I notice they have Majesty Gold HD on Steam as well for 10 bucks. The original did better in the review at Gamespot when I checked by quite a bit. Is that still worth it as well or is it obsoleted pretty much by the newer one? I wonder if they didn't highlight these games and put the newer one on sale where there's a new tower defense game release set in the Majesty world that's also on the main page on Steam.
I guess they are celebrating the release of Defenders of Ardania by having this sale. Anyway, in regards to the original Majesty titles:
The two games are quite different. While the core ideas are the same, the gameplay is vastly different, and in my opinion, the original game is considerably better. That is not to say that Majesty 2 is a bad game, Majesty 1 is one of my all time favourite RTSs, but it just fails to live up to the glory that is Majesty 1.
The main thing that makes Majesty 1 so much better is hero personalities. All hero classes in Majesty have distinct personalities, and will react very differently to different situations (a brave paladin will stand fast, a cowardly rogue will flee, unless there is a large reward attached to the target, at which point its greed might overcome its common sense, a stupid warrior of discord will usually forget to buy healing potions, not realize that it is horribly wounded and die in battle). In Majesty 2 there is a slight difference in their personalities, but it is not nearly as noticeable, and the heroes also seem to lack any real ability to do things on their own (they will attack things that gets into the base, and from time to time go out and hunt, but in Majesty 1 the rangers would explore the map on their own, rogues would go out and steal from the monster lairs, paladins would hunt down monsters and their lairs, and stupid warriors of discord would challenge dragons and die).
Majesty 1 is also a far more relaxed game, the difficulty goes up as the game goes by, but it never reaches unmanageable levels, and overall I find the game incredibly relaxing to play. Majesty 2's difficulty curve on the other hand is very steep, and its first two expansions are downright brutal. Monster Kingdom eases down a little, and is worth playing, even for someone who is not a die-hard Majesty 2 player.
One thing that Majesty 2 does better is balance. All heroes are worth their price, and as you don't have to make any real choices in regards to what to build (you can have representatives from all different guild types, while in Majesty 1 there are guilds that will exclude other guilds, the forces of order don't want to fight side by side with the forces of discord, barbarians don't like the other religions, elves don't like dwarfs and gnomes, dwarfs don't like elves and gnomes), you don't have to worry about slightly sub-optimal choices. The forces of order are, in single player, better than the forces of discord in Majesty 1. Though not so much better that you can't win by making the "wrong" choice. And your choices in one level won't affect later levels, so don't be afraid of experimenting.
Thanks very much for that detailed feedback. I think I'm going to just wishlist the first game in the series. It'll probably be discounted in the Summer sale on Steam. I don't enjoy brutal difficulty in games. It just puts me off.