Regular units being "promoted" to Heroes

By on November 4, 2008 11:22:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Martok

Join Date 02/2002
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While I'm not fond of the game overall, one feature from Rome Total War that I've always liked was that lowly Captains (who had no special abilities or attributes) could -- after winning a few battles -- sometimes be promoted to General and join your faction's family. 

 

I would love to see something like this in Elemental.  For example, perhaps a basic infantry unit leading a small army might accru enough battle experience that eventually he "transforms" into a full-fledged Hero.  In many ways, this would feel a lot more natural than hiring some wandering NPC who's looking for dungeons to loot (not that I'd want to get rid of wandering NPC's either). 

 

Thoughts?  Comments? 

 

 

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November 4, 2008 11:45:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like it.  As I'm currently in the middle of Steven Erikson's "Malazan Empire" books, I think that it'd be a great mechanic if after a disastrous campaign, the one up-side to your defeat would be the fact that the handful of surviving units (who have made it through hell) might now yield heroes that you could then put in charge of your green recruits.  Or maybe they would be pissed off with you enough to go off and join a rival faction...

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November 5, 2008 4:48:43 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

hmm,"give me a sack of gold, or I'll go join the others" kinda event, when a unit levels up enough to get "hero" status? I like it...

But, they should be somewhat poor heroes, compared to the "normal" ones, as I see it. I'd still love to be able to hire some truly famous heros with lots of interesting abilities - a few of those, and more of the levelled up kind of heroes

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November 5, 2008 6:02:04 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Great idea.

In games like, say, Red Alert, your units have 3 ranks that they can advance through. It would be awesome if Elemental had a similar "promotion system", where the highest rank would mean that your character turns in to a hero. Of course it has to be a VERY large gap between the highest military rank and the hero rank, so that you'll get somewhere around 2 heroes per game. It would be awesome if you could then name the hero, or at least give him a rank. Kinda like "Zamul of the Silver Sun" or something cheesy like that. Something that RTS and 4X games always lack, is the feeling of connection between you and your characters. If you could bring a hero up from the start, it would be really awesome. If you then could save that hero, and have a chance to randomly stumble upon him in another game, now THAT would be epic. Some customization of this hero along the lines of GalCiv's ship customization would make the awesomeness complete.

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November 5, 2008 8:54:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Games like fantasy wars do it the righ tway I think : at level up a unit gain 1 point in attack/defense etc.. AND a feat you can choose. In fantasy wars a unit level 5 is always a force to reckon with.

Or a bit like in civilization : if you do lot of research you have a higher chance that magician will come toi your land. If you build lots of armies you'll have a greater chance to attract générals.

And why not if you build lots of "nature" buildings you attract easily beast heroes (or mythical beasts)?

 

Anyway, whenever the player has choices in their units/heroes evolution, it's always better.

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November 5, 2008 9:11:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

An interesting idea certainly. While it would probably create somewhat "faceless" heroes, I suppose that would still be neater than just having a unit with Elite experience. Then again, I do like my companies of elite knights as well. This is, of course, assuming that normal heroes are like those in MOM, where they have a feeling of personality and uniqueness to them. Despite having no backround or such, a simple name and a portrait brings a huge amount of joy and a feeling that they indeed are unique heroes.

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November 5, 2008 9:15:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the idea.

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November 5, 2008 9:34:12 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tiavals,
An interesting idea certainly. While it would probably create somewhat "faceless" heroes, I suppose that would still be neater than just having a unit with Elite experience. Then again, I do like my companies of elite knights as well. This is, of course, assuming that normal heroes are like those in MOM, where they have a feeling of personality and uniqueness to them. Despite having no backround or such, a simple name and a portrait brings a huge amount of joy and a feeling that they indeed are unique heroes.

It shouldn't be too hard to just change the portrait of your unit with another one took in an "elite-portrait-pool", and a message that would ask you the new name of the unit.

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November 5, 2008 9:37:54 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting vieuxchat,

It shouldn't be too hard to just change the portrait of your unit with another one took in an "elite-portrait-pool", and a message that would ask you the new name of the unit.

Sure, but that would create these faceless heroes. They're not unique, but generic, so I really wouldn't have a similiar "attachment" to them as the "real" heroes, I suspect. It's not the lack of a portrait, but the lack of a distinct feeling of being a person.

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November 5, 2008 9:45:31 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the idea. And for balance sake should include a cap to the number of heroes that a player can have. On a long campaign, we may end up with too many soldiers raised to Hero status.

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November 5, 2008 10:07:48 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The "too many heroes" syndrom is easy to avoid : when reaching the max experience a unit has a chance of becoming a hero after each battle. That probability would decrease with each new hero. It's easier to become a hero when no hero exist

 

And one thing i liked about age of wonders : you had an avatar with some unique abilities.

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November 5, 2008 10:10:50 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the idea ...that you can gain heroes to join your side from different origin:

- buying them ( MOM-like)

- invoking them (MOM-like)

- take wathever unit and make it evolve ( through battles spells, quests .... -> like put a unit in a volcano for N turns)

 

For the personnification, I think the choice ( automatic, semi-automatic or maunal) of a portrait and a graphical view of the unit ( in the map and in the battle-map) should be enough to make them quite unique. If you can add your own graphics/portraits, it would be perfect.

 

PS: first post here! Hello everyone.

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November 5, 2008 10:18:28 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting -alpha666-,
I like the idea ...that you can gain heroes to join your side from different origin:

- buying them ( MOM-like)

- invoking them (MOM-like)

- take wathever unit and make it evolve ( through battles spells, quests .... -> like put a unit in a volcano for N turns)

 

For the personnification, I think the choice ( automatic, semi-automatic or maunal) of a portrait and a graphical view of the unit ( in the map and in the battle-map) should be enough to make them quite unique. If you can add your own graphics/portraits, it would be perfect.

 

Oh yes! A quest!

You have a unit at level-cap. then you send it on a quest ... if it succeeds it wouldn't become a hero but a whole hero-party !! Then your heroes would remain truely unique and you would have "band of heroes" that would journey through your land ...

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November 5, 2008 12:25:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I quite like the idea of experienced units as a possible source for heroes.

But I don't like the idea that the heroes will all be from a fixed set no matter how many games I play. I hope for a richly randomized "hero shop" that creates characters who are basically unique to each game. Recurring characters should be an option, not the only way to play.

Plus, a hero shop code chunk could also be used for a high-level Create Hero spell that lets a player de-randomize the process if they want to work hard for the ability. (Should confess I don't care as much about the graphical side of this sort of thing as I do about abilities and traits.)

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December 13, 2008 1:53:07 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like it... a lot.

But preferably if it's a stack of units, one individual becomes a Hero. e.g. I wouldn't want a whole squad of "Hero" swordsmen, just one stands out above the rest.

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December 13, 2008 2:23:08 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like it. Heroes have to come from somewhere after all. You shouldn't be able to recruit archer heroes if you don't know how to make bows, let alone have a pool of archers to pick from.

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December 13, 2008 8:25:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tamren,
I like it. Heroes have to come from somewhere after all. You shouldn't be able to recruit archer heroes if you don't know how to make bows, let alone have a pool of archers to pick from.

Unless he is a freelance archer hero that comes from another land. Then, why couldn't you hire him? Yeah, he could be a waste as he would be the only ranged guy in your whole army.. but he might as well teach you the secrets of archery, right?

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December 13, 2008 11:27:13 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Wintersong,
Unless he is a freelance archer hero that comes from another land. Then, why couldn't you hire him? Yeah, he could be a waste as he would be the only ranged guy in your whole army.. but he might as well teach you the secrets of archery, right?

Now there's a neat idea for 'the hero market.' Some heros might have more modest stats or skill ratings but can teach things to your channeler or your people, so you have more to consider when you get the chance to invest in a new hero.

But wait...that assumes that we'll have to give something up to take a new hero on board, and I don't think I've seen detail one about hero units other than that we're likely to have them.

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December 13, 2008 3:27:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Wintersong,
Unless he is a freelance archer hero that comes from another land. Then, why couldn't you hire him? Yeah, he could be a waste as he would be the only ranged guy in your whole army.. but he might as well teach you the secrets of archery, right?

Well at that point you are hiring a mercenary. The idea is to train regular troops and elevate members who prove to be extremely skilled.

He could certainly teach you how to use bows but its doubtful that he would make his own. Thats not to say you couldn't find a wandering bowyer and hire him.

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December 13, 2008 3:39:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, you talked about "recruit", something that wouldn't need to do with a promoted sergeant/captain/... as they are already part of your army, so i tought you meant wandering heroes. Sorry for the mistake.

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December 13, 2008 7:42:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

A PBM game I played, Alamaze, had a similar mechanism for army leaders. You could have up to 3 leaders in an army. After every battle the leaders would gain experience and eventually progress (Captain, General, Marshal, Warlord). If you didn't have a full set of 3 leaders, sometimes a new Captain would arise as a result of the battle.

I could certainly see a similar mechanism with new heroes arising from the ranks as a result of heroic effort in some battle/adventure.

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December 13, 2008 8:08:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

As I've already said, I support this idea.

Militant players should get militant heroes.  Players using culture, diplomacy, trade, or espionage should get heroes in those veins.  What about city mayors, gaining abilities as the city expands/produces/some other measure?

I've also advocated a Court or Council, where heroes have the option of providing Empire bonuses rather than be directly on the board.  One of the big moments in Civ4 for me was deciding whether my general took control of a unit, produced their unique structure, or became a trainer for 'normal' units; I'd expect E:WoM to be no less stressful.

I would like, in short, for every possible Victory Condition have heroes that encourage it.

And certain cross-bred heroes.  Maybe I'm not the best archer or sword hero, but LOOK, I can do both!  Or that halfling hero from MoM, who wasn't the best fighter, but reduced anger/discontent/cultural hostility in the cities she conquered?

One of the best things in MOO2's hero system was exactly the balance Wintersong was talking about.  Maybe that archer isn't the best, but if they bring technology with them?  What about scouts or merchants bringing maps, or spies that already have enemy secrets?  Or heroes like Warcraft's Priestess of Elune - not the most damaging herself, but made the archers around her that much more deadly.  (None of which makes her 'ultimate' ability any less deadly.    )  

Consider the pen & paper RPG Ars Magica: There were times when you wanted to take your second or third best hero, because your 'Alpha' hero was making an item or conducting a ritual.  Yet you still had levels of experience among the hired help, or minions. 

Oh My.  Just an idle thought - what if certain advantages are ONLY acquired in combat?  For example, only units confronted with Fear become truly Fearless instead of Brave (which can be trained).  Only units that fight undead become Deathslayers, skilled at dispatching the mindless minions of your annoying Lich neighbor.  I can see several BANE skills, each one gained ONLY by actually going out and killing.  And it encourages variety in the enemy armies - Do I really want to send summoned elementals out after a unit that just became better at killing them, or do I suffer the hundreds of infantry deaths instead?  Are too many of the enemy units resistant to my fire spells, forcing me to change magical tactics?  It just adds another level of awesome to combat experience.

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December 14, 2008 10:50:33 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Rhishisikk,
...Oh My.  Just an idle thought - what if certain advantages are ONLY acquired in combat?  For example, only units confronted with Fear become truly Fearless instead of Brave (which can be trained).  Only units that fight undead become Deathslayers, skilled at dispatching the mindless minions of your annoying Lich neighbor.  I can see several BANE skills, each one gained ONLY by actually going out and killing.  And it encourages variety in the enemy armies - Do I really want to send summoned elementals out after a unit that just became better at killing them, or do I suffer the hundreds of infantry deaths instead?  Are too many of the enemy units resistant to my fire spells, forcing me to change magical tactics?  It just adds another level of awesome to combat experience.

Digression is the other mother of invention? Neat idea.

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December 14, 2008 8:33:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I just want my heroes to be important to my armies.  I feel like if a regular trooper becomes a hero, then the hero is only a little more important than the regular red-shirt.  I want my heroes to be awesome guys.  Not as awesome as my channeler, but more awesome then just a promoted guy.

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December 15, 2008 12:24:07 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would not support a Cap on the number of heroes that could be raised in that fashion.  But that said it could be set to a scaled system where say for the first unit to become a hero he would have to gain 4000 experience (arbitray number) and the second would have to reach 5000, the third 6000, the fourth 7000 and so on.

 

So there would be no hard cap to the number but after a while it would be inpractical to expect anymore to reach that newly required level.

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December 15, 2008 12:10:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting landisaurus,
I just want my heroes to be important to my armies.  I feel like if a regular trooper becomes a hero, then the hero is only a little more important than the regular red-shirt.  I want my heroes to be awesome guys.  Not as awesome as my channeler, but more awesome then just a promoted guy.

I agree about wanting distinctly different officers/administrators and heroes, but I don't see that necessarily in conflict with the idea that your active military is one of many possible sources for a hero who might swear fealty to you. I'm not even sure that 'officers/administrators' need to be discrete units, but I do hope the UI has some layers that basically model the context where a monarch can consult some sort of council, set some policy guidelines, etc. The advantage of having officers/administrators as a distinct unit class is that you'd be able to have 'slots' all through your empire where one basic choice was whether to leave it in the hands of a 'mere mortal' vs. assigning one of your much smaller pool of heroes to do the job.

Re hard caps, I dislike them categorically and believe the only good justification is that the UI can't handle displaying the info and/or choice tree for the players. They are indefenisble in 'balance' arguments for any 4/5X game that has a wide range of map sizes. I'm still a shameless GC2 junkie, but I also still hate the economy-related hard caps over there (e.g. losing income if your treasury is over 10k and even more when it goes over 20k).

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