[.86] Techs and Cities

By on February 26, 2012 12:49:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

DsRaider

Join Date 11/2008
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First of all after playing through several times .86 strikes me as the beginnings of a great game. Way to go Stardock. However since criticism is what will make this game better here is mine. The strongest part of the game right now is the questing and magic. It's just fun to explore the interesting worlds that you have created. Also magic is fun and  interesting as well. Not that these areas are perfect, far from it, it's just that they are the more fun areas of the game. As the downside city building and research are very boring. The order of some of the techs is kinda weird, and cities don't really need to specialize at all so they all feel the same.

 

Cities

The new focus on crystals, capital, and metal is awesome and adds depth but currently is underused because it is unbalanced.

Reduce the amount of crystals, scenic views, and mines on the map. Also halve the amount of resources they produce. You get too much of them. Instead add some more buildings to cities that multiply their production. If you want a lot of metal you should have to specialize a city around it, same for crystal and capital. This way every city will be different and which resources you control will help you decide which techs to get and units to build. You also won't need every resource every game, scarcity will just encourage different play styles. Scarcity will also make some other buildings like armorers more useful. To a lesser degree this applies to even horses. If you only have one horse tile but want to build lots of horsemen you should be able to build some buildings that boost your horse production.

The same thing applies to mana. Currently it requires no planning to rack up ridiculous amounts of mana. Reduce the amount of mana initially  generated by shards to 1. Then add buildings that boost the mana produced by shards in a city. Techs on the magic tree could also boost mana. Right now mana just builds up in the background, while it should be possible to get a huge mana pool it should also require some active participation from the user. Nothing too hard but building up mana should be a strategy not a freebie.

Reducing the base amount of resources produced and requiring cities to specialize towards these resources by building specific improvements will make cities stand out and be a lot less generic. Also requiring a little more planning to maximize resources and requiring players to develop their long term strategies around what resources they have available will help draw people into city building.

 

Techs

The research techs are placed weirdly. There is a big gap in the research techs after education, this slows research down midgame because you have increasing costs of research but no way to increase your research for 2-3 tech levels.

I won several games through conquest and magic but never got Higher Education. Why is a research tech which is only useful in order to get more research basically the last tech you get? That makes no sense. Also since war colleges require it it makes pikes almost impossible to get as well. Higher education should really be earlier on the tech tree. I was running around with champion armor but not pikes because Higher Education was so ridiculous to get.

Since Civics research is the only way to increase your ability to get any type of tech it forces everyone to mainly use civics techs and only worry about military and magic as a side issue. To make magic tech more interesting you should add a tier 3-4 research building. That way there is more incentive to actually specialize in magic instead always going civics.

Change barracks so they reduce the upkeep of stationed units. That way players who specialize in military actually get some bonuses and can afford a army without relying on civics completely. If you look at the honor tree in Civ5 it was all about allowing you to field more troops and allow those troops to boost other things like culture of happiness.

 

 

The #1 none bug problem with the game right now is that the slow tech pace really limits early game options. For instance for the first half of the game every units wears leather armor. You can't limit players this way through  tech. Tech should only expand existing options and allow you to do things better, it should not prevent you from doing things at all. Cities and units need to be able to specialize right from the start, you can't require them to research a mid game tech first. Right from the start you should be choosing between light armor, heavy armor, and robes. Early game versions of most buildings and equipment need to be easy to get. The pace of research is just to slow for it to be otherwise.

Continued below...

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February 26, 2012 1:39:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Reduce the amount of crystals, scenic views, and mines on the map. Also halve the amount of resources they produce. You get too much of them.

I have not found this to be the case. I am usually always strapped for metal and crystal at every point in the game. Many starting positions don't have access to them, so they have to expand early or conquer a rival to get them. I like having lots of resources on the map that are only taken by outposts. The AI and I can then use guerrilla warfare to win a war. I build special units to skirt around cities and take out resources.

 

 

If you want a lot of metal you should have to specialize a city around it, same for crystal and capital. This way every city will be different and which resources you control will help you decide which techs to get and units to build.

I was thinking there should be buildings that require crystal and metal to build, much like Blacksmith, only at a real cost. It should cost at least 100 metal or 1 metal per turn to build this sort of thing. This could tie into having several buildings that require a resource connected to the tech tree option. A research building that uses crystal would be logical. The Warfare tree should have some buildings that reward a player for choosing a city with high materials.

The Choice the devs need to make is do we want to have Civics be the main tech tree? The others seem like specializations of that tree since they require Civic techs, but no Civic techs require them. I would prefer totally separate trees that focus on specializing a resource and an overarching strategy. As long as they pick one and don't try to do both at the same time.

 

 

 

And I also like the mana flow. There are some really nice spells that will suck 2000 mana dry, but give your heroes some awesome powers. This is as it should be.

 

 

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February 26, 2012 2:09:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting seanw3,
And I also like the mana flow. There are some really nice spells that will suck 2000 mana dry, but give your heroes some awesome powers. This is as it should be.

I didn't actually mean you should get less resources and mana, just that you should be specializing cities instead of it happening automatically. You would still be able to get that mana you would just have to build up the infrastructure first instead of it always just happening. You would just have to build an improvement or two and research a few techs, nothing too hard. The point is to make cities specialized and to make designing cities important and interesting. Having all cities be the same is very annoying. Stockpiling mana should be a strategy not automatic.

If cities are unique it makes the world much more interesting.

Quoting seanw3,
The Choice the devs need to make is do we want to have Civics be the main tech tree? The others seem like specializations of that tree since they require Civic techs, but no Civic techs require them. I would prefer totally separate trees that focus on specializing a resource and an overarching strategy. As long as they pick one and don't try to do both at the same time.

Yeah pretty much.

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February 26, 2012 2:47:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

First of all after playing through several times .86 strikes me as the beginnings of a great game. Way to go Stardock. However since criticism is what will make this game better here is mine. The strongest part of the game right now is the questing and magic. It's just fun to explore the interesting worlds that you have created. Also magic is fun and  interesting as well. Not that these areas are perfect, far from it, it's just that they are the more fun areas of the game. As the downside city building and research are very boring. The order of some of the techs is kinda weird, and cities don't really need to specialize at all so they all feel the same.

 

I ran into 3 broken quests. Successfully completed maybe another 3. Found them tedious. I didn't research the higher tech quest unlocks until I had out-leveled the quests. That research time was much more valuable spent elsewhere.

Magic was OK for the most part. Fireball was kinda useless because of the long wait until you can cast. Most things were dead before I could use it. Some of the level 5 spells are neat but it takes so long to get them. Having numerous tiny icons available in combat was not so fun. Which tiny icon goes with which spell? Then in combat, I found myself using the same spells over and over.

I definitely liked collecting loot and trading it around between my numerous champions. Leveling champions is fruitful work. Getting a new tech, then designing an improved unit and using them in combat. Building massive high-tech DEADLY armies is excellent.

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February 26, 2012 3:59:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Great comments, OP! Totally agree.

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February 28, 2012 12:24:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Continued:

Improving the Military Tech Tree

Since metal is the official military unit resource now the techs to unlock mines and improve their output should probably be on the military tree not the civilization one. Crystal techs are already found in the magic tree so why not metal.

Military tech should broken down into two different tracks, the metal and equipment one and a conquest one. While players who are peaceful will always have a reason to get more equipment techs they would not really benefit from the conquest track.

The new conquest military track would make players better at supporting larger armies and playing aggressive conquer the world game styles. On it would be techs like the before mentioned ability to reduce unit upkeep. It also would allow garrisoned units to reduce unrest and provide buildings that reduce unrest. The command post would be moved to this tree because it allows mass produced units to be more effective. Other techs that allow you to mass produce higher quality units would be on this track as well. You could also add techs that allows players to pillage cities and enemy armies for money and tech. If your plan is to fight other players then this should be the tech track for you.

 

Improving Unrest

To help prevent players who haven't researched conquest tech, and say focused on civilization research, from going on sudden massive conquest sprees, and to prevent snowballing conquered cities should suffer a small permanent unrest penalty and a larger temporary one. If unrest is high enough in a city it should rebel against it's captures and return to its previous owner or turn neutral. If the city is occupied however then after a fairly random amount of time the occupiers would be attacked by militia and peons equal to the city level, possibly led by a special champion called a Insurgent. If the rebels are defeated then the city would lose the temporary unrest penalty. If the garrison is obviously much more powerful the the rebels then the rebels wouldn't show up. This mechanic would force players to properly garrison cities after conquest and not just conquer city after city. Unrest could also increase the more cities you have.

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February 28, 2012 1:04:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Excellent points!

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February 28, 2012 3:22:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Continued:

Improving the Civics Tech Tree

Split the civics tree into two tracks like the military tree, a main one and a peace/tall one. The main track or branch would include the production, military tie in, research, diplo capital, and half the food techs. This would be the track that players would pretty much always go down because it contains all the techs you need no matter what your strategy.

The other track would be the Tall or Peaceful track. It would be for players who are planning on winning without conquest and without a lot of cities. It would boost Prestige, treaties, trade, and contain the other half of the food techs. It could also contain techs that upgrade only the capital or provide other benefits to small kingdoms. The prestige would allow the cities to grow their population and borders faster. If your planning on doing a lot of conquering this branch wouldn't help you much.

Improving the Magic Tree

The Magic tree could be divided into 3 branches. The first would contain the magical equipment and crystal techs. The second would contain the shard, mana, and spell techs. The final third one would contain the quest and champion techs. Only players who have a lot of crystal would be going down the first branch. Only players going for a very magic heavy strategy and the spell of making would go down the second. The third would be for players who want to win via a quest victory.

By dividing the tech trees like this we can allow players to pick different tech strategies depending on their starting resources and their play style. Thus every game will be different and players will be more invested in building cities and researching tech.

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February 28, 2012 4:28:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DsRaider,

Improving the Magic Tree

The Magic tree could be divided into 3 branches. The first would contain the magical equipment and crystal techs. The second would contain the shard, mana, and spell techs. The final third one would contain the quest and champion techs. Only players who have a lot of crystal would be going down the first branch. Only players going for a very magic heavy strategy and the spell of making would go down the second. The third would be for players who want to win via a quest victory.

By dividing the tech trees like this we can allow players to pick different tech strategies depending on their starting resources and their play style. Thus every game will be different and players will be more invested in building cities and researching tech.

This.

I mean we already have the Quest line split, I suppose ... but splitting Spells tech from crystal-based tech would be nice

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February 28, 2012 5:54:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Right from the start you should be choosing between light armor, heavy armor, and robes. Early game versions of most buildings and equipment need to be easy to get. The pace of research is just to slow for it to be otherwise.

This is a really important flaw in the current tech tree. We should not just be unlocking heavier and heavier armor, even at the start we should be making choices between armors. Should we tech straight to chainmail or unlock a heavy armor side tech (hide/scale/splint). Same thing applies to weapons, we should be making choices between going down the tech tree or offshoot technologies.

Improving Unrest

Loved this idea as well, what would really be awesome is if you included some anti unrest abilities for conquered cities in the military tree. So that people that didn't tech in the conquest tree would have a hard time holding cities.

Agree with all your suggestions for splitting the tech trees. Didn't Frogboy say something about them splitting?

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March 3, 2012 1:20:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Continued:

Another idea is to add a materials multiplier to the secondary resources produced in a city, ie metal, crystal. You could also add either a materials or food multiplier to diplomatic capital. The higher the production in a city the more of these resources it would produce, this makes sense intuitively. Building workshops or lumber mills in a city would help it produce resources quicker.

Thus like now cities would be divided between high food and high production cities. They would also however have a further specialization.


Production:

-Troops

-Metal

-Crystal


Population:

-Gold

-Research

-Diplomatic Capital

 

Either:

-Mana

 

A city wouldn't necessarily have to specialize in just one area, it could divide its attention. Under this system you would end up with basically no two cities being exactly alike. Conquering and building cities wouldn't just give x more gold but could possibly open up whole new strategies. The new multipliers would help balance out production and food at both the start and finish of the game

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March 3, 2012 6:41:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't think the problem is resources flowing too quickly, I think it is a side effect of the other problems which is that we have to unlock everything to unlock even the most basic things : basically, most of my games are over before I even have any use for metal, because I typically raze my first opponent with speamen and the second with shortbowmen (on hard). I could produce metal weapons, but I don't because they suck when compared to spears (which is still another problem that has nothing to do with metal being too easy to come by).

 

For the exact same reason, I don't have any use for crystal, because I only get interesting crystal techs when I am in the mopping up phase (ie : I know I have won, but I still have to conquer the whole map...). 

 

Another problem with a strong side effect on the need for ressource is that taxation is really punishing, so until you get enough gold from questing to pay for your troop upkeep, it is really stupid to build too many of them, so you don't use much metal ever before you can take on enough lairs on a short amount of time. 

 

Only when all of these problems are addressed (ie punishing taxation slider, nothing to do with techs, armor piercing tech requiring no metal),  will we really be able to tell wether the ressources flow too freely or not.

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March 3, 2012 8:56:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DarkGaldred,
I don't think the problem is resources flowing too quickly, I think it is a side effect of the other problems which is that we have to unlock everything to unlock even the most basic things : basically, most of my games are over before I even have any use for metal, because I typically raze my first opponent with speamen and the second with shortbowmen (on hard). I could produce metal weapons, but I don't because they suck when compared to spears (which is still another problem that has nothing to do with metal being too easy to come by).

Again I'm not saying we should be getting less resources, just that we should be able to and to a certain degree have to specialize cities around specific resources. This would make every city different and make designing cities interesting and important, especially if you also have different tech paths that help you with specific resources.

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March 3, 2012 10:22:08 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DsRaider,
Again I'm not saying we should be getting less resources, just that we should be able to and to a certain degree have to specialize cities around specific resources. This would make every city different and make designing cities interesting and important, especially if you also have different tech paths that help you with specific resources.

Your point is a good one. There is a real dearth of buildings for cities to build early game and my cities spend at least half their time doing nothing. Making mines, shards etc start out producing less but able to be beefed up with buildings would help flesh out the currently anaemic city building aspect of FE. (I think city building needs more help than that, but it would be a good start!)

 

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