Armies of Elemental

By on May 26, 2009 1:16:24 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
+1484

One of the things we really want to drive home in Elemental that we think will make it stand out is that a well equipped army is a big deal.

The Roman armies dominates much of Europe not because Romans were inherently better warriors but because they were well trained and well equipped.

Contemporary fiction tends to trivialize the significance of a non-industrialized society being able to train and equip 10,000 men with swords, plate mail, steel helmets, leather boots, etc.  But in reality, being able to do that is an incredible achievement.

In Elemental, your first turns will not be about designing and producing fully armored troops. On the contrary, when you see mounted units equipped with plate mail and swords we want it to give the same feeling as when you see the Mongols in Civilization show up with tanks on your island. It’s a big deal.

Because people in Elemental are a resource, it creates a lot of interesting choices on the type of civilization you want to build. You can, for instance, focus on having mass armies of poorly trained and poorly equipped peasants. These hordes might be able to conquer the world or they might meet a civilization that has a much smaller force but one that is exquisitely trained and equipped. That battle, which players can optionally fight in full tactical detail, should be breathtaking.

And of course, what I jut describe doesn’t even touch on the fact that we are talking about a world with magical items and beasts of almost unimaginable might.  As I’ve mentioned previously, someone gets ahold a dragon (and by a dragon I mean 1) that is a huge deal.  Nobody is going to be running around with a “throng” of dragons.

If you’ve ever read Tolkien’s Silmarillion you get an idea of just how mighty some of the beings in Elemental will be.  For those into that kind of thing, if you’ve ever wanted to know one of the inspirations for the Arnor and Dread Lords you can think of them as Maiar.

There are things lurking in the world of Elemental that are just breathtakingly powerful and rare. And rare, I mean that you may only encounter or hear of one maybe after months of playing the game.  We’ll talk about that more later though.

The point being, the armies of Elemental are truly going to be yours. You will have ultimate control over what kind of army you want to have. We’re very excited.

Locked Post 126 Replies
Search this post
Subscription Options


Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 1:26:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This indeed does sound incredible. The only worry is that someone gets a dragon and it is "game over" for everyone else. It should be meaningful, and probably enough to bring an empire back from the brink of destruction, but not "ah, they have a dragon, I give up."

In a game with multiple victory conditions, obviously it would NOT be game over as there are other paths to victory. My question would be - if you were playing a game and conquest was the only victory condition...would an army getting a dragon essentially be the decisive end of the game?

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 1:32:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think he stated this somewhere before, that getting said dragon in the first place wasn't supposed to be trivial to do.  So the player who spends the effort/resources/virgin maidens etc to get the dragon should be amply rewarded with a unit that would crush most other armies.  I think the drawback would be that his own armies would suffer due to the tremendous resources he would be diverting towards said creature.  I'd love to hear some more in depth on how that would be balanced though.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 1:40:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Drawback #1: a dragon is an indivisible unit of force. Doesn't help you any to be able to crush one army at a time when all of your borders are beset by hordes of lesser troops.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 1:44:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

are we talking months of real time?  thats pretty rare.   I assume this applies more to single player, since multiplayer could just have whatever units modded in right?  are we to see these kind of rare "things" in the beta?

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 1:46:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Brad, Brad, we get the point.  It's going to be a ridiculously cool game...

Just kidding, give us as much detail and teasers as you can

 

And I wouldn't be worried about the they've-got-a-dragon-it's-game-over problem.  Sure, if they get a dragon it might be game over, or you might have just finished researching your world-wrecking spell and your armies just barely manage to keep that dragon from blasting your tower so you have time to cast the spell and win.  Or your band of heroes might have crawled enough dungeons to get powerful enough and get enough ancient artifacts to actually meet the dragon in battle on an even footing.  In that last battle of Thangorodrim Ancalagon was a toughie even for Eonwe, but Earendil struck him down.  Kinda drove down property values in Beleriand, but hey, they won.

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 1:48:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

No bears? Anywhoo it sounds awesome I can't wait to see the combat system. Will we get formations? Silly teaser post

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 1:59:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Here's a question regarding people as a resource: can I return them?

If I raise a peasant army, can I later disband that army and tell the peasants to go farming again? It seems like there would be a significant long term cost to raising a huge peasant army if I'm then stuck with a huge peasant army long after I need it, because those peasants aren't acting as town population raising income and what have you. Of course, that may be a good trade off. It's hard to say at this point because we can't compare how a peasant army does against a small squad of the elite Dreadguard.

Oh, and singular dragons sound like fun. I like to see a different approach away from the standard super magical creature spam. A peasant army SHOULD cower in terror when I send Smaug after them.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 2:10:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This sounds awesome but it leads me to wonder just how unique can I make my army. For example is there a significant difference in how a squad of spear, axe, or sword men operate similar to real life? With out that kind of diversity in combat it seems like it might be difficult to differentiate your army.  In most games the only difference between the operation of spears, axes, swords or whatever is their look and attack animation. The end result of picking weapon X being indistinguishable from every other one which always bugged the hell out of me.  

Also, I created a thread some time ago that asked if we would have the ability to create super weapons / units in Elemental. Obviously, I wouldn't expect them to be anywhere near the power of a dragon but rather units / weapons that are miles above what might be considered standard late game units. It really comes down to could I set outrageous stats for weapons, armor, and training even if it takes 40 turns to produce one. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 2:17:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tridus,
Here's a question regarding people as a resource: can I return them?

If I raise a peasant army, can I later disband that army and tell the peasants to go farming again? It seems like there would be a significant long term cost to raising a huge peasant army if I'm then stuck with a huge peasant army long after I need it, because those peasants aren't acting as town population raising income and what have you. Of course, that may be a good trade off. It's hard to say at this point because we can't compare how a peasant army does against a small squad of the elite Dreadguard.

I think he mentioned somewhere else that it would be very expensive in game terms to keep an idle army in the field, which leads me to believe that they're thinking along the same lines.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 2:21:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think having a strong quality vs. quantity dynamic will not only help differentiate Elemental in the TBS genre but also help reinforce the fantasy feel of the game. Not to annoy the Tolkien-averse, but for us other folk, it's worth noting that much (maybe most) of the arms and armor in the forces led by Aragorn were heirlooms, not recent acquisitions. Saurman and Sauron were fielding huge new piles of kit, but they were working Seriously Bad(ass) Magic and/or wrecking their lands to do it.

On the dragon channel, I'm hoping that Brad has used "get" very casually in the OP and that any time a dragon is on the field, it means some channeler has a tenuous alliance at best. Not only am I very happy to think of Elemental having dragons as singular entities, I definitely want them to maintain their 'force of nature' aspect even when they deign to meddle in human or Fallen affairs. The only time you should be really happy to have brought a dragon to battle is after the battle is won and the dragon has gone home.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 2:26:37 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Here is a question my friends and I have: One of the biggest downfalls in Heroes of Might & Magic is that one "General" can hold/lead as many troops as he wants.  This leads to the "stack of death" syndrome; everyone has one main hero that carries around 90% of his troops, and the other generals (if they even bother to buy more than one) do nothing but sit in the castle and/or are errend boys, transporting troops or weekly treasure fromt he goody huts.  Every game dwindles down to one players high level general and his 100s of troops fighting ONE battle vs the other high level general and his 100s fo troups.  Whoever looses that ONE battle = GG.

Will Generals (and even castles) have a "cap" as to how many units they may lead?  So we can expect to see more than just one huge army "blob" on the map?

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 2:39:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting PurplePaladin,
Here is a question my friends and I have: One of the biggest downfalls in Heroes of Might & Magic is that one "General" can hold/lead as many troops as he wants.  This leads to the "stack of death" syndrome; everyone has one main hero that carries around 90% of his troops, and the other generals (if they even bother to buy more than one) do nothing but sit in the castle and/or are errend boys, transporting troops or weekly treasure fromt he goody huts.  Every game dwindles down to one players high level general and his 100s of troops fighting ONE battle vs the other high level general and his 100s fo troups.  Whoever looses that ONE battle = GG.

Will Generals (and even castles) have a "cap" as to how many units they may lead?  So we can expect to see more than just one huge army "blob" on the map?

Caps lead to other kinds of stacks of death. Age of Wonders 2 has a "stack of death" problem where because stacks only go to 8 units, you basically never want to use anything but your strongest unit. My usual example is 8 Dread Reapers vs 8 Footmen being absolutely no contest, and nobody sane would ever actually make a stack of Footmen once they can make Dread Reapers. (Actual cost comparison is more like 8 Dread Reapers vs 8 Footmen, 8 Archers, and 2 Cannon, but the stack limit doesn't let you do that.)

A Stack of Death in the sense that you can pile up 2000 units under one general isn't as big a deal. It means you can actually make that peasant army useful. Sure they're weak, but they have sheer numbers. I on the other hand have a much smaller force of elite troops.

So I mean yes, you can make a stack of death by putting your entire army into one stack. I can then split my forces and go raid your supply lines, while you can't stop me. I might also note that your stack of death is an awfully tempting target for my channeler's Lightning Storm.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 2:55:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tridus,
Here's a question regarding people as a resource: can I return them?

I am wondering the same thing. In the old game Lords or the Realm 2 you could disband your armies. The soldiers would return their weapons to your armory and then go back to work as peasants. It really made lots of sense. When the enemy attacked, you would call out your peasants, hand them their weapons, and then go and whoop the guy (hopefully). Once the battle was over, you disbanded the army, got your weapons back, and all of your surviving peasants went back to work.

I hope that you will be able to disband troops. Since people are a resource, and weapons might be a resource, it would make sense to be able to disband troops to send them back to work as peasants, and it would make the game (in my view) even cooler and more realistic.

But, Stardock is doing amazing. They might already be plannign this that, and we just don't know it. And if they aren't going to have it in the game, then they will have a really good reason.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 3:09:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
If you’ve ever read Tolkien’s Silmarillion you get an idea of just how mighty some of the beings in Elemental will be.  For those into that kind of thing, if you’ve ever wanted to know one of the inspirations for the Arnor and Dread Lords you can think of them as Maiar.

Would that imply that the name Arnor is no coincidence, but a reference to the kingdom of Arnor on Middle-Earth?

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 3:30:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting PurplePaladin,
Here is a question my friends and I have: One of the biggest downfalls in Heroes of Might & Magic is that one "General" can hold/lead as many troops as he wants.  This leads to the "stack of death" syndrome; everyone has one main hero that carries around 90% of his troops, and the other generals (if they even bother to buy more than one) do nothing but sit in the castle and/or are errend boys, transporting troops or weekly treasure fromt he goody huts.  Every game dwindles down to one players high level general and his 100s of troops fighting ONE battle vs the other high level general and his 100s fo troups.  Whoever looses that ONE battle = GG.

Will Generals (and even castles) have a "cap" as to how many units they may lead?  So we can expect to see more than just one huge army "blob" on the map?

 

Just to further Tridus's reply to this, in Heroes of Might and Magic there is nothing else for your stack to do, at least as far as incursion goes. There is no incentive to split the mega-stack.  In Civ 4, on the other hand, keeping your troops in a mega-stack is a good way to get pounded by artillery and to get your country ripped up by raiders.  The mega-stacks still have value, but there is a decision to be made about them. As long as the game provides a fair cost for the benefits that a huge stack provides, things will be fine. Caps introduce all kinds of complications.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 3:37:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It really sounds like you are really into this idea of being able to make large armies. However, I have to ask how powerful can you make your units?

Are the best you can make nothing more than the cream of the crop of your armies? Will they be weaker than the heroes (with enough experience), the dragons, and other mighty creatures of this world? Or will you be able to create champions, strong enough to be a threat to these mighty creatures, take on large armies single handedly, and possibly give other channellers cold sweats thinking about their power?

I would like to be able to make uber-powered champions, but given the emphasis on armies right now, it might be something to explore in an expansion later.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 4:01:19 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Here is a question my friends and I have: One of the biggest downfalls in Heroes of Might & Magic is that one "General" can hold/lead as many troops as he wants.  This leads to the "stack of death" syndrome; everyone has one main hero that carries around 90% of his troops, and the other generals (if they even bother to buy more than one) do nothing but sit in the castle and/or are errend boys, transporting troops or weekly treasure fromt he goody huts.  Every game dwindles down to one players high level general and his 100s of troops fighting ONE battle vs the other high level general and his 100s fo troups.  Whoever looses that ONE battle = GG.

Will Generals (and even castles) have a "cap" as to how many units they may lead?  So we can expect to see more than just one huge army "blob" on the map?

Brad has mentioned that the hero's leadership ability determines the size of the army.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 4:24:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I really hope that Elemental provides in all the parts it offers and not only in the combat/army one. Balanced content is what we need, not a combat simulator with extras. That said...

I really really love the idea of designing my own units much like Gal Civ II. Will I use throngs of peasants armed with stones? Will my front lines be full of peasants with pointy sticks? Will I make great efforts to create an elite troop armed with a bronze sword and a wooden shield? And that iron mine over there? Perfect to get the edge in militar technology as long as I have the population to produce equiment and then the population to populate an army. A pity that right now the local amazons are raiding my lands with their shapened sticks and riding tigers... Err... You somehow get the idea, huh?

And altough I don't agree with others about how complex the combat should be (considering that the others part should be neglected because of that... ) to the point of the game being forced to keep count of indivual HPs of every single unit AND mount (AND pet?) in the whole game (between other things like which kind of breakfast the troops ate that morning). Yet, I don't want rock-paper-scisors. Gal Civ II was somehow fine but not as good as one could wish. That wepaons and are armors are truly unique would be really nice. Not asking for uber complex systems about how they work in real life, I'd be more than happy knowing that some weapons give bonuses to attack, or maybe to initiative, or maybe to damage, or maybe special attacks (a net for example),...

Also, I really hope that basic troops (aka most of your army) is weak even if fully armed/armored. Armor and training may help to survive non-lethal attacks but those lethal attacks should be... lethal for them. Still, those same training and armor will truly help against less prepared armies. And the only true survivalist untis should be the beasts, the channeler, the heroes (being heroes and all that) and the most veteran (and/or trained) units with the proper equipment.

One doubt though. Once a battle ends, lets say in your territory, can you recover some of the weapons/armor from the battlefield if you won and a city is close enough?

Gondolin FTW!

PD damn forum eating post and lucky me making a copy of it before posting.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 4:29:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting PurplePaladin,
Here is a question my friends and I have: One of the biggest downfalls in Heroes of Might & Magic is that one "General" can hold/lead as many troops as he wants.  This leads to the "stack of death" syndrome; everyone has one main hero that carries around 90% of his troops, and the other generals (if they even bother to buy more than one) do nothing but sit in the castle and/or are errend boys, transporting troops or weekly treasure fromt he goody huts.  Every game dwindles down to one players high level general and his 100s of troops fighting ONE battle vs the other high level general and his 100s fo troups.  Whoever looses that ONE battle = GG.

Will Generals (and even castles) have a "cap" as to how many units they may lead?  So we can expect to see more than just one huge army "blob" on the map?

The counter to the stack of death is straightforward, provided you have a big enough border--avoid their stack of death with your five smaller stacks and raze their cities until their army starves.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 4:52:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

As long as they need supplies anyway.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 5:03:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Istari,

Brad has mentioned that the hero's leadership ability determines the size of the army.

are all armies lead by heroes HoMM style?  I was under the impression you could have troops out on their own MoM or Civ style.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 5:04:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

@ Wintersong - great idea on salvaging weapons after a battle! Doubtful, but that would be cool.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 5:07:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Nobody is going to be running around with a “throng” of dragons.

Oh come now, There will be those of us (myself probably included) who will play on a map so insanely big we will have a small army of them. And if we still can't, there is always the realm of modding!

Dragon hordes are inevitable.

On the topic of stacks of doom, the way I see it they are the result of to many choke points. Stack of dooms are only good as long as they remain capable of being highly mobile or at least defend everything that needs defending. In SoaSE, stacks were viable because there were a lot of choke points via gravity wells (if planned well, you may only have 3 or so choke points to defend). In GalCiv, there was no movement penalty associated with large, heavily armed and armored ship stacks, since you could just put on bigger engines for minimal cost. From what I can tell, Elemental units will have a large-ish penalty associated with increasing size. Supply lines, that likely large cost of horses/other mounts, and probably a speed decrease due to armor weight.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 6:22:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Cool. Dont mind trying loads of untrained minons but mostly I will go for well equiped and trained army. Sweet keep the info coming!

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
May 26, 2009 6:38:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting landisaurus,
... are all armies lead by heroes HoMM style?  I was under the impression you could have troops out on their own MoM or Civ style.

Could be that champions will act as a 'local' version of an ability bonus in GC2. Instead of having the Hyperion Logistics System give an empire-wide bonus, individual champions could join an army stack and enable it to include more units than your empire-wide logistics ability permits.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
Stardock Forums v1.0.0.0    #101114  walnut1   Server Load Time: 00:00:00.0000359   Page Render Time: