Keeping your sovereign alive: The Sequel!

Last time on "Die King Die!"

By on October 1, 2009 5:12:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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Okay, here's our latest thought process on the sovereign.

First, let me say that the sovereign dying is a non-negotiable thing to us.  It's an important core concept.

That said, we do not want users to have to play defensive with their sovereign. The idea is to give players the option to gamble it all if they want.

So here's what we're thinking:

Heroes will have a skill called Evade.  The evade skill determines the odds of them escaping a disaster (lost battle, taking of a city, etc.). When they escape, they are transported to the nearest friendly city.

Players will be able to put points into evade when they design their character.

There will be major evade modifiers. For example, if your sovereign is in a city when it's attacked, odds are, he'll escape.  If he's in a large army, he'll probably escape too.  But if it's a 1 on 1 encounter, odds are, he wouldn't escape. 

The entire system would be automatic and players worried about losing their sovereigns can simply put some points into him and park him in a city and not have to worry.

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October 1, 2009 5:19:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm not sure I'd want my game to continue or end depending on a dice roll though...

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October 1, 2009 5:27:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I suppose its worth a shot, we can at least test with it!  Just please dont tell me when a i kill sovereign, all his/her cities will magically belong to me... Or even worse, magically disappear...

Edit: Digicons arent working

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October 1, 2009 5:32:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm not sure I like this either.  I have zero problem with the game ending because my Sovereign dies.  Making an evade system for whether or not my Sovreign lives or dies and having possibly hidden modifiers sounds very confusing.

Perhaps you can handle it like HOMM, and simply have the option to run away present when your Sovereign is at risk.  Running away would sacrifice everything else (stacked units, cities, etc) to get your Sovereign to the nearest friendly town or army.  A Sovereign alone cannot run away.  Have the option to run away only at the outset of battle.

Hell, have it so that you need the skill 'Evade' for the option to runaway to even show up.  You could also have a counter-skill like 'Tracker' or something that negates 'Evade', and thus the ability to run away.

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October 1, 2009 5:39:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Perhap before a battle starts involving your sovereign there should be a flee button where sovvy does a runner and the rest of your stack fight it out on their own.

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October 1, 2009 5:40:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The RNG here is sending a very specific chill down my spine....... astrath said it best, and I see no need to restate his post.

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October 1, 2009 5:56:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
Okay, here's our latest thought process on the sovereign.

First, let me say that the sovereign dying is a non-negotiable thing to us.  It's an important core concept.

There is no problem with sovereign dying. The problem is that the game will end. It's not acceptable imho. If that is the core concept, it's real bad. I don't understand why you devs don't "exploit" the dynasty system in this case. What's the problem with successors for example? Also, what about the AI? Don't you think that it will be easy to lure out & hunt down the AI Sovereigns? Basically all you gotta do is that, and voila: -1 AI player on the pitch.

Ah well, maybe I am overreacting the situation, and nothing is sure atm. All I am saying is that I dislike the Sovereign dies = game ends idea.

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October 1, 2009 6:03:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I also like the flee option (a little maybe like in rome total war or in the following games of the series where your troops always have a chance to flee during a tactical battle).

With respect to this flee option an alternate idea for the evade skill might be that your sovereign gains x free movement ponts when fleeing with a precentage X. With more points in evade you flee faster and gain extra movement points with higher probability (a good idea imo might be to have each move point make a random roll so you will mostly end up having the average value, thus decreasing the effect "i don't want to end the game on a dice roll" with which i agree).

Without any points of evade you could flee but only a number of moves equal to the leftover points from the preceding turn for example. Modifiers for these effects seem a good idea also imo (i don't want my sovereign to escape when he's cornered except if he's an evasion king).

Concerning the base conept "your soveriegn dies you die" i kind of like it in fact and would, on a personal basis, prefer it stay this way (even though this opinion might change when we see more of the game mechanics). I believe it gives you an incentive to use your sovereign wisely in a more strategic manner rather than throwing him in every battle, especially since the sovereign gains experience from battles even if he doesn't participate in them.

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October 1, 2009 6:14:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting astrath,
I'm not sure I'd want my game to continue or end depending on a dice roll though...

It's a skill you can decide to purchase or not. If you don't, he doesn't scape, he dies, game over. If you buy it, there are certains conditions that will allow him to survive instead of insta game over. Seems extra option to survive and avoid losing the game, not an extra option to lose the game. If you want that extra chance to survive, then buy Evade. If don't care, then other skills. It's not like they are proposing "If you are about to win, we roll a dice to see if you lose" but "If you are about to lose, or could be risking such defeat, we roll a dice to see if your sovereign can save his ass.". I don't dislike the idea

Maybe if the Sovereign could somehow delegate some duties in his servants (being heroes and/or units) so players can keep him totally protected in a city giving bonuses and casting global spells, some people may feel better with him. So like giving a scout 5 Essence points with the specific task of city founding or something like that., being able to imprint heroes for a time with Essence and all that. But would be some micro that some may hate.

In any case, I don't see a single solution to be enough for some people (except removing the idea completely). Some different mechanics put together would seem the best option if sovereign death = game over isn't going to be optional (I mean in sandbox, in campaign it should be a must because surely it fits the story perfectly). But those mechanics can also turn into a burden considering that they would be extra effort for the Sovereign (included all those efforts to make sure that the AI makes would prudent use of him and all that).

In any case, it feels awesome to see how things develop and how Stardock (much like when the economy model thing) takes seriously their players/customers and try to offer them systems that may please them (without saying no to their own iniciative).

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October 1, 2009 6:22:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm okay with this. The possibility of a sovereign evading an "all-in" surprise attack on his position will deter people from doing stuff like that unless they're really desperate. Not so sure about the idea of re-usable heroes, though.

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October 1, 2009 7:19:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like Astrath's idea better personally. Though it also needs balancing against abuse.

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October 1, 2009 7:32:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

A dice roll to determine the outcome of a battle? Fine.

A dice roll to determine the outcome of the game? Not good.

I like the idea that the Sovereign can die, and I realize that surprise assassinations can potentially turn the game into "bum rush the sovereign", but this Evade thing is a really lazy solution. Can't we come up with something better?

Strand's idea might work. If you have nearby units with you when you're attacked, you can throw them at the enemy to buy time for you to escape. The units left behind fight with a massive penalty and will almost certainly lose, but you get to live.

Another option is the ability to channel some of your essence into an "emergency escape" spell that teleports you to a safe haven and activates whenever the sovereign takes damage. A surprise assassination would still be possible, but now instead of being a cheap shot or lucky break, it would require some measure of planning and coordination. The enemy would need to cast a specific counter spell, hit you with something powerful enough to take you out in one shot, or find out the location of your safe haven and hit it before you have a chance to recast the escape spell.

I'm sure there are plenty of other ways to provide a safety cushion without removing the danger completely or gambling everything on the Almighty RNG.

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October 1, 2009 7:35:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Heroes will have a skill called Evade. The evade skill determines the odds of them escaping a disaster (lost battle, taking of a city, etc.). When they escape, they are transported to the nearest friendly city.

Players will be able to put points into evade when they design their character.

There will be major evade modifiers. For example, if your sovereign is in a city when it's attacked, odds are, he'll escape. If he's in a large army, he'll probably escape too. But if it's a 1 on 1 encounter, odds are, he wouldn't escape.

 

As the previous posters have already said, this makes the game way too dependant on the RNG. As long as the odds are not either 0 or 100, people will complain (95% chance of survival is not invulnerability after all).

So you got the powerful empire soverein in the rope, cut from the rest of his army? Well he had 5% chance of fleeing home, and he just did.

Your soverein was strolling in the field when some enemy cast earthquake? You have 95% chance of surviving, but you didn't.

 

I would prefer a more deterministic system. An example : the sovereins and heroes have a "cheating death" stat, which they can increase. When they would otherwise be killed, the "cheating death" stat is permanently reduced by a certain number. If their stat was not high enough (and would go negative), they die. Then modifiers could be applied to the amount lost : killed but your army won (-1), killed by your loneself (-2), defeated in your capital (-5), etc.

There would still be risk involved, as you don't know how baddly (or even if you are going to) you will be defeated, and having to increase back the "cheating death" stat should prove to be quite costly (opportunity costs). Also it will also provide different play styles depending on how much

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October 1, 2009 8:04:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I am not against the Sovereign 'respawning' after getting killed (sort of) but it should be well-defined and shouldn't be free but costly. Frogboy told about a cost in set-up points.

There are also two exemples from other games:

- like in Age of Wonder II where a killed mage will come back in a city with a mage tower. That could say: if you want your mage to be a warlord and still have that life insurance, you must invest resources to build and maintain one or several mage towers.

- like in Dominions where a killed pretendant would come back a few turns later (depending on priests power) but with magic powers down one level each time. That could say: your mage can come back but it shall cost him, say, 5 essence points. Since essence is not renewable and is key to build cities, one should think twice before spoiling it by putting the Sovereign into harm's way)

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October 1, 2009 8:34:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think this for battles at least;

At the beginning of every battle, give the player the choice to have the sovereign lead the army from the front or direct from the rear. If they choose to lead from the front, they are susceptible to death. If they lead from the rear, they will automatically escape whatever it was would be lost.

Benefits to either could be created, though obviously the sovereign leading from the front should be much more useful (perhaps to the point that leading from the rear has no palpable bonus).

Sovereigns should always escape a city unless the enemy very carefully surrounds the entire city before taking it. I don't know how armies work in the game, but assuming they occupy space on the map, by very deliberately surrounding every single square of a city (which I imagine would take a sizeable army), one could definitively cut off a sovereign's route of escape. Otherwise, they should always escape lost cities.

Similarly, sovereigns shouldn't die from purely random events. Call it the protagonist bonus.

 

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October 1, 2009 8:54:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

My 2cents... Options... Fast games find and kill soverigns to win!... Prolonged games... either sov dies/or grows of old age and passes his/her position to his/her hiers... Come on options are great we can make the game we want! Please!

 

Damn emotions arnt working!

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October 1, 2009 9:13:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Why not have a Lord of the Rings style option. Early on in the game you have the option of investing your power into an object, and as long as that object (Say a Ring or jewel) remains intact the channeler cannot be destroyed, (Eye of Sauron) However if that object is destroyed or captured your channeler dies and you lose.

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October 1, 2009 9:38:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'll buy into the sovereign death ending the game.  It will make for some interesting and chess-like strategic options.

It would be a nice option to give a way to defend against this risk other than having your sovereign always sitting in the middle of a big army.  Rather than locking a player into modifying the character from the beginning to escape, I'd suggest allowing the sovereign to research some sort of "life vault" spell that would allow the sovereign to return if killed.  Return from death should not be without penalty (possibilities: essence, learned spells, levels).

The spell could either have various levels researchable or could be invested with various amounts of mana.  The higher level "life vault" spell you have in place, the less you lose upon your sovereign's return to life.  The spell should be used up by dying and take several turns to cast again.  That way a single poor decision or surprise assassination can be insured against with preparation, but if you're being overwhelmed, you can't easily get away twice.

The advantages of this approach are that the player could pursue the spell and choose how heavily to invest in it based on the strategies being pursued during the game, rather than having to commit to a strategy from the beginning.  It also involves an interesting "cost-benefit" decision and fits nicely with the magical theme of the game.

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October 1, 2009 10:02:20 PM from Stardock.net (Stardock Games) Stardock.net (Stardock Games)

I don't think creating an evade stat would be a good idea because there is no other reason for it. I do have thoughts on how this mechanic should work. For example, if a city where the sovereign is located is attacked, I would allow the player to flee the city(maybe one space out, based on sovereigns agility or to another city) or with a low capture chance based on size of attacking army versus sovereigns agility(if this stat already exists in the concepts of the game). However, if the player decides to stay to use him in battle or gain an extra defensive bonus and the city is taken I would make the flee chance based on how large the remaining army of attackers if left verses (maybe versus half sovereigns agility). If he is captured I would allow the AI(or opposing players army) to either execute or ransom him back for a large sum or annual tithes. The chance whether or not he is executed is based on how much the AI(or human player) hates the player versus bonus gained. It might be a good idea to not execute the sovereign if the opposing player does not think they could not survive the reminder of the game against other players without the bonus or they may not need help and would rather execute the player outright. Heck, maybe even have a forced change of allegiance if the player has nothing else to offer. I see how this would be less valid if there were only 2 sides.

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October 1, 2009 11:15:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

many people have already said it, but I feel the same.   Ending the game shouldn't be left to a random chance of any kind.  At least not in early-mid game.  "luck" isn't a very fun game, and nobody wants to be "unlucky" and have their leader killed early on because they didn't camp him in one spot the moment it was realistic.

That being said, it could be that sovereigns *always* evade when they are in a city or in an army over a certain size.  This would be the bonus granted to the kind of character that survives a world rendering cataclysm.  

At the same time, he can lose this benifit under a number of conditions, such as being in an army under a certain size, being too far from another friendly city, or having too many enemy troops between the sovereign and the closest allied city.  This would make it a risk to march into enemy land and be surrounded.  This would also allow for some strategy on how you might snipe a sovereign.  Doing a multi-directional pinser attack on the sovereign's army would require a lot of planning for somebody to pull it off on the sovereign's turf, but not so difficult if the sovereign is out running about.  Even then though, it might require some prep work.

Alternatively, there may be ways to stop the evade of the sovereign and heroes with the evade skill.   A "trap" spell of some kind, for example.  (Ackbar would be upset)  Specifically designed to stop characters from fleeing or evading.   It would have to have some sort of warning that the enemy could cast this spell, so players don't stupidly blunder into it without having at least a chance to stop it.  (A warning could just be something that only appears if they have spies, detect magic skills, or something along those lines at work).    Some heroes might also have an "assassination" skill, that grants them the ability or chance to go past the sovereign's evade (and a bigger bonus against heroes).   This would make focusing on super powerful assassin heroes an effective counter for "going gandalf".   (it would also be like the assassins in Total War games.  They almost never pull it off, but it CAN happen if you really work on creating super-assassins)

In this rule-set...If you straight-up gave a sovereign "evade" the way you would a hero, it would then grant the "evade" ability as per normal (a die roll) in the situations where the sovereign would normally be denied his channeler's right to free evade.  This would make it so if you are 'going gandalf' and you are hosed because you got too deep into hated territory, then you still have a 'chance' to recover, provided they arn't also targeting you with an assassin or trap spell of some kind.

 

The idea is that it is very evident when you are going to lose, and it isn't something that comes too easily.  If a player is really ballsy about it, perhaps it can still happen if the player isn't defensive with his channeler.

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October 2, 2009 12:18:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I do not care for the evade option, mostly because it is chancy. Here is my two cents on what I feel is a better option.

Leave the idea of the channeler being in hiding in a city as it was - and if the city is destroyed he automatically escapes to the nearest city. But if he is in hiding he obviously cannot help defend the city either.

For those who want to have a battle mage but still have a safe option.

For heroes other than the channeler, I like the evade idea just fine.

For the channeler, there is a unique spell only learnable by sovereigns called Get My Ass Outta Here. It is only castable in combat and only castable during the first round of combat. 100% success rate, cannot be interupted etc etc. The Channeler is teleported to his capitol city.

This I think is a great balance. If you are in a battle you are able to assess the odds. The presence of the channeler alone should make otherwise even fights a pretty easy win. If the odds are bad even with the channeler there, then obviously the army is going to get creamed if he bails.

I think there are some good payoffs and penalties for this option. If a channeler ports to his capitol at the drop of a hat, then the player is going to have togo thru the hassle of getting his channeler back to the army if they survive (or building a new army if they don't. It's an escape with a pretty hefty cost.

What I really like is what happens if two armies fight and they each have their sovereign with them? Say it is fairly evenly matched...there is going to be a very strong temptation to 'play chicken' and see who blinks. Yews you are putting the entire game on the line, but if you stay and the other guy runs, then what was an even battle now becomes a slaughter. And if both channeler's take a chance - it is an Epic Battle To Stay in The Game!

It may seem similar to the evade skill, I like it better as an unfailable spell because there is no RNG, and even in a 1-on-1 (which with evade you say he probably won't get away) with the spell he could but again you have the hassle of losing position, you could even tweak it to either cost a lot of mana or possibly a dash of essence. You could also have it affect his fame, i.e. if you ran too often you would get a reputation as a coward that might affect diplomacy. (In other words you still want to give them a reason to just hide rather than make a half hearted attempt at a battle mage). Give people a sure way out but there has to be associated costs, so that if you really don;t have the nerve to put your channeler on the line, you are better of leaving him at home.

Just so people don;t complain about "forgetting" to warp their channeler home, there should be an option setting so that every battle that has your channeler involved prompts you with the "Do you wish to cast Get My Ass Outta Here, m'lord? Y/N". Also I think hiding in a city if the city falls it should be a guarantee that the channeler flees to the nearest city.

Obviously if you are down to your last city, you better have your sovereign out fighting.

I think too many people look at it from "my channeler is going to die" and not from a "Yay! I defeated the enemies sovereign! What?! He teleported out at the last second just as I defeated his massive army? WTF??"  Continuously having to track down and fight some guy who has sunk max skill into evade ability is going to be nothing but frustrating. (and honestly from the evaders perspective how much fun is it going to be always on the run just because oh noes my channeler might die!")

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October 2, 2009 12:28:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think the best solution to the biggest disagreement on this game would be:

Sovereign can die: Yes

Sovereign can grow very powerful over the course of a game. Losing this powerful sovereign would be a huge risk but a risk that could be worth taking.

The risk:

If the sovereign dies an heir successor takes over. This heir is like the sovereign at the beginning of the game. Weak. Brand new. You have to start all over building this character up all over again while your opponents still have very powerful and very experienced older sovereigns running around. Here would be the risk and challenge in losing your sovereign. This would be such a cool balancing feature! But please NO GAME OVER

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October 2, 2009 12:50:43 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well I know I'll never used evade points in multi (Or single prob) so it'll help me make am ore powerful char anyway.

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October 2, 2009 1:17:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

In Age of Wonders there were some squares that let you escape the map. SO you have to play stactically to escape. In autoresult you had the choice to try to escape. If you have more move points than anyone else, then you can escape.

An "evade" stats isn't a good idea. Move points should be used instead. How a senile, slow walking guy could escape some enraged warriors that are here to kill him ? Unless there's magic.

Or why not getting other use of the evade stat ? (like getting higher chance of not getting a critical hit, when hit)

Some "stone of recall" would be usefull too : you can use it in battles or on the map. It transports you to the closest city. Then it brake. If the cost is high enough you won't have more than one or two per hero/sovereign.

 

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October 2, 2009 1:32:51 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting auboy105,
I think the best solution to the biggest disagreement on this game would be:

Sovereign can die: Yes

Sovereign can grow very powerful over the course of a game. Losing this powerful sovereign would be a huge risk but a risk that could be worth taking.

The risk:

If the sovereign dies an heir successor takes over. This heir is like the sovereign at the beginning of the game. Weak. Brand new. You have to start all over building this character up all over again while your opponents still have very powerful and very experienced older sovereigns running around. Here would be the risk and challenge in losing your sovereign. This would be such a cool balancing feature! But please NO GAME OVER
I like this.

It balances risk (of losing sovereign) with reward (advantages of using sovereign).

It doesn't instantly put an end to hours of time invested in a game because a risk taken led to game over.

It makes good use of the succession/dynasty feature -- probably the best use (no offense to your other uses).

It increases player choice (use the sovereign or not depending on the relative risk/reward; choice of which successor to groom; etc.)

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October 2, 2009 2:24:17 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

'Game over' goes both ways -- players who successfully kill an opposing sovereign shouldn't have to put up with the hassle of completely eliminating the royal family.

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