[Feedback] Two weeks of notes

By on September 8, 2010 9:53:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Join Date 05/2008

This is two weeks worth of bugs, issues, and other feedback. I hope despite the length, Stardock will at least give it a passing glance.


[bug]                    Loading up an auto-save on a turn when a city promotes to the next level skips the promotion selection screen. The city never gets to pick its promotion bonus.

[bug]                    AI cities do not seem to get their promotion bonus.

[bug]                    Royalty says it adds +1 to Prestige. It instead adds a 100% modifier to it, doubling the base Prestige rate. Technically this is the same now, but whether something adds to the base or to the modifier affects how other Prestige-affecting things will work, it needs to be clear and consistent.

[bug]                    Pumpkin patches, oasis, and apiaries have conflicting descriptions and effects. Pumpkin patches say that they are only 60% effect yet they produce the normal 4 food. Apiaries description says that it produces 50% more food yet they only produce 3.

[bug]                    Loading a game seems to mess with newly conquered cities. Conquer a city but do not end the turn. Save and reload the game. The ZOC will be the new controllers aura instead of the old one. Either control changes right away in which case the ZOC should change colors right away or the change happens next turn in which case loading a game should show the old controller.

[bug]                    The death of a familiar does not result in the enchantment slots getting cleaned up. Summon a familiar, get it killed, and summon another one. In the enchantment slots, there will be multiple icons. This may be a non-issue if enchantment slots are going away.

[bug]                    Auto-resolving in tactical battles when a solo unit dies allows the unit to exit the battle while still alive at zero HP. Take a unit (notable, Sovereign, or normal) into combat. Allow the unit to get killed. During the attack or the death animation of the unit, click the Auto-Resolve button. The player will be brought back to the strategic map and the unit will still be alive at 0 HP. The unit will not be dead; they will be able to move and heal. This only works with a single unit (or possibly, the last unit as I haven’t not tried with multiple units in a stack).

[bug]                    Selecting Back on the Opponent Selection screen sends the player to the Sovereign or Faction Creator. Start a new game, select your sovereign, select your faction, and advance to the screen where you pick your opponents. If you hit the Back button, you won’t go back to the faction selection screen but instead to the Sovereign or Faction Creator. Exiting out of the creator will drop the player to the Mod Box main menu.

[bug]                    Units that pass over a notable location on their way to somewhere else do not activate the notable location. Indeed, if they happen to run out of movement points while on the notable location, it will not activate even though they are standing on it.

[bug]                    The red filling color for magic research makes the text inside very hard to read, at least for me (I’m partially color blind). Better contrast would be very helpful.

[bug]                    Emptying a resource removes the top edge box for it resulting in other resources sticking out into the map.

[bug]                    It’s possible for resources and notables to be in the same time. As most resources fit the whole tile, this makes the notable very difficult to see.

[bug]                    Two cities that are close to each other can cause the aura of influence to twist when drawing the outline.

[issue]                  I have seen monsters that are in constant view level up from one turn to the next without any interaction with anything else at all. While leveling up is fine, there should at least be some semblance of the monster having done something especially if they are being watched.

[issue]                  I’ve had monsters appear out of thin air on tiles I’ve got visual on. I have had them even appear and attack in the same turn. This should not happen as it betrays the player’s trust that what they see is valid information and defeats the point of having a vision radius to begin with. As well, having a unit that looks safe suddenly get jumped and attack with no opportunity to respond on a strategic level is frustrating. This isn’t to say that monsters can’t or shouldn’t appear. However, they should appear in the fog of war so that the player has at least one turn to react to the threat. For monsters appearing in the forests (or elsewhere), have a ! appear over the forest with the message that “Scouts report an increase in monster activity in this forests…” which even if the player can’t move a unit to safety, can at least expect something to happen and try to prepare for it.

[issue]                  ZOC does not push back the black fog of war. While I can understand that the grey fog only has visibility to the nearest city tile, the overall ZOC does not push back the black fog of war. This can result in the odd situation where your zone of control and visibility is into an unexplored area and thus you can’t see a few tiles away.

[issue]                  Unlinked resource can be difficult to track down. It would be helpful if there were an icon to highlight unlinked resources such as the crossed out circle over the resource.

[issue]                  City names on the canvas map can be difficult to make out, especially on crowded places like forests or swamps. Giving them more contrast would be helpful, whether this is color, some additional art effect or something would help with the visibility.

[issue]                  If you select a Fallen race for a Kingdom results in factions treating you like an Empire when talking to them. This is a minor issue but it would be nice if people spoke to you like a reformed bad guy or a evil good guy.

[issue]                  You are unable to select something under a unit. If you have a unit standing on a resource or something, you are only able to select the unit.

[issue]                  Transport ships move excessively slow. They need to be sped up by at least double.

[issue]                  Character information screens are too split up and should be consolidated into a single menu (with multiple pages).  Right now, to see ones stats, you need to use the fancy book. To see ones combat stats, you need the equipment screen. Both screens have information that would be better suited if they were put together. Instead of two disconnected menus, use the fancy book as a sort of ‘journal’ with page tabs. The first page is general info (traits, background). The second page is stats, special abilities, and equipment. Thus one button for all information about a character instead of two.

[issue]                  Some tiles are too indistinct as to their properties. There is a beach tile that can sometimes be found several tiles inland – this is unintuitive. Likewise, there are forest tiles that have only a handful of dead trees. This makes it difficult to see and understand that they are forest tiles. More distinctive appearances for these sorts of tiles would help make it clearer that they are not buildable.

[issue]                  Some error messages are unclear or hard to see. The warning that a building cannot be placed due to being too close to another city appears off to the right in a small box. It is very easy to miss.  It would be better placed next to the cursor so that the player has better feedback.

[issue]                  City building colors and UI are indistinct. It would be helpful if there was more feedback when placing buildings. Showing all squares and making unbuildable squares red to the current buildable green/yellow would give some helpful feedback. To reinforce this, have a building turn red when on an unbuildable square.

[issue]                  City attributes are hidden. It would be nice when building improvements and placing cities if one could see the current radius of other nearby cities as an overlay on the map. Thus we could see how close another city’s radius to the current position. This would also be helpful when building improvements as well so we could better plan cities. When pacing buildings, if the game dynamically showed what the new radius would be if the building were placed in the current square, that would also help people understand the effects of placement.

[issue]                  Quest log is unhelpful. Right now, it only tells you what the quest is and if it’s active. However, most quests are more complex than that. It would be helpful to display more information about the quest in the quest log. What stage of the quest are we one (and the current objective). Who owns the quest. What quest items are involved (with a picture). Where are we going and where do we need to return to (with a button that will move the view to that location).

[issue]                  It is possible to ‘store’ your population and jump start city growth. Build a city. Allow the population to grow to 10. Build a pioneer followed by as many peasants as possible. Build a hut. Each turn build as many peasants as possible. Once the hut is finished, cancel the peasants. You will be able to jump from 10 population to 10 + however many peasants you queued up, allowing you to go from level 1 to level 2 in one turn.

[issue]                  Kingdom building availability is odd. Currently, you can unlock level 4 and level 5 buildings before unlocking level 3 buildings. This means that when researching Civilization techs, there are periods when you unlock things you can’t use and thus gaining no actual benefit. Likewise, unlocking housing is at the end of a long chain that does relate to housing or population growth; just after housing is the repeat housing tech. However, practical growth means that players will want housing sooner. Re-ordering the techs and when buildings are available will allow for a better growth in this tree.

[issue]                  Kingdom buildings are heavily front loaded at city level 3. There are a disproportionate number of buildings that become available at city level 3. There are much fewer buildings available at levels 4 and 5. As a result, there is not much incentive to level up past level 3 and there is not much incentive to level up more than one city past level 3 outside of pure resources Spreading buildings deeper into into city levels would make large cities more useful.

[issue]                  Capturing a city retains all structures and influence. This makes late game captures exceptionally nice and capturing cities form other factions very nice due to bonuses and the like. Balancing this out by having a chance for improvements to be destroyed when a city is attacked or some such.

[issue]                  Raise and lower land are first level spells. This seems rather extreme as the other books don’t get something this useful on the strategic level for a while.

[issue]                  When making Sovereigns, it would be nice to be able to preview different animations from each animation pack. It’s not clear what each pack will look like doing different things. It would also be helpful to be able to turn and rotate the character so one could see them from various angles.  Lastly, being able to freeze the character would be helpful as when adjusting certain things like the eyes, the character can look away and prevent the player from seeing changes.

[issue]                  Refugee camps description says they provide a production bonus but they only provide a population cap bonus.

[issue]                  Refugee camps do not scale very well compared to other resources. Other resource hordes are equal to several basic buildings and also benefit from modifiers. Refugee camps are only worth two houses. This is useful at low levels but very poor at high levels.

[issue]                  The use of Wisdom in character creation is inconsistent with it just being essence. It should just be called essence.

[issue]                  Specialized and high level cities do not see much benefit compared to when resources are spread out. A city with two of one resource is often barely better than two cities with a single resource each in terms of efficiency and overall resource gain.

[issue]                  Minor factions are underwhelming at the moment. Right now, they do little more than just sit there like a roadbump. They don’t even generate their own resources. It would make them more interesting if they improved their city, had something of an economy so that they actually gained and accumulated things, and provided their own unique buildings and such. Perhaps even make them be able to produce unique units and weapons that could be traded. This would make them more useful and interesting. As well to give them more personality and something to do, give them goals they want to achieve. This would not be victory goals but it would be a way to make them proactive in the world. For instance, a minor faction may want to have a treasury of over 20,000 gildar, acquire a resource, get a champion up to level 10, or have an income of +20 food.

[issue]                  The Sovereign creator is missing from the Mod Box. If you just want to create and experiement with the creator, you have to start a new game.

[issue]                  Arcane armor and weaponry are underwhelming enchantments. 2 points is a fairly minor increase. These enchantments should scale with intelligence or perhaps have higher level variants that provide more of an increase so that the enchantment stays relevant. Alternatively, give them some alternative effect in addition or or in place of a simple +2. For instance, making the +2 true damage and thus ignored by armor would make it a bit more useful.

[issue]                  Faction specific resources (horses, wargs, ogres) are few and far between. More types but the same rarity would make for a variety in each game. As well, it would be nice if the non-aligned faction could still build the resource but at a high price for a small benefit. In addition, techs and resources aren’t always consistent. Wargs can’t be built for Kingdoms but they can still buy them.

[issue]                  Weapons and items have too great of an effect. Since they get added to the base attack and then modified, their effects end up becoming too strong especially compared to HP. If they were added after the modifiers or were a modifier themselves, this might balance them out.

[issue]                  An alternative to very strong weapons might be to use strength as base damage that is modified and the total of that is added to weapon damage which is rolled.

[issue]                  The Dynasty system is underutilized. Since the Sovereign can’t die without ending the game, children are mostly just diplomacy points and a long term way of maybe getting champions. It’s not satisfying or interesting.

[issue]                  Diplomacy in general is pretty light and uninteresting. It’s either war/peace or basic trading. There’s no real incentive or reason to engage in minor activities and no real way to engage other factions beyond “I want you to go to war with someone”.

[issue]                  Cities don’t really see much incentive or benefit to being specialized , high level, and/or efficient. The benefit one gets from high level cities is often maxed out at just level 3.

[issue]                  Champions aren’t interesting enough nor do they scale very well. Aside from leveling up and traits, they lack some of the abilities that make other units useful such as grouping.

[issue]                  Summons can be very powerful without any limitations. Limiting how many one can have, their power, and/o the cost associated with them would help balance them out. Otherwise there’s no real reason not just grab all the summons in the spell books and use nothing but them since one gets all the power of high level units without the costs associated with it.

[issue]                  High level units can also be very powerful since one can build them without limitations. As with summons, limiting them in some way can help make them more special as well as rein in their power.

[issue]                  Minor factions are bland and lack a real purpose. Ostensibly they’re minor trading partners but since they don’t generate their own resources or money and have little to offer other than that, they’re ignorable.

[issue]                  Guardian units are underwhelming. For the cost of leveling a city, they don’t produce anything useful or that scales well. Often times, they produce something weaker than a peasant.

[issue]                  Cities don’t have enough maintenance to them making it easy to build up cities with no real choice in the matter or consequence. Many buildings don’t have costs associated with them and those that do tend to have minor costs. Making more buildings with maintenance would be good to make city building more interesting. Having costs beyond gildar and food would also make other resources useful outside of war. Perhaps even things like shards as a requirement and maintenance.

[issue]                  One possible overlay would be showing the current buildable areas as well as the current 5-tile radius of cities. As with other overlays, this would help planning and organization as well as see the effect of placement before committing to doing so.

[issue]                  Captured cities retain their buildings and influence. This can be a little overpowered; perhaps applying a mana cost (lump or per-turn) to ‘convert’ the city and re-grow the influence would help balance taking cities.

[issue]                  Summons can be pretty powerful for not much cost. To help balance them out, perhaps they are capped by how many shards you own and/or they use up permanent essence which is returned on death. This helps limit them by giving them a hefty cost as well as limiting how many one can have. Perhaps without a shard, summons only last one strategic turn.

[issue]                  AI units tend to act all the same. It would add to tactical combat if different units had different types of AI. For instance, animals might charge, swarm or flank but flee easily. Others might split up and encircle.

[issue]                  Sovereign death and escape isn’t interesting enough. Perhaps defeating a Sovereign should carry other costs such as disrupting enchantments, or forcing the Sovereign to rest for a few turns before being able to leave their capital.

[issue]                  Death worship and brave don’t stack.

[issue]                  There is currently no in-game way to edit Sovereigns or units.

 [suggestion]      Strategic: A warning that a unit/unit stack is low on health would help. Something like a + over the head of a stack would be nice, especially when using auto-resolve.

[suggestion]       Strategic/Tactical: More messages and signs in general. Especially in a larger empire, it can be difficult to catch every single happening going on. Having more feedback in this area would be helpful. We should get icons showing that there is a hostile unit near/in our borders, a hostile unit near a caravan/pioneer, and the like. In tactical combat, icons that a unit is low on health, has movement points left, and the like over the units head (or at their feet or along side them) would be helpful in addition to the current ones.

[suggestion]       Tactical: Currently we track the position of a unit within the tile it occupies (center, corners, and the middle of each side). It would be interesting to make tactical use of this in regards to a unit’s facing. A unit in the center of its tile would be ready for anything. A unit that is at one of the corners and edges would be focused on that section of the tile; it would be facing that direction. Other units that attack from other directions would receive increasing bonuses; one direction removed would have, say, a flanking bonus of +5% damage, two removed (someone on either side) would be 10%, 3 removed (someone behind and off to a side) 20%, 4 removed (someone directly behind) 50%. Having a friendly unit adjacent to both the direction of attack and the targeted unit would reduce this bonus. For instance, if a unit is facing an edge with an enemy forward and left of them; if there were an ally in the square to their left, the unit would not take as much damage from an attack. However if there were an enemy behind them, neither unit would receive a bonus without changing facing. A unit could return to center for an action point cost or change facing for an action point cost. This would add a little more depth to tactical battles as position now matters and numbers would be of more benefit. Likewise, it would allow for more advanced tactics like splitting up a troop in tactical to attack from multiple directions.

[suggestion]       Strategic: The game talks about how monsters and adventurers will move to more dangerous places as the world gets tamed. It would be nice to have a toggleable overlay that showed the danger level of tiles so one can see and know where monsters are more likely to come from.

[suggestion]       Attributes scale poorly or too much. Each point of strength (or what have you) providing 10% is too much. It only takes a few levels to dramatically increase a combat attribute. Reducing the effect would allow for more grandularity and better scaling of weapons and items. Similarly, as magic is purely attribute dependent, this makes it more difficult compared to a warrior to increase strength as a magic dependent user has to gain levels to get a small direct damage increase where a warrior can get a weapon increase that also gets amplified. For instance, +3 to intelligence is +3 potential damage no matter what your intelligence is. Getting a weapon that does 5 can mean adding +5 or more with even starting levels of strength. On the flip side, endurance does not currently scale very well at all due to being directly converted into health. As it is, +3 HP does not help unless stacked heavily due to damage increasing much faster and being much more readily available. Changing endurance, intelligence, and wisdom to be modifiers like the other attributes would allow these aspects of characters to be consistent and scale better.

[suggestion]       Strategic: The game suggests that forests are always unsafe unless under influence. Currently it seems as if the game will spawn monsters in forests on occasion if the forest is dangerous enough. Instead of simply a binary random chance, it would be nice if any given forest tile had a ‘threat’ value with tiles deeper in a forest having bigger values. The deeper a forest and the bigger it is, the more likely that forest would generate monsters and the more powerful those monsters would be (further adjusted by the overall danger level of that piece of terrain). An overlay would be available to see the threat level of a forest. Thus the player has a sense of a forest being a dangerous place and an intuitive reason for why a monster appears in a forest rather than pure random chance.

[suggestion]       Strategic: When building improvements, it would be nice if one could build off improvements that are currently in the queue. In this case, the building would not show up on the map until it’s their turn in the queue. This would help reduce some of the micro-managing involved when you want to build a city a certain way; you can lay the city out beforehand in it’s entirety instead of having to continually check it whenever it’s finished building something.

[suggestion]       It would make larger cities more interesting and beneficial if city size specific quests were to appear within them. Each level of city would allow for certain quests to show up. It would also allow for minor personalization of cities such as “X cities has been harassed by bandits recently!”; potentially, some quests might, upon completion, grant the city a benefit instead of providing gildar or resources.

[suggestion]       With the current method of resource production (low base + modifiers), it is very easy to build things that have no actual effect though the player may feel like they are doing something (building things). To alleviate some of this confusion and allow the player to feel like they’re at least making a difference, one option would be to multiply base production as well as cost by 10. Thus what currently produces 1 of something (merchant) would now produce 10. A pioneer would close 100 instead of 10 gildar and likewise materials. Thus when someone increases their gildar production by 25% on a merchant, they will see an increase (2) instead of none. However, this would also mean a lot of costs would have to change and thus somewhat impractical.

[suggestion]       Currently, there’s not much way to be special in the world other than through a big army. It would be interesting if there were minor goals that the major factions were in competition over, whether for diplomatic strength/relationships, points, or some other benefit. This would be similar to Settlers of Catan. For instance, building the biggest road network might grant a diplomatic bonus as other factions are impressed by your trade and economy (or getting a bonus to gildar production). Having the most land would be another goal. Having the largest city (and/or the most of them). We can use more Elemental specific things as well such as having the high level champion or having a city that takes up the most space. This would add more flavor to diplomatic relations and more strategic value.

[suggestion]       More diplomatic relation modifiers, especially for ones that factor in other things beside biggest army would allow for a bit more to happen in diplomatic relationships. For instance, winning the most fights, winning the toughest fight, having certain units, giving money or resources and fighting a common enemy. Having something they want would also make them play nice. Taking in to account historical behavior would be cool as well; if a player rarely opens their borders, perhaps some factions might dislike their isolationism while others like it.

[suggestion]       A more nuanced diplomatic system in general. As it is, either someone likes you or they hate you. There’s no real way to have someone dislike you but willing to work with you to achieve something. Or someone that is indifferent to your needs but will gladly take your spare resources. Thus it would be nice to measure diplomacy on more than just one zero-sum scale. For instance, measure cooperation, antagonism, military balance, isolationism, and trade relations all on separate scales. Thus someone might refuse to cooperate with you, hate your guts, but be willing to engage in trade with you due to military. So they’ll trade money but they won’t jump to your aid in war and since they see that you don’t deal much with outsiders, dealings are less trustworthy. A more nuanced diplomacy system would also make diplomatic victories more difficult and more interesting; as it is now, it’s more something that just happens by paying off people. Hardly a matter of being diplomatic.

[suggestion]       Another alternative might to measure more thematic things like a Kingdom and a Fallen rating. Each wouldn’t necessarily be right or wrong but just how much an action appeals to that side. Some things might appeal to both, others neither. One could then have a rating for Infamy that reflects how overall unlikeable or likeable a faction is.

[suggestion]       More diplomatic options and interactions would greatly increase the function of the system and allow for more regular interaction. For instance, being able to ask another faction for assistance in some way or being able to tell another faction to move a unit somewhere else. Likewise for existing options, expanding them would be nice. Instead of a set time for treaties, allow for a variable time. Also being able to have asymmetrical deals would be nice; for instance, instead of a tech treaty benefiting both sides, one might give the other a trade treaty. This could be extended as well to more unique options such as being able to establish a military base in someone elses land or allowing free passage through someones lands for a certain number of turns or for certain units. This also allows for more nuance than alliance/enemy/neutral. Maybe I want to ask someone to –stop- going to war or to stop trading with someone without necessarily being hostile just dominating.

[suggestion]       Open border treaties would be nice. To prevent players from stacking armies next to cities and declaring war, any declaration of war would push hostile units to the nearest neutral or friendly tile.

[suggestion]       In general, allowing treaties to be bi- or unilateral would allow more interesting ways to approach things. I may want something from someone but not give them the same thing in return though I may be willing to give something else.

[comment]          Overall, having a lot of diplomatic options as well as being able to influence things on a diplomatic and economic level means that, especially on large maps where you might not see everyone for quite some time, you can still feel their presence and you can exert your own.

[suggestion]       Faction quests would be nice. That is, a faction as a whole might get a quest to claim a certain tile or have a certain number of cities or have a certain number of resource hordes of a certain type. They would be more longer term goals and unique to each faction and given to them at the start of each game. Rewards could be more rare and unique things like increased prestige or special units. Thus a faction would have more immediate goals and purposes in addition to the longer term victory goals. As well, in diplomacy, it would introduce dilemmas as if two factions want things that are potentially conflicting in a way, how does one please both?

[suggestion]       More victory conditions would be nice. It’s nice that Elemental allows for unusual victory conditions like the Master Quest or Spell of Making. But especially considering the size and potential difficulty of a conquest victory as well as to allow for more strategic options, having these additional victory conditions would make for more interesting long term play as well as potentially allow for smaller empires to still win. A victory condition based on having three level 5 cities with certain other conditions would be something that a small empire could potentially win by. Owning the majority of the landmass on the map for a certain number of turns would be another possible victory. A greater number of victory options would allow for more options and gameplay in the late game, especially if there are larger maps where hunting down every single faction might be tedious or the availability of shards is higher.

[suggestion]       To tie into the above, being able to put more factions (major and minor) into a game would be nice. Again, on larger maps this would help fill out the game play area and create more interactions despite the larger sizes.

[suggestion]       Conquering cities is somewhat anti-climatic and uninteresting. It’s mostly just another fight and the city instantly flips. Defenders also can’t attack from the city; they have to actually step outside of a city to attack. City level also doesn’t do much more than add HP. It would be a little more interesting if players has to capture a city in a fashion and that cities take time to capture as well as allowing defenders to do more/have more options. For instance, perhaps an attacker must lay siege for a number of turns equal to twice the city level before they can attack and actually capture the city. Maintaining a siege longer than this might provide other benefits. By then also allowing defenders to make sorties against the siege (allowing them to attack the besiegers and being able to retreat) as well as other defensive options, there’s a bit more back and forth to a city capture. It could also allow for more interesting defensive techs such as a tech that induces attrition to any units sieging a city or a tech that increases the number of turns it takes to capture a city. Ultimately, a well defended city would be one that has a lot invested into it and not just one with the biggest stack. One could also have that the longer a siege lasts, the more improvements and city buildings are destroyed, leaving being ruined versions that must be cleaned up and removed.

[suggestion]       Notables (champions) lack development. It would be cool if the game tracked various achievements for each one such as special events that happen to them, significant fights, things they fought. It would help develop history for them during the course of the game and make each one a little more distinctive from game to game.

[suggestion]       There’s currently not many buildings to build in that a city is often purely functional with little personality; likewise, often many cities will not be building something at all. It would be nice if there were aesthetic buildings, buildings dependent on near by resources, and other such things so that the space limit is a little more meaningful but also so each city has something it can always build that’s of some benefit. Like a statue of the Sovereign or a race track (must have linked horses). These things would only affect the city itself but generate more faction-wide benefits outside of resources. For instance, having many race tracks (perhaps  number scaled on map size) might generate gildar and provide a diplomatic relationship modifier.

[suggestion]       It would be nice if another faction could take champions ransom after a defeat. A champion would be held indefinitely until the ransom (gildar, resources, both, something else) was paid or the faction destroyed. This ransom would be both negotiable and variable. It would be based on the champion’s level as well the faction and other factors. The champion would be returned upon payment. They would be returned with less than full health. Depending on how much of the ransom paid, they would also be returned with less than all their equipment. This might avert some of the frustration of building up a champion only to have them die in one turn. Perhaps by also holding them in specific cities, it would also allow for some decisions in war.

[suggestion]       Champion traits could be expanded to make them a little more visible and useful in more situations. One option would be to give all current traits both strategic and tactical benefit. For instance, the farmer trait could provide the current food bonus but when attacked in a city, summons peasant units to help defend the city. In the field, the farmer might get a bonus when in forests. Essentially instead of being ‘merely’ a farmer, it would be more like someone who could focus their imbued energies into coaxing life to grow again. Adminstrators might be able to recover resource and money from destroying improvements, capturing cities, and such.

[suggestion]       Though we already have faction achievement buildings, it would be neat to be able to integrate them more into the world. In addition to the special buildings we build in cities, being able to place special buildings in the world itself would be cool; alternatively, these might be places already in the world. To make these things more special and significant, we would need to move resources to these monuments and defend them. This could be turned into a victory condition; building a certain amount of monuments in the world. These things might also affect diplomacy; building the equivalent of the Great Pyramids for instance would be impressive. These structures could also be smaller less significant projects like wall sections to block off a mountain pass. Such things could be balanced out with faction building space.

[suggestion]       Add a rest until healed command for units. This would pull a unit out of rotation unless manually selected or until fully healed.

[suggestion]       Healing units costs resources and population as well as being variable in speed. Larger cities would allow for a greater speed at which this occurs due to greater population and resources to draw upon. This could include a temporary food loss, metal, and other things. More powerful equipment might demand more to repair.

[suggestion]       Having more resource, especially exotic ones, would allow for more unit equipment as well as help differentiate various cities instead of a generic resource.

[suggestion]       Tech trees could be both wider and deeper. As it is, there is a lot of clustering of improvements and it’s quick to get deep into them. Thus one tends to get a host of items all at once rendering advancements less important since one just rushes to the next one. Particularly notable are things like archery; it’s just one tech and you gain access to most of the archery equipment in the game. More incremental techs would help space out the frequency of getting things.

[suggestion]       Tech trees could be more interesting by some randomization in terms of links as well as variant techs and unique/varient branches. For instance, plate armor could be linked to from two different techs. In any given game, one might be able to get to plate from one or both technologies; there would be a slight sense of discovery. In another game, plate armor might be replaced with something equivalent but slightly different, in flavor if nothing else.  Other tech branches might be available in one game that might not be in another; these would be minor short branches but ‘neat’ options again to help make each playthrough slightly different and unique.

[suggestion]       In addition to unlocking technologies, techs could also unlock inventions. What inventions would do would be short term advantages and bonuses. Inventions would provide things like a minor damage bonus to certain weapons or a prestige bonus. Some inventions would be open to everyone; as more people discover or share the invention, the bonus dwindles (it’s ‘shared’ by all who have it) until it’s gone. Other inventions might be only available to the faction that discovers it, but the bonus slowly shrinks over time. Still others might simply be incremental enhancements and technologies not worth a ‘full’ tech. Inventions would be available when a technology is researched but it would not be discovered right away. Discovery would be something of a random event but also influenced by champions and other factors. These inventions would allow for something of a minor arms race and allow factions to possess a short term advantage.

[suggestion]       Monsters could be more interesting if they provided some sort of unique resource. This would make cleaning up monsters a little more rewarding beyond just gildar and allow for more types of trade to occur.

[suggestion]       It would be interesting if experience was treated as something like a resource as it can be somewhat painful if you have to disband veteran units due to money or because they’re obsolete and not worthwhile to upgrade. Essentially, when a unit is disbanded, the population would return to the nearest city and the accumulated experience would also be given to that city (perhaps with a minor penalty – level 1 units with some experience aren’t going to teach much). Subsequent units would draw upon the experience (deducting from it) when created and trained. Over time, if not used, experience would deplete from a city. It could also be spent for military oriented buildings.

[suggestion]       In the mid-game and later, cleaning up low-level garbage mobs can be tedious and too much micro-managing, especially for large empires. To automate this somewhat, perhaps units stationed in a city would slowly damage creatures in that cities radius. This would be akin to the units wandering out into the wilderness and hunting down the creatures. Balancing this out might be that the city takes an increased maintenance cost (food, metal, etc) while this is happening. Units would not gain experience when monsters are killed this way and no gildar would be gained.

[suggestion]       Road specific buildings to help defend caravans and add to their functionality would be neat. For instance, one could build a guard tower that would attack nearby mobs. Another possibility would be inns or small shops and towns or toll booths that when caravans cross, generate gildar.

[suggestion]       To help make some of the champion traits scale into the late game that aren’t combat related, perhaps champions also have civic experience that allows them to improve their non-combat abilities. This would also allow champions that are stationed in cities to improve in some fashion.

[suggestion]       Giving champions traits that are somewhat flavorful would help make them more distinctive beyond stats. For instance, they might have personality and background traits. One of them might be swordsmanship that gives them a bonus when using swords. Another might heal faster or be able to heal in neutral territory. These could also be used when in a stack and paired up with regular units; one trait might give a bonus to archery units or provide a bonus to mounted units.

[suggestion]       Champions can combine with each other to form adventuring parties. This would be similar to creating squads and such with regular units. It would mimic the champions acting as a team with organization.

[suggestion]       Improving the ability of champions to act like generals and leaders, allow charisma to have an effect in battle. It would represent their leadership skills and have an effect on morale or other factors.

[suggestion]       As a strategic level option, a unit might be able to protect not just the tile they are in but the tiles around them. Unlike guarding and fortifying, this would not grant a defensive bonus but it would force any units coming near to engage. This could be tied to a pack.

[suggestion]       As a strategic level option, a unit might be able to hide in a forest until they move. This could be tied to a pack.

[suggestion]       It would be interesting to have more mounts such as spiders and bars. They would have different attributes to differentiate them from regular mounts.

[suggestion]       Items don’t seem greatly resource dependent. When we access mounts, for instance, we get access to both horses and wargs even if we do not have the resource.

[suggestion]       Items in general seem too static. It would allow more variety if we could modify the items. For instance controlling a fire shard would allow the option to create fire swords (modifying an existing sword). This might be cosmetic or have a benefit but it would allow for units that are more distinct.

[suggestion]       Allow cities to gain population or other city specific attributes through various notable events. A city that has an abundance of resources or being in a nice location (water front for instance) might gain some temporary prestige.

[suggestion]       Expanding the role of shards would make them more interesting. For instance, perhaps one has the option of building a number of different improvements on a shard. One would count for essence, but another might allow one to add fire effects to some weapons. Alternatively or additionally, having more types of shards such as minor shards would also emphasize their role in the world. Minor shards would be much more resource like and more specific elements. They could also be used as a generic resource for special units. A unique woodland shard might provide a small food boost or allow one to summon a special monsters. Other alternatives might provide diplomatic  or other hard to get bonuses; this versatility would help make shards more useful when not casting.

[suggestion]       Treat spouses in a special way. For instance, being able to capture a spouse to use as a bargaining chip. Give them a bonus to charisma. This would help make them more interesting.

[suggestion]       Having more maintenance costs for units would help make other resource a little more important but also balance out some units. A dragon unit for instance might take up gildar per turn but also take up material, metal, and food per turn. This would make fielding such powerful units more difficult and costly. Some units might even be capped by the number of certain shards so that you could have any combination of units that number no more than however much of a certain shard you have.

[suggestion]       It would be neat if high level cities occasionally produced notable people. This would be like ones own citizens stepping up to the challenge of the world. This could be tied to events and other factors; a city that has been heavily attacked by monsters or enemies for instance might generate a notable person who might also be somewhat combat oriented.

[suggestion]       Permanent notable locations would be interesting to have. Beyond just ‘scenic locations’, these would just be cool interesting and unique locations.

[suggestion]       Greater use of the canvas for fluff effects would be cool. For instance, naming mountain ranges, lakes, and forests would allow for interesting flavor. Having typical map symbols like a compass rose or ‘Here be dragons’ on the canvas and on the fog of war would be immersive. For gameplay value, perhaps a player could even name such places themselves if they are the first to discover it. These would be toggleable to avoid cluttering up the canvas.

[suggestion]       Being able to mark the canvas with your own icons, notes, and labels would help with organization and planning. These would be toggleable. This would help turn the canvas from just another look for the world into something that has added usefulness.

[suggestion]       Give cities benefits for having more resources directly linked to them. For instance, having multiple food sources linked to a single city might provide a prestige bonus to that one city. Having more than five total resources linked might provide a gildar bonus. Having two gold mines might increase base production. This would help encourage larger and more expansive cities over grabbing a single resource.

[suggestion]       Having minor families similar to minor factions would be interesting. This would open up more dynasty options and would allow for some interesting events where a city-less family suddenly gains control of part of an empire.

[suggestion]       To help make champions a little more useful in stack combat, perhaps stacks without a champion in them have a penalty of some sort. It would represent the units not being as organized without a leader.

[suggestion]       Additional treaties like trading resources per turn instead of lump sums as well as giving and receiving loans.

[suggestion]       Mountains would be a little more interesting if they blocked line of sight. Forests reducing line of sight would be nice as well. It would make these features even more of natural barriers.

[suggestion]       Currently, non-champions can’t flee. This doesn’t allow for some strategic options. While fleeing without penalty would be tiresome and prolong wars, perhaps allow fleeing but with some penalty. A resource cost, damage to the unit, and so forth.

[suggestion]       It would be nice if cities had inventories where champions could place items. This would help with trading of items as well as having excess items one might not use right away.

[suggestion]       It would be nice to be able to create multiple harbors in a city so that a city could grow to be a canal in thin enough locations.

[suggestion]       Allow the game to run when not in focus in windowed mode.

[suggestion]       High level equipment might not just require more resource but perhaps may be capped or enhanced by having multiple nodes of that type. Some equipment might even require having a minimum number of a certain resource node.

[suggestion]       Guardian units are underwhelming. Currently, as they’re random and normal creatures, they can be useful or useless and it doesn’t really scale well nor do they seem special. One option might be to make them lesser champions of a sort. They could activate notable locations, equip a limited and lesser amount of equipment, and similar benefits. Leveling them up might upgrade them to squad strength as well so that they scale better later on. This would make them a little more useful and beneficial to have.

[suggestion]       An alternative to generating a new random guardian unit every time a city levels up would be to give a guardian unit additional bonuses when their home city levels up and picks the guardian option. So instead of 5 different units, you would end up with 1 stronger unit with more abilities. If the unit dies, a new guardian could be trained for a hefty cost. This would help make guardian units feel more special. Abilities could relate to their home city such as getting an additional defensive bonus for being in a city.

[suggestion]       Combat experience could be handled a bit better as it doesn’t really reflect combat; you just get it no matter what happens.. Rather than based on win or loss, it might work better if experience is given on kills (killing something give everyone experience). Or scaled based on relative levels.  As it is now, it’s somewhat disconnected; I can pull off a nice victory and get no more acclaim than a curb stomp battle.

[suggestion]       Adding to the fluff of the canvas/map, it would be cool to have notable events marked on the map. Such as when a high level champion dies, place a marker on the map. The place where a sovereign makes their last stand could be marked.

[suggestion]       Wandering traders that have unique items or general chatter/random stories); this would give a sense of a greater world and be a chance to show off some of the backstory.

[suggestion]       Empty space within city walls should have some decorative objects and things that can be built over later. This would help fill up the cities and make them look more interesting. These wouldn’t be things the player builds.

[suggestion]       To help with champion durability, perhaps give them a few base hit points. This would  make even weak champions able to last one or two fights against starting monsters.

[suggestion]       It would be interesting if cities produced different things from each other in their shops. Factors like size, location, proximity, linked resources, and so forth could come into play. Smaller and more remote cities might have less selection but might also have rarer and more unusual things.

[suggestion]       A system of casus belli and wargoals would be interesting as in the game Victoria 2. That is, being able to give reasons for war and depending on situation and goals, this would be a just or unjust war. People will react to it differently; some may not want to get involved in unjust wars, others might take advantage of a just war to achieve some other goal. The use of wargoals would also encourage more back and forth long term relationships between and among factions. Instead of one or two wars before conquering someone, this would be more political and allow for skirmishes that don’t escalate to war. Having a more nuanced diplomacy and war system where one could give back, concede, or turn cities into puppet states would also allow for ‘sneaky’ diplomatic victories. Someone may hate you for going to war, but grudgingly accept a conquered city.


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September 8, 2010 10:11:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Oh, wow. This is pretty good! I totally agree with the Champion base hit points suggestion and well, hell, just about everything. Excellent work here. +1 karma for you!

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September 8, 2010 10:26:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DevildogFF,
Oh, wow. This is pretty good! I totally agree with the Champion base hit points suggestion and well, hell, just about everything. Excellent work here. +1 karma for you!


Well thank you! I'm glad you took the time to read through it all!


Incidentally, I tried out adding 10 base HP to a Sovereign with 15 Con, Hardy (Sov trait) and Brave (Faction trait). Even with every bonus in the game available (at the start anyway), the Sov ended up with 30.2 HP to start so about 5 bonus HP. Regardless, having 30 HP to start really made the start game a little quicker for the Sov and a little easier. Things didn't become too easy simply but I could afford to wander around a bit more and be adventurous. I would say maybe 5 base HP - so at worse 10 HP with 5 Con and no bonuses) would probably work pretty well. It would make even the most fragile Sovereign equal (and with spells and equipment) better than even a Death Worshiping Peasant while still putting them at risk from more dangerous creatures.

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September 8, 2010 10:30:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I completely agree with all of the points you made.

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September 8, 2010 11:16:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Try setting the level up to give auto hp every level and let constitution add some more ho and a percent increase. This will fix hero hp fairly well. Obviously you will have to wait a few weeks to change the code yourself, but it will work unless the devs fix it before me.

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September 9, 2010 12:58:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting seanw3,
Try setting the level up to give auto hp every level and let constitution add some more ho and a percent increase. This will fix hero hp fairly well. Obviously you will have to wait a few weeks to change the code yourself, but it will work unless the devs fix it before me.


That was one thought I had. But considering how much the game is likely to change based on Brad's comments over the next few versions, I don't really want to make any sweeping changes until all the major changes settle down. After all, the magic system getting redone makes any sort of magic system feedback somewhat less relevant outside of specific spells.

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September 9, 2010 4:49:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thank you for this!  I too hope StarDock developers take a look at this also.  The potential is there for Elemental---just that,... well there's the list.

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September 9, 2010 5:02:07 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Devs - can you comment on whether this format is particularly helpful, if so I will start keeping notes as well - you have a lot of willing Gamma testers out there - let us know how you want the feedback.

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September 9, 2010 5:33:18 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Very good feedback and suggestions. Thank you and lets hope Stardock has the time to read it.

The food resource bug has been resolved with 1.07 tho, IIRC.

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September 9, 2010 8:56:30 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
[bug]                    Units that pass over a notable location on their way to somewhere else do not activate the notable location. Indeed, if they happen to run out of movement points while on the notable location, it will not activate even though they are standing on it.

That's a loooong list.  Read about half so far, but I wanted to comment on the quoted: that's actually a feature (and was mentioned as a fix in one of the release notes).  You wouldn't want your 0atk 0def administrator on his way to the capital accidentally activating the temple of essence in the dragon egg quest, for instance...

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September 9, 2010 9:06:50 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Your character has gained a level, +1 to Verbose writing skill.


Congrats on summarizing all the issues that most of us have encountered already.

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September 9, 2010 4:12:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You repeated yourself a few times, but have some very good points.


[issue]                  ZOC does not push back the black fog of war. While I can understand that the grey fog only has visibility to the nearest city tile, the overall ZOC does not push back the black fog of war. This can result in the odd situation where your zone of control and visibility is into an unexplored area and thus you can’t see a few tiles away.

I've even received the "you have a new [resource node] in your area of influence", clicked the !, but then can't build the node because I can't "see" the node.

[issue]                  Unlinked resource can be difficult to track down. It would be helpful if there were an icon to highlight unlinked resources such as the crossed out circle over the resource.

Heavily agree.  Problematic in the early game when you can't afford to build everything that you want; I have come back 100 turns later to find that I never built on a resource, or remembered that I had one and then spent a full couple of minutes finding it.

[issue]                  Quest log is unhelpful. Right now, it only tells you what the quest is and if it’s active. However, most quests are more complex than that. It would be helpful to display more information about the quest in the quest log. What stage of the quest are we one (and the current objective). Who owns the quest. What quest items are involved (with a picture). Where are we going and where do we need to return to (with a button that will move the view to that location).

If multiple events occur at the same time at the end of a turn, sometimes you do not get the camera focus shift that tells you where the quest goal is.  Or sometimes it occurs, but if you take too long reading the quest flavor text, you can't see through the description window to see where the destination is.  Being able to re-highlight the quest's objective from the quest log would be great.


I'll add one suggestion- when a town levels up, give us the option to examine it.  In the late game when I have dozens of cities, I can't remember which random-generated-city-name had high tech production and should get the tech bonus, or needs the gildar bonus, etc.  I've tried to work around this by renaming cities based on their production like "Tech City 2" but that ruins a lot of the flavor.

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September 9, 2010 5:19:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

*shrugs* 15 pages (with some not put in) of bullet points from what were originally short hand notes over two weeks isn't easy to keep organized. It took a good 12+ hours to transcribe this so I expected some repetition. Most of which were from personal play experience so there would also be repetition from existing known issues. I wasn't trying to be unique; I was trying to highlight the issues I encountered.


Some of the repetition is also intention. I'm aware that I have things as both issue and suggestion. I did that because the issue is one thing but there are any number of possible ways to rework the mechanics and suggestions are just that. As well, some suggestions, while related to the same topic, suggest different ways or different sub-features of something. I didn't want to have six paragraphs on a topic that had twelve different ideas on what to do with it.


I agree mrbuh; a more user friendly solution would be nice. I would even suggest making the city level up screen something you can close and come back to. .Instead of being something you -have- to deal with, turn it into an icon pop up on the right. You can open that up, close it again without choosing if you wish, and otherwise handle business. Combine this with the mentioned city summery screen and it'd be a lot friendlier.

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September 9, 2010 6:24:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This is amazing.

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September 9, 2010 6:41:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Awesome job, and I'm only about halfway through.   Hired as QA!

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September 9, 2010 7:50:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
This is amazing.


Hopefully amazing as in "Thanks." as opposed to *facepalm as Frogboy turns to fellow devs and whispers* "Man... you guys need to see this post. He needs to get on some medication!" Either way, I really really appreciate you taking the time and energy to post something here.


Quoting jutetrea,
Awesome job, and I'm only about halfway through.   Hired as QA!
I wouldn't object. I would imagine QA for a dev (and especially for a smaller indie dev like Stardock) would be a lot more thrilling than my last QA job which was on the publishing side. Stardock would be one of my top choices, QA or otherwise.


*twitches, takes some meds, and hides the (totally not part of the joke) spreadsheets filled with numbers of total resource output for various combinations of city size, buildings, and resource numbers*

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September 9, 2010 7:59:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

posts like these are what will make elemental the game we hope for 

good work

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September 9, 2010 8:08:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

[bug] The red filling color for magic research makes the text inside very hard to read, at least for me (I’m partially color blind). Better contrast would be very helpful.

Red/green and yellow/blue blindness are some of the common issues that web/interface designers have to take into account when chosing fore/background contrast.

A coarse check for that:

take a screenshot and greyscale it.  If you can't read anything, someone with a vision deficiency might see nothing on the original, either.

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September 9, 2010 8:11:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


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September 9, 2010 8:49:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the suggestion that when you capture a city, some of the buildings could be destroyed in the process.  To go even further, if a person attacks a city from a certain direction, the buildings on that part of the city could have a higher percentage of getting destroyed.  This would make the city building placement more meaningful.  As it stands now, I'm not sure what the purpose of building placement is.  Does it make it easier to get resources?  I haven't quite worked it out.  (On a side note, I like zooming into the city tiles and watching the little creatures - ok, maybe I have a warped sense of entertainment)

Just from my own experience with the game, I have a couple of issues and don't know if they've been raised or not

I like to turn auto-turns off. I don't know if many people do this or not, but I like knowing when a turn is complete. Because of this, sometime when I load a saved game, I can't end my turn.  I've only noticed this when I've already been playing.  If I exit Elemental and re-open the save game, everything is fine.

When using the "toggle through active units button", the caravans always get activated (ones that have already established a route).  I find this annoying as I don't want or need to move them.  I could understand if there was a creature nearby, and then I could possibly turn them around, but otherwise they shouldn't be part of this action.

Is there a way to just tell a unit to go to a square?  Then I wouldn't have to move them each turn.  Perhaps only activate them if they are near a potential threat or goody hut.

Sometimes when I attack creatures I don't get the choice to battle or not, it just auto fights.  Is there a reason for this?  It can be annoying especially when I have a weak unit in a party, which I would normally be protecting in a tactical combat.

Maybe this exists and I haven't noticed it yet, but is there a quick way to see what my cities are building?  It would be nice if I could hover over the city picture on the left or something, or maybe just display two icons on the right of each city, the current building and unit.

It would be nice to know easily if weapons need two hands or not.

I think it was alluded to here, but it would be nice if we had a concept like world wonders in Civ.  Instead of just creating buildings, maybe cities could spend time making world wonders, forging unique weapons and armor, or attracting legendary heroes.

Just my two cents.  Anyway, thanks Star Dock, I am enjoying the game, and see huge potential for it to be fantastic.

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September 9, 2010 10:42:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Placement matters in the sense that any tile with an improvement on is considered part of the city for purposes of how close a resource is and building purposes. So

[ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]

[ ] [C] [I] [ ] [ ] [ ] [R] 

[ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] 


this city would be able to link the resource to it as there is a city tile close enough to it even though the city center (the place where you drop the pioneer) is beyond that limit.


If you click further away than a unit can turn, it will move once you hit end turn.


If you always want the choice for tactical battles, go into the gameplay options and set the tactical threshold to 0.

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September 9, 2010 10:56:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
This is amazing.

Absolutely ! Lots of dedicated work ! 

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September 9, 2010 11:03:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm impressed with the list as well...I hoping stardock printed it out and includes it in the next patch;)



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September 9, 2010 11:45:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

yeah frogboy I expect the patch notes for 1.1 to include the OP with a replacement of [bug] and [suggestion] with [fixed bug] and [new feature]

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September 10, 2010 12:22:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
This is amazing.


Sounds like stardock just found their new lead beta tester. get this guy in charge of games QA.

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