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Dominions 3 now golden

August 23rd, 2006 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Uncategorized

Fantasy mish-mash Dominions 3: The Awakening is now gold. It will be available on October 2 for the low, low price of $54.95.

That’s right. $54.95. For five dollars more, you can buy both Civilization IV and its expansion. You can get Rise of Legends for less. You can pre-order Caesar IV, which will be out a week sooner. Money isn’t everything, but that’s a AAA price for a game with pretty low productions values and historically inadequate documentation. This better be good.

From what I’ve seen of it, Dominions 3 will not disappoint anyone who loved Dominions 2. There’s more of everything and it is a little bit easier to deal with it. I was a huge fan of Dominions 2, though it took me forever to really figure out what was going on. I never had the courage to engage in the epic multiplayer wars that filled my favorite gaming forum.

As I noted in my published preview, the Dominions games don’t so much reward study as demand it. This a rich, rich world with so many possibilities the mind aches when it considers how quickly more agile intelligences put winning strategies together. I don’t have as much time to study games as I used to, so here’s hoping that things are a little more transparent this time around.

I know that many of the Dominions groupies out there don’t like it when people say that. Mastery of a game as deep and multifaceted as Dominions gives some people a sense of being an initiate in a special cult. This is a sense of belonging not borne out of arrogant refusal to see the present (like people still devoted to text based adventure games) but borne from a shared sense of exploration and “By Jove He Got It!”. The more transparent the game becomes, the less skill it will take to fathom the mysteries of the system. For a lot of people, the exploration is half the fun.

Then there’s the other half. The actual playing. As mysterious as Dominions 2 looked, it’s real beauty was in the game play itself. Proper recognition of where the threats were coming from, or knowing when to leave a powerful neutral as a buffer state, are the decisions that ultimately decide whether a game is good or not. Exploration is sweet and all, but Dominions is a game about destroying heathens and becoming a god. It’s about wielding the magic, not studying it. It’s about raising armies, not making charts to compare them. And the easier it is for new people to appreciate the strategy in the game, the better Illwinter will do in the sales department.

And the better Illwinter does in sales, the better it is for Shrapnel, an important supporter of independent strategy games that could use a huge hit.


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