[Feedback] 15 thoughts on Beta state

By on July 22, 2010 12:38:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

AndyRoo

Join Date 05/2006
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Okay, so, I've been playing the recent beta builds a fair bit and have assembled various thoughts. I know improvement is hiding in every shadow already, but just going to ramble about everything I noticed so far to be thorough. Not sure if this too harsh or somesuch, but to be clear, Stardock are awesome and have earned my trust. Maybe theyll find some of this useful, maybe not. Only one way to find out.

 

1) I don't like houses. They are not really interesting to build or manage, they are annoying to find if your food income gets scuppered, and it makes no sense that hundreds of people fit inside 3 of them. It also does not feel as if I am gaining anything from having all these people, other than levelling up the city. In GC2 they were valuable, population was something I considered. Here I just don't care.

 

My point here is, I am having to maintain the population like GC2, but do not seem to be getting the pay-off for doing so. Admittedly there's no pesky morale to deal with, so its a fair bit easier, but it still feels to me to be a dangling bit of gameplay hanging off the main game, that doesn't really lead anywhere or do anything important.

 

2) City bonuses are dull. See here for something I wrote weeks ago. As they are now, they are very plain, very clinical. Why am I getting this? Why would I not always pick the gold option? I am more excited by the visual upgrade of the centre city tile than these bonuses. If they are to stay as plain old percentage boosts, more are needed. Recruitment speed, defensibility, materials/metal/food income. I often see the need for each of these things in a city, while the bonuses as they are always push me towards gold, which I have no need of as it's everywhere.

 

3) When picking bonuses I don't always know about the city its referring to. Related to the one above, it would be much better if I could see some statistics from the city in question in the pop-up. Also a shiny picture would be nice.

 

4) Sovereign only useful as fighter/explorer/spellcasterer. My sovereign is the leader, yet gets no bonuses to leading. If I wanted to leave him/her in a city, whether for safety because s/he is out of essence, or because s/he wishes to operate through champions, there's no bonus to the city. The grand leader of the empire is staying and the city carries on as usual. Especially mid-late game this feels silly, thousands of subjects and all.

 

5) Some bonuses to whichever city the sovereign is in would be nice and could help promote using champions instead to project power about. I have not forgotten the starting bonus that can be picked, but then again I always pick pathfinder anyway. Perhaps because staying in a city feels like a waste of a unit.

 

6) Such bonuses could be magical, with some magic research, perhaps some sort of sustained enchantments that only stay as the sovereign or even a champion is present. It could also be increased trade and prestige from having such an important person in the city.

 

7) There can be gaps between buildings in a city. I like this, I can make my cities look bigger than they really are. Problem is, it leaves these pesky gaps everywhere. Some huts, or gardens, or nice paved areas, fluff city tiles to fill them in – would look nice.

 

8) Again with cities – the crappest wall type takes 20 turns and a 4 tile building. Its a wooden fence, or a hedge. I want it for free. A good early game defensive tech that simply upgrades all settlements without having to build anything, with the ones that come after taking the time and money and resources to build. By the time its built I can already have the one after it from research anyway.

 

9) Tech needs a TL:DR bit. In GC2 I would often read the long descriptions and such, for fun. But also sometimes I did not. I looked at the simple bonus and then clicked it. Some of the techs in game require me to read it, especially in the latter tech trees. Some nice summary of what it does would be great, perhaps even in nice coloured text to make it stand out.

 

10) There's nothing out at sea. I am likely thinking of HOMM3 here, but sea is so empty. There's no shipwrecks or flotsam or crazy whirlpools. Feels like a waste of potentially interesting terrain.

 

11) Bad guys getting stuck in my territory. Actually they are not bad guys, they are neutral. Without a treaty or a wardec, they cant move, and I have them captured within my web. While funny, having influence expanding onto your units which then cannot be moved needs looking at.

 

12) Adventurers having their own faction? One wandered up to my city, I thought “Hello! I will give you money in exchanges for services!”. Out I wandered, to greet him in person and tell him of my happy and productive thoughts. I then stabbed him in the face and stole his 5 gildar. Why? He was on the city exit tile and it caused combat. Not a major problem, except every adventurer in the land somehow knew and all turned hostile. Just in case I end up killing one in future, some way to engage in dialogue to sort out any potential disagreements with them as a whole would be nice.

 

13) Adventurer guilds. My worlds keep running out of adventurers. I remember guilds lurking in the tech trees in betas past, would be good to see them return to create a source for adventurer types.

 

14) Out of town locations are boring. What is a lone gold mine out in the hills near a city without a good haunting every now and again? What is a distant logging camp on the edge of an old growth forest without werewolves eating all the workforce? I would like stuff to happen around these sites once built upon at random that requires some sort of intervention. Ones in city limits it wouldn't make sense for, but out in the borderlands they seem awfully vulnerable with nothing taking advantage of that fact.

 

15 Cities feel too big for the distance between them. An option on startup to change the min distance between cities would be cool, I generally like to have some neutral ground in my 4Xs. As it is now cities are just everywhere. I understand this kinda thing would be a very personal-preference type deal, and I would just like to be able to preference it myself. Especially on the huge maps I will end up always playing on.

 

Some other thoughts in general about larger issues:

 

  • City building is always the same. I build everything available, and that is it. Theres no limits, and as such no challenge or thought involved. Simply “is building A available? Yes? Build it. What about B and C? Build them too. D? Build.”. In GC2 there was limited terrain and this provided thinking opportunities. In betas past, there was a limit at each city stage on tiles. While a bit annoying, now city building is just going through the motions. Its dull.

     

  • Last 3 tech trees are barren, and tech in general feels short. Again a GC2 comparison, I would be researching things for aaaages. Here, probably due to lack of all those dull stages of weapons and whatnot, it feels very quick and I am already halfway through the tech tree before I even get into a fight. As far as the last 3 trees go, I get the impression they are being worked on, but I simply feel they need more to them in general.

     

  • Interface is pretty horrific. When city building my camera keeps me wanting to look at it instead of zooming off to the next city. The spellbook is a pain to manage, reminiscent of my EQ days (a decade ago). Everything just takes too many clicks. I again get the impression this is being worked on so not going into too much rambling on it.

 

I think that's all my thoughts for now. Keep the good times coming Stardock.

 

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July 22, 2010 1:06:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Good post, many things here I agree with, particularly your thoughts on housing, city building, tech trees, city upgrades, and that the game could be spiced up a bit with adventure on the high seas and more excitement occurring at "out of town locations," as you put it.

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July 22, 2010 1:26:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

cities start with defensive bonuses, any adventurer on your territory can be hired without talking to them in person, and you will almost certainly build cities that are next to lost libraries and arcane temples but not gold deposits.

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July 22, 2010 1:38:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Agree with every point. UI particularly.

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July 22, 2010 1:56:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

agree with almost everything, the houseing system is ok

the Heroes are bugged as far as i can see they are creatures or something like that

sleepy..

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July 22, 2010 2:33:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Great post.

The only point I don't really agree with is the housing. I think that the use of housing to stem growth by linking it to food is a positive move. Taking that limit out would mean cities all over the place again.

Interestingly, your point about sovereigns giving bonuses when stationery in cities so that we are more inclined to use our second tier heroes and armies is exactly where the Age of Wonders series evolved to. Started off with the sovereign running rampant and levelling up and then ended up where the sovereign really only gave out bonuses to cities and heroes and was always stationery. At the moment I pretty much just have one battle stack based around my sovereign because he is just so god-damn powerful. Would be nice if there was stronger incentive to use other units more.

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July 22, 2010 4:59:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
4) Sovereign only useful as fighter/explorer/spellcasterer. My sovereign is the leader, yet gets no bonuses to leading. If I wanted to leave him/her in a city, whether for safety because s/he is out of essence, or because s/he wishes to operate through champions, there's no bonus to the city. The grand leader of the empire is staying and the city carries on as usual. Especially mid-late game this feels silly, thousands of subjects and all.

5) Some bonuses to whichever city the sovereign is in would be nice and could help promote using champions instead to project power about. I have not forgotten the starting bonus that can be picked, but then again I always pick pathfinder anyway. Perhaps because staying in a city feels like a waste of a unit.

6) Such bonuses could be magical, with some magic research, perhaps some sort of sustained enchantments that only stay as the sovereign or even a champion is present. It could also be increased trade and prestige from having such an important person in the city.

Agree with it all (well except houses, they are a useful if dull way to designate where the food and population goes) - but particularly agree with these points. It's great that a sovereign can be like Sauron (pre-loss of the ring) or Gandalf, but there's no alternative, every sovereign has to be an explorer/killer, the only real choice is whether you want to kill with sword or bow or magic. There's no way to turn a sovereign into an amazing ruler or administrator who can sit in a city and provide bonuses that match the benefits of having him exploring and fighting. A sovereign sitting in his capital is just a wasted unit, he should be giving the city/kingdom some kind of bonus for actually ruling instead of exploring ruins.

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July 22, 2010 5:21:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Very good points.

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July 22, 2010 6:04:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

1. I agree - instead of houses, how about having cities have a food upkeep or something just like military units have a gold upkeep. That ways the "cities everywhere" thing won't happen (since you have to have food income to maintain population) but you don't have to build houses yourself.

2. More bonuses to pick from would be great.

3. Agreed

4. At the least, ALL sovereigns should get the Royality trait. I mean, how is a King/Queen NOT royality? At least then you'd get the +1 prestige for being in a city. But, yeah, I agree - it would be nice if you could play a "Domestic Policy" sovereign that stayed home and watched over the realm while embuing champions to go out and explore, recruit, conduct foreign affairs, and wage war.

5. Agreed. Every stat when high enough should give a significant benefit to being in a city. CHR might increase pop. growth, STR might shorten build time. INT could tech research and provide magic defense to the city. Wisdom/Essence could increase magic research or improve production (kind of like the Enchant XYZ spells but for free only when the Sovereign is in that city, etc

7. Agreed and maybe they don't need to be just fluff. Maybe enough gardens could add a food point or two to the city or increase prestige.

8. I can understand the time aspect (though it probably should be lowered and/or at least scaled to the population in the city. It shouldn't take 120 people the same amount of time to do something as it would 30 people), but why do I need a building for a wall?

9. Reading is bad? I guess I don't understand why everything has to be TL;DR these days. I guess it's the world twitter created. I don't think it's a "bad" thing to have summary information, but having what the tech does in the text describing the tech I don't see as a "bad" thing either.

10. Agreed. Heck throw some sea creatures out there. There's got to be some kind of life in the water...right?

11. I think maybe neutral folks should be allowed to freely roam though? Save the "influence capturing" for at-war or faction-aligned status?

12. Wow - never would have thought that would happen. A way to talk for peace like with any other faction would be a good idea, I agree.

13. Running out of them? I hardly have any to begin with!

14. While it would make things interesting, would there be a way to at least attempt to prevent it? For example, let's say I have an Old Forest Mill a ways off from the center of my level 3 city, like right on the edge of its influence. How would I stop the wolves from eating my millers? Put a stack there on the tile and if the wolf event triggers - then the stack would attempt to fight the wolves off? Also, we have creatures roaming the map already - how about having them do the attacking (which would then allow stacks to fight and use the game's already there combat mechanics to see if you defeat/drive them off)

15. This would be interesting, but wouldn't it require a redesign on how resources are distributed, otherwise there could be resources that are beyond a cities possible influence, yet are too close to another city so you can't build a way to access them?

 

I agree with the city building - would be nice for having limited space. (Maybe make buildings require more than just one tile or lowering the number of tiles a city has available?)

For tech researching, I put it on Epic pacing and I don't run through the tech trees until I eventually build up enough research points - which takes a while (granted I might be a sucky player *shrug*). I had a reason to build Hosten's Library for the 8 research points, schools for the research bonus, and took the research bonus level up on my main city when it reached level 3 - I usually take Guardian Unit unless it's a major gold/research producing city)

For the UI, I think it's been mentioned that it's being worked on for the same too many clicks reason. Personally, I don't think it's all that bad (certainly not horrific) - I don't feel lost in it or feel like I'm taking to long to do what I need to do.

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July 22, 2010 8:55:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Interesting post.

In my opinion, one of the most jarring things about the game is that cities take up so much space on the world map.  Now that you can build on any resource in your sphere of influence, it makes no sense anymore to have to build out.  I think that city tiles should be moved off of the world grid and onto their own sub-grid.  This way, cities won't step on adventure sites, and won't be blocked by the same.  One game I had last week, there were so many adventure sites popping up that my available city tiles were disappearing fast.  This made no sense to me.

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July 22, 2010 10:56:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

What I really want to see is more interaction with the environment. It is cool that the world around you begins to change, but it happens way too quickly and without any real intervention on your part. It should be something difficult, you are supposed to be saving the world from a desolate land but I don't feel like I am really. Cities should not grow so fast. I really feel like cities grow far faster than they should. I mean my city is already full grown before I even really have any strong units or even researched a lot of armor and weapons, never mind actually building any units with them. The Sovereign should have to more directly be involved with the land to make it change and grow again. 

 

Perhaps what could be done is, the sovereign has to remain in the city for the land to heal and he has to be channeling magic for a certain amount of turns and the land will grow a certain amount or something. Would be cool if the magic you can use to change the landscape was actually what was required to make the land heal. This would have to be done by having your sovereign spend turns channeling in the city or something.

 

Another thing on the size of cities. I agree they take up a lot of space but I like that they can get big, I just wish the maps were larger honestly. I only play on large and I don't feel like it is large enough honestly. I wish the world were 3 to 4 times larger than it is so that I would actually feel like I am in a wasteland and that cities are not so close together.

 

One last thing, it would be great to have forts you can place out on the border of your territory which can help with influence and you can man them with soldiers for a bonus. They could also prevent enemies from pushing into your territory without first having to be taken.

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July 22, 2010 11:24:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Great post!

Here's some feedback on those points. This post is exactly why we have the public betas.

1) Re Houses.

The higher level settlements are the only ones that can build the more powerful improvements. Food is a scarce resource, therefore, players need a way to determine which of their cities they want to specialize in a particular area.

In the beta, there just aren't enough high level improvements in to make it worth the pay off.

 

2) Re City bonuses are dull. Here we will just have to disagree. I usually take the random unit. Obviously it's something we can explore further post release as we think of more itneresting things to attach to city leveling up.  Obviously we want to make it worthwhile to level up cities.

 

3) Re picking city bonuses.  This gets back to UI weaknesses we have in the game that need to be resolved.

 

4) Re Sovereigns being battle centric.  This is true. We actually have ability types that only work when in a city.  What we are inclined to do in a future v1.x is have a much more sophisticated level upgrading system where players can attach new abilities to their units as they go up in level and some of those abilities would be tied to improving a city they are stationed in.

 

8) Re building up city defenses. Disagree. You should have to choose to defend your city. I consider this a pretty standard mechanic. You shouldn't just "get" city defenses.

 

9) Re Tech descriptions being longer.  I actually agree with this in hindsight. The idea was to decrease the amount of text people had to read. It's something we will revisit in a future expansion.

 

10) Re The Seas.  Indeed. The seas in Elemental are pretty empty.  We have in mind 2 expansions for Elemental.  What you get with the game is the campaign known as Book I: Relias.  One of the expansions is going to focus on the Sea Kings and it will be in that expansion that we go crazy on the sea stuff.

We felt it better to focus on having a really strong land experience and expand out to water and such in the future.

 

11) Re units getting stuck in your territory. Indeed. This is abug.

 

12)Re accidentally murdering adventurers.  Yep. UI bug.

 

13) Re Adventurer Guilds.  Indeed. We were going whole hog on builds but decided to wait until a future post release update to do more with them so we could hear how people wanted these guys to evolve. The guilds weren't part of the original design and didn't really fit into the game as-is.  I just like the idea of having Guilds and want to find a way to get them in there.

 

14) Re scary stuff around the outskirts. Indeed. Stay tuned.

 

15 Re size of cities.  Agreed. They do get awfully big. We're thinking about this.

 

Re City Building always the same.

We are thinking of introducing a maint cost on these things to discourage mass building of pointlessness.

"In GC2 there was limited terrain and this provided thinking opportunities. In betas past, there was a limit at each city stage on tiles. While a bit annoying, now city building is just going through the motions. Its dull."

This is indeed a challenge.  On the one hand, it's just not fun (for me anyway) to have artificial limits on how many tiles i can build on.  On the other hand, it removes the fun of choosing what to build because there's no limit.

I don't have an easy solution on this. In GalCiv, it was easy.  Here, we don't have a logical reason not to let people build. Even if we artificially limit it by city level, that's just a speed bump. In most of these games (land strategy games) players do just build "everything" and it's just up to the order in which they do it.

I'd like to come up (or hear a) solution to this age old issue.

 

Re tech trees.  The Diplomacy, Adventure, and Magic tech trees are pretty boring in the beta. But this is somethign that is improving rapidly because each of the 5 trees do have a very improtant purpose. 

Re UI.  This is something that will continually get improved even before release as we agree with you completely.

 

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July 22, 2010 11:38:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
Great post!



Re City Building always the same.

We are thinking of introducing a maint cost on these things to discourage mass building of pointlessness.

"In GC2 there was limited terrain and this provided thinking opportunities. In betas past, there was a limit at each city stage on tiles. While a bit annoying, now city building is just going through the motions. Its dull."

This is indeed a challenge.  On the one hand, it's just not fun (for me anyway) to have artificial limits on how many tiles i can build on.  On the other hand, it removes the fun of choosing what to build because there's no limit.

I don't have an easy solution on this. In GalCiv, it was easy.  Here, we don't have a logical reason not to let people build. Even if we artificially limit it by city level, that's just a speed bump. In most of these games (land strategy games) players do just build "everything" and it's just up to the order in which they do it.

I'd like to come up (or hear a) solution to this age old issue.

 

 

How about a soft limit on the number of available tiles for building? If you build beyond the soft limit, there's the risk of incurring a penalty. The available number would increase with each level of city.

For example, with completely fake/unbalanced numbers, for a level 1 city you get 10 green (no-risk-build) tiles, 5 yellow (moderate-risk-building) tiles and 2 red (high-risk building) tiles. At level 2 city you get 15 green, 7 yellow, 3 red.

For an example penalty, let's say bandits, or monster, or demons, (or worse, tax-collectors!) are more attracted to large cities. If you build in only the green tiles, you have no increased chance of your city being attacked. If you want to be able to build more than you have safe-building space for, you can, but for each yellow tile you use, you increase the chance of monster raid on your city by a percentage, which is cumulative the more yellow tiles you use. If you go out into using the red tiles, the chance of attack goes up by an even higher percentage.

This soft-cap gives the player interesting choices to make. Would I rather have a smaller city missing a few buildings, but less likely to attract unwanted attacks, or would I rather have every possible improvement, but have to spend more effort defending the city.

Other ideas would be increased maintenance costs, but the monster-attack thing is more exciting.

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July 23, 2010 1:05:37 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like where you're going Spitz with that idea.  

With regard to the at risk tiles, the issue I see there is that it could get very VERY frustrating for new users to find their cities destroyed by bandits and such.

The challenge with having some other penalty for growing the city is that you would need to really communicate the penalty to the player, provide a rationale for it that the user can buy into, and have it be fun.

Having the tiles add maintainence is less risky (i.e. less likely to end with a very angry player) but I don't know if it would be "fun".

One idea we've floated around over the months is the concept of buying new tiles for your city. The cost of new tiles gets cheaper as the city grows.  The problem there is having a good/fun UI that doesn't make city building tedious.

For instance, you could have a level 1 city give you 6 "free" tiles. After that, you have to "clear" the land which costs n gildar per tile where N decreases as you level up the city. 

You could even have the cost of each cleared tile grow based on its distance from the city center.

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July 23, 2010 1:34:44 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

2) Re City bonuses are dull. Here we will just have to disagree. I usually take the random unit. Obviously it's something we can explore further post release as we think of more itneresting things to attach to city leveling up. Obviously we want to make it worthwhile to level up citie
not enough options need more, and for the random unit one why not allow it to allow the to train a special rare unit of some sort seems pretty dull to me need way more options then just number wise. could also expand it into giving city's something similar to feats for characters in D&D like making your city attract heroes as well as keep monsters away

or instance, you could have a level 1 city give you 6 "free" tiles. After that, you have to "clear" the land which costs n gildar per tile where N decreases as you level up the city.
that's an idea but also you would want to stop city's from being able to become insanely large but i would also like to be able to keep adding to it should maybe think of having more then 5 levels for a city so you can scatter  really great important buildings over more levels. maybe even have some mechanic for smaller city's being more effective then larger ones.

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July 23, 2010 1:47:18 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Soft Cap sounds like a good idea.

I dont mind the fact that only certain city levels can gain certain buildings.  How about when you level up the city, and decide on it's bonus, it can also determine what buildings may be built.  For example an enhanced granary can only be built in a city with a food bonus; or top wall defence (??fort) can only be build in a city with a defence bonus... this would make choice of city specialisation more important .... Just a thought.  This would result in specialisation of the city. 

Another option could just be that specialised city buildings cost a lot more, or cost specific materials and take longer to build.

On reading the OP, I would have to agree with option 15 --> Cities are too big.  I loved MoM (Who didn't).. perhaps the city can look different on one tile depending on the city size, and perhaps the city specialisation as well.  If you want to build or adjust the cities buildies, it opens a scene like the tactical map.

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July 23, 2010 2:33:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

One thing the game doesn't have is religion, I really like the way Empire of the Fading Suns, tried to handle this, each religion would ban technology (tied to buildings) and if you build it, they would send the equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition to your city and destroy the buildings. Early on Religion was a very powerful force and if you tried to interfere with them burning down your buildings they would declare war on you. If you befriend a religion (pay them lots of money) that would allow you ban technology used by your enemies and you could tell the church where your enemies had these buildings.

 

An Idea for Guilds

Each guild has requirements of building and tech but, excludes other guilds, so you can build a thief's guild in a city.  That would exclude building some other guild in that city. Having a guild would not only give you access to their special units but, also access to specific technology and items. Each city would become more specialized and you would likely never be able to build all of the different guilds.

 

City of Luden (city of fighters) - Fighters Guild

-units (special fighters)

- Tech/Building weapon forge -  Swords +1

- Tech/Building Armor forge - Armor+1

- Tech/Building Training area - allows you upgrade exiting units in a city.

 

City of Lodi (City of thieves) - Thieves Guild

- Units (thieves, spies, scouts)

- Tech/Buildings thieves tools (Allow access to dungeons +1 beyond your current level)

- Tech – cloak of hiding (allow unit to bypass other units/creatures undetected)

- If a thief is in your party they find better loot.

- Spies can enter other kingdoms zone of control and access the goodie huts, loot, etc.

 

City in Cendari (City of Scholars) - Scholars Guild

- Units Scholars add + to research

- Tech/Building Book Stores - random books appear in store over time

- Tech/Building Access to scrolls

 

City of Sendi (City of Alchemist) - Alchemist Guild

-   Alchemist

-  Tech/Buildings – random potions appear in store

-  Techs – Flasks (chemical grenades - flasks of fire, flasks of ice, flask of freezing)

 

City of Tendue (City of Shadow Skill) - Shadow Skill Guild

-  Special scouts/fighter technique Shadow Skill (uses blink/defense - very hard to hit)

-  Tech/Buildings – Shadow Skill School

 

 

 Other guilds

Merchants guild (trade/money)

Healers guild (heal kits, limited resurrection)

Flecthers guild (better bows, archers, special arrows)

Beast Master guild (ability to capture & train creatures)

Summoners Guild (ability to summon special creatures)

Dragon Riders Guild (yea, you guessed it)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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July 23, 2010 2:55:56 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think the soft cap idea is really nice.   I am inclined to agree with spitz's idea about having raids or city threanting events be the detering factor for making larger cities.  You could make it easier on the new player by having an advisor walk you through the first time you enlarge your city and incure an attack/event from expanding to much to fast.   Have appropiate warnings, ie, "we need to station more men at our capital, we can see the hoards amassing in the forests and there is no time to loose. " 

To integrate that into frogboys idea, why not have two ways to grow city sizes.  One would be to just build on the tiles making it so that once you used up all of your green (safe), then you move on to your yellow (smaller potential risk) and on to red (larger potential risk).  Or you can make the yellow and red tiles green for an ever increasing cost by clearing the land.  That way you can have cities that incure risk and cities that are safer all at the choice of the player, and this way you can make your own cities unique by the kind of events that happen to them. 

 

Maybe even make it so that it so that with the greater the risk, so yellow and red tiles, the greater the reward.   So that it is not just about having risk with no return but risk with reward.  That reward could be special buildings, special unit production from that city, specail bonuses etc, items.  That would make those cities unique

Let some of those risks/raids/events run on into their own quest lines.  That way you have a way of generating quests that is dependent on player action in the game rather than just a chance acquantance with a hut in the wilderness.

 

EG.  You expand your city to quickly using all your green tiles and 3 of your yellow and your city now borders a large forest.  You begin to stir some werewolves that lived there and they raid your city, but will never actually destroy all of it, ie, if they win a battle they destroy buildings and reduce population but you retain control over the decimated town.  Part of the population that was "killed" turns into more werewolves and soon enough you have a full grown werewolf problem in that forest that sits at the center of your empire.  Now this problem has 4 ways to solve each using a diffrent tech tree:

1) You could wage war (warfare/conquest) on the werewolves killing them all and wreak havoc where havoc has been wrought perhaps garnering you a rangerpost in the city and some mid/low level loot or

2) You could gather your some adventuers (adventuring) together and go on a quest to cure the werewolves therefore gaining all your population back to earlier leves and perhaps a rare gift or

3) You could cast a spell (magic) on them if you could get that rare spell which would turn them all back into humans, or let them change at will, giving you acess to recruit werewolves and/or a spell that can summon werewolves by transforming a citizen or

4) You could convince (diplomacy) them to stop attacking your villages and potentially have them become a NPC ally or vassal state if you satisfied a request or spend diplomatic capital.

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July 23, 2010 6:08:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

a)Another more realistic (but perhaps less fun) option that will also fix housing(I don't see them broken, but others still do), is for every city improvement to drain food. Because everyone can live on subsistance farming, yet the craftsmen of the cities aren't exactly making their own food. The better farms you have generate excess food that enable you to feed the extra population. Housing will also generate gildar via taxes, and also gives you the workforce that is necessary for the larger improvements(i.e. city level up). For balance, more food should be given per farm.

b)Maybe we should have a ~1% per taken special resource for one resource to be attacked. This will mean that a larger empire will have a lot more places to guard, seeing as there is a concern regarding bigger=better.

Quoting fairwater,

1) You could wage war (warfare/conquest) on the werewolves killing them all and wreak havoc where havoc has been wrought perhaps garnering you a rangerpost in the city and some mid/low level loot or

2) You could gather your some adventuers (adventuring) together and go on a quest to cure the werewolves therefore gaining all your population back to earlier leves and perhaps a rare gift or

3) You could cast a spell (magic) on them if you could get that rare spell which would turn them all back into humans, or let them change at will, giving you acess to recruit werewolves and/or a spell that can summon werewolves by transforming a citizen or

4) You could convince (diplomacy) them to stop attacking your villages and potentially have them become a NPC ally or vassal state if you satisfied a request or spend diplomatic capital.

I don't think attacking cities should generate a questt chain thing (cities should not be attacked randomly, they are to important), but the special resources out on the map might be more open.

1) This shouldn't really generate anything besides extra experience for your soldiers, since this is the quickfix.

2) Maybe even let one of the adventurers become a werewolf, would be a fun and interesting.

3) It might unlock a spell that cures werewolves at spell level 3, and one that lets them alter shape at level 5. Then you just have to research it.

4) Look at the diplomacy in King Arthur, it has a good diplomacy system for these situations.

 

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July 23, 2010 6:18:55 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I came across here later, I posted some idea's how to have an additional challenge or soft cap on the cities posted here:

http://forums.elementalgame.com/389061

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July 23, 2010 6:46:51 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
Re The Seas.  Indeed. The seas in Elemental are pretty empty.  We have in mind 2 expansions for Elemental.  What you get with the game is the campaign known as Book I: Relias.  One of the expansions is going to focus on the Sea Kings and it will be in that expansion that we go crazy on the sea stuff.

We felt it better to focus on having a really strong land experience and expand out to water and such in the future.

Aha! I almost got it right!

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July 23, 2010 8:32:50 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

A thought along the lines of city building issues would be to have 'districts'.  

General district: (free)

You found your empire and get an area equivalent of 4(large) tiles in which you may build any structure. no bonus' 

When you are building on the last (large) tile your advisor suggests you direct your towns growth by creating another district for the populace to focus on.  You could create another 'general' one or a 'specialized' one.  A specialized one would give a 10% bonus to its area of interest.

- Specialized district: (4 more tiles) 10 gildar

10% to its area of focus

production - resources

 research - spell or regular research

 military - unit production

mercantile - gildar production

diplomatic - diplomacy

Although any building may be constructed the bonus will only affect the related buildings to the district.  The district would affect stuff already in existence, so if you have things que'd you wont feel like your loosing anything. 

The should be an early tech in civ branch that explains how they work.  'You have discovered a scroll of so and so the administrator to ... in this document he explains how he helped set up these areas focusing his lords efforts..'

The cost is covering the advisor to oversee the 'district' - Advisor doesn't need to really exist as a character though.

At town level 1 - just the general district

At town level 2 - One more district

At town level 3 - 1 more districts

At town level 4 - 2 more districts

At town level 5 - 2 more districts (adjust to taste)

They could build like a structure in 1 turn.

When you hit town level 2 your advisor pops up and tells you about them.  

'Based on the complete lack of anything useful around this city(5 square radius), might I suggest, your eminence, that you construct military or diplomatic district(s) in this town.' 

'Based on the gold and metal nearby, you should perhaps construct a mercantile or production district'

'Based on the fact you are building in the center of heaven.. I mean really they should declare you victor now.. but never the less, I would suggest a merchantile or production district.'

These would free up town leveling for more fun stuff, like random defenders, a wandering adventurer is available, or espionage, (traders have informed up of the location of a city) (reports have arrived informing us that an army had been spotted at this ... location) (Or maybe even work in the guild Idea on level ups)

Soft cap idea fits with any city construction method as you can be more temping a target the large you get.

Some Ideas I had on this topic while reading the above posts.

Cheers!

 

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July 23, 2010 8:36:47 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Good ideas!  

Best regards,
Steven. 

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July 23, 2010 9:27:50 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

With regard to the at risk tiles, the issue I see there is that it could get very VERY frustrating for new users to find their cities destroyed by bandits and such.

Isn't this what's controlled by the world difficulty setting? A new player could just keep it on easy for less aggressive monsters/bandits/etc.

One idea we've floated around over the months is the concept of buying new tiles for your city. The cost of new tiles gets cheaper as the city grows. The problem there is having a good/fun UI that doesn't make city building tedious.

For instance, you could have a level 1 city give you 6 "free" tiles. After that, you have to "clear" the land which costs n gildar per tile where N decreases as you level up the city.

Shouldn't it be the other way around, making them more expensive as the city grows? The logic is that you have to scale the costs to the income. As the game progresses you make more income, not less, so the costs should go up rather than down. Otherwise, it's just another speedbump. In the early game you'll be prohibited by the high cost to income ratio, but later in the game as they get cheap you'd just buy them all up anyway.

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July 23, 2010 9:33:20 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,


With regard to the at risk tiles, the issue I see there is that it could get very VERY frustrating for new users to find their cities destroyed by bandits and such.

The challenge with having some other penalty for growing the city is that you would need to really communicate the penalty to the player, provide a rationale for it that the user can buy into, and have it be fun.

A frequent request I've seen on the forums is to change it so that if a single wild animal attacks a city and you lost the fight or the city is undefended, not everything is destroyed.

Why not make the yellow tile/red tile system an estimate of the building being destroyed in an attack on the town by wild (nonsentient) creatures that won't occupy the town? So, if your town is undefended and a wolf pack moves in, there's a 50% chance they'll destroy any improvement on a yellow tile, a 100% chance they'll destroy improvements on a red tile. Building on those tiles triggers a warning along the lines of: "My liege, that building is so distant from the city center that we may not be able to defend it from attack by wild beasts. Do you still wish to build here?"

Building on risky tiles increasing attack chance or integrating those attacks into quests would be neat, but icing on the mechanic of introducing a soft limit on keeping cities compact.

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July 23, 2010 10:36:04 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,

I'd like to come up (or hear a) solution to this age old issue.

One solution that has been brought up a few times before is using the population as a workforce. Each building requires a certain amount of people working there to be able to function. So if you want to build something you will need to have enough unemployed people in that town.

This would allow the bigger cities to have lots of buildings, but in smaller towns you would have to choose carefully what to build.

This way there are no artificial limits on growth, just a quite realistic one. It would add a little micromanagement though, and you would need to think about a mechanism to determine what happens when the workforce is decreased below the minimum needed for all buildings, due to recruitment, people leaving, or dying.

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