The Big Picture -- What Was Supposed To Make Elemental Special?

By on September 6, 2010 12:07:28 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Nick-Danger

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What was supposed to make Elemental special?  Why were we supposed to buy it instead of dusting off the old MoM and AoW and Civ games?

Does the release version of Elemental deliver on the promises that were made regarding Elemental being special?

Elemental will be overhauled pretty much from the ground up.  I think it's important to step back and try to remember the original vision for Elemental -- and what was supposed to make it special.

The overhaul shouldn't diminish the specialness.  If specialness has been lost the overhaul needs to restore it.

Fast is slow, slow is fast.  A rush to overhaul can result in a working game but lose sight of the 'vision thing'.

Everyone has their own idea of what was supposed to make Elemental special to them, and how well that was met in release.  No one view is right or wrong, they're just different.

What made Elemental special to me is a few basic concepts:

-Essence.  Essence isn't mana, it's more.  Mana powers spells, Essence powers channeling and the restoration of the land.  In beta there were a lot of great suggestions for Essence -- creating special items, not otherwise creatable (more than normal magically enchanted items).  Items like special creatures or land features.  Things that were otherwise undo-able.

In release I'll argue that essence is merely mana.

-Shards.  Shards were supposed to be arguably the most important feature -- it's where magic was confined, it's what channelers learned to control to become channelers and to then overthrow the Titans and first destroy then restore the lands (or however the lore goes...).  Originally in beta shards were needed to even cast most spells (no fire shard?  No can cast fire spells).  Then shards became useless, and a game could be played without ever claiming one.

In release, shards are merely spell damage multipliers.  Now that's nothing to sneeze at, but it's a far cry from their original importance.

-Dynasties.  Dynasties is a cool idea, but they never intended it to allow succession upon a Sov's death.  Many argued for this option, but it was emphatically rejected.  So, this wasn't promised (and the non-promise was successfully delivered in release), but it could be a feature that offers a promise of how Elemental separates itself from many other games.

-Small but puissant Kingdoms being viable.  This wasn't promised, but the concept of city-spamming not being the no-brainer strategy was given some support by several of the devs (their posts to this effect are searchable and still around).   Some will argue that this isn't a feature that would make Elemental special, but I don't think arguing it is is unreasonable.

So, what was supposed to make Elemental special to you, and how did it turn out at release?  And if something needs 'fixing', how to do it?

 

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September 8, 2010 9:58:52 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

True succession and the save/continue vs save/load argument are not inextricably linked as you and Austinvn claim.

Precisely.  For me, the game is the story that unfolds as you play - far from encouraging me to reload a saved game, I would feel much more iclined to let the game continue through all circumstances.  I feel this would truly set the game apart from any other of its ilk.  And it would give me a far greater connection with each line of descendents, rather than them being mere pawns in a chess game where the King can never die.

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September 8, 2010 10:35:33 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Fearzone,

Not saying city building is perfect or finished, just better than the other aspects of the game.  Plunking down buildings and watching the economy grow, yes, more or less I have a fun time with that, and in any case I think it is ahead of the rest of the game. We move forward not by comparing elemental with other games but by appreciating how it is unique and good, attending to that, and then fixing the rough edges.  I hope to see the same things you do.

really, i'm happy with the simple cities for now. it's the war and magic in War of Magic that are really flawed.

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September 8, 2010 11:07:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

What was supposed to make Elemental special?  Why were we supposed to buy it instead of dusting off the old MoM and AoW and Civ games?

Does the release version of Elemental deliver on the promises that were made regarding Elemental being special?

 

As Elemental was being developed, many comparisons were made to Master of Magic (MoM) and Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic (AoW:SM). I never played Mom, so I imagined Elemental to be a AoW:SM clone built in the modern era of games with better graphics, UI, and with additional distinguishing features. These distinguishing features include

  • the best AI
  • extensive modability
  • dynasties
  • a world similar to the book series A Song of Ice and Fire, with massive armies of men and rare instances of magic and magical creatures
  • epic game lengths in which one game could take months to complete
  • quests
  • uncommon and rare resources to fight over

In the release version, I did not care about the bugs or AI, because those are things I was confident that Stardock would fix over time. My disappointment arose from the watered down gameplay elements that were either so dull that they added nothing, or were implemented better in other games.

 

Bland Distinguishing Features

  1. Dynasties was a great idea, but it's only purpose in the game was to act as a factory for making baby Channelers. Succession wars and diplomatic opportunities could have provided much depth to dynasties.
  2. The only quests I have come across so far are "go to that location and pick up your reward" after usually fighting a battle. Dull and unimaginative, but I suppose in the end all quests are like that. But what is frustrating me the most is that quest rewards are not as beneficial as I would like them to be.

Features Done Better in Other Games

  1. Champion Development: In AoW:SM and Heroes of Might and Magic V (HOMM5), champions were fun to level up and as they did so they became powerful unique individuals that bolstered my army and I cared very much about them. They could also be equipped with powerful magical equipment that made them potent in battle. In Elemental, there are merchants and researchers, useful only for their +1 in guildar and research, adventurers whom I never hire, and my children who are adventurers with magic. The way that combat worked on release, all champions were too fragile to engage anything in melee combat, even when well equipped. And equipment is too expensive to buy equipment.
  2. Tactical Combat: Quite simply that was not tested enough. and the afore-mentioned games offer more interesting battles.
  3. Magic: Too many threads about this already.

One other disappointment was diplomacy. I hoped for an upgrade over Galactic Civilizations 2 (GC2) and Civilizations IV (Civ 4), offering more complex options, but it turned out to be more of the same GC2.

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September 8, 2010 11:53:46 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I quite agree, razor.  Very well said..

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September 8, 2010 7:18:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Nick-Danger,

Quoting b0rsuk, reply 34Austinvn summed up my stance almost perfectly...I'm assuming this quote of Austinvn is apropos: "...while dynasty inheritance is a fascinating concept for a save/continue game, it's pointless for a save/load game..."
Couldn't disagree more regarding "pointless".  Just because one could save/load after sov death does not mean it would always occur.  Saying it's "pointless" is assuming your value is the only valid one.  I doubt I'm the only one who would continue a true succession game after Sov death, and even enjoy that.

It's your personal preference, not fact.

If you want to argue save-reload makes true succession less useful because it allows succession to be avoided, that's fine.  If you want to argue that save/continue would make true succession more viable, that's fine to.  But the above 'pointless' argument Austinvn made and you apparently support isn't fine.

True succession and the save/continue vs save/load argument are not inextricably linked as you and Austinvn claim.

Sorry, I think I'm misunderstood. I want to see dynasty succession, but I'd like it to be practical, to be viable, to be a good choice. I want my heir to take over if I die, but I don't want to feel like I'm making a bad choice, deliberately making the game harder for myself, whenever I accept dynasty succession rather than simply loading an autosave. Unfortunately in any save/load game, that's what dynasty succession will be, a less-than-optimal choice that you'd only take as a sort of hard mode. The word "pointless" was perhaps poorly chosen - what I mean is "fun.. but impractical, unviable, not the best choice."

Essentially, in a save/continue game dynasty succession would be an important and meaningful feature that changes game balance. In a save/load game it lacks that same meaning - it's cool and fun, but has little effect on game balance as you can just reload if winning is important to you. It's a cool feature I'd like to see eventually, but recognizing it as not important to game balance, I'd rather see other things fixed/implemented first.

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September 8, 2010 7:37:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

For me, it was this:

- customization

- Civ-like strategy + actual good combat instead of unit stacking

- Modding potential

- Some RPG elements to give it a twist.

 

I'd say I only got half of what I expected. The second point wasn't achieved at all, and that saddens me.

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September 8, 2010 8:39:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Austinvn,
Sorry, I think I'm misunderstood.
My apology for mischaracterizing your view

From your last post it appears our differences on this are more a matter of degree than kind.  That's normal and a good thing (differing views politely expressed make the game and life more interesting!).  We're still a long, long ways apart, but I now understand that we're in the same ballpark.

The above applies to b0rsuk too if I've misunderstood him as well.

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September 8, 2010 9:08:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Back when I heard of this game I thought the coolest feature was the sovereign - a badass with the capability to restore the land, you could walk the land as a wrecking crew or use your essence to improve the land and your kingdom.   The way it is now, he's just the first spell caster with the ability to grant others essence...whee.

 

IMO:

Sovereign should start the game out in mid game form.   Essentially a "god" compared to everything else - barring the other "gods" who so happen to have their own agendas.   At the start of the game they can move with impunity and take on large armies (of weak troops) single handedly - casting spells or laying about them with their weapon (depending on initial starting preferences...make them mean something!!!).   Essence would be limited, say 10-20 or so and very very difficult to recover.   The essence is the source of their power (i.e. 1 essence = 3 in every stat or 1 essence = 3-5 stat pts that can be configured) (possibly also tie into spell availability (or stat based spells) and spell/weapon damage).   Once essence is spent, it reduces their power...and when 0 - they die.

Essence would then become the most important feature in the game, or at least the most game changing.  The use of and permanent loss of becomes a continuous strategic decision - stay strong, or weaken self to make empire strong.

The primary/necessary use of essence would be to enliven the land - create bounty where desolation exists.  Get rid of the initial free food resources, keep most of the food technologies.   Make finding grassland or a food resource a rare event.  Go back to the idea that food is needed to grow, but cities can be built on grassland.

High level spells would cost essence (huge summons, volcanoes, etc)

Imbuing a hero with mana would cost essence (possibly have some heros start with mana).  Possibly make imbue a +mana or +melee ability, or (back to stat based spells) a configurable stat exchange.

Essence would be used to create unique and powerful artifacts

Essence would be used to create resources/permanent city/kingdom enhancements.  Possibly kingdom "auras" - Spend 2 essence to give your empire magically enhanced mining capability = +50% mining bonus.

Dying would cost essence.

At some point in the game a decision needs to be made to keep the sov at home and protected as the wandering mobs and armies get too tough, or restrict his essence use to remain a force out in the open.  The goal would be that the troop output of an essence buffed kingdom could equal (in different ways) that of a buffed out sov + army to allow different playstyles.  Hypothetically a 3 city kingdom and big sov could be the equal to a 20 city kingdom and now weak sov.

Could also tie in dynasty here, kids could be the one of the few ways to generate essence into the world.  Sov+Norm would potentially create a child with reduced essence (say 3 kids, 1 has good stats, 1 is a normal or maybe mana, 1 has stats+mana+a bit of essence or if lucky you get multiples with essence)

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September 9, 2010 12:53:51 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Vladesch,

Stardock should just remake MOM with better graphics.

If you want Master Of Magic, you know where to find it. Graphics were never the main draw of the game - I remember I considered them ugly back in the day. You could certainly improve the interface, the AI and balance.

Quoting the Gorgon,

I'm completely with Nick on this one. There is no conflict between sovereign succession and save/load. Not more than between, say, Tactical battles (that you can lose) and save load. Personally, I would find the inheritance as a part of the story and not necessarily bad - especially if you have prepared for it!

Yet most players reload when they lose a tactical battle. Or should we run a poll ?

I don't claim every single person would reload any time anything bad happens. But I dare say the majority would. My personal preference is not to reload, by the way. So in a world where most players reload without a second thought, implementing a feature which would affect only the minority doesn't seem sensible. Iron Man mode (which I would like to see, they should just call it 'Hard Difficulty') is simple to implement by comparison. If they introduce Iron Man mode, then dynastic succession has a chance.

Someone still has to adress the one point I made - that for AI succession likely won't be a big help, because of the nature of most 4X games. Once AI loses one sovereign, it is likely already in the process of being mopped up and it can't do anything against player's overwhelming army.

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September 9, 2010 1:06:42 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You can't reload when you're playing multiplayer though.

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September 9, 2010 1:22:23 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting b0rsuk,



Someone still has to adress the one point I made - that for AI succession likely won't be a big help, because of the nature of most 4X games. Once AI loses one sovereign, it is likely already in the process of being mopped up and it can't do anything against player's overwhelming army.

 

 

 

It would still be better than "your whole kingdom disappears", at least in my opinion. If I manage to kill an enemy sov, yes you could point out that only mop-work remain, but mop-work requires troops and logistics, maybe you're mopping while other factions keep attacking you?

How about a super-faction, strategically strong, with lot of cities and troops. Imagine you ambush their sov in the fields, as it stands now the death of a single unit (glorified, powerful, magical, but still a single unit) makes a 10+ cities faction just DISAPPEAR. Call it mop-work

 

I do not want to say that succession would solve everything, but really the current situation is a bit lame, don't you think?

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September 9, 2010 1:33:08 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

How about just leaving the cities of the defeated sovereign as part of a  "rebel" faction?

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September 9, 2010 1:37:58 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree with borsuk. If someone really wants to avoid save scumming, they can do it by themselves. If they need that extra enforcement, they have Ironman mode. If they want to save scumm, they're free to do so. Everybody is happy, everyone gets to play the way they want.

 

As for the mopping up aspect...

 

One, war (and the politics in general) needs a system to make it more complex, at least if one wants to avoid a pure game-y situation and solutions. GalCiv2 had the AI surrender planets to other players but that's not really answering the issue and it's somewhat unsatisfying. Right now, war is binary. You're either in total peace or total war. There's no way to have skirmishes or border conflicts or minor wars intended on grabbing a single city. Once you declare war, that's it. Even if you end the war early, it's usually because you want to rather than because you have to; there's usually no reason to -not- just use your advantage to keep steamrolling. Victoria 2 has an interesting system to handle these sorts of shades of war; it's a system of war goals, infamy, spheres of influence, and casus belli as well as other mechanics surrounding how combat and units work as well as how such things relate to each other.

 

On the non-war front, I think part of it is that opponents are static; the dynasty system highlights this. That is, every player that's in the game at the start are the only players in the game you'll ever meet (Civ has this problem too). So when you take out 1 of 7 opponents, that's a huge chunk. Having more opponents would mean that the loss of any one opponent is less impactful power wise but more impactful politically. If you have 16 opponents with 8 minors, taking one of them out won't get you as much but due to the greater number of relationships, it's harder to avoid pissing people off. Also, having more natural and dynamic ways for new opponents to appear (and disappear!), for factions to combine and split, for war to affect the conquered and the conquerer would ensure that conquering the world isn't just a matter of making the best army and steamrolling over things.

 

By having more dynamic politics, it also makes the game world feel more natural and interesting. Minor nobles of Tarth and Kraxas joining together to form a new faction along side the original two ... -thats- some weird and interesting story telling. It makes the game less game-y and the player feels like the AI is actually doing something beyond asking them for favors or insults.

 

While this probably would make conquering the world harder, it would hopefully make it more interesting as well. Plus, if we veer away from such a heavy emphasize on military might, we can focus on more interesting and compelling ways to balance out victory conditions and small versus large empires. If conquering the world was one of say... 16 different possible ways to victory, it wouldn't matter all that much if you had a strong military because a military would be but only one factor in how successful you are. Right now currently, most of the victory conditions are based around research and military might... so that's all ones interactions can really be about.

 

Perhaps by also de-emphasizing the role of Sovereign as -you- and more just the leader of a linage. Instead of designing a specific individual, we design, basically, a bloodline. We intentionally make it less about that specific Sovereign and more about trying to keep your bloodline in power.

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September 9, 2010 1:40:30 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

The other thing that is present in other Stardock games, but totally absent in Elemental is random events. They were heavily present in the GC2 series and added a lot to the replayability of those games. Could be empire wide, affect a city, a hero, what have you. Instead, we have the slog through spell and advancements with some treasure chests and quests thrown in. Yeah, we get the occasional message about some beastie getting released into the wild, not such a big deal with all the other beasties out there.... and that is as far as it goes.

A few more things to break up the somewhat bland progression through the game can only improve things....

 

 

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September 9, 2010 1:45:34 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

sagittary, you make a lot of good points in your Reply #63.

Fatbil, I think properly balanced random events could add a lot to the game.

Best regards,
Steven. 

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September 9, 2010 2:21:38 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting StevenAus,
sagittary, you make a lot of good points in your Reply #63.

Fatbil, I think properly balanced random events could add a lot to the game.

Best regards,
Steven. 

 

Yeah, random events are also good ways to shake things up and present interesting decisions and opportunities. Victoria 2 has this and due to the greater breadth of interactions, a lot more events were possible as well as a lot more interesting situations. For instance, I had a random event where a citizen of my country was caught committing a crime in another country. They wanted the person tried and extradited and so on and so forth. My options? I could give them the citizen but that would increase the militancy (the general dislike of the government, more or less) of my population or I could not give them the citizen. Here's where it gets interesting.

 

In other games, not giving them the citizen would likely be a relations modifier. In Victoria 2, it instead gave me the casus belli of "Acquire X and Y provinces." against that other nation (it amounted to two border provinces basically where our lands met). What this meant was that, I could declare war and set the war goal of Acquire X and Y as my goals without incurring an infamy penalty (basically, a measure of how aggressive and warlike you are - teh higher it is, the more likely everyone starts seeing you as a threat no matter how much they like you). Basically, I had an excuse to start a border war over a political issue and being -justified- (in a fashion) by doing so; my only real penalty would be a relationship hit with the other nation but -only- if I actually declared war.

 

The system becomes even more interesting because during a war, you can add war goals (other objectives basically). However, unless you have casus belli for these things, even if you have casus belli for some objectives, you won't have it for all objectives. So if I took those provinces, no one bats an eye. But if I declare more war goals such as taking more provinces, other nations would look at me funny. Likewise when I call for peace, asking for those two provinces, that's okay. But asking for more than that, again other nations look at me funny.

 

The system has a whole range of CBs such as humiliate a nation (basically, start a war and thumb your nose at them for a while; you don't need to actually take any provinces just do something notable, usually winning a few battles or some such), border skirmishes, conquer a nation (generally only if they're very small; otherwise you have to take each province in turn), getting them to free a province (both those annexed and those as puppet states), military disarmament (basically, their military is reduced for a certain amount of time and they have to pay you part of their taxes), to a wide range of other CBs/wargoals. You'll notice many of them have nothing to do with grabbing cities. You achieve these goals, notably, by just being successful militarily in the war. Each fight you win, you get points. Each city you take, more points. So you don't need to directly take a particular province - you can, pull off historical strategies such laying siege to the capital city to draw the military away/fortify. And by winning when they come to rescue their capital, you may just prove yourself enough that they're willing to give you that province. In broader terms, defensive wars are possible and in any wawr, you don't need the best military just one that lasts. If you just trying to grab one or two cities or on the defensive, its valid and possible now to win just by fielding a lot of weak but numurous units because you're not trying to win... just hold on until someone wants to give up..

One of the other interesting things about the system is that it ties into a system of prestige. Basically, each war goal has a prestige amount attached to it. If you achieve that war goal, your prestige goes up (it's somewhat tied to how other nations perceive you but it has more affect on your ability to work the global economy and thus part of your ability to affect others indirectly because one of things that happens is that nations with higher prestige get to buy things first from the market). But if you -don't- achieve that goal you lose prestige. So whether or not you're a warmongerer, it doesn't necessarily matter. If you're successful militarily, even if it's just 'win a few fights against a super power', you're rewarded (and you get small amounts of prestige during combat as well). It's perfectly valid to just keep poking a nation like Great Britain (I tended to get a lot of CBs to humiliate them) and even though I couldn't conquer them, just by defying them, I could improve my empire... even as I used diplomacy to make sure they didn't get so pissed off that they'd declare outright war.

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September 9, 2010 3:07:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting sagittary,
I agree with borsuk. If someone really wants to avoid save scumming, they can do it by themselves. If they need that extra enforcement, they have Ironman mode. If they want to save scumm, they're free to do so. Everybody is happy, everyone gets to play the way they want.

Hmm, does the game have the Iron Man mode already ? I honestly can't tell. I don't have the game, the wiki is mostly empty too. The game is not a huge success so not many people are talking about it.

And the multiplayer point still stands, of course. It would be quite interesting to have dynasties in MP. Stardock may promote the "sovereign is YOU" position, but my understanding is that sovereigns are currently quite bland (much blander than wizards in Master Of Magic). Perhaps this is why people are exploring the alternatives.


As for the mopping up aspect...

One, war (and the politics in general) needs a system to make it more complex, at least if one wants to avoid a pure game-y situation and solutions. GalCiv2 had the AI surrender planets to other players but that's not really answering the issue and it's somewhat unsatisfying. Right now, war is binary. You're either in total peace or total war. There's no way to have skirmishes or border conflicts or minor wars intended on grabbing a single city. Once you declare war, that's it. Even if you end the war early, it's usually because you want to rather than because you have to; there's usually no reason to -not- just use your advantage to keep steamrolling. Victoria 2 has an interesting system to handle these sorts of shades of war; it's a system of war goals, infamy, spheres of influence, and casus belli as well as other mechanics surrounding how combat and units work as well as how such things relate to each other.

You should totally try Solium Infernum. It's a multiplayer-centric game where you, as one of Hell nobility, fight to become the ultimate ruler after the disappearance of Lucifer.

Unsurprisingly, Hell is full of beaurocracy and treachery. You usually win by having the most prestige at the end. It wouldn't do to declare a war. You need an excuse. You can issue demands and throw insults. Accepting a demand or insult in from of the Conclave costs a lot of prestige. If the other side doesn't cooperate, the offended side (in case of a demand - the initiator) can declare a vendetta. Depending on a few factors you can claim to accomplish a number of goals under specified number of turns, such as defeating X legions, capturing Y hexes, or Z places of power. If you do - good for you. But if you fail to back up your claims with iron fist, you lose prestige. As the demands or insults go they become more and more serious until finally you can declare a Blood Feud on someone from that point anything goes. But in general the game's mechanics are designed to discourage open warfare and it's rare to eliminate all (or any) player(s) completely.

One of more curious parts of the game are the goals. There are public goals, such as Gluttony, Envy, Greed, Wrath, Lust, Pride, and Sloth. (eating X souls, not bothering issuing a demand, defeating another player...). Accomplishing your set goal by the end of the game gives you a big boost in Prestige. There are also secret goals, which are only revealed at the end of the game, and you can opt to have as many as you wish. These will be familiar to boardgame players. However, failing to accomplish a secret goal will cost you prestige.

You can perform a coup and hold Pandemonium for a few turns, but doing so permanently excommunicates you from The Conclave and the others are allowed to do anything to you.

The game has an awkward interface and is bad on technical side, but it does have certain charm to it:

 

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September 9, 2010 5:15:24 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting b0rsuk,


One of more curious parts of the game are the goals. There are public goals, such as Gluttony, Envy, Greed, Wrath, Lust, Pride, and Sloth. (eating X souls, not bothering issuing a demand, defeating another player...). Accomplishing your set goal by the end of the game gives you a big boost in Prestige. There are also secret goals, which are only revealed at the end of the game, and you can opt to have as many as you wish. These will be familiar to boardgame players. However, failing to accomplish a secret goal will cost you prestige.

 

 

Secret goals and mini-objectives, I think, is very helpful for 4X games. Especially in the mid-game where you're not necessarily rushing to victory, they can be a more short-term goals to work on while consolidating what you're going to do for end-game. Plus, they're always nice choices to make. I mention something like that in my feedback post.

 

Especially if we give them to minor factions, it would help them feel more alive. After all, right now, they're kind of just stationary goodie bags - they don't ask anything of you, they don't want anything significant, they don't have any goals they're trying to do, etc. There's nothing separating the scholarly minor faction from the refugee minor faction. But if the scholarly minor faction was actually trying to achieve something (have X research per turn, get Y tech, and build a certain building), well, now they've got peresonality.

 

Thank you for the game tip too. I'll look into that game.

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September 9, 2010 10:08:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting b0rsuk,

Someone still has to adress the one point I made - that for AI succession likely won't be a big help, because of the nature of most 4X games. Once AI loses one sovereign, it is likely already in the process of being mopped up and it can't do anything against player's overwhelming army.

 

This is actually usually not the case at all. In fact, it is usually the opposite. Let me give an example (directly from my last game vs ridiculous AI). I held back a lot in the beginning intentionally to give the AI a chance to grow and become a serious threat (rushing is too easy atm), and also avoided using all the cheap strategies for more of a challenge. Around mid game, the wars started and AIs started dying left and right (some by my hand), at the end of the game, there was only 2 faction left, me and another AI that was probably twice my size (I had 8 cities, he had nearly 20). At this point, our armies was pretty massive. In fact, we had so many units, we had fielded several standing armies (each army is restricted to 12 or so units). Since he had a bigger empire and massive bonuses from the difficulty setting, it's no surprise that he also had a much larger army. At this point, you might say it doesn't look good for me, but that wasn't the case at all.

 

What I did was sent all except one of my armies against the AI Sovereign army, the one exception hit the nearest city and took his influence. Then my other armies ram into his (admittedly very powerful army) one at a time. I used auto resolve to prevent any cheap tactical strategies, and ended up losing a lot of my units in the process, but at the end of the day, his 1 super army just wasn't enough to fight 3 of mine. Poof is empire disappears and I ended up winning the game with 1/4 or so of his remaining forces. Now I probably wouldn't have used such a strategy if AI sovereign succession was in place, but I would have been in serious trouble. It certainly wasn't a mopping up process at all.

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September 9, 2010 10:37:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The essence is the source of their power (i.e. 1 essence = 3 in every stat or 1 essence = 3-5 stat pts that can be configured) (possibly also tie into spell availability (or stat based spells) and spell/weapon damage). Once essence is spent, it reduces their power...and when 0 - they die.

I like this idea a lot - if, say, you came up against an enemy with essence draining weapons or spells, it could imbue battles with so much more adrenaline and tension.  The essence is his/her life-force, to be fiercely protected. 

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September 9, 2010 6:03:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting jutetrea,
Back when I heard of this game I thought the coolest feature was the sovereign - a badass with the capability to restore the land, you could walk the land as a wrecking crew or use your essence to improve the land and your kingdom.   The way it is now, he's just the first spell caster with the ability to grant others essence...whee.

IMO:

<snip>
Great post jutetrea!

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September 9, 2010 6:09:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting b0rsuk,
...I don't claim every single person would reload any time anything bad happens. But I dare say the majority would. My personal preference is not to reload, by the way. So in a world where most players reload without a second thought, implementing a feature which would affect only the minority doesn't seem sensible...
We have a differing sense of 'sensible'

I don't think it's sensible to remove real succession due to your 'reload or continue on' issue.  You're unnecessarily denying an interesting feature.  To your argument that you think few would use it -- how hard is it to add?  If the sov dies, then the next in line (which is already figured into the game) becomes sov.

I think your 'too few would use it to make it worth the effort of including it' isn't accurate as the effort shouldn't be that much, and the benefit to the game (in terms of adding to its specialness) merits that effort.

We'll just have to agree to disagree on this I guess

 

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September 9, 2010 6:13:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Nack210,
How about just leaving the cities of the defeated sovereign as part of a  "rebel" faction?
In beta there were a lot of ideas floating around on this.  For example:

-some cities of the defeated sov would go over to other sov's.

-some cities might be 'claimed' by champions (unaligned) to form a neutral faction (much as we have 1 city neutral factions in release)

-some cities of the defeated sov would go over to us

-some cities of the defeated sov would be claimed by the defeated sov's kids and/or champions and continue on with new versions of that empire/kingdom.

Obviously none of this is in release, unfortunately.  I haven't seen any mention of why.

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September 9, 2010 6:26:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Nick-Danger,

Quoting Nack210, reply 62How about just leaving the cities of the defeated sovereign as part of a  "rebel" faction?In beta there were a lot of ideas floating around on this.  For example:

-some cities of the defeated sov would go over to other sov's.

-some cities might be 'claimed' by champions (unaligned) to form a neutral faction (much as we have 1 city neutral factions in release)

-some cities of the defeated sov would go over to us

-some cities of the defeated sov would be claimed by the defeated sov's kids and/or champions and continue on with new versions of that empire/kingdom.

Obviously none of this is in release, unfortunately.  I haven't seen any mention of why.

We tried a lot of different things and much of the issue was (and it's something that still plagues the game IMO) is a lack of feedback to the player when something happens.

The way Dynasties are evolving towards is that when a sovereign dies, their kingdom (or empire) will go to the player who is married to the next in line for the kingdom.

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September 9, 2010 6:30:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

On Dynasties:

I agree that the idea to pass your empire/kingdom along to the next in line makes sense intuitively.  To avoid the Save & Load "problem", perhaps the Sov himself/herself should be deemphasized slightly.  What I mean is this: have your Sov age, and as they age, they start to lose their potency.  At some point in time, it simply makes sense to hand over the throne to your offspring (whom you still have control over) as their power would exceed yours.

 

A natural aging out of Sovs would help progress the idea of dynasties.  Also, if you were going to lose your Sov anyway, it may not be a total loss.  That would also add some for those that want to RP.  A dying Sov's last wish to die in glorious battle before he/she passes the torch.

 

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