Technologies... what went wrong :(

By on September 1, 2010 2:56:10 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

mastroego

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I feel the need to elaborate, as the more I think about it, the more I realize that's possibly the biggest issue I have with the game at this point. It's where the sense of detachment comes from. I can't relate with the game with this technology tree. Bugs can be fixed, spells can be added, a map "randomizator" should be in works... sometime. But how to address this very basic, structural flaw with the game?

Maybe I was spoiled by the great games of the past, like Alpha Centauri. But then again: why stray from a winning formula?

In Elemental we have different, completely disjointed paths. I can become a master diplomat without even getting a big city. Conversely, I cannot even "talk" or "barter" unless I unlock specific technologies. Then I can "barter better" by unlocking the next technologies in the same tree. How exciting.  Then I need specific technologies to make heroes appear (!), to make castles and dragons appear (!) and so on.

It's wrong. Sorry, but it is. The feel should be organic, flavour-oriented and meaningful. Lairs should not appear, they should be just there. Maybe the odd one can be dug up, but that's it. Technologies should be interconnected, like in other 4x games. I mean in Alpha Centauri you needed to research general physics and chemicals before you could apply your knowledge to weapons for instance... or to better transport systems and so on. In Elemental we have a lifeless technology system which only speaks of "game mechanics", and some of them don't even make sense.

Do you guys agree? Do you think the issue can be addressed somewhat? Even if only by an expansion... I still have hope.

 

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Carewolf
Paradoxical
September 1, 2010 3:08:03 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

In a rare moment for me I will admit to actually really liking something about the game... the technology tree, at least the Kingdom tree.  The Empire tree feels a little bit thrown together and incomplete, but I like the mechanics of how the thing works.

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September 1, 2010 3:08:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I may not agree with you completely, but I do dislike the system, at least some of it. I dislike the adventure tree stuff. I like how you don't just get one research, but things cost 100's of points but you can get 17 points per turn, or whatever. I do dislike the system to gain those points(all you do is build, and you pretty much are guaranteed to be able to build the building, be it the building in the city or the library tiles)

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September 1, 2010 3:10:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think the randomized system reflects more accurately the spontaneous nature of scientific discoveries... the administration sets agendas, but the actual breakthroughs can be pretty unpredictable.

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September 1, 2010 3:45:07 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting hairrorist,
I think the randomized system reflects more accurately the spontaneous nature of scientific discoveries... the administration sets agendas, but the actual breakthroughs can be pretty unpredictable.

Agree, I like how not all options show up every time. That is original and interesting to me. 

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September 1, 2010 3:47:28 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

It's wrong. Sorry, but it is. The feel should be organic, flavour-oriented and meaningful. Lairs should not appear, they should be just there.

 

No, there was time in beta where all was filled with dungeons and it was totally confusing and for me boring because you have to check every time can i enter or not.

 

The system now just give you a few things and it definitly a better way of a game!

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September 1, 2010 3:52:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I gotta say I don't rly agree with the OP. I rather like what they did with technology. Of course ... that doesn't mean I think all the tech trees are perfect, and currently Civ + War is the easiest way to win, but I think that's a combat design flaw imho ... not a gameplay design flaw.

 

Then of course, tweak the economy a bit (and maybe tactical battle size) to accommodate for the larger armies needed to compete with the other opponents out there.

 

If you want to bring 2000 peasants into combat, I don't think the game should just tell you "no, its not allowed" ... but instead all those peasants will have 1 attack and 1 defense, instead of having maybe 2000 attack and 2000 defense.

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September 1, 2010 4:23:28 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I honestly can say that I enjoy the technology tree. I have some minor problems with it, like everyone. I don't like how all the armor is linked to the weapons, that should be separate so you can focus on either offense or defense (like GalCiv2). I also think that Adventure and Diplomacy technologies need to be buffed. Hell, the damn Adventure technology is downright dangerous to research because it increases monster spawn rating significantly and just isn't worth the risks, at least not initially.

I also enjoy unlocking stuff as I progress further into the tech tree. However, I completely agree with you that diplomacy needs some work.

Regardless, things get better with time (most cases) and Elemental will certainly be one of them.

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September 1, 2010 4:40:59 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Heh, yea its funny (and kinda sad) that armor is LINKED to weapons and Elite is LINKED to Companies.

Sure its nice to have both good weapons and good armor, just like its nice to have Elite Companies ... but I don't think they should be TIED to each other.

Maybe having cross-tree reqs is fine, but having cross-strategy reqs within the same tree is kinda dissapointing. I mean, its fine if both weapons branch and armor branch stem from the same proto tech, but having them just alternate is rather boring.

Its almost as boring as defense stacking in companies (and other multi-soldier units)

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September 1, 2010 4:46:38 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I dunno, I actually like techs. It needs more variety (I can never have enough techs in my 4X), but otherwise its actually one of few parts of the game which DO work.

Adventure techs seem unnatural at first, but putting realism aside, I like this "get more goodies, but more nasties too" thing.

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September 1, 2010 5:04:00 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

IMHO the Tech Tree is one of the games strong points. Of course they could be a bit more fleshed out and some links dont make a whole lot of sense, but if we go that way we could discuss the game to oblivion, never getiing done.

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September 1, 2010 5:19:28 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I thought the war branch was too bloated. Armor, swords, maces, bows, walls, barracks, squads, sieging, packs, etc. You could go the whole game without discovering something as simple as walls or bows since you're too busy leveling up in swords and maces just to get to the next armor upgrade. While diplomacy, magic, and adventuring were heavily lacking... not many choices or any branching.

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September 1, 2010 5:32:01 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Only criticism I have of the tech trees is that Diplomacy and Adventure could stand to be extended to a similar length as the Civ and Warfare trees. As it is, you can complete both by level 12, while Civ is more like level 32.

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September 1, 2010 5:36:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Takes far too long to get bows.

 

As for random techs, who are you kidding, everything always appears eventually. The problem is, will I care when it does?

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September 1, 2010 5:37:59 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Then add your own techs.

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September 1, 2010 5:59:33 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

My biggest gripe is with the lost library resource, it's the game's most unbalancing resource - a nation which doesn't get one is a crippled beast.

I like the empire tree more than the civic tree, as it's tree-shaped and not a bunch of separate, parallel systems. Similarly, I think conquest is better than warfare. On the other hand, I think both trees need to be streamlined so that it isn't possible to cherry-pick technologies - going for squads and training improvements is a bit too dominant a strategy right now, those techs need to come into play later.

In the magic tree the branches are far too short and some of the techs are rather worthless.

The diplomacy tree should make trading and treaties more effective, your gain from treaties ought to scale with the target's nations income and not to your own - a treaty should be more beneficial for a weak nation. Diplomatic capital needs to be more useful and you should be able to spend it as an actual resource - one idea is to have the recruitable monsters bought with diplomatic capital, another is being able to use it to perform forced actions against enemy nations like stealing technology, getting treaties and/or peace deals.

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September 1, 2010 6:26:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
I feel the need to elaborate, as the more I think about it, the more I realize that's possibly the biggest issue I have with the game at this point. It's where the sense of detachment comes from. I can't relate with the game with this technology tree. Bugs can be fixed, spells can be added, a map "randomizator" should be in works... sometime. But how to address this very basic, structural flaw with the game?

Maybe I was spoiled by the great games of the past, like Alpha Centauri. But then again: why stray from a winning formula?

In Elemental we have different, completely disjointed paths. I can become a master diplomat without even getting a big city. Conversely, I cannot even "talk" or "barter" unless I unlock specific technologies. Then I can "barter better" by unlocking the next technologies in the same tree. How exciting.  Then I need specific technologies to make heroes appear (!), to make castles and dragons appear (!) and so on.

It's wrong. Sorry, but it is. The feel should be organic, flavour-oriented and meaningful. Lairs should not appear, they should be just there. Maybe the odd one can be dug up, but that's it. Technologies should be interconnected, like in other 4x games. I mean in Alpha Centauri you needed to research general physics and chemicals before you could apply your knowledge to weapons for instance... or to better transport systems and so on. In Elemental we have a lifeless technology system which only speaks of "game mechanics", and some of them don't even make sense.

Do you guys agree? Do you think the issue can be addressed somewhat? Even if only by an expansion... I still have hope.

 

You need to change your mindset.

First, don't view everything as 'you' doing it.  Let's use the exploration tree as an example of what I mean.  Your beef is that the lairs should not just appear..they should always be there.  Well, I think the intention is that your Tech Labs represent people(human resources) under you.. scholars and such that are researching, looking through old manuscripts, etc,.  When you get breakthroughs that finally cause lairs to show up on the map it is because the people in your Tech Labs made a discovery.  They now know where this lair is when they didnt before.  It's appearance on the map is them reporting to you it's location and now you can go explore it. 

Sure, you have a big sight radius and you can see far on the map, but keep in mind each square represents a really large area.  And, though you may have been through that area before you really didnt have time to go over it with a fine tooth comb.  You were probably just passing through on your way to some task you considered important at the time. 

This tech tree is actually implementing that feel perfectly  IF  you are thinking about it in the right way, in the context of the game being a world where much that was known was forgotten and needs to be relearned.  So as far as the context goes that lair always was right there, and will be forever in the scope of that ONE playthrough. 

 

Always keep in mind the theme of this game or you may not like how it 'seems' to work.

 

Tech Tree works great imho.

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September 1, 2010 7:05:55 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I find it takes some getting used to, but fundamentally I'd rather that instead of seeing what should and might be available next, I would rather be surprised by what appears than disappointed when what I want fails to appear.

I'd also like to see more content and variety and even double paths, and the game sets certain paths as denied or available each time. For example in one game swords might be on a path up 'bladed weapons', in the next is only on 'metal weapon' path. With some tweaking to keep it as balanced as possible this would give a little surprise and deny 'This research and this tactic always wins' mentality. The best player adapts his tactics to his resources and technologies rather than seek the same combo.

If anything stumbles me on the research tree it is that magical research is as reliable as sunrise where the tech is more erratic. It adds to the undermining blandness of magic that it is so mass produced.

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September 1, 2010 7:13:41 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Sorry dude, I kinda like the tech tree. I have not seen anything quite like it in my gaming life. Keep it how it is please. If you must change it only add new tech.

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September 1, 2010 8:33:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

See this link below, I made it during either beta 3 or beta 4, I think three. 

http://forums.elementalgame.com/387267

Sadly, I think there are actually less techs now, and less varied techs now, than there was when I made that post. The whole system of research is just bizarre and agreeably detached. 

Quoting hannahb,


You need to change your mindset.

First, don't view everything as 'you' doing it.  Let's use the exploration tree as an example of what I mean.  Your beef is that the lairs should not just appear..they should always be there.  Well, I think the intention is that your Tech Labs represent people(human resources) under you.. scholars and such that are researching, looking through old manuscripts, etc,.  When you get breakthroughs that finally cause lairs to show up on the map it is because the people in your Tech Labs made a discovery.  They now know where this lair is when they didnt before.  It's appearance on the map is them reporting to you it's location and now you can go explore it. 

Sure, you have a big sight radius and you can see far on the map, but keep in mind each square represents a really large area.  And, though you may have been through that area before you really didnt have time to go over it with a fine tooth comb.  You were probably just passing through on your way to some task you considered important at the time. 

This tech tree is actually implementing that feel perfectly  IF  you are thinking about it in the right way, in the context of the game being a world where much that was known was forgotten and needs to be relearned.  So as far as the context goes that lair always was right there, and will be forever in the scope of that ONE playthrough. 

 
Always keep in mind the theme of this game or you may not like how it 'seems' to work.


Tech Tree works great imho.

A game should work whether or not you want to roleplay it. A game should be based at the level of a gamer and also cater for the roleplayer, not the other way around. Whilst your roleplaying ideal is great, and an even greater way to see unrealistic game mechanics as logical, it is very biased from your gaming standpoint. 

Also, your scholars toiling away in your tech lab built on a city with a workshop and a farm, are in no way going to be capable of somehow unearthing gigantic ancient towers from the earth. I'm reasonably sure researching adventure is also superfluous and in no way roleplay friendly. 

Anyway, back to my original point, the research is largely just silly, which is unfortunate.

Adventuring should be improved by adventuring, not by folk in a lab.

Diplomacy largely involves things that are just common sense. Bartering, should not need research, things such as treaties and pacts are more logical.

Combat is probably the one which makes sense, but it is inherently stupid that a place doesn't need an armory to produce advanced kit, or specialised buildings to produce advanced units. When a shoddy marketplace area starts spamming plate-clad knights, it's not very representative.

Magic research is just bleh, really really bland and no variation whatsoever. For one of the parts of the land that should be the most mysterious and difficult to master, I believe it has the weakest tech 'tree'. 

Civ stuff is pretty bleh as well. 

 

All in all, this game does not have a tech tree, and anyone who says otherwise should go and find any half decent 4x game (see civ for instance) and check out that tree. One of the things I hate is when an issue is raised where someone is saying there isn't enough of something, and the devs cut it. VARIATION is what is lacking from this game.

Great post by the OP, I completely agree ,

Paradoxical

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September 1, 2010 10:27:18 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I generally agree with the OP.

I think the basic mechanic is basically sound (albeit disjointed into 5 separate areas, I'd rather see one integrated tree I think), but what's missing is more content, a lot of variation, a lot of polish and balancing. The Diplomacy, adventure and magic trees in particular need fleshing out.

Some pre-req cross pollination of the trees would also be good so for example you need to research regular armour before you can get the lovely enchanted armour. Mutually exclusive options would also be interesting, e.g. if you take the summoning spell book maybe you can't take enchantments, that would be an interesting choice. Or if you take the most advanced bows you can't take the most advanced swords. City design is supposed to be about specialization and techs should be too, but the way it's currently implemented doesn't achieve that, everyone just gets every tech given enough time.

Which also brings up the pacing and balance issue. Get a city with a couple lost libraries and you roll through all the techs way to fast, get unlucky and get no libraries and it takes forever.

Also I think there room for more integration between the tech tree and the buildings and units. Currently tech just unlocks stuff and then you build it wherever. But it could be more complex then that. For example you research that nice new armour tech but before you can build new units you need to research that new smithy building too and then build it in some cities and then you can build units with that tech in cities with that building. Pumping out paladins with all enchanted equipment in level 1 backwater villages doesn't feel right.

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September 1, 2010 10:53:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Paradoxical,


Also, your scholars toiling away in your tech lab built on a city with a workshop and a farm, are in no way going to be capable of somehow unearthing gigantic ancient towers from the earth. I'm reasonably sure researching adventure is also superfluous and in no way roleplay friendly. 

Anyway, back to my original point, the research is largely just silly, which is unfortunate.

Adventuring should be improved by adventuring, not by folk in a lab.


Paradoxical

I think you are missing my point.  The scholars toiling away in the 'Tech Labs' (Mind you, I think thats a bad name for them) don't 'unearth' anything.  They re-discover the location and then pass that knowledge in to you the Soveriegn incarnate.  At that point it appears on the map. 

Perhaps you went by that area/square before .. perhaps not .. doesn't matter.  You didnt see it because, well the grid square represents a large area.  At the scope of a continent sized map one square could be literally hundreds of miles across.  It doesnt matter how big a tower is if a square area is that big you wont see it unless you get within about 3-7 miles of it.  Unless maybe it's on top of a mountain.  Or it really is as big to the square as you see it and its base is miles and miles of area and the tower top reaches into the sky above the clouds.

So the scholars are not unearthing the tower they are researching and discovering its exact location so that it at that point becomes something you can interact with. 

 

If you want to literally find the tower by moving your leader figure around perhaps they should give us a scale for the maps and make the squares represent much smaller areas so it is logical that you could see it in the squares.  I've been out in the real world .. hiking, camping, flown across the country a couple times, Ive been in the redwood forests, now those tress are f-ing tall but you can't see them or realize they are there until you get within them.  I am telling you a tower CAN easily go unnoticed in the countryside unless you KNOW what to look for and where.  You have to be within miles .. MILES ...single digit miles to be able to make out what something is in the distance.  Square grids representing hundreds or even tens of miles across can hide things you would not believe they are hiding. 

I know you are going to disagree, that's ok.  Part's of the tech tree needs improvment.  Some of the concepts aren't represented well .. Kind of like the devs had a vision they could not quite explain very well.  I think I get it ...maybe I am way off.  I also agree that the variety is lacking and some of the implementation is poor.  As duplicate notable locations pop up all over the map ...

How many mad morrigans towers did morrigan build anyway .. Was it a franchise?  Do they sell fries? 

 

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September 1, 2010 11:00:37 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Also, your scholars toiling away in your tech lab built on a city with a workshop and a farm, are in no way going to be capable of somehow unearthing gigantic ancient towers from the earth.

They don't do this.  They uncover where they are located on your map.  Think of it as they uncover or decrypt lost maps, learn of new methods ancient people hid entrances, learned how to look for signs of ruins, caves, etc.

They re-discover the location and then pass that knowledge in to you the Soveriegn incarnate. At that point it appears on the map.

Exactly. 

If you want to literally find the tower by moving your leader figure around perhaps they should give us a scale for the maps and make the squares represent much smaller areas so it is logical that you could see it in the squares.

Well, in his defense, city squares are the same size as all other squares in the game, and these are supposed to be representative of a clustered city, and typically one building (or a fraction of a building) occupies one square.  Regardless, this does not take away from the above method of immersion and the quest technology is quite excellent.

As a matter of fact, the tech tree, in general, is superb.  It could use some tweaking here and there, but this is one part of the game that does shine for me.

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September 1, 2010 11:06:41 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting hannahb,

Quoting Paradoxical, reply 19

I think you are missing my point.  The scholars toiling away in the 'Tech Labs' (Mind you, I think thats a bad name for them) don't 'unearth' anything.  They re-discover the location and then pass that knowledge in to you the Soveriegn incarnate.  At that point it appears on the map. 

Perhaps you went by that area/square before .. perhaps not .. doesn't matter.  You didnt see it because, well the grid square represents a large area.  At the scope of a continent sized map one square could be literally hundreds of miles across.  It doesnt matter how big a tower is if a square area is that big you wont see it unless you get within about 3-7 miles of it.  Unless maybe it's on top of a mountain.  Or it really is as big to the square as you see it and its base is miles and miles of area and the tower top reaches into the sky above the clouds.

So the scholars are not unearthing the tower they are researching and discovering its exact location so that it at that point becomes something you can interact with. 

 

If you want to literally find the tower by moving your leader figure around perhaps they should give us a scale for the maps and make the squares represent much smaller areas so it is logical that you could see it in the squares.  I've been out in the real world .. hiking, camping, flown across the country a couple times, Ive been in the redwood forests, now those tress are f-ing tall but you can't see them or realize they are there until you get within them.  I am telling you a tower CAN easily go unnoticed in the countryside unless you KNOW what to look for and where.  You have to be within miles .. MILES ...single digit miles to be able to make out what something is in the distance.  Square grids representing hundreds or even tens of miles across can hide things you would not believe they are hiding. 

I know you are going to disagree, that's ok.  Part's of the tech tree needs improvment.  Some of the concepts aren't represented well .. Kind of like the devs had a vision they could not quite explain very well.  I think I get it ...maybe I am way off.  I also agree that the variety is lacking and some of the implementation is poor.  As duplicate notable locations pop up all over the map ...

How many mad morrigans towers did morrigan build anyway .. Was it a franchise?  Do they sell fries? 

 

You do actually make a very valid point, and had I not realised that there is no real scaling standard in the game I would likely have continued to disagree. As such, a more definitive scaling system would definitely help with the whole sense of discovery and such. 

On another note, it might also be worth exploring the idea of putting some lairs on the mini-tiles used for many city buildings. This would largely just be an aesthetic thing, as some of the ancient hidden towers that are popping up are just flat out ridiculous. In addition, the fact that, as you mentioned, fifty such towers appear from nowhere is very mysterious. My sovereign cannot be that ignorant. 

I do feel that the whole system is underwhelming, but I can see where you're coming from, 

Paradoxical

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September 1, 2010 11:37:58 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the tech system as is.  I have not played Empire, but I enjoy Kingdoms.  I think the Magic tree needs work and maybe Diplomacy needs to be fleshed out.  But I like the 5 branches thing and the way you can sometimes get 'rare' discoveries early.

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September 1, 2010 11:38:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Jharii,

They don't do this.  They uncover where they are located on your map.  Think of it as they uncover or decrypt lost maps, learn of new methods ancient people hid entrances, learned how to look for signs of ruins, caves, etc.

You'd think the tech names would give it away. "Morrigan's Notes" for example. Do we think a) Morrigan wrote a spell in the margins used to raise weird basalt architecture complete with guardians and mysterious treasure at a whim, or Morrigan being a powerful sorceress/titan/goddess type of gal went looking for the ultimate gubbins of doom, and was kind enough to annotate her discoveries and helpfully note down the interesting locations and clues she found?

Though of course, complaining about things not making sense in a fantasy world is kinda missing the point entirely.

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