Hey guys and gals, sorry its taken me so long to introduce myself here, been busy working on 1.1 content for you all. I am the 'less-exciting-than-Derek-Paxton' new Associate Producer on Elemental, Toby Sarnelle.
For a little quick background on me: I have been at Stardock for a year now, however, I was just recently moved over to the games team. Those of you who have been around here for the last year may have seen my posts in the Elemental Army forum, I was the primary developer for that and worked a lot on rest of the Elemental website (among other things). I'm a huge fan of all types of games from all genres and have been playing for over twenty years now. As a sample of stuff I enjoy, some of my favorite games of all time include Final Fantasy 6, Mass Effect, Dragonforce (for Saturn), Starcraft (and 2), Diablo 2, Sins of a Solar Empire and Civ4. Oh and I'm an enormous Penny Arcade fan.
Anyways, enough about me, I'm here to tell you guys about some of the cool new stuff I've been adding for version 1.1. The primary additions for 1.1 are that we are shifting to a global mana pool for all spell casting and we are integrating your population into your production further as had been talked about long ago.
With the global mana changes will come a re-organization of all the spells in the game (along with the creation of a bunch of new ones). Elemental spell books will again be picked up through research, we didn't like the idea of having them as initial Sovereign editor choices as they are so tied to whatever shards you happen to find in the world. Its never fun trying to guess what you will run into when making your character so now your starting spell book selection will be non-shard restricted utility spells and you can research the Elemental magic you need based on your surroundings.
The way global mana will actually work is similar to any other resource; you will be able to build magical shrines in your cities that provide a steady stream of mana that will accumulate over turns until you cast spells. Also in an attempt to simplify some of the confusion over spell damage and how it is affected by your INT we are going towards more flat damage numbers for spells which your intelligence will not be increasing. This should make it easier to balance damage numbers across spells and the rest of combat (another thing I will be getting to for the patch). Obviously this combined with the mana changes basically eliminates the old purpose of the intelligence and wisdom/essence stats. Going forward they will now be used instead as requirements for a unit to cast a particular spell.
Population as a resource. We have always tried to stress that Elemental is a game of individual citizens, unlike most other 4X's. This was initially accomplished by causing you to use a population of a city when producing a unit; the population of your faction is literally drafted into military (or other) service. With 1.1 we will be embracing that idea and applying to the rest of your city production with our new Specialist system.
Highlights of the Specialist system:
- Every citizen that joins your Kingdom/Empire will be added to your specialist count on the top resource bar.
- Buildings will now require a number of specialists to get up and running, now instead of robots you need people to operate that Blacksmith
- As you use specialists the count at the top of the screen will update to let you know how many specialists are currently in use compared to your total specialists available (think supply in Starcraft).
- You will also be using specialists to make units so it will be up to you to balance when to expand and when to build up an army.
- If you decide to change your plans you can always demolish a building or disband a unit and re-assign those specialists to something else.
- Because of this new limiting factor on your production we have allowed a bunch of improvements that were previously one per city to instead have as many in a city as your population can support. This should allow for much more diverse and specialized cities rather then just making one of everything, everywhere.
As a final note, in another attempt to reinforce the importance of your population, we are changing the way gildar is produced (and consumed) in cities across the board. In 1.1 your primary income is paid through taxes on your populace. For every citizen in your Kingdom you will generate a small amount of gildar, however, to help keep your income in check as you get larger and larger most of your improvements now cost a small amount of gildar per turn to maintain. Don't worry about paying twice, however, as buildings that require maintenance no longer have an up front gildar cost.
These are just a sampling of the changes coming up in the new patch, although they are our (well my) biggest focus at the moment. I'm also planning on going through and trying to balance armor and weapon values among other things.
Anyways, back to work!