Am I the only one who thinks this?

By on September 13, 2011 2:23:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Shadowplume

Join Date 08/2009
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There is a noticable difference between the playstyles of the Kingdom and Empire factions, but the only real difference between two kingdoms or empires (e.g. Altar and Tarth) is their color scheme. Stardock should alter or expand the individual races so that each provides variation in gameplay, strategy, and style, not just aesthetics.

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September 13, 2011 2:26:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yes.  I have noticed this and bitched several times.  I'm hoping that the different kingdoms will have different skills they can have their troops learn, maybe a few different spells, summons, and some unique buildings.  And more cosmetic difference then just the color too, like Tarth having different armor styles than Altar.  Hope, hope, hope.

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September 13, 2011 5:56:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This is a problem with most Stardock games. It took several expansions for Gal Civ II to give each species unique tech trees, buildings, etc. By the time Gal Civ II was done, they had made some nice improvements, but it was still a bit bland.

 

I think gameplay difference are really essential for Elemental. Since you can design units you can't have set, wildly different units for each faction. I really hope that FE will include a wider variety of designs that AIs will use, that take advantage of the new systems. So the Trogs will often field big nasty units with big nasty weapons, since they are bigger and stronger than anyone else. I want to care about who I am dealing with / fighting, and need to react differently.

 

The main thing Elemental needs to do to improve on its promise of Strategy Game in RPG world is present the lore in the game in ways  that impact gameplay, atmosphere, and immersion. This means gameplay differences but also little touches, like how things look and sound. I think the event and quest systems can really shine here if there are lots of them, and they are different for each faction.

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September 13, 2011 6:48:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Though, to be fair to Stardock, I think this is exactly why they hired Derek.

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September 13, 2011 7:24:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Brad said a long time ago that the Stardock (games?)teams are (software) enginers.

Enginers make practical things that WORK. How they look is unimportant.

Designers make the coolestlooking things they can IMAGINE!   HOW it works (and if it works AT ALL) is something somebody else has to think about....

 

Enginers make systems like "+10 to Agility" while designers do things like "ignores damage if hit by a creature with 5 or less damage but it can absorb damage inflicted upon its allies" which sounds like something from a MtG card.

 

In short, this is what Stardocks gameprogrammers make:

 

This is (I think & hope), what Derek and artists want to make:

 

Now we just hope that they can cooperate

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September 14, 2011 10:01:01 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

FE will be the Twilight of the Arnor of Elemental. It's all in journals my friends.

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September 15, 2011 10:41:21 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yes, the blandness (functional interchangeability) of the kingdoms and empires (nations for short) has been discussed many times on these forums.  Some distinictives between nations are added via soverign creation.  But this is minimal and interchanageble with other nations.  Yes, GalCiv3 did finally bring this to space.  And yes, hopelfully, bringing Kael and his FfH2 (best fantasy game of all - IMHO) may adress this need in EWoM. 

However, I sense SD is focusing most of Kael's energy on FE.  (Fine by me, BTW).

May I suggest that some of the modders out there (who have already made some wonderful changes to EWOM) each coordinate and pick a specific nation to mod.  Then coordinate so as to make them all compatable, and learn from one another the quirks of this partictular game engine.  maybe mod EWoM so it has nations that are truly destinctive and play in a unique mannesr, etc.   Not sure that the AI would be up to it... but who knows?

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September 15, 2011 11:00:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

There was a project going called Distinct Factions that aimed at making the initial factions more unique. I think it was abandoned due to lack of interest from the modders.

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September 16, 2011 11:37:58 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

We will have to see where FE ends up, and  what the plans are after that. If FE is good and has quality support for mods, I think we will see plenty of people eager to contribute mods and whatnot to it. FE may address many of these issues, and if it does a mod won't be needed.

 

There is also another expansion pack / update / sequel planned after FE. If that comes to fruition, the planned content of that will impact what people want to mod. I have been planning a mod with things like unrest for ages, but there is not much point in it now since FE is including that feature.

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September 16, 2011 12:24:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Campaigner,
Brad said a long time ago that the Stardock (games?)teams are (software) enginers.

Enginers make practical things that WORK. How they look is unimportant.

Designers make the coolestlooking things they can IMAGINE!   HOW it works (and if it works AT ALL) is something somebody else has to think about....

 

Enginers make systems like "+10 to Agility" while designers do things like "ignores damage if hit by a creature with 5 or less damage but it can absorb damage inflicted upon its allies" which sounds like something from a MtG card.

 

In short, this is what Stardocks gameprogrammers make: Reduced 63%Original 900 x 576

 

This is (I think & hope), what Derek and artists want to make: Reduced 63%Original 900 x 540

 

Now we just hope that they can cooperate
let me correct you, a industrial/product designer actually has to think about how both things work and how they look.  There are differences between designer hence why they all have different titles, Fashion designer, Industrial designer, Game designer and so on.  Even with that said all these designers actually DO have to think about HOW things work, if they didn't half the crap we see in games and tv wouldn't look believable. You can tell the difference between "designer" who half ass it and those who don't.

 

 

 

 

my point being, please don't generalize designers like you just have.

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September 16, 2011 6:44:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting OMG_blackmage,

my point being, please don't generalize designers like you just have.

 

Why not?   It's fun    You don't happen to be a designer..?

 

The example I was thinking about was (a competition, uni project, not sure but nvm) some guys in one team and some women in the other team.

 

The guys made this (let's say they were gonna make a mobilephone) incredibly complicated phone which had a boatload of features but also quite a few buttons and was hard to use properly.

 

The women on the other hand focused on ease of use. Their phone couldn't do much at all but it was a dream to navigate (makes me think of an iPhone which got a fantastic touchscreen) and anyone could use it.

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September 17, 2011 2:22:35 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So what have we heard about this issue in FE?

 

The most common thing I have heard mentioned is that Trogs are stronger, and thus can carry more equipment. What other gameplay differences have been confirmed?

 

I really hope that there will be significant differences between each faction in gameplay, but also in lore / events / atmosphere / etc. There is so much room to present this sort of thing, but WoM failed to do it. I think the world that Brad and co. designed is more interesting than generally given credit, but the player isn't  shown this in the game. If FE doesn't do a good job of tackling this issue, I think it should be a top priority of whatever comes after FE.

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September 17, 2011 1:04:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Campaigner,

Quoting OMG_blackmage, reply 9
my point being, please don't generalize designers like you just have.

 

Why not?   It's fun    You don't happen to be a designer..?

 

The example I was thinking about was (a competition, uni project, not sure but nvm) some guys in one team and some women in the other team.

 

The guys made this (let's say they were gonna make a mobilephone) incredibly complicated phone which had a boatload of features but also quite a few buttons and was hard to use properly.

 

The women on the other hand focused on ease of use. Their phone couldn't do much at all but it was a dream to navigate (makes me think of an iPhone which got a fantastic touchscreen) and anyone could use it.
Yes I am working to be a designer, maybe industrial, but I'm not quite sure yet which one they all hav things about them that fascinate me...or I could just work to be a illustrator and fine artist.... anyways I'll eat your soul!!!!

 

If it was a project the two teams more than likely would be working together the incorporate that best of both worlds, which is what both programers and artist do to make games...or supposedly. In many games art just out shines the game play and visa versa. If it was a contest their would be a system of rules and themes that both teams would have to stay within making their products more similar than different. I understand where your coming from, and just to bring stardock into this, they are more dedicated to the technical side of things so I doubt the artwork will every out shine that aspect. Look at elemental for example, its artwork was not horrible, but damn sure not great.I liked some of the 2-d work but the 3-d models just made me go bleh.

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September 19, 2011 4:47:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ElanaAhova,

May I suggest that some of the modders out there (who have already made some wonderful changes to EWOM) each coordinate and pick a specific nation to mod.  Then coordinate so as to make them all compatable, and learn from one another the quirks of this partictular game engine.  maybe mod EWoM so it has nations that are truly destinctive and play in a unique mannesr, etc.   Not sure that the AI would be up to it... but who knows?

We tried, but why spend time modding a game that no one will play anyway. WoM needs so much more than just distinct factions to become interesting and playable.

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September 20, 2011 3:47:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Magog_AoW,


We tried, but why spend time modding a game that no one will play anyway. WoM needs so much more than just distinct factions to become interesting and playable.

If that is the truth, then why do you play Elemental at all?

If you say so. Yes, it would be nice if the kingdoms and empires had more diversity (and they shall if I read the posts about FE right).

However, I like planing out my dynasty, scouting out the map for who has what and where. Then planning on how I'm going to "Take over the world!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJPFSNu_QNs

(Someone needs to make a mouse model to mod in a mouse race.)

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September 20, 2011 4:36:08 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting HarbingerLeo,

Quoting Magog_AoW, reply 13

We tried, but why spend time modding a game that no one will play anyway. WoM needs so much more than just distinct factions to become interesting and playable.

If that is the truth, then why do you play Elemental at all?

If you say so. Yes, it would be nice if the kingdoms and empires had more diversity (and they shall if I read the posts about FE right).

However, I like planing out my dynasty, scouting out the map for who has what and where. Then planning on how I'm going to "Take over the world!"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJPFSNu_QNs

(Someone needs to make a mouse model to mod in a mouse race.)

 

I think lots of people aren't playing WoM and are just waiting for FE. I've played around with WoM, and the last few patches have made improvements, although in some cases they have created new problems as well.

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October 4, 2011 7:13:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think that an easy way to accomplish unique factions with the current system is putting in items that are faction specific.

So for example, lets say that one faction gets a special 2-handed axe that gives a cleave-type ability. Another faction gets a special bow that shoots twice. Thats just weapons, you can also have special armor and accessories to further customize.

As you can see, by providing each faction with unique items, it allows you to create unique units, which makes the factions feel special and have new strategies available to them.  This along with a unique building for cities and perhaps unique spells, will fix this problem with a very small amount of work invested.

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October 5, 2011 2:36:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Agreed. HUGE clubs for the Trogs would be nice. And it doesn't sound all that complicated to incorporate, but hey, what do I know.

A nice idea none the less.

 

Tomas

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October 8, 2011 5:07:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Agreed - unique equipment would go a long way towards this. I'd especially like to see unique armor sets, even a variety of armor sets within each faction. In WoM everyone ends up looking the same. Armor design is one of the most visually interesting ways to differentiate factions, and it could have gameplay impact.

 

For example, Capitar has access to a variety of clean, standardized armor, representing their organization, knowledge, and wealth. The Capitar metal armors grant a higher defense. Meanwhile Tarth uses armor that is a bit more rugged. Tarth leather armor grants a higher defense. Finally, Altar's metal and leather armor is best suited for adventuring types, and weighs a bit less. Each set would look different in addition to the gameplay differences. Factions already have some unique clothing, so why not armor?

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October 11, 2011 5:42:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

@umbraangel  great aidea about faction specific weapons and armor.   To make it rreally effective, the itmes should be non-transferable, -- not able to be equiped by 'other' factions.  Further, they should scale with research just like 'mundane' equipment does. 

 

Regarding why bother?  cause so few people are playing EWoM, I guess thats true.   I havn't even reinstalled it to get ver 1.4    waiting for FE, and hopoing its system is more managebale for modding....  time will tell

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October 23, 2011 1:59:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Personally I think racial tech trees and similar are a poor solution to a real problem. Science is science and it's the same everywhere. The russians don't follow different laws of physics to anyone else. I know this is a game, but creating specific units, technologies and items and limiting them to certain factions is just reduces the number of people who get to see any given content. Look at RPGs like dungeons and dragons: elves don't have a different version of the fighter class to dwarves, they just have different base stats that encourage them to build their fighters in different ways, whilst not preventing them from following different builds in different scenarios. That's the best way to build a strategy game. If we had a simple stat system, where all mancers had base 11 (instead of 10) constitution and all their units had 10% extra hp, gilden had 11 intelligence and got 10% more income, trogs had 11str and got 10% extra damage, then those would be meaningful differences applied in a sensible, consistent, systematic way. It would also be easy for the player instead of trawling through endless text trying to work out whether the features of one faction were "better" than the other.

Some more equipment options would be really good though, I agree. People enjoy being creative with their units, but right now the options just aren't there. Some spiky, or sleek, or elaborate armour would make for a nice change. And what about banners, or cloaks with faction symbols on them?

But more than anything, I'd rather they just got the basic mechanics right in the first place. There's so much content that i've never bothered using in this game already, because it's just not competetive. So why add even MORE stuff that half the players will never see? I've never recruited monsters instead of troops, because it's just too fiddly to recruit them where you want them and the tech descriptions are just too confusing. I've never had the spells and mana to recruit a whole army of summons that was fun to use. There's no meaningful reason to choose blunt weapons instead of cutting ones. The speed advantage alone for mounted troops just isn't worth getting excited about. If you don't find metal, you can just get it through the adventure techs anyway, so there's never any reason to go down the low-tech, non armoured warfare routes.

Make these things worth having, and put me in situations where I have to use them, before adding in a load more redundant stuff. What about giving one faction a free horse resource so that they can go down the mounted route easily from early on? Or giving tarth a dexterity boost that improves their archery and encourages me to go archer heavy. Or an int bonus for wraiths that gives me more mana so I can summon more creatures. Why not have real, meaningful differences between weapon types, so that one factions trains elite disciplined pikemen, while another trains hard hitting berzerkers?Look at GalCiv 2. There's so many unrealised and limited systems in the game like the united planets, the trade system, the election system. There's no depth to designing ships, or reason to take small ships. The whole economy was pretty stinky to be honest. But these problems didn't get addressed, they just panicked and piled in the unique tech trees and the game, while in many ways wonderful, is a mess.

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October 23, 2011 5:31:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't think it was the point of your post but technological differentiation is a huge part of the medieval world. I think living in the 21st century has blinded you to exactly how different weapons were in times of yore. Wars were fought and won over the unique resources and weapon techniques of ancient kingdoms. From the Greek Hoplite to the English Longbow, slight differences and advantages were present not in each and every nation, but also in the minute factions of those nations. 

I this game we that and the extreme differences in race and history. Stronger races would naturally craft larger, less agile weapons. A nation with an abundance of wealth would of course import the finest mercenaries from across the seas. A bandit civilization would be apt to focus on quick strike weapons, such as the Tarthan Shortbow, and Javelin. 

 

From the rest of your post I see you haven't taken a look at the new weapon spreadsheet we got a month back. It has a pretty good view on the variety of tactics we can expect from FE's weapons. It won't be at all like WoM in that respect. 

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October 24, 2011 1:38:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting seanw3,
I don't think it was the point of your post but technological differentiation is a huge part of the medieval world. I think living in the 21st century has blinded you to exactly how different weapons were in times of yore. Wars were fought and won over the unique resources and weapon techniques of ancient kingdoms. From the Greek Hoplite to the English Longbow, slight differences and advantages were present not in each and every nation, but also in the minute factions of those nations. 

 

You're right it was not my point to underestimate these differences, and I gave several examples. But I think tech trees are a very crude, wasteful and inflexible way to enforce these kind of differences. To take one of your own examples, the greeks had large armies of well drilled hoplites because they had a large cosmopolitan population and could afford to equip and train their citizens as hoplites. Archery was too specialised and horses were scarce. Whereas the persians had more of a feudal society in which only the aristocracy were at all skilled fighters. They also had access to horses and elephants because of their geographical situation. Neither had a built in predilection to a certain type of warfare, they were products of their societies and geography.

We have all this kind of stuff already: you could say the monsters and wargs are analagous to horses and elephants, and elite troops are equivalent to hoplites. The problem is that the game doesn't make use of them or make them competetive with each other to anywhere near the extent required. Even when I deliberately set out to pursue a monster strategy, I always end up getting normal troops because it's easier to do so and they're just more effective. Horses are barely worth taking. Creating balanced mechanics that players will actually make use of on a regular basis is much preferable to, for example, leaving the current monster recruitment system largely unchanged, and instead just piling on new mechanics (for example, giving a certain faction a bonus Dire Aardvark unit that only they can research and which exists outside of the current system).

The game is supposed to be a sandbox. If you're going to differentiate factions, surely it is better to do so in broad, nudging ways than with specific, proscriptive bonus buildings and tech trees. Inherent differences between factions are great, but they should be based on where a race has come from rather than where they're going: the latter should be up to you. Your Dire Aardvarks start to look pretty silly if your faction spawns in the polar wastes. Surely far better to give the faction a discount to monster recruitment, so they can get yetis instead. If done well, these kinds of mechanics will produce all the same results that i think you are asking for, but they will do so in a more flexible and organic way, that doesn't waste content by restricting it to a certain faction.

I have indeed seen the weapon data sheets, and it's a great step forward for adding depth. My concern is that the idea of turning elemental into GalCiv 2 style rock paper sissors (with piercing, slashing and blunt weapons instead of lasers, mass drivers and missile) isn't really a very good one. Firstly because when it comes to armour plate is generally better than everything, against everything, so to make it worse against bludgeoning than chain mail is just silly (and the alternative is that everyone just makes a bee-line to the plate mail, which defeats the whole point). Mostly however because I don't think damage types are really the most important thing for modelling warfare realistically. And realism is important, because mechanics that model a system with a little realism produce intuitive results. When you stab someone in the back you expect him to die because you stabbed him in THE BACK, not survive because chain mail is good against daggers. When people have to learn your system to find out how war works you're doing something wrong.

Mechanics like weapon reach (spears vs cavalry), devastating cavalry charges and the tactical flexibility of sword n' shield are much more important IMO to good tactical combat than damage types. And i haven't seen anything to give me hope in this regard. I expect damage types to pale in significance to the current ONE BIG ATTACK VALUE system. Indeed, we've seen screenshots of unit design that allow you to equip an upgradeable blunt weapon, implying that weapons research will be a matter of discovering endlessly bigger attack values, rahter than what it should be which is a system where attack values increase very slowly (men were no stronger with clubs than in the middle ages), and new weapons instead give you more tactical options like pikes with enormous reach, bows with longer range, couched lances for devastating cavalry charges, and the like.

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October 24, 2011 4:42:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Excellent analysis. I wholeheartedly agree. The plate issue is quite bothersome, I think I had blocked it out. Fortunately I got pretty good at using the GalCiv2 system to make a pretty decent weapon realism mod. I will likely do the same for this game. Plate should be a superior armor. It should restrict movement, provide excellent defense against most weapons, lower initiative, and have a strength requirement. The techs that improve it should mostly affect mobility and spellcasting. 

Good thing the user can balance things too. But hey, maybe they got it right this time... 

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