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Worlds of Xeen Low-Spoiler Directory of Quests and other Cool Things

Worlds of Xeen was the high point of the Might and Magic series, in my opinion: a classic, old-school CRPG published just barely before really good 2D animation gave way to really crappy 3D animation (if you've been playing computer games for more than ten years, you'll remember that rocky transition with the same twinges I do.) Well, 3D animation has gotten good again, mercifully, but Xeen is still a good play.

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Frankly, this is not a game in desperate need of a walkthrough. Being as how it was in the aforementioned 2D, you aren't in any danger of missing something in the dark corner of your vision screen anywhere--once you're in a map square, you're in that map square, and you'll find whatever's there. Xeen is also an essentially bug-free game. For the most part, if you lawnmow diligently (i.e. use the automapper to ensure that you step in every map square), you will find everything in the game yourself without getting into any major trouble. Refreshing, in a way.

But my young son wants to play a computer game with me, and this one seemed to fit the bill. I was even able to find the map in my closet. So as long as I'm here anyway, I figured I'd take notes and slap 'em up on the web. Without further ado:

Worlds of Xeen Review
Worlds of Xeen Hints and Tips
Worlds of Xeen Walkthrough
Worlds of Xeen Walkthrough: Mid-Game
Worlds of Xeen Walkthrough: Late Game
Worlds of Xeen Walkthrough: Endgame
Swords of Xeen Walkthrough
Worlds of Xeen Cheats
World of Xeen Critique
World of Xeen Links (Patches, Trainers, Editors, Maps, and Forums)

Worlds of Xeen Hints and Tips

Worlds of Xeen is essentially one game, but due to some arcane marketing or production deadline issue, it was originally released in two parts: Clouds of Xeen and Darkside of Xeen. There was also a short add-on released later called Swords of Xeen. Today, all three of these games come bundled together and are installed simultaneously, so you can access all the areas in the game just as soon as your party can physically reach them. This changes gameplay a little bit--you can, and probably should, visit Castleview on the Dark Side before Winterkill on the Top Side. On the other hand, you can accidentally reach places way, way beyond your capabilities, since Darkside of Xeen was designed with a party that had already finished Clouds of Xeen in mind. Save before exploring any open pyramids. Save before entering any new city or dungeon, for that matter. The game is non-linear enough that a 4th-level party can easily wander into a 7th-level dungeon. Sometimes you can handle the extra challenge of that, and other times you can't. Don't be afraid to test yourself, but always make an easy reload an option.

Specific tips:

Character Classes: You can probably solve this game with any combination of classes you care to attempt it with--Worlds of Xeen is not especially challenging as far as combat is concerned, particularly if you're playing the combined game. It will be a more pleasant trip if you have a cleric, a sorcerer, and either a robber or a ninja somewhere in the mix, though. Any additional spellcasters are convenient for teleportation purposes (you can have one Lloyd's Beacon for each spellcaster, including paladins, archers and rangers--three or four beacons are definitely better than two). Theoretically it ought to be possible to solo this game, since there are no circumstances under which the party needs to split, both genders are necessary, or anything of that sort. Fewer than two spellcasters thwarts the aforementioned use of Lloyd's Beacon completely, however, and you'd have to really enjoy the challenge of going solo to put up with the inconvenience of trudging back and forth from every dungeon on foot.

Race and Gender: Irrelevant to gameplay, so go ahead and pick the least ugly portaits (mostly humans and gnomes, in my opinion, but your tastes may vary). There is a very slight early advantage to having a dwarf and a gnome in your party, since they begin with the Danger Sense and Spot Secret Doors skills, and humans save you a little early cash by not needing to be taught to swim. There are also some minor tactical differences, such as half-orcs having more hitpoints than elves; these are listed in the manual. However, there is no point in the game at which a member of a certain race is required or gets an extra quest.

Statistics: Don't spend a lot of time obsessively rerolling your characters' initial stats, unless you really enjoy doing this. You will get so many chances to improve each character's scores by 2 or 5 points at a pop that the difference between an initial 17 and 19 is well-nigh irrelevant. (In the late game, for example, you need to go from strength 75 to strength 100 before you see another +1 increase in ability.) The first town and surrounding wilderness is extremely easy, and there are permanent stat increasers in the very first dungeon. You can spread stat increases around however you want--building one super-stat for each character, distributing points evenly, or some combination of the two--but bear in mind that Intellect and Personality are only of use to casters of Sorcerer and Cleric spells, respectively. It will also be valuable for one of your characters to have an increasingly high strength as the game progresses, since there are crates and doors that can only be opened by a character with a high enough STR.

Game Setting: Choosing "adventurer" or "warrior" has no effect on your experience points earned, nor on any aspect of the gameplay other than combat. If you play on "warrior," monsters have more hit points and take longer to kill. This does make the game tougher, but also makes combat more tedious. It's not as if you get cool new monsters to fight, or the monsters have better AI, or even that there are more of them (which might force you to change your combat strategy). Each battle just takes longer. I've written my walkthrough from the "adventurer" setting, but if you're playing on "warrior," the only thing that will change is the increased amount of time it will take you to finish each area, the increased amount of resting you will have to do between battles, and the increased incentive to play the game in the standard order, since trying to slog your way through an area that's slightly high-level for your party will take forever.

Time Management: There are no time limits on any quest in the game; however, your characters do age. It's up to you how much you let this bother you. It's not like the "Phantasie" games, where a character from a short-lived race would actually die of old age before the adventure ended. (The trauma of that remains with me to this day, I'll have you know!) You can sleep after every encounter, laze around the countryside and take 20 years to finish the game; your characters will just be forty by the time you do. Or, you can be purposeful, efficient, sneer at camping, and finish the game inside of 5 years. It really depends on your personal gaming style. As in other Might and Magic games, training takes a week regardless of how many levels you advance, so if you put off training until you have five new levels ready to gain, you will save yourself a month of game time. Some gamers like to challenge themselves to finish the game as fast as possible (your score is also higher at the end if your completion time is smaller, though this affects nothing but your personal pride), so if you're one of them, don't go train until you absoutely have to.

Quests: This is an old-school game relying upon the principle of lawnmowing. You don't have to go up and down the countryside in neat rows, mind you, and unlike earlier Might and Magic games you don't have to worry about finishing one quadrant completely before starting the next; but you should be attempting to step in every map square once, since there are quests and quest items and goodies and other things to discover in many of them and you won't necessarily know that until you enter the square. The automap helpfully illuminates only those squares you have stepped in so that you aren't in danger of accidentally missing anything. Take advantage of this.

Fountains: Each character has to drink from a fountain individually to receive its benefits. Though most Might and Magic fans enthusiastically recommend fountain-buffing--running or portaling back and forth between fountains to boost all your characters to superhuman strength before taking on a tough opponent-- I've found this to be far more trouble than it's worth. Only a few of the most powerful fountains are worth wasting the time it takes for each character to drink from them, much less making a special trip to partake.

Temples: It's DEFINITELY worth it to run back and forth to a temple, or keep a Lloyd's Beacon there, though. By making a few cheap donations in a row, you will eventually be rewarded with a mega-blessing of just about every duration spell in the game. This makes your party about three times as powerful in combat. In the later game, you will actually be able to cast these spells yourself at a higher power level than the priests, but in the early game, pray early and often.

Money: As with most CRPG's, you start Worlds of Xeen out scrabbling for enough cash to buy a crossbow with and rapidly become richer than Croesus. However, unlike with most CRPG's, this does not mean you can slack off and stop worrying about money. As players of the later Might and Magic games will already know, training costs increase exponentially each time you gain a level. You can get up to level 250 in Worlds of Xeen... if you have the funds to keep training. I remember spending boring hours on the Darkside enchanting weapons for sale over and over again to raise cash for a training session, having carelessly squandered my wealth and left the countryside littered with discarded magic items I didn't want any more. Don't let this happen to you: during the fat middle of the game, when you have a couple of million gold pieces and no expenses in sight, bank any funds you're not using (interest rates on Xeen are outstanding) and continue selling dungeon loot as before. The flow of gold will dry up and reverse itself by the end of the game, and you'll be glad you saved for a rainy day.

Magic Items: Back when I first got this game, I was hypnotized by the inscrutable item system. I kept a diligent notebook of which adjective corresponded with which bonus. I still have that notebook, and I'm kind of torn about whether or not to spoil the magic item properties for you. It was a lot of fun figuring out the items' mysterious properties for yourself, and, for that matter, suddenly encountering a new helm material. ("Wow, obsidian? Really?") On the other hand, playing the game again, my only reaction is annoyance that the game can't be bothered to tell me I've found a suit of +2 chainmail and are really going to make me look it up on a chart to figure that out. So I've included the magic item spoilers on a separate page, and you can visit them there if you're so inclined. If you've never played the game before and think this might ruin any of your fun, please don't spoil yourself--the game is easily completable without this information.

Other Equipment: There was never anything hypnotic or charming about the ordinary equipment information being concealed from you, on the other hand. In fact, it is a real pain in the ass equipping and unequipping everything trying to figure out whether wearing a leather belt conveys any benefit anywhere or whether there's any difference between a cutlass, a long sword, and a wakizashi. (Answers: no, and not really.) So here's a list of the basic EQ in the game and the stats on them:

Body Armor
Robes+2 ACBest armor usable by sorcerers, druids or barbarians
Scale Armor+4 AC
Ring Mail+5 AC
Best armor usable by ninjas
Chain Mail+6 AC
Best armor usable by archers and robbers
Splint Mail+7 AC
Best armor usable by clerics and rangers
Plate Mail+8 AC
Plate Armor+10 ACBest armor usable by knights and paladins

Other Armor
Belt+0 AC
Gauntlets+1 AC
Boots+1 AC
Cape/Cloak+1 AC
Helm+2 AC
Shield+4 AC

You can use only one of each of these items. There is no difference between a cape and a cloak. Belts are useless unless they are enchanted. Archers, ninjas, sorcerers and druids can't use shields, so you should always get them packing the serious two-handed weapons from the list below.

Weapons, weakest to strongest
Club1-3 HP damage
Dagger2-4 HP damage
Cudgel1-6 HP damage
Hand Axe/Short Sword/Nunchakas2-6 HP damage
Maul1-8 HP damage
Staff (two-handed)2-8 HP damage
Spear, Cutlass, Mace2-8 HP damage (1-9 for the spear)
Flail1-10 HP damage
Hammer (two-handed)2-10 HP damage
Long Sword, Wakizashi, Sabre3-9 HP damage (4-8 for the sabre, 2-10 for the scimitar)
Trident (two-handed)2-12 HP damage
Broad Sword3-12 HP damage
Glaive (two-handed)4-12 HP damage
Katana4-12 HP damage
Battle Axe, Pike (two-handed)3-15 HP battle axe, 2-16 pike
Bardiche, Naginata (two-handed)4-16 HP bardiche, 5-15 naginata
Halberd (two-handed)3-18 HP damage
Grand Axe (two-handed)3-19 HP damage
Great Axe, Flamberge (two-handed)3-21 HP great axe, 4-20 flamberge

For all practical purposes there is no difference between a weapon that does 3-9 points of damage, one that does 4-8 points of damage, and one that does 2-10 points of damage. The average damage done with each blow is the same, and the amount of variance is totally irrelevant to the gameplay. The only issue here is which weapons each character can wield. This is spelled out explicitly in the manual, but the general rule is that knights and paladins can use everything; archers, rangers and barbarians can use everything but the oriental weapons; rogues can use everything but the oriental weapons and the flamberge; ninjas can't use the flamberge, poleaxes, or any NON-oriental swords; clerics can use everything but edged weapons; druids can't use swords, any polearms, or nunchakas; and sorcerers can only use clubs, daggers or staffs.

Missile Weapons, weakest to strongest
Sling2-4 HP damage
Short Bow3-6 HP damage
Crossbow4-8 HP damage
Long Bow5-10 HP damage

Clerics, druids, and barbarians can't use any of these weapons, but everyone else can use all of them.

Brooches, cameos, charms, medals, and scarabs+0 AC
Rings+0 AC
Necklaces, pendants and amulets+0 AC

These are all useless unless they are enchanted, so just sell them if they're not. For some reason each character can wear only two rings, only one necklace/pendant/amulet, but two medals et al.

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