SpellForce: The Order of Dawn

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SpellForce: The Order of Dawn
Spellforce - The Order of Dawn Coverart.jpg
Developer(s) Phenomic Game Development
Publisher(s) Encore, Inc. (The Order of Dawn)
JoWood Productions (The Breath of Winter, Shadow of the Phoenix (Europe), Gold Edition)
Aspyr Media, Inc.(Platinum Edition)
Dreamcatcher Interactive (SpellForce Universe)
Composer(s) Dynamedion
Engine KRASS Engine[1]
Platform(s) Windows XP, 98, 2000, ME
Release date(s) The Order of Dawn
  • EU 16 December 2003
  • NA 11 February 2004
The Breath of Winter
  • EU 25 June 2004
Shadow of the Phoenix
  • EU 12 November 2004

Other

  • NA 15 October 2007 (SpellForce Universe)
Genre(s) Real-time strategy, role-playing video game
Mode(s) Single player, multiplayer
Distribution Digital distribution or DVD (1) or CD (2) (both same features)

SpellForce: The Order of Dawn is a combination real-time strategy and role-playing video game game developed by German game developers Phenomic and released on 16 December 2003 in Europe and 11 February 2004 in North America.

The original game was followed by two expansions: SpellForce: The Breath of Winter in 2004 and SpellForce: Shadow of the Phoenix in 2005. The main game and the first expansion were later released as the SpellForce Gold Edition, the SpellForce Platinum Edition includes all three games.

A sequel, SpellForce 2: Shadow Wars was released in 2006. It was followed by an expansion; SpellForce 2: Dragon Storm in 2007. A second expansion; SpellForce 2: Faith in Destiny was released in 2012.

A third and final expansion titled SpellForce 2: Demons of the Past was announced by Nordic Games GmbH in June 2013.[2]

Gameplay[edit]

SpellForce is a combination real-time strategy and role-playing video game. The game takes place in a broken world called EO that was torn apart by a ritual called the Convocation. The ritual was performed by 13 powerful mages that in their greed for power caused the continents of the world to shatter. After the ritual only small pieces of land remain around magical towers created by the god that created the world. The pieces of land are connected by magical portals that make travel between them possible.

The game features campaign mode, free game mode and multiplayer mode. To begin you have to create a character called an Avatar or choose a ready made one that represents you in the game. When creating an avatar you can choose to be a melee fighter, archer or magician and have to distribute 30 experience points among your character stats. Increasing certain stats allows you to use certain weapons and spells. After this is done you can start playing. You start as a level 1 character that has to complete quests and kill hostile game units to gain experience to rise in level. Your character is an immortal warrior called a rune warrior created by the mages that destroyed the world to fight their wars. If your character dies in battle it will respawn at the last activated bindstone on a map. These stones are found around the maps and can be activated when your avatar is close by. To aid you in your quest you have other rune warriors at your disposal. These include hero runes and worker runes of six races (humans, dwarves, elves, orcs, trolls and dark elves). To use them you have to control a monument where that type of unit can be trained. There are seven different monuments, a hero monument and one for each race. To get control of a monument you have to move your avatar close by to switch it on. When activating a monument of a race you first need to train workers that can gather resources for you to build buildings and fighting units. At the start of the campaign not all runes, units and buildings of each race are available but when you make progress you find more plans for units and building. When your avatar rises in level you can use rune stones of higher levels that can defeat tougher opponents. In the lengthy campaign you need to complete quests to make progress. There are two types of quests, main and side quests. The main quests are essential to complete the game; side quests are optional. Quests usually involve defeating enemy encampments, certain enemy key units, finding objects or persons and defending allies.

Story[edit]

The Circle[edit]

The Circle was a group made by the 13 most powerful mages from all the corners of the world, that gathered together to explore and study magic. During their studies together they vastly expanded their already considerable powers, and learned to master the Allfire (known as Archfire in SpellForce2). This act granted the Circle Mages immortality.

In their lust for power, they came across a Text in the land of Xu left by the Fial Darg that spoke about a ritual known as the Convocation.

The Convocation[edit]

SpellForce - The Order of Dawn, begins a few years after the Convocation. The Convocation was a ritual that would supposedly grant immense power. At the beginning of the world, Aonir, the star god, overcame the power of the elements and henceforth held them down. Only so the world could become. But under a certain constellation of planets, Aonir's star is darkened and his will broken. The circle mages hoped to take advantage of this by taking the power of the elements for themselves to become almighty. And soon they were fighting each other for dominance and vast armies were destroying the whole continent. But at the day of the Convocation, they summoned the elements but they were too weak to tame them and the elements raged, shattering the lands and leaving them scattered and broken. Only small islands remained, around the magical towers that held the power of Aonir-the Star God, amidst the element sea.

Runes[edit]

The Circle Mages needed vast armies that would be loyal and could be gathered quickly,This is when they had the idea of the runewarriors. The runewarriors were fighters and mages whose souls were trapped in stones their masters could summon them forth to do their will any deaths would be meaningless as they could be brought back even after death because they had the gift of immortality. With these stones the mages could form armies quickly and easily sending them forth in unhaltable tides they would serve their masters for eternity had it not been for the convocation.

Story of The Order of Dawn[edit]

The story starts with the retired Circle servant Tahira, who reluctantly agrees to help a soldier find her lost companions and complete their objective, to find a powerful Runestone believed to be in the hands of the local orc tribe.

She battles the orcs with the aid of the runewarriors and claims the runestone. The stone is handed over to Rohen Tahir, the last known surviving mage of the circle.

Rohen then sets of to the Shadow Pass near the town of Greyfell where he finds an old monument to summon the Runewarrior, who is both the protagonist, and the player's avatar in the game. He gives the Runewarrior his own Runestone, thereby freeing him from his slavery. He tells the runewarrior that he has made efforts to hold what is left of the world together. Rohen has travelled long years to create portals that connect the islands. He asks the avatar to follow a messenger to the nearby town of Greyfell where orders will be awaiting him. He then leaves the avatar and travels to the Wildland Pass, after receiving news that "creatures of black steel" are breaking through. The last thing Rohen says is "so it has begun"

The scout leads the avatar into an ambush from another, unknown mage, henceforth called "The Dark One". After freezing the avatar in ice, the mage talks about how Rohen is walking into a trap and refers to him as an "old fool", and tells the scout to kill the Runewarrior, and deliver a magically sealed casket which contains plans for an invasion before leaving. The messenger however fails to kill the Runewarrior, and the Runewarrior begins his quest to save Rohen from his fate.

The Runewarrior now gathers news in Greyfell and learns that a large part of the northern kingdoms has been overrun by mercenaries known as "The Black Fist" who have allied with orc tribes. The protagonist has to battle through many foes but eventually he meets up with Rohen before any harm has come to him in a land known as the "Frostland Marches". However, Rohen, surprised to learn that another Circle Mage has survived, gives the player a book about the Convocation and tells him to find "Hokan's legacy" and that it is the only thing that is powerful enough to stop a Circle Mage. Rohen then unlocks the casket, only to find it was empty. Suddenly the dark mage appears and kills Rohen. He doesn't kill the avatar tough, but tells him to return to the Order of the Dawn for "the time of dawn has past, the time of war has begun". The path deeper into the Frostlands is blocked by a huge army of the "Iron Ones", large creatures of black steel.

The avatar returns to the Order, and then begins his quest for "Hokan's legacy". Hokan was once a Circle Mage, too, the most powerful necromancer ever known. It seems that Hokan's ghost still remains amongst the living and is controlling his undead armies which survived the convocation. Now they are attacking the isles inhabited by men searching for an artifact known as "The Mask of Belial". The player eventually obtains the mask and handing it over to Hokan in exchange he learns about the "Phoenix Stone" which is the only artifact able to stop a Circle Mage. He also learns that the "Iron Ones" were created by Hokan himself as weapon against the demon hordes his opponent Uram summoned.

The avatar is about to return with the Stone to the Order of the Dawn, when in an attempt to help the avatar, the army of the Order attacks the army of the iron ones and breaches the barricade lines in the Frostland Marches. The orders army however is left in ruins in the process. The avatar uses this opportunity and pushes onwards towards the Circle Mage.

He however walks into a trap, and has the Phoenix Stone stolen from him along with the book of the convocation. He continues his desperate pursuit of the Circle Mage, eventually fighting his way to the Circle Mage, who at last is revealed to be none other than a young version of Rohen himself, intent on attempting the Convocation again, sure that this time it will work for him. Rohen thanks the avatar for his hard work, and then, using the power of the Phoenix Stone, walks into a time-gate, that sends Rohen back into the past, years before the Convocation. We see an illustration of how time passes, with Rohen growing to be his mature self again, and we see him just before the Convocation, muttering to himself how his younger self, about to perform the Convocation, doesn't know what he is doing, and how he himself was a fool, which still refers to his younger version, showing that it is a time paradox with the young Rohen going forward in time killing his older self taking the book and stone and going back in time only to find out that he is the old Rohen and has to stop his younger self. After seeing the cutscene the player is taken back to the main menu and can start a new game with a different character if they want.

Story of Breath of Winter[edit]

In the Wake of the world, when the elven people where young, a great and powerful dragon named Aryn, the Frostweaver, is about to freeze the whole world. Suffering the bitterness and loneliness of his existence he brings frost to everywhere he seeks for a partner. Only Cenwen, the elven queen, stands against Aryn, and warms his heart with her singing. Aryn grants his gift to the ice-elven people, in return taking Cenwen with him forever, weaving a protecting Glacier around them.

The player starts with a completely new avatar in the Swamps of Urgath. Summoned and freed by Grim and Lena, two sub-leaders of a refugee group, the avatar is to find and bring back Dunhan and Reowys, two other runewarriors who led the group shortly before. After many adventures, the avatar manages to recover the runes and bring Dunhan and Reowys back to the refugees under his order.

Then Grim reveals a plan to attack the ice-elf city in order to bring Cenwen back to Aryn, for the ice-elves want to bring ice all over the world through making Aryn search for his partner. The Attack is successful, but Grim does not free Cenwen, who is not in the city at all, but frees a Fial Darg, a prince of Darkness, and leads an invasion army into the land of the ice-elves. Lena and the avatar realize that they have been fooled by Grim, and that they have to save at least the refugees from the dark elven Red Empire. They manage to bring the humans to the Capitol of the ice-elves.

Here, Lena and the avatar hear about the plot of the Fial Darg: He wants to use the blood of Cenwen, a firstborn, to bring back, dark gods Zarach and Nor, into the world. The avatar has to seek out for the only weapon that can stop a Fial Darg, the shadow sword. But to stop the Fial Darg and save the world, the avatar has to pay an enormous price: the sword transforms its wielder into a shadow, invisible strangers from outside the world, mysterious and hidden before the normal eye.

The avatar ignores this price and finds the shadow sword, then he kills the Fial Darg (who in return kills Lena) and brings Cenwen back to Aryn, who return to the Glacier and bring peace to the world.

Story of Shadow of the Phoenix[edit]

The Masked One who is revealed to be the circle mage Hokan Ashir who was brought back to life by the Mask of Belial is trying to resurrect the Circle mages with the use of the Essence Potion made from the blood of the God Ereon who is actually Darius, by doing so they are restored back to life with all of their former power, but the potion also ties brings them under Hokan's control. Hokan was once a member of the Zerbite Order, a group of mages who were studying the Black Jungle, the place where Zarach created the dark races, there, Hokan discovered Zarach's old home, the Bone Temple, inside he found the Mask of Belial and when he wore it he went into madness and got knocked out, after he awoke he was a completely different person, the mask had granted him the power of necromancy and thus the greatest necromancer in Eo was born, by wearing the mask, Belial's spirit a demi-god and follower of Zarach, gained power over Hokan. By resurrecting the Circle mages he tries to re-establish himself in the world of Eo as the new God of Death by merging himself with Belial and then absorbing Ereon's divine soul to become unstoppable.

Belial and the Circle mages can only be stopped by releasing the Phoenix from the Phoenix Stone. The Phoenix can only be freed from the stone by the Shadow Blade, both items are obtained in the original game and the first expansion. You can either choose to play further with one of your characters from the previous games and level them up to level 50 or to play with a predefined character.

Reception[edit]

Review scores
Publication Score
IGN
8.2 of 10
GameSpy
3 of 5 stars
GameSpot
7.4 of 10
Game Rankings
74.24%

Andrew Park from GameSpot said in his review of the game: ‘SpellForce's unique combination of role-playing and strategy elements makes it worth a look for fans of either kind of game.’ However he said about the voice-over ‘some of it is decent, though the rest is fairly bad.’ The game scores a 7.4 based on 24 reviews by GameSpot for metacritic score and a user score of 8.3.[3]

In the review of Dan Adams of IGN the gameplay and graphics of the game were praised. However he said about the voice acting that it was some of the worst he had heard in a while. He gave the game an overall score of 8.2 out of 10.[4]

Alex Tsotsos from GameSpy said about the game that as a single-player game, SpellForce shines. However he said the game lacked ‘the plotline choices that mark the best RPGs.’ He also criticized the enemy AI and gave the game a score of 3 out of 5 stars.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Aihoshi, Richard (2003-12-09). "SpellForce - The Order of Dawn Interview, Part 2, Page 2" (in englisch). RPG Vault. Retrieved 2011-01-16. 
  2. ^ http://forum.spellforce.com/showthread.php?s=d3596252187467281a33bdc1bacb36e7&t=68889
  3. ^ "SpellForce: The Order of Dawn Review". GameSpot, Andrew Park. 2004-02-23. Retrieved 2013-06-02. 
  4. ^ "SpellForce: The Order of Dawn Review". IGN, Dan Adams. 2004-02-10. Retrieved 2013-06-02. 
  5. ^ "SpellForce: The Order of Dawn Review". GameSpy, Alex Tsotsos. 2004-03-08. Retrieved 2013-06-02. 

External links[edit]