Most serious design issues

With suggested fixes

By on August 25, 2010 10:32:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

_Scooter_

Join Date 04/2008
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1. The level of randomness in this game is far too high to be fun.  The game needs to stop using uniform distributions and start using something with more probability weight in the center.  Spells that do 0-20 damage with equal probability are not much fun, and are not very strategic (because I cannot predict the outcome very well - I don't really know if the attack will kill an enemy unit or not).

Either use some other probability distribution where most of the probability density is concentrated between the upper and lower quartiles, or use other dierolls that achieve a similar effect - eg 2d6 rather than 1d12.  2d10 rather than 1d20.

This goes all through the combat engine.

2. The way that parties/squads work is not fun.  As has been said many times, the way that parties stack is far too strong.

Adding more units should affect the number of combat rolls generated: three strength 10 units should get 1-10 three times (to compare to the enemy defense) and not 1-30.

This would make some real quantity/quality tradeoffs.  For example, I could build 6 guys with 10 strength from basic weapons, or I could build 3 guys with 15 strength each by giving them an expensive magic item.  And that 15 strength will be noticeably better than the 10 strength vs enemy armor.  As it is, the system is massively biased in favor of building as many guys as you can.

Yes, this would require rebalancing every monster in the game.  But this needs to be done anyway.

This would also reduce the weak scaling power of magic and champions.  And would make defense more valuable relative to offense; as it stands a unit that has 1.5 times as much offense as defense is one thing at a single guy, but is far worse when there are 10 of them.

A champion with 20 defense from a whole bunch of things would actually be tough, and could fight off 8 mooks with strength 8 weapons without dying horribly from a strength 64 attack.

3. The rate of growth of the economy is off.  Growth in the early game is too slow, particularly if you don't happen to have a goldmine nearby.  Honestly, your early game income could be 1 gpt or 6 gold per turn depending on your start position.

And starting with an iron mine doesn't help much, since its several techs before you can even use any iron.

And then growth in the late game is such that you can't spend all your gold fast enough.

This is partly due to the gold production buildings.  You have +1, +2, +3, then +10 and a whole bunch of +50% and +100% buildings.

Increase the income from early buildings while reducing the later ones.

4. There need to be limits on the number of magic items a hero can equip.  You shouldn't be able to just keep adding these.  You should have to pick and choose the best items, not just equip all of them.

One amulet, 2 rings, 1 pack.  No more using basic equipment as a gold sink to make level 1-2 champions with stats in the hundreds.

This way, more advanced items are interesting; a +10 attack item is far better than two +5 items, because it only takes up a single equipment slot.

5. Damage is still too high relative to hit points.  One of the biggest problems with combat is that very often the first strike can wipe out the other unit entirely.  This means that the tactical combat AI is far too easy to exploit.  All I have to do is move my guys such that you *just* can't reach my soldiers.  Then you charge forward with all your movement, and stop.  And then I attack you and destroy your entire unit while suffering no damage myself.

This is exacerbated by how stacks combine.

Easiest fix is to increase the health of units.

Having simultaneous attack and defense damage (without a first strike skill) might also be a good way to fix this.

6. Experience earned doesn't depend on how tough your foes are.  You get the same XP from killing a small spider as you do from a mighty demon, and the 10x XP difference depending on whether you landed a hit or not leads to very odd experience farming strategies - I deliberaltely refrain from killing a unit in order to make sure that everyone gets a touch.

Experience should depend on the combat strength of enemies, and it should be a fixed pool that is spread around the units.

So if I beat your stuff with a big army, then each unit only gets a small boost.

As it is, a level 1 unit doubles its health from winning a single fight where it damages the enemy.  Lameo.

Reducing xp gain by dividing it across units would help.  As would increasing base health to 10 from 5.  So getting level 2 is 10->15 instead of 5->10.

A good rule of thumb is that it should take 3-4 unit-turns to destroy an equivalent unit.  [And units get 2 atatcks per turn, so this means 6-8 attacks.]

7. UI weaknesses. Many things still take far too many clicks, and going through different menus.  For example: buying items and then equipping them should all be done through a single screen.  

Targeting enchantment spells for example is a huge pain.

Many other good threads exist on this.

8. I haven't explored the magic system enough to have a definitive comment, but it still seems like there is very little difference between the spell schools (this is a big step back from MoM or AoW or even Disciples), and that summons are far better than tactical spells.

The best way to fix this is to make mana regeneration a proportional thing, adding say 0.1*Essence per turn.  Have some items that can boost this, and then have summons and enchantments reduce this somewhat.  So a weak enchantment might reduce recharge by 0.05 mana per turn while a strong summon might reduce recharge by 0.3 mana per turn.

And then to redesign a lot of the spell system.

The issue isn't about *more* spells.  If anything, cut the number of spells, so that those spells available to each element are meaningfully different.

* * *

All of these problems were apparent in the beta, and all were pointed out and had fixes suggested.  I'm disappointed that none have been fixed yet, or at least that there hasn't been a demo

If its going to take a month to change these, so be it.  But it would be really great to get an acknowledgement at least that there are problems here and that there is an intention to work on these.

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August 25, 2010 5:19:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Annatar11,
There are two ways I can think of to do a squad's defense roll vs an attack. Both get pretty complex, though...

Method 1

1) Roll damage dealt.
2) Split damage among entire squad (damage/x, where x is number of units in the stack).
3) Roll each unit's defense based on damage directed to that unit.

For example, Dragon breathes fire for 200 damage to a stack of 8 units. 200/8 means 25 damage is directed towards each unit, so each unit in the stack does a separate roll against 25 damage.

Caveats:

- Need to make sure the damage split makes sense, meaning if each guy has 20 hp, and the stack takes 10 points of damage, it doesn't make sense to make each unit roll against 1/2 point of damage. There needs to be some minimum value of incoming damage as compared to the hp of each unit and number of units in the stack. Below this value full damage is dealt to a single unit instead of split.
- It doesn't make sense for melee weapons or bows to hit everyone in the stack, but it does make sense for a true AoE attack, like breathing fire, or anything magic.

 

Method 2

1) Roll damage dealt.
2) Roll defense by first guy in squad. 
3) If guy dies, subtract (unit hp + defense roll) from total damage roll.
4) Roll defense by second guy in squad against new damage dealt value.
5) Continue until no damage left to take.

For example, a stack of 4 guys with 20 hp and 5 defense takes 10 damage. Damage less than 20, so first guy doesn't die and takes all incoming damage.

For another example, a stack of 4 guys with 20 hp and 5 defense takes 50 damage. First guy rolls 5 against 50 and dies. 25 hp was directed at him (20 damage to kill him after defending against 5), so subtract 25 from 50. Direct remaining 25 damage to second guy, who rolls a 1. He dies with 21 damage taken (20 hp + defending against 1), so subtract 21 from 25. Direct 4 damage to third guy, who rolls a 4 and takes no damage. End attack.

Caveat:

- Like Method 1, this doesn't make sense for an AoE spell, which makes more sense to do an even split and make everyone roll.

 

So I'd suggest fusing something like these two. Against physical attacks, use Method 2. Against Magic attacks, use Method 1.

I don't expect the split in roll mechanism between physical and magic attacks to actually happen, however. But I can't think of any one system to roll defense that makes equal sense to an obvious AoE attack like Fireball and an obvious one-guy attack like a sword swing.

The caveats come from the fact that there's no difference between a "to hit" roll and a "damage" roll.

So high attack means high damage. There's no place for weapons that strikes easier (fast weapons) but do few damage or weapons that are easy to avoid but do a lot of damage.

So in method 1, if the attacker is only a stack of 1 unit there isn't really an issue : just apply the damage to the first unit, and give whatever damage remains to the next unit, etc.

But problems arises when there could be multiple attacks from a stack (or like ion AoE spells), There shouldn't be "one roll and live with it", there should be a roll for each unit in the stack, and each roll would use the "deal damage to first unit, then to the next if the firszt survived, etc."

It wouldn't be perfect, but far more interesting than the actual implementation.

To be near perfection the system need another stat : how many unit a single unit can reach. And that woudl be the max number of unit a single roll can kill. If a hero can attack 4 unit at once, then if it deals enough damage to kill 5 unit, then the 5th unit wouldn't be dealt damage.

For instance the system could track the fact that a single unit can only hit one unit 'extra damage is lost). Heroes, several headed monsters and stacks could have multiple attacks. Spells could have the same thing of limitations : the inferno spell wouldn't hurt everyone if cast by a weak sorcerer. For instance a spell can only kill as many units as your remaining mana.

 

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August 25, 2010 5:21:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

We need individual units and groups to scale in a similar way.

No, they physically can't. As I've said above, individual units into progressively larger groups is the natural progression of the game. An individual trained unit simply cannot be made to compare to a squad of the same unit, else there's no point to ever build squads and there is no progression. Creatures, Sovereign, and Heroes have the advantage of levelups and stat increases. Trained units do not. To compensate, Sovereign/Heroes can't be put in a squad. They have to scale with squads, not individuals, to allow the game to progress normally. There will never be a reason to take your hero to battle if he can't compete with a stack, and you can't make a stack of a regular unit compete with one of the same unit.

I think this is terrible without at least some means of replenishing the squad (by merging units into it).  Which then becomes MM busywork, so its easier to just let the squad heal back to full health.

I don't agree, but at the moment this is neither here nor there.. not really central to the core of the discussion. I just don't feel like units should magically pop up from the dead.

But I don't think that's what this is modeling in my conception; what you're modeling is that all units have the same armor value.

Once you accept that a fight is really a bunch of blows abstracted, why should I inflict less damage if I hit three guys once each than if I hit a single guy three times, when all of the guys have the same armor?

But you wouldn't be. You're abstracting it more than it is. If you actually were hitting the same guy 3 times, he would get a defense roll each single time. The hits happen in the same amount of time (1 turn), but after the first hit he doesn't lose his armor, he still has it, and the successive hits still have to go through it.

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August 25, 2010 5:25:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The caveats come from the fact that there's no difference between a "to hit" roll and a "damage" roll.

So high attack means high damage. There's no place for weapons that strikes easier (fast weapons) but do few damage or weapons that are easy to avoid but do a lot of damage.

So in method 1, if the attacker is only a stack of 1 unit there isn't really an issue : just apply the damage to the first unit, and give whatever damage remains to the next unit, etc.

But problems arises when there could be multiple attacks from a stack (or like ion AoE spells), There shouldn't be "one roll and live with it", there should be a roll for each unit in the stack, and each roll would use the "deal damage to first unit, then to the next if the firszt survived, etc."

It wouldn't be perfect, but far more interesting than the actual implementation.

To be near perfection the system need another stat : how many unit a single unit can reach. And that woudl be the max number of unit a single roll can kill. If a hero can attack 4 unit at once, then if it deals enough damage to kill 5 unit, then the 5th unit wouldn't be dealt damage.

For instance the system could track the fact that a single unit can only hit one unit 'extra damage is lost). Heroes, several headed monsters and stacks could have multiple attacks. Spells could have the same thing of limitations : the inferno spell wouldn't hurt everyone if cast by a weak sorcerer. For instance a spell can only kill as many units as your remaining mana.

I agree, with additional stats we can definitely come up with a more accurate system. However, at the same time I think SD would be more willing to try and adapt the current system  rather than rewriting it again with more stats, so at least my discussion is geared towards trying to make the current stats work in a manner that makes sense.

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August 25, 2010 6:42:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I did some labbing.

I haven't figured out the editor or anything yet, so I just used a fight from the campaign I was playing through and repeated it.

I have three units: one with 4 guys of attack 7.  One with 4 guys with attack 11.  One with 3 guys with attack 7.

There are three enemy monster units (not squads), with defense 4, defense 7, defense 30.

The combat results I got were:

4x7:

vs def 7: 16, 28, miss, 4, 8, miss, 18

vs def 30: miss, miss, miss, 28. miss, miss, 21, 4, miss

4x11:

vs def 4: 20, 4, 21, 36, 8, 12, 18

vs def 7: 24, miss, miss, 16, 20, 8, miss, miss, 12

vs def 30: miss, 6, miss, miss, miss, 20, miss, miss

3x7:

vs def 30: miss, miss, miss, miss, 6

vs def 7: miss, 9, miss, miss, 12, miss, miss miss

Small sample size I know, but I didn't have a ton of time.

Using my framework from before:

I see what you mean.  The difference between:

i) Rand[1,28] - Rand[1,16]

ii) Rand[1,7]+Rand[1,7]+Rand[1,7]+Rand[1,7] - Rand[1,16]

iii) Rand[1,7]- Rand[1,16] + Rand[1,7]- Rand[1,16] + Rand[1,7]- Rand[1,16] + Rand[1,7]- Rand[1,16]

I haven't had time to do proper statistical analysis, but I think the data tends to rule out method i), because there are too many misses to be explained by that method.

I think the problem may have been that in the campaign, I am too used to fighting against enemies with very low defense.  It seems like the squads are working as intended vs high defense enemies.

I haven't tested any squad vs squad, so I'm not sure how defense works when the defender is a squad.

Nonetheless, the extreme variance of these results also helps highlight the point 1. in the OP; the level of randomness is very, very high, even for squads of 4.

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August 25, 2010 6:52:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

no, they physically can't. As I've said above, individual units into progressively larger groups is the natural progression of the game. An individual trained unit simply cannot be made to compare to a squad of the same unit, else there's no point to ever build squads and there is no progression. Creatures, Sovereign, and Heroes have the advantage of levelups and stat increases. Trained units do not. To compensate, Sovereign/Heroes can't be put in a squad. They have to scale with squads, not individuals, to allow the game to progress normally.

When I said individuals here, I mostly meant champions, sov and monsters.

But I do think its possible everyone to scale the same if the value of squads is relatively minor.  For one thing, I think they should share a hitpoint pool.  Its very frustrating to train a squad, then have it be down a couple of squad members, and not recover.

For another thing, at least in their current implementation, they can deal massive alpha-strikes, because all 10 of my guys get to attack before even one of yours does.

and you can't make a stack of a regular unit compete with one of the same unit.

No, but you can make a stack of 4 guys be not that much better than those 4 guys individually.

I just don't feel like units should magically pop up from the dead.

This is easily rationalized by the standard fudge that guys in a squad are severely wounded, rather than killed outright, but can eventually recover.

How big a deal this is depends on how squads scale.  If they scale in a fairly linear fashion (4 man squad isn't much better than twice as good as 2 man squad) then this isn't a big deal.  If they scale beyond that, then its a huge deal, because your squads can't heal properly; they are perpetually ruined as soon as they lose a member or two.

You're abstracting it more than it is.

I thought you just agreed that a single attack command isn't really just one blow.

"An ogre's "attack" against a squad simulates a fight between the ogre and that squad over a certain amount of time. In other words, "The ogre does X damage in this amount of time. How many guys can he kill with this amount of damage."

In which case even a single attack involves swinging that club many times within a given period of time.  Its not a single blow against 1 set of armor.  So we already have a case where many blows are modeled with a single attack roll against a single armor roll.

And you don't address my "common sense" thing.  Why should a 40 hitpoint hero with defense 5 take more damage from a given attack than do 4 10 hitpoint guys also with defense 5?

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August 26, 2010 2:40:51 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Nonetheless, the extreme variance of these results also helps highlight the point 1. in the OP; the level of randomness is very, very high, even for squads of 4.

The fact that def 30 unit makes only one dice roll doesn't help either. Master of Magic system with a 30% default chance per point of attack/defence was much better, and individual/stack balance worked just fine.

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August 26, 2010 2:45:29 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree, with additional stats we can definitely come up with a more accurate system. However, at the same time I think SD would be more willing to try and adapt the current system rather than rewriting it again with more stats, so at least my discussion is geared towards trying to make the current stats work in a manner that makes sense.

One easy thing they could do is roll 3 dice like now, and only keep the middle one. That woudl get rid of the uniform probability law.

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August 26, 2010 2:47:00 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The fact that def 30 unit makes only one dice roll doesn't help either. Master of Magic system with a 30% default chance per point of attack/defence was much better, and individual/stack balance worked just fine.

But MoM had a different way to handle "to hit" and "damage". You could get monsters with a hit to hit, and low damage. In Elemental, you can't. the variance in results is huge.

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August 26, 2010 2:59:20 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

lets say,

 

4 Knights (trained guys for war, so they know how to team work vs the enemy)

 

1 Peasent in magical plate armor (basicly just stands there and shivers in panic)

 

Knight Attack Value : 6

Peasent Defence Value : 15

 

Now lets say, Knights roll 1d6 vs 15 , 4 times = resolution 0 damage to peasent.

 

But hay, it does not work like that, Knights should band together and make combined attacks to find the weakness in the armor (if they r in a party)

 

So it would actually be 4d6 vs 15 , then if they roll 6 per Knight and get 24, they will harm the Peasent with the Magical armor.

 

Logical ?

 

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August 26, 2010 3:20:05 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Now lets say, Knights roll 1d6 vs 15 , 4 times = resolution 0 damage to peasent.

But hay, it does not work like that, Knights should band together and make combined attacks to find the weakness in the armor (if they r in a party)

So it would actually be 4d6 vs 15 , then if they roll 6 per Knight and get 24, they will harm the Peasent with the Magical armor.

Logical ?

As already said in that thread, it's imbalanced because it's 4*Weapon vs 1*Armor. So, the scaling is completely off, stacks are too powerful and armor becomes useless as stacks become bigger.

But MoM had a different way to handle "to hit" and "damage". You could get monsters with a hit to hit, and low damage. In Elemental, you can't. the variance in results is huge.

I'm saying that MoM way is already playtested and it works better. You... I don't understand what exactly your point is.

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August 26, 2010 3:57:54 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

my point is that if you have 4 Knights vs 1 guy, its not 1:1

 

it has to be 4 Knights vs 4 Peasents = then its 1:1

 

Meaning 24 max damage vs 60 armor = what ?

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August 26, 2010 4:45:19 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

(Last edit to this, I swear. I tried to do it at first with no conditional crap but I think it's impossible.)

Here's how I imagine the "make each killed guy's armor count" method flowing in terms of calculations, in such a way that you don't have to reroll for each individual combatant. I tried to write it out with programming in mind, so it's "define 3 variables with constants, perform 1-operation arithmetic with variables a few times, then have a simple if/else comparison thing at the end."

Assume a squad's defense value is equal to 1 instance of the armor they're wearing (so 16 footmen each wearing 5 defense light plate and nothing else have 5 defense, not 80)

A)Roll for attack

B)Take an individual target's max HP

C)Roll for defense only once

D)Add B+C

E)Divide A/D, round up (number of targets)

F)Divide A/D, round down this time (number of kills)

G)Multiply E*C

H)Subtract A-G

I)Multiply F*B

J)Whichever of H or I is higher is your final damage.

That's for one guy attacking a squad. For a squad attacking a squad, just multiply J) by the number of attacking squaddies and do that much damage.

The problem with my way is that each person in each squad rolls the same thing, but that's a pretty minor drawback compared to the flaws with all the other systems, I think. Especially if you narrow the damage range for weapons like was suggested in the OP.

Hell, I'd actually do away with attack rolls altogether. Each weapon always uses its max damage, period. There'd still be plenty of randomness involved in attacking an off defense type, since defense would still be randomly rolled, while a defense that's strong against the incoming attack would be completely reliable, which would be a nice perk for bothering to set that up at all. It wouldn't overpower offense in battles between fairly equal troops if you went with my damage calculation, because attack values for a squad wouldn't stack up anymore and just completely overwhelm defense like they do now. It wouldn't destroy defense for a single, high defense badass being attacked by gnats, because the odds of the high defense guy taking damage at all would still be really small, the few hits that got through would just hurt more. Now it would make really powerful individual attacks against an off defense type incredibly strong, even if the values were pretty much the same, but this is only a problem if the target's HP isn't scaling up with its defense. This is most likely to be an issue with like a really big monster who can't stack itself to pool HP, like a dragon... so dragon vs. dragon battles would be unusually quick. A rarely-occurring flaw like that doesn't feel like a huge deal, though.

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August 26, 2010 5:29:01 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Sample calculations:

A troll has 60 attack, a group of observers has 10 HP each and are wearing armor that grants 9 defense

Troll rolls 50 attack, observers have 10 HP and roll 8 defense

10+8=18
50/18 rounded up = 3
50/18 rounded down = 2
3*8 = 24
50-24 = 26
2*10 = 20
Highest number is 26, that's your damage

Let's look at this battle intuitively. Guy gets 8 defense and he has 10 HP, so troll spends 18 out of 50 damage to kill him. He has 32 damage left. He spends another 18 to kill another 10 HP, 8 defense roll guy, so there's 14 damage left. He spends 8 of that 14 damage working through a third guy's armor then does 6 damage. 2 10 HP guys are dead, one took 6 damage, total damage is 26.

Now let's make the troll's attack roll 40 and not change anything else.

10+8=18
40/18 rounded up = 3
40/18 rounded down = 2
3*8 = 24
40-24 = 16
2*10 = 20
Highest number is 20, that's your damage

Blow by blow version: Guy gets 8 defense and he has 10 HP, so troll spends 18 out of 40 damage to kill him. He has 22 damage left. He spends another 18 to kill another 10 HP, 8 defense roll guy, so there's 4 damage left. He wastes that 4 damage against 8 armor and doesn't hurt the thrid guy at all. 2 10 HP guys are dead, no one else is hurt, total damage is 20.

Now let's make the troll's attack roll 7 and not change anything else.

10+8=18
7/18 rounded up = 1
7/18 rounded down = 0
1*8 = 8
7-8 = -1
0*10 = 0
Highest number is 0, that's your damage

I don't even need to explain this one, right?

Yep, it works out.

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August 26, 2010 6:30:44 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'll go in a bit different yet relevant direction. I think combat is way to plain. Weapons have no character. At least there should be criticals and maybe special abilities - e.g. club could have ability to stun instead of damage .

These features might be somewhere in there but I cannot see them.

 

Anyways, what I'd like to suggest is cleave feature/feat on units and/or weapons. Where there are more units in one square damage gets transfered to one unit *only* if attacking unit has cleave. Otherwise, single unit is killed and that's it. If I remember correctly MOO2 had something similar for attacking stack of ships.  Of course, if you have stack of 10 units, you can attack at most 10 targets without cleave and unlimited with it (unless we go with D&D feats - Cleave, Great Cleave  etc, then it is more complicated).

 

 

 

 

 

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August 26, 2010 7:51:50 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I thought I'd quote the mechanic of MoM from the strategy guide just as a base to start from:

 

Table 20.1 Combat Statistics for Attacking in Normal Melee

Total Attack Strength ("Swings") = Number of Figures x Number of Swords

The Total Attack Strength is the maximum damage, in hit points that an attacking unit can do in one round of melee combat. This is also the number of "swings" that unit makes in a melee round. Thus, each sword represents a separate "swing" and each swing can do one hit point of damage.

Chance of a Hit = 30 percent + (10 percent x sum of all To Hit modifiers)

Each swing has a chance of landing a blow and becoming a hit point of damage inflicted upon the enemy unit. This base chance of success can be modified by unit enchantments, artifacts, special weapons produced by alchemist's guilds, special abilities, etc.

Average number of hits landed = Total Attack Strength x Chance to Hit

For example a full strength unit of Gargoyles has four figures. Each figure has four swords with a +1 To Hit. So the total attack strength for this unit is 4 figures x 4 swords, or 16 swords total. The chance of a hit is 30 percent + (10% x 1), or 40 percent. Finally the average number of hits landed by a full strength gargoyle unit would be 40 percent of 16, or 6.4 hits.

Table 20.3 Dodging Blows

Total Defence = Number of Figures x Number of Shields

Each shield can stop one hit that the attacker has landed (see Table 20.1) on the defending unit. Each shield has a certain chance To Defend, or to negate, a successful hit.

Chance to Defend = 30% + (10% x sum of all To Defend modifiers)

The average number of hits that a full strength unit can stop through its shields alone is:

Average Number of Hits Blocked = Total Defence x Chance To Defend

 

Table 20.4 Per Figure Defence in Melee Combat

Each figure can absorb a certain number of hits from a single attack before dying:

Average Hits Blocked = Number of Shields x Chance to Defend + Number of hearts

For exambe, war bears come in pairs, with each bear having three shields and eight hearts. The average number of hits the first bear can block before taking damage is equal to its defence of three shields multiplied by the chance for each shield to block a hit, in this case 30 percent. So the average bear will block an average of 0.9 hits with its shields before the damage directed at it will start taking hit points away. Given that the bear has 8 total hit points, this means that the first bear will die after an average of 8.9 successful hits from a single attack have been directed at its unit.

If the first bear does not die from the first attack, on the following attack, its full three shields will get another chance to block their 0.9 hits before the bear starts taking damage again. Therefore, the more shields each figure in a unit has, the more damage it can block before it starts losing hit points from each attack. The longer a figure lasts, the longer it can exact damage from units it is fighting.

 

 

 

 

Now: how about we use this as a base and add to it? For example the strength of each "swing" need not be 1, it could be a variable with enchanted troops and champions reaching 5+ for example. (1= normal, 2=magic/high quality/strong hitting creatures, hammers/piercing, 3 mithril/master forged daggers/enchanted weapons...5 for Godly strength...etc)

Second, add a constant to defence, so every 10 (or 15) points in defence reduces damage per swing received by 1 extra. It would effectively make them immune to 1 strength per swing attacks. (or 1 point for the first swing, 0.95 for the second, 0.9 for the third etc... to allow a unit to be damaged slightly by being worn down by a massive number of attacks by overwhelming forces) I.e. a lone 1 attack unit couldn't hit a 10 defence knight, a swarm of them could wear him down and after the first 20 the knight would have the normal ability to be hit, after the first 40 for a 20 defence unit etc.

This way an ogre could have an attack of 20, split into 10 swings of 2 damage each, able to damage heavily armoured troops with a maximum number of killed figures in one attack being 10 (no damage carried over from each swing)

A champion with an attack of 20 could have 5 swings of power 4, able to damage even dragons but only able to kill 4 figures per attack.

These are just suggestions of how the base numbers could work without any effects of special abilities or modifiers like moral effects, magical defence, fatigue... whatever

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August 26, 2010 8:12:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

/Singed

I agree with every point you make here 100%. My personal pet peve at moment is number 1, but that I belive are from not playing any game past the midpoint yet.

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August 26, 2010 8:37:03 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

PREDICTION

Even after 1 year of patching SD will not even include 1/10 of the ideas here.

SD gaming style tends towards simple linear models.. Nothing wrong with that, most games are like that.

MOM probably has the most complicated system for a TBS game. AOW was simpler. 

 

 

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August 26, 2010 8:44:35 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

Everything wrong in that when it unbalances the game to the point it does now.

As it is, the first tech one should research in warfare are army techs; the differential in power is so strong between them that the first to get access to parties/squads wins.

The thing is, it removes a choice from the game. Why let us build solo units if they're so underwhelming? Where is the epic feel of a few knights on the battle munching through hordes of untrained irregulars? Where's the diversity and the incentive to make choices? I'm totally okay with 4 units not being "as good" as a party of the same unit type, I'm not okay with the party being impervious to those 4 units. And as long as the system stays that way, it'll kill any sort of diversity.

(Also, Kingdoms have an advantage over empires. A huge advantage, since their biggest party has 16 guys, while the Empires have only 12-guys groups.)

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August 26, 2010 8:56:52 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think with the above you could add:

Daggers base of 1 damage per swing, (short range weapon)
Upgraded - more swings and small % Chance of critical hit functioning as a +2 strength hit for that swing (+bonus % from backstabs)
Magical - 2 damage per swing

Standard Swords base 1 damage per swing
Upgraded - defence bonus and more swings
Magical - more swings and +to hit

sub-types/styles like
Rapier - reduced base damage, increased to hit, piercing chance

Axes could have higher damage per swing of 2 with defence % penalty
Upgraded - % chance of critical hits
Magical - +to hit

Pole weapons/lances/halberds - damage of 2 per swing +1 defence against short weapons (negated by backstab/rear attacks)
Upgraded - piercing - enemy defence reduced by 1 against heavy armour
Magical -

etc.

So you could have beserkers better able to kill knights but taking more damage from a hail of arrows... sneaky thief types that can kill higher power units but need positioning for backstabbing effects... just with 3 numbers Swings, damage per swing and To Hit rating + special abilities of weapons

With special effects you could add (effect) x (chance to hit) x (number of hits), so a stunning effect may have a low chance of working for a mace but a massive chance for a giants club. Fire enchanted weapons could have a small damage boost with a medium chance of working with each swing or could have a large fireball strength effect on critical hits. Moral or fatigue effects could be based on the number of swings rather than hits - sauron swinging at you causes fatigue even when he doesn't hit you

 

Defence could be different in that light armour would have bonus to % to avoid damage making them useful at high defence ratings because they don't cause fatigue with lots of attacks but makes you more vulnerable to attacks that heavy armour could block. Heavy armour could gain a flat point bonus as a reduction in the damage of each swing with a penalty to defence chance making them immune to small arrow barrages, confrontations with small groups but weak against piercing heavy hitting attacks (giants wielding magic lances and magic arrows) - also with the damage reduction lowering to zero when overwhelmed making massed infantry a threat against the slow moving knight.

I'd also like for each type of weapon and armour to have several levels of special abilities unlocked just by being equipped by higher level champions... so legolas gains a higher % chance to avoid damage with mithril armour than frodo would... maybe one bonus unlocked by level and a second unlocked by weapon/armour mastery traits.

I never liked the way magic hit rate and damage was handled in MoM... but that's a different topic.

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August 26, 2010 9:24:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If i would have a say i would redesign combat from the ground up to include mechanics that can influence other systems like magic or the brilliant equipment traits.

 So, putting foot to mouth here is the combat system i think could work. I am sure it sucks, but you will tell me.

 Glossary (so you might have a chance to understand my rambling)

Creature:                 A single soldier, hero, animal, elemental. One figure on the tactical map.

Unit:                       A group of Creatures sharing a single map tile and fighting together.

ToHit (+/-):            The chance to hit the target; ‘+’ betters your chance; ‘-‘ lessens your chance.

Dmg (+/-):              Damage inflicted to target. ‘+’ adds damage; ‘-‘ lessens damage.

STR:                       Strength

mSTR:                    Modified Strength

 

 

ToHit

Each creature has a base chance to hit an enemy of 75%.

In an Unit, each creature has an independent chance of 75% + (No. of Creatures in the Unit). It is a teamwork bonus that shrinks as Creatures in that Unit are slain.

Magic has a base chance of 100% - (Target Magic Resistance)

 This enables:

-          ToHit+ for each friendly Unit adjacent to my target enemy (flanking)

-          ToHit+ / ToHit- depending on moral

-          ToHit+ / ToHit- depending on buffs and debuffs

-          ToHit- depending on fear effects (against demons, while under an spell, due to moral lapse etc.)

-          ToHit+ / ToHit- depending on Hero traits (Leadership, Reputation, Aura etc.)

-          ToHit- depending on visual effects (combat in woods, in mist, in darkness; all natural or magically)

-          ToHit+ for ranged combat and possible magic

-          ToHit- depending on target dodge / shieldblock values or visibility status (stealth, invisible, ghostly etc.)

-          ToHit+ / ToHit- depending on own equipment or target equipment (magic weapons, charms, equipment traits (Ranger gets ToHit+ with ranged weapons) etc.)

-          ToHit+ / ToHit- depending on your and targets Dexterity value

 

 

 

Damage

Each Creature deals damage when it has successfully hit the target. This calculated for each individual Creature in an Unit.

 

Physical damage of each Creature is calculated: (STR/10) * (mSTR/10).

Magical damage is calculated (INT/10) * (mINT/10)

 

The value of mSTR is dependant on equipment, training, buffs, debuffs etc added to your STR value.

                i.e.

               a human with STR 10, without equipment, buffs and training does 1 damage

                => (10/10) * (10/10) = 1*1 = 1

               

                a trog with STR 12, without equipment, buffs and training does 1.44 damage

                => (12/10) * (12/10) = 1.2 * 1.2 = 1.44

 

                a human with STR 10, equipped with a staff (Dmg +3) does 1.3 damage

                => (10/10) * (13/10) = 1*1.3 = 1.3

               

               a trog with STR 12, equipped with a staff (Dmg +3) does 1.8 damage

                => (12/10) * (15/10) = 1.2 * 1.5 = 1.8

 

               a human knight with STR 12, equipped with an axe (Dmg +6) does 2.16 damage

                 => (12/10) * (18/10) = 1.2 * 1.8 = 2.16

 

               Berny McBurnigton (INT 15) has the Charm of Burns equipped (Fire damage +10). He also has access to a fire shard (x2 damage). He has researched spell level 1 (damage *1). He casts ‘Crispy Chicken’ on … a chicken.

                 => (15/10) * (25/10) * 2 * 1 = 1.5 * 2.5 * 2 * 1= 7.5

 

Armor negates damage according to damage type. Every armor has damage reduction values for blunt, pierce, slash, fire, cold and arcane.

To keep combat flowing armor reduces damage by a percentage, not absolutes. So if you hit, you do damage.

                i.e.

                Leather Armor:       Blunt 2, Slash 1, Pierce 0, Fire 0, Cold 2, Arcane 0

 

Each point of armor reduces damage by 5%.

                i.e.

                The “trog with staff” hits for 1.8 damage. Staff is a blunt weapon, Blunt protection 2. Received damage 1.62

                => 1.8 – 10% = 1.8 – 0.18 = 1.62

 

                The “human knight with axe” hits for 2.16 damage. Axe is a slash weapon. Slash protection is 1. Received damage 2.05

                => 2.16 – 5% = 2.16 – 0.108 = 2.05

 

               Chicken is fireproof!!! ‘Crispy Chicken’ is fire based. Fire protection is 18. Chicken lives … and retaliates for massive damage!!!

                => 7.5 – 90% = 7.5 – 6.75 = 0.75

 

Number of Attacks

 

The number of attacks per combat turn is a flat number based on training, equipment, number of striking limbs (Hydra etc).

Each attack check for ToHit independently.

 

This enables:

-          Dual Wield vs Sword and Board vs Two Handed Weapon

-          Special training like Assassin, Bladedancer etc.

-          Creatures with low damage values, that can get lucky hits (Swarm creatures like rats or bugs)

-          ‘Haste’ spell adds 1 attack; Slow takes one attack, if you only have one, you cant attack next turn (but move)

 

Initiative

 

Initiative is based on (Dexterity + Intelligence)/2 and modified through terrain and actions take last turn.

                i.e.

                Starting your turn in a swamp tile lowers you initiative this turn.

                The turn after you used the charge ability, your initiative is lowered.

                Haste and Slow spells modify initiative

                Daggers are faster the Maces, one handed weapons beat two handed weapons

                Heavy armor is slower then light armor, no armor goes first.

 

Move

 

How many tiles you can move.

Calculates from Dexterity: 1 + (Dexterity / 10), or based on creature.

 

Can be modified through equipment, magic and stuff.

 

Enables:

-          Root spells and movement debuffs without influencing attacks

-          Terrain altering spells that distinguish between melee and ranged creatures.

 

 

 

I am sure that all needs balancing.

But splitting the whole into its parts makes that easier and, most important much easier to grasp then the mechanics as they are.

 

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August 26, 2010 9:56:59 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting _Scooter_,
And you don't address my "common sense" thing.  Why should a 40 hitpoint hero with defense 5 take more damage from a given attack than do 4 10 hitpoint guys also with defense 5?
Easier to aim specifically at one guy than 4.

If we're talking common sense.

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August 26, 2010 10:11:48 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Whee! Let's see...

  • The current resource system both encourages snaking and city spammage. The biggest example of this was when a dragon's roost was in the middle of nothing and close to my capital city: far enough away that I couldn't snake to it (I tried, oh did I try) and close enough that, after my snaking was done, I couldn't build a city to capture it. I think it'd be a lot easier to have an option to 'migrate' things - if I find some spiders, or Drath, or even Dragons in the wilderness, I'd like to have the option to tell them, "Hey guys! Here's a thousand gold. Would you mind moving to X city?" and then they move off to join my cities.
  • Still dealing with resources - it is immensely irritating that, if I find a small nest of resources, I can't take advantage of them unless I plop a brand new city down right next to them. My means of fixing this - link them to the nearest city naturally, but weaken them by a certain percent. Let's say, if I have a gold mine 15 tiles away, it only gives me 25% of its resources each turn. If I plop a brand new city next to it, it automatically starts pumping out gold to my nearest city. To keep it so that you don't have to have a city every X tiles, there will be techs that increase the amount of resources brought in over a distance. On default...let's say 7-8 tiles from the nearest city, -25% every 3 away.
  • Magic is too weak (see associated threads). I do think that we need new spells, but instead of having the same ol' spells, have actually NEW ones. Taking from Age of Wonders, two AoE spells - fireball and hail storm. Fireball lobs a ball of fire (amazing!) that deals a small amount of AoE damage. Hail storm brings down a shower of big hail stones, each stone causing certain damage. Air magic had chain lightning, which would bounce from one enemy to another. Earth...I don't remember. Never did earth magic much. The point is, each spell is unique! I can't hurl a fireball through a rock, but it's higher damage. Likewise, Hail Storm has a higher total damage possible, but only if all stones hit. Both are viable spells to cast.
  • Regarding the economy - how a game starts can determine how long it goes. I'd love to have the option of building additional income structures in a city. I'm not talking about actually building a mine in my city...maybe, since we can build a 1-income building at level 1, give us a 2-income building at level 2. That's all - but it makes having cities actually viable, even if they aren't near anything extremely useful.
  • Another thing regarding structures - I remember in the Magic Beta that, if I had an Air Shard in my city's control, I could build a Temple of the Winds, that gave haste to defending units. Another building could be built to study the shard, giving additional arcane knowledge (i'll point out that in about half a dozen games, I have yet to see an ancient temple, despite having starting cities near 1 shard of each type. Yes, that happened, and yes, I was a happy clam). It'd be great if we could build additional things to take advantage of nearby resources. For example, I can only build a Mint of Ruvenna is there is a constant source of gold on which to print coins. Or if I have...ancient libraries nearby, I can build a Codex of the Ancients that categorizes all of their information (thus increasing the research income). Another example...if I have a bunch of food incoming, I can build a Tower of Rains, which increases food income.
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August 26, 2010 10:31:31 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm divided on the city snaking. On the other hand, the cities look pretty weird. On the other hand it's the only thing that gives any meaning to building placement.  Cities tend to look more unique with snaking.

Imo building cities to grab resources is fine. I'd rather have some kind of outpost or similar, maybe have to defend a caravan route between outpost and city, but it works. As long as every resource that's not tied to a town needs to be defended. Choosing city locations would be somewhat less meaningful if resources can be tagged from far away. On that note, cities built on hills should be easier to defend, and there should be forest cities. But these are of little importance compared to other issues.

I don't think spells should only be distinguished by damage/aoe tradeoffs. Basic spell schools should have some offensive spells, and they should be different from each other, but I much prefer effects to pure damage. Damage tradeoffs are nice too (like walls of fire, combat buffs that also damage units etc). In games that have interesting spell schools, the schools are rarely defined by their damage spells. Except fire magic..

Shards need more uses, that's a given. At the very least they should modify most spells, not just damage spells. Also,  the reason why spells don't need shards is that it makes getting spells too much up to luck. That's true, but some of the more powerful mid/endgame spells could still be made to require shards. Shards should be an important goal to acquire, atm they aren't really. In later stages of the game acquiring a certain shard type is much less a matter of luck and more of dedication - do I really want that shard. Shards could also be tied to items somehow..

 

Though, the combat mechanics for both normal attacks and spells are a much bigger issue than these.

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August 26, 2010 5:22:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

5. Damage is still too high relative to hit points.  One of the biggest problems with combat is that very often the first strike can wipe out the other unit entirely.  This means that the tactical combat AI is far too easy to exploit.  All I have to do is move my guys such that you *just* can't reach my soldiers.  Then you charge forward with all your movement, and stop.  And then I attack you and destroy your entire unit while suffering no damage myself.

This is exacerbated by how stacks combine.

Easiest fix is to increase the health of units.

Having simultaneous attack and defense damage (without a first strike skill) might also be a good way to fix this.

This one is my pet peeve right now. It's totally true, but IMO the problem is that defense is roll based. Sometimes it flat out doesn't work, and when it doesn't you get huge damage spikes and units get totally flattened. I'm more concerned about it in regards to champions then I am with squads, but it applies to both.

This is what I posted this morning in another thread about it:

Every point of defense lowers Attack by 1, up to 50% of attack. After that, every point of defense lowers Attack by 0.5, up to 50% again (75% total). Then every point is 0.25 again, and so on. You could make a formula that smooths the curve out some, but what you'll get is defense reducing incoming damage quite a lot (without actually eliminating it entirely) up to a point, but to reduce it more you need progressively increasing amounts of defense so you can't easily make something that just takes 0 damage from every hit.

It'd also signifintly reduce randomness in outcomes, because there's only one roll instead of two and no situation where the rolls go your way one hit (so you take 0), and the rolls both go against you next turn (so you take 50 and get one shot).

 

What I'd like to see eliminated is the situation where defense simply doesn't work sometimes and the fight turns into a one shot. The best way to do that is just to take the randomness out of defense and let it always do its thing. So in this system every point of defense acts to lower incoming damage, by modifying the range on the attack roll. The other upside is that with less units getting one shot, fights can become somewhat more strategic and less about who swings first (and who swings first is a huge advantage right now once attack values scale up).

The other advantage is that it uses the existing stats, the only change is to the defense formula. So it fits with the goal of improving things without adding stats.

 

Here's some examples:

A unit with ATT 12 attacks a unit with DEF 0. The damage roll is 0-12, as it is now.

ATT 12 attacks DEF 1. The roll is 0-11 (12-1).

ATT 12 attacks DEF 6. Roll is 0-6 (12-6).

ATT 12 attacks DEF 12. Roll is 0-3 (12 - 6 - 6/2).

If you scale it up to huge defense values, you'll get to a point where the rolls are just 0-1. IMO 1 should be a minimum damage, but if they still want the mechanic where some units simply can't damage very powerful monsters they could let the minimum be 0.

 

For applying to squads you could do the same thing, only have individual units in the squad use their defense value for each part of the attack that hits that squad member.

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August 26, 2010 6:10:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


I don't agree with this. I very much like that once a unit in a squad dies, it's dead. That's how it is at the moment, and that's how it should stay.
I think this is terrible without at least some means of replenishing the squad (by merging units into it).  Which then becomes MM busywork, so its easier to just let the squad heal back to full health.


Just a quick point - there's a game called Elven Legacy which is more or less a reskin (sequel is arguably a bit grand a term) of the game Fantasy Wars. They have unit death, and a very good system for replenishing a stack. You go to a town (where you can heal normally, or deploy your reserve units) and you pay a fee to replenish the stack. Additionally, when replenishing a stack, the stack experience drops (but cannot reduce the level of the unit) to reflect the fact that you just hired noobs.

The game only has five levels for non-hero units, so levels are more important, but something like that does a good job of not only allowing you to top off your squads, but also keep in your mind that it's important to lose as few people as possible in battle.  Makes for a good gold sink, too, which would be helpful in Elemental.

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