Fallen Enchantress 0.913 Feedback requested

By on May 3, 2012 4:19:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Derek Paxton

Join Date 03/2003
+173

 

  We did a lot of work on the AI this week (and by we, I mean Brad) and made some significant changes.  I even had to ask Brad to tone down the aggressiveness based on a game where I got dragged down and beat like the Goonie kids, if they'd accidently wandered into the Hellraiser movies*.

  But the trouble with testing the AI in a game that contains as many moving parts as FE is that it can be very situational.  It also has a lot to do with balance.  Some abilites are to good, some are to weak and a human is always better a figuring out how to exploit them than an AI player.  Some items may randomly swing the game ot much (if you get a berserkers axe in the first 20 turns, etc).

  I can only play a limited amount of games per week, but if I can get feedback from you folks we can start to learn form that experience and figure out what is keeping the AI from being competitive.  I would love to get the following from anyone who is interested.

 

1. General feedback on if you felt the monsters were a threat (were they too strong, too weak, or about right).

2. General feedback on if you felt the AI players were a threat (were they too strong, too weak, or about right).

3. What difficulty did you play on?

4. What faction/sovereign did you play (if you made a custom sovereigns, what traits did you pick)?

5. If you think the AI was too easy, what did you do to lead to your success (did you outfit your soveriegn in leather armor, find a good sword and then single handidly kill everyone, did you start producing an endless stream of spearmen and destroy with your armies, did you learn fireball and use it to destroy the world)?

6. Attach a save game at the point where you believe you have the game beat so we can check it out.  A save at the tipping point, where you believe you have the game won and have to play it out is more useful than one where the opponents are all crushed because it allows us to see exactly what is going on when the AI loses.  If you get to a point where yo don't feel a threat from the AI anymore thats a good point to get a save.

 

Thanks,

Derek

 

* If you weren't born in an era where killing a duck with a three pixel long sword wasn't awesome then please replace the above mixed analogy with "beat like Justin Bieber, if he'd accidently wandered into one of the Saw movies."

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May 3, 2012 4:34:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

1. General feedback on if you felt the monsters were a threat (were they to strong, to weak, or about right).

2. General feedback on if you felt the AI players were a threat (were they to strong, to weak, or about right).

Neither were a threat on challenging... just irritating by being everywhere and spawning a ridiculous amount of time-consuming weaklings. High-end monsters are too weak (and too close to the starting zones, too).

Monsters are weak to the point where I can beat roughly any monster with 2 leather-clad spearmen (3-men) units that have reach level 3 or 4, which is too easy to obtain. I'd have expected a Shrill Lord to at least require a strong army of mid-game units.

The AI is too concerned with building enormous amounts of pioneers and sending lone (and poorly equipped) heroes in a disorderly fashion, or hundreds of armorless spearmen (rarely grouped in a significant army) to be of any threat.

I was playing Gilden almost exclusively. I should add that playing Gilden exacerbates one of the biggest issues in the game: balance. Armor, for instance, is strong to the point of granting invulnerability; I can win by casting stoneskin on a full-leather clad group of 3 soldiers relatively early in the game. I've yet to see an AI player being able to deal with that. The +25% is too strong (and the weapons are too weak to fight armor anyway, even the spears).

Usually, beating the game comes down to identifying one of the balance or AI problems and exploiting it. Fireball/Blizzard with an Evoker I-II (hit points are too low to counter this), heavy armor.

 

I'll try to get a savegame after today's patch, but for now I've erased all my unmodded savegames .

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May 3, 2012 4:38:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

Yeah, we really want to see what it looks like after 0.913.

 

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May 3, 2012 4:57:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Oh, sorry, I've read "beta 3", my bad.

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May 3, 2012 5:02:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

dont turn the AI down just yet, give us a version where the AI goes nuts, will be playing abit more elemental to get you some saves then if that is what is needed, want it in this post/string or in a seperate thread? (Want me to movie-rize my sessions and send them per email or something, as to not fill up my dropbox instantly?)

Sincerely
~ Kongdej

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May 3, 2012 5:28:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have made a great journey to the land of the mod and back. I think it is time to play some vanilla for awhile to help with balance. I will try and give saves, video of important battles, and some notes on difficulty in a separate post. 

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May 3, 2012 6:22:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting seanw3,
I have made a great journey to the land of the mod and back.

I think i have a condo there.

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May 3, 2012 6:35:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Ohh, did you hide a secret dot somewhere in the game? 

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May 3, 2012 6:39:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

There were some significant path finding fixes that allowed the AI units to actually get to where they had been targeted.

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May 3, 2012 6:53:12 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I apologize for my OCD, but its "too", Derek.  "TOO"!  arggggggggghhhhhh!

 

On a side note, I'll play .913 and give some proper feedback in this thread tomorrow

 

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May 3, 2012 6:53:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I loved how if you didn't kill the duck and managed to get yourself eaten, the game doesn't end, it just lets you struggle endlessly to try and find some way to stab the vile thing from within, but I never quite figured out how...

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May 3, 2012 7:50:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Select, A, Select, B, A, B, A. 

 

 

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May 3, 2012 8:08:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

to = too

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May 3, 2012 8:32:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Some super quick feedback from just playing a few hours on a large map on hard with everything else normal.

 

1.  Monsters: Felt about right. (I probably didnt play long enough to really judge this)

2.  AI players:  In 0.912 I used to be able to run around and do whatever I wanted and build randomly in cities and still win. I couldnt this time. Computer players crushed me every time. Now I feel like I actually have to learn what different buildings do and think about what units to make. Im really happy.  

3. Difficulty: Hard

4. Sov: Custom. I feel like I have to choose traits more carefully, which is great.

5. Seems to be making better choices in tactical combat but I didnt play enough to really see that much action.

One cool thing I saw though was that before one attack on one of my cities the AI came with two stacks, from opposite directions, outside my city as if it was doing a troop build up before the attack. Might have been just coincidence but it really looked like it focused my city instead of sending many weak groups at different times like it did in 0.912.


Many buggs are still in the game but I dont have time to report them now.

 

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May 3, 2012 8:37:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting NaytchSG,

Ohh, did you hide a secret dot somewhere in the game? 

Great old school reference!!!

I guess trying to find it would be an Adventure!

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May 3, 2012 9:04:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Nice will play a round asap and advise!

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May 3, 2012 9:07:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I just started playing so I don't have big feedback yet but initially my feedback is positive. Everything seems to be a bit better.

 

This isn't AI feedback but can you change these two pet peeves:

 

1) I find an item. There are two options: OK and Equip. A lot of times I miss a third option. I just want to look at the item before equipping it right away (I don't know if it's better than my current item for example). Can you put a third button like "Examine" that will take you to equipment screen but not equip the item right away? That would be a lot more useful.

 

2) In tactical combat when I successfully hit a unit, the hit bar shows the hit before the animation completes and the hit number flies up. It's a small thing but it really kills the suspense. The hit bar should show the hit after the animation and the after the number flies up. The animation should complete first, then the number should fly up, then the hit bar should reflect the hit.

 

Thanks.

 

EDIT: A bug. Pariden offered me money to go to war with Magnar while I am already at war with Magnar (and not the same turn either they had declared war on me long time ago).

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May 3, 2012 9:30:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

AI has been awesome so far.

Playing on normal for my first game, with 6 AI. I killed 2 of them so far and a 3rd died to the others. The last 3 AI players are puting up a fight. One even took my capital from me with my sov and his army right next to it, they just ran right by and took it. So on the next turn  i had to fight that army and the city defenders to get back my capital. The AI is even using magic when they have a champion. 

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May 3, 2012 9:32:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Ausland,
I apologize for my OCD, but its "too", Derek.  "TOO"!  arggggggggghhhhhh!

I must say it was very nice of you too tell Derek about that! I will also take advantage of it too improve my spelling .

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May 3, 2012 10:07:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
 
Some items may randomly swing the game ot much (if you get a berserkers axe in the first 20 turns, etc).

 

Why is this, and similar events even possible?

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May 3, 2012 10:12:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Isn't Berserker's whathaveyou a level 7 item?

 

My greatest worry is for the AI Sovs. They need more health and starting armor to survive in this big mean world. And since they should get it, so should I. 

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May 3, 2012 10:24:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting AlLanMandragoran,
1) I find an item. There are two options: OK and Equip. A lot of times I miss a third option. I just want to look at the item before equipping it right away (I don't know if it's better than my current item for example). Can you put a third button like "Examine" that will take you to equipment screen but not equip the item right away? That would be a lot more useful.

 

Why bother with a button like "Examine" just skip the middle man and a lot of unnecessary and pointless menu work by displaying your existing items stats and the new items stats in the window itself.

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May 3, 2012 10:44:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Or have equip bring up the equip screen.

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May 3, 2012 10:47:49 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Well, I think I need to play a bit more, but the staring monsters killed many towns within 5-6 turns after being founded. One game I lost my Hero on the first turn when we was attacked by a monster immediately. That was interesting considering I have them turned to the lowest setting.

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May 3, 2012 10:50:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't necessarily argue for a third button. My point is the current two options don't cater to the most encountered use cases. Having Equip bring up the Equip screen would probably work.

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May 3, 2012 10:57:59 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Played a couple of hours on large-all factions-challenging map with Resoln. My first impressions is that AI really got an overhaul here and that it truly feels more challenging in 0.913. No more roaming alone and taking entire factions with a sole hero anymore! Here is a couple of things I saw in my first 2 games (wrote them while playing)

First game:

So I launch as Resoln, build my second city and I am stupid enough to build an outpost not too far from a river krag. He beats the outpost, comes down on my second city. In the meanwhile, knights fall on my hero group. Bang. In 2 turns, I lost an outpost, a city and my heroes died twice...While the monsters go crazy on me, Gilden builds an outpost at my former perfecft spot...finally some challenge in challenging!! 3 things I liked:

1) Monsters knocked on me because I did the outpost and woke the beast...

2) That same krag went on rampage and not only destroyed my second city, but also the Gilden parties in that area.

3) The knights, after beating me, went down on rampage on gilden scouts/settlers in the area, before destroying their (my) perfect spot outpost.

Second game (I wanna see how the game runs with citizen walking around and, to admit all, the first game was a bad start )

I launch the game...omg Altar is destroyed on the first turn...

Couple of minor bugs

Bug: quest location for rat nest shows black spot when zooming out

Bug: death shard sometimes doesn't show on map, and then shows again. This goes for quest location (humble inn) too.

Bug: Leonia hero stays on map after I beat her up. Still some small bugs with quest location (need to zoom out then in to see them). All this stuff is minor, expanding is really nice and I have to be carefull since my sovereign died once in the north!

Knights and mage (same that killed my hero) destroy Yithril outposts in the north!! Nice, I can place mine now! Oh no mobs turn south towards my zone of comfort. I gather all my forces (a puny bunch still) and return north. While I clear the area (wasn't easy vs these knights), pioneers from Yithril grab all the area...They seem friendly but they must pay the price for grabbing my land!

So I declare war, while all my heroes are in the north (3 heroes, 1 warg, 1 spearmen unit). I grab their newly founded city, Yithril sends me an army of brutes...well 5 vs 5 guess who wins. 3 turns after, I launch a full offensive on Yithil second city. 5 vs 5, I win but lose my lv 5 warg and spearmen. Yithil surrenders to me.

Bug: Death shards are invisible and not buildable sometimes for a turn. The turn after they are buildable again.

I find (well Yithil did that for me) and attack Tarth, they in the way and I wanna see how they will stand. I am really overextending and good AI could deeply take advantage of that (my sovereign isn't in the area anymore and I got no extra troops, only 3 heroes).

A settler that espaced my 2 heroes' army builds an outpost beside me. Boom... Next turn, I attack 2 of their cities at same time (one with one hero and the main one with 2!) 2 crucial tactical battles that slows down so much (major memory leak) that I need to fasten them. Both battles were in the grasslands with hills and a city: certainly is some kind of bug. Fastening in crucial moments doesn't give great results: I lose both battles but worst, in the main one, I deal no damage to Tarth (was a 2 vs 5 battle) even if both my heroes are ranged and lv 6 lol...oh well enough for tonight!

Final word:

Well on my first 2 games, I have to say AI in version 0.913 is certainly better than in 0.912. Way better monster AI on challenging mode. Monsters aren't passive anymore and they eat all that is around when awaken. Still need to play more and really wanted to point out the first bugs that I found in the first 100 turns. The only one that bothered me was the massive memory leak in the crucial tactical battle, but frankly, it's a minor issue compared to the major improvements I saw in the AI and the general feel of the game (feels more balanced).

Even If I was a bit deceived on how easy it was to take Yithril 3 cities with 3 heroes and 2 units, i came to realize that I just caught him off guard in the early game (his sovereign was far far away when he surrendered to me). Actually If I hadn't cut his brute army going down south, Yithil would of grab my own 2 cities without problem.

The battle vs Tarth showed me that AI is certainly better at defending city and that it wasn't possible to just grab them with lv 6-7 heroes. He had couple units there and, this time, his sovereign was in the area. Lady Irane was lv 6 like my heroes (the Yithil one was lv 5 when he surrended), which implies that she farmed the area properly. Tarth was also sending one army in the wild, certainly to backdoor me in the south.

Well, 0.913 in challenging felt like a real challenge and I am certainly looking forward to try a long game when I have time. Very nice update Derek and Brad, this is fun and AI clearly improved between 0.912 and 0.913. Cannot say at this point if it's too easy or too hard but will glady update this when I get to play a full long game. Thanks!

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