[Discussion] WARFARE Technical Tree: Why?

By on January 31, 2012 12:19:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Vanadrom

Join Date 07/2006
+70

    Before we begin, the excuse: "If you don't like the Research Tree, just mod your game to have all of this research done. There, problem solved." Is not an acceptable response to this thread, as we are discussing the final product which will be sold and introduced to a public. 9 out of 10 players will not mod or adjust Elemental via its XML sheets, this shouldn't be depended on by anyone as a means to make the game perfect for anyone one player, especially the developers.

Introduction, Purpose of Thread

    On problem most players can agree upon is that at present Champions are extremely powerful, and they are far too useful. In response to this problem and search of solution I've decided to draw attention to the Warfare Technical Tree and other technologies which relate to War and why I feel that one of the root causes of the current champion issue may reside within those technologies. I'm opening this thread as a forum for discussion upon this topic, and for people to share ideas on why it is a good idea to keep within the game, or whether or not it needs to be looked upon in a far different light.

    After this introduction, I will be providing some detailed insights on some suggestions I would make to either phase out the Warfare Tree or to give it a complete overhaul. You may disagree with these insights, and that is perfectly acceptable. The idea is to open up a discussion to see if we as a community can come to some kind of consensus to help the game progress towards a better outcome. Hopefully this will thread will produce fruitful results, and I look forward to reading everyone's feedback.

OrleanKnight's Opinion & Suggestions

    I've made a similar post of this nature before on this forum, now I'm just refining it with greater detail. The original post was delivered in the The 2 biggest issues hindering replayability thread. After some further reading, I understand some people may have no fully understand my suggestions so I'm going to further break them down into even greater detail backed up with some of my reasoning. I as as welcoming to my opinions as you all are, and I understand that my outlook may not reflect a lot of people within this forum. Understand that I am a player of this game, I have purchased it and I would love to continue playing it in the future.

    Yet, this product is not yet a perfect one, and in my eyes far from it. I've read that many people still wish to keep the Tactical Combat as it is, so I've taken that into account when writing this thread too. Most of these suggestions apply to the game in its current state, and can be applied with some reasonable modifications.

What's The Problem With Warfare Tech?

    At present, the Warfare Tech tree is a collection of very basic items. The list primarily includes weapons, armor, mounts, squad, and army size with some refinements to states upon productions. These things are extremely critical to a player early game, but are denied the player entirely until late game. The game is treated as though it were an Age of Empire game in which the people do not know anything and have to learn it; however, unlike Age of Empires your nation isn't under attack by massive ogres and giant spiders.

    Because these things are so inaccessible to the player, Warfare may be overlooked entirely as players merely go around and collect armies worth of Champions. Since players can collect powerful weapons and armor from quests, fighting monsters, and battling enemy nations - the desire to research them becomes rather pointless. The player is coaxed towards forming large squads of Champions because it is a more cost effective and easier to maintain, not to mention faster to produce in order to proceed with the desire to keep fighting Tactical Battles and engaging larger and more dangerous enemies.

    Many players will desire to keep fighting in an almost constant basis, ensuring that every turn at the very least one or two Tactical battles to keep the game feeling engaging and fun. The Warfare Technical tree ends up becoming a back-burner type of thing, because Army units are never produced because they take far too long research, too expensive to make, and take far too large produce in Queue. You can spend 26 Seasons (6.5 years) waiting for a single squad of 5 soldiers to be produced - when in reality if your country was in dire need you'd slap a sword and shield in just about any able bodied man's hand and push him out the door in matter of hours. In the time it takes me to produce army units at present, they practically pop out with a PHD in Poking Spiders with Sticks.

    Cities are a factor in this problem, cities try to do too many things with just a single building Queue - I will explain this in depth later. While this is fine, the idea feels to have been carried over from GalCiv 2. As I've argued before, Elemental: FE is not GalCiv 3, and needs to be treated like a different creature entirely, especially now that combat is much more frequent and questing is part of the equation. These are concepts that were not in GalCiv 2, and they feel out of play within Elemental for several reasons. The fact of the matter is, the player needs an army, and a player should be able to devote resources to constructing that army very quickly from turn 1.

Warfare Tech Tree & Army Related Techs Completely Unlocked From the Start?

    The Warfare tech tree is currently utilized as a means to inhibit the player from building an army, rather than a way for them to make one. Remove it and implement most of its features into the game from the start. Even so, the only clear restriction that will prevent a person from making army units now will just be a lack of resources like gildar, ore, crystals, and mounts. This feels like reasonable restrictions anyway, the additional waiting time for things to research and then queue in production is just cruel and laughable at the same time. There are potentially a few people who will not find this an enjoyable gaming experience, I assume this because I am one of those people - it displeases me so much that I've devoted several hours on multiple days to produce these forum posts in hope to translate my displeasure to constructive feedback.

    Fallen Enchantress already has the pieces in place, they just have to be arranged correctly for things to feel more solid. Already we can battle Darkling Camps, Ogre Camps, and Drake Camps. After we defeat them, we get a nice message that they can now join our cause. Great, but the problem they really haven't joined our cause until...

  1. We've Complete Researching Cooperation (Civilization).
  2. We've completed Researching Bonding Ceremony (Civilization).
  3. We've completed Researching Wildland Allies (Civilization).
  4. Battled and Defeated an Ogre Camp.
  5. Waited 10+ Seasons to Train a Pioneer
  6. Waited several more seasons for that Pioneer to Travel to the Camp.
  7. Created an Outpost by the Camp.
  8. Waited for the Ogre Camp to get done constructing to Unlock Ogres.
  9. Designed a Unit.
  10. Sent that Unit to Queue.
  11. Waited 10+ Seasons for it complete.

    This feels like a long road that is largely needless, especially when it deals with Ogres, Drakes, and Darklings. You might argue, yes but that hard work allows you to constantly keep making more Ogres forever and ever. Why? Will I ever need that many Ogres? Will I ever desire to have a huge army of them? Maybe, but unlikely. There are some players out there who will want an entire army of just Ogres, and you know what is acceptable - but perhaps we can figure a way to allow them to accomplish that faster without having to devote so many work into what should be a far easier goal.

    If I desire to have Ogre units, perhaps the better method might be:

  1. Locate and attack an Ogre camp to make them submit to your cause.
  2. Once the Camp Submits, the Camp is yours! You own, it you gain a Sphere of Influence around it.
  3. Ogres can now be produced from that Camp for a fee, and will be generated and constructed AT THAT CAMP, not your City.
  4. The Camp is yours to do with as you please, you can even move it if you want or attach it to a Fortress (Forward Bases explained later) for safe keeping.

    Because the Camp is yours, enemy nations can attack it and take control of it. But of course, they will also have to battle against Ogres just as you did from the beginning. The Ogres should defend themselves and not need any standing guards. Note, that if you were to attach the Ogre Camp to another structure you own, Ogres will lose their pride and not defend it unless you create Ogres and force them to do it. Moving an Ogre camp could also create Unrest in certain places, especially if you attach them to a city!

    Note, Ogres were utilized as an example. I would also like to apply these very same methods to Darklings, Drakes, and whatever other monsters that can worked into that system.

Army For Hire

    Understanding my previous suggestion about Ogres leads me into the next one. At present, Champions litter the map and sit around waiting for you to come by and pay them a fee in order to earn their services. I am not impressed by this feature, and feel that Champions are better suited as Quest Rewards rather than vending machines of death. At the beginning of the game your Sovereign is pretty lonesome and has little money and resources. Instead of Champions sitting around waiting for be hired, there should be packs of soldiers. Depending on your choices, you can choose to battle them or hire them.

    Now soldiers should also include humans as well as monsters. I should see a pack of spiders as a possible ally, not a constant threat. Early game I would hope to approach them and tame them for a either a cost of mana or gold. This way I can build a small army within the first few seasons and begin performing larger tactical battles that don't depend on my Sovereign or Champion being some sort of super hero. The only downside to monster allies is that I will not be able to customize them in the future (explained later). Or maybe I could, that's really up to the developers. Armored Spiders doesn't seem like a bad idea, but may not be reasonable at this stage in development.

    With plenty of wandering units I can hire, I can start to collect gear for myself and my army. This leads me to my next suggestion, Army Units should also have an equipment window that is very similar to Champions just with different forms of equips that are utilized for basic units only. This means that not all loot you collect will just be your Sovereign and/or Champions, but also for your Army units as well!

Customizing and Gearing Your Army

The ability to Design Units is well and good, but this shouldn't be the only way to customize them. Basic Army units really need to be treated like champions too, they too level up and gain more health and power. I don't like the idea that I have to constantly replace them with another unit I'm producing when I could just simply outfit them differently at a whim. Allowing me to outfit them differently can give me a chance to think about what I am fighting, and allow me to make adjustments to my army before I engage in a battle. If I am battling a large Storm Dragon, I should be able to plan ahead and increase my army's defenses by giving them fewer numbers and more gear - maybe even gear that has resistance to elements.

As armies are produced, I should be able to gear them at any shop. All equipment should be available to me, but at a cost of more than just Gildar. Let's say I want to outfit my army with plate, well it should cost me a fee and some iron ore as well. Let's say I want to give them power enchanted weapons, that will instantly consume iron and crystals too upon purchase. I can keep these adjustments in an army inventory that is not physically attached to any unit, but sort of like a bank I can share between all armies.

Let's assume that when I began the game, I took notice to a pack of wandering scouts. Three archers with bows who randomly happened my way. I approached them, for a dirt-cheap fee I hired them on to follow my cause and aid me in developing my great nation. They begin to level up with me, but as they do I've collected a set of advanced bows as loots which increased their overall damage by +1 and then I opened the shop and finally bought them some reasonable leather gear.

As I level, so do they. When I am able to now mine some more resources I open the show and buy them some more powerful bows with iron-tipped arrows increasing their damage by +5. Then I loot some very nice +3 Def Unit-Armor which I equip to them and put their old leather gear back in my inventory to be either equipped by another unit or sold off to help fund my army. Heck, after a few levels they suddenly gain a nice Volley Fire upgrade which allows them to do more damage but at a slower fire rate. In short, treat army units like champions.

Army Specific Equipment should include:

  • Stat increases.
  • Elemental Resistance.
  • Special Attacks and Abilities.
  • Bonuses to Special Attacks & Abilities.
  • Special Rare traits like 'Dragon Killer' or 'Spider Killer'.

The Design Unit should remain, but really should only be used for generating new units as normal, but please remove that silly 'Upgradable' option.

Adjusting the Squad Size

    Bigger may not be better when it comes to putting together an army. I like the idea of allowing a player to be able to choose the size of the squad from the start of the game, and the only penalty really could be that a larger units demands great resources. Ultimately you should be able to fill out an army from the start, but it's all about just finding people to join your cause, be able to afford their upkeep, and being able to produce the resources to continue to upgrade those units as they level up. You can customize them at anytime, adjusting their squad size at will. Just not that amending more people to the squad will demand a down payment of resources upfront to generate that unit on the fly and will permanently increase that unit's seasonal upkeep.

    Downsizing a squad is possible, but you will not get your spent resources back if you do downsize it and will have to spend them again when increasing that squad size. Yet, the bonus to downsizing is that you can reduce the squad's overall upkeep costs.

You've Earned my Allegiance Sovereign, I wish to join your cause!

    Champions, as I mentioned before, should be rare and special. These few and powerful members of the world are great leaders and are capable of spear heading your legions into battle with great abilities and powers. But before we proceed into explaining how we obtain these, let's first look over some interesting flaws that may not work out.

    First of all, let's get rid of the Technology like the Letter. Keep it for Quests, sure - but remove it for overall requirements to gain champions. This is pretty silly. Champions should be rich, story driven characters that give your army some life and flair and some really unique qualities and appearances. Champions shouldn't be carbon copies of your Sovereign, they should be living and breathing entities that grow and develop in their own unique way. For starters, it'd be nice if they were randomly generated. Mixing in a whole bunch of factors, such as race, species, stats, and available development trees.

    Let me clarify, because Champions shouldn't be carbon copies of the Sovereign this means they could be human or creatures. Monsters should also be Champions, and in fact rare and fancy looking monsters too like a brilliant White Winged Angel or a Golden Gryphon for a pair of quick examples. A Sphynx or Golbin king, a Bandit Queen or Lord of the Undead. These can be not only generated at random, but attached to quests as well. As a Sovereign, you should impress a Champion by doing a chain of quests for his or her favor. Before you begin, you should clearly see that the reward is that Champion and be able to investigate their basic stats and traits from the Quest Dialogue box so you can make the choice of whether or not they may be what you truly seek.

    Finishing the Quest Line will have them join your cause at no cost, you've impressed them enough. Some may or may not have magical abilities already and have use of the mana bar. If they don't, then you can imbue them all you like. As they level, you can begin to work them towards the path you want. Some Champions will have randomly generated traits available, and these will be clearly identified as a RANDOM PATH you can choose when they level for the first time under your command.

    If you choose any other path, like Warrior, Mage, Assassin, etc.. They will be forced to follow that path and generate states and abilities which reflect that every few levels. When they level, you should mainly be able to adjust their states. Only occasionally will you be able to adjust their traits and abilities, and even when you can if should only be towards the path you picked from the start. Example:

  • Warrior Path: Will only specialize in STR/DEX/HP Stats and Melee Abilities.
  • Mage Path: Will only specialize in magical damage increases and CERTAIN spells. You will have to pick and choose which spells they use. Sorry, no ARCHMAGE of all schools of magic here.
  • Paladin Path: Combination of Warrior/Mage paths.
  • Assassin Path: Specialize in DEX, Speed, and certain abilities.
  • Random Path: Draws from all of these paths and more to develop your hero at a whim.

    Ultimately, Champions should not be gods the battlefield but still very powerful things that hold their own and inspire those around them. They really should have a lot of positional based abilities which give bonuses to army units nearby, promoting the idea of them being side-by-side with their army instead of tanking a whole enemy force solo.

Taking Army Construction Outside the City Walls

    My biggest and most complicated suggestion is the idea of taking Army building outside the city. Late in the game, it begins to get difficult to manage many cities on the map - most of which were created a bases to establish claim over a resource or to increase your zone of influence against an enemy nation to prevent their further growth. Seldom does a Sovereign player figure "Hey, this looks like a nice spot to development my humble city of Humbleton and achieve peace and love throughout the world." In most cases, at least with this player (the author of this post), I desire to build cities as stations or launching points for war!

    I am constantly annoyed by the uselessness of Outposts, and the inability to properly have them guarded by forces. They are lifeless objects which project a zone of influence and nothing more. I protest to this, and feel that we can do better. Outposts can be completely replaced by a concept I call, Forward Bases, these are better known as Forts. They can be called Outposts in later version, I don't care - but for this post and suggestion purposes I'm going to call them Forward Bases as to not cause confusion with my readers.

    Forward Bases are in short Outposts, but they are not built by Pioneers. I feel Pioneers are better suited for City founding, and shouldn't be used for anything else. Forward Bases are city-like instances that are built by Sovereigns or Champions, on any terrain, in any sphere of influence, without restriction. Naturally, if you choose to build a base inside an enemy kingdom, they are going to be angry and take it as an act of aggression and declare war.

    They are founded by Sovereigns and Champions as I stated before, but demand an upfront cost of resources. The population is not instant growth, were the play to let the base manage this it would slowly grow in population per season. Yet a player can select it and draw a large population from any nearby city up to a cap. That cap is determined a bit later.

    These bases are in fact MINI-CITIES, and share many of the common traits - including building construction; however, there one key difference - their Queue. Unlike Cities, these bases can construct Builds & Train units at the exact same time. The structures built upon a Fortress are merely upgrades to its capacity.

Forward Base Upgrades May Include:

  • Supply Depots - Increase the population cap of your Forward Base.
  • Better Defenses - Build higher walls and manned turrets to automatically battle against foes who attack.
  • Training Facilities - Increase the production rate of army squads, as well as improve their base stats.
  • Standards and Flags - Increase your zone of influence and reduce Unrest.
  • Trade Post - Redirect Nearby caravan paths to this fort for faster trading. 
  • Breeding Post - Increased acquisition of rare resources.

    Additionally, you can choose to attach claimed settlements of Darkling, Ogres, Drakes, and more to a Fortress of your choosing. This will allow that fortress to produce the monster type instead of having to select the camp you've claim to produce those units. But doing so will increase unrest and increase upkeep of the Forward base.

    Increased Unrest in a Forward Base will slow down the process of training units and building upgrades.

    Forward Bases cannot grow endlessly larger like cities, they only have a limited number of slots. Attaching claimed settlements takes up slots, as well as every upgrade. No Forward Base can ever have every upgrade. This means you will have to choose to which bases specialize in what, and you may have to build several bases close together if you want to have a large production facility for your army.

    Forward Bases will also have a dramatically increased production flow of army units, which means far less seasons than your average City. Allowing a player to quickly produce several armies as needed to engage in full scale war against a nation. This can also mean much more dynamic and interesting armies can be designed.

What About Mounts and Wargs?

    Mounts and Wargs are considered a rare resource in this game, and should also be treated in the same manner. You can still capture Horse and Warg stations as you do at present, but I feel that once you capture them you can choose to move them. You can choose to move them to a Forward Base, and then upgrade that base into a Breeding Post to produce more of those units as needed. You can create a Warg station, move several Warg resources to it and upgrade - producing a large amount of Wargs to feed your growing Wolf-Mounted armies at a larger and productive rate. You can also move these bases DEEP into your own territory to keep them safe, as Wargs and Horses will remain a global resource.

Conclusion

Okay, I just spent the better part of my day writing these out in more refined detail. I hope you can respect my opinions and outlooks as I hope to respect yours. I hope you all take this feedback to heart and post interesting ideas of yours own. Please try to withhold from simple statements like "I Agree" and "I Disagree". Express what you feel may or may not work with thought, and try to think about every outcome that the consumer base may want. I adjusted my suggestions considerably because I wanted to make sure these ideas were fun for everyone, not just myself. I hope you approach these and your own suggestions with the same consideration of your fellow player base.

 

 

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January 31, 2012 12:33:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I've long ago abandoned specific arguments about the game mechanics. But, also quite some time ago, I came to believe that magic should be the only research tree in the game and that the other abilities and assets should be gained through developing cities, trading, and recruiting champions. The devs seem to have decided to drop from four to three trees. I'm hoping that for the first true Elemental 2, they might consider simplifying the tree part of the game even further. As-is, the non-magic trees are a bit of an immersion breaker for me because they strongly imply that players are developing along the lines of Civilization and not recovering from a Cataclysm. In settings like Elemental, you don't invent fancy armor crafts, you rediscover them.

Re the specifics in your long and thoughtful post, I'm quite intrigued by the Taking Army Construction Outside the City Walls section. From before the first beta, I wanted the ability to build meaningful fortifications separate from cities, but that apparently runs up against the Too Complicated barrier. Perhaps we'll see the devs who like complication in their TBS games claim an entire expansion pack for our crowd and create an un-modded version of FE that will have strong appeal to folks who like to play or watch old-school wargames, the kind that have fat rule books and take up multiple map tables and cases and cases of figs. 

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January 31, 2012 12:45:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

What is "Too Complicated" for me is having to build an entire city just to build army units, that's way too much work and way too much management to get the desired outcome: Armies. The idea of building Forts, aka-Mini Cities, will dramatically reduce the need to build so many cities, will require far less building and management, and in the end will reduce the game's over world load on the memory because there are far less structures to render out.

Ultimately, it feels like making Forward Bases would be the best way to in fact "Simplify" things. At least for the player, or was the Too Complicated complaint made by the developments, meaning it was too difficult for them to design?

 

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January 31, 2012 1:15:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thanks for posting this. I have been a little bored on the forums. It seems like people are so caught up in how to fix heroes and regulars, many other parts are overlooked. I would ask you to quickly go through and number your points so we can reference them easier. There are also a few typos that prevent us from understanding what you are saying: Champions for should be carbon copies of your Sovereign? Other than that I like much of what you bring to the table. 

 

The first thing I thought, when I finally finished this, is that you are often taking things in the opposite direction of how the devs apparently envision the game. Take it from a very deluded beta tester from WoM when I say, the first thing we need to do is analyze the features to see exactly what the vision and scope of the game is. I will try to point out a few things I noticed in your OP that seem to take the game in a different direction, not that I think it is a bad thing, but it's not likely to be seriously considered. (This will be a long area only addressing how your ideas relate to the vision of the devs as I see it and how difficult it would be to do them.)

-You seem to be totally missing the game mechanic that allows us to upgrade regular soldiers. It's broken right now, so I can see why you might not have included it in your analysis. As a user of GalCiv2:TA, I can say with certainty that upgrading units will do pretty much everything you described in the section about armies getting an equip function. The idea for regular troops is that they are ordinary men, only as good as the weapon in their hands. In GalCiv we had an easy interface for units that allowed us to design and upgrade at will. I could make 6 variations on a unit and then go to a group of units and decide which design I want each one to upgrade to. It was wonderful and I hope it is being implemented here. The devs have hinted at major UI changes. So you could get a special tech that unlocks a new spear and then design a better unit with that weapon. Adding this in inventory format would require major time and add to inventory management.

-Having units build at a Lair or moving the resource generation to a city would take alot of work and not really change the game that much. The current vision seems to be that your influence is where people live and travel. It is where you can influence the world. This is why all lairs must be within that influence to allow you to train them. Training of this type would mean teaching them to take commands in your language and to follow orders well. Exactly like basic training in the military. It would warp the game balance I think they are going for if every lair you conquered generated any influence. Especially if you are allied and happen to clear a lair in their territory.

-Squad size is supposed to relate to how efficient your nation is at coordinating an attack. The goal here is to allow incremental increases to the total army sizes throughout the game. Allowing all of this to happen at turn one deletes that whole part of the game. The devs want armies to evolve with dedicated effort to improve. 

-You seem to contradict yourself by saying that you want heroes to be story driven characters as well as randomly generated. The devs have indicated on the forums and with design that they too want them to have a story. I think this is simply an area that is yet to be realized. I would expect to see more heroes coming from quests or perhaps each hero requiring a quest to join your cause. 

-As to heroes, the devs vision seems to want the player to have heroes that are suited for specific paths. One path seems to be leadership. I would expect some more content in this area to match it up with the other paths. 

-Outposts do have some interesting potential, but it seems like the plan for training is to be set only in cities. They require population and labor. If you added those to outposts, you would essentially be better off just building a city. They might add defensive features to outposts and even some militia, but I wouldn't expect a mini-city design any time soon. 

-It does seem likely to see some improvements that increase the resources gained from stables. We will have to wait until the improvement system is upgraded before much can be said about this. 

 

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January 31, 2012 1:30:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


I have to disagree with some of your conclusions.  I have played several games of FE since I got my beta invite and for sure the first time round I gathered as many champions as I could and went around monster pounding and thought hey thats kinda fun.  So much better than how useless Champions were in WoM.  After all when they marched ot the Black Gate at the end of the Lord of the Rings, who was it that Sauron was worried about 10,000 soldiers or the collection of heroes and a wizard.

The next game I made a point to develop some martial tech earlier and fielded a more diversified army of more stacks with archers and spears mixed in with some champs instead of one or two charachter stacks. As I developed more tech I kept mixing the better units in.   I was actually able to dominate the board MORE effectivly earlier and spread my empire better that way.  So the tech trees make you make choices about how you are going to progress, are you going to focus on economic tech and hope you can form an amazing economy that will make you unbeatable in the endgame if you dont get attacked early?  Are you going to focus on magic and be a charachter based army that cant produce good rank and file soldiers?  Are you going to research martial tech as part of your early mix so you can station decent garrisons and make your armies more than just a fellowship of champions?  This is where the lack of multiplayer hurts, cause the AI shows no inclination to strike early when the opportunity arises.

Quite frankly if you dont like empire building/city building/knowledge building games you should play something that goes more along the lines of what you are looking for.  I HATED Sword of the Stars because it was all about making big fleets and pounnding on other empires.  NO economy, very little manegment.

On the other hand I really like your comments about making dens/camps etc that you conqure to be places to recruit those kinds of troops, particularly when those trrops tend to not evolve with tech.  I also agree to cut down the amount of time it takes to produce units and a dual track for building/producing would be a nice addition.  You can train archers at the same time you build a library, so let us do that in our cities.

I also agreed with your comments on champions.  Make there be some epic quest lines where you recruit a cool ally to your cause.  And make the types of champions available be more divirsified.  Some of them should excell at city management etc instead of just fighting.  And make the fighting styles more different make some of them archers and some casters in thier own right without the king imbuing them that know thier own schools of spells. 

I like tha fact that your arguments were coherent and well thought out even though I didnt agree with some of your core assertions.

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January 31, 2012 2:26:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting seanw3,

-You seem to be totally missing the game mechanic that allows us to upgrade regular soldiers. It's broken right now, so I can see why you might not have included it in your analysis. As a user of GalCiv2:TA, I can say with certainty that upgrading units will do pretty much everything you described in the section about armies getting an equip function.

Your assumptions are incorrect. I'm fully aware of GalCiv2, have played it for years and am a proud owner of all of its expansions. I didn't exactly feel that this mechanic would work for Elemental, and already there is an inventory screen for your Champions and Sovereign currently in the game. All I'm asking is to apply to normal units as well, to allow us to freely not only upgrade them at will, but to also physically adjust them for different foes we may be facing at different times - instantly without a production queue. This is far superior than the old GalCiv2 design, and all of the functions to do it are already in the game.


-Having units build at a Lair or moving the resource generation to a city would take alot of work and not really change the game that much. The current vision seems to be that your influence is where people live and travel. It is where you can influence the world. This is why all lairs must be within that influence to allow you to train them. Training of this type would mean teaching them to take commands in your language and to follow orders well. Exactly like basic training in the military. It would warp the game balance I think they are going for if every lair you conquered generated any influence. Especially if you are allied and happen to clear a lair in their territory.

I feel you may be over thinking this one. That much is clear when you say, "Training of this type would mean teaching them to take commands in your language and to follow orders well." This is something that has nothing to do with the game's overall design, and is a poor excuse to try and debunk a good idea. If you defeat them in combat and take control of the camp, it's pretty clear "Teaching them take commands" is not part of the equation here, you're outright enslaving them and forcing them to fight for you.

-Squad size is supposed to relate to how efficient your nation is at coordinating an attack. The goal here is to allow incremental increases to the total army sizes throughout the game. Allowing all of this to happen at turn one deletes that whole part of the game. The devs want armies to evolve with dedicated effort to improve.

I fail to see how my suggestions do not allow armies to reflect how efficient a nation is. If you choose to make larger squads, it increases the amount of gold and resources it requires to purchase that unit. Also, increased numbers means a large upkeep to supply that unit while it exists on the map per season. People at the beginning of the game cannot afford these resources and certainly cannot afford a massive upkeep of large squads every season. The idea is to have that available at the start of the game not a way to throw out large armies faster, but as a way to avoid needless technology researching for such a basic feature. Clearly you are not on the same page here, and perhaps should not skim my suggestions and try reading them.

-You seem to contradict yourself by saying that you want heroes to be story driven characters as well as randomly generated. The devs have indicated on the forums and with design that they too want them to have a story. I think this is simply an area that is yet to be realized. I would expect to see more heroes coming from quests or perhaps each hero requiring a quest to join your cause.

-As to heroes, the devs vision seems to want the player to have heroes that are suited for specific paths. One path seems to be leadership. I would expect some more content in this area to match it up with the other paths.

I do not see this a contradiction, as you are given this choice after you have completed the quest and the hero has joined you cause. You are fully aware of their story at this point, and will make the choice of how you wish to development them further to match your armies and play style. When it comes to the idea of having story driven / randomly generated hero types, you can create a various scripts with different outcomes and the script selects from a pool of possible hero combinations that best fit that quest type. That shouldn't be overly complicated, and allows games to be different each time you play.

-Outposts do have some interesting potential, but it seems like the plan for training is to be set only in cities. They require population and labor. If you added those to outposts, you would essentially be better off just building a city. They might add defensive features to outposts and even some militia, but I wouldn't expect a mini-city design any time soon.

Building a city requires vastly more time and resources, needless structures and annoying pop-up screens reminding you when a city levels up and is idle. The idea of the Outposts/Forward Bases/Forts is to not make "Cities with a different name" but much smaller, tightly compact cities that allow you to focus purely on military output. There is no possible way you can argue that making a vast, sprawling city which forces you to make dozens of needless building to upgrade to various levels just to increase unit production is in anyway better or less complicated. You're knocking off the idea of the 'mini-city' in what sounds like a ploy to embrace the laziness of the developers.

Ahzag - Quite frankly if you dont like empire building/city building/knowledge building games you should play something that goes more along the lines of what you are looking for.  I HATED Sword of the Stars because it was all about making big fleets and pounnding on other empires.  NO economy, very little manegment.

I like tha fact that your arguments were coherent and well thought out even though I didnt agree with some of your core assertions.

Thank you, but the idea of 'Play Something Else' feels a bit rude. The idea of Elemental is to embrace several different play styles, I'm simply offering my reflection on how to make some of those play styles easier. The current game feels like it's overly complex just for the sake of being overly complex. There is no way I could defend the current Warfare Tech-Tree in any possible way simply because it doesn't feel like a real asset towards making the game fun for a larger crowd.

Not to mention, these ideas I've proposed are mainly thought out for a much more advanced and extremely aggressive AI. Players can make the choice to defend themselves at a much swifter rate if they are under constant attack from neighboring kingdoms. At present, the landscape of the world is far too quiet because the AI isn't smart and doesn't know how to be aggressive. This puts your argument into question.



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January 31, 2012 2:31:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I really like most of the points in the OP.

If this was a mod I would have it installed for sure and doubt I would play 'vanilla' again afterwards! I haven't looked at the XML but I would think many of the suggestions would be moddable.

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January 31, 2012 4:01:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting OrleanKnight,
You may disagree with these insights, and that is perfectly acceptable. The idea is to open up a discussion to see if we as a community can come to some kind of consensus to help the game progress towards a better outcome.

Your replies to my observations were a little less than discussion. You seem to have dismissed them out of hand as being "a ploy to embrace the laziness of the developers." I have yet to comment on what I think of your ideas. My post was merely about vision and implementation. How much have you looked into the xml to see if your ideas are easily implemented? That is the question I was raising. I can see how that might have caused some to draw the conclusion that I am for the vision I have seen in the game. I am not. There is much I would change, but I find it more useful to the beta process to work within the devs' goals, else I am wasting my time here. I applaud your ambition towards your ideas, but perhaps thinking of ways to convince the devs that your ideas can fit well into their plan is a better way to approach the situation. I always make sure my ideas can be modded in after release. I find no value in impracticality. 

Also, I read your entire post twice (six times now ). At times you are less than clear when you write. That can cause confusion. 

 

Quoting OrleanKnight,
I feel you may be over thinking this one. That much is clear when you say, "Training of this type would mean teaching them to take commands in your language and to follow orders well." This is something that has nothing to do with the game's overall design, and is a poor excuse to try and debunk a good idea. If you defeat them in combat and take control of the camp, it's pretty clear "Teaching them take commands" is not part of the equation here, you're outright enslaving them and forcing them to fight for you.

I may be overthinking this. I do not think it is a poor excuse. I care more about the story than most, admittedly. Sure an empire would enslave the units, but let's discuss this without lore for a second. Your proposal leaves that spot on the map blank. It prevents the AI from pillaging it and stopping your flow of resources. The concept of resource tiles in this game rewards a city that can connect to a resource by allowing the city to defend it. taking the tile away and transferring it to a city or outpost would be contrary to the way all other resources work. That is a problem. You should have to defend the tile you find it on. Control of your territory needs to matter. Not to mention how complicated the threads ingame would be for moving resources. That would take up more computing time. 

On a personal note, I love the idea and wish it could be a special trait for empires. There is little distinction between them and Kingdoms right now. 

 

Quoting OrleanKnight,
I fail to see how my suggestions do not allow armies to reflect how efficient a nation is. If you choose to make larger squads, it increases the amount of gold and resources it requires to purchase that unit. Also, increased numbers means a large upkeep to supply that unit while it exists on the map per season. People at the beginning of the game cannot afford these resources and certainly cannot afford a massive upkeep of large squads every season. The idea is to have that available at the start of the game not a way to throw out large armies faster, but as a way to avoid needless technology researching for such a basic feature. Clearly you are not on the same page here, and perhaps should not skim my suggestions and try reading them.

I understand what you are proposing. You want to have the economy of the player limit the number of soldiers in a unit. The vision for the game is to recognize the complicated nature of large armies and require mastery of the art of warfare to decide the limit of soldiers in a unit. That is compounded by the number of units in an army. A steady progression. The current system also allows a larger unit to have the same upkeep as a smaller one. This indicates that a focus on efficiency has led to a better unit. In your system monetary opportunity cost would decide unit strength, in theirs it is research opportunity cost.  

I think your method would be a nice specialty option for people that choose the Civic Tree over the Warfare Tree. I think both options are viable and yours would be easily implemented with only a few hours of work. This might be one area you should advertise more strongly. Give some examples of the two systems and why yours is also necessary. 

 

Quoting OrleanKnight,
I do not see this a contradiction, as you are given this choice after you have completed the quest and the hero has joined you cause. You are fully aware of their story at this point, and will make the choice of how you wish to development them further to match your armies and play style. When it comes to the idea of having story driven / randomly generated hero types, you can create a various scripts with different outcomes and the script selects from a pool of possible hero combinations that best fit that quest type. That shouldn't be overly complicated, and allows games to be different each time you play.

The scripted system you propose is in no way similar to anything we have in the game. It would take alot work for the small benefits it would reap. Currently we have a system where every hero has a story that is specifically about them. Each one has a specialization, strengths and weaknesses. You can even create your own and add them to the game. I do not see an incentive for the devs to change this, but there may be many changes to heroes in the coming months.

I am very much for having quests unlock champions. To me, I would rather have some regular troops as mercenaries roaming the land that you can buy with gold. Heroes should require more effort. I posted my ideas on how Paths should work here. I would also love a random hero generator, but that would be better served as a mod tool IMO.

 

 

Quoting OrleanKnight,
Building a city requires vastly more time and resources, needless structures and annoying pop-up screens reminding you when a city levels up and is idle. The idea of the Outposts/Forward Bases/Forts is to not make "Cities with a different name" but much smaller, tightly compact cities that allow you to focus purely on military output. There is no possible way you can argue that making a vast, sprawling city which forces you to make dozens of needless building to upgrade to various levels just to increase unit production is in anyway better or less complicated. You're knocking off the idea of the 'mini-city' in what sounds like a ploy to embrace the laziness of the developers.

Your way is certainly less complicated, but it is not in any way on the same page as this game. The whole concept of building an army is inextricably linked to cities. Forward Bases would separate population and labor from units. It would encourage city spam. It would require a rebalancing of nearly every aspect of the game. I said before that this idea would probably not be considered by the devs. 

Personally I do not like it. There is balance in the current system that prevents city spam at every resource. Your Forward Bases would cause greater city spam to train units. Even any limits you put on those Bases would essentially be splitting the current city into two places on the map. That does not appeal to me. Also, as a strategist, I have to say that a Forward Base is not where troops are trained or resources gathered. That is done at home and shipped to Forward bases. I like outposts because they solve so many problems and create a sense of strategic realism for me. I think adding possible upgrades to them through the tech system is a great idea. That would at least satisfy some of your proposal. I would also like to see regular troops being able to establish an outpost. That is how it's done in reality. 

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January 31, 2012 4:37:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Perhaps the game should be about Ghandi- esque pacifists who never develop an offense or defense

 

Sorry that just popped into my head when I read the thread title 

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January 31, 2012 5:08:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Regarding the warfare technology I think better would be a compromise.

Technology trees offer various possible strategies, so i would not like warfare to be gone. However, i would remove most of weapons/armor from there. Bows, axes, swords and all kinds of armors should be available since the beginning. I would keep army size there, together with weapons upgrades (both for stats and special abilities) and magical weapons/armors. 

This would allow since the beginning of the game players to field light/heave infrantry, archers, cavalery etc. depending only on resources/population, which in turn would permit to field good/interesting/mixed armies early on (providing that they can be produced independently from city upgrades ...). Right now at any given time i usually produce only one or two types of soldiers (the best ones - heaviest damage and armor). I would like to have a choice between fast and chip light infantry as blitzkrig/riding force, or perhaps small groups of elite knights. For the war to be interested one needs good amount of various troops, for now only AI fields them.

At this point if someone wants to invest in magic, no problem. If one is inclined to follow military path upgrading the already available weapons will be the way.

You still have a choice, the tech tree is not gone, but you don't feel like researching forever to have a bow ... It would also help in making troops more available option since the start and as a strategy, and allow, paradoxically, to follow path of magic/civ knowing that at least in troubles i can still field mixed army.    

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January 31, 2012 5:18:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I understand and respect what you are proposing, but I have to say in theory I respectfully disagree with a good portion of the proposal, in terms of altering the base game mechanics as they currently stand.

The warfare tech tree is the most "complete" tree in the game right now.  I don't see why they would alter it, or the core mechanics of the game of researching technology, at this point in development.  The reason I think the current system it's good and fun is that the player needs to choose which technology path to take (civ / warfare / magic) to "win" the game. It's very difficult to master all three, as it ought to be, and the more choices the player has to make, the better.

I'm not sure why you would want to adjust the size of squads, you can do that with the production queue.  If you want a bigger or smaller squad, research the proper tech, build squad of the size(s) you want, upgrade as you see fit.  I personally don't see a need to change that.

As seanw3 mentioned about recruiting champions : they will get some love.  They are already on fixing the biggest problem with champions, which is their XP gains.  Other than that, some more story-based, quest-driven champions joining your side would be nice.  And to comment on how they ought to be limited in their specialty, I completely disagree.  That smacks of "capping" which I find to be utter nonsense personally, and forcing them into pre-defined archetypes is an archaic and drab concept of character creation and customization in the RPG world.  If I think I can level up a mage that's good who has Level V discipline in all five schools of magic, more power to me.  And if I want to train up a two-handed-club-wielding, loin-cloth-wearing, backstabbing, ice-magic-blasting little girl, so be it.  I don't see what the problem is here.

The forward bases concept is nice in concept, but a little awkward to me.  I think tweaking outposts so they can be specialized to a certain degree is a great concept, but I definitely don't think giving them (forward bases) production queues is quite the ticket, myself.  I'd like to see production queues limited, forcing the player to specialize in certain areas of production within each city to achieve their desired goals.

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February 1, 2012 12:07:54 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

With consistent feedback like this, I can easily see why Elemental failed the first time. There is far too much 'accepting' what the game currently is, without really understanding just how clearly flawed it still is and always has been. With the new Fallen Enchantress expansion, I had high hopes the people who have learned from the previous Beta. So far, I'm seeing people being very overly forgiving of the game in its current, quite frankly - bland and meaningless state. I've offered some constructive feedback on how to move it forward beyond stagnation, and perhaps brain storm ideas. So far, no one seems to be at all be interested in brain storming.

Regardless of my request, people are still throwing down the 'I agree' and 'I disagree' replies. These are ultimately not constructive and continue express opinions of an opinion, these do not merit real ideas. I'm very, very saddened by this community and with Beta Testers like these I see why Elemental was trash on release.

 

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February 1, 2012 9:32:23 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

"The warfare tech tree is the most "complete" tree in the game right now.  I don't see why they would alter it, or the core mechanics of the game of researching technology, at this point in development. "

Simple reasons:

- it takes forever to build useful troop armies 

- they are useless anyway 

- as a consequence war is reduced to one death stock stamping everything/everyone around, perhaps fun for sometime, but after 100 battles without loosing 1hp gets kind of boring 

- again, no armies means no complex strategies, which means for many of us no fun 

- if you still disagree - try to conduct a war without your sovvereing playing a role, or playing only supportive role - in other words, try to win a war specializing only in war tech tree and using only troops; good luck 

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February 1, 2012 9:53:12 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


I think the problem here is you want it to be like a table top game of warhammer when it clearly is not.

 

Oh, the reason you are not getting the replies you want is because you come across as a sanctimonious twit.

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February 1, 2012 9:58:17 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Please retract your comments Rune_74, as to not have this thread locked for your flaming.

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February 1, 2012 10:15:28 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think OP put alot of time and thought into his post. I don't agree with all but there are some good points and thoughts and there is absolutely no reason for rude remarks.

 

I am guessing the development team has noticed that it is essential that they change a few core game play mechanics so we can move forward, it's after all a beta so I expect things to change for the better. The community have been giving a lot of thought and effort into giving feedback just like the OP in this thread so I think we will see some good changes next patch

 

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February 1, 2012 10:57:08 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Morkleb,
I think OP put alot of time and thought into his post.
 

He's not the only one. OrleanKnight, from your post history I can see that you have been around these forums for quite a while. So you should be aware that a large part of the more active people around here have been brainstorming and posting suggestions since way before the first beta even started. They continued way after WoM was released. It didn't make much of a difference, so maybe people are a little more realistic about their expectations this time around. Although looking at the recent posts, I don't see how you come to the conclusion that everyone is 'accepting' the state of the game. I don't think that the game is anywhere near a 90+ metacritic score at the moment, not will it be after balancing and adding more content. But as much as I'd like them to, I doubt the dev's will completely overhaul certain parts of the game.

The reasons you are not getting the replies you want might be; people don't like your vision for the game; people don't want to read another wall of text, or don't have the time (there is a lot to read on these forums the last few days); maybe people don't want to move the discussion to this thread (you touch a lot of subjects, many of which have several threads about them already).

Oh, and crapping on people who agree with you but don't write lengthy posts about why they do does make you come across as a twit, and an entitled one at that. I didn't know where the sanctimonious came from, but first saying how 'disappointed' you are in everyone else here, and then calling a reaction to that ridiculous statement flaming, it seems sanctimonious fits quite well.

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February 1, 2012 11:53:50 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting OrleanKnight,
Regardless of my request, people are still throwing down the 'I agree' and 'I disagree' replies.

 

I gave you an entire wall of text that had no measure of agreement or disagreement, only what I thought the devs were likely to consider so we could move forward in a more practical discussion. Then you responded with rude comments that were as close to "I disagree, but don't want to write any constructive counterpoints," as you possibly could. I find it useless to brainstorm ideas that I know are far fetched. Some of your ideas would make the game better. I replied as such. You ignored the opportunity to discuss them. I offered other ideas I have seen on the forum that were like yours, but a little more realistic. You ignored them. After your barrage of I disagrees, I even added a second paragraph to my rebuttal, showing the difference between my personal opinions and my analysis of the game. You ignored them and criticized the whole community, who are much nicer and thoughtful than you. I am rather disappointed, I spent alot of time reading your post and making mine. I guess all that was a waste of time. I do not like to waste time. 

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February 1, 2012 12:19:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This thread is turning into personal attacks. What has happened to this community?

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February 1, 2012 12:25:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You fired the shot across our bow. And now you wonder why we are angry? You seem to be unaware of your tone and how people react to insults. I think most people have been very patient with you. 

 

I still want to discuss these ideas with you. If that is what you want. 

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February 1, 2012 12:34:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I haven't personally attacked anyone, you guys need to go back and do some rephrasing. My thread has been hijacked, can I get some mods to clean this stuff up?

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February 1, 2012 12:48:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Oh really? I felt that all of the below were rude and insulting. If that was not the intended tone, I understand. Text can obscure the actual meaning of what we want say.

Quoting OrleanKnight,
You're knocking off the idea of the 'mini-city' in what sounds like a ploy to embrace the laziness of the developers.

Quoting OrleanKnight,
I'm very, very saddened by this community and with Beta Testers like these I see why Elemental was trash on release.

That last one was very offensive. It is also annoying to see you skip over so many avenues of discussion, like what bpalczewski commented on. And now you claim this post has been highjacked when you are confronted with your behavior? We are all working hard to make sure the game is great on release. There are several posts that are very close to yours and several that veer off in new directions. The clear message to the devs is that the game needs alot of work. No one is deluded about that, but our only power is persuasion. 

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February 1, 2012 1:20:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting OrleanKnight,
I haven't personally attacked anyone, you guys need to go back and do some rephrasing. My thread has been hijacked, can I get some mods to clean this stuff up?

 

You honestly can't see why people deal with you the way they do?  Seriously? 

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