Might and Magic: World of Xeen is the worlds of Might and Magic IV and V combined. I’ve completed it in record time for a Might and Magic game (at least for me), so now I want to write about it. I write a lot of deep stuff that feels smart for me right now, but will end up cringe worthy at some point in the future, but no one really cares about that. Instead, I’ll explain how the game works and then run you through the very first quest with the default party. I will also be updating and possibly adding some pages to the blog.
The story so far
Let’s do a summary of the story first.
In Might and Magic Book One: Secret of the Inner Sanctum a party of adventurers in the world of Varn seeks the fabled Inner Sanctum, which is supposed to be this Holy Grail type of thing, except it’s a place and not a thing. Through their explorations, following a famous explorer called Corak, they find a crashed alien ship that was chasing an escaped criminal to Varn. They discover the prisoner, named Sheltem was posing as King Alamar and defeat him. During the process, they discover Varn is actually V.A.R.N., which is short for Vehicular Astropod Research Nacelle. It’s a giant biosphere space ship, created by the Ancients, who both Corak and Sheltem, in a way, belong to. Sheltem escapes from V.A.R.N. to the C.R.O.N. (Central Research Observational Nacelle) hub world.
In Might and Magic Book Two: Gates to Another World, the same party of adventurers follows Sheltem to Cron. There, they discover Corak to be dead, but manage to resurrect him. With his help and with the help of others, they recover a powerful artifact and even travel to time to help the local king defeat a powerful dragon.
Along the way, they track down Sheltem again and discover CRON and all of its VARNs are heading towards the planet Terra, to be implanted in the ecosystem there. Sheltem escapes Terra before the party or Corak catch him, but programs CRON and the VARNs to collide with the Sun. The party prevents this, but gets killed in the process, or at least I believe this was the case.
In Might and Magic III: Isles of Terra, a new group of adventurers, native to Terra, through their actions, shifts the balance of power between three kings. While doing this, they uncover a series of ancient devices created by the ancients and learn about Corak chasing Sheltem across the worlds. Sheltem is actually the AI assigned to guard and protect Terra, but as this usually goes, it went rogue and turned on its creators – the Ancients. He went mad and destroyed a VARN (not the one from Book One), tried to destroy CRON and all the other VARNS and planned to control and change Terra, probably for the worse. They eventually find Corak fighting Sheltem, chasing him off-world and instructing the party to follow both of them. They enter a ship and launch.
In Might and Magic IV and V: World of Xeen, Sheltem and Corak land on the Darkside of Xeen. Corak is trapped in stasis on his ship, but Sheltem manages to go free and, posing as King Alamar, success at taking control of Darkside from its guardian, the Dragon Pharaoh. XEEN (Xylonite Experimental Expansion Nacelle) is a disc world with a biosphere and gravity on both sides. The party of adventurers from Isles of Terra lands on the wrong side – the Cloud Side. Their ship burns up in the atmosphere, but Corak communicates and instructs them how to use the teleport system to land on the ground safely.
On Cloudside, they discover a villain naming himself Lord Xeen is keeping the overseer, Crodo, captive at his tower. Through a series of accomplishments, they gain access to the tower and defeat Lord Xeen.
They also meet Queen Kalindra and are told she is supposed to marry Prince Roland of Darkside, but he is being held captive by King Alamar. They turn to Darkside and, per instructions given by the Dragon Pharaoh, free Corak, who helps them finally defeat Sheltem once and for all, but sacrifices himself in the process. Roland and Kalindra get married and all ends well.
What’s new in World of Xeen
Note: This is an addition to the comparison I did in the posting Might and Magic III: Looking Back. There, I compared the first three games, so in this section, I’ll continue that comparison with World of Xeen.
Might and Magic: World of Xeen uses the same engine Isles of Terra used, but the graphics are slightly and the interface is greatly improved upon. Both Might and Magic IV: Clouds of Xeen and Might and Magic V: Darkside of Xeen were released close to each other, but they were still released and made as separate games. World of Xeen is simply a feature that combines them into a meaningful whole. Since they were made separately, there’s a slightly funny consequence of this. The monster graphics differ in the two worlds, though the monsters are named the same.
The class list remains the same and the idea is that you play as the same set of adventurers from Isles of Terra. We have the Barbarian, Knight, Paladin, Ninja, Robber, Ranger, Archer, Cleric, Druid and Sorcerer. There are no hirelings. Six characters is all you get in World of Xeen.
The spell schools also remain the same, but some new spells are added. The two most notable ones are Day of Sorcery and Day of Protection. The first is a Sorcery and the second a Clerical spell. Both are costly in their SP requirement, but both have no competition among other spells in how useful and time-saving they are. The point of these spells is the cast all of the protective and utility magic of their respective schools in a single cast. Since the spell list is sorted alphabetically this time, it also means the spells are quickly and easily found. I can’t stress enough how happy I was about this addition.
Spells are still taught in guilds and guild membership needs to be bought. The difference is, the guild master is now always somewhere in town, so there’s no need to look for him in dungeons.
Enemies are still part of the world. There are re-spawn times in some places now, meaning there will always be enemies to fight. It’s well-balanced and didn’t bother me at any point while playing through World of Xeen.
You can save as you please now, even in multiple slots, but there’s still no loading during combat for some reason.
Age works the same way as in Isles of Terra. There’s natural and unnatural age and in order to cure it, there are quest chains that need to be completed. Since these were originally two games, there are two quest chains, one for each side of Xeen. The Cloudside quest is less convenient and age doesn’t really cause issues Cloudside, so the Darkside Quest will probably be used and abused more.
The auto-map is about the same as it was in Isles of Terra. Other improvements to the interface now definitely make it manageable to complete the game without drawing maps and even with taking very few notes in general. In fact, I’ve completed the game this way and I did it relatively quickly. One great feature is that you can click on the map to toggle the fog of war. With Wizard Eye, you can see it as fully explored, but clicking on it while Wizard Eye is active will cover the tiles you haven’t stepped on yet. This ended up being key to make exploration easy and straightforward and completely removed the need for me to draw maps.
Not all towns are equal this time around. Each side of Xeen has one or two large towns, 32 by 32 in size, with all the services a town offers. The rest are smaller, 16 by 16 and only have one or two of the usual services.
The inventory now has categories for weapons, armor, accessories and consumables.
Quest items take up special room, so there’s less clutter there to. Sadly, items can still be broken. This annoying feature didn’t go away.
Generally speaking, world building, if that’s the proper way to call it, has been improved upon. The play style is mostly the same – explore everything and watch the game slowly unravel, but it’s definitely more directed now. There are proper quests all around the world, there’s more dialogue (or monologue, since you don’t really say anything, just listen to the NPCs) and you almost always know what your tasks are. There are many, many more quests in the game now than there ever was before.
A great new addition is the auto-note tool which records information that might be important to the player, such as locations of stat-boosting fountains, cryptic messages, passwords, etc. I found myself having to take very few of these notes myself, but I still wrote down other stuff, such as trainer locations, etc. A slight annoyance is that the interface remains slow to scroll, so once you have a lot of notes, it becomes tedious to find the correct one.
I’ll also say that World of Xeen seems to be designed around keys. Almost every dungeon and place in the game needs a Key before you can enter it. You usually find the key as part of a quest or from some other dungeon, so the game directs you from easier to more difficult areas this way.
Another fun addition is the player-affected hub. In Clouds of Xeen, you can buy a deed to a castle. You upgrade this castle, adding better stuff to it, even services such as a Temple arena or a Blacksmith’s Shop. In Darkside, you don’t build your own castle, but you do restore queen Kalindra’s Castle bit by bit, also eventually adding services to it. Both of these castles are critical for the plot and need to be restored in order to complete the game. Both are also restored by gathering items scattered throughout their respective worlds. For Newcastle, these are King’s Mega Credits, which you take to King’s Builders. For Queen Kalindra’s castle, they are Energy Discs, which you take to a wizard.
Finally, the game adds proper animated scenes. There aren’t many, but they add some very nice flavor to it. There’s also more voiced audio than in Isles of Terra.
How did the game go for me?
I recreated my standard party. Lorelei remained a Knight, Percival a Paladin, Alan and Aleen a Cleric and a Sorceress, but Rax was now a Ninja and Robin was a Ranger. Going with Ninja ended up being a good choice. I had enough Thievery to get through most of the game and I actually couldn’t teach it to any other character, so there was an actual need for having it covered.
Unlike the first three games, I tried to spread the stats around this time, so everyone was useful in fights. This felt nice and it was very refreshing to have everyone do decent damage and help out.
Initially, I thought I need to play through Cloudside and Darkside in parallel. I cleared Vertigo, the first town of Cloudside and then went to Darkside in order to clear Castleview. I actually mostly succeeded, but it ended up being much, much harder than Vertigo.
Eventually, I decided to focus on Cloudside first. Pretty soon, within a few days of real time, I defeated Lord Xeen and won the first part of the game, with my party being below level 20.
Then, I started focusing more on Darkside and slowly and methodically explored it. The place is much harder, so I’ve hit the difficulty wall plenty of times, going back to different areas and trying to figure out which of them are level-appropriate.
I’ve completed Darkside at around level 50, I think, but then the endgame started.
There was more content that joined the two games. The difficulty went up even further and when all that was finally good and done, I was at around level 100.
Through all of this, I had to resort to Google extremely rarely and even those rare instances felt unnecessary once I got the correct info and realized how obvious it actually was. I didn’t draw a single map because the graphical and interface improvements made navigating the world easy enough without them.
I took a lot of notes, though, because I still have a dream of one day writing a guide. In all honesty, though, I don’t think I’ll ever have to do that. World of Xeen, unlike the first three games, especially the first two, is very well documented. There really is no need to write more guides. The only useful information I could give would probably be advice on what to expect and how to approach the game, so I might eventually do that.
Let’s play through Vertigo
We will be doing this with the default party. I played my original game with my custom party, named as I usually name them, but all of the games in the serious don’t really make heavy demands on the initial part. As long as you have all the roles covered, you’ll be fine.
Other options include watching the intro and ending scenes of both games. Of course, you can’t watch the endings until you actually complete the games. Let’s begin.
What’s this? Difficulty options?
I actually completely forgot about this. All I know is I picked warrior. Adventurer is easier, I guess. Warrior wasn’t that difficult either.
We’re in Vertigo. The green thing in the distance is the first enemy, the Slime. It’s easy to dispose of. What we don’t see is that the door to Lady Geraldine’s Tavern is behind us. For some reason, enemies don’t seem to enter it, so we could hide in there if we’re cowardly. We aren’t.
We aren’t dumb either. We use the bow icon to shoot an arrow at it and it dies in one hit. Now we can go to the Tavern.
We can just walk forward, since the door isn’t locked. If it were, we’d need to bash it, damaging the first two players and succeeding if they have enough Might, or we could pick the lock with the Robber or Ninja, hoping they don’t trigger a trap. We enter.
What’s this? Where’s the usual interface?
The buildings in World of Xeen are actual buildings you can explore. In this case, there are bedrooms, since the tavern also serves as an inn, and tables with tavern patrons sitting around them.
Tavern gossip actually relates to the area you’re in. Joe is a name we’ll soon hear more of.
To get to the usual tavern interface, we need to find the bar.
Clicking on it or pressing space shows the tavern interface. Any other service building will have the same white stone slab.
As you can see, taverns and inns have been joined into one in World of Xeen, which makes sense and creates room for other stuff in town.
There isn’t much we can do in the tavern at the moment. Instead, let’s get out and find the mayor. For some reason, he lives in a tent.
He does have a quest for us, though.
Welcome to Vertigo.
Sadly, most of the population has left, because the town is infested with pests. A couple years ago, I hired Joe, the exterminator to rid the town of this menace, but the problem seems to be getting worse. Perhaps you could help.
Perhaps we could indeed.
By the way, notice the square at the top right of the screen, with Might and Magic written on it. Usually, there would be an auto-map there, but the starter party doesn’t have the skill required to show it. Let’s remedy that.
This is the place.
Any one, actually. One character is enough.
And now we can easily see where the heck we are.
What else is there to do in this town?
The blacksmith didn’t change much from the previous game. His offerings change periodically, but there won’t be much worth buying once the party clears a couple of dungeons. His store has something else that’s interesting.
These cases contain random items. They might not be upgrades, but they can be worth selling. Any thief can steal from them safely, but attempting it with a non-thief will throw the party in prison for a year.
Might and Magic veterans should be familiar with magic mirrors. They can transport you somewhere, based on the keyword you provide. Towns work, but some other words work to. There’s also a few secret ones that take you to special places.
The training arena didn’t change either. The maximum training level for Vertigo is 10.
The Temple of Slime offers typical temple services. Nothing of note. There doesn’t seem to be a donate to all temples quest line in this game, but donating is still worth it for the protections you gain.
The bank also remains unchanged. You can deposit gold and gems and you gain interest at the end of each week.
Accessing guild services requires membership.
The tent of the guild master is in plain sight, at the main town street.
Each town in Clouds of Xeen has a well that’s poisonous in some form. Solving the town’s quest restores it so it starts giving beneficial effects to the drinker. This town’s quest is to solve the pest problem. This is something Joe, the Exterminator was supposed to do.
He lives next door to Mylo. As you enter his home, a Doom Bug and a Slime attack you. How embarrassing for an exterminator.
We’ve explored most of the town now, so it’s time to go do the thing we’re here for. We go to the north.
Oh dear. Zippo tried to pick an lock on the door and the trap knocked her out. Luckily, her armor didn’t break and a single cast of First Aid by Rebecca restores her.
Joe is a suspicious character, so it’s time to check out what his extermination tools are.
Oh dear! Did that just come out of Joe’s Storeroom?
And there’s more monsters inside to. Some of them are even packed in crates. Some crates contain items, some doom bugs. Unlike chests, crates are never locked, but they require a minimum amount of Might to open.
Inside the crate, you find a piece of paper that reads:
Breeder Slimes, 1 mated pair 287
5 Doom Bugs at 145 each 725
Total: 1012 gold.
It appears that Joe has been buying monsters and distributing them around town! Mayor Gunther will want to hear about this.
Well, that explains it. Time to speak to the mayor.
Thank you for cleaning up Vertigo and discovering Joe’s treachery. Now it makes sense why the extermination of the pests was taking so long. I present you with the outstanding citizenship award and this treasure.
Oh, one more thing.
I have received a message from the dwarves who reside in the Red Dwarf Range. They have urgently requested help and promise great reward to whoever is brave enough to come. Apparently, their mines have been invaded by the Mad Dwarf Clan, preventing them from mining. Help them and report back.
For this, we get 5000 experience, 4000 gold and 50 gems. This is miles above the total experience we would get for killing all the monsters in Vertigo. It’s enough to buy a level or two for each character in the party.
Joe is out out of business…
…and the town well is in business.
We can continue exploring Vertigo, possibly finding some items and making the town safer, or we can go outside, into the wilderness. The mayor wants us to help the dwarves, so we might do that, but that would be out of the scope of this report.
Before I end it, though, let me show the early moments of exiting to the wilderness.
This is us right now.
The copy protection in action. Since I own the GOG version, I refer to a PDF that was supplied with the game. It just so happens that the word the game asks in this case is incorrect in the reference. Luckily, after 3 mistakes, we can try again with a different word.
This is the wilderness.
If we turn to the west and follow the edge of the mountains, we will some Orcs to fight and the entrance to the Dwarven Mines, where we would usually go next if this was just Clouds of Xeen. Though there are more options in any case, there’s one particular option related to the World of Xeen and the Darkside I want to show.
This is a transport pyramid that takes us to the town of Castleview, on Darkside. There are more such pyramids and they all take us to the same place. There’s also one on the other side that takes us back here.
Using the pyramid for the first time triggers the tie-in quest line for World of Xeen.
Ah! I sense that you are the ones! While gathering herbs in the woods near the edge of the world, I came upon this here orb. It was lying in a small crater, as though it had fallen a great distance and yet survived the impact.
I know this object must be terribly important, but I am not the one to take care of it. Perhaps you can take it to Ellinger in his tower in this town. He will surely know what to do with it.
And we’re in Castleview, Darkside of Xeen. It’s much more dangerous here, so good luck to us.
I won’t be showing any more than this. Hopefully, someone will have found the information at least interesting, if not useful.
Get two melee characters. One can be a Knight or a Barbarian, the other should probably be a Paladin.
Get a thief character. Ninja is probably the better choice here. You do need a thief character, though. Unlike Isles of Terra, there is no way for anyone else to learn Thievery in World of Xeen. There’s a learn-all place for skills, but it doesn’t include Thievery.
Get a Cleric. You’ll need one and I don’t think the Paladin can do it all on their own.
Get a sorcery character. An archer could probably take that role if you boost his stats properly, but a Sorcerer will probably do better.
The last one can be whatever you want them to be. Take a Druid or a Ranger just to have Nature magic, but you don’t really need it, so you can actually take anyone you want.
There are no hirelings now. Six characters is all you’ll get.
Play order in World of Xeen
Play through Cloudside first. You can easily defeat Lord Xeen without ever visiting Darkside. That being said, once you’re about level 10 or so, you can visit the early parts of Darkside if you want. You probably should go much further in Darkside before Cloudside is cleared, though.
There isn’t much else to it. Follow the quests and you’ll get through.
How to reverse aging in Clouds of Xeen?
Visit the four druids in the proper order. It’s as simple and potentially as tedious as that.
The Spring Druid is at E3, 3-14, The Summer Druid is at B2, 1-10, the Autumn Druid is at C2, 15-9 and the Winter Druid is at A3, 6-1. You need to visit them in order, starting from the Summer Druid, I believe. Once you get to the Spring Druid, aging will be reversed.
How to reverse aging in the Darkside of Xeen?
Restore the Fountain of Youth. Once you do, you can just drink from it to reverse aging.
To do this, go to the fountain, at the Venom Pond in F4. Speak to Thaddeus (6-7) and he will give you the quest to retrieve the Jewel of Ages to restore the fountain, as well as the Key to the Great Southern Tower, where the thieves who stole the Jewel are. Go there and you’ll discover the artifact was sold to the Great Eastern Tower.
The Key to the Great Eastern Tower is in Sandcaster at 30-1, in a chest.
To enter Sandcaster, you need a pass. Go to B3, 7-1 and talk to Vespar. He needs his emerald handle recovered from E3, 13-5. For this, he will give you the pass.
So once again, in order:
- Go to B3, 7-1 and get quest from Vespar. Find the handle at E3, 13-5, return it and get the pass to Sandcaster
- Go to Sandcaster (E3, 4-12) and find the Key to the Great Eastern Tower at 30-1.
- Go to the Venom Pond. Get the quest for the Jewel of Ages and the Key to the Great Eastern Tower from Thaddeus (F4, 6-7).
- Go to the Great Southern Tower (D4, 2-7), explore it fully and found out the Jewel is in the Great Eastern Tower. This can likely be skipped.
- Go to the Great Eastern Tower (F3, 9-9) and recover the Jewel of Ages.
- Return the Jewel t Thaddeus to restore the Fountain of Youth.
Completing this game marks the end of an era. Might and Magic: World of Xeen is the last of the Might and Magic games in this style. Might and Magic VI will play differently, to heavily understate it. From what I hear, it also marks the finale of the Sheltem arc.
In my opinion, the early games were getting better with every iteration and World of Xeen is the peak of what Might and Magic was for me up to this point. It was a truly enjoyable experience. It’s even more enjoyable knowing that I have it all documented.