Playthrough: .98, custom race, 8 ridiculous AIs, large map [Turn 92]

Work in progress

By on September 22, 2012 1:05:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Tuidjy

Join Date 08/2010
+79

This is the fourth in my series of play-throughs.

The first two used powerful heroes and blitzkrieg to win on Ridiculous in .913 and Insane in .915  By turns 100 and 89, respectively, all five Empire AIs had been destroyed.

The third one was the beginning of an attempt to beat .952 on Insane without ever being the aggressor, i.e. let the AI develop until it felt it was strong enough to attack the player.  It ended around turn 60, because Beta 5 was around the corner.

This is a fourth attempt, with rather restrictive home rules.  It aims to explore how trained units are researched, produced and utilized in .98b, and, I hope, provide some insight about the existing balance.  In order to achieve this, the custom race and sovereign are designed for the most powerful trained troops, and all champions are restricted by home rules so that they cannot be used offensively.

I think the best wait to follow this is to wait for my notes on a finished game period, so I will provide here quick links to every successive update.

Quick links:

The rules:        The custom race and leader, the game settings and home rules.

Turns 1-30:      The flight from Goyarh Hedigah, the initial settlement, and the encounter with Magnar.

Turns 31-54:    The initial expansion, the border tensions with Resoln and Magnar, and the start of the war.

Turns 55-66:    The conquest of Resoln.

Turns 67-81:    The integration of the Wraiths, the pacification on the homelands, and Verga's attempted extortion.

Turns 82-92:     The war with Yithril.

                      To be continued

 

Locked Post 49 Replies +3 Karma
Search this post
Subscription Options


Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
mdonais
mqpiffle
seanw3
September 22, 2012 1:05:25 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The rules:

Ridiculous difficulty: Large map, normal pacing, random everything else, 8 ridiculous AIs.

No cheating, but certainly trying to win with everything allowed by the home rules.

No restoring except for crashes.

Start position: no restarting.

The handicap:  Once friendly dominion exists, the sovereign is not allowed to leave it.  No champion is allowed to enter enemy dominion, and has to retreat whenever it reaches him.


The custom race:

Formal name: Legionnaires

Race: Krax

Advantages: Defensive, Master scouts, Master Smiths, Lucky

Weaknesses: No ranged weapons, Vulnerable to magic

 
The leader:

Name: The Duchess

Equipment: Procipinee's Crown, Rusty short sword

Talents: Cowardly, Scholar, Wealthy

Magic proficiencies: Earth apprentice, Life apprentice

Profession: Armorer

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 22, 2012 1:05:42 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Turns 1 - ??

The Duchess

Before turn 1: She was born a noblewoman of Kraxis, but she had never fit in.  It wasn't that she objected to Karavox's policies, or that she wanted to make her own bid for power.  She just wanted to be left alone, with her books and studies.  She had been taught the basics of Earth magic, and her independent research had allowed her to master some Life magic spells. 

She had not considered that she might be taking a risk until she started wondering why there were no other Life practitioners in Kraxis.  She never learned for sure, but she got a hint one night when an assassin demon materialized in her bedroom.  The only reason she survived was that she had been studying an ancient scroll in bed.  Realizing that she had nothing to lose, she quickly read the incantation, and found herself and all of her servants outside the walls of Goyarh Hedigah.  The scroll had contained an escape spell, and had gotten her and her 'army' out of trouble.  

She was not a particularly brave woman.  She did not know who had sent the demon after her, and did not really care.  She dispatched a trusted servant to collect her fortune, and decided to settle somewhere where the study of Life magic would not attract the attention of assassin demons and their masters.

New Home

Turn 3: Finding a new home took the Duchess longer than she expected.  Her flight ended in a area devoid of essence, and she was at a loss.  Fortunately she met an Altarian named Othollo.  He suggested that she may settle in the nearby forest so that at least she would have plenty of construction materials.  As they approached the edge of the forest, they spotted a source of essence deeper into the woods.  The Duchess decided to settle there, despite Othello's warnings that food will be scarce.  She said that there would be enough for her and her servants, and that she could always send people to clear farmland somewhere else.

She felt safe in New Home, and was not eager to venture outside.  She asked Othollo whether he would mind scouting the surroundings and chasing dangerous pests away.  It took some persuasion and some Gildar, but eventually he agreed.  The Duchess was so happy she gave him her copy of Procipinee's crown and cast "Regeneration" and "Courage" on him.  She also used her magic to enchant the hammers of New Home's workers, and to draw mana from their meditations.

A rich area with a lot of problems...

Turn 8: Othollo headed south from the forest.  He cleared a few mite nests and took out some darkling lurkers, but mostly he was looking for fertile land.  He was quite successful.  He found a nice spot for a new city, with two metal deposits nearby.   Soon afterwards, he located a grain field and a colony of wild bees.  Some people had already built a few farms and inns nearby, but they were beset by problems, and looked as if they could use the protection of the Duchess's champion.

New Home received word of Othollo's discovery just as they were finishing building their log camp, and started preparing a group of pioneers to send south. 

Magnar and his bodyguard

Turn 11: Othollo visited the inn near the grain field, a learned the location of an old temple that supposedly contained a spell that could turn mana into gold.  He knew that mana was much more precious that gold, and decided not to bother with the spell in the foreseeable future.   His decision had nothing to do with the three air shrills that were rumored to infest the temple.  Absolutely nothing.

Instead of wasting his time with useless spells, Othollo dispatched a black widow and a bear cub, and found out that he was getting quite good at killing.  He decided to work on his assassination skills. 

As he was looking for his next target, he spotted two rather imposing Quendar.  They turned out to be Emperor Magnar himself and his bodyguard Deras.  This was unwelcome news.  No one would want to share an area so rich in loot and resources.  Othollo sent news of the encounter to the Duchess.  He also urged her to send settlers in all directions.  Even if they could not find arable land for a new settlement, it was important to know whether Magnar's was the only Empire in the region.  While waiting for instructions, he resolved to race Magnar for the available prey and loot.  His first target would be the lost library nearby.

 

Regular communications have been established between the two settlements

Turn 15: When Othollo reached the lost library, he realized that it was only a small part of a ancient research complex.  He could not understand why Magnar had not investigated the four buildings that had been relatively preserved.  Maybe the Emperor was afraid that careless Quendar would set the books aflame, and was working on a safe way to search the libraries. 

It did not matter to Othollo.  He ran from building to building, grabbing all books that looked remotely useful, and rushing them to New Home.

The Duchess could not have been happier.  She pored over the texts, extracting everything that could be helpful in running her little domain.  She found books detailing faster construction methods, better research practices, and nearly everything needed for cultivating basic crops.  Her discoveries allowed a group of her loyalists to start a new settlement in the fertile plains South of New Home. Soon they erected a bell tower and a monument which pacified those former servants who longed for the relative comforts of New Home.

Satisfied that the new settlement of Iron Mines was coming along nicely, the Duchess sent two more groups of pioneers into the wilderness, respectively North and West.

The lands ruled by the Duchess

Turn 19: The spots that the pioneers found were very similar.  They both had ample food and easy access to water and building materials.  The only difference was in the nearby resources.  The Western settlement was near two air shards and a waterfall.   Its founders were romantics and called it Flying Water.  Wild horses roamed the fields near the northern settlement.  The settlers there were more literal minded and named their home White Horse.

The Duchess was quite proud of her little domain, and took great interest in the managing it.  One day, while surveying a clay pit near New Home, she stumbled straight into a bandit camp.  Her subjects had insisted she only goes out armed and with an active "Regeneration" spell, so she managed to dispatch the thugs, but she was badly shaken, and somewhat injured.  That was nothing compared to the unrest her absence caused in New Home.   Once she was back behind the city walls, she had to promise her subjects to never venture outside the walls by herself.  The training of troops became the focus of the reflections of nearly every citizen of the Kingdom.

Finally, an essence rich area

Turn 22: Othollo finally completed his exploration of the old library complex.  It had taken a long time, but it had been well worth it.  The Duchess's people had rediscovered the basics of civics, knowledge acquisition, agriculture, and training, and were close to success in producing lightweight leather armor.  He felt that he had contributed a lot to the process, but was tired of books, and wanted to go back to the excitement of exploring the wild lands.

The Duchess gave him leave to do so.  She was actually growing apprehensive about the many wild animals and savage humanoids who wandered close to her settlements.  She'd always had people exploring the wilds beyond her domain, and had received reports of beasts that she knew she did not have a chance of tackling with her available resources.   She felt that it was time to stop expanding, and to concentrate on securing and pacifying her lands.

She did order allow the creation of one more settlement, though.  A pioneer had discovered the source of the river ending at the Flying Water falls.  The land was fertile, and bursting with resources, mundane and magical.  There was even a good concentration of essence, and the chance was too good to miss. 

The new village was called Manasource.  The Duchess was quick in casting "Enchanted Hammers" and "Meditation" on it.

Othollo, champion of the oppressed

Turn 26: Magnar had built a multitude of outposts East of Iron Mines.  All the resources that Othello had discovered earlier were being exploited by Magnar's Quendar.  Othollo hated seeing the influence of the Empire spreading, and let the Duchess know in no uncertain terms.  He felt that he could take on the Quendar all by himself, and was perfectly willing to prove it.

The Duchess did not allow him to do so.  She was just as concerned with the Death mage's growing power, but she was unwilling to risk Othollo's life on a war that she did not yet have to fight.  With five cities to Magnar's one, the Duchess felt that she could afford to wait, and raise an army for the war.  She ordered New Home to begin training leather clad spearmen.

She pointed out to Othollo that Magnar had done nothing about the concerns of the inhabitants of the land he had claimed.  She suggested that Othollo speaks with the humans living near Magnar's outposts, hears their concerns and assists them if possible.  Othollo jumped at the occasion.  In less that an year, he unmasked a charlatan, cleansed a workshop of wildlings, and even escorted a noble lady to the Duchess's borders.  The noblewoman's estates were near Iron Mines, but there had been rumors that bandits had been seen nearby, and the Duchess wanted to personally escort the lady... as soon as her bodyguards had been properly trained.

Othollo nodded knowing, and decided that it was finally time to seek the temple he'd been told about so long ago. After killing a few air shrills, he transcribed the "Alchemy" spell from the temple walls.

The Ducal Guard in action.

Turn 30: The group of pioneers that was exploring the North met some Pariden scouts.  From the ensuing conversation, they remained with the impression that Procipinee commanded more resources than the Duchess, but not overwhelmingly so.  A non-aggression pact was suggested, but Procipinee demanded payment, which looked too much like extortion to the Duchess. The pioneers and the scouts went their separate ways, not knowing the precise location of the the others' homeland.

Much more worryingly, Magnar sent some soldiers and pioneers literally under New Home's walls.  The Duchess decided to use the remains of her fortune to expedite the training of her bodyguards.  Once they were ready for action, she escorted the noblewoman to her estate.  The lady was very grateful, and contributed 300 Gildar toward a strong military.  After all, her estate was right next to Iron Mines, quite near the Quendar border, and she had seen Magnar's treatment of prisoners first hand.

The Duchess and her bodyguards eradicated the wildling and mite lairs near Iron Mines, and started to methodically pacify the homelands.  She was so impressed with the guards performance that she felt it safe to commission a road between New Home and Imperium.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 22, 2012 6:57:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Get that sovereign to lvl 4 so she can become a path of governor

Sincerely
~ Kongdej

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 22, 2012 7:20:48 AM from Brad Wardell's Little Tiny Frogs Brad Wardell's Little Tiny Frogs

Great screenshots!

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 22, 2012 2:04:17 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I think you were the guy being humble in saying "you were just an engineer and not a scientist" if I am not mistaken.  Hardly something to be humble about.  anyways, I am guessing you have to be off work, for I am impressed in your posts and in all the game playing time.  It hardly seems like there isn't enough time in the day since 0.98 came out....   you must have haste 3 cast on you.  either that, or you drink 6 cups of coffee a day.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 22, 2012 11:22:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think this is the end of the initial settlement period.  Usually I never stop expanding until I am pushing against the AIs borders, but with my Sovereign not leaving her sphere of influence, my prestige is low.  For comparison, Petar was level 15 on turn 32 in my last playthrough.

Time for my remarks.

1. Ridiculous is ridiculously easier than Insane.  This is the first time I'm playing on Ridiculous since June, and the difference is huge.  The AI's bonuses feel like one tenth of what they usually are.  We may have made a mistake by lowering the difficulty, this may end up not being interesting enough.

2. Research is moving along much more slowly, despite the fact that Othollo found four lost libraries pretty much next to each other.  My total production is about 120.  For comparison, in my last playthrough, I had a single city with production 110 by turn 25.

3. Heroes completely outclass troops.  I just built my first spearman, and I managed it only through libraries (luck) and rushing (wealth).  Still, the guy is a joke next to Othollo, let alone a hypothetical dedicated fighter sovereign.

BUT

4. This combination of traits (Lucky, Defensive, Krax) and some basic unit traits (Balance, Lithe) work together very well to produce 65 dodge in my first spearman once he fortifies.  I would feel comfortable taking this race in Insane.

5. By the way, random settings produce some crazy results.  My resources have been pretty sparse, but I have been swimming in quests, and similar huts end up right next to each other.

6. The AI is making really stupid mistakes.  It has been quite good at killing mobs and looting their lairs, but it failed to collect four libraries that were very close to the path it walked - definitely in its field of view.

7. In 90% of the cases, troops running away ends up being a bad move, and a great advantage to the player.  It should go.

8. Production costs are all over the place, and generally feel way high.  If I had not started with a wealthy sovereign, it would have taken 5-6 turns for a perfectly good city (3/4/x) to build its logging camp.  Given that a city isn't really doing much until it has a logging camp, bell tower, town hall and workshop, initial expansion has been slowed down a lot, and rushing is more important than ever.

I have to say, at least on Ridiculous, trained units can come early enough to make a difference.  But still, heroes is the way to go.  The best strategy is to use heroes to explore, loot and sell, and churn out pioneers.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 23, 2012 12:45:01 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tuidjy,
7. In 90% of the cases, troops running away ends up being a bad move, and a great advantage to the player. It should go.

The biggest problem with their retreat is that they don't fully commit to pulling their forces back.  I almost never see troops move more than 1 square away, which leaves them easily within striking distance of whatever had nearly killed them in the first place.  The other big problem is that once an AI troop gets engaged, they refuse to move from their current spot, even if moving one square away will put them much to a much better target.  Change those two behaviors and I think we would see some significantly more challenging AI fights.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 23, 2012 7:59:13 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

7. In 90% of the cases, troops running away ends up being a bad move, and a great advantage to the player.  It should go.

The times when running troops away might be good are:

You are going to win the fight, and want them to survive for later. This does not happen in most fights against the player, but might be significant in AI vs Monster fights.

Or the troops regenerate (trolls).

Or the troops have spells they can use.

Or they have ranged attacks (in which case they should probably be retreating already).

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 23, 2012 8:43:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


I get running away for throwing knives or trool healing. But the behaviour is general.

General running away would be alot better if there were some healing monsters/troops. So often they run back a little but to what end? To not attack me with their mates that turn and maybe kill me? To let me heal or regen or spell cast? Becuase they usually dont heal or regen or spell cast?

Adding a healer to this behaviour would be very different I suggest.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 23, 2012 9:05:24 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

While tactical battles are a huge part of this game, I wonder if you auto resolve battles all the time, will heroes suddenly not be so OP?

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 23, 2012 10:19:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tuidjy,
I had a single city with production 110 by turn 25.

Just because two spells from school  Earth (poore balanced). Products  in cities with 5 materials is very low. (Without these spells)

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 23, 2012 11:45:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tuidjy,
2. Research is moving along much more slowly, despite the fact that Othollo found four lost libraries pretty much next to each other. My total production is about 120. For comparison, in my last playthrough, I had a single city with production 110 by turn 25.

Yah, I think they did this on purpose

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 23, 2012 11:49:27 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Great read. Karma for you!

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 23, 2012 2:05:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

As expected, this is a genuinely interesting experiment!  Thanks, Tuidjy, for thinking of it, and for taking it on.  (As Seanw3 notes, it makes for a good read too.)  While I am not surprised that this is interesting; I have been surprised by several of the things you have observed.  Can't help but note some of them ...

1.  The "Ridiculous" level is ridiculously easier than the "Insane" level.  I don't see why anyone would have expected that.  I assumed the levels above Normal increased in difficulty with some degree of regularity.  Maybe not ...

3.  Heroes completely outclass trained units.  That was expected; but: 4.  you've developed (in very short order !) spearmen with 65 dodge (!), and which are otherwise viable.  Honestly, I find that remarkable!

5.  Random settings produce some crazy results.  Yes!  You found a 2,5,2 for your first city!  I have never seen a tile like that -- with 5 materials; and it still had essence, and some food.  For the strategy you are pursuing, it was practically optimal!  You found 4 libraries, practically side by side - that is also crazy!

6.  Unfortunately, the fact that the AI player walked right by the four libraries does not surprise me.  I have seen behavior like this, myself, more than once.  Clearly the AI retains some significant blind spots.

8.  Production costs are all over the place, and generally feel way high.  Agreed!  Agreed!  Agreed! 

Finally, you seem to be discovering that trained units are not quite as under-powered as many of us have expected.  But, in fairness, it is a little early to conclude that yet; and your own remarkably expert planning and game-play won't be easily duplicated, by a lot of us!  Example: the fact that you had 5 settlements up and running in 22 turns stunned me!  I usually take 70-90 turns to do that; and then only if I have more than usually favorable circumstances.  In my current game, I just founded my fifth settlement; but within a few turns, an Obsidian Golem came out of nowhere, and destroyed my city #4, (even with a modest garrison, which included one trained unit).  Again, (credit where credit is due!) your success is impressive; but I wonder how typical this may be.  I think many of us instinctually find it easier to manage champions competently;  but we may not do quite such a great job with trained units.  Anyways, great job! ... and it will be fascinating to watch the rest of this.    

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 23, 2012 2:10:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Keep in mind he plays with wealthy - as long as he can find settlement locations it is no thing at all to fill the map with cities early.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 23, 2012 2:16:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Heavenfall,
Keep in mind he plays with wealthy - as long as he can find settlement locations it is no thing at all to fill the map with cities early.

Yes, one more perk, which requires a total revision. I do not take it at all. Actually a lot of controversial decisions in the game and is not balanced. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 23, 2012 3:19:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting OrionM42,
You found a 2,5,2 for your first city! I have never seen a tile like that -- with 5 materials; and it still had essence, and some food.

This is the problem with the writeup being in character - information gets lost.  New Home is 2/4/2, the extra materials come from "Enchanted hammers" and a clay pit nearby.  The way it started is like this.  The best I saw on turn 1 was 4/2/1, with no river or forest.  I hired Othollo, and with his 2 moves, he spotted a 3/4 next to a forest.  When the sovereign got there, she saw a 2/4/2 next to a shard, and on turn 3 she settled it.

Quoting Heavenfall,
Keep in mind he plays with wealthy - as long as he can find settlement locations it is no thing at all to fill the map with cities early.

This is the first time I play with wealthy, and I have to say, it is totally unbalancing.  It makes rushing a breeze.

On the other hand, those 1000 Gildar are long gone, and have been eclipsed by quest income (noblewoman escort twice, and killing rats/spiders twice) and by selling loot.  You may have noticed that I have left every single wolf lair on the map.  These 3 pelts per fight add up.  Some rather worthless trinkets also sell for quite a bit - for example two silver flutes pay for a log camp.

Quoting Stanley Tarrant,
While tactical battles are a huge part of this game, I wonder if you auto resolve battles all the time, will heroes suddenly not be so OP?

Depends.  Against maulers and sweepers, auto-resolving is on the level of a cheat - an impossible fight is autowon.  Against heavy slow single monsters, it's the other way around.

But once the hero is high enough level or has insane dodge, nothing matters.

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 23, 2012 10:08:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Turns 31-53

Queen Aquillina's Kingdom

Turn 34: The pioneers in the North met the Ironeer champion Cuessa, and convinced her to swear fealty to the Duchess.  Besides being a skilled merchant, Cuessa was perfectly able to take over the scouting job, so the pioneers backtracked to the most promising spot they had found, and established the Far Colony.

Meanwhile Othollo managed to get paid 300 Gildars for clearing a spider infestation, and even found another noblewoman in need of an escort.  The Duchess wasted no time using the money for speeding up production in the cities where materials were scares.

With six cities under her control, the Duchess was responsible for more people that some sovereigns who styled themselves queens and emperors.  When Queen Procipinee sneered at the fledgling nation's might and demanded tribute, the Duchess realized that she was deeply involved in world politics.  She sent a proud refusal to Procipinee, and signed it Queen Aquillina.

Ceresa will not appreciate an outpost here.  Too bad.

Turn 38: Othollo and Cuessa found three more lost libraries.  The recovered tomes mostly concerned trading and mining.  Soon, the Queen's cities were linked with a road network and began constructing workshops that would do a lot to increase productivity.

Queen Aquillina was leading her bodyguards around the homelands, destroying the lairs of beast and brigands.  She tried to spend some time in each city, to show the flag, raise morale, and attract new settlers.  She was becoming quite good at governing her domain.

A group of pioneers from Falling Waters were accosted by Resoln scouts while they were erecting an outpost.  The scouts were unhappy with how close the outpost was to their territory, and their leader Oracle Ceresa turned out to be an insane sorceress.  Conflict looked inevitable, and the Queen ordered that more spearmen begin training.

An aggressive expansionist, cut off from everyone else

Turn 42: Yet another noblewoman asked Othollo for an escort.  As usual, he arranged for her to meet with Aquillina and her bodyguards.  Aquillina could not help but notice how disappointed the ladies always looked when they were handled off, and suspected that they just fabricated stories to get closer to Othollo.

Cuessa was escorting a group of pioneers towards a resource rich area.  On the way, she not only slaughtered a number of wolves and bandits, but also learned about running a city from the pioneers.  She was growing into a skilled governor, and looked forward to the day when she could settle into Far Colony and steer the city to prosperity without too much interference.

Unfortunately, Aquillina's spies brought dire news.  Ceresa was training troops at an alarming rate.  There were three groups of spearmen in Hagudst, and a skirmisher on the way.

Worse yet, it seemed that Othollo had not done such a good job at surveying the land neat Magnar.  Magnar had found a place to settle a second city, and there was no way to know what lay beyond it.  Furthermore, he kept training soldiers in his capital.

Aquillina did not want to have to fight a two front war.  She did not know who ruled beyond Resoln, so she decided that Magnar's Empire would have to be destroyed first, and as soon as possible.

Magnar should have never been allowed to get here

Turn 45: Aquillia found an injured pup in one of the countless wolf dens she had destroyed.  She nursed it herself, and sent it to look for the second Quendar city.  The wolf found it soon enough.  There was a landbridge south of Iron Mines that led to a clearly artificial mountain ring.  Nested against the cliffs, the wolf found Curgen's Hold.  The village already had a sizable garrison, and was busy training more archers.

Meanwhile, Aquillia's warchest was once again replenished by a donation from a grateful noblewoman.  The money was promptly used to expedite the training of some more spearmen.     

Somehow, it's Queen Aquillina who ended up owing tribute

Turn 50: Just as another group of spearmen finished training in New Home, a horrible diplomatic misunderstanding occurred.  A Quendar envoy had came to the Queen, bearing gifts, and offering tribute.  Aquillina was touched by the messenger's humility and gracefully acquiesced.  She signed the treaty, but when she next read it, it stated that she was the one would would be paying tribute.  Not only that, but she had somehow promised not to wage war on Magnar.  Sorcery was at work, but Aquillina chose to look for the silver lining.  With Magnar bound by the treaty, she could wage war on Resoln without having to worry about a second front.  

Soon afterwards, Ceresa chose to boast about mass producing steel weaponry, and tried to extort more money that the Queen had in her coffers.  Aquillina did not honor the message with a response - instead she ordered all of her spearmen toward the Resoln border.

When Othollo heard about it, he was extatic and wanted to go and conquer a few cities by himself.  Aquillina did not allow it.  She wanted to keep Othollo in reserve, so that the Kingdom would not be left defenseless if Magnar or Procipinee chose to attack.

In the middle of the preparations for war, the Queen heard from her old liege lord, Emperor Karavox.  He was very friendly, and used her new title from the start.  He had not been doing too well since Aquillina had left the Empire, and seemed unlikely to start any trouble.

Soon, peace will be a distant memory

Turn 54: In the Northwest, Cuessa spotted an Yithril outpost.  These were bad news indeed, because now all four Empires bordered Aquillina's domain.  

Still, the war could not wait.  Magnar was bound by a treaty,  and Aquillina and Othollo were ready to defend the Kingdom from anyone else.  All the spearmen were in position, prepared to engage the Wraiths who were also massing on their side of the border.  As for the Queen's wolf, he was waiting for the start of hostilities in a forest near a Resoln outpost.  The enemy outposts and resources were to be its target.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 23, 2012 11:09:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Emperorjarin,

Quoting Tuidjy, reply 77. In 90% of the cases, troops running away ends up being a bad move, and a great advantage to the player. It should go.

The biggest problem with their retreat is that they don't fully commit to pulling their forces back.  I almost never see troops move more than 1 square away, which leaves them easily within striking distance of whatever had nearly killed them in the first place.  The other big problem is that once an AI troop gets engaged, they refuse to move from their current spot, even if moving one square away will put them much to a much better target.  Change those two behaviors and I think we would see some significantly more challenging AI fights.

 

This 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 23, 2012 11:26:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think that this concludes the second phase of the game: consolidation of borders and pacification of the homelands.  I felt that I needed to attack, despite not having anything but spearmen. I just researched Mounted Warfare, and can build "Elusive Cavalry", but the spearmen should suffice.

Time for my remarks:

1. I see some old bugs:  Magnar has quite a few "Burning Blades" stacked.  My troops do not stand a chance.   I'll try to trick him into coming to fight in my sphere of influence where Othollo will eat him for lunch.

2. When Magnar offered tribute, I ended up paying it.  Not the end of the world.

3. The custom combination I am playing is very powerful.  My 'elusive' soldiers are pretty much impossible to hit for enemy trained troops.  Of course, enemy heroes are another matter.  We'll see.

4. Not using your sovereign severely cripples city growth.  I was lucky to find two scrolls of oration, and I started leaving lairs for her to tackle with Othollo's help (once my dominion covers them)

5. Path of the Governor is quite schizophrenic.  Both my sovereign and Cuessa picked it, but it only applies if they stay in a city, which means they do not advance.  Lately I have been letting them adventure, but they are relatively weak and worse yet, their governor abilities do nothing while they're out and about.  By the way, didn't governor give one prestige?  Did the developers think that the path was overpowered, and nerf it?!

6. Playing with troops is really slow.  There is a lot of military research needed to get anywhere once you research the basic spearman.  And you cannot really ignore civilization, or you will cripple yourself in the long run.

7. In .98 AIs are a bunch of peacenics.  Or maybe it is the Ridiculous difficulty (as opposed to Insane)  Magnar likes me, despite being an Aggressive Expansionist, and being cornered by my kingdom.  I'm the only one he's met, too.

8. Even neglected (he mostly stays at home) Othollo is a powerhouse that can destroy empires without much trouble.  50ish dodge, 30ish armor, and soon he'll get a horse.

In conclusion, I'll say that this game is not changing my mind on my main balance beef: Fallen Enchantress is WAY too slanted toward heroes.  Without home rules, using trained troops is inefficient.

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 23, 2012 11:49:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


I'd really like to see you do an AAR at the very least without Master Scouts which to me is beyond OP, it turns off an absolutly essentialy part of the expansion game, I honestly can't believe its still in the game in its current form, its not overpowered its an I win button. I don't discount that heroes are way OP but I would love to see your opinion playing without Master Scouts and actually without wealthy either (which either needs a nerf in total gildar, like to 500 or pioneers need to be made more expensive to rush). I am honestly wondering just how broken the hero/unit balance is off or if master scouts and wealthy dominate expansion to the point where it really highlights other balance issues that wouldn't be as problematic without them.

 

Don't even consider that master scouts is giving you the invulnerable settle anywhere pioneers also think about the ridiculous turn savings your getting from, attacking who you want with your sov, free retreat to town for heal along and free unguarded goodie pickup, plus huge turn savings from running through woods probably close to a +25% or so xp bonus.  Rarely have I seen something in any game scream for a nerf like Master Scouts.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 24, 2012 12:19:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I called for a Master Scouts nerf months ago.  The post was titled something like "Master Scouts" is destroying my enjoyment of the game.  One of my suggestions was to separate it into "Pathfinding" and "Stealth", and then make them cost 2 or 3 design points.   Then add some more pathfinding traits to heroes and units.

There is something you must understand about my AARs.  I use them to point out abusive strategies, problems with balance, or just interesting aspects of the game.  I would love to see everything I use nerfed in the next patch.  That's what Beta testing is all about.  Unfortunately, in the last patch the one thing that did not get nerfed is the one thing I think is spoiling this game: out-of-control heroes.  Given that I have been showcasing out-of-control heroes in three AARs, I decided that this time I'll do something else.

Many races have "I win" traits.  Master scout is one, Enchanters another, Henchmen and Quest Map each are one, some of the Death magic tricks combo beautifully.  In this run, I may have hit on the another: Krax + Lucky + Dodging.

I believe overpowered traits are fine, they just should cost 2-3 design points (standard races can get then with no concern for cost)

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 24, 2012 12:40:37 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Master Scouts actually goes a little deeper than that for me, if I understand you correctly. The ability to not get attacked by monsters, at all, is beyond op. There is no way I would leave it in the game, at any cost, what I might do is switch it so that all units get the stealthy trait for free. There is something also just inherently wrong about having this dangerous chaotic post apocalyptic world that is filled with monsters and terrible dangers and having a trait that just turns all that off.

 

And you and I are on the same page cause Enchanters is ridiculous, lets forget about scrying pool which with allows you to get enchanted hammers on all your cities and is essentially a massive early game expansion booster as well as a huge mid and late game advantage, You also get Tomes, which why in the heck are tomes not given to everyone. Cause heres another trick for your next aar, don't take any magic except for earth (just so you ensure you have hammers) and spend 4 points taking all the best traits, use the cruelty and natural leaders freebie (which makes no sense 0 points for +1 attacks and -50% hero cost). And then bee line tomes to get you whatever magic you want your sov to have.

 

 And with this playthough to highlight how op heroes are versus regular units I still am left wondering how much that is skewed by master scouts due to the ridiculous number of turns you are ahead of all the other opponents. Actually in some way I think it highlights your point you are so far ahead that you don't even need regular units because they are pretty much worthless at any point. Anyways I guess the question is if you were 25 turns behind where you are now in progression (which is probably where your opponents are) would it make a difference to your conclusion about heroes versus units?

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 24, 2012 11:10:56 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tuidjy,
I believe overpowered traits are fine, they just should cost 2-3 design points (standard races can get then with no concern for cost)

No, just no.

I wish to see all the faction picks being balanced, not by cost and then the pre-made factions just cheat, I just hope pre-made factions will be worth they're grain, and I can make a similar custom faction.

Besides I personally hope each faction gets 1-2 more abilities, because that would make each faction more interesting, and would make it waaaaaay more fun to customize factions, that said the crucial balance between faction traits needs to be in place first, or this would wreck the game even more.

That said, I really love to see this post, you feel the same way about trained units as I do - They drain research points to no avail, they take ages to train if you haven't found a pile of gold and is rushing them like made, and unless abused they are really pointless against heroes... That's what I read anyways

Sincerely
~ Kongdej

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
September 24, 2012 12:28:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Jam3,
Anyways I guess the question is if you were 25 turns behind where you are now in progression (which is probably where your opponents are) would it make a difference to your conclusion about heroes versus units?

I do not think it would make a difference, at least, not in the way you are implying.  You see, the force behind my kingdom is still my heroes.  Yes, I only use troops in enemy dominion, but these troops are only possible because of my heroes.

The Duchess (now Queen Aquillina) came with 1150 Gildar.

Othollo has made at least 1500 Gildar from quests.

And on top of that, I must have made hundreds, if not a couple of thousands, from selling loot.

Without master scouts, I would not have been racking in as much cash, and the trained units would have been slower in coming, but the balance between heroes and units would have been more or less the same.  You are 100% right that I would have been somewhat behind, but probably not TOO much, because when you do not have master scout, you just pay more attention to the roads you take.

But I have to admit, I cannot stand to play without the 'pathfinding' part of master scouts.  The stealth I would rather NOT have at all, because I like fighting, but without pathfinding, killing a bear in the forest and looting its lair takes SIX FUCKING MONTHS from the point you arrive next to it.  That is ridiculously boring gameplay.

Quoting Kongdej,
They drain research points to no avail, they take ages to train if you haven't found a pile of gold and is rushing them like made, and unless abused they are really pointless against heroes...

That's how I feel about them as well.  I do not know yet how pointless they will turn out against Resoln's heroes, but they would certainly not be able to do anything against Othollo.

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
Stardock Forums v1.0.0.0    #108433  walnut3   Server Load Time: 00:00:00.0000390   Page Render Time: