'Megamagic' for Multiplayer: Channeler's Death Curse

By on December 12, 2008 10:38:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Philocthetes

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I'm still leaning to having single-player games end if you lose your channeler unit, and I think the idea is even more appropriate for multiplayer. If we do end up with dead channeler = game over for you, in multiplayer, I'd like to see something close to a MAD option where a channeler who has studied appropriate magic can use his or her dying breath to lay some seriously bad vibes on the channeler whose forces have dealt the deathblow, or perhaps on whoever you think is your greatest enemy.

Maybe a Death Curse would be simply an intense version of one of the landwrecking spells centered on the freshly-dead channeler's body. Or maybe Death Curses could somehow reflect the channelers' identities and histories a bit--say a slain good channeler being able to do a mega Turn Undead against his necromancer archenemy, forcing her to start from scratch with her undead forces.

My fuzzy idea here is basically to work up a magical corollary to the more traditional trick of trying to help your enemy's enemies when you know the game is over for you.

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Vordrak
December 12, 2008 1:57:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

that would be interesting.  Curses on the enemies is a classic for when a powerful wizard or something dies.  That would make multiplayer games really tense, because nobody would want to finish each other off unless there was a way to prevent it.

Would there be a way to remove the curse?   What are the catches?   Because I wouldn't want to be the guy who happened to be foolish enough to wipe out the life-channeler just to find that he cursed all my units unto undead that I must now fight AFTER I killed him.

that is still a really cool idea.  And of course, I think we should come up any similar ideas for other elements (because we wouldn't want to give life all the credit)

I know earth could easily cause famine.  Crops would fail when the channeler but a great curse on the land in his dying breath.

wind could slow or stop sailing ships (well not stop, I guess you can always row)

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December 12, 2008 4:23:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I love this idea, but it'd have to be carefully balanced. If too powerful, it would seriously inhibit destroying other players. And if the effect is weak, then it would be anticlamtic.

One way to achieve a good balance and allow for truly powerful channeler death effects would be to simultaneously confer a bonus upon the victorious nation/channeler. It could be a magic bonus, or an economic bonus. Or by destroying the channeler maybe you automatically take control of part of their territory without having to actually conquer it.

And I kind of hope that they'll never explode in a massive ball of fire or whatever, taking your entire army (or most of it) with them. Unless maybe strong units have a good chance of surviving. If there is a chance of that happening, I think I'd never send any difficult-to-replace units (like, Elite Bear Cavalry or heroes, etc) on such a mission.

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December 12, 2008 8:47:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Nothing wrong with this as a concept. You are basically turning youself into a trap for revenge purposes.

This is magic power that you store in yourself and so can't use for anything else so you would have to give it a lot of thought beforehand.

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December 13, 2008 11:06:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tamren,
...This is magic power that you store in yourself and so can't use for anything else so you would have to give it a lot of thought beforehand.

I knew the balance question would be important for a trick like this, which is mainly why I made the OP. I'm sort of a skeptic of "balance" in game design, mainly because I've never done mutiplayer and have a strong role-playing streak, so I'm not very good at thinking through this sort of problem.

But I was sort of imagining the tradeoff situation as either a 'mana revenge fund' (reserved mana never usable for anything else) *or* some kind of 'essence duel' where the dying channeler's last store of essence goes into some kind of damage loop that also involves spellcasting skill and if the dying channeler ends up still having some essence, it is used to fuel the curse.

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December 13, 2008 8:37:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like this idea, AND the corrolary, that such curses can be countered/removed.  I recommend by quest or 'civilization goal'.  Consider the Quest for the Holy Grail.  The king is cursed, which curses the land.  All the knights go a-questing.

I look at Death Curse as a trust fund, mana AND essence invested.  So you're less awesome before your end in order to be awesome AT your end.  Besides, who ISN'T planning on going down in MP laying land-wasting devastation upon your enemy?  This is just another way of doing it.

Also, I think it helps to BALANCE the way I've seen most multiplayer games go.  One player gets an edge, and slowly builds on that edge, wiping out a player.  He now has 2X resourcea, and the next player falls that much faster.  He now has 3X resources, and so on. 

Further, it encourages MP games NOT to last for 18-26 hours of 'footsie', ending in massive armies with maxed-out tech.  You want to wipe out those enemy channelers BEFORE they can set up their death-curse.

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December 14, 2008 1:36:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

i think curses are a good system in games like these as it forces more defencive orientated players to attack to save be crumbled internally, which may show holes in their defence, though it would need some balance.

I think dominion 3 showed that with the curse "horror mark" a curse that was placed upon a general or pretender god (think channeler) that would cause demons to attack the marked character.
now that was all fine and dandy, but then you find it cannot be removed, stays after death, could be placed on your Pretender god and got worse every time a horror hit the marked target (worse and worse horrors killing your god)

in essence it made the marked target a dead man, no matter how powerful he became he would be swarmed by demons at some point within the game, as such me and my friends banned the casting of horror mark in our games.

so yes curses should be within the game, but i do believe they need to be managed very well, considering they can become tools for griefing if not done correctly.

 

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December 14, 2008 6:19:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting dingbat91,
i think curses are a good system in games like these as it forces more defencive orientated players to attack to save be crumbled internally, which may show holes in their defence, though it would need some balance.

I just want to reiterate my hopes that SD doesn't implement anything in order to force defense-oriented players to play differently than they want to. If they want to play defensively then they should be able to just as easily as they could play offensively.

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December 14, 2008 6:30:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting pigeonpigeon,

Quoting dingbat91, reply 6i think curses are a good system in games like these as it forces more defencive orientated players to attack to save be crumbled internally, which may show holes in their defence, though it would need some balance.

I just want to reiterate my hopes that SD doesn't implement anything in order to force defense-oriented players to play differently than they want to. If they want to play defensively then they should be able to just as easily as they could play offensively.

 

oh yes they should be capable of playing how they wish

what i mean is that it should be a way to "attack them" as there should be tactics against each kind of play
for example an offense-based player would have trouble with development as his front would expand too much thus his defensive base is weakened if his push forward was to break.

playing in your own way is fine and dandy, i just wouldn't like it if one way was "fool proof" each style should have a counter balance to it.

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December 14, 2008 8:06:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like this idea although balance might be a little hard. I think the easiest way to handle this would be to put the curse on some kind of timer 3 – 5 minutes would suffice I think that is long enough were you would definitely feel the effects of the curse but not so long that you would be crippled for the rest of the game. 

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December 15, 2008 11:25:35 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Darkodinplus,
I like this idea although balance might be a little hard. I think the easiest way to handle this would be to put the curse on some kind of timer 3 – 5 minutes would suffice I think that is long enough were you would definitely feel the effects of the curse but not so long that you would be crippled for the rest of the game.

Depending on the curse, a duration could be a very good balancing detail. But '3 - 5 minutes' sounds like a terribly RTS thing--if real-world minutes matter in every multiplayer mode, yuck!

On some levels, I'd be happy with a Death Curse that didn't do much more than shame the victorious channeler, e.g. an art change for the unit and/or capital to the effect of living the rest of his or her life under a personal raincloud, or doomed to look like a rotting corpse (maybe with some deductions to any charisma-type stats), that sort of thing.

I just figure that if channelers are demi-gods or well on the path to something like that, then their Dying Words should have Power.

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December 15, 2008 11:51:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Opps that’s my inner real time strategist coming out lol. Well scratch the 3 -5 minutes and make that 10 – 15 turns. The only turn based games I ever really played were galciv II and M.A.X I consider them the exception rather than the rule. 

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December 15, 2008 12:57:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Darkodinplus,
Opps that’s my inner real time strategist coming out lol. Well scratch the 3 -5 minutes and make that 10 – 15 turns. The only turn based games I ever really played were galciv II and M.A.X I consider them the exception rather than the rule. 

I think a duration for most death curse effects is a great idea. If there were any permanent persistent effects, then a player who takes over the world by crushing everybody else could simply be overwhelmed by everlasting curses... And that would put me off.

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December 15, 2008 2:10:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting pigeonpigeon,
I think a duration for most death curse effects is a great idea. If there were any permanent persistent effects, then a player who takes over the world by crushing everybody else could simply be overwhelmed by everlasting curses... And that would put me off.

That really depends on the details of a specific curse, and we don't even know yet if we'll have in-game spell customizations, much less anything about a generic/universal spell list. There could be no Death Curse at all, one per Element but only for 1-element (pure) channelers, or one per player with a wide range of possible effects. IMO, only the most onerous sort of curse (e.g. blocking access/connection to shards of a given Element) would really need a duration as balance. If you take over the world by crushing everyone else, why shouldn't you expect some battle scars? (Keep in mind I'm thinking of some Death Curses as sort of instant-local versions of the world-wrecking magic we should see in late games--you don't really carry a new volcano with you into every battle.)

I also think that quests, and perhaps spell research projects, might be as good or better as Death Curse countermeasure. Carrying a Curse of Eternal Tears? You need a drink from the Chalice of Solace, long lost in the deep caverns of Yon Scary Mountains.

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January 4, 2009 4:18:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I picture a channeler surrounded by thousands of units, led by a strong hero, getting struck by an arrow.

Where a hole should be, pure magic essence comes out, piercing everything it hits. As the body starts to fall apart, more and more holes appear, eventually ending with a big bang, blasting a part of the world map, changing the world dynamically. Mountains could be erased, an enormous crater could be created, perhaps even filling it up with water, slowly letting life grow around it.

Perhaps the army should get a chance to get away or get a protective spell cast around them, but world changing on death is something I personally think would be great

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January 4, 2009 7:20:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Shadowgandor,
I picture a channeler surrounded by thousands of units, led by a strong hero, getting struck by an arrow.

Where a hole should be, pure magic essence comes out, piercing everything it hits. As the body starts to fall apart, more and more holes appear, eventually ending with a big bang, blasting a part of the world map, changing the world dynamically. Mountains could be erased, an enormous crater could be created, perhaps even filling it up with water, slowly letting life grow around it.

Perhaps the army should get a chance to get away or get a protective spell cast around them, but world changing on death is something I personally think would be great

That sounds like a swell alternative (complement?) to any Death Curse options. It makes sense that anyone should be cautious about killing a channeler. Even if curses aren't in the picture, we are talking about ending a semi-demi-godly entity's existence. I can also imagine a neat range of possible 'exploding channeler' effects based on elemental affinities--volcanos, insanely tall mountains, new great bodies of water, permanent storms, etc.

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January 4, 2009 8:42:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I REALLY like the ideas of on channeler death something happens to the armies present at the time - like the idea of mana pouring out of holes from the channeler's body - GREAT idea! And I also like the ideas such as volcanoes or other game altering effects resulting from a dying curse etc. This definitely should be something that time and power would need to be invested in beforehand.

I don't like the idea that they can target a specific player too much (aside from the above mentioned effects that would happen to armies in the near vicinity of the deceased channeler). I disagree with what was said in the third paragraph of Rhishisikk's post #5

Also, I think it helps to BALANCE the way I've seen most multiplayer games go.  One player gets an edge, and slowly builds on that edge, wiping out a player.  He now has 2X resourcea, and the next player falls that much faster.  He now has 3X resources, and so on. 

Actually, when you take out another player, my experience is that you are weakened towards everyone else, because of the units you lost defeating the other player, and you also have a very precarious grip on your "new territory" especially if it is coded so that your newly conquered peasants don't like you to much by default. Throwing too heavy of a curse on top of this could make it so no one would dare wipe out anyone - they will just destroy all their armies and lock down all their resources but refrain from the coup d'grace to avoid the curse. I agree with everything else from that post btw, just that third paragraph I disagree.

Anyway, great topic!

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January 5, 2009 11:16:39 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I also agree that if killing a channeler weakens you too significantly, whether by casting a really strong curse on you or by devastating the army that killed said channeler, then people won't go after channelers until they have no choice or have already pretty much won.

We already know that channelers are planned to be extremely powerful combat units, at least if you don't spread out your essence too much. So killing a channeler will likely result in large casualties anyways - to add on a massive mana explosion or whatnot might be going too far. I love the idea that a channeler's death permanently alter the terrain or cause some other lasting effects, but the damage done to the victor has to be balanced so that killing other channelers isn't always something to avoid at all costs...

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January 9, 2009 12:05:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, you could lead your Channeler into the battle, so that, at the end of it, you might be able to save a lot of your units. Of course, a general that has been enhanced could be used as well. Think of them casting a protective spell around themselves. The more powerful the magic user is, the less units fall to the explosion. It would be even cooler if you were able to see where exactly your troops where, because there, the gruond would be untouched

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January 9, 2009 2:38:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Not sure for single player but for multiplayer i'd figure a dying channeler would use his last breath to either practice "scrorched earth tactics" as in: ruining the domain over which he still holds sway or perhaps use his dying breath to give his people one last defense (this would make parts of his domain temporary neutral parties with heavy defense added in one way or another that would either decay over time or agressors would have to whittle down.)

doing it that way would also satisfy the roleplaying elements: you may choose by the nature of the channeler you wish to be how to say your farewell.

Both could function as a multiplayer balance feature. Players not close enough to the vanguished channelers lands would have time to adapt to the new power balance because those that are close enough wouldnt experience a sudden easily-gotten power boost because of weakly defended lands (either because a new "lord" would have to dedicate resources to rebuild (scorched earth option) or whittle down (last stand option).

This way its just just the one that was strong or lucky enough to off an enemy channeler that gets the pie. All of a sudden everybody needs to shift focus to get his piece of the pie

just an idea

 

MN

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January 9, 2009 7:45:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Was there another thread about this?

I like the idea of cool effects on a channeller's death. Allow both positive and negative effects, so that it's not a punishment for success. Or make them over time effects, to allow a chance of escape. Or, make them global effects. Possibly give the victor some of the loser's mana pool, spells, items, or essence as well. In addition, any ongoing effects (particularly global) that were being maintained might also go a bit crazy rather than merely fading away.

A simple alternative would be to have a number of events tied to channeller death.

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January 10, 2009 10:11:55 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Some of the channeler death effects talk has been interesting, but I started out asking about a specific spell (or spells) to research and 'load up' via a long, expensive ritual. It seems to me that if Death Curses were decently-designed spells in the "late-game, world-wrecking" class, there should be no complaints about balance and no expectation that every channeler would always have one 'loaded.'

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January 10, 2009 10:13:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The problem with researching death curses is that you would rather research a spell that keeps you from loosing in the first place to one that happens after you have already lost.

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January 11, 2009 10:31:19 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting kenken244,
The problem with researching death curses is that you would rather research a spell that keeps you from loosing in the first place to one that happens after you have already lost.

That's only accurate for a zero-sum, play-to-win perspective. This game supposedly aims to bring a strong RPG aspect to the traditional TBS experience, and some fans of TBS games have always been more interested in playing than they are in 'winning.'

Plus, even if you want to win, to keep a 4/5X game interesting as you play more and more maps, you really need to have more 'character' options for both the players and the AIs. If there's no way to express your Profoundly Vengeful nature other than simple military dominance, how are you any different from someone who is Extremely Authoritarian or the other neighbor who is Addicted to Battlefield Glory?

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January 11, 2009 12:51:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting GW Swicord,

Plus, even if you want to win, to keep a 4/5X game interesting as you play more and more maps, you really need to have more 'character' options for both the players and the AIs. If there's no way to express your Profoundly Vengeful nature other than simple military dominance, how are you any different from someone who is Extremely Authoritarian or the other neighbor who is Addicted to Battlefield Glory?

Kenken has a good point, though. No sane person would put any effort into building up a powerful death effect in a single player game unless they completely forego strategy for role playing. It'd just be a sunk cost that would never have the opportunity to pay up. It would be a nice feature in multiplayer games. If you know you're doomed, setting up a powerful death effect might serve as a deterrent and keep you in the game longer (if other players realize what you've done), as well as be that final kick in the teeth against your eventual conqueror.

Actually, there's an idea. If death effects are more efficient than equal cost regular magic, then it could be used as a deterrent; it would be an explicit threat to everybody to the effect of "If you destroy me, it will cost you!" If the AI can be made to factor that into its strategy then prepared death effects (vs. default death effects) would be very nice indeed.

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January 11, 2009 2:27:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting pigeonpigeon,
... Kenken has a good point, though. No sane person would put any effort into building up a powerful death effect in a single player game unless they completely forego strategy for role playing. It'd just be a sunk cost that would never have the opportunity to pay up. It would be a nice feature in multiplayer games. If you know you're doomed, setting up a powerful death effect might serve as a deterrent and keep you in the game longer (if other players realize what you've done), as well as be that final kick in the teeth against your eventual conqueror.

Actually, there's an idea. If death effects are more efficient than equal cost regular magic, then it could be used as a deterrent; it would be an explicit threat to everybody to the effect of "If you destroy me, it will cost you!" If the AI can be made to factor that into its strategy then prepared death effects (vs. default death effects) would be very nice indeed.

Argh. I'm doing a terrible job of trying to 'maintain the integrity' of my own OP. Note the title prefixe: 'Megamagic' for Multiplayer. My idea began when I was thinking about both "deliberately unbalancing" magic for the late game and trying to imagine aspects of a multiplayer game that might make me want to play that mode.

The digression into how (and how much) to integrate some RPG aspects into the base TBS got me distracted. But, yes, I'm the kind of "You mean you can win this game?" sort of player who would very merrily do all manner of 'inefficient' things if they made the game more fun for me. Efficiency is overrated in many real-world contexts and over-emphasized in too many computer games, IMO. Truly sweet games like GalCiv2 can keep 'RPG-thinkers' entertained while also making room for folks who want to keep stats as if the game were baseball or something. I expect no less of Elemental.

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