Go big, or go home

By on April 2, 2012 12:08:58 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Derek Paxton

Join Date 03/2003
+173

 

  So much fun stuff to talk about.  Let me start by owning up to a mistake that I made.

  In my faction differentiation thread I talked about adding new traits and abilities for pre-designed units.  When you asked if those were specific to various factions I said that they were open to anyone, because I wanted players designing their own units to have as many tools as possible.  Many people cautioned me against that, and you were right.

  I have been living in faction differentiation land and been doing a lot of work detailing exactly what each faction can and can't do.  Though I like a player's ability to customize his units, it has to be secondary to the differences between the factions if faction differentiation is to mean anything.  This became more important as we added more abilities to each faction.

  I always get excited when we start to talk about abilities that may be too powerful to balance.  Can Yithril start all the trained units off at 2nd level?  (yes, but they won't get access to ranged units).  Can Kulan have an ability that allows him to take control of enemy beasts in combat? (yes, but it has a range of 1 and a 2 turn casting time, you better be able to survive 2 turns of cave bear attacks if you want to capture one).

  We won't have all the new faction abilities in by the start of Beta 3.  But there will be enough that you all can start playing with them and providing feedback.  One of the ones we were focusing on last week was Magnar.  They can't build any growth improvements, no Inn, no Pub, no Brewery, etc.  But when they defeat men or fallen in combat (be they bandits or enemy armies) they add them as population to the nearest Magnar city.  And they keep the ability to take population from the cities they raze.  People aren't flooding out of the wilderness to join Mangar cities, they need a bit more proding.

  Magnar doesn't get any new weapon or armor.  But they have a new unit type they can design from.  If you go into the Unit Design screen you have Male and Female at the bottom.  Some factions have other options they can design on, for Magnar that’s slave units.

  Slaves don’t have any training cost and you don't have to pay them wages.  You still need to pay for the training time to make whatever weapons and armor you give them, and their stats aren't very impressive.  At some point you will want to use real Quendar units if you are already spending the time to craft valuable armor and weapons.  But for good cheap archers, warg riders and militia, slaves work great (and you can't beat 0 wages)

  We used to have the conscripts trait that was attempting to provide a similar benefit, but it didn't work as well.  Now there is a nice visual distinction between the larger Quendar units and the smaller slaves they are marshaling into battle.

  Magnar also gets access to unique spells.  Death Lash makes a unit dramatically more powerful, but then kills it at the end of battle.  Cull the Weak kills one of your own trained units but heals the caster and gives back some mana.  For Magnar their cheap slaves are fodder, have fun with them.

 

  Another piece of feedback that I took to heart was that a lot of the damage types and resistances were underutilized.  In general the differences between weapons and their impact on other armies or monsters didn't mean as much as I wanted.  I was being too subtle.  So I went through every monster and gave them dramatic strengths and weaknesses.  Trolls are all vulnerable to fire, Ice Elementals have no defense against blunt weapons.  Naja and Stalkers are immune to counter attacks.  Ogres all have bad spell resistance.  Nearly every monster has areas where it is weak, and areas where it is strong.

  The same thing has been done with armies.  Armor has been rebalanced and instead of being 50% more effective against certain damage types it is 100% more effective.  Abilities have been added to all weapons.  Swords all have counterattack.  All axes have backswing.  Spears still have armor piercing, but they also make the unit immune to counter attack.  Hammer type weapons don't have an ability but tend to be big, slow and do lots of damage to make up for it.

  What weapon you use matters.  And many of the factions have special versions that drive this even further.  Krax has one handed versions of the spears that they can use with shields.  Umber has scimitars that have backswing and counterattack.  Pariden has a staff that shoots lighting.  Yithril has a great axe that has armor piercing (it's devastating).

 

  Another example, races now give a bloodline trait.  Ironeer's get +6 to Spell Resistance and an additional Hit Point per level, but their tactical spells cost 50% more than normal.  This applies to trained units and any Ironeer champions you recruit (regardless of what race you are playing as).  It also applies to any custom sovereign you create that has Ironeer as their race.  All Pariden units get a minor boost depending on the amount of shards and the type of shards you control.  All Wraiths get -1 hit point per level, but they heal 3 hit points whenever they kill an opponent.

 

  We have a lot of faction differentiation work to do, but it is coming together nicely.  Now that the base game mechanics are there and working, we can have fun polishing and creating all the special stuff that makes it special.  Thanks again to all of you for providing feedback and I'm looking forward to more when Beta 3 releases.

 

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April 2, 2012 12:19:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This all looks wonderful. As someone who spent hours in the CoreMonsterUnitTypes.xml, I feel the work you must have put into monsters. That is the most important change for me. Monsters are the primary antagonist in the early game. They should have lots of little bits of variety so that every battle requires a new strategy and some trial and error. *Looks derisively at slave soldiers*

The weapon changes look great too. I will start on some analysis of Monsters and the Weapons we kill them with as soon as the Beta is out. It would seem the best place to start.

 

I see you have also added a Hasta (One-Handed Spear). Kudos on the solid design choice! 

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April 2, 2012 12:23:48 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You know, in the past month or so, my impression of this game has gone from 'anticipated fun diversion' to 'probable best in class'.

Keep up the good work!

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April 2, 2012 12:25:01 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

April Awesomeness!

I think that many of the things you mentioned are really good. This might be more difficult to set up for custom factions but faction specific buildings and maybe even quest lines is worth considering.

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April 2, 2012 1:05:50 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Oh I see what you did there-- an April Fool's post. I bet all the factions are now the same race and color with no special abilities of any kind.

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April 2, 2012 1:06:31 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That is differentiation. It's better than I could hope for.

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April 2, 2012 1:22:33 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Fantastic!

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April 2, 2012 1:40:13 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This is a huge step in the right direction.  Now it will be fun to try out all the races and see how they play.  Monsters having vulnerabilities and strengths will create tactical challenges.  Re-playability just took a big step up, woohoo!!

 

The more you are able to strip the generic to give unique experiences, the more fun folks will have playing the game.  The AI better get smarter too:)

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April 2, 2012 1:55:25 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Thank you for not skimping out on faction differentiation. Even back in E:wom you guys kept saying you'd not do it in FE, you'd save it for the "next" game.

 

This is probably the best area to put resources in at this point.

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April 2, 2012 2:43:24 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 I was getting a bit disheartened and decided to wait for Beta 4 for my next try with the game. Now I want Beta 3 right now. Good stuff here.

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April 2, 2012 2:57:20 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So what's happening to custom races?

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April 2, 2012 3:10:29 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting mastroego,
 I was getting a bit disheartened and decided to wait for Beta 4 for my next try with the game.

That was my plan, too, but with these amazing changes i want to play the game as soon as possible.

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April 2, 2012 3:23:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hammers -> add chance to stun enemy based on enemy health and damage received. Something like:

Code: c++
  1. prob = damage / (health + damage)
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April 2, 2012 3:26:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Sounds fantastic. You guys are really delivering on Fallen Enchantress. So excited. Hope Beta 3 is released this week. Would LOVE to play it over Easter.

Would be good to know the state of the various races so we can gauge how complete they are in certain areas.

Keep up the good work.

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April 2, 2012 3:41:19 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Sounds GREAT!!!

Particularly weapon and ability differentiation.

Quoting ,


All axes have backswing.   

This is the only thing that I find grossly suboptimal. Much rather have axes have higher damage, armor piercing, or some other form of mitigation. An axe is a nasty, unwieldly item (can speak from personal experience!).

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April 2, 2012 4:17:47 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Sounds great; I'm almost as excited for the damage/resist changes as the faction differentiation. I'll enjoy building something more than spear troops.

On the factions - I'm really looking forwards to them.  If not planned, one thing I'd ask for is some sort of breakdown (accessible from the faction choosing screen and in game) to let the player know the vision with the factions.  Maybe not for the beta.  I only mention because I noticed in some games (like FFH and mods of it) that there are often core mechanics/ weapon/ synergies/ upgrades that are obvious to the designers, but for the players it can be hard to see them right offhand.  IE, that yes I definitely need to unlock swords early to get the key weapon that makes the faction good, or if I don't get X diplomacy tech, I'm horribly killing myself.  When the factions only differ by % bonuses its not too hard to figure out, but once they start getting really unique it can be confusing.

But just from the example of Magnar, sounds a lot more like a living interesting faction with a lot more flavor to it than it had been.  So great stuff!

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April 2, 2012 6:46:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the art BTW

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April 2, 2012 6:48:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Fantastic news!

Cheers,

Sword

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April 2, 2012 7:11:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have two small questions/issues

 

1. About those slave warriors. If they dont use population and have no wages, it sounds like you could spam them forever (if you make archers and weak stuff that hardly demands metal). Of course they would fill the production que and that might be balance enough.

2. The monsters with all kinds of boosts and weaknesses, sounds good. There is one small issue here though. It will force me to check every army that I attack to see how it matches the stats of my army. Not very newbie friendly.

All in all, it sounds good, if you just promise to make the Umber the evil tough guys I imagine them to be

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April 2, 2012 7:14:49 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well done Kael.  This is what we have been waiting for.

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April 2, 2012 7:18:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Wow, this sounds awesome.

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April 2, 2012 7:25:31 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Maybe instead of production (and growth malus) the Quendar slave pit would provide growth and gold bonuses?

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April 2, 2012 7:25:55 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Looking forward to April 12th even more.

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April 2, 2012 8:31:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Sounds awesome, especially the stuff about Magnar and the Quendar.  

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April 2, 2012 8:42:27 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Good news.  Your dramatic rebalancing reminded me about a rule on game design: if a mechanic seems broken, double/half its effects and reevaluate.

Here's to 12 April.

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April 2, 2012 8:55:48 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Looks good.  Can we  have a hope for new types of monsters in beta 3 or 4 ? (like zombie, skeletons or others) ?

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