Four races of wizards, adepts of four magical schools, collide in a brutal fight for world domination. Etherlords, an iconic strategy created by Nival, became a bestseller in the world and earned highest grades from critics. Etherlords is an exciting mix of turn-based strategy and fantasy trading card game.
User reviews: Mixed (39 reviews)
Release Date: Nov 12, 2001

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Includes 2 items: Etherlords, Etherlords II

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Reviews

“This is the best game ever released in the turn-based fantasy genre.”
87/100 – GameSpy

“Having missions that take hours upon hours to finish is a difficult feature to sell to gamers that may have limited time to spare.”
81/100 – IGN

“Although the grand strategy is a bit misguided, the tactical combat is a splendid twist on the concept of collectible card games.”
81/100 – GameSpot

About This Game

Four races of wizards, adepts of four magical schools, collide in a brutal fight for world domination. Etherlords, an iconic strategy created by Nival, became a bestseller in the world and earned highest grades from critics.

Etherlords is an exciting mix of turn-based strategy and fantasy trading card game. Innovative game mechanics that first appeared in this game formed the basics of most modern games of this genre.

Key Features

  • 4 races of magical creatures, each with their own unique lands, architecture, spells and strategy;
  • 2 battle campaigns for each two allied races;
  • More than 300 spells, including sorcery, battle magic, summoning and rituals;
  • More than 10 game levels, all connected by one storyline;
  • 64 heroes of all races; their parameters, special abilities and selected skills progress with each level gained.
  • Individual battle style for each hero with the help of their unique sets of spells;
  • A combination of magical battle system based on table games and strategic use of resources;
  • Full 3D turn-based battles with unlimited variety of tactical decisions;

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows
    • Processor: Pentium II 266 MHz
    • Memory: 64 MB RAM
    • DirectX: Version 7.0
    • Hard Drive: 1500 MB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows
    • Processor: Pentium II 450 MHz
    • Memory: 128 MB RAM
    • DirectX: Version 7.0
    • Hard Drive: 1500 MB available space
Helpful customer reviews
9 of 9 people (100%) found this review helpful
32.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 1
One of the old school classics.
Since the game was developed by Nival (Russian based), western market might not be familiar with the game.

However there are few points why you might be interested to play this game even though it has been 13 years since it was released:

- Game is Hard. No kidding, even normal difficulty will have you thinking over on what kind of strategy and builds you must use to win every campaing map.
- Game is played out on a strategic map (similar to HOMM) & tactical battles (collectible card game).

Some points to think before trying it out:
- Game is Hard. It is a double edged sword...when playing campaign, think of it like a puzzle game (remember HOMM campaigns with impossible odds, but when you knew a particular trick it became easy).
- Game runs on a locked 4:3 resolution.
- Game pace is rather slow (you can improve it by choosing various game options, but still)


However, I would recommend it to anyone born in 20th century. There is also a sequel which is nearly the same but improved (oh the times when sequels were actually good).
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 7
Which rock have you been under? Etherlords, man. The blood-soaked, card-game-esque, magic-wielding powerhouse of the TBS/RPG crossover genre. Summoning awesome monsters? Got it. Gory, turn-based carnage? Got it. Insane lore riddled with confusing metaphors and creepy voices? Definitely got it.

I had this game when I was a kid, and I remember it being awesome, but also very hard. My opinion has not changed in the last decade or so, I still think it is both. Not often something recaptures me again so well, I personally absolutely love it.

This game is a blast for people who love Heroes of Might and Magic, and probably people who have no idea what that is (I ask the rock question once more). Ether way (see what I did there?), you should get it while it's cheap as chips! £3.99 is worth paying, but on a sale, it's a must buy!
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
3.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 23
This game is a good game IF it worked...... I have tried 2 different computers and the same result, unplayable......Constant crashes, freezes up. That was with windows 8 & 8.1. Personally you shouldn't release something if it does not work on ALL systems especially newer systems. Who wants to run an old school dinosaur, lol Not me. If the problems get fixed i may consider it again. But Definately Not Now. Apologies for being honest & thank you.
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26 of 29 people (90%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: March 5
Basically, if you don't mind doing a little workaround to get it to run and you like strategy games where you summon monsters and cast spells and it doesn't bother you if it is from 2001, then you may well like this game.

Using Win7 64-bit initially the game kept crashing every 2 minutes so I checked the Community and learned to get it to run you need to run the game directly from the exe (default: Steam\Steamapps\common\Etherlords\Etherlords.exe) rather than hitting Play on Steam. You will also need to use the following compatibility settings on the exe: Disable visual themes, Disable desktop composition, Disable display scaling on high DPI settings, and Run this program as an administrator. Fortunately if you do all that you can then make a shortcut and not have to go through all that trouble more than once.

Anyway the game itself is complex but fun, it is like combination Turn-Based Strategy and Magic the Gathering. You have a base to defend and you can summon heroes who go out on the map to explore, fight, and capture to increase the variety of resources you have (the strategy part). The heroes in turn engage in battles with monsters or other heroes they come across, and the heroes do so by summoning their own creatures and casting spells from the spellbook you have them set with (the MTG part). They also get XP and levels from the fights in order to gain new skills.

Things get more complicated there since beyond the basics, you will need to purchase higher level spells from shops you find on the map but to do so you will need certain resources, of the specified varieties for the spell. Not only that but you will also need resources purchased at a different shop in order to even cast the spell in battle. That can make it a little frustrating since you might get a really cool new spell but not have the resources to cast it, or you may run out after using it a couple times. The battles are fun and fast-paced enough to keep it interesting and there is even an option to auto-battle if you feel impatient and the AI is decent enough to win unless you are at a disadvantage, and of course you can resume control at any time.

Some things you may not like, tooltips don't appear by hovering but instead by right-clicking so get used to doing that a lot. The tutorials consist of just blocks of text that appear the first time you click on something new and you will probably learn more by doing, or through the right-click tooltips. The camera is not always where you want it to be in battles and the default view has the minimap upside down so that was strange. Resource management gets in the way of enjoying new spells sometimes. The enemies are unfairly advantaged in that they do not seem to be as limited as you in their spells/resources. Also it's an older game so don't expect super graphics, but I will say the number of different monsters is cool and they look decent.
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11 of 17 people (65%) found this review helpful
3.1 hrs on record
Posted: February 16
First off do not let all the Crash ?? reviews and forums scare you off, its a minor problem, the game was just released on Steam so give it a few days, anyways, i have a thread up on a lot of help for game play and such. there is 2 PINNED threads on how to get the game working, the best thing i found was a a few posts from player that helped the best, The game Runs fine 0 problems for me and i am a major Noob to get anything to work. i just followed the steps and got full audio dialog etc. just you can not Alt/Tab or Tab/Shift out of the game its old school style still, and to take Screen shots its Print Screen and there stored in the game folder not on steam uploader like all the other games.

Turn based Strategy Tatics style game 7/10 for its style.

Any questions post them here or on my Thread
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8 of 15 people (53%) found this review helpful
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 18
I love this game for a long time, but I don't love having it crash every 20 minutes.
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13 of 26 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 13
This is a great card game in the vein of magic the gathering with open levels.

Unfortunately it is completely unplayable at the moment on Windows 7 and crashes constantly, until they release some form of patch to fix this I would have to say do not buy this game.
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
0.8 hrs on record
Posted: March 11
Bom jogo para quem gosta de jogo de turno, sobre o problema de congelar e travar o jogo, pode ser facilmente resolvido clicando diretamente no .exe do jogo no diretório da steam.
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 7
Unplayable on Windows 7
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27 of 56 people (48%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: February 13
I have been having similar issues as others where the game gets a few minutes in and then freezes and makes a loud buzzing/ticking noise. I am trying to find a solution myself but just something to be aware of for anyone interested in picking up this game.

The sequel however from what i can tell does not seem to suffer from this problem. so you have the option to skip over this one and play the sequel instead if you dont feel like risking it or trying to get it working.
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13 of 28 people (46%) found this review helpful
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 1
Etherlords is a combination of turn-based strategic war game and card based battle game (a la Magic the Gathering or Pokemon the Card Game). You can hold duels, but the main feature of the game is that of the campaign, a story played out either through the side of the peaceful Kinets and Vitals (the Kinets being very air-focused and Vitals being very earth-focused), or the war-like Chaots and Synthets (The Chaots focusing more on fiery themed attacks, and the Synthets being a death and sacrifice themed race).

In each campaign map, you control a set of heroes summoned from a castle to complete an objective, usually to move about the map making the heroes stronger with the main goal of destroying the enemy castle or castles.

The campaign for either side gets very hard very fast, even on easy, where the enemy heroes are more obviously "cheating" (i.e. they lose less of the battles than a human player). This seems to happen regardless of if you allow the computer to fight for you (a valid option in some cases) or if you tactically fight the battles out yourself. The enemy also seems uniquely equipped to contrast your attacks. If you have played the original Pokemon games, a good 80% of the battles with enemy heroes feel like the first battle with Professor Oak's grandkid, Gary.

This would be fine if the battles were active and interesting, but this is more of a slow, steady, slow burn game. So a battle, even a simple, normal one could take 20-40 minutes only to lose and have to reload from wherever you last saved. Also, because this is an older game, you must purposely save, or that 20 minute battle against a rat that went sour for your neophyte warriors will need to be fought again. And then you do it again on the next map with different heroes.

The strangest thing is the final battle, fought with a max level hero and any spells you want against a single foe, is meant to cap the story, but feels more like it was the intention behind the game all along; to have a single hero leveling up, gaining spells/cards and finally fighting a foe. As if the original plan for the game was more of an RPG card game hybrid.

All of the patience for a turn-based strategy and a turn-based card game without any real payoff in terms of story or continuing gains makes this a game I cannot recommend.
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1 of 4 people (25%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 1
Etherlords II is amazeballs, but this one is just weird, sometimes unballanced and wants too much to be like HoMM.
Please get the second game, you'll love it.
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7 of 23 people (30%) found this review helpful
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 6
Crashes everytime you load it, poor. Don't recommend.
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4 of 19 people (21%) found this review helpful
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 17
One big bull ♥♥♥♥ game is crashing every 10 minuts when im trying to conntact steam true support center i can't even log in on the website becouse after 30 times im still typing security code wrong?? fix the web site plx its imposible and im disapointed with this product.
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3 of 17 people (18%) found this review helpful
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: September 16
game's broken
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7 of 26 people (27%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 13
Constantly crashes.
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10 of 42 people (24%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: February 13
Hrm. Not sure about this one, since it crashed about 5 minutes in. I didn't even get through the tutorial. It did move all my windows around because the resolution is not adjustable (and also small). I'm just going to skip ahead to the sequel, since this one didn't impress me.
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0.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 3
I hade problems, the game dropped me out after 5-10min playtime, but I find out that if you turn off sound and music volume, the game keeps working, about 10min later I switched sound and music back on and game keep on working without any crashes. Yes and this all happened on 7th Win
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