Not liking random and gear is OP

By on March 14, 2012 4:24:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Lord Xia

Join Date 03/2006
+148

When the ideas were first put up for items in the Tech Tree being Random, I liked the idea.  I was wrong.  Tech trees should not be random, they should either be faction specific, and/or truly be able to specialize within trees.  If I make a persoanl faction ow eak, but magical and research gifted Wraiths, plate armor is of no use to me and masterwork plate is of little use too.  But maybe masterwork Chainmail would be?  

 

I think we should scrap the 3 tree aproach, make one tree, but make different trees for every faction.  But random is not the answer.  Even putting everything on the tree and getting rid of random is better than leaving the randomness in.

 

I feel that we should start off with a lot more of the basic techs, like some basic armor, weapons, and being able to mine or farm, etc.  Starting out with clubs and no armor feels boring.  Very boring game to start.  I would like techs to increase the quality of the items produced, not introduce them.  I can build crude iron plate from early on, it's heavy, slow, but offers fair protection.  Techs then improve the types of armor I can build.  Maybe my Wraiths never learn plate armor of any kind.  But they excel at light armor.  Early light armor made from rough hides, to masterwork fine steel chainmail.  Or maybe my powerful trogs never use light armor, they use thick bear hides and crude iron plate early on, but later develop masterwork steel plate later.  

 

Champions.

Champions upgrades are too random and of too little importance.  What is a trait that gives +2 to strength compared to going from a weapon with a 20 atk to one with 66?  Nothing.  Why does my mage character have only the choices of warrior type characters?  I want champions to be different and become more different from each other with each level.  And what does the +2 or +3 strength traits compare to the one that you get that gives +1 per level?  Or the Champion gear that is easy to obtain that gives +1 to strength per level.  The randomness of level upgrades is boring and there are too few choices.  Less random, more design.

 

Gear.

A level 10 governor champion in Champion gear is far better than a normal level 10 warrior champion without Champion gear.  And we can even build troops with that gear and sell it in our shops.  Great gear should not be available to troops or for sale in the shop.  

 

 

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March 14, 2012 4:44:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I feel that we should start off with a lot more of the basic techs, like some basic armor, weapons, and being able to mine or farm, etc. Starting out with clubs and no armor feels boring. Very boring game to start. I would like techs to increase the quality of the items produced, not introduce them. I can build crude iron plate from early on, it's heavy, slow, but offers fair protection. Techs then improve the types of armor I can build. Maybe my Wraiths never learn plate armor of any kind. But they excel at light armor. Early light armor made from rough hides, to masterwork fine steel chainmail. Or maybe my powerful trogs never use light armor, they use thick bear hides and crude iron plate early on, but later develop masterwork steel plate later.

100% percent agree. would help replayability and unique factions hugely.

When the ideas were first put up for items in the Tech Tree being Random, I liked the idea. I was wrong.

Agree, I think a few mutually exclusive techs could work but random seems pointless.

 

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March 14, 2012 4:55:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I know I am rather new to the forum, have played the game abit in my own little corner... (Meaby abit shy )

Champion:
anyways, I completely agree that the randomness in the champion upgrades should be lessened abit, where random is "ok" but the extend where my mage character is only getting warrior/defender/assassin options 5 levels in a row makes it painfull, makes me feel like I have to save-load before my champions gains a level so I can make sure I get something proper.

As a side note to the save/load, I would like to be able to do Something about injuries, best I can find now is give the guy a random mage tree and sacrifice him to my sovereign, (Meaby some late-game, or heavy price stuff, leaving him for medical care for 50 turns in a city, etc.)

Gear:
I do think gear is rather way more Important than the levels, but I do like the magic items in the shops being available to units, for a price, I just think the gear should be toned down a bit, and the abilities on the heroes be more important.

Tech Tree:
I do agree that random tech tree's break games, have tried this concept in another game, and it might be for a special faction to have a randomized tech tree, bit I would much rather it not be for all the factions, especially when single techs in this game is so important! (and some are feeling like "Filler techs")

Personally I like the 3 choices of research path right now, though I don't like the way it is set up (seems everyone would want civic upgrades, and its also a prerequisite for some warrior techs).

Also researching the first few techs of each tree late-game should be slower, so I don't just auto-grab these cause its 2-3 turns anyways compared to the 72 turns of the next research in the warrior path.

I think you should just tie some researches to each specific trait and meaby weakness in the character generation, So even custom factions might get some new setups too!.

 

Hope you appreciate the input

Sincerely
~ Kongdej

 

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March 14, 2012 5:05:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't think I see new stuff here but as I don't remember answering to such stuff before:

Tech trees: one tres of a thousands, doesn't matter. We are still talking prerequirements and the actual number of trees is just "eye candy". I have played with initial techs unlocked (and allowed the AI to do so, of course) and it certainly plays different. But the option should be in the game creation screen where we should get (between other many lacking options) the option to start at different tech levels instead of depending on Stardock changing their mind or installing a mod about it. Not a game breaker to me though.

Champions: I consider their level up talents to be unfinished, pending some extra balance once all the pieces are in the table. They need to allow more prereqs to those talents to start with because right now I totally depend on weird UnitStat combos just to make some stuff exclusive and/or alternative. ¬.¬

Gear: Champions do have access to a lot of magical stuff that mundane troops cannot get. The most epic type stuff (and close to epic), should be champion only though.

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March 14, 2012 5:31:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

How are you guys seeing the random techs?  Are they color-coded or something?  I don't think I've seen a random tech yet or maybe I have and didn't know it.

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March 14, 2012 5:47:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the idea of three separate paths to victory through technology.  I don't like having to learn 2 Civ techs and 3 War techs to get my Magic armor tho.  I hope they figure out how to balance someone who stays exclusively in the Civ tree vs. someone who stays exclusively in War tree vs. someone who stays exclusively in the Magic tree.

A faction specializing in the Civ tree should get incredible city bonuses including walls and militia that are very difficult to take down.  They get incredible diplomacy bonuses, faster tech research, more gold and resources, faster city growth, higher prestige, heroes come to them instead of vice versa, etc.  Basically, the ability to hunker down and play the whole game peacefully and win with alliances.

A faction specializing in the War tree should be able to get lots of great army stuff.  Lots of items, traits for soldiers and champions, improved army sizes, less troop maintenance, land movement bonus, etc.  Basically, the ability to conquer the world or complete the legendary quests for victory.

A faction specializing in the Magic tree should of course get access to all kinds of magical possibilities from enchantments to spells, magic weapons and armor (that don't require 2 Civ techs and 3 War techs), mana generating abilities, etc.  Basically, the ability subdue the rest of the world until you can cast the spell of making.

A little diversification is ok, but if you diversify too much, you're gonna get powned.

 

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March 14, 2012 5:47:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Masterwork Armours, Masterwork Bows and Masterwork Weapons are three random ones. I don't remember right now if there are more. The look exactly the same as the regular ones. Some magic book maybe?

I haven't tried lately but random techs only work (don't crash the game if they don't appear) if they are at the end of a research line (aka don't have other techs depending on them) which is the case of the masterwork techs.

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March 14, 2012 5:58:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

King of the Wastes and the Third Book of the Magi are a couple that I've seen sometimes.

 

Also. Mutually exclusive techs would be freakin awesome. Way way better than random techs. Plus it would open up so many opportunities to modders.

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March 14, 2012 5:58:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

From what I saw in recent videos, there are many many more random techs populating the tree. I encourage this. As I said in a recent post, a combination of faction techs, random techs, and core techs should make up the tree each game. The key is to make the interactions complex from a simple random system. 

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March 14, 2012 6:01:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

We had a LOOOOONG discussion about this last year, but to recap, there are those of us that felt many 'special/acquired' weapons were waaaaay overpowered.

In my E:FE playtesting, this very much still seems to be the case.

There are several examples of this, but what it comes down to is that with the way combat is calculated, a +22 weapon is exponentially more powerful than a +11.  And a +44 Weapon?  Don't even bother to show up with that +11, if defenses are equal you have no chance.

The suggested solution was to tone down the differences in values.  If +5 is the 'beginning' norm, then +20 should be godlike.  As it is now, I'm seeing the same number of uber kill weapons as before, next to the guy plinking out 4 damage, even though both champions are of comparable levels.

All of this goes back to the randomness you were talking about.  If you are lucky enough to come across an Uber weapon, the game battles become much easier than if you've never managed to find/buy anything better than say a broadsword.

But as this argument apparently fell on deaf ears before, I'm not holding my breath now.  Also, I miss Kenata's Weapons Mods (those made weapons fun and interesting), but since Combat has changed, I'm not sure how those would adapt to the new combat model.

Battles are much more interesting if you have to pluck away at foes for a few turns (cannon fodder aside), without running the risk of one hit one kill yourself all the time against the uber baddies.  Higher level champions, unless they show up 'naked', should be expected to take a few hits to go down.  This encourages defense upgrades, without making them feel pointless for what you just spent on upgrades.

Also, I haven't noticed this random tech thing you are talking about.  Is this just a starting tech thing?  Because I'm seeing all the techs on my tech tree, or at least am not noticing any changes to the tree as I play.

Elemental, in both flavors, seems to be suffering from an identity crisis.  On the one hand, some things are nice and ordered and no randomness creeps into those decisions, but on other fronts, the fate of your empire rests on very random factors, such as what is in the goody huts you find nearby or if you are lucky enough to get the right traits to appear on your level ups.  Too much randomness is not good for game balance.  Sure, if it is just you versus the computer, it's fine but if we are going to have online multiplayer in E:FE at some point, then it needs to be toned down, so that the playing field remains more stable as opposed to luck of the draw.

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March 14, 2012 6:09:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The devs are developing themselves into a corner by starting out with such small numbers in the game.

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March 14, 2012 9:13:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The equations that battle is based on are solid. The biggest problem is that armor and weapons are doing more work than the attributes of the hero and trained soldier. The solution is a better progression system in Paths for heroes, and more ways to give stat bonuses to units that will affect how they use a weapon. 

 

I would make magic and civics specifically good at stat bonuses. Magical weapons should be a hybrid direction for those willing to go Magic/Warfare at the expense of getting to high tier techs in either tree.

Civics should rely on high production and excellent traits that make units cost alot to train. 

Magic should rely on enchanting cities to make cheap units have unnatural abilities. Staves would be their forte as it is now, but their front line would use enchantments to stay competitive with other factions.

Warfare would pretty much work as everything does now. 

 

The real question is, how will the upcoming faction additions affect all this?

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March 15, 2012 7:52:34 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

 ...
I feel that we should start off with a lot more of the basic techs, like some basic armor, weapons, and being able to mine or farm, etc.  Starting out with clubs and no armor feels boring.  Very boring game to start.

...
 

 

I like it the way it is at the moment (more or less...).  While I am happy for you to have an option for advanced tech start, if Stardock put it in, I think it will be way overpowered in terms of monster strengths and faction rushing strategies.

Right now I can't use most of these advances straight away even if I have them.  Spears and leather armour, yeah like who can afford that.  Mines, shards, crystal (excepting gold) - great, if you can pay for them... I can't.

I also find that it makes me choose.  No choice equals boring game (for me).  I can get inns straight away, or some weapons but not both.  Which first?  (Okay, in fact I get both of them very quick at the moment - for me that is the problem.)

I really think many of the tech problems are arising from the insane speed in which the world gets settled.  If units (especially pioneers, please note dev's I don't understand your resistance here) were a fair bit more expensive then more tech would get done before the elemental world went to war. 

I think adding a substantial base cost for units which is not reducible by traits/abilities would also help even out the field for more advanced units (e.g. adding 30 labour to each unit so a glass militia currently 30 goes to 60, while armoured spears go from 60 to 90, and knights from 90 to 120, sure the numbers are make believe but the idea is that the proportions of labour invested in the higher end units compared to the glass cannons are reduced - a knight equals two militia in production rather than three).

Slowing the game down (especially city founding) will lead to more tech getting done by the end game.  That is what I would like to see.

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March 15, 2012 7:57:39 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This is a very interesting viewpoint, and I largely agree with it!

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March 15, 2012 8:41:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Amazing what us gremlins get up to while all the kiddies are sleeping. 

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March 15, 2012 9:42:44 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

But WHY partially random tech tree is bad and is killing replayablility. I agree tha faction riented trees would be cool but why lillte randomness here and there spoild the fun for you?

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March 15, 2012 10:08:37 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It spoils the fun because the randomness takes away from what and who my nation is.  Picking a sov, picking a faction should lead to a certain play style.  Strategy games are about planning.  Oh great, my faction has access to super bows, even though they use mages instead...or are weak and have access to masterwork plate...I would rather be able to fit the appropriate tech tree to fit my race, sov, and faction. 

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March 15, 2012 11:08:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Having been following this for a while and very much wanting to do some gear modding in the coming months I think it's worth a mention that maybe people should look to MoBA (Dota/LoL/whatever) and have a look at some of the items there that give both advantages but also a downside.

 

If you have a weapon that is OP then make a downside to it, add a negative effect that the player will have to sum up on whether it's worth it or not. EG An evil mace that has great dmg stats but causes %30 unrest to any player built city if the equipped unit resides in it's zone. Possibilities are endless but you have to imo look at items that are going to come with a trade off. Making god tier weapons just isn't fun.

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March 15, 2012 1:24:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Lord Xia,
It spoils the fun because the randomness takes away from what and who my nation is.  Picking a sov, picking a faction should lead to a certain play style.  Strategy games are about planning.  Oh great, my faction has access to super bows, even though they use mages instead...or are weak and have access to masterwork plate...I would rather be able to fit the appropriate tech tree to fit my race, sov, and faction. 

The present random techs are optional/non-vital stuff (you won't die because you don't get masterwork armours, I promise you) so they shouldn't be a problem. They are at the end of a research line, they don't open other lines, they don't prevent you from pursuing other playstyles neither force you to play in a certain way (you can ignore them).

"But I'm supposed to be the super duper smith!!!" Yeah, well, maybe in most games you are but lack the proper survivors that would share the knowledge of masterwork smithing. Optional stuff is optional (and random material) and your super duper smithing can be found in other stuff like faction abilities that make you better at producing armours/weapons and/or gives them extra bonuses, etc.

But if not having the optional/random masterwork armour tech is totally game breaker for your "My faction is about the super duper master smiths"...

Modding section -------------------------->

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March 15, 2012 1:36:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It's not a total game breaker, god.  It's just not very fun.  It doesn't add to my fun at all and it takes away from my ability to plan.  

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March 15, 2012 1:40:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Or it adds to your ability to plan. You might take a look at my post on faction differentiation. Random techs+Faction Techs+Core Techs makes for more replayability and teaches the player to adapt to new situations. I also have rationale for why you are seeing random techs in each game. We will still disagree, but my tick might at least go away for an hour. I get it every time someone says that random is bad.

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March 15, 2012 2:16:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I did some research and balancing exercises a little over a year back, before getting distracted by other things and putting Elemental aside for a bit.

My initial solution to better balance combat was to add 5 to the attack and 3 or 4 defense values of all units, before modifiers.  My rationale for this number was simple.  Str at that time provided a damage bonus equal to Str/2, after the first 10 STR, so the 5 would be 10 STR/2.  Similar rationale for defense (Con/3)..

This was also coupled with toning down the attack values a bit on higher value weapons, as well as adjustments to monsters, armor, and such as needed.  The result was less randomness in combat, and the least powerful units at least able to put up a better fight.  This made combat more interesting, as one hit kills were less common under this model.

My next step would have been to increase this base value to higher levels and see how those worked.  Based on the combat numbers I'm seeing now in E:FE, setting all base attack and defense values at around 10 ATT/ 8 Def looks about right to me, and perhaps I'll play with the .xml values at some point and see how this works

What I'm finding myself doing now in E:FE is centering my attack around the Champion(s) with uber weaponry, who goes out and slaps out as much as 100+ damage strikes at times against the enemy.  This results in many one shot one kills obviously.  Cinematic? Yes.  Challenging? Not at all.

Of course, when the tables are turned, and that uber monster appears, the only solution is to leave, quickly if your levels aren't even close to his, but thanks to the escape spell this can usually be accomplished.  No point in even trying to fight it out if said uber monster has hundreds of hit points to begin with, and your usual strike does 4 damage... Again, Cinematic? Yes.  Challenging?  Die horribly or run are your only options at this point, so I would not call that challenging, but instead very Monty Python-ish.

Against most opponents, combat should be an affair where you are jockeying for position, and each of your champions and units plays a significant role in that.  Not line up and take a couple of hits, while Uber Champion clears the enemies one by one. 

At least with spells, this taps on the mana pool, so if they are a little over the top there is the mana pool depletion mechanic to offset this.  And spell costs and mana regeneration are things that are relatively easy to adjust for game balance purposes.

And basic Militia?  Don't make me laugh.  Glass cannons are all fine and good, but I'd rather be trading blows over multiple turns than watching mindless cannon fodder plink out 4 damage before being swept summarily off the field.

The early game seems to be balanced well enough.  But as stronger weapons enter the field, the square/squareroot problem manifests itself, turning a valiant defense by villagers into an exercise in boredom.

Those are my thoughts on the current combat model.

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March 15, 2012 2:23:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Couldn't agree more tjashen.

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March 15, 2012 3:07:23 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I love the random factor.

 

When it's static I feel you always play the same game over and over again. Meaning that each game you research the exact same thing. There is very little variety. When people say it remove my ability to plan what I hear is that I have no idea what I will do and I feel completely lost.

 

I for one love that feeling. when I open the game and I have no idea what I will learn this game is what makes it a fun game. If nothing uber comes out of my game because of the random factor so much the better I have to adapt and still try to win.

 

If you remove the random part of the game there is no surprise no wow I never thought I would win this game.

I have a hard time playing a game where everything is planed out in advance. I find it very boring.

 

Keep the randomness is what makes it a special game.

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March 15, 2012 3:15:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think having a play "random faction" option, with each faction having their own specific tree would work towards that.  I think the only reason that random techs is liked at all is because so little about the factions are different. I would rather get my feeling of playing a different faction by actually playing a different faction, not just get a few random techs here or there.

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March 15, 2012 3:34:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Lord Xia,
It's not a total game breaker, god.  It's just not very fun.  It doesn't add to my fun at all and it takes away from my ability to plan.  

I want to play the super duper smithy faction!

*starts game*

What? No iron mine in the initial area and its surroundings??? I get some crystal node instead??? *foams* Curse you, random resource placement!!! Think of my ability to plan, you silly!!!

 

(because resource placement is more important than the presence of some random and trivial techs, and certainly both groups don't count as "different factions")

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