed. The friendship forged in the face of adversity with Horatio remains a crucial part of Gayn’s journey. However, as both claim the mantle of Wizard, they are faced with the possibility of becoming adversaries. Gayn, guided by the ways of nature and the sea, accepts the inevitability that the strongest will rise to the top.

Magic and Traits
Sea Master: The trait bestows additional movement points to all units under Gayn’s command capable of swimming, and he can build an experienced fleet of ships at a discount. Navigating the vast oceans becomes a breeze, making conquering the seas a true adventure.
Sea Hunter:  Gayn provides significant bonuses to his troops during water-based combat. When at sea, his entire army gains the ability to swim, and their battle attributes are heightened, turning Gayn into a fearsome adversary on the waves.

Books: Death, Nature

New Heroes

Ph’ym the Philomath – The Hive’s Rebel Caster
Meet Ph’ym, the Klackon caster hero on a mission to prove that individuality doesn’t equate to weakness. Once a loyal hive member, Ph’ym’s pursuit of wisdom transformed him into an extraordinary individual. Recognizing his strength and resolve, his queen granted him freedom, acknowledging the hive’s growth through unique experiences. While he still prefers serving his queen, Ph’ym is open to aiding any Wizard willing to expand his horizons.

Big Berta – The Cannon-Wielding Wraith-Orc Captain
Enter Big Berta, the mighty wraith-orc pirate captain with a penchant for cannon balls and a cursed gift. A hefty orc woman with unmatched strength, she embraces the wraith-orc curse, enhancing her power. Renowned for commanding numerous ship crews, she’s now a sought-after mercenary in search of challenges and fun. Big Berta sails under any Wizard’s flag, as long as the pay is good and the adventure promises excitement.

Slithers the Sea Scourge – The Lizardman Wave Warrior
Behold Slithers, the dual-wielding lizardman warrior trained to hunt sea-fearing foes. Mounted on a creature enchanted by ancient oceanic magic, she carries her entire army onto water, earning her the title of Sea Scourge. With a mission to chase down pirates and vanquish all who oppose her, Slithers becomes a loyal mercenary for Wizards she deems worthy or those who meet her fee.

Base Game Patch

As usual the Scourge of the Seas DLC launched with a patch providing content for the base game, partially to support the new DLC features but also bringing in new functionality in general.

Engaging water combat visuals – rafts for units without swim

  • Breakdown of a town’s production incomes
  • In construction manager, Ability to queue items that require prerequisites
  • UI button to show resource icons on map
  • Diplomatic and AI improvements such as:
    • Improved AI city defenses and how to manage units
    • Spell of Mastery will be more attractive for AI to use
    • Implement visual feedback within treaty requests and conversations after diplomatic actions. Also, integrate diplomatic trade into the relationship, reflecting the impact of a trade and changes to the trade evaluation. Furthermore, consider Fear and Relationship as factors influencing trade acceptance, affecting the potential acceptance of a tribute or an unfavorable trade. Added visual improvements to depict the current status of a relationship with the AI.
    • Fixed AI town danger rank estimation scale even in peace or panic mode issues and AI relationship changes to prevent unilateral overrides and data loss.
    • A Few Changes to AI: traverse water including fixes to transport settlers targeting oversea locations; now towns should have sensible armies defense appropriate to AIs current production ability. AI will be open for more diplomatic efforts and less war trigger
    • Improving Treaty evaluation and relying on relationship as gain from the treaty is beneficial regardless of the situation

Managing to add another race with a unique playstyle and an interesting and generally liked theme of undead pirates, the Scourge of the Seas DLC adds further depth to an already great game. It will be personal preference how much you enjoy the race but there’s no doubt to its quality implementation, and even if you don’t play it as a main race, it will be nice to fight or have as options for conquered races. Likewise, Queen Xar’xa of the Klackons greatly expands the Klackon gameplay, and as usual all the new traits and heroes further differentiate playthroughs by giving you and your enemies more options to tailor the playstyles. I highly recommend Scourge of the Seas to all fans of the base game, and if any of the content in it tickles your fancy but you haven’t yet bought into the game, this would be a great way to get started with something you will enjoy to help learn the game before you spread out and play more of the other races, wizards and playstyles.

This review utilized a key provided by Slitherine. Master of Magic is available for $AU58.50 on Steam and the new Scourge of the Seas DLC launched on February 08, 2024, for $AU18.95.

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