Chaos Reborn has had a single-player mode of sorts for around a year now, but that just plonked you in regular ol' battles against the AI, or in 'hotseat' battles against your fellow humans. Now it has a proper single-player campaign, which has just been added as part of a massive patch. The campaign offers five realms to conquer, complete with branching storylines, named companions, and other features not, er, featured in the multiplayer mode.
However, that's not the only thing the patch does. It also makes the following changes, including realm creation tweaks, AI improvements, and the addition of a queuing widget.
- When you are waiting for a multiplayer match you no longer have to stare at a boring screen. Instead, a little queue widget is displayed and you can happily equip your wizard or play online realms while waiting for opponents. If you are playing a battle against AI you can be pulled out of it to play a multiplayer game, and then resume your realm battle after the multiplayer battle is finished. (note: if you enter a battle with an ally or as an invader your multiplayer request is cancelled).
- You can access a 'quick match' request from the options screen. This means that you could be playing a realm and request a multiplayer match without having to exit the realm.
- There are numerous changes to the realm creation system. Encounters are more sophisticated and check various conditions to trigger outcome choices. There are some new encounter effects, such as connecting or disconnecting towns and releasing marauders. Creature allies hired through encounters can be named. Taboos can now be directly edited. All of these features are used in the new offline realm campaign.
- When you select a creature in battle that has one or more buffs affecting it, there is a visual display showing circling coloured balls corresponding to the buff type. Red = attack buff, blue = defence buff, green = agility buff, purple = magic power buff.
- A wizard with activated talismans has a circling talisman object to show that a talisman is activated.
- In realm quests, when starting a battle involving only settlers there is a warning message displayed to remind you that your wizard is not present.
- Realm quests - you no longer need to be at a captured citadel to cast the palace breach spell. You can cast it from anywhere.
- Realm difficulty - the maximum creature allies the enemy wizards can have is now affected by the realm level. Level 1 realms are limited to 3 allies, level 2 realms, 4 allies, and so on, up to a maximum of 8.
- Realm and battle graphics have a christmas theme.
- AI now makes proper use of Transmutation talismans (e.g., the Romero "undead" talisman, the "Clementine" neutralizing talisman), they are no longer pre-activated at the start of the battle.
- AI improvements - AI Wizard makes better use of mounts and is more likely to attack when mounted. AI responds more pro-actively to undead threats. AI now uses mana bind talismans.
- Lowered transformation rate of Aconite talisman (vine to spiders) and fixed a bug with async games where the transformation limit was not respected.
- Realm shops now show the new 3D display for equipment with spell affinity information for staffs.
- For those of you that backed the game at wizard lord level or above, you will be able to enter a name to appear in the game credits with the next update.
- Staff type has a slightly greater impact on deck composition - spells with staff affinity are more likely to be included.
- Exemplum Funus talisman now only gives spell cards for real creatures killed, as per talisman description. Also clarified "Volaticus Duplus" talisman description.
Richard Cobbett gave the magical strategy game a healthy 87% in his review.