|Altar of Battle|
|Spell Type||Town Enchantment|
|Any Normal Unit produced by the enchanted Town is created with 120 Experience Points, giving it a starting rank of Elite (with all the appropriate bonuses for that level).|
Altar of Battle must be targeted at a friendly Town. While it is in effect, every Normal Unit recruited in this city is created with exactly 120 Experience Points. This means that every unit produced here will start at the Elite Experience Level (or the highest level otherwise obtainable by these units). Mercenaries are not affected, even if the spell is cast on the capital, as they are not actually created by the town.
This effect lasts as long as its Upkeep Cost of 5 is paid every turn, or until it is dispelled or canceled manually.
Altar of Battle gives superior knowledge of combat to each Normal Unit produced in the enchanted Town, thus making them significantly more suitable for combat as soon as they are created - with no need to gain further experience during actual combat.
Experience Bonus Edit
While Altar of Battle is affecting a Town, each and every new Normal Unit produced here is bestowed 120 Experience Points upon creation, automatically raising the unit's level to the highest it can get (normally Elite).
This applies only to units created by the town itself (through the construction menu), and only to units created while the spell is in effect. Units created in this town earlier (or after the spell dissipates) do not get this bonus. Neither do units recruited into the city indirectly (i.e. Mercenaries hired at a Fortress Town).
Units created in the enchanted town may not gain any more experience - nor do they need to. They already enjoy the highest benefits from Experience that they can. They also never lose their experience (unless they die). This means that if Altar of Battle is dispelled, units that have already been granted experience by this spell do not revert to a lower experience level.
Altar of Battle and Town Buildings Edit
There are two different Town Buildings that perform a similar (but weaker) function as Altar of Battle. The Fighters' Guild, available to all Races, will grant 20 Experience Points to all new Normal Units produced there ( Regular Level); while the War College grants 61 Experience Points, which causes them to start as Veterans. However, the War College is only available to 7 out of the 14 Races. Either way, while Altar of Battle is in effect, it will supercede both of these buildings.
Nonetheless, it may not be a good idea to demolish these buildings. For one, the Fighters' Guild (or its next tier building, the Armorers' Guild) usually unlocks extra unit types for production, so destroying it would prevent those units from being created. Furthermore, Altar of Battle might need to be removed later on (or might be dispelled by a rival), at which point the above Buildings start providing Experience Points once again. The War College is also the most advanced military Building, the reconstruction of which is no trivial effort.
Crusade and Warlord Edit
The Crusade Global Enchantment and the Warlord Retort both add an extra Experience Level to each and every friendly Normal Unit in the world. This also pushes the boundaries on the highest obtainable Experience Level.
As a result, when either of these effects are in play, units produced in a town under the effect of Altar of Battle will instead start with the highest Experience Level allowed by these effects. With one of the above, this results in Ultra-Elite units, while the combination of both will yield Champion levels. Even one of these supernatural Experience Levels has a significant effect, making such units considerably stronger than Elite units of the same type. Therefore, wizards possessing either Crusade or the Warlord retort will find Altar of Battle even more beneficial.
Altar of Battle vs. Heroism Edit
The Heroism spell also increases a unit's Experience Level to Elite. However, it has some significant drawbacks compared to Altar of Battle.
Heroism does not grant Experience, it simply sets the unit's level to Elite until this is reached naturally. Because it is a Unit Enchantment, this only remains while the spell is in effect. If Heroism is dispelled or removed from the unit, it returns to whatever Experience Level it should have, based on its current number of Experience Points.
Heroism also only affects the single unit it was cast on. That is, to affect more than one unit, it has to be cast separately on all of those units, making it significantly less efficient both in terms of Casting and Upkeep Costs.
Finally, if cast in combat, Heroism does not benefit from the extra Experience Levels reachable through Crusade or Warlord, meaning that the enchanted units will still only be Elite, unlike what they would be when created in a city with Altar of Battle (or if Heroism was cast overland).
When the spell is cast, the game automatically opens a window showing the cityscape of the target town. A few moments later, a large glowing altar will appear amongst the other Town Buildings visible in the town view. The altar will remain in the town's information screen as long as the spell remains in effect.
At the start of each turn, the casting wizard must pay an Upkeep Cost of 5 to keep Altar of Battle active. Failure to pay this cost due to lack of available Mana will cause the spell to dissipate immediately.
Altar of Battle may be removed by its caster by examining the town's details and clicking the spell's name in the town's Enchantments list. The primary reason to do this would be in order to remove the spell's Upkeep Cost, thus conserving Mana for other spells.
As a Rare Life spell, Altar of Battle may become available to any Wizard who possesses at least 2 Spellbooks. However, its availability during the game is not guaranteed unless the Wizard acquires at least 10 Spellbooks.
Wizards with 2 to 9 Spellbooks have a random chance of being able to Research Altar of Battle during the game. The chance for this spell to appear for research increases with the number of Life Spellbooks the Wizard possesses or obtains during gameplay. With 10 or 11 Spellbooks, the spell is guaranteed to appear for Research at some point, if it is not already available for casting.
Altar of Battle has a base Research Cost of 1,300.
With at least 2 Spellbooks, the Altar of Battle spell may be acquired as a reward for winning encounters in creature Lairs, Towers, et cetera, or when conquering the Fortress of a rival wizard who has already researched this spell.
For any wizard relying primarily on Normal Units, Altar of Battle is one of the most useful spells there are. This is usually true for any wizard focusing on Life Magic, as they tend to have a lower proportion of Fantastic Units (many of their Unit Enchantments will only affect Normal Units anyway).
The new armies you create will be significantly stronger than the normal variety. Most importantly, Altar of Battle allows creating high-experience units in towns where the local race cannot produce a War College; in this case Altar of Battle is your only way to create high-experience units automatically - and it creates much better units than either the Fighters' Guild or War College could produce anyway!
If possible, try to cast Altar of Battle as early as possible. In the early game, Elite units (even low-tier ones!) can easily dominate your surrounding area, and pose a serious threat to any wizards unlucky enough to share a border with you. They'll be able to contend easily with early-game Fantastic Units summoned by your enemies.