An Artificer starts the game with two additional spells in his spellbook: Enchant Item and Create Artifact, meaning that he may begin Crafting Items right from the start - much earlier than other wizards. The Casting Cost of both these spells is also reduced by 50%, making it possible to create plenty of powerful items quickly.
The delicate art of creating Magical Items involves carefully inserting magical energy into the item in a specific way, meant to give that item super-natural abilities of various kinds. This process is both costly and time-consuming, and becomes even more-so as the intended strength of the item increases. Even the skill of creating any Magical Item at all is one that must be studied at length to enable even basic mastery.
The Artificer, however, has already mastered this skill, and is so adept at it that he can conserve a great deal of the Mana that is usually consumed in the process. In fact, Artificers may create incredibly powerful items at low costs almost as soon as they begin their quest for power. To capitalize on this rare skill, the Artificer will likely be hiring a slew of powerful Heroes to carry these items and benefit from their supreme power, conquering the world in his glorious name.
Item-Making Spells by Default Edit
At the start of the game, the Artificer receives two free Arcane magic spells: Enchant Item and Create Artifact. Whereas most wizards have to research these spells before they can create any Magical Items, the Artificer does not need to research either spell and can can them at any time.
This allows the Artificer to make items for his Heroes right off the bat. The availability of Create Artifact (which may take some wizards many many turns to acquire) allows the Artificer to create some very powerful items rather early on - assuming sufficient Mana can be acquired for the task.
Note: If the Artificer Retort is acquired after game-start (as a reward for winning a difficult Encounter), the two spells are NOT added to your available repertoire. They must still be Researched as normal before they can be used!
Item Spell Cost Reduction Edit
Artificer also grants a 50% reduction in the Casting Cost of the Enchant Item and Create Artifact spells. Since the cost of these spells is determined entirely by the item and its bonuses, this means cutting the price of any magically-created item by half.
In other words, the base price of the item as well as the price of adding any bonuses and Item Powers is exactly halved. This means that any item will cost half as much Mana and take half as long to create, compared to an identical item made by a non-Artificer wizard.
Note that while the item's creation cost has been lowered, the resulting item's value is not halved. An item's value is important when smashing said item to recover Mana, in which case you gain 50% of the value of the item back. Thus, since the item cost half of its value to create, and would return half of its value when smashed, it means that Artificers do not lose any Mana when smashing items - they get exactly as much as they spent on the item. Of course, they are not compensated for the time they spent creating the item.
- For example, a Sword (base cost 100) with +10% To Hit (costs +400), an attack bonus of +1 (costs +50), and the Elemental Armor item power (costs +500) will normally cost a total of 1,050, which is comparable to the cost of summoning a single top-tier Fantastic Unit. This is not affordable until at least the mid-game, and could take several dozen turns to cast early on.
- The Artificer, on the other hand, will create the same exact item for exactly half as much Mana, which is 525. This is roughly equivalent to the cost of summoning a mid-tier Fantastic Unit.
- The final item's value is 1050, regardless of which wizard had created it. If this item is smashed, it will reimburse the wizard with 525. The Artificer, in this case, has been fully reimbursed, while other wizards have only received half of their Mana back.
Artificer and Runemaster Edit
- Main article: Hero Strategy
- The Runemaster Retort provides a 25% reduction to the item creation cost by way of its general discount on all Grey spells. But it is critical to note that the Runemaster and Artificer bonuses are additive to each other. Therefore, a wizard possessing both Retorts will have a total of 75% reduction of the cost of any item they create.
- This creates an opportunity for an interesting exploit. Since an item costs only 25% of its normal cost, but can be smashed for a 50% reimbursement on its normal cost, it means that an item can be created and immediately smashed to gain actual profit, equal to 25% of its total value.
- For example, on the first turn of play an Artificer-Runemaster can begin crafting a cheap "+2 Sword," which has a base casting value of 200, but this wizard needs only invest 50 to make it. This item yields 100 when smashed, meaning he recoups the cost and gets a profit of 50.
- This can be done with any value of item, and usually generates a 1-for-1 profit — 1 Mana Crystal per 1 point of Spell Casting Skill devoted to the item. Items where the base cost is not a multiple of 4 lose a single point of to rounding: a "+1 Sword" will cost 38 and only breaks for 75. The most expensive item that can possibly made with Create Artifact costs a whopping 11,800 (a Staff with Chaos, +20 Spell Casting Skill, Phantasmal, and Mass Invisibility x4). It can be cast for 2,950 with these retorts and smashed on the anvil for 5,900.
- Artificer-Runemasters will likely spend much of their time accumulating Mana this way, in effect giving a Mana income equal to his or her Spell Casting Skill. Typically it is best to create items that can be finished quickly, as any Mana spent is lost if the spell is canceled or negated, but larger items can be useful to cut down on management.
Cost and Prerequisites Edit
When creating a new Wizard, the Artificer Retort consumes only one pick. It has no prerequisites.
With earlier, faster and cheaper creation of Magic Items, the Artificer may equip his Heroes with beneficial equipment early on. He will do well to gather many Heroes to take advantage of this, and may want to invest in Champions whenever they become available, exactly for these purposes.
Since item creation is so cheap, it is also far less costly to "tailor" items specifically to the Heroes you have, covering their weaknesses and improving their strengths. This can ultimately make even low-tier Heroes very effective. Fledgling Heroes thus become combat-worthy shortly after recruiting them, and eventually any Hero can be decked with a full complement of high-end items to make him/her devastatingly powerful in the late-game.
This increases strategic dependence on Heroes but may easily turn them into an unstoppable force!