FE- Dynasties are cut

By on May 20, 2011 5:53:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Tridus

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From the new Gamespot Q&A:

Other systems, such as population storage (aka housing) that used to require that the player find food to build houses to grow cities, have been simplified (less city micromanagement), and systems such as dynasties have been cut entirely. Technology research is a more elaborate system where the player can plan out his future goals and plans. Leveling up your champions and designing units both offer more options and, more importantly, more flavorful options.

I knew they were looking at dynasties, didn't realize it was going to be on the chopping block. Probably the right call though, it needed a ton of work and wasn't that important at the end of the day. Best to focus on core stuff.

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May 23, 2011 11:44:16 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting kenata,

Quoting Lord Xia, reply 5This sucks.  It was one of the few interesting things in elemental.  If they continue to cut the shit they couldn't make work well in WoM, there won't even be a game to play. 
I completely agree with this. In all honesty, I feel like the new vision is less of a 4x experience and more of a rpgish war game. While this might be a fun experience, especially with the new uber monsters, it won't hold my attention for long unless they go out of their way to greatly improve tactical combat and make the various factions feel unique. Without this, I wonder what will hold the player for multiple playthroughs.

 

I agree as well.

This was one aspect that had great potential and I thought they were adding to it in 1.3.

I thought they were going to use the work done in WoM to build on for FE.

This is extremely disappointing.

 

EDIT:

Posted before I read this:

Quoting BoogieBac,
I wouldn't worry about FE becoming just a 'fantasy war simulator'...it's 100% 4x 

Dynasties were one of the features that always felt undercooked, and while we came up with several cool ways to improve them, it was on the 'other side' of the feature split when mapping out the expansions.  It'll be revisited, but we wanted FE to be a solid base, and for that the World, Magic, and Battles needed to be solidified first.

Also, while Dynasties were 'removed', it was done by implementing a <RemoveDynasties>TRUE´╗┐´╗┐</>  in ElementalDefs.xml.  Anyone that can spell 'false' can mod them back in

 

Hopefully dynasties will be back in a new and improved version in the future.

Along with beefed-up diplomacy. I really want to be able to do proxy wars.

 

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May 23, 2011 12:21:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I just figured out why the devs aren't saying anything about the uniqueness of factions in FE... it's because there are no factions in FE.  they've all been cut.  the only AI that's needed in FE is the AI behind the roaming and boss monsters.  poor AI problem fixed.  lack of uniqueness in the factions fixed.  there's only one victory condition = conquer the untamed world.

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May 23, 2011 12:25:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Trojasmic,
... it's because there are no factions in FE.  they've all been cut.
  lol, nice   I'll pitch that to Derek now...we've been so blind!

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May 23, 2011 12:48:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Lord Xia,
The Naval question is a good one.  The game needs some kind of mechanic to be able to travel to other lands.  Always having to play a pangaea type world gets boring.  Certainly it can be done, Other much older games have done it.  I would like to hear from Kael or Toby what is in store for the Navy.  Islands with rare sites, water monsters, pirates, there can be all type of fun shit to do! 

 

whatever the worlds, it's still redundant unless there's no terraform

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May 24, 2011 5:13:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think the dynasty system was flawed, but think that it had more positive aspects than negative. If it could be preserved, if only to provide successors for fallen leaders (and potential heroes), I think this would add additional depth and flavor to the game. I imagine a bleak, scary start, where the only heroes available are those of your own family (and a Janusk like advisor). This also brings a potential 'loyalty' rating to heroes. I remember extending gameplay during Genghis Khan for hours just to see what my kids would look like, and how strong they were...

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May 29, 2011 9:16:39 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The more I think about dynasties being cut, the less I like the decision.  Dynasties were one of the more original and interesting things about EWoM...the system just needed to be fixed a bit.  Like having an heir take over as sovereign after the previous sovereign dies.

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May 30, 2011 7:37:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

An important lesson for any development, research or homework project: 

 

If the end-product doesn't work because it is not fleshed out or consistant enough, it is usually not because you suck, it is because you are trying to do too many things at once. It is time to find out what you need, and what you don't, cut the dead-weight and make the remaining parts awesome. 

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June 1, 2011 6:01:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting charon2112,
The more I think about dynasties being cut, the less I like the decision.  Dynasties were one of the more original and interesting things about EWoM...the system just needed to be fixed a bit.  Like having an heir take over as sovereign after the previous sovereign dies.

Ahh, succession.  This is a very interesting point, and one we talked about in great depth.  You are right that it does make the dynasty system a lot more interesting.

But the question is, are you playing as your sovereign, or your empire (as in Civ)?

Warning: I'm about to jump into some gaming philosophy stuff, which is a world without strict rules, please bear with me.

If you are playing as your sovereign then continuing to play after your sovereigns death is jarring.  It also breaks the emotional tie between the player and his sovereign if the sovereign is just another empire resource, especially if it may make sense to throw away the sovereign so that you can have a promising heir take over.  You don't have a hard defined reason to protect the sovereign, or to be so eager to hunt down enemy sovereigns once heirs are available.  It distances the player for the contact point that we want them to empathize with the most.

The game isn't about Resoln, or Altar, or Yithril.  It's about Ceresa, Relias and Verga.  That wasn't conveyed very well in WoM, but will be a much stronger focus in FE.  For example you can't select to play Ceresa leading Altar in FE.  You can make a new sovereign with all Ceresa's abilities and have that sovereign lead Altar, but Ceresa is a specific person, with a specific history, flavor and personality.  She doesn't lead Altar.

It doesn't sound good from a feature perspective.  From a feature perspective it sounds good to have more options.  To have every sovereign be able to lead every faction, to have the game continue if your sovereign dies by going to your heirs.  But there is a change in the way the game "feels" because of those decisions.

So that is why we don't have succession (though it does a great job of making dynasties worthwhile).

The full story is that there were some features that weren't living up to their potential in WoM (in my opinion).  It's not possible to just make everything great.  And in some cases the best reasonable implementation of something still isn't good enough.

Dynasties was one of those, and I worked on a few designs for them, nothing that was good enough.  Some that had good points and bad points, but nothing that felt really integrated into the game.  So I asked Toby to pass a pass at a magic wand design for them ("forget everything you know and design them as they should be").  He wrote a great design.  Most importantly he wrote a system that integrated in interesting ways with the stuff we are doing in FE.

The bad part is that its a significant change and there isn't a good partial solution (in some cases I leave systems in the game knowing we have post FE plans for them even if they aren't ideal, because I know the game is better with them and the current implementation is a step toward the ideal solution).   And that the solution Toby proposed is a secondary system (ie: it requires the FE systems to be finished and polished before we can do meaningful work on it).  Otherwise we end up with downstream issues where I change system A and that breaks something in system B.

So dynasties got cut.  They may come back post-FE.  The plan is to have them back, but I hate to promise anything because anything that far out is always just ideas.

Right or wrong, thats the logic.

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June 1, 2011 6:08:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Derek, i think i have a suggestion that could be a good compromise to the succession issue.

 

Upon player death, the player is given the option to save the game as a "scenario" if they have a successor. Then the player would get a score based upon their deeds in history (of the killed sovereign). Then if the player wishes, they can play the roll of their son or daughter and play the game from the successor's eyes. I feel this would really add a nice touch to the game. Right now I almost feel timid about using my sovereign because of the risk of loosing the entire game upon their death. If I had the option to essentially keep playing as my successor, I wouldn't mind charging into battle.

 

Just some thoughts. Keep up the great work.


Jec

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June 1, 2011 6:34:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Derek Paxton,
But the question is, are you playing as your sovereign, or your empire (as in Civ)?

 

Most definitely, for me anyway, I play as the Civilization.  But really, even in other games, like Civ or GalCiv2, you're still playing as a leader, with a name and stats or bonuses.  This gave Elemental a chance to do something very new, and very cool...ruler heirs.  The idea of marrying and having children is a fantastic one, and was one of the first things I was excited about with Elemental.  Having your leader die, either through battle or old age, and then having a child take over is really, really cool.  And a very new game mechanic as far as I know.  It gives you an incentive to not only have children, but make sure they're powerful enough to be worthy heirs.  

I guess I just feel like it's a missed opportunity to do something different, and really pretty neat.

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June 1, 2011 9:05:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Derek Paxton,

Quoting charon2112, reply 56The more I think about dynasties being cut, the less I like the decision.  Dynasties were one of the more original and interesting things about EWoM...the system just needed to be fixed a bit.  Like having an heir take over as sovereign after the previous sovereign dies.

Ahh, succession.  This is a very interesting point, and one we talked about in great depth.  You are right that it does make the dynasty system a lot more interesting.

But the question is, are you playing as your sovereign, or your empire (as in Civ)?
You're making an assumption here that you shouldn't be making. There is no reason that succession has to prevent your sovereign's death from causing you to lose. If other empires have succession (and you can inherit their stuff, if the marriages and deaths happen in the right way) then that's what you need. If your sovereign dies, that's you, you're dead and the game ends. But if your enemy dies, that doesn't mean his empire ends. He's got sons, and they assume command of his empire. Or maybe he had a daughter, and she married your son. Then the empire is ruled by your son and is probably much more friendly to you. Succession exists and has meaningful consequences. But you're still playing your own character, and you still lose if you die. In multiplayer, if your sovereign dies you lose, but your empire still exists and is ruled by an NPC. In single player, that's it, you're dead, no more game.

Succession as a thing that exists in no way requires the philosophy to become empire-oriented.

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June 2, 2011 3:13:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Dynasties would have been useful to add options into the diplomatic way. For now, I shall juste take Derek's word that a good design exist and will probably be implemented later. Better to focus on a few points and make them right than make everything bad! (But I'm waiting at the diplomatic corner!)

I wanted to comment on this:

Quoting kenata,
In all honesty, I feel like the new vision is less of a 4x experience and more of a rpgish war game.

...

Yes, Derek has decided to work on fixing tactical combat, the world, and magic, however, this goes back to the point I previously made, FE sounds like it will be a straightforward war game instead of a 4x game.

In my mind, they went too far the Civ-clone way with WoM. Researching techs can be meaningful and interesting but researching daggers, swords, axes...not much! Dom3 (though not the same game, ok) is only about researching spells, it assumes your faction has already units designed with their specific weapons, you just have to get enough money/resources/food to buy them and feed them. So the factions are already differentiated. Same thing in AoW: if you get a city of race X, you can get the units if you've got the money and the city is large enough. Idem with buildings. And the city management in WoM didn't really appealled to me too: tentacular cities spreading on tens of tiles? No, please!

It's not to say it should be cut entirely but I hope it shall be streamlined in FE.

 

Now the point about "rpgish war game" and the focus on Magic/Combat/World.

Well, it seems to me that it was exactly what Age of Wonders was about: almost non-existent diplomacy, some minimal city-building (was cool to send pioneers to found new cities and see them grow) but focus on champions leading armies to discover the map, fight monsters to get items/gold/specialties, and go to war with detailed tactical combat. If FE 1.0 turns out to be an improved Age of Wonders, it would have already accomplished much.
It's not to say that I don't expect the 5 ways to win to be fully fleshed at the end but, for a beginning, better an Über-AoW than an Under-Civ.

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June 2, 2011 11:27:51 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting jecjackal,
Right now I almost feel timid about using my sovereign because of the risk of loosing the entire game upon their death. If I had the option to essentially keep playing as my successor, I wouldn't mind charging into battle.

I think that's the whole point - a real sovereign would be timid about charging into battle and anything else that risks his own life, knowing that the 'game' is over if he dies, successors or no. It encourages you to act like the sovereign is really you and his life is irreplaceable; it helps with immersion and roleplaying.

 

But I do agree with Cruxador: the key to succession isn't worrying about what happens to your own empire after your death (you'll be dead by then, anyway) - it's about the other guy's empire. Historically speaking, there were plenty of nobles that carefully maneuvered themselves into a political marriage to have a claim on a throne, and then were too busy fighting over said throne to bother fathering an heir to provide for their own succession. Of course this just encouraged other nobles to make a play for our new heir-less king's throne, which is the main reason a king would care about having an heir, it discourages all the other would-be kings. This is what politics were all about for centuries.

So there really doesn't need to be a conflict between playing as if your sovereign were really you and the game ends on your death, and caring about (another empire's) succession. Simply put, if real people cared so much about (someone else's) succession, I don't see why a sovereign we're meant to be immersed in and play as if it were really us should care any less.

That being said, I can see why such a dynasty system could just be too much for FE's initial release, too dependent on other systems. If focusing on a few other key areas makes the game better, I'm all for it. I'll be waiting to see a good dynasty system make it into the game someday, however - I'm very interested in Toby's 'great dynasty design.' I really want to ask for more details about it, but the details will surely change anyway by the time it (hopefully) gets implemented in some future patch/expansion.

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June 2, 2011 11:50:42 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have always looked at it from the perspective that the rules for succession only applied to AI factions and not the player.

Although, further thought on the topic makes me lean towards having it apply to the player as well.

 

If you have a weak successor then be prepared for cities to defect if your Sov dies.

That also gives you the incentive to improve your offspring.

 

I have to disagree with Derek.  I would think that most would welcome the added layers this concept would bring to the game.

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June 2, 2011 1:08:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting kapeman,
I have to disagree with Derek.  I would think that most would welcome the added layers this concept would bring to the game.

Derek didn't say it couldn't work. He said it's too much to do and get in for FE. An endlessly huge scope was part of the problem in the first place, this time they're limiting it to what they can realistically do.

And that's an entirely correct way to build games.

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June 2, 2011 9:48:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I must be in a minority cause I don't care much about succession & diplomacy. I want it arcadey like Master of Magic where you can't abuse the A.I like you can in Age of Wonders. Houserules shouldn't be needed for main features.

 

I feel like people get so attached to a cool gamemechanic and when it showed to be basic, unbalanced and not just developed enough people complain. Then the feature gets removed and people complain even more....

I get the feeling that if the Sovereign could have a pet dragon that was cut because of balanceissues then half the forum would complain about it....

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June 2, 2011 10:26:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

They set the bar pretty high with GalCiv2, so I think some people--myself included--thought Elemental would be more similar, as far as diplomacy and the like.  

 

Quoting Campaigner,
I must be in a minority cause I don't care much about succession & diplomacy. I want it arcadey like Master of Magic where you can't abuse the A.I like you can in Age of Wonders. Houserules shouldn't be needed for main features.

 

I feel like people get so attached to a cool gamemechanic and when it showed to be basic, unbalanced and not just developed enough people complain. Then the feature gets removed and people complain even more....

I get the feeling that if the Sovereign could have a pet dragon that was cut because of balanceissues then half the forum would complain about it....

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June 3, 2011 12:40:26 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Tridus,

Quoting kapeman, reply 64I have to disagree with Derek.  I would think that most would welcome the added layers this concept would bring to the game.
Derek didn't say it couldn't work. He said it's too much to do and get in for FE. An endlessly huge scope was part of the problem in the first place, this time they're limiting it to what they can realistically do.

And that's an entirely correct way to build games.

 

I was specifically referring to this quote:

 

Quoting Derek Paxton,
If you are playing as your sovereign then continuing to play after your sovereigns death is jarring. It also breaks the emotional tie between the player and his sovereign if the sovereign is just another empire resource, especially if it may make sense to throw away the sovereign so that you can have a promising heir take over.

 

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June 4, 2011 4:54:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Derek Paxton,

Dynasties was one of those, and I worked on a few designs for them, nothing that was good enough.  Some that had good points and bad points, but nothing that felt really integrated into the game.  So I asked Toby to pass a pass at a magic wand design for them ("forget everything you know and design them as they should be").  He wrote a great design.  Most importantly he wrote a system that integrated in interesting ways with the stuff we are doing in FE.

The bad part is that its a significant change and there isn't a good partial solution (in some cases I leave systems in the game knowing we have post FE plans for them even if they aren't ideal, because I know the game is better with them and the current implementation is a step toward the ideal solution).   And that the solution Toby proposed is a secondary system (ie: it requires the FE systems to be finished and polished before we can do meaningful work on it).  Otherwise we end up with downstream issues where I change system A and that breaks something in system B.

I am interested in what this new system entails.  Any hints? 

Considering the revamps coming with FE, as well as the fact that dynasties, as currently implemented, are more of a tease than a full gameplay mechanic, pulling them completely makes sense to me.  As long as there is a hope that they will be revisited in a proper fashion at a later date, I can live with this.

However, on the broader gameplay point of playing as an empire versus as a RPG, I am afraid that Elemental might be swimming against the tide.  Right now there seems to be a popular movement in gaming, particularly indie gaming,  to implement perma-death.  That is, games (such as A Valley Without Wind & Salem) where the player fully understands that his first character will not be his last; that the player will be forced to live through numerous characters, with each contributing a little bit to shaping the wider world (as opposed to the more RPG-ish perma-death where when the player dies, the game ends - which is where FE seems to be heading).  I, for one, am really enthusiastic for this mechanic and I think Elemental could benefit a lot from it, especially considering its 4X elements.  A properly implemented dynastic system would allow for a perma-death mechanic, and I think perma-death would help make each Elemental world seem more interesting and unique, largely because of the various and varied sovereigns who would rise to power during the course of a single world build. 

A true perma-death mechanic is probably wildly outside of any possible Elemental build, but I think a robust dynastic system could give players a slight taste of it.

 

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June 5, 2011 1:57:56 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Derek Paxton,
The game isn't about Resoln, or Altar, or Yithril. It's about Ceresa, Relias and Verga.

While I understand this point of view, it seems counter to the decision to remove dynasties. From a certain perspective, it is completely understandable to consider a dynasty system with inheritance to take away from the focus on any individual sovereign. For instance, if you are playing Altar and Relias dies, it would be against this focus on Relias to have his son or daughter assume the throne. However from another perspective, the dynasty system was one of the few WoM mechanism which outlined a persistent and meaningful depth for the sovereign. While the sovereign would go on quests and lead war efforts, these systems tend to be incredibly mechanical with limited persistent effect on the overall game. While I would agree that inheritance would take far too much from the core focus of the game, it might have been nice to see it used to fill out some kind of after game text. For instance, if you had a son, the end game text could talk about him taking over or about your family being executed when you lose all your cities.

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June 5, 2011 10:03:41 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like to play loooong games, and create a story about my civilization as I go.  And I can't tell you how cool it would be to have a game last through generations of leaders.  

 

It would be really cool.

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June 5, 2011 11:47:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The problem is in allocating your limited resources.

Dynasties become secondary when the game's core components like combat, performance and world design are inadequate.

 

 

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June 5, 2011 1:00:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Gilgamesh_,
The problem is in allocating your limited resources.

Dynasties become secondary when the game's core components like combat, performance and world design are inadequate.

 

 

 

Personally, I don't care about the combat.  In fact, if they took out tactical combat altogether, and focused on empire building and diplomacy, I'd be a very happy camper.

 

But that's just me.

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June 9, 2011 3:58:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Derek Paxton,

If you are playing as your sovereign then continuing to play after your sovereigns death is jarring.  It also breaks the emotional tie between the player and his sovereign if the sovereign is just another empire resource, especially if it may make sense to throw away the sovereign so that you can have a promising heir take over.  You don't have a hard defined reason to protect the sovereign, or to be so eager to hunt down enemy sovereigns once heirs are available.  It distances the player for the contact point that we want them to empathize with the most.

 

I agree with a lot of what you are saying.  I liked the idea of heirs, not as a successor if my character dies, but for the depth it adds to the character.  I still think the game should end if the sovereign I am playing dies.  But getting married and having children adds a bond to the character you are playing.  Should I send my child off as the commander of an army.  What happens if he gets killed.

The only reason I like my enemies to have heirs, is so if I do kill the enemy sovereign the empire can survive.  I understand this is being address in WoM.

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June 15, 2011 4:10:01 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting charon2112,



Quoting Gilgamesh_,
reply 72
The problem is in allocating your limited resources.

Dynasties become secondary when the game's core components like combat, performance and world design are inadequate.

 

 


 

Personally, I don't care about the combat.  In fact, if they took out tactical combat altogether, and focused on empire building and diplomacy, I'd be a very happy camper.

 

But that's just me.

 

I on the other hand would not play the game if they took out TC. To me it is what makes the game fun and makes the reset of the empire cuilding more meaningful.  I like the Dynasty concept as well and view my empire as my "character" not my King. However if it caomes down to dropping TC or Dynasty then Dynasty will loose every time.

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