A proposed roadmap for improving WOM. I will be continually editing this report over the next week, adding ideas as I think of them, refining the list, dropping ideas and reducing the list to something that can be accomplished in a month.
Phase 1: Tactical Battle Focus
Goal: The goal for phase 1 is to give players tactical battles that will challenge with opponents that use a variety of tactics to achieve victory.
Step 1. Magic Using AI Sovereigns (Est: 1 day)
In WOM I rarely encounter a sovereign that uses magic. In my games my sovereign casts Spell Blast or Fire all the time. The enemy AI sovereign never does. My first step in improving WOM would be to add code that guides what AI magic research path and encourages the sovereign to use magic during battles. The enemy AI should be standing back and casting spells. Not closing in to be killed. This is a War of Magic - so let use an AI that has sovereigns using magic! At the very least the enemy sovereign should be casting Spell Blast when it can target multiple units or Flaming arrow when it can target just one.
Step 2. AI Archer Strategy (Est: 3 days including coding and playtesting)
Never, do i see the AI building archer units. So, update the AI to have each side occassionally adopt an archer focused strategy. Furthermore, let there be 2 archer focused strategies:
- Archer Strategy #1 - An army dominated by archer units - about a 1 to 1 ratio of archer to melee units.
- Archer Strategy #2 - An infantry army supported by archer units - about a 1 to 4 ration of archer to melee units
- Tarthans: 01-100 Archer Based Strategy #1 - The Tarthans are 100% likely to follow an archer based strategy that fields an army built around archer units
- Altarians: 01-50 Archer Based Strategy #2 - The Altarians are 50% likely to pursue a strategy that has some archer units in their army, but not as many as the Tarthans
- Trogs: 01-30 Archer Based Strategy #2 - The Trogs are 30% likely to pursue a strategy that has some archer units in their army, but not as many as the Tarthans.
Step 3. AI will target enemy sovereign (Est: 1 day)
In 1.3 the AI ignores my spell casting sovereign while chasing my army units around the battle, even if if the AI unit is adjacent to my sovereign.
Step 4. Add morale effects and update AI to target leaders of the enemy army (needs to be playtested - does it improve the battle experience)
- Militia - 50% morale rating
- Experienced Troops - 70% morale
- Veteran Troops - 85% morale
- Elite Troops - 100% morale - their training ensures that they never fail a morale check
- Sovereigns and Champions - have a morale of 100% and never fail a morale check
A morale check is made if a sovereign is slain, the army commander is slain (the sovereign or highest level champion), or a soveriegn or champion flees the battle field.
Option 2: A morale check is triggered if a unit loses 50% of its strength. A failed morale check means that the unit attempts to flee the battle field - i.e. they run away - unless rallied by a sovereign or champion. It takes one movement point for a sovereign or champion to rally a unit. The chance to ralley a unit is Charisma x 5%.
Example: A miltia unit of 8 loses 4 members. It makes a morale check (50%) and fails. It automatically attempts to flee the battle field during its next movement turn. A champion of Charisma 10 has a 50% to rally this unit and call it back to battle.
This features increases the importance of recruiting champions and fielding experienced troops.
Step 5. Add tactical spells that affect the battle in different and interesting ways. (Est. 4 days + work of graphic artist for more spell effects)
- Rocky Terrain (Earth Magic) - all terrain become rocky, movement of all units (mounted and unmounted) is reduced to 1 tile per turn.
- Rock Maze (Earth Magic) - 25% of randomly selected unocuppied tiles become impassible
- Flatten Earth (Earth Magic) - Dispels Earth Magic Spells
- Forest Fire (Fire Magic) - All forest terrain is engulfed in fire, units entering or in these tiles suffer damage, sight range for all units is reduced to 3 tiles due to heavy smoke.
- Downpour (Water) - Line of sight and attack range for all units is reduced to 1 tile. Lasts for 2 turns. Dispels fire magic.
- Wolf Pack (Tactical Summons) - Summons a company of wolves to fight for the caster. Its not one wolf, but a horde of 100 wolves. Special Ability: Triggers Morale Check in Defending Unit.
- Eagles (Tactical Summons) - Summons a unit of giant eagles. These eagles can fly over army units to attack individual champions or sovereigns. Special Ability: Fly over unit
- Fear (tactical) - Affected unit must make a morale check.
- Earth Elemental (Tactical Summons) - summons the original WOM Earth Elemental, the one that can casts a spell that causes rocks to fall from the sky to pummel a unit.
Step 6. Update Tactical AI to take advantage of new spells (Est: 10 days)
Phase 2: Strategic AI
Phase 3: Ruins and Quests
Phase 4: Champions
This phases focuses on making champion units more interesting and enhancing the AI's ability to use them successfully.
01. Some champions can only be gained by completing a quest.
02. Some champions will only serve those of the Empire or Kingdom Fraction. If you attack them, they may attempt to flee the battlefield. If they flee, they are likely to join forces with a sovereign that opposes you. If you slay them you may recover any undamaged weapons or armor they were wearing.
03. Some champions will leave your service if you raze a city of their race.
04. Some champions (Spys) will report to you research sucesses of their races. This chance is based on their Intelligence stat. The chance to report a new discovery is Intel Stat x 3%. (Intel 8 = 24%, Intel 15 = 45%, Intel 20 = 60%).
- Example: An Altarian Champion of Int 15 has a 45% to report: My lord, my sources tell me that the Altarians have perfected heavy plate armor.
05. Champions can be of different races. If your sovereign is of high enough charisma he may recruit a champion from the opposite fraction.
- Example: A Wraith Sovereign of Charisma 20 can recruit an Altar champion. A Wraith Soveriegn of Charisma 8 cannot recruit an Altar champion.
06. Some wandering champions that appear to be weak will always decline offers to join a sovereign. These may be skilled warrior-mages (Level 5 Champion in heavy plate) that will use magic in combat. If you attack them your army is likely to suffer heavy losses and your sovereign would be wise to flee the battlefield.
Phase 5: Mounted Units
This phase focuses on having mounted units have a unique and real impact on the game while enhancing the AI to take advantage of mounted units at the strategic and tactical level.
Mounted units can move 2x the rate of unmounted units in overland movement and 4 tiles instead of 2 in tactical battles on clear terrain. Mounted units can be a counter to archer units.
Units armed with Pikes receive a bonus in combat vs mounted units.
Units attacked by mounted units may be forced to make a morale check.