The coming 1.1 patch

By on November 11, 2010 9:02:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Derek Paxton

Join Date 03/2003
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  We have been hard at work on the 1.1 patch.  Today we built an internal alpha which went to our testers and they began reporting issues, bugs, etc.  Our feature list isn't completely implemented yet, there are still a few things to checkin but I expect that they will be all in by Monday.  The team has been told to focus on bug fixes and polish between now and next Thursday (11/18/2010) which we are targeting as the date for the release of the public 1.1 beta.
  What is coming?
  Toby already posted about the two major changes coming in 1.1.  Global Mana and Population as a resource (in that improvements consume population).  Global mana is a significant change to the magic side of the game, and all the spells have been adjusted to account for it.  Population to improvements is a significant change to the economic side of the game, forcing players to balance their population between economic, production and military goals.
  There are a lot of UI improvements, one of my favorites is the city idle popup.  You now get warned when a city has nothing let in its queue, and you have the opportunity to jump right to it.
  But 1.1 also includes a rebalancing of all the stats, combat, equipment and creatures.  The goal here is to visit all the core stats, baseline them and make sure the numbers are reasonable.  Toby has been working on it and I don't envy him, its a herculian task and it won't be perfect right out of the gate but it will be a step in the right direction and we will be looking for opportunities to make it even better.
  One detail part of the rebalance is that we had to review what all the stats did.  This is was they do in the current version of Elemental:
Strength- Every point of strength over 10 gives +10% to damage.
Dexterity- Every point of dexterity over 10 gives +10% to your armors absorption (aka:defense).
Constitution- Constitution is added to your max hit points.
Intellect- Intelligence is used by various spells to adjust damage/effects.
Wisdom- Wisdom was kind of a non-used stat but in some places Essence was referred to as wisdom, Essence increased your max MP.
Charisma- Charisma is used to reduce the cost of recruiting NPC's (champions).  Charisma didn't do anything for champions.
  In 1.1 they have been changed to the following:
Strength- Modifies damage
Dexterity- Modifies dodge
Constitution- Modifies hit points
Intelligence- Modifies spell resistance, boosts some spells, required for Champions to cast some spells
Charisma- Sovereigns Charisma modifies Champion recruit costs.  Champions and the Sovereign give a prestige boost to the city they are in.
  That leaves us with the following formulas:
Attack (which is damage) = Weapon Attack + ((Strength - 10)/2)
Defense (which is damage absorb) = Armor Defense
Accuracy = 15 + (Level * 2)
Dodge = Dexterity / 2
Hit Points = 10 + ( (Constitution / 5) * (2 * Level) )
Spell Resistance = Intelligence / 2
Prestige Boost in City = Charisma / 5
  Elemental uses opposing roles for combat.  So if I have 23 Accuracy (I'm 4th level) and you have 5 Dodge (you have a Dexterity of 10) then we both roll from 1 to our rating and the highest roll wins.  I get a random number from 1-23 and you get a random number from 1-5, meaning there is about a 87% chance I will hit you.  The numbers are strongly weighted in the attackers favor as we didn't want to have long strings of misses going back and forth. (in fact as I look at it now I think it may now be weighted enough, we may need to change accuracy to level * 3)
  The nice thing about this system is that it never becomes impossible to hit or damage anyone.  It may become unlikely, but its never a waste of your time, and no creature is ever not a threat.
  Strength modifies damage as it did before but its no longer such a huge impact.  We were having problems balancing weapons because a 15 attack weapon on a 40 strength guy is 45 attack.  Now that would be a 30 attack, still huge but workable.
  Dexterity used to add to your damage absorption.  Which is fairly non-intuitive for Dexterity and kept us from designing more specialized creatures.  We want some creatures to be easy to hit and hard to damage, and others to be hard to hit but easy to damage, to makes them more or less difficult against different parties and attackers.  It gives us design room to grow into.
  Constitution now modifies hit points per level.  But the most important part is that hit points are now modified per level!  As your sovereign and champions levels up they will gain hit points, no more glass cannons.  We have played with a few numbers to get a progression that values level and the players constitution reasonably, but all the above formula's might be tweaked based on playtest feedback.
  Wisdom is gone now.  There are now 5 base stats (as there are 5 factions on each side, 5 tech tree branches, etc) and Intelligence is the "magic" stat.  We have to balance this stat a bit differently than most games because every sovereign is a caster but we don't want to make it isn't worth putting points in other stats.  We also use it as a limiter for what spells champions can cast, but your sovereign's don't have the restriction.
  Charisma is our non-combat stat.  We really wanted to allow players to build sovereigns that were never planned for combat.  They stay at home.  Charisma is a great stat for that.  The city your sovereign is in will get increased prestige, you can recruit cheaper champions (and let them fight your wars for you) and if you recruit high charisma champions you can use those in your cities to push prestige even higher.
  So why do we focus on stat adjustments?  It certainly isn't the sexiest part of the game, and many players will play without even noticing they changed.  From a code perspective removing a stat is harder than adding a stat (since you have to get everything that references it) so it's a lot of work without much direct payoff.
  The reason is that it's where you have to begin to balance anything after.  In order to balance the armor we have to know what the stats effect on armor is (formerly +10% per point of dex over 10, now no effect on armor).  In order to balance weapons we have to know strengths exact effect, previously we couldn't create high attack weapons because strength had such a huge impact that it was exponential.  Making strength more linear allows us to make weapons more varied.  Now that we have accuracy and dodge in we can create big weapons with high damage but penalties to hit, or small weapons with bonuses to hit or speed, but low damage.  We have more range to work with.
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November 11, 2010 9:11:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

cool

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November 11, 2010 9:12:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
There are a lot of UI improvements, one of my favorites is the city idle popup.  You now get warned when a city has nothing let in its queue, and you have the opportunity to jump right to it.

I would think a popup that tell you that there ARE idle when you try to end turn and asks "Are you sure you want to proceed to the next turn?" would be better (with the ability to mark cities as idle so they do not cause the message). Then you only get one pop up from idle cities.

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November 11, 2010 9:21:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Finally some juicy news. Can't wait to play next Thursday.

 

One side think I like to ask is how about Charisma also lower prices on items too. Might be nice to buy a little cheaper but not too much.

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November 11, 2010 9:21:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thanks for the post and the screen(s)!  Will be interesting to see how it plays out, could have some bloody battles with the hp boost.  Nice to hear of more use for charisma.

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November 11, 2010 9:26:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Sounds great and worth waiting another week.

 

Some Ideas (many would have to be expansion)


Charisma: How about a new stat called Insubordination given to champions.  The point value of insubordination for all your champions cannot exceed your sovereign's charisma.  Certain magical items can lower insubordination.

Another suggestion would be providing a combat bonus to all non-champions in battle on your side.

If stats are given to non-heroes: maybe have charisma increase the chance of a unit becoming a champion on level-up, and maybe give a bonus to units adjacent to it if charisma is high enough (only one CHAR bonus per unit though)

 

Strength: maybe have some side effects

Weapons: heavier weapons require a minimum strength

heavier armors provide a dex penalty, dependent on the armor and strength.

 

Horses could have a strength value as well, so heavy warhorses  would be less affected by carrying a heavy guy in platemail then a sprrnt horse

 

Intelligence: I think it needs a martial component also.   Maybe Intelligence should give a bonus to the max size of a stack?  Maybe also a bonus to ranged attack, but not melee attack?  Maybe saves vs mental spells as well.

 

dexterity: maybe it should give a bonus to ranged attack?  Also give it a shot to "save" vs single-target magic spells?

 

con: saves vs maledictory spells perhaps such as poisons, plagues, poxes?

 

Are regular units going to have stats now also?

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November 11, 2010 9:35:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Nice. I love what we see about the city popup (as long as it only shows once per city! not once per city every turn). Nothing more annoying than trying to produce a unit in every town, having to check the city manager every turn. This will be doubly welcome with the added focus to large cities.

 

Is morale gone for good? Or gone until you can do something fun with it.

 

I hope we can link statistics to values in modding. For example, linking charisma to give better values from a champion - not just prestige - would be desirable. An Administrator that speeds construction of buildings in a town might be better at his work with a high charisma.

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November 11, 2010 9:56:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Maybe I'm being paranoid, but does this OP mean that essence is being removed from the game entirely? No Impulse build or dev blurb so far has made me think of giving up on the game, but this change might actually make me regret all the time (and the modest sum of money) I've invested so far.

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November 11, 2010 10:01:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

  Elemental uses opposing roles for combat.  So if I have 23 Accuracy (I'm 4th level) and you have 5 Dodge (you have a Dexterity of 10) then we both roll from 1 to our rating and the highest roll wins.  I get a random number from 1-23 and you get a random number from 1-5, meaning there is about a 87% chance I will hit you.  The numbers are strongly weighted in the attackers favor as we didn't want to have long strings of misses going back and forth. (in fact as I look at it now I think it may now be weighted enough, we may need to change accuracy to level * 3)
  The nice thing about this system is that it never becomes impossible to hit or damage anyone.  It may become unlikely, but its never a waste of your time, and no creature is ever not a threat.

Interesting, I thought it was too high rather then too low. If accuracy inflates very quickly just by levels but dexterity requires significant investments for a 5% dodge chance... why bother? It'd make more sense to pile those points into CON and be able to take the hit that you're 95% likely to get.

With your example of 23 accuracy, I'd want at least 10 dodge to consider it useful. That's 20 DEX. Against a level 4 unit. Against a level 8 unit I'd be facing 31 accuracy and would feel more comfortable with 15 dodge, or 30 DEX. That's huge. Switching accuracy to level * 3 will pretty much ensure that I never spend points on DEX because it's doing so little (I don't consider going from 3% dodge chance to 4% dodge chance to be worth investing in when units die in a few hits).

The current level * 2 for accuracy seems a touch high to me, but it's probably still workable. When we get a beta build I'll test it and let you know. But level * 3 is just going to overshoot the mark unless you want dodges so rare that there's little point in having them at all.

 

I'm also curious about what armor does now, and how damage/absorption works.

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November 11, 2010 10:12:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

Quoting GW Swicord,
Maybe I'm being paranoid, but does this OP mean that essence is being removed from the game entirely? No Impulse build or dev blurb so far has made me think of giving up on the game, but this change might actually make me regret all the time (and the modest sum of money) I've invested so far.

Essence is gone, units dont have individual mana anymore, global mana is used instead (as it was in MoM).

 

Quoting Tridus,
I'm also curious about what armor does now, and how damage/absorption works.

 

Attack and damage absorb is similar but instead of comparing the numbers and the highest wins the amount of damage absorb (ie: defense) is subtracted from the attack.  So if I have an attack of 20 then I will do 1-20 points of damage.  If you have a Defense of 7 then you will ignore 1-7 points of that damage.

Im not looking at the code right now, there may be another adjustment, but thats the high level.

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November 11, 2010 10:15:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Derek Paxton,
 
Attack and damage absorb is similar but instead of comparing the numbers and the highest wins the amount of damage absorb (ie: defense) is subtracted from the attack.  So if I have an attack of 20 then I will do 1-20 points of damage.  If you have a Defense of 7 then you will ignore 1-7 points of that damage.


Im not looking at the code right now, there may be another adjustment, but thats the high level.

Ah. So it's still possible for a high defense unit to roll a 0 (or a 1) and wind up with no defense that attack? That's concerning.

On the upside, scaling HP and lower attack numbers from not having Strength act as such a strong multiplier could make it less of an issue then it was before (combined they lower the chance of a one-shot kill). Thanks for the info.

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November 11, 2010 10:20:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thank you guys so much!

 

The above is starting to look like a really solid baseline to build Elemental atop! I'm still anxiously awaiting the full tactical work of the first expansion, but this is a REALLY exiting start!

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November 11, 2010 10:21:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Wow, dodge, spell resistance, accuracy, now we're getting somewhere.

Quoting Tridus,
So it's still possible for a high defense unit to roll a 0 (or a 1) and wind up with no defense that attack? That's concerning.

That same unit could roll 20 on its def. roll and still get "no defense" if the attacker rolled 21 accuracy, it's a moot point. Just like in DnD accuracy/dodge determine whether a unit is hit or not and then the damage reduction kicks in to provide the final amount of damage inflicted.

 

Quoting Derek Paxton,
Essence is gone, units dont have individual mana anymore, global mana is used instead (as it was in MoM).

Why wasn't essence kept as a cap on how much mana can be spent by a unit during a single battle? Kinda like the casting points in Age of Wonders.

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November 11, 2010 10:22:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Derek Paxton,
...Essence is gone, units dont have individual mana anymore, global mana is used instead (as it was in MoM). ...

I'd love to see some extended explanations of this decision. The essence vs. mana distinction seemed like the functional idea that would/could let Elemental be a true step forward in the fantasy TBS genre, and I can't see any reason that it would be in conflict with a global mana system if it was treated as both an extremely rare resource in its own right and a stat that affected individual units' ability to channel mana.

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November 11, 2010 10:28:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Accuracy = 15 + (Level * 2)
Dodge = Dexterity / 2

I feel these scaling would make Dexterity pretty much of a dump stat for me, and an annoying feature when fighting against dextrous enemies. Using the mechanism you mentioned, the odds of hitting (when Accuracy > Dodge) is:

1 - Dodge / 2 * Accuracy

For example, for Accuracy = 15 and Dodge 5, you have 5/6 chance of hitting. Doubling Dodge to 10, and you have 4/6 chances. The survivability only increase by 25% for a huge increase (+10) of Dexterity.

I actually coded a roguelike that had this exact hitting mechanism, and it worked OK. However, a TBS is not a roguelike, as you are not supposed to do as many attacks for each enemy. So I fear that it would not work very well in Elemental.

My suggestion would be to increase the effect of Dodge, such as to get hitting rates for average stats to around 50%. Then increase the number of strikes to decrease variance. This increase can be done under the hood, hidden from the player (ie: you roll attack 3 times, you get damage proportional to the number of successes. No success: miss, 1 success: scratch, 2 successes: solid hit, 3 successes: critical.) Or you can make all the attacks visible on screen, a little like AoW2, which had 3 strikes per turn, with success rates around 50%.

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November 11, 2010 10:29:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Nix my post, didn't see Kael's response.  Thanks for the update!  Looking forward to playing 1.1 before(or perhaps on) Thanksgiving?

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November 11, 2010 10:32:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Napean,
Nix my post, didn't see Kael's response.  Thanks for the update!  Looking forward to playing 1.1 before(or perhaps on) Thanksgiving?

Your first draft doesn't deserve a nix. The essence nix deserves a nix.

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November 11, 2010 10:36:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Napean,
With a global mana pool essence is not as useful anymore, unless it's used like AoW's Casting Specialist stat, where it would limit the amount of mana a champion can pull from your global mana pool per turn.  At least, that's what I think.

All posts so far indicate that is not the case, though it SHOULD be. Frogboy has previously stated that essense will be boolean: you have it or you do not.

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November 11, 2010 10:37:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

derek, what are the TYPES of armour vs weapon types effects eg dagger vs leather, arrow vs plate, sword against leather/plate and hammer vs leather/plate?

meaning how will the weapon class fare againt the armour class?

harpo

 

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November 11, 2010 10:42:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting GW Swicord,

The essence nix deserves a nix.

This. With the preposed stats the only diffrence between casters will be how high of level spells they can cast.

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November 11, 2010 10:44:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

"....and Intelligence is the "magic" stat...."

Could Intelligence be renamed to Magic, I personally think that would be more immersive/intuitive name now.

 

"....There are now 5 base stats and..... 5 tech tree branches...."

I think it would be nice if every Sovereign stat gave you a small bonus(n/10 %) to research to it's correlated branch(Strength <--> Warfare, Constitution <--> Civilization, Dexterity <--> Adventuring, Intelligence <--> Magic, Charisma <--> Diplomacy). For example 10 Strength would give you 1% bonus to you warfare tech research.

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November 11, 2010 10:51:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting darklander0,
...For example 10 Strength would give you 1% bonus to you warfare tech research.

Huh? No. Why would it?

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November 11, 2010 10:51:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Whoa whoa whoa, hold the phone...  Essence is gone?!  *Turns to his imaginary assistant.*  GET ME THE VP!

No, seriously though, I'm...  Well, just a little shocked.  Only because this change wasn't exactly made very clear...  Whether that was the choice or not on your end, I don't know, don't really care, honestly...  It's just a little surprising.

In hindsight, it does make sense though...  Perfect, logical, rational sense, and I really don't know why I didn't see it coming...  Hence the surprise.

As for other changes...

HUZZAH!

'Nuff said.

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November 11, 2010 10:56:40 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

There may (I'd expect likely) be other modifiers to dodge, such as equipment, spell buffs, Sov/champion traits, etc. So the final story of dodge is wider than just the dexterity numbers.

It does seem like the marginal effects of some points of dexterity (and charisma possibly) are slight. I wonder if there will be other effects such as equipment pre-reqs or special combat skill modifiers.

 

slightly OT: One thing that I'd like to see change (unless I'm missing something currently) is for non-combat champions, those with skills like merchant or royalty or farmer, don't have a way to improve their specialty on level up. They can become better fighters, but not better farmers, which serves to diminish the variety of champions over time (since the +1 will be negligible and they'll all be decent at pounding people). I'd like either champion (and maybe soverigns as well if they are given economic talents) to have talents that they can select in lieu of straight stat boosts (farmer II, total +30% to food production, for ex, and other more interesting things); or else simply tie these special abilities into stats as well, so that farmer types give +dex% food production to the city, merchants +cha/10 gold per turn, beaurocrat types give +Int % production to a city, etc.

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November 11, 2010 11:01:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting RikazeMA,
In hindsight, it does make sense though...  Perfect, logical, rational sense, and I really don't know why I didn't see it coming...  Hence the surprise.

How does it make sense? Other games with global mana that I am familiar with have a limit for how much a hero can use per turn, which is what essense could still do.

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November 11, 2010 11:03:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm pretty big on manuals being useful and addendums being added (or parts being rewritten) when significant changes take place. Will there be a .pdf file that functions as an updated manual so that players who have been watching the development from the side won't have to dig for information and can have it handily at their side when playing? This would be a big boon for the community and disheartened players.

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