Essence is Broken: How we might fix it

By on June 30, 2010 3:10:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Demiansky

Join Date 03/2008
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Okay, so from where I’m standing, Essence has never been in a situation where it can actually work very well.  The recent incarnation states that essence is used to convert an opposing philosophy’s land (Kingdom to Empire, Empire to Kingdom).  Now, the big fat problem with this proposition is that if it costs Kingdoms to change Empire land, it serves as a disincentive to attack the Empire.  After all, why burn the most valuable asset in the game when you can attack another Kingdom faction for free?

So my proposal is to reverse the phenomenon.  First, let me say that I’m not suggesting that essence shouldn’t still be immutable.  It’s not like mana or gold in which you can just keep producing more indefinitely. 

So without further preface, I propose that rather than have restored land cost essence… have it give you essence.  If you are a Kingdom faction, you would build irrigation systems or spend mana on restoration spells to bring forth fertility.  And what’s more, every Kingdom faction would gain essence from restored land wherever it happened to be in the world, not just the individual doing the restoration.  As a consequence, those Kingdom Sovereigns who have dedicated themselves to a lot of land restoration would gain positive diplomatic relations with other kingdom factions.  Those that don’t would be considered “free loaders” and be more succeptable to invasion from other Kingdoms.  So if you wanted to maintain peace with the other Kingdoms, a viable route would be to focus heavily on restoring life to the world.  Keep in mind, land restoration doesn’t have to be the only way in which Kingdoms gain essence.

Empires, on the other hand, could gain essence differently.  They might set up structures throughout the landscape--- hell nodes or something to that effect--- that transform the baren land to forsaken land and give a boost to their essence.  By this method, they do not share any essence with other Empires for restoring land, but on the same token, they gain no diplomatic bonuses with other empires on account of transformed land.  As a consequence, Empires would go to war with one another more frequently than kingdoms would.  In the end, Empires would have more raw power as individuals, but Kingdoms would be more likely to unite.  Kingdoms may even be able to enter into “Life-Binder” pacts in which each party is obligated to spend X mana each turn toward restoring land (at which point, you would also receive a hefty diplomacy bonus with said party.

Now, the role of essence would be different as well.  It could still be used to infuse champions with spell casting abilities, however a sovereign’s “free” essence would also represent the “casting skill” of the sovereign, a lot like it did in Master of Magic.  Major unit enchantments and most overland permanent enchantments would cost a certain amount of essence as well, which is freed up again once the enchantment is broken (while the enchantment is active, though, the sovereign has less casting skill because the essence is locked away.)  So our sovereign might have a lot of free essence and few enchantments or infused heroes, which would allow them to cast at a remarkable pace, or your sovereign might have a vast array of enchantments across his army and Kingdom but have a slow and arduous time casting new spells (because his essence is locked away in enchantments and heroes.)

Now, naturally, there would be other ways to gain essence, especially if you are a Kingdom.  It would be silly if all kingdoms always had the same amount of essence.  For instance, you might focus on an area in the magic tree that would enhance the essence you gain from transformed land.  You might even be able to give your sovereign a trait that improves by a tiny percentage of essence you gain from restored land each time your Kingdom transforms a given tile for the first time.  This would make land transformation more lucrative for some Kingdoms than others.  However, essence might also be locked away in dungeons or come from a one time infusion from a given tech. 

More interestingly, essence might also be captured from other sovereigns and champions who have it.  For instance, if you kill an enemy champion or sovereign with your champion or sovereign, you could possibly steal a certain percentage of their essence (the percentage improving if your hero or sovereign has special attributes.)

What happens to the rest of the essence that isn’t stolen or a sovereign/champion is killed by mundane soldiers?  It diffuses throughout the world.  How is it regained?  Possibly by something like a special essence focusers that are built atop a sovereign’s tower.  And there are some interesting things that could be done with this idea.  Some sovereigns might build these essence focusers on their tower with the explicit intention of sowing discord in the world so that they may funnel scattered essence toward their own greedy hands.  Scattered essence that isn't grabbed by focusers might even re-materialize in a neutral city, giving birth to a new sovereign and a new faction.  A devastating war may very well give rise to a powerful channeler on the other end of the world.  What’s more, you might give the Empires a natural propensity for capturing essence that has been “lost” to the landscape, infusing them with a drive to "destroy" while giving the kingdoms further incentive to avoid conflict with one another.

The possibilities are vast.

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June 30, 2010 3:20:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I wrote this for something else, but might as well post it here, too.

Basically, I feel that Essence has lost a bunch of its intended purpose and currently just isn't interesting. In the beginning, Brad likened having Essence to Sauron in the beginning of the Fellowship of the Ring movie, in that hoarding Essence for personal use would make you powerful. Right now, the only thing Essence does is give you more mana to play with. This sort of kind of very indirectly makes you a "powerful" caster, since with more mana you might be able to cast 2 damaging spells instead of 1, for example, but that's uninteresting and pretty weak. Sauron wasn't powerful because he had more Mana, he wasn't even a "mage". His "Essence" allowed him to pick up a big mace and send a hundred guys flying with one swing of it. As it is, Essence is meaningless for Sovereigns who wish to specialize in melee, and half-meaningless for Caster Sovereigns.
 
So, here are my thoughts for turning Essence into an interesting and fun stat and game mechanic:
 

    Untie Essence from Mana. As I mentioned before, this is uninteresting. Base mana off the Sovereign's stats (a combo of Int and Wis, or just Wis). This way, a Sovereign that chooses to specialize mostly in Melee combat will be naturally weaker with magic, due to having to pump points into Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution over Int and Wis, and a Sovereign that chooses Magic will be naturally stronger with it, having more Int and Wis while sacrificing Str and Dex.
     
    Essence Modifies Stats. With essence not being tied to mana capacity, it can conveniently be used as a stat modifier, instantly benefitting whichever specialization the Sovereign chooses. You could even have an "Archetype" selection for Sovereigns. A Sovereign created as a "Fighter" will have his Essence applied to boosting physical combat stats, while a "Sorcerer" would have his spell-casting boosted. Alternatively, it can be more hands off and simply provide a bonust to all (or highest x stats - 3 or so sounds good) per point of Essence. This way a Sovereign that increases his Str, Dex, and Con to be a good fighter will have those stats boosted by his Essence stat, and one who increases Int, Wis, and Con will have those boosted.
     
    Stat "Specials" From Essence. Stats can get Special Bonuses by having enough essence. For example, if a Sovereign's Strength is boosted by Essence, say having 5 Essence gives his melee attack an AoE effect in Tactical Battles, allowing him to hit the 3 cells in front of him (The Sauron Effect). Having 10 could allow him to swing a massive strike, hitting all enemies surrounding him. Or say for a Caster, having 5 could give his duration spells an extra turn or two, having 10 could expand the radius of AoE spells by one cell. Maybe even for a more pacifist Sovereign that's Charisma based, Essence could provide bonuses to the empire side of things, such as 5 essence allowing the Sovereign to cast Non-Combat magic (like beautify land, etc) for no mana cost, and 10 essence allowing him to revive land once every x turns for no essence cost, or something.
     
    Essence Used to Maintain Powerful Auras. Mostly applies to tactical battles, having essence affect stats as described above provides for an excellent opportunity for this mechanic. Basically, a Sovereign would be able to maintain a non-magic (ie, no mana cost) Aura during tactical battles. Let's do an example, including the previous Stat Specials idea. Let's say we have a melee Sovereign that has 12 Essence, allowing him to do the massive 360 swing that sends lots of baddies flying. But for an upkeep of 3 Essence, he can maintain an aura that Frightens all enemies that aren't immune (like, a dragon probably would be immune), reducing their attack speed, attack damage, and defense. Or for an upkeep of 2 Essence, he can maintain an aura that Rallies his own troops, slightly increasing their attack speed. With only one Aura able to be maintained at a time, do I debuff my enemies and lose the ability to do an Epic 360 swing, or do I give my guys a slight buff and keep my ability to do it? After combat, the aura stops being maintained and the essence is freed.
     

Changes like these turn Essence into a very important stat that has direct impact over the Sovereign's performance in whatever he chooses to specialize in. As Brad was saying since the very beginning, a Sovereign can choose to hoard his essence, making himself very powerful - which is what happens with the above suggestions, or he can use it to Imbue his Champions with magic, at the cost of personal power - which is also what happens with the above suggestions. At the same time, casting the Uber-Powerful World Altering spells that use Essence will also leave the Sovereign *physically* weaker, due to the great effort needed to cast. Works perfectly!

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June 30, 2010 3:24:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hehehe. Imagine a Champion kill animation where they have another Champion down and out, just before the end, one grabs the other by the throat and his/her essence drains out and into the victor. Damn sweet that.

As to the Tech and Attributes thought. They tend to be OP'd, useless, or everyone will have it making it moot on both sides.

Essence based "bizzard collectors" sounds cool though.

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June 30, 2010 3:40:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

guys what the point of discussing someting thats already been changed  before even seeing the actual changes?

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June 30, 2010 3:45:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, we already know what those changes are.

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June 30, 2010 3:49:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

well it depends on many factor like mana costs of spells, and stuff like that

 

also need to see the new system for building towns combine into it

 

how can we judge a totally new concept like changing empire into kingdom?

 

well maybe its just me but i cant argue b4 i touch with my bare hands

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June 30, 2010 4:58:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well ddd, we can reasonably extrapolate on where a certain idea is going.  Like in Congress, they don't institute a change and then simply say, "well guys, we'll just have to wait and see how it all pans out!"  No, they propose something and then debate about it rigorously. 

As for Annatar, I was thinking along very similar lines.  I envisioned that your sovereign could work toward locking essence into combat fluency in certain ways, which would of course reduce his overall casting ability but provide helpful buffs in battle. 

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June 30, 2010 5:06:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

As for Annatar, I was thinking along very similar lines. I envisioned that your sovereign could work toward locking essence into combat fluency in certain ways, which would of course reduce his overall casting ability but provide helpful buffs in battle.

Indeed. My main "peeve" about essence now is that it exists to just (barely) serve the magic side of things. While it's true that your Sovereign is by default able to use magic, it doesn't mean that he has to be a mage - especially given the current stat system. If I choose to build my Sovereign as more of a physical fighter, essence does absolutely nothing for me. Maybe I don't care about casting Volcanoes so I don't have to worry about my Int (for max essence) because I won't have to worry about having enough to cast the spell. Maybe I'm content with him as the general of my armies, in the thick of battle with lots of HP and heavy plate armor and sword and shield, and the only spell I want is "Heal". Essense as it is now is only beneficial for one playstyle: heavy magic use. But that's not the only playstyle that should be considered.

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June 30, 2010 7:01:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I know it might be a bit early to tell, but if it proves shortly that some Sovereign types don't really use or require much essence at all, would there be enough time to change the way essence works so that it is an important factor in all types of Sovereigns, for example tying military elements and stats of Sovereigns to gathering and most effective use of essence?


Best regards,
Steven.

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June 30, 2010 7:27:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the idea of an Essence limit being partially set by how much of the land is for your king.  Not by Empire or Kingdom, but by the individual player.  Have a given percentage of something in the land that is the kings and  let that determine the Max Essence.  You could even put objects in the game that bind sides, allowing them to gain essence off each others essence gains.  Take blood oath to a whole new level.

 

I like the idea of Essence being a hard limit, not being able to be regained, so the player has to really consider what they want to do with it to not waste it.

 

I think Essence should be:

 

Finite

Whatever gets you Essence has to require a significant resource diversion to get.  If converting the land gets you essence then it should cost a significant amount of gold or time.  I don't include mana in this because mana will probably be the easiest resource to regain.  I'm not in the beta (despite my preorder *hint hint*) so that may be a false assumption but I base it on most other fantasy game settings using mana as a quick to regain resource.

It has to be worth it.  Whatever you use Essence on HAS to be a game changer.  A King expending Essence should make every other player tighten up and panic.  "Oh g*d what did he do?!?".  Raise an army of undead (an ARMY, not a couple of skeleton troops), crack the land (Chasm of chaos anyone?), Create a new form of life loyal to the King but autonomous, raise ancient ruins full of wondrous  artifacts, create a super weapon, cut a hole in the locker room for the other sex to peer through...

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June 30, 2010 7:48:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting sonarogre,
I like the idea of an Essence limit being partially set by how much of the land is for your king.  Not by Empire or Kingdom, but by the individual player.  Have a given percentage of something in the land that is the kings and  let that determine the Max Essence.  You could even put objects in the game that bind sides, allowing them to gain essence off each others essence gains.  Take blood oath to a whole new level.

 

I like the idea of Essence being a hard limit, not being able to be regained, so the player has to really consider what they want to do with it to not waste it.

 

I think Essence should be:

 

Finite

Whatever gets you Essence has to require a significant resource diversion to get.  If converting the land gets you essence then it should cost a significant amount of gold or time.  I don't include mana in this because mana will probably be the easiest resource to regain.  I'm not in the beta (despite my preorder *hint hint*) so that may be a false assumption but I base it on most other fantasy game settings using mana as a quick to regain resource.

It has to be worth it.  Whatever you use Essence on HAS to be a game changer.  A King expending Essence should make every other player tighten up and panic.  "Oh g*d what did he do?!?".  Raise an army of undead (an ARMY, not a couple of skeleton troops), crack the land (Chasm of chaos anyone?), Create a new form of life loyal to the King but autonomous, raise ancient ruins full of wondrous  artifacts, create a super weapon, cut a hole in the locker room for the other sex to peer through...

Well, I would personally prefer that essence be immutable, like I said before.  That rather than representing magical "power" it represents magical "presence."  At the beginning of the game, essence would be locked away in the bruised and scarred world.  By restoring the land, you would basically be unlocking the essence.  Once it's in your hands, you can lose it but it doesn't just get expended and forever lost: it just ends up somewhere else.  For instance, if you infuse your champion with essence so that he may cast as well and your champion dies, some of the essence goes to the channeler that killed him and the rest goes "into the ether," ending up elsewhere in the world to be reclaimed later.  Eventually, toward the end of the game, most of the essence of the world will have been unlocked. 

Now with my idea, when you restore a large tract of land, you might gain one essence.  If that land is blighted again, you would lose it.  Heal the land again and you regain the essence.  Big time spells would require essence and mana.  The mana would be expended, but the essence wouldn't.  For instance, let's say you cast "stream of life" which might cost 200 mana and 1 essence.  The essence would remain in the spell as long as the enchantment was active.  If you cast the spell "Dire meteor" (a campaign map nuke spell) which might cost 500 mana and 3 essence, the essence would be gone for a limited time and only return to you many turns later.  While that essence is used up, you cast spells at a slower rate the same way as you would if the essence were tied into the spell.   

So like I said before, essence would represent magical "presence."  The more essence you have, the more enchantments you can maintain, the more you can cast spells, and inevitably the more "reach" that your magic can have across the world.

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June 30, 2010 10:39:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Although all of us have yet to see Beta 3, based on the Beta 3 Dev Journal, I have to absolutely concur with the OP that Essence is now broken.  Here are the relevant B3 passages with respect to Essence:

It only costs essence if you need to revive the land from the OPPOSITE ideology’s magic source Spells do not cost Essence. Only mana.

  • Your mana max is equal to your essence.
  • Initial essence = to unit’s intelligence.

Players will be able to maintain N enchantments where N is based on the caster’s essence. 

Shards provide Essence to controller.

^******************************************************

I no longer see a signficant differentiation b/t essence and intelligence, and what began as an exceptional concept (e.g Life Force) seems to have been considerably watered down.  Further, posters herein point to the fact Essence largely benefits the spell caster Sovereign and not those choosing to focus efforts elsewhere (fighter-types).

While I was a strong proponent of Essence being permanently drained under some circumstances, I am finding I am swayed from this approach given new posters' thoughts and the present game mechanics.  It seems to be struggle right now to find the correct place for "Essence."  So given the thoughts in this post, and the original theme of Essence is Life Force, why not have Essence be primarily used as a "booster shot" for the primary statistics of Strength, Intelligence, etc?  

This temporary boost would last a minimal amount of turns, but could be "dialed in" to enhance Strength from EX: 18 to 36 (18 ST + 18 Essence), etc. etc. etc.  In this fashion, the Soverign could become particularly "bad ass" in one or more Statistics, gaining the respective benefits, over a short period of time.  This Essence usage would be recharged slowly-- perhaps 1 point every 5 or so turns.

Such a mechanic would allow Essence to benefit ANY kind of Sovereign, is a relatively simple implemenation, yet preserves the whole "Life Force" concept whereby the Soverign has a "special ability" far beyond most Mortals.  Further, as desired, special situations could still permanently drain a portion of Essence (to be gained back through experience, etc.). but in general Essence would become a re-chargeable resource.

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June 30, 2010 10:47:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting LeBlaque,
Although all of us have yet to see Beta 3, based on the Beta 3 Dev Journal, I have to absolutely concur that Essence is now broken.  Here are the relevant passages with respect to Essence:

 

 

Wow.... You really gave us a TON of insight there. Thank you so much.

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June 30, 2010 10:53:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting strager,



Wow.... You really gave us a TON of insight there. Thank you so much.

You're quite the impatient ingnoramous, aren't you?

 

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June 30, 2010 10:55:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

W

Quoting Demiansky,


Well, I would personally prefer that essence be immutable, like I said before.  That rather than representing magical "power" it represents magical "presence."  At the beginning of the game, essence would be locked away in the bruised and scarred world.  By restoring the land, you would basically be unlocking the essence.  Once it's in your hands, you can lose it but it doesn't just get expended and forever lost: it just ends up somewhere else.  For instance, if you infuse your champion with essence so that he may cast as well and your champion dies, some of the essence goes to the channeler that killed him and the rest goes "into the ether," ending up elsewhere in the world to be reclaimed later.  Eventually, toward the end of the game, most of the essence of the world will have been unlocked. 

Now with my idea, when you restore a large tract of land, you might gain one essence.  If that land is blighted again, you would lose it.  Heal the land again and you regain the essence.  Big time spells would require essence and mana.  The mana would be expended, but the essence wouldn't.  For instance, let's say you cast "stream of life" which might cost 200 mana and 1 essence.  The essence would remain in the spell as long as the enchantment was active.  If you cast the spell "Dire meteor" (a campaign map nuke spell) which might cost 500 mana and 3 essence, the essence would be gone for a limited time and only return to you many turns later.  While that essence is used up, you cast spells at a slower rate the same way as you would if the essence were tied into the spell.   

So like I said before, essence would represent magical "presence."  The more essence you have, the more enchantments you can maintain, the more you can cast spells, and inevitably the more "reach" that your magic can have across the world.

 

Hrm.  That gave me a thought.  What if you had an actual aura, strength/size determined by your essence?  Like units in your radius get bonuses and such and whatever is near you gets a bonus to production...  the game can make the ground "pop" more around you to show the radius.  When you give/use essence away your radius lessens.  If you give it to heroes, they get a small radius "pop" to show they've been "blessed".

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June 30, 2010 11:47:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

Quoting LeBlaque,
Although all of us have yet to see Beta 3, based on the Beta 3 Dev Journal, I have to absolutely concur with the OP that Essence is now broken.

Well, the main thing is that the game has to work well with all its elements working together to provide depth, continual interest and a variety of viable strategies.  It's no good if essence does not mean much if you're not a heavy magic user, and it looks at this stage that this is the case.  Even though it's hard to make a decision on a fundamental mechanic based on just what we know from the next beta, I think that in this case it is important that other ways of defining and using essence be trialled  and evaluated, for the good of the released game.  After all, Elemental is the most expensive game Stardock has ever done, and it would be no good to anyone if it didn't work out because a particular vital mechanic did not gel with the others to make the result greater than the sum of its parts.

I really like the idea of essence representing magic presence rather than magical power, of and of an aura that lessens as you are using essence for other purposes.  It would of course need to be properly balanced, but I think it would be great if such a use of intrinsic essence (where essence is not really "used up", although it is still a valuable and limited resource) and auras would be a great thing to trial to see whether it would really work well for the released version.  And the game needs to fit together just so for it to be a long-term success.

Best regards,
Steven.
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July 2, 2010 7:32:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I definitely think Essence needs to be handled differently.

I actually suggested something different in another thread; I personally don't think that Essence should be a consumable resource that is also treated like a stat, going up in levels. I also don't like the current way Essence is determined.

I really like the idea of Essence being useful to /all/ kinds of Sovereigns, even Sovereigns who don't focus on spells.

My idea was for Essence to be like Hit Points, you have a Permanent Essence maybe based on the size of your empire and magical resources, and a temporary essence that fluctuates. Re-awakening the land or making fertile ground would take temporary essence, so would certain powerful spells, enchants, making magic items, and imbuing champions...but for the most part permanent Essence shouldn't go away unless your enemy is capturing your crystals, shards, and destroying your objects of power. Having more essence would give you a ton of bonuses to stats and powers, maybe the ones you focus on by choosing a specialty, and as your essence drops you become universally weaker and more like a mortal.

A sovereign will be dropped to zero essence when 'killed' and have to regenerate in a fortress or city, and essence would be regained really slowly along with their powers over a long period of time.

This, to me, has a much more fantasy feel. Like Lord Voldemort, Gandalf, Sauron, etc. A Sovereign with lots of Essence is at 'full power' and as they use their essence up they become weaker and weaker. If a sovereign is at zero essence, they can finally be actually killed...and it should be an opponent's job to reduce them to zero essence and conquer their city before they can regenerate.

Essence should be useful to warriors, and other types of sovereigns, not just wizard kings (though I know all Sovereigns are in some way magical.) And not just another spell-casting based stat in addition to Wisdom and Intelligence.

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July 2, 2010 9:24:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting LeBlaque,

Quoting strager, reply 12


Wow.... You really gave us a TON of insight there. Thank you so much.

You're quite the impatient ingnoramous, aren't you?

 

 

Sorries - Hadn't realized you were still posting it... Was trying to be funny.

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July 3, 2010 4:11:58 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Personally I think that employing essence the way that they sounded they were going to do it originally is the way to go.

You get a persistent trickle of essence independent from your leveling up (essence which you are "channelling" simply by being alive).

You choose the manner in which you employ that essence.

So, if you wish to make yourself exceptionally powerful in magic or combat, you simply use your essence to dramatically improve the related stats.

If you wish to enhance items dramatically with magic, giving them special abilities (to give to whomever you choose), then you can do that.

If you wish to give champions the power to use magic, or enhance their stats to make them exceptional fighters, you can do that.

If you wish to infuse the earth or your cities to make your empire richer, you can create/improve resources.

Or finally, if you save up your essence trickle, by late game you will be able to unleash some massively destructive spells upon the world (spells that require a substantial amount of essence to be consumed).  But make them count!

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July 3, 2010 8:00:29 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think Essence should be something of an inheritable gene, so the next generation will have the original amount.  This would solve the problem of the depletion of essence, but you would have to make sure a steady line of heirs.

I also think when you have used up all your essence you should die, because essence is your life force and when its gone so are you.

I agree with most ideas like Annatar's and Deminsky's (sorry if it was misspelled).  Something I think would be cool is instead of stat specialization for essence is that there should be just for every x number essence for all stats would be +(essence divided by 15(example) rounded down if need be).

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July 3, 2010 8:28:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Look at Outlaw's post, it makes a lot of sense.  Here is the link: 

Shards and Land Restoration are Boring: How we might fix it

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July 3, 2010 8:41:12 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't like the idea. The only magical "presence" is in the Shards from which the channelers get their stuff. Plus it going totally contrary to "make a sacrifice to revive the land".

Ahout Essence being broken, I haven't been able to test too much lately so I can only agree that something seems missing but cannot go beyond that comment.

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July 3, 2010 8:48:20 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would like it if spell effects can be determined by essence, as well. For example, a Dominate spell in tactical combat that takes control over Essence/10 enemy (minimum 1) units, stuff like that. Int is used in a lot of them currently, but Essence is a perfect stat to use in some of the more "powerful" ones. Casting them won't drain the essence, but base the effect on it. So with that Dominate example, if your Sovereign weakened himself by spending a lot of essence on other stuff, he'd lack the required concentration to exert control over more than 1 unit.

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July 3, 2010 10:33:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Wintersong,
I don't like the idea. The only magical "presence" is in the Shards from which the channelers get their stuff. Plus it going totally contrary to "make a sacrifice to revive the land".

Ahout Essence being broken, I haven't been able to test too much lately so I can only agree that something seems missing but cannot go beyond that comment.

Don't like it because it won't work/not fun or because it goes contrary to a pre-conceived notion on how the game "should be"? But maybe you didn't read the whole post, but the idea actually goes back in making the shards key to the channelers land restoration. Right now they feel like accessories and reviving land is blah. Anyway, better that we don't continue this here.

As for the OP's idea, it certainly sounds more interesting than what we have now. Its central component is that you gain essence in restoring land land, and get away from sacrificing essence in order to restore land (which I agree with the OP, is not an entirely fun mechanic). So how entrenched in the lore (and in the books) is 'sacrificing essence to restore land'? Is there no going back at this point?

One other thing, Im not so sure about making the empires and kingdom behave differently in acquiring essence. Especially in multiplayer. Not that it would be impossible to balance, but it certainly makes it harder. Though having unique playstyles for each would certainly add to the game's replay value.

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July 3, 2010 10:54:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree with Outlaw's post and the ideas from the OP.  With being able to put Pioneers wherever and having the land "beautification" happen almost entirely without any effort, you'd almost wonder where there really had been a cataclysm a century ago.  That's my (and others) main problem with it - there's not enough "connection" with the act of restoring completely barren land (I like that idea about the trenches being hard-won), it's too easy (like a production line) and it doesn't seem to be a satisfying gameplay mechanic. Most of the time you don't have to worry about sacrificing essence to restore land anyway.  It happens immediately and regularly after a Pioneer plonks his goods down.  So in that way, you could say the *current* system goes against the Lore just as much.

Best regards,
Steven.

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July 14, 2010 9:10:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Agree with Annatar11's reply 1 of this thread on everything but "stat specials" since i imagine it would be too difficult to implement fairly.  As for the powerful essence-auras, that might work but is not the theme of this post(unless these auras/specials are built into the mythical creatures or artifacts i describe. Having a cleave attack for 3 essence or spending 3 essence to make a cleaving sword are similar).

Never played the beta, but i plan on buying the game asap and am concerned with wisdom and essence.

My Thoughts:

Essence-Spent on Special Powers.  Remaining pool gives a bonus to stats.

Wisdom- How much magic you can do at once

Intelligence- How strong the spells are. AKA int+1 damage or a 1+Int/2 strength enchantment

 

Essence:

I see essence as a measure of the "special power" versus "life force" of a sovereign.  He uses up some of a constant life force to gain a (possibly temporary) special thing.  Once it is spent, it is gone forever.  Every game, each player stats with the same amount of it.  For that to work, it has to equally benefit a sovereign that focuses on casting spells, swinging swords, building civilization, or whatever else.  For this reason, essence=mana cap does not work for the "swinging sword" variety. (you can say, it lets him use enchantments to do this better, but that makes him a spellcaster hybrid, which is not the theme i want for him.)

90% of the time, you spend essence to distribute your power to the rest of your faction.  Imbuing specific land(to make it be more fertile, or to transform the ore in a mountain to mithral), building(to make a barracks spawn troops from thin air, to make a library give some sort of research bonus, or make a smelting factory conjure its own metal), area(spreading fertile land, tactical purposes such as reduced enemy defence/movement, all Allys receive X enchantment while in this area, the imfamous "enchant roads" from MOM), creatures(a nest of magic hounds that you can now build or a graveyard that now produces/lets you produce skeletons), hero(for spell-casting power with mana pool based on wisdom), item(an artifact of immense power; possibly upgrade an existing item to artifact status), individual creature(for a supercharged mythical beast which must be comparable to an imbued hero for this to be balanced)

Maybe include other uses of essence, such as the game-ending spell, or a super fireball-that-destroys-entire-armys(STRONG maybe), or a charm spell on independent factions(forget what those groups are called), or reshaping the world by making your civilization's landmass an island(in one casting. not over 25 castings of a make ocean spell)

Many of these powers would have a variable essence cost depending on how much awesome you are getting out of the power.

Unspent Essence.  This pool gives a constant bonus to your base stats in some capacity.  My preliminary function would be 1 to 1, as in 10 remaining essence =+10 to each stat.  This stat-bonus needs to be so great, that losing even one essence is noticeable and a tough decision.  If my suggestion of +1 to all/essence, then only give stat bonuses to the highest 2-3 stats.  This bonus should be automatic and not require the player to do anything, but should be aparent with a enchantment tooltip or something.  It should basically act as a non-magical constant enchantment.

Through the above stat-boosting, a sovereign that wants to hoard his power will be powerful, whether at casting spells, or being tough.  On the other side, a sovereign who pours all of his essence into his empire will be weak and avoid battle.  To make this work, the starting stats of sovereigns may have to be reduced to 5's instead of 10's, so they are not initially overpowered, but can become very weak.

 

Wisdom:

I see Wisdom as how many magic things you can do at once.  Mana cap= function of wisdom. Enchantment slots = function of wisdom.  For imbued heroes, their mana pool is function of wisdom.  Seems ridiculously simple to me.

 

Comments:

I think it would be really cool for a sovereign to "pour himself" into a weapon, which weakens him too much to use the weapon effectively.  Then he could pass the weapon down through his dynasty.

Many of these essence uses give you something you could have got anyway if you spent more time on it.  its sort of like a short cut.  you could search out a resource, or weaken yourself to conjure it.  you could focus on building a defensive army, or use essence to make enemies less effective at attacking you.

I sort of compare spending essence to opening a game-editor and cheating a little.

Few if any of these essence powers should require research in case you aren't a researching hero. the sovereign starts with the spell "Imbue" which can be used on units/land/buildings/nothing(to make an item out of thin air) most anything in his nation to turn it more awesome.

 

I am very curious about how the rest of you feel about my suggestions on wisdom, intelligence, and essence.  If i have overlooked something that one of these stats does, let me know and i will adapt my argument.

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