Summary: My opinion of this game may be a bit biased because I am a longtime fan of the original Warlords. My only complaint about the game is that there are a few minor game play glitches, specifically dealing with some aspects of troop movements, otherwise it would have recieved a 5 star rating. I highly recommend that you download the 1.05 patch. It corrects a lot of bugs that the developers missed (back in 2003?) due to a rush job to get the game out: i.e.
Summary: This game isn't as bad as some of the other reviews say (especially once you get the patch), but I would agree that it's not great. The main problem is that they removed some of the nicest features from previous versions of the game: 1. No more "King of the Hill" feature. To win, you have to capture every other enemy capital. That gets pretty boring once you've established an invincible supply chain.
Summary: This game went wrong in a lot of ways. Warlords III: Reign of Heroes and Dark Lords Rising were awesome games, nearly perfect in their execution. Warlords: Battlecry II was also in itself an incredible game. Along comes Warlords IV, which tries to mix the two games, and fails miserably. Most of the cool features from Warlords III are gone, apparently in the name of "simplification".
Summary: My bottom line is that if you want a more engaging and more appealing turn-based fantasy strategy game, go for Disciples II. The only draw-back of Disciples is that there are only five races (human, undead, demon, dwarves, and elves). Warlords have more. My biggest gripe about Warlords IV is the animation and the graphic; it's really bad. I suggest you download both demo of Warlords and Disciples and compare the artwork and gameplay.
Summary: I am still undecided about this game. I've only put about 10-15 hours into it so far, but had put hundreds (possibly thousands) of hours into Warlords 2, 3, and 3 Dark Lords Rising. For the most part, what it offers is impressive and visually pleasing. Once you get into it more, you realize that it actually has fewer features. Kind of like how Heroes of Might and Magic IV lost a ton of features, only not quite so bad.
Summary: I've been playing Warlords since the original game came out. I actually still play the original every once in awhile. Every new version of the game improved on the concept with the exception of Warlords 4. This is about 1/2 the game it should be. There are so many things missing, most notably diplomacy, that simply ruin this game. I honestly believe they ran out of money to make the game. Warlords and Heroes of Might and Magic are my favorite series of all time.
Summary: Warlords 4 is a solid turn-based fantasy wargame in which you can play 10 different races and create a warlord character that you can take with you in either a campaign of linked scenarios, random maps, skirmishes or multiplayer. Gameplay is simple to learn and unlike many real-time strategy games, you don't have to manage an economy or build resources. Cities build your combat units and generate income to maintain your armies of up to 8 units each.
Summary: What a waste. I really liked the previous Warlords products and played them all. I was expecting some great things from this version. Especially when I found that it would not work properly because it required DX9. Wow! DX9! It must have some spectacular effects. So I upgraded my graphics card (since my old one didn't support DX9) and finally installed the game. Ho hum. Graphics were dull in most parts. Nothing really exciting about them.