1.1 Beta Impressions - After 5-6 Hours

By on November 20, 2010 12:51:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

DevildogFF

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First off, this is a serious step in the right direction. It's really starting to feel polished and it is finally fulfilling its promise. I am blown away by how much better this game continues to get. 

First, Global Mana was the right choice. It's nearly perfectly implemented, too. I don't have a single problem with it. 

The UI is significantly improved, too, from the cities to the units. A very nice upgrade. I still think it needs some help (I really dislike the "see more" button that I have to press each time I want a unit with magic to "auto-explore" - can we do something about that?), but overall, the UI is leaps and bounds better. I'm loving the hard work, Stardock. 

Also, the research trees feel like they're exactly what they should be now. I love that I have to research the different magic groups. It makes the game more strategic and feels right. Great job! 

The new spells are fantastic! I also really like the new graphics that go with them in the spell book. I'm so happy with them. BRAVO!

I like the way the cities' influence expands now, but I wish it weren't so....boxy? Can't we find a middle ground between what was and what it is now? It feels more calculated and less natural, if that makes sense.  

On the other side of things, there are some things I don't like:

I don't understand food anymore. Or population. Or how the AI has a million cities. The Hiergamenon is broken. I CTD a lot. The AI is still pretty dumb (I know it hasn't been changed that much yet). I don't understand the "Faction Power" bar (i.e. how is that determined?). I hate that it takes me many turns to start getting research under way unless I have a sovereign that has the ability to do that research. Can't cities have an innate, albeit small, research capability so I begin researching right away, please? I hate that I have to click that "more options" button a lot. AND I still hate how boxy the characters still look. Can we overhaul that a little while we're at it? 

I've already begun recommending this game. For the first time, I honestly believe this game is well worth the money I spent. 

You've won me back, Stardock. After a rest, could you please fix this patch so I can lose myself in the game compleltely? Thanks

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November 20, 2010 1:01:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I disagree that Population and food make no sense; they make perfect sense.Lets take an example of a workshop:

It takes 5 people to run a workshop so you can't build one until you have at least 5 people free to run it. Once those 5 people are working in a workshop you can't build another until you have 5 more people to run it (total population 10 because the first 5 already have a job). If you train a soldier he still has to be fed so he is another member of your population who has a job.

Now you can build more huts so that more people can live in your settlement but you need enough food to support those extra people. Once you have enough food coming in you can build a new hut, people will them migrate to your town until they fill the available accomidation. How quickly they do depends on prestige.

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November 20, 2010 1:27:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have to agree with the magic. It is quite good now, and makes it so that you feel like it defines your style of play. I am in love with the healing spells, and it is cool to be a paladin like character.

I think the population is pretty good as well, I would like reasons saying why I couldn't do certain things. You know the popular "not enough minerals" type of thing.

It is still a work in progress, but it is getting there. If I was to make a push for one large thing though, it would be more unique skills. Skills would make monsters more unique, heros more unique, and generic units more unique. You could give different factions access to different skills, researchable skills, etc. But I don't think that idea has ever picked up much steam so I doubt it will happen.

In short the game is getting there quite quickly.

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November 20, 2010 4:31:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have not really played before this beta patch (only a couple of hours of campaign).

Cities:

But one of the bigger UI problems I found now is the lack of next/previous city button. You can click on the cities on the top left but that is not as good as next/previous.

 

Also once you are on the improve city screen useful info about that city is missing and you need to exit that screen to check those out and enter that screen again (a pretty irritating process). This happens each time you get a warning about city build queue empty and you click build.

Anyways, on improve city/build screen you cannot see that city population so you have no idea if you need to build a new hut or not.

Also once you have your things in the build queue it would be cool if you could drag and drop them around to rearrange what you want to build first. This is a needed feature as until you close the build screen you have no clue what is in the build queue currently. So, once you exit the build screen and see the queue you might need to delete some of them and then go back to select what you want to build again.

 

Just eliminating all these extra clicks would make our life so much easier.

 

Troops:

I researched bows and designed a bowman unit but it would not appear on the list of units I can build. What is up with that?

It would be cool if we could upgrade units we have with new upgraded versions that has better armor and weapons. It is kind of stupid to have to keep my lvl 3/4 basic soldier around since levels often have more impact then equipment (I would rather have a guy with 2x or 3x HP then +2 to attack and defense).

Are there combat champions in this game? Because I feel really stupid sending my expert farmers and city administrators with troops to fight. So I go around with my channeler although I know that if they kill him while out of my area I will lose.

 

General:

I got a really strong computer that runs Crysis on max and Starcraft 2 on Ultra even with 2 200/200 armies fighting (quad core i5 2.66ghz, 4gb ram and XFX HD5850), so I must report that this games runs like crap. If this is a product of beta or not I do not know, but I hope for the full version of this patch you can do something about this.

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November 20, 2010 4:59:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting TorinReborn,
I researched bows and designed a bowman unit but it would not appear on the list of units I can build. What is up with that?.
The Archery Range needs Archery, which depends on Fortifications, which depends on Training. Ranged Weapons, researchable quite before Archery itself, gives you bows but you cannot recruit units using them due to the lack of Archery Range (or until you research it).

I haven't been able to research Archery so I'm not sure if it works but surely Ranged Weapons by itself serves no purpose.

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November 20, 2010 5:16:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Wintersong,
Quoting TorinReborn, reply 3I researched bows and designed a bowman unit but it would not appear on the list of units I can build. What is up with that?.The Archery Range needs Archery, which depends on Fortifications, which depends on Training. Ranged Weapons, researchable quite before Archery itself, gives you bows but you cannot recruit units using them due to the lack of Archery Range (or until you research it).

I haven't been able to research Archery so I'm not sure if it works but surely Ranged Weapons by itself serves no purpose.

What is the point of giving us tech that we cannot use?

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November 20, 2010 5:28:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, you can buy the bow for your Champions while you wait for the Archery Range.

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November 20, 2010 6:08:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

i just dont like population like a global resource every city should have population

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November 20, 2010 6:34:42 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I was playng some turns, after, having fear to loose my game for a crash, i opened the menu to save the game and the game crashed

i didn't believe

 

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November 20, 2010 6:55:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

How do I gain access to the beta patch?  Or don't I?

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November 20, 2010 7:03:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

How do I gain access to the beta patch? Or don't I?

Go to the impulse menu and tick show prerelease versions.

 

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November 20, 2010 7:07:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting TorinReborn,
But one of the bigger UI problems I found now is the lack of next/previous city button. You can click on the cities on the top left but that is not as good as next/previous...

 

The 'page up' and 'page down' buttons cycle through your cities... 

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November 20, 2010 7:08:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I only played for 20mins or so but so far, they are on the right track! I really like the idea (when they put it in) of difference between the other factions. I would like to see the new AI though...other then that ill have to play some more.

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November 20, 2010 8:09:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Definately on the right track, now only if they can implement the AI changes and fix whatever is causing me to crash to desktop every few turns.

All that is required now is for them to continue to flesh out the spells.

Create many more npc models... i.e. Undead especially..

Flesh out npc abilities more.

Lastly allow soveriegn to create custom magic items.

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November 21, 2010 11:07:53 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I have run into the following bugs:

1.) Can't equip both a shield and a sword (or staff).  When I find a shield and equip it (either my sovereign or a recruited champion), it "unequips" my sword and vice versa.

2.) As others have mentioned, when you run into an NPC stack, the cost to recruit is high, implying it is the cost to recruit all members of the stack.  When you pay the cost, however, you only "get" the leader of the stack...the rest dissappear.

3.) Regeneration spell doesn't seem to work.  It costs mana and shows up in my caster's "enchants" tab, but the targeted unit doesn't actually seem to heal as the seasons go by.

4.) As others have mentioned, have found zero lost libraries..have they been removed from game?

Not bug, but still annoying:

1.) when using the transport ship and zoomed out to cloth map, it is EXTREMELY difficult to see where beaches are (i.e. where you can unload passengers).  have to keep zomming in and out to search for beaches.  Would be helpful if beaches were identified at the cloth map level.

2.) Now that you can have multiple caravans per city, it is difficult to keep track of them all.  Sometimes I end up sending a newly created caravan to the same city that already has a route established, and get a "send to new city" pop up.  Trouble is that at cloth map level hard to see caravans. And since change that excludes caravans frim unit-cycling, it is hard to find them/see what they are doing/where they are going.  Bottom line = would be good to have a screen (like "new" city screen) showing all existing caravans and their routes, with a click-on-to-go-to function.

 

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November 21, 2010 11:09:58 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Any of you having issue with enemy units becoming invulnerable? 100% spell resist and 0 damage from attacks?  I mean they guys have a defense of 4 vs attack 20+ and I can't damage them.

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November 21, 2010 12:05:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

My impressions after about 3-4 hours of gameplay:

 

You got the general formula now.  It was a lot more FUN then the 1.0x games.  However, (yes I know this is a beta) it was very buggy and of questionable stability, and plenty of things seemed unbalanced to me at first glance, and I can see a few features that should be added in still.  You guys still have a lot of work to do.  

 

I think some of the Life spells are a little too good for starters.  The pacing of the game seems a little too slow early on as well.  Food needs to be a little easier to get, and bonus strategic resources- I never saw a horse , warg, or lost library, but saw tons of shards.  On magic, I think shards need to matter more for even low-lvl elemental spells.  Maybe the world is supposed to be sparse, but it felt a little too sparse (not fun, this could be a problem with the Elemental lore itself)

 

Population does not seem to be as much of a limiting factor is it should be- I never had a problem with is.  Some of this may be tech moving a little too slow (could be a function of that lost libraries bug , but it shouldn't move that slow even if you don't have it)

 

UI: there needs to be a way to go directly to the equip and trade equip screens.  The current setup is too clicky for my tastes.  

 

Despite these rather massive issues, I can already tell that if they get worked out- you will have a very good game on your hands, though I wonder if people will give Elemental a chance after the drama.  I hope the word gets out when Elemental is ready- I know I will preserve hyping until you've got the bugs and balance right, as I don't want to dash people's hopes up again.  I feel confident that you guys will get it in a few months though.

 

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November 21, 2010 12:11:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yeah population doesn't matter, all that matters is that WAY before you hit any population limits you run out of tiles to build on.

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November 21, 2010 1:21:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think that would be a really good idea for a later level spell... one that costs alot of mana but allows you say another 20 tiles to build on in the city you cast it on.

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November 21, 2010 1:36:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'll add my impressions after 3 complete games instead of starting a new thread:

First off, this is a huge improvement over release. The game is a lot better now, and I'm starting to actually have some fun playing it. Keep up the good work.

One of the things I like is how my sovereign and adventures feel a lot more formidable in combat. Unfortunately, and I think this is more to do with the AI than mechanics, they feel a bit too powerful. They're all one-man armies, and I can win on the highest level by just sending my sovereign (and his retinue of adventurers once I can recruit them) around conquering everything. For some reason the spouses of enemy sovereigns can be a bit tough, but the enemy sovereigns themselves are push-overs, and they never really muster much resistance from normal troops. I'm also seeing a lot less groups now - in the three games I've played, only one enemy empire has managed to create any, and I've never gotten around to it.

I like the new magic system, and can't say I have any significant complaints here, although the AI should probably use it better.

The new economy is a better idea, I think, but it doesn't scale well. After the early mid-game, gold ceases to be a concern, as I get way too much of it. It was also unexpected that all the +gold improvements and bonuses don't affect tax income. I'd like to see base tax income reduced, and the bonuses work on taxes. Balancing this all out could be a bit tricky, but ideally the early game would stay about where it is while the mid and late game will see substantial decreases in gold supply.

From all the games I've played, pre-1.1 and post, I was starting to think that horses & warg resources weren't in the game at all (making it impossible to build mounted troops), but I did finally find 1 horse resource in one of my games. Still haven't seen a warg resource. These really should be more common - it shouldn't be possible to play an entire game without finding either.

For the city bonuses on level ups, I'd really like to be able to take a closer look at the city before making a choice. It's kinda a pain that I have to remember most of the things about the city before that pop-up appears.

The techs, especially in the adventuring tree, should be a lot more explicit in what they do. I still find that I don't know what causes my quest or treasure hunting level to go up, and I have to guess at what's going to happen when I get a new tech from the adventuring tree. There's probably some rearranging that needs to be done too; in my game as the empire, I had a bunch of magical equipment techs, but never could find the tech that would allow me to start harvesting crystals so I could actually build troops with that equipment. 

Overall: big improvement, but not quite good enough for me to start recommending it to friends yet. I can easily see it getting to that point soon though. 

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November 21, 2010 1:43:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hi Cattess,

In answer to your first point:

I thought the same thing as well, but I believe they are treating a long sword as a two-handed weapon like a staff.  So that is why the shield can't be equipped as well.  My old Diablo 2  and Ad&d days were telling me that a long sword is a one handed weapon too.  

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November 21, 2010 3:13:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Delmoroth,
Yeah population doesn't matter, all that matters is that WAY before you hit any population limits you run out of tiles to build on.

 

Suggestion: multiple buildings that are the same cost more population going from 1 to 3 to 6 to 10 for example.  Also maybe make limits city-based not empire-based.

 

bonus resources should consume 0 population, and be built independently of any city.

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November 21, 2010 3:30:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well I tried to play Elemental again but couldn't make it past Sovereign creation. The magic options are still very underwhelming and you can't customize the magical identity of your Sovereign. In a game called War of Magic that's inexcusable.

It still feels very unpolished to me. Like a spear or whatever crappy piece of equipment costing you the same points you use to buy stats.

The game needs to start with creating a COOL Sovereign with distinct magical powers and decent equipment.

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November 21, 2010 3:42:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

1.1 Notes after playing a single game on "hard" map, with "extreme" ai.

 

* The idle city popup is less than helpfull when you get two of them. You will building in a different city than what is indicated by the UI.

* Some weapons and equipment is still poorly balanced. My wife got her hands on a war staff, and then invaded and single-handedly 

beat all the armies of the second largest faction in the world. Strength 20 and attack 15 essentially made her a golem.

* The royalty occupation is even more broken than before. Since income is derived from population, you get obscene amount of money as a royalty. It might sound "realistic", but getting more than 100/gold per turn by turn 100 and having 20000 in the bank kinda breaks the game balance.

* Loot is also more broken than ever. See the 20000 gold in the bank above.

* Only one lost library on the entire map, but ancient temples EVERYWHERE (each of my 10 cities had their own ancient temple). On the other hand I found a crystal mine for the first time ever without having one spawned by research.

* AI still starts WAY too close the player. I had destroyed two other factions by turn 10, if I hadn't killed them that soon, I would have had nowhere to build cities.

* Equipment vs sex or race is still broken. Girls can not buy travling boots or cloaks. No one can buy arm greaves anymore, etc. Some races similarly has a limited choice of items. This could be fine if different thinks where available to different champions, but when you are only removing items, then it is breaking balance again.

* Game is still paced wrongly. The game was over at turn 120 when I had settled the entire world and destoyed all opponents (large map). I still have never seen my children grow up.

* I didn't see any crashes though. All bugs I saw was UI messed up by multiple popups and serious balance issues.

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November 21, 2010 4:32:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

 For the first time, I honestly believe this game is well worth the money I spent. 

 

Since I haven't spent a penny yet, and thus have to wait for the demo, can someone post a youtube video of the Elemental-du-jour gameplay that convinces me I should buy it today?

 

Thanks!

 

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November 21, 2010 4:47:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

My impressions:

I have to say that the game is finally coming alone. I was actually getting into building my kingdom...until the game refused to process any more "end turn" requests, effectively ending my campaign.

The tactical combat is improved with the new combat mechanics. At least now the guy who strikes first doesn't always win...sometimes, but not always. They still feel a bit simplistic, though, but that could be due to the fact that I am relatively early into the warfare tech tree (the fatal bug struck before I could get that far up the tree). I am also glad to see that defensive terrain isn't randomly sprinkled about the battlefield any more (that was annoying to say the least).  I, too, would like to see more special abilities for my heroes.  That would make it more interesting.

There was a bug with the loot system, though.  I kept getting multiple bags of coins after each battle.  I hope we actually get some weapon drops every now and then, including magical items.

The global mana system seems much better. Now you have to manage it like any other resource. For some reason, my sovereign ran out of mana and never regenerated any more. A bug? Still, I like this new system much better.

I got to the level 4 spell book and they did seem more interesting, however the visual effects still leave a lot to be desired. I wish the spells would be differentiated by color at a minimum. Right now, every spell is golden. What about attack spells that are red? Or assistance spells that are blue (such as buffing a comrade)?

Making population a global resource is also a change I like. Even though I never had a shortage, I imagine such situations will be possible, making for interesting gameplay dynamics.

Map generation-wise, everything seemed good.  Resources seemed nicely spread out and opposing AI empires were a decent ways off from where I started.

AI-wise, can't say too much, but I did notice that enemy units would run away when approached by a powerful party of mine.  That's always good.

Monster spawning seemed nicely balanced.  I didn't encounter tons of monsters hanging around my cities anymore.  Instead, just one or two at a time at most, and they really seemed to be wandering around and not just being drawn to my cities like in previous versions.  Much better.

Questing: only did two quests, but didn't see much of a change.

All in all, 1.1b is definitely a step in the right direction. It is finally having that good "one more turn" GalCiv II feeling. Mind you, it still isn't anything as exciting as I was hoping it would be (I suspect we'll have to wait for one or two expansion for that, after all it took GalCiv2 two expansions to become the classic it is today), but it is starting to shape up like a solid 4X game where the various mechanics finally feel like they are working together.  I actually wanted to start a second campaign after mine refused to process any more turns - I didn't because there is no point what with all the bugs and stuff - but the mere fact that I did is an indication of a big improvement. 

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