Don't understand MOM-love - game's AI was joke as was balance (what balance?)

By on September 11, 2010 9:22:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

revjwh

Join Date 02/2006
+4

Ok, I was 22 when MOM came out.  I loved it.  But, come on, the game was broken. 

It had no balance.  It had no AI.

Can anyone say: Highmen Paladins (I get the races over the years confused from other games - but these suckers were spell immune, on horses and kicked everythings butt).....

The AI would often have anemic amounts of cities and units on the hardest settings.

Any focused strategy AT ALL with any race spelled certain victory - no matter what.

Now compare that to GalCiv2's AI - it beats me.  Still.  Not a lot, but it does beat me.

I'm hopeful for the same with Elemental. 

Would I like to see more real differences between races? Yes.  More cool spells and effects? Yes. 

But while I loved MOM, I think it is apples and oranges.

J

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September 11, 2010 8:33:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree that MoM is not a perfect game - there are bugs, the AI is bad and the balance has problems too - but it has so many good things in it (races, units, spells etc.) that I'd like to see a game that is similar to it, but without these problems. If MoM was perfect, we'd be playing it instead of posting at this forum that Elemental should be more like it.

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September 11, 2010 8:52:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Never said it was not fun, just that playing MoM now, does not "Feel" the same for me as it did back then.

YMMV

Lee

 

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September 11, 2010 9:00:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

To the OP.. back when it first came out, (many here played it then) it was one of the newest concepts in this type of games.. So bad AI or not it was an awesome experience.. Then over time fans moded/tweaked until its a fairly decent game.. So for many its fond memories.. it also  is still on the short list of fantasy 4x games this in and of itself has kept it popular..  I have not played it in years yet I have fond memories.. I do not need elemental to become MoM 3.x but I hope to see many of the fun concepts creep in...

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September 12, 2010 6:35:36 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Here is said MoM fan patch!

There's supposedly a forum and whatnot to support said at this link, but I have yet to get them to load even after a couple weeks of trying.

No, that's a dead site where it once was.

Try Petrell's Domain.

Note that this is not "MoM 2.0", which is more a rebalance, such as we're seeing with the current "WOM mods".

This link is for "MoM 1.40f", apparently an independantly developed patch to the executable.
Of course, it is not the full game download. That would be warez and the moderators would have to delete this post. =P

It fixes a crapload of real bugs and has a lot of interface improvements, such as giving you some idea on how many monsters
     (not just what type) will be in a lair you "scout".
AI heroes can be pretty tough cookies because the AI creates and gives them items.
Units that can "see invisible" can actually shoot invisible units... because they like... can see them, y'know?
Just a small teaser. There are tons of fixes and the AI generally uses a lot more game features.

 

The MoM AI won't suddenly become "very good" but it's far less exploitable with these loopholes fixed.
Right now, the MoM AI is still better than the "no AI" in WoM but this lead isn't going to last.

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September 12, 2010 9:21:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

People worry too much about balance.

Look at fall from heaven. Very little balance there, but its heaps of fun anyway.

Games with pvp and ladders need balance (ie sc2), not (primarily) single player tbs. Not at the cost of fun anyway.

 

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September 12, 2010 9:48:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Vladesch,

People worry too much about balance.

Look at fall from heaven. Very little balance there, but its heaps of fun anyway.

Games with pvp and ladders need balance (ie sc2), not (primarily) single player tbs. Not at the cost of fun anyway.


 

 

IMO, balance can add to the fun. That's why some worry about it.

I don't agree that only MP games need balance. Some people have fun when things are reasonably balanced and where choices can make the difference in their success. Not all fun is the same for all people.

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September 12, 2010 11:23:21 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Vladesch,

People worry too much about balance.

Look at fall from heaven. Very little balance there, but its heaps of fun anyway.

Games with pvp and ladders need balance (ie sc2), not (primarily) single player tbs. Not at the cost of fun anyway.


 

The squads in Elemental with 40 attack hammers aren't balanced, and that detracts from the "fun" considerably because someone with those can pretty much stomp over anybody without them. That means if the AI builds them, you need to.

"Balance" in a game like this means the different paths to victory are all viable, not that everything is perfectly equal for PvP.

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September 12, 2010 11:26:00 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting VR_IronMana,



Quoting Vladesch,
reply 30

People worry too much about balance.

Look at fall from heaven. Very little balance there, but its heaps of fun anyway.

Games with pvp and ladders need balance (ie sc2), not (primarily) single player tbs. Not at the cost of fun anyway.


 


 

IMO, balance can add to the fun. That's why some worry about it.

I don't agree that only MP games need balance. Some people have fun when things are reasonably balanced and where choices can make the difference in their success. Not all fun is the same for all people.

Well there's a right way to be poorly balanced in a single player game and a wrong way. The right way is to have lots different classes or factions which play extremely differently, but which are not equally strong. One might be better, but people will still have fun playing through all the different ones in order to get the experience of it. And the differences should not be so blatant that you can say one is better then the other in every possible way.

The wrong way to be poorly balanced is to give someone choices in the game which are rendered meaningless because one is strictly better. For example in MoM, especially in the early versions, summoned troops were poorly balanced in that they were extremely weak compared to mundane troops. Even the best summoned could be wiped out by a single unit of pikemen or something along those lines. This is a not fun balance issue, because it limits your options by punishing you for summoning.

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September 12, 2010 11:39:31 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting FadedC,

Well there's a right way to be poorly balanced in a single player game and a wrong way. The right way is to have lots different classes or factions which play extremely differently, but which are not equally strong. One might be better, but people will still have fun playing through all the different ones in order to get the experience of it. And the differences should not be so blatant that you can say one is better then the other in every possible way.

 

Actually, I would consider that to be pretty balanced. If the differences aren't very blatant, but still noticeable and change the feel of the gameplay - then I would say mission accomplished. Every race/faction/nation is viable, can win the game, and are worthwhile to play, but they all have different strengths/weaknesses and will require different adaptations to keep them strong.

Right now, I don't think Elemental has a lot of that yet, especially within Kingdom Factions or Empire Factions (they all feel and play pretty much the same, imo). I think Elemental TRIED to do that with the traits, but it doesn't seem to be coming into fruition just yet.

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September 12, 2010 2:36:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting VR_IronMana,



Actually, I would consider that to be pretty balanced. If the differences aren't very blatant, but still noticeable and change the feel of the gameplay - then I would say mission accomplished. Every race/faction/nation is viable, can win the game, and are worthwhile to play, but they all have different strengths/weaknesses and will require different adaptations to keep them strong.

Well I agree it makes for a really fun game, but it's not necesarily balanced. An example would be in Diablo 2 when it first came out, most would agree that the barbarian was the strongest class. But you could still play as the sorceress or necromancer and have a lot of fun and have a completely different game experience, even though you'd have a harder time. It wasn't balanced, but it was still lots of fun and much more interesting then if the classes had been balanced but too similar. You couldn't say the barbarian was strictly better because other classes could do lots of things that he couldn't. But you could say he had a much easier time succeeding at the game.

To continue the Diablo 2 example though, what wasn't fun was when certain skills and powers were so much weaker then others that you would never take them. This was fairly common in the game, and at least until the final version there were lots of skills skills that might look cool but which would severaly penalize you if dared to invest points in them, thus dramatically reducing your options in the game. This is where balance in a single player game is much more important.

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September 12, 2010 4:02:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

It had no balance.  It had no AI.

Ok the AI was bad, that annoys me greatly.

And it was unbalanced, but why is that bad? What is so good about balance? Balance sucks, it means everything is equally viable. In other words boring. This is not starcraft or a MMO. Unbalanced means there are fun things to try out. Who really uses a game like Master of Magic for competitive online play? Maybe 1 of a thousand prople and those can mod the stats.

Master of Magic and Master of Orion 2 are so much fun because they are so unbalanced, there are tons of combinations to try out and every little setting has tremendous influence on the gameplay. (both games have almost the same attributes for leaders, same lead designer)

Also it is extremely fun to try out a very crappy leader/race combination on a lower difficulty setting, or a totally overpowered one on the highest setting. Well at least in Moo2 which has a better AI.

Balanced games suck.

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September 12, 2010 11:37:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

I'm confused about the concept of balanced being used here. In MoM there were definately race and wizard pick combos which would in general make the game easier, or harder. I don't think the developers ever intended otherwise. If you discover how "easy" the game is taking all Death books and walloping the planet with those wraiths, try something different! It's true that once you get your killer stack assembled, the AI will probably lose (even against a human, you'd likely win) but it's getting to that point which is the game.

 Someone said earlier that "any focused strategy AT ALL with any race spelled certain victory - no matter what." Having played MoM through 100's of times (along with many other PC stragey games since day 1), I'm going to have to say that this is simply incorrect. The only way you could make this claim would be if a) You were playing on Normal or lower difficulty,  if you were exploiting some AI glitch, or c) you weren't counting games with poorly generated starting positions. On Hard or Impossible you can get wasted by the friggan raiders while exploring in the early turns if you get dealt a poor hand, or you so cripple your economics by garrisoning your first town instead of exploring that you're going to be stepped over for the rest of the game.

It is fair to say that when playing on Impossible that the AI isn't so much a genius, but cheating with huges bonuses. The end result is that unless you play well, you will get your butt kicked. I contend that nobody is ever going to make an AI capable of perfectly managing the enemy in a game with as many variables/strategies as MoM offered.

-Morloc

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September 13, 2010 12:03:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Robert Hentschke,

Here is said MoM fan patch!

There's supposedly a forum and whatnot to support said at this link, but I have yet to get them to load even after a couple weeks of trying.


No, that's a dead site where it once was.

Try Petrell's Domain.

Note that this is not "MoM 2.0", which is more a rebalance, such as we're seeing with the current "WOM mods".

This link is for "MoM 1.40f", apparently an independantly developed patch to the executable.
Of course, it is not the full game download. That would be warez and the moderators would have to delete this post. =P

It fixes a crapload of real bugs and has a lot of interface improvements, such as giving you some idea on how many monsters
     (not just what type) will be in a lair you "scout".
AI heroes can be pretty tough cookies because the AI creates and gives them items.
Units that can "see invisible" can actually shoot invisible units... because they like... can see them, y'know?
Just a small teaser. There are tons of fixes and the AI generally uses a lot more game features.

 

The MoM AI won't suddenly become "very good" but it's far less exploitable with these loopholes fixed.
Right now, the MoM AI is still better than the "no AI" in WoM but this lead isn't going to last.

 

Umm actually no considering that MOM is abandonware and you can download it for free with no penalties whatsoever.

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September 13, 2010 12:37:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting jereome,
Umm actually no considering that MOM is abandonware and you can download it for free with no penalties whatsoever.

a. Abandonware is a legal fiction.

b. GOG (Good Old Games) is selling MoM, which means it can no longer be considered abandonware.

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September 13, 2010 1:05:00 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting jamotide,

And it was unbalanced, but why is that bad? What is so good about balance? Balance sucks, it means everything is equally viable. In other words boring.

 

So having multiple viable paths towards victory is boring?

However having one obvious way to win and all other are worthless is fun?

 

For me, the reverse is true. I'd rather have a game where I can pretty much mix and match or try different ways to play and know I have at least a reasonable chance of winning unless I did something totally out there and couldn't pull it off. Not one where, unless I take combo x, y, or z, I'm probably going to be screwed.

Balance <> same for all sides. Balance still allows for different races/nations/sides to have differing strengths and weaknesses, changing the feel and gameplay of each side. Balance <> you can't try out different strategies. In fact, balanced games would be more likely to open up MORE options, not less.

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September 13, 2010 5:34:54 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Balance <> you can't try out different strategies. In fact, balanced games would be more likely to open up MORE options, not less.

That's the bit that some will never get.
Having one "good" option and many "crappy" options may be unbalanced but that does not equal fun.
Intentionally choosing a bad option which is nothing but worse and simply doesn't work is not a choice. It's merely stupid.
A balanced game means that options are different. Not just good or bad but 2-dimensional balance!

While MoM isn't exactly a shining example of balance overall, it illustrates that particular point very well.
Live and Chaos books.
Life is all buffs, protection, and healing, while Chaos is boom boom kick their butt, burn their cities, corrupt their land.

They could hardly be more different but which one is the "better" magic?
You can win equally easy with either - but in different ways.

And that is "good" balance.
Bad balance limits the content of the game to those parts "that work" and why would anyone want a game where 80% of the content are "that crap that noone ever uses"?

Currently, WoM is an example of bad balance.
Since Elements and Magic are the name of the game, one would assume that winning "by magic" is an option.
Wrong. With the exception of some extremely OP summoned creatures, magic is largely inconsequenial except for taxiing troops around.

If  Elemental:Magic and Elemental:Troops were different games they might actually work.
Too bad they scale by strictly separate mechanics so they cannot both work like that in the same game.

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September 13, 2010 7:03:37 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
Ok, I was 22 when MOM came out.  I loved it.  But, come on, the game was broken. 

It had no balance.  It had no AI.

Can anyone say: Highmen Paladins (I get the races over the years confused from other games - but these suckers were spell immune, on horses and kicked everythings butt).....

The AI would often have anemic amounts of cities and units on the hardest settings.

Any focused strategy AT ALL with any race spelled certain victory - no matter what.

Now compare that to GalCiv2's AI - it beats me.  Still.  Not a lot, but it does beat me.

I'm hopeful for the same with Elemental. 

Would I like to see more real differences between races? Yes.  More cool spells and effects? Yes. 

But while I loved MOM, I think it is apples and oranges.

J

You obvioulsy didn't play many games of MOM then because some games the AI was ruthless and it depended a lot on their intial placements just like any random  map game does for the ai. I played 100's of games of MOM and had fun in the majority of them because of the relentless ai. Not balanced you say? That's one of the reasons MOM is still great today. I'm pretty tired of reading about balance in a PC game playing against an AI. There NEVER should be balance in solo single player games which MOM was and still is. It's not a multiplayer game and wasn't intended to be. When I got used to how MOM played I played on HARD & IMPOSSIBLE always after that and I had plenty of challenging games an even games where I got whomped on by the AI. Just because you beat the ai a handful of times doesn't mean it sucks. I can beat my little brother at chess 99% of the time but there is always that 1% of the time he beats me so you can't expect an AI to win every single game as I said because of placement on a random map. Plus you need to play with ALL the ai's at the same time not just 1 or 2 and you can also make house rules not to play with Life or Death Magic to make MOM even a better challenging fun game.

So, it's still the King and Queen of strategy fantasy games even if you don't think so. There's waaaaaaay too many that would and do disagree with you for your opinion to matter anyways. ))

In fact, balanced games would be more likely to open up MORE options, not less.

That's the single most stupidiest statement I've ever read. lmao Because balanced games lead to templates of play that everyone uses or finds on the internet that someone else posted. With an unbalanced game it's like rolling up an rgp character everytime you play the same rpg map. Even though the map and the creatures are the same you will have to play it from a different setup and template each time. (unless you roll the same stats every single game which is highly unlikely). MOM is built up around the same principles. Some choices will make you very powerful and strong while others will make you weak and vulnerable.

My suggestion to Brad et al is to make a "random rollup character feature" so that those of us that want to play this in an rpg like atmosphere can rollup our sovereigns instead of hand pick them or custom make them perfectly as those powergamers or maximizers do and then whine that the game is unbalanced because that's the way they play.

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September 13, 2010 10:25:23 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If you're asking for a purposely imbalanced game that's like asking for a game of chess where black has the same pieces as white - but only half the number.

A balanced game might be when the sides are equal and black has no rooks but two queens instead of one.
Different, yes, but either side could win.

GalCiv is a very well balanced game because entirely different strategies can interact and even win. The super diplomat can defeat the warlord... without ever firing a shot.
Now try winning a game of WOM through diplomacy. It's one of the victory conditions...

So yes, it's true. Without balance you have no options. Only the one strategy that works and that's terribly boring.

And MoM was in fact balanced, too. Just not in all it's myriad of combinations.
Imbalanced would be if the Chaos book would be equal to Life in the heal/protect department but still maintain a huge lead in direct buttkicking.
But it doesn't have that. No Invulnerability, Heal, Prayer, and whatnot...

So MoM is good because it's balanced. That's why the book/retort picks have different costs and you only get a limited number. To balance them.

Obviously a lot about it could still be improved. Some units or spells are just way over the top and the (now lost?) MoM 2.0 patch had addressed a lot of those funky spikes in the curve.

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September 13, 2010 11:42:25 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Robert Hentschke,

Obviously a lot about it could still be improved. Some units or spells are just way over the top and the [i[(now lost?) MoM 2.0 patch[/i] had addressed a lot of those funky spikes in the curve.

Nothing can ever get lost if your internet searching skills are as awesome as mine.

http://89.108.111.97/tmp/MOM200.zip

 

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September 13, 2010 12:06:45 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Robert Hentschke,


The MoM AI won't suddenly become "very good" but it's far less exploitable with these loopholes fixed.
Right now, the MoM AI is still better than the "no AI" in WoM but this lead isn't going to last.

The important part is : is the AI able to actually use diplomacy this time, or is it still just auto-attacking you randomly ?

Quoting Vladesch,

People worry too much about balance.

Look at fall from heaven. Very little balance there, but its heaps of fun anyway.

Games with pvp and ladders need balance (ie sc2), not (primarily) single player tbs. Not at the cost of fun anyway.

Well, there is a difference between "perfect balance" and "so blatantly overpowered that you steamroll everything easily". The imbalance in MoM was of the latter kind

Paladins were insanely powerful for a "regular" unit, a champion with some strong enchantements and items could RAZE THE WHOLE MAP, including all the AI, by himself - I remember my Demi-God Warrax, at least when MoM said "demi-god", it actually meant it... what a powerhouse...

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September 13, 2010 12:30:22 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

"Well, there is a difference between "perfect balance" and "so blatantly overpowered that you steamroll everything easily". The imbalance in MoM was of the latter kind"

 

... well, that pretty much covers MY post.

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September 13, 2010 1:34:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well My love goes to the AOW games which was largly based on MOM and in my opinon much better.

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September 13, 2010 1:58:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting IBNobody,
MoM is fun because it is unbalanced, cheap, and has a dumb AI. It has races that are different. Units that are different. Spells that are different. It was very enjoyable to build your unstoppable "stomp stack" and screw over the AI.

 

The next MoM game I play, I'm going to burn all cities to the ground and just worry about capturing nodes.
Well My love goes to the AOW games which was largly based on MOM and in my opinon much better.

MOM with a good challanging AI would be a near perfect game.  I would like both good AI and the playability of MOM and AOW the best of both worlds so to speak.

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September 13, 2010 2:05:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tridus,



Quoting Vladesch,
reply 30

People worry too much about balance.

Look at fall from heaven. Very little balance there, but its heaps of fun anyway.

Games with pvp and ladders need balance (ie sc2), not (primarily) single player tbs. Not at the cost of fun anyway.


 


The squads in Elemental with 40 attack hammers aren't balanced, and that detracts from the "fun" considerably because someone with those can pretty much stomp over anybody without them. That means if the AI builds them, you need to.

"Balance" in a game like this means the different paths to victory are all viable, not that everything is perfectly equal for PvP.

Escpecially since you could get those hammers in less than 20 turns.

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September 13, 2010 2:14:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

the MOM license is still out there and it is possible that a company will eventually make a true MOM sequel someday.  who knows, perhaps it is being worked on at this very moment!  i wouldn't mind seeing what katuri (kings bounty series) would do with MOM2.

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