[.86][Feedback] Faction Difference

By on February 28, 2012 6:55:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

seanw3

Join Date 12/2007
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There is little to no difference in the current factions. One Kingdom plays as the other. Even Empires do not have any significant differences. There are a thousand ideas that come to mind on how to make each one feel unique. The question is how different should factions be? A distribution is in order. As I see it, there are several aspects of gameplay that need to add difference to each game we play. Factions are only a piece of this pie. I would say about 25% of the difference in each game should come from the faction you choose. That means the type and quality of units, the spells available, traits for heroes, economic bonuses and penalties, research tree benefits, technologies, weapons and armor choices, traits for trained units, bonuses to combat in territory, and innate bonuses to stats. This should be the place where the faction takes its form. Does your faction have very cheap units? Does it start with several techs? Do you have access to faster units? Does your capital raise its own horses or produce its own metal? Are you set up to defend very well or do you rely on battles outside of a city? Have you made a pact with the Serpents? Do you get a terrain bonus when fighting on a specific tile type?

 

Another 10% should come from the Sovereign. This portion should decide the situation at the very start of the game with respect to starting units, strategic position, magic, buildings, techs, and research ability. The primary function of a Sov should be to define the starting magical abilities of the nation. It is currently possible to give a Sov a trait that would make the first level of any element available to any hero that is leveling. A Sov might also give some small bonuses to hero costs, loot gained from battles, special hero traits, experience, mana gains, or even spell cost.

 

The next 35% would be the stock techs and abilities that everyone gets. This is the core of the game. Standard techs, resources, buildings, wonders of the realm, one per faction wonders, and stats should be present for every faction. This is what you balance the rest of the game from and right now we have an excellent core.

 

Citylevelup should decide 20% of a nation's attributes. This is where a city can choose special buildings that capitalize on the resources surrounding the city. At level 2 there is limited randomness. As the game is now, this is always the case. There should always be a non-random choice of a production enhancer and a food enhancer to maintain game balance. The other 3 choices should be random choices that might allow this city to have a unique quality or strategic advantage. I have posted a few in the  community content thread as suggestions. Level 3 represents a good deal of time and hard work. These improvement options should very specifically define a city. This is an opportunity to have many random choices, each one having a huge bonus of some sort. Great levels of production, gold, research, defense, extra resources, magical items and spells, unique shops, or even special trainable beasts are all fair game. Shops need to have the ability to level along with a city, offering new items as they go. They should offer a long term gain for heroes. The Apothecary is a good start, but it needs to get new items as the game progresses. Either by upgrading or as new technology is researched. I would think city level is the best way to do it, since high level cities have few special goodness so far. Level 4 is where great temples and monuments to gods should be available. Larger cities should have enough population to have a unique culture and thus the attributes of that. This choice should affect many city factors and in some cases unlock spells and techs. Traits for units and heroes are fair game as well. City defense will get special and very powerful units added to the battle. Ghost soldiers, a dragon, hellbeasts, angels, Valkyries, paladins, bears, or even expert mundane soldiers should make a level 4 city defend itself very efficiently. Level 5 is where things get epic. I don't even know where to start. Derek Paxton and Jon Shafer, once upon a time, understood what epic meant. I am betting that they still do. This is where that understanding has a chance to shine. I would like a level 5 bonus improvement to change the nature of how I play the game. The improvement I choose should have bonuses and drawbacks. Perhaps I have unlocked the key to turning a mortal man into a Titan hybrid. Maybe I instead chose to build a Teleportation Structure that allows me to build Telegates in any of my cities and transport units for a bit of mana. The gate should also allow me to travel to other planes and capture exotic beings that can be trained in my cities. It would work as a lair essentially.

 

The following 10% should be random elements. We have some random techs that give us the little amount of variety in the current beta. I would like to expand this idea to add buildings and spells through these random techs as well. It should add that little bit of flavor that sends me straight to the tech trees on turn one to see what I got.

 

 

 

Now that I have a decent wall of text, I will give an example of how I would shape Tarth into giving me 25% variety to my game. I will talk about Lady Irane afterwards.

 

Lore is the best conduit for faction difference. History and culture make a huge difference in the attributes of a faction, even of the same race. Tarth is a nation of former slaves. Their culture is the product of generations of slavery and the more recent reaction to having freedom. They want to be free and they want to be left alone. They are extremely territorial. Their home is the forest and they are excellent at woodworking, though there are few masons of Tarth blood. Stone to them is the mark of oppression. Tarth is a nation of rogues. They value freedom over all else and absolutely hate any nation that would enslave or pick on the weak.

This lore translates into a very solid faction difference:

-They get Initiative bonuses to fighting on forest tiles.

-They get Initiative and dodge bonuses when fighting in their own territory.

-Diplomatically, they will always demand you stay out of their territory or declare war. They will not sign a non-aggression pact.

-They hate Capitar as much as an empire. They are very likely to come to the defense of a weak faction that has been attacked by a much stronger one.

-They can only build up to Fort level walls. This will give their cities that wooden look as they are master woodcrafters, their fort is slightly better.

-Their faction unique buildings are made of wood.

-They get less taxes from population, but also pay much less for troops. This is an interesting factor that should be tweaked for every faction. It essentially means they can have better or more units, but not having those units will offer no extra gold for rush buying or item purchase. Perfect for Tarth.

-They get 50% more from sold items.

-They get 25% more from loot gold.

-They get less food from grain. Tarth relies on small villages and seeks large territories. 

-They have a special line of trained unit traits called Tattoo Magic. During their enslavement under Capitar, the magically inclined were killed or made into slave soldiers. The Tarth eventually learned to use tattooed runes to confer mystical attributes to their people. This magical art form has become ingrained in their warrior society.

-Later in the game, they learn the ability to use these runes on weapons and can thus make some very powerful enchanted items. 

-All Tarth heroes have stats and traits best suited to roguish paths. Being unable to use magic for so long has left very few Tarth mages. They sometimes seek out Mancers or other races to fulfill these roles.

-Trained units of Tarth have natural bonus to Dexterity, Dodge, and most importantly, can gain crit from Dexterity. A Tarthan lives and breathes archery and melee. They have a bonus to accuracy and get +1 to Crit Chance. They are, however, a weakened race from years of hard labor, no education, and malnutrition. They have less Strength, Constitution, and Intelligence.

-Most of their unique spells involve defending their territory. None of them are particularly wonderful, but they are available from the first two tiers of the elemental spellbooks.

-Their unique buildings offer defense for cities in the early game; unique shops in the midgame that unlock special Tarth weapons and items; and shops in the late game that unlock enchanted weapons and items. Their unique one per faction buildings allow one or two cities to become level 5 by adding more food per grain, and increase gold income or production.

-Their unique weapons would include a bow that is also able to do melee damage, every ranged attack being an ability added by equipping the weapon. There would be a few other types of bows for different areas of the tech trees. Tarth would also have special Quarterstaves that offer a good mix of defense, dodge and damage. They would also have slings in the style of the throwing knives we currently have. They would have a few types of poisons to choose from. Some would add more poison damage and some would drug or paralyze the target. Tarth is all about delaying melee damage taken and relying on ranged attacks.

-They should not use plate or chainmail. Instead, give them special leathers that don't give as much defense, but weigh less and offer some special bonuses to dodge. In the point of the game where they should be getting magical armor, give them magical leather armor instead. This would be their best armor that has been tattooed with runes to give it special attributes.

-Their heroes should have access to special roguish traits that increase dodge and crit abilities. Each race needs to have some traits based on what race they are. So I can hire a Tarthan hero and then an Ironeer hero, who both have some very different trait options. 

-They get a 10% bonus to all Warfare Tree research. Each faction should have a little push towards what they are naturally good at. Obviously some, like Pariden would have a bonus to all.

-They start out with Both tier 1 Warfare techs. Depending on the intelligence and history of the nation, they should get 2-5 techs at the start. This will help balance out factions that have slightly better bonuses for the early game, like Tarth getting cheap units. 

 

Not saying you should make this your new bible, but it is the ideal direction for diverse gameplay. The replayability would be infinite.

 

In the process of organizing. Here is a table of how a Tarth game would offer some new weapons, armor and traits to the tech tree. More to come...

 

Tarth Tech Trees.

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February 28, 2012 6:59:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm sarudak and I endorse this message!

 

EDIT: Real idea. What if Altar's heroic ability made it so that their champs all got full experience from battles? That would really change their play style!

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February 28, 2012 7:55:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm DevilDogFF and I, too, approve this message. I would like to add the idea of faction-specific quests, items and spells, too. Please. 

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February 28, 2012 8:13:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I say, do make this your new bible! (or, at least, a sizable portion of it)

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February 28, 2012 8:14:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I strongly agree with the idea that Level 5 cities should be able to build buildings that are game changing. Buildings that come with game changing bonuses AND game changing penalties. Some ideas.

- Pact of the Titans - gives you a near godlike hero (like equal to the end quest guy) but the city is destroyed (possible?)

- Temple of a New Age - Gives all your created units Hymn of a new Age an attribute that increases all their base stats and gives them very high magic resist. You lose all mana and crystals and no longer generate mana or crystals. ALL enchantments in the world are dispelled and you can no longer cast enchantments. Strategic level spells cannot be cast on your cities. You have access to a free counterspell.

- Promise of Peace - You can no longer declare war. All races relations with you are increased. Any faction going to war with you suffers +30% unrest in all cities. Produces significant diplomatic capital.

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February 28, 2012 8:22:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Great post, Seanw3.  You hit on some great ideas.  Even letting us choose 3 random techs at the beginning during game set-up would help spice things up.  More techs, spells and heroes buried in quests would really go a long way to making each play-through unique.  Really like the idea of faction specific quests/spells and items as suggested by DevildogFF. 

I want more of everything in FE!

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February 28, 2012 8:22:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

An interesting read, but probably could be better organized. It was difficult to work my way through that post. As far as the percentage of differences are concerned in playstyle.. I really have no idea what you are getting at.

For the bonuses to tarth, while I like the move towards making the faction more oriented towards a specific strategy, I think it would be better organized into faction traits, so that custom factions can play a role. Factions don't necessarily need only 2 traits. Let's say we expand it to 3 with a free stat choice

In the case of your post we could split this into:

1. Woodsmen: The above mentioned bonuses to wooden structures, leather armor, and bonuses to forest fighting

2. Warriors: Starting techs, tech bonus, territory bonus

3. Scavengers: Taxation adjustments

4. Stats: Tarthian (Low con, str; high dex, crit chance)

The portion where you mention they react differently towards capitar and underdog nations is something that should be unique to the starter factions, and can certainly go in the list of things frogboy wants to use to differentiate them.

Just fyi my listings weren't meant to be all inclusive of what you posted, just an idea to organize them into faction traits for use with customer built nations, and as a way to organize your post

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February 28, 2012 8:27:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the idea of Tarth not using Chainmail or plate but instead Slag-Hide and Scale mail.

-> Rather, I like the idea of them being a Dex focused race that uses Wood and Leather instead of any metal armor.

-> Certainly a weakness for melee, but their slingshots etc would be a counter/delay to enemy melee units.

 

Speaking of which, why do the Quendar have scale texture instead of the Umber? Whomever has Pact of the Serpent should probably have the scale texture of skin ...

If Quendar were meant to have scale texture then I think they should have pact of the serpent.

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February 28, 2012 8:34:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

3 faction traits

1. Woodsmen. -> forest bonuses, Wood structure bonuses, NO STONE WALLS (free forest related gear and spells)

2. Tribal -> upgrades to leather armor (better leather), Tattoo magic (and runic weapons), Slingshots w/ Poison abilities, NO PLATE ARMOR NO CHAINMAIL

3. Former Slaves-> units cost less maintenance, population gives less taxes, unable to build Slave Pens

 

 

Race abilities -> 10% tech bonus on warfare path, Tarth stats (high dex, low everything else)

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February 28, 2012 8:59:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting CdrRogdan,
An interesting read, but probably could be better organized. It was difficult to work my way through that post. As far as the percentage of differences are concerned in playstyle.. I really have no idea what you are getting at.

 

The percentage is meant to represent a quantitative value for each part of the game. Each of the areas I mentioned are portions of the whole experience in one playthrough. If you choose Tarth and the same Sov in the second playthrough, for instance, only 70% of that game would play like the previous one. 10% would be random techs, and 20% would depend on which citylevelup buildings you choose this time. Replayability is thrown around alot. I am trying to demonstrate how that is achieved through game design. 

 

I was sort of brainstorming the Tarth faction differences. I don't want to put them in trait form quite yet. Better that the devs have a chance to pick through them and make their own traits. Tarth (race), Woodsmen and Former Slaves would be the most efficient way to consolidate these ideas. Those are the major factors I was basing things on.

 

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February 28, 2012 9:17:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

ah true ... the unique armor and tattoo magic being tied to TARTH RACE might be a bit more efficient than adding a third trait

(especially since its quite unique to the Tarth's culture)

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February 29, 2012 8:59:10 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree with the point of this topic. Will add my 2c with suggestions when I have more time.

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February 29, 2012 10:14:04 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Ideally each faction has a set of spells, abilities, army weapons (flaming swords) and effects that are unique to their faction and upon creating a new game all factions get assigned a couple of those but not all of them out of their faction pool. In that way the factions are unique but also unique game to game.

Thinking about each faction having their own pool with (say 3 per label, randomly gets one per label per game):

-. unique spells

-. unique abilities

-. unique army items (flaming swords, cloaks of the wind etc)

-. unique effects/permanents

-. unique champion equipement

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February 29, 2012 10:45:07 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DrAtomic1,
Ideally each faction has a set of spells, abilities, army weapons (flaming swords) and effects that are unique to their faction and upon creating a new game all factions get assigned a couple of those but not all of them out of their faction pool. In that way the factions are unique but also unique game to game.

There are alot of players that have expressed annoyance with this way of doing it. If they pick Tarth, the faction needs to have specific attributes. Making them random means that the reason the user picked them may not be in that game, thus forcing them to restart. The way I have suggested it be designed is so that Tarth will be consistent. But there is a random pool of several possible spells, enchanted weapons and armor, masterworked weapons and armor, wonders of the realm, one per faction buildings, traits, designed unit traits, and improvements that add that extra random goodness to each game. This will only be a small portion of what is available to the player, but the difference will be noticeable. For instance getting Nikarrian Frost Weapons instead of Curgen Burning Weapons would make the difference between a Frost Legion and a Fire Wardens in unit design. 

You can already mix and match faction traits by customizing a faction. I think it is better design to drive home a consistent story through faction traits. 

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February 29, 2012 10:45:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


I think you have a lot of good ideas here but it's too disorganized. Instead of all these small little abilities everywhere you should simplify them into 2 to 3 faction traits. Like...

Woodsmen - All Tarth units suffer no movement penalty and gain +2 initiative while moving through forest tiles in their territory.

 

 

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February 29, 2012 11:04:44 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I will edit the OP to make things a little more organized. It is time to do away with the rough draft. 

RE: Woodsman

No movement penalty in forests would be better as a spell or item that everyone could have access to. Forestwalk, Boots of the Zephyr, and Riverwalk should be assumed items in this game. I would rather see Tarth be unassailable when in their own territory and fighting in a forest. They should only have a slight advantage in forest tiles that they do not know well or mark as Tarth territory. 

Knowing how the current xml is set up, units can only get a bonus on the tile where the battle is happening. That means that if they are on a forest tile or if they are attacking a unit on a forest tile. 

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February 29, 2012 12:04:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Factions need to be orders of magnitude more unique than they currently are.  Units, bonuses, city improvements, traits (sov, champion, etc), spells, abilities, quests. They need to be so different that they will alter the strategy with which you will play the game.  See Starcraft for one example of different play-styles between factions.

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February 29, 2012 12:36:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think somewhere in between Starcraft variety and what we currently have.

 

FFH2 is a good race balance imho (as far as how differently each nation is played).

With non-elves, you could always go Catapult+Assassins if you wanted to ... but even then, normally you would have Axemen to protect the Cats and Assasssins, while if you are the Sheaim you get Pyre Zombies ... which really allow you to ignore catapults altogether if you want to.

 

And then, if you want magic units ... you might just need Melee + Magic.

And if your Ljosalphar or Amurites(firebows), you'll probably want Archery + Magic instead.

 

And some leaders make better horse-archer armies (amelanchier, Tasunke, etc)

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February 29, 2012 12:39:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Just updated the OP with a chart showing how Tarth should get special weapons, armor and traits throughout the game. 

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

My 1st suggestion would be to add stealth units (or traits for units that make them these stealth units). These stealth units would be saboteurs and assassins. And then give one faction bonuses with these units and another faction special resistance against these units.

 

Some stealth traits for example:

1. Assassination - lets undetected unit equipped with daggers enter enemy stack or city and kill one hero of choice. Chance to kill depends on its level compared to target level and special defensive structures in that city or special items on at least one champion in the stack.

2. Stealth - Unit is unseen to enemy eyes. They can only be detected by units with Detection trait, special defensive structures or spells. Units Stealth level is equal to unit level. Assassination and Sabotage traits depend on this one.

3. Detection - unit with this trait can detect stealth units if its detection level is equal or more then other stealth level. Units detection level is equal to its unit level.

4. Sabotage - lets undetected unit equipped with *Insert weapon here* enter enemy city and destroy one building of choice. Chance to destroy building depends on its level compared to city level requirement for that building and special defensive structures in that city or special items on at least one champion stationed in the city. Structures that can only be chosen to be built at city level up are considered +1 level.

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February 29, 2012 1:09:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

How about this for stealth ....

AOE immunity (until revealed)

cannot move through ZoC (until revealed) ...

 

Once they attack for the first time, they are revealed.

Therefore, if you can sneak past an opponent's ZoC, you can get a first strike to their back lines.

And even if you CANT ... you will still get first strike (no counter attack) vs one of the melee linesman.

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February 29, 2012 3:36:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


I think that instead of tons of little custom things like items which are really only visual in nature the actual play style of factions could be made more unique more efficiently by giving factions better and more powerful traits that allow them to implement unique strategies. The key to unique factions is allowing them different play styles and options not giving them slightly different walls and armor.

Altar: Is the champion faction so they need traits that encourage heavy use of champions.

-Fellowship: Reduces the experience penalty for multiple champions in an army.

-Celebrity: Champions above lv5 grant 1 faction prestige.

Capitar: Is the trading team so they should have traits that allow them to play a trade and gold based strategy.

-Finance: Gives interest on total gold.

-Factoring: Grants a Factor House improvement that creates a trade route to the main city.

Gilden: They are the minning and production team.

-Extraction: A production bonus in every city containing an iron or crystal mine.

-Craftsmen: Cost of upgrading units and purchasing equipment halved.

Pariden: The research team. Honestly I'm having trouble here.

-Astrology: Grants Observatory improvements that reduce food but increase research. 

-Decal: Same, Boosts research.

Tarth: They are isolationists who use the land to their advantage.

-Reclusive: Other factions can't see or use roads in your territory.

-Hunters: Food bonus from woods when placing cities.

These bonuses would encourage very unique play styles for each faction which is what is really important. Tarth would play nothing like Altar.

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February 29, 2012 3:47:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting seanw3,
Just updated the OP with a chart showing how Tarth should get special weapons, armor and traits throughout the game. 

 

I see you included my bolas idea...

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February 29, 2012 3:52:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yea bolas are a nice idea

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February 29, 2012 3:55:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Kraxis: The defensive/creeping team.

-Defensive: City levels grant bonuses to defenders as before. Forts and Castles boost food.

-Territorial: Territory bonus doubled, and outposts territory radius expanded by 1.

Magnar: The Raiding and slave team.

-Slavelords: Same, already the most unique faction trait. Grants population in capital from razing cities, and reduces food costs.

-Raiders: Gain half their territory bonus when in other players territory.

Roseln: The magic and religious team.

-Death Magic: Same, grants several death spells.

-Theocracy: Shards in cities grant a research bonus.

Umber: The beast and orcish horde team.

- Serpents Pact, Same alows you to recruit lizard monsters.

- Pillage: Grants resources and research for defeating other players and taking cities.

Yithril: The powerful warrior faction. All about building up an elite army of unstopppable giants.

-Powerful: Same, grants Strength.

-Warriors: Troops, not champions, gain extra experience.

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March 1, 2012 2:08:18 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DsRaider,
I think that instead of tons of little custom things like items which are really only visual in nature the actual play style of factions could be made more unique more efficiently by giving factions better and more powerful traits that allow them to implement unique strategies.

There are certainly parts of what I wrote that are more immediately important to making the game play different. One of the major problems people have about the game though, is that every faction looks exactly the same. This is because there is no style difference from one faction to another. I think making some more wall varieties is something important to the polish of the game. Obviously making the faction traits change the game of far greater importance. That list there is really just a pool of ideas I hope will put the devs on the right track. The OP's objective was to give a specific definition to the term "faction difference" that everyone is asking for. Also, take a look at the tech tree mock up and you will see that items specifically are huge game changers for factions. The Tarth uniqueness would mostly come from Warfare as they are fairly mundane and prefer small villages. But compared to faction traits, it is a minor issue. I can easily add a mod for faction items. But the more we mod in, the lower the metacritic score will be for vanilla.

 

Anyone else have lore impressions from playing with different factions? I notice there is no Umber up here.

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