Where's the beef? errrr Magic?

By on June 10, 2010 9:01:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Denryu

Join Date 07/2006
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I was just wondering when we might see the full magic system in beta. A couple of the objectives of beta 2 are balance and pacing. I expect that magical research and the presence of magic in the world is going to play a HUGE, probably even central role in that. So why is the magic system being held back for so long? And during what phase of beta (if any) Can we expect to see the full magic system implemented?

  As much fun as I have had in the beta so far, it seems a little weird that we are ten weeks from release target and have not seen the Magic of Elemental: War of Magic.

It's quite literally like being asked to provide balancing advice on a FPS, but your only weapon is the pistol that you start out with, and the grenade launcher, the machine gun, and the BFG3000 have been disabled!

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June 10, 2010 9:31:00 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
I was just wondering when we might see the full magic system in beta. A couple of the objectives of beta 2 are balance and pacing. I expect that magical research and the presence of magic in the world is going to play a HUGE, probably even central role in that. So why is the magic system being held back for so long? And during what phase of beta (if any) Can we expect to see the full magic system implemented?

  As much fun as I have had in the beta so far, it seems a little weird that we are ten weeks from release target and have not seen the Magic of Elemental: War of Magic.

It's quite literally like being asked to provide balancing advice on a FPS, but your only weapon is the pistol that you start out with, and the grenade launcher, the machine gun, and the BFG3000 have been disabled!

Valid concern I guess.

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June 10, 2010 9:44:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

A good point, but as far as I can understand, magic is going to be implemented in the beta that is hopefully coming out today, fingers crossed!

So I'm guessing we should be getting a better idea of the magic system with that beta. That being said, it really is important to get magic right, considering how important it will probably be in game.

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June 10, 2010 11:07:51 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Nero_zero,
A good point, but as far as I can understand, magic is going to be implemented in the beta that is hopefully coming out today, fingers crossed!

So I'm guessing we should be getting a better idea of the magic system with that beta. That being said, it really is important to get magic right, considering how important it will probably be in game.

 

I think in the journal posted yesterday they said the magic tech tree was still pretty much disabled, along with adventure and something else. Tactical combat isn't in either.

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June 10, 2010 11:11:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If this game comes out on August 24th of this year I will be surprised.  For me, it is more likely to end up being Feb 11 2011.  However, it is obvious that Stardock is hard at work.

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June 10, 2010 11:14:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Magic is there, just someone casted the global enchantment of silence and there is a mana short going on right now...

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June 10, 2010 11:27:55 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Balance first the mundane bits and later add the magic?

Certainly is a bit weird but in Stardock we trust? Yes, the release date seems too soon considering what we know of the game but if Stardock says what they say, must be because they know of what they are talking about? (we hope?)

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June 10, 2010 11:30:35 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The release date seems overly optimistic to me, considering. Magic probably won't get enabled fully until tactical battles are next beta phase, as my guess.

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June 10, 2010 11:45:57 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I thought Stardock had made it pretty clear that adding stuff like this is a breeze compared to programming the editors and the game engine. I think Brad said they could add a spell or building in 6 hours, while making an editor or significant game engine changes takes more like 6 months.

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June 10, 2010 11:51:13 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Plus, as beta testers, we never really know how many hours have gone into "unfinished" work. They could be a day away from a complete magic system, but are choosing to focus on something else right now.

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June 10, 2010 12:05:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have a feeling ALOT will be changed or added once Beta 2 users start flooding the forums. I think alot of these people will have great ideas to make this game better. So i dont see this game being release on schedule. But hey if dont like the graphics, rules, spells, races..... devs could tell you to go ahead and make your own. Thats why the tool is there.

But then again reviewers and critics dont score a game based on modding community.

So it can go either way.

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June 10, 2010 1:38:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Myles,
I thought Stardock had made it pretty clear that adding stuff like this is a breeze compared to programming the editors and the game engine. I think Brad said they could add a spell or building in 6 hours, while making an editor or significant game engine changes takes more like 6 months.

It's not that I doubt they have this system finished or close to finished. It is that it is (in my opinion) next to meaningless to ask for balancing feedback when what is hopefully the primary offensive/defensive and central aspect of the strategy is missing. And I would further say that regardless of how easy it is to tweak things, that unveiling that in beta a month before release is.....questionable? Especially when in another thread I am told that they need to have a  gold master 30 days prior to release. This seems to imply that they are not looking for any feedback on the magic system whatsoever, OR they have internally already decided on a February release date. I don;t believe the latter, because Brad I think would communicate that if that was ever determined.

I mean, we are almost mid June here, even if we get Beta 3 by July 1, we are then going to get all our feedback etc on the magic system and get thru all other phases of beta in a month? So I am just seeking a little insight on what the plan is?

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June 10, 2010 2:36:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Beef is discriminatory towards both cows and vegetarians. I demand a more appropriate and less polarized noun, such as "Stuffing". I think we can all agree that stuffing, when prepared without meat or meat byproducts, is fairly delicious without excluding those of us opposed to the wanton mutilation of other species for fun and food.

 

More seriously, it _does_ seem rather odd to be excluding a flagship system from beta views. I'm of the opinion that there's an element of wishful thinking going on with the magic system -- Stardock is assuming that they've got something fairly well balanced, bug free and ready to go, and they'll only need a quick lick from beta before release. 

Or maybe, as other posters have said, Stardock already plans to push to the February release date. But that seems entirely at odds with their Elemental Army promotion -- why kick marketing into high gear only to announce a further delay?

So in the end I'm going to go with the theory that the magic eight ball which determines all Stardock corporate decisions is broken, and the only thing they've got at the moment is tea leaves -- which is problematic, because they can't read the damn things if they're still in the bag, and the bag gets hot in all that water! Obviously this is a major issue, and we should be supportive of Stardock's QA until they work out all the bugs in the tea leaf system.

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June 10, 2010 2:48:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Grove12345,
I have a feeling ALOT will be changed or added once Beta 2 users start flooding the forums. I think alot of these people will have great ideas to make this game better. So i dont see this game being release on schedule. But hey if dont like the graphics, rules, spells, races..... devs could tell you to go ahead and make your own. Thats why the tool is there.

But then again reviewers and critics dont score a game based on modding community.

So it can go either way.

I've seen X3-TC get an increased score based on it's scripting and modding community, which the game rightly deserves, even torchlight mods get mentioned as a positive in a number of reviews.

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June 10, 2010 3:14:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Aeon221,
More seriously, it _does_ seem rather odd to be excluding a flagship system from beta views. I'm of the opinion that there's an element of wishful thinking going on with the magic system -- Stardock is assuming that they've got something fairly well balanced, bug free and ready to go, and they'll only need a quick lick from beta before release. 

Or maybe, as other posters have said, Stardock already plans to push to the February release date. But that seems entirely at odds with their Elemental Army promotion -- why kick marketing into high gear only to announce a further delay?

So in the end I'm going to go with the theory that the magic eight ball which determines all Stardock corporate decisions is broken, and the only thing they've got at the moment is tea leaves -- which is problematic, because they can't read the damn things if they're still in the bag, and the bag gets hot in all that water! Obviously this is a major issue, and we should be supportive of Stardock's QA until they work out all the bugs in the tea leaf system.

Well, some of the magic system simply doesn't apply yet. Any magic related to tactical combat doesn't apply without tactical combat, and really it seems like not all of the combat system is in place yet (things like damage types).

Beta 2 and 3 were combined because the two couldn't be reasonably split apart. It may very well be the same with magic and tactical combat: splitting the magic system up so we can get part of it without the rest could just be not worth the trouble. If it's not in by what is now called beta 3, then I'll be worried.

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June 10, 2010 4:40:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thanks for the timely OP, Denryu. I suspect you are speaking for more than a few lurkers, infrequent posters, very deferential folks, etc. I certainly agree that it seems very odd to have a game with "magic" in the title have so little magic this 'late' in the beta.

Quoting Tridus,
... Well, some of the magic system simply doesn't apply yet. Any magic related to tactical combat doesn't apply without tactical combat, and really it seems like not all of the combat system is in place yet (things like damage types). ...

If the large majority of the magic is for combat, I'll be *extremely* disappointed. This is supposedly in the empire-game genre and claims MoM as a 'spiritual' ancestor; magic should be an important part of noncombat parts of the game.

Perhaps the 'ease' of implementing individual spells justifies some of this delay, but the fact that there has been no serious dev commentary on the metaphysics (or even just the canon spell book names & themes) definitely has me concerned that at RTM, magic in this game will be mainly special effects for combat mechanics that would calculate out the same whether the 'skin' said Elemental or GalCiv3.

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June 10, 2010 5:05:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

No magery 'til Beta3.

"In nearly all cases, things are disabled because we’re in the process of hooking the AI up to them which introduces stability issues that would complicate the public beta." -> Understandable.

 

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June 10, 2010 6:05:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If this game comes out on August 24th of this year I will be surprised. For me, it is more likely to end up being Feb 11 2011. However, it is obvious that Stardock is hard at work.

Everyone at Stardock is working very hard and Wardell is calling good shots on sharply limiting the scope. It looks like an intelligent choice was made to focus the campaign as an RPG given the incomplete state of the game, allowing work to proceed.

I too feel they won't make the August release.  It is possible that I am underestimating how far along the game is, especially since I have not seen Beta 2. We'll see. : )

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June 10, 2010 7:03:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tormy-,
No magery 'til Beta3.

"In nearly all cases, things are disabled because we’re in the process of hooking the AI up to them which introduces stability issues that would complicate the public beta." -> Understandable.

Whining to get them in builds is whining. I admit that even if I can't quite stop my share of the whining and tend to encourage others.

But the lack of *info* is very frustrating at best, and obviously worrisome to some of us. Even if I can't play with much of it in a beta build, it seems wrong to have *read* so much discussion about building cities and magic-free combat units while having what amounts to a watercolor sketch on onionskin as far as magic is concerned.

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June 11, 2010 5:37:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting GW Swicord,



Quoting Tormy-,
reply 16
No magery 'til Beta3.

"In nearly all cases, things are disabled because we’re in the process of hooking the AI up to them which introduces stability issues that would complicate the public beta." -> Understandable.


Whining to get them in builds is whining. I admit that even if I can't quite stop my share of the whining and tend to encourage others.

But the lack of *info* is very frustrating at best, and obviously worrisome to some of us. Even if I can't play with much of it in a beta build, it seems wrong to have *read* so much discussion about building cities and magic-free combat units while having what amounts to a watercolor sketch on onionskin as far as magic is concerned.

Yep I know. Beta3 should be released "shortly" [2 weeks IIRC?] after Beta2, if everything will be ok in the Beta2 build.

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June 11, 2010 6:21:07 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I know this may sound counter, and possibly presumptive.

 

Heads up on Magic.

But as it relates to them pushing these out until Beta 3.

I'm going to posit a belief, and though it may be wrong. My guess.. they are specifically, not bringing in things that could because of the technical issues, cause people to have incorrect impressions from the current upcoming beta.

That's not to say that problems could just compound and this whole game gets put out till Feb. But they seem to be feeling very confident when it comes to the state of the game. And here's the other thing to consider. The folks working on this stuff are specialists in what they do.

What am I talking about? Well I would point out in several interviews with Brad, he's mentioned, that they had book publishers, provide people so they could work on the actual background and mythology and naming structures of things. What does that mean? I would say it indicates, he utilized specialists who deal with something in their field. Fantasy backgrounds.

So, knowing that, if they are leaving certain aspects out until later beta's which since they've got several coming along.

I would present it as such. 

Mentions about Beta 4.

They feel confident in the strength of the Workshop that it either only needs the extra time between now and then, that they are happy with it's pace, and it hasn't presented any problems. And thus would not alter the release date.

This one here, indicates they either have the last little bits to finish up, polish etcetera, or that two weeks will be enough according to the time line. So they won't be present for us to test. As they are not forseen as significant issues.

Sovereign editing, will be in 2-B. Faction Editing 2-C. Empires, Tech, Spells, till 3. and so on. What seems like a large number of delayed staggered presentations, is actually a carefully created, and crafted control system. For example, you can bet that at some point, Brad, was working hard on the AI. Even though this time he didn't talk about it, as he was presenting us with this information.

My guess.. when it's all added together and we hear the game is going Gold. That will have meant, a major crunch period, but because they truly felt it was ready.

Especially since they spent so long in the previous beta, making the significant changes that they found do the help of all the previous beta-testers! (You go all you sexy people, and the non-sexy ones too!)

We'll all fall upon the parts like ravenous locusts. And they'll provide fixes as we find problems. 

And then we'll all be looking at this screen live, in the wild..

Woot.

Where some of us will have different games going on their different computers.. like one epic length one on the desktop, and one a little faster and smaller on the laptop. 

 and it won't all be in our heads.. 

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June 11, 2010 7:04:33 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yea, asking for "balance" feed back isn't going to be omnipresent ... or rather, it isn't about a completely balanced game. Its just stuff like looking for Noob traps while building up your economy, finding some Bugz, and seeing if we like the Pacing of the game thus far.

If the pacing is good, then we are good, if the pacing is a tad simple, then its fine because later we will have more options (magic, etc), and if the pacing is too complex then it might need a re-evaluation/ streamlining (but not by removing features).

They have already said that the AI is the only factor in whether the game will be released by late August.

Its likely that if its postponed to February, latter beta testing will be playing a finished product ... looking for bugs and tweaking balance.

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June 11, 2010 7:11:59 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Ah ... yea, all delays on features seem to be just a matter of them not having the proper AI code.

Once the AI is completed, we can use the feature (against AI and each other) and find any possible bugs, noob traps, and "best answers."

 

A sign of a really good game is something like this ... "Well, it would be really awesome if I had A, B, and C ... but well, im kind of in situation X, so its probably best that I grap B first, and then grab C when I can. A can wait a little bit ... and oh wait, if I get B and C like that then actually it'd be better if the third thing I get is D! Yes, I still have a chance at winning!!"

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June 11, 2010 7:26:08 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Gorstagg,

They feel confident in the strength of the Workshop that it either only needs the extra time between now and then, that they are happy with it's pace, and it hasn't presented any problems. And thus would not alter the release date.



This one here, indicates they either have the last little bits to finish up, polish etcetera, or that two weeks will be enough according to the time line. So they won't be present for us to test. As they are not forseen as significant issues.

Sovereign editing, will be in 2-B. Faction Editing 2-C. Empires, Tech, Spells, till 3. and so on. What seems like a large number of delayed staggered presentations, is actually a carefully created, and crafted control system. For example, you can bet that at some point, Brad, was working hard on the AI. Even though this time he didn't talk about it, as he was presenting us with this information.

My guess.. when it's all added together and we hear the game is going Gold. That will have meant, a major crunch period, but because they truly felt it was ready.

Especially since they spent so long in the previous beta, making the significant changes that they found do the help of all the previous beta-testers! (You go all you sexy people, and the non-sexy ones too!)

The workshop was always scheduled for a later beta. It doesn't make sense to have people modding stuff that is constantly changing and being implemented.

Really, this is just a normal development schedule we're seeing. Stuff goes in with some kind of order, you don't put every single system in at once. It's impossible to debug that when stuff goes wrong (and stuff always goes wrong).

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June 11, 2010 7:38:03 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think it's possible they were never planning for an August release. Throwing that date out there as well as implementing the Army system most likely got many people to preorder over the past week or so, and once beta 2 starts all of those people will be charged and gain access. This could be a huge burst of funding allowing the devs to continue working on the game until February without budget issues.

I don't mean to say they were trying to trick us or anything negative, as we will have the beta to play so it doesn't really matter. I just think it's a possibility, and the February thing always seemed a bit odd to me.

I just don't see this game hitting all the steps in the beta in 2 months. It doesn't really matter how easily they can add these features because it's the testing, bug fixing, and balancing that take up time.

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June 11, 2010 7:38:33 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tasunke,
Ah ... yea, all delays on features seem to be just a matter of them not having the proper AI code.

Once the AI is completed, we can use the feature (against AI and each other) and find any possible bugs, noob traps, and "best answers."

 

A sign of a really good game is something like this ... "Well, it would be really awesome if I had A, B, and C ... but well, im kind of in situation X, so its probably best that I grap B first, and then grab C when I can. A can wait a little bit ... and oh wait, if I get B and C like that then actually it'd be better if the third thing I get is D! Yes, I still have a chance at winning!!"

I would agree, and with pacing and a balance for want vs need, and a strategic goal, this will get us a taste, let us feel if it's running smooth, and go from there.

 

Quoting Tridus,
Really, this is just a normal development schedule we're seeing. Stuff goes in with some kind of order, you don't put every single system in at once. It's impossible to debug that when stuff goes wrong (and stuff always goes wrong).

Yeah Tridus, that was sort of what I was trying to explain, regarding the development schedule. That everything is running on a specific time clock, based upon their experience, and knowing where everything else is in the scheme of it. So I agree, wanting magic is absolutely valid. But the lack of it isn't a harbinger. Just an aspect. As it were.

 

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