Majesty 2, An RTS that's not an RTS, but it is impossible to play!

So…got a game I had some extremely high hopes for, Majesty 2.

Quick Synop-

You control a fantasy simulated kingdom where you spend gold to build buildings. Blacksmiths, Markets, Guilds for Heroes, Statues, Defense Towers, Upgrades for individual technologies and building techs as well. This is very standard in RTS games, what isn’t standard is the lack of control for your heroes.

In each guild you can “Hire” three heroes. By hire, I mean that you create them but don’t have the ability to move them around or do anything with them. They are self motivated. Your primary means of motivating them are flags of interest “Explore Flag here to collect 200 gold,” “Attack Flag on this pyramid to destroy the Minotaurs home,” “Defend Flag here to protect your castle from Fire Elementals,” etc. The motivation is entirely driven by money, if you don’t put money on a flag, it will be ignored. If you’re entire kingdom is fancy and upgraded, then it will also be ignored if you don’t put -enough- money on it.

There in lies the utter defeat of this game. Placing money in various locations and hoping your kingdom finds it first is not strategy as proven by the Bush Administration (boom I had one slam left in me). You have no direct control over where your heroes go, what they do, who they attack and so forth.

But monsters will ALWAYS, and I do mean ALWAYS attack- you-. Makes sense right, you are on one side, they are all on the other side, kind of black and white for the point of the game. Except, they are extremely organized.

So, here’s a list of reasons why that’s a very bad system-

Monsters can spawn up to 3 “Troops” every 15 seconds in the game. This costs them nothing but time.
You can spawn up to 3 “Troops” for every guild you have, this costs you cumulating gold (Guilds become more expensive to build the more you have already built), time, oh and more money considering researches for special hero abilities don’t carry over (i.e. if you have a warriors guild and research the “Power Strike” ability, if you build a new warriors guild, you have to research the “power strike” ability there as well).

Monsters do not need gold to kick your ass. They are entirely reliant upon time, the only way to stop them is to destroy their nests.
You are entirely reliant on gold AND time. Tax collectors, as in people who run around not caring that your town is on fire, getting skewered in the chest by minotaurs, are the primary method of gaining gold out of the total of three ways to obtain gold. The other two ways, one being the Rogue Guild’s ability called Extortion, which gives you instant tax collected gold (Rather than wandering tax collectors) but they get a cut that you don’t ever see go back into the economy, and Trade routes which are conveniently placed all the fucking way across the map, allowing several dozen opportunities for creatures to kill the donkey bringing you goods for gold.

Monsters have one to two varieties per type of nest (Minotaurs and black minotaurs, rats and dire rats, fire and lightning elementals, etc).
You have the Wizards, Clerics, Warriors, Rogues, Rangers, Elves, Dwarves, oh and six other temples that also produce heroes. Unfortunately, it seems that you need damn near ALL of them to have even a sliver of hope at winning a game, and even more so with the poor fortune, after the Warrior, Rogue and Rangers’ guilds, the others become enormously expensive.

Monsters don’t just come out of destructible nests.
Your town has the tendency to produce sewer systems and graveyards for fallen heroes automatically when your palace and buildings grow/upgrade. They constantly spawn rats, dire rats, skeletons, liches, and so forth. But the worst part, you cannot, I repeat CANNOT get rid of them. You -can- avoid getting the graveyard but that’s ONLY if you don’t have any of your heroes die in the game (good luck on that part though, in a four hour game my longest for not having someone die is 10 minutes).

This is not just a challenging game. I’ve played SEVERAL dozen RTS games that had various difficulties that did actually become less or more challenging. You don’t have the ability to change difficulties in this game, and unfortunately this is an impossible game to win at. Not even Dragonshard on Demigod difficulty is as hard as this game. Impossible may be an exaggeration, true, but when a game is so unbelievably hard that it actually infuriates the consumer to stop playing it, you’ve lost the battle.

Majesty 2 desperately needs a difficulty slider. That is the only way this game could be redeemed. It was only just recently released, so they do have time to patch that in but otherwise….it really sucks.

Oh, and one last note, this isn’t about the difficulty of the game but something that just makes little sense for an RTS game. When you have the option of skipping the entire campaign and doing just a single quick mission, usually you have a modicum of choices to go through for “Skirmishes.” I’ve never seen less than 15 single mission choices in a game until now. This one has six. Three of them are quest based, three of them are “Prevent the monsters from killing you” challenges with the only goal being survival (and no, I have not tried those yet).