Salted unusable earth after city destruction is un-fun

By on September 23, 2012 11:34:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Mistwraithe

Join Date 05/2003
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FE is making progress mechanically but as I have played more games there is one thing that has really begun to stick out like a sore thumb. When a city is destroyed, by any method, the ground around it is left barren. It is not possible to build a new city there. I believe this is by design (certainly it has been there since WoM) but I also believe it goes against the philosophy of FE. I will explain.

For an empire-builder player like myself the greatest satisfaction in most strategy games comes from building up my empire of cities/planets/whatever (and in FE's case, also my heroes). Losing a city in any strategy game is a kick in the guts but such is the ebb and flow of war, one must try to retake it or if that is not possible then rebuild. However FE has the ultimate punishment here, the complete inability to rebuild that city (I know there is a rejuvenate ground spell, but it is so late game and rare as to effectively not exist). The punishment is so extreme that I virtually always reload an earlier save because my fun is ruined.

Because city defenders are so weak it can happen very easily - in my current game a wandering bear wiped out one of my cities of almost 200 people. Similarly the AI can destroy prime settle spots near you by doing silly things like settling beside a dragon and getting it destroyed two turns later, or settling in a terrible place right beside a 3/3/3 (this happened in my most recent game). In either case there is no come back, the settle spot is gone and the empire builder in me dies a little bit inside.

This extreme punishment doesn't fit with most strategy games (cf Civilization, MoM, etc). But it also doesn't seem to fit with the 'fun' ethos of FE. Since FE started there has been a move to make sure the game is challenging but fun. A couple of examples which come to mind are:

  • Heroes don't die permanently, they just get wounds. One can argue about the details (eg I think each magic school should have a difficult/expensive way of removing wounds) but overall a great mechanic.
  • Buildings don't have maintenance. Building maintenance isn't fun IMO and Derek appears to agree. The cost in creating a building is the opportunity cost of having your city build queue busy while you build it and this works fine.

I believe it is fine if cities get destroyed (although a bear? seriously?), but let us rebuild them. If Stardock want it to be difficult then by all means make the ground blighted but let the sovereign go there and spend 100 mana to allow it to be settled on again. Or make an option on game start for whether ground should be barren after a city is destroyed.

Do any other empire builders feel like me?

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September 24, 2012 12:41:54 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree 100%. This is by far the biggest turn-off about the game for me at present.

(Well, maybe I agree 95% I wish heroes would die after three injuries. I hate the way they just bounce back indefinitely.)

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September 24, 2012 12:50:59 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree.  This mechanic was put in place to deal with a problem that has been dealt with in another way.  It's infuriating to lose a city from a wildland attack (A separate issue) and never ever being able to bring it back until the end of the game.  This problem is even worse with essence, considering its comparative rarity.

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September 24, 2012 1:02:09 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree. I don't see the value of the mechanic.

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September 24, 2012 1:36:23 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

My opinion:

This mechanic was introduced when the game wasn't in beta 4. In beta 4 cities became heavily dependant on build-up time, using production to make themselves efficient - no longer can we stack administrators and pop out top-level buildings instantly. Putting down a level 1 town is not going to dramatically change the game,

Instead of simply removing all tile yields, perhaps Stardock would consider reducing their power in the vicinity? Change the terrain to "ruined city", put some cool graphics on it, and give it mediocre tile yields.

 

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September 24, 2012 1:46:48 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't like the current mechanic at all. I welcome a change here.

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September 24, 2012 2:03:01 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would also like a spell to salt the earth. If I can't defend an area, I would like to make it barren so that no one else can use it. Currently I just lay down a city and then destroy it or let the monsters feast. A spell using this old mechanic would be a nice salvage.

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September 24, 2012 2:12:13 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,


For an empire-builder player like myself the greatest satisfaction in most strategy games comes from building up my empire of cities/planets/whatever (and in FE's case, also my heroes).

Do any other empire builders feel like me?

So there's the first problem.  If you came here to play an empire building game, then FE won't meet your expectations.  FE is more a of hybrid, but as an "empire builder" you'll recognize that there are warmongering empire builders out there who don't like tedious cleanup when they're rolling through the end game.  It is these gamers that Stardock thankfully created a mechanic so that the AI won't be able to rebuild as you begin to raze all their cities.

The mechanic is fine.  Leave it in.  Someone one said there is a spell that can restore land.  If so, choose that magic combination and have fun!

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September 24, 2012 2:39:36 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

No use in alienating some players, it should be an option in the game setup

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September 24, 2012 2:40:27 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Trojasmic,

quoting post

For an empire-builder player like myself the greatest satisfaction in most strategy games comes from building up my empire of cities/planets/whatever (and in FE's case, also my heroes).

Do any other empire builders feel like me?



So there's the first problem.  If you came here to play an empire building game, then FE won't meet your expectations.  FE is more a of hybrid, but as an "empire builder" you'll recognize that there are warmongering empire builders out there who don't like tedious cleanup when they're rolling through the end game.  It is these gamers that Stardock thankfully created a mechanic so that the AI won't be able to rebuild as you begin to raze all their cities.

The mechanic is fine.  Leave it in.  Someone one said there is a spell that can restore land.  If so, choose that magic combination and have fun!

I agree, but perhaps the devs or a clever modder should change the restore land spell to a lower-level, and make an equivalent for Empire players as well...

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September 24, 2012 2:43:36 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Trojasmic,
Leave it in. Someone one said there is a spell that can restore land. If so, choose that magic combination and have fun!

You have no control over whether or not you have access to that spell.  It's part of Third Book of the Magi, a random, end-game magic tech.  For all intents and purposes, the spell does not exist, as by the time you can even unlock it, you will have already won.

I would also like a spell to salt the earth.

I wouldn't mind that if it was unlocked simultaneously with land-restoring magic.

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September 24, 2012 2:50:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Emperorjarin,
I agree, but perhaps the devs or a clever modder should change the restore land spell to a lower-level, and make an equivalent for Empire players as well...

 

Already done. It is a level 3 earth spell with no tech prereq in my mod. 

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September 24, 2012 2:57:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting seanw3,

Quoting Emperorjarin, reply 11I agree, but perhaps the devs or a clever modder should change the restore land spell to a lower-level, and make an equivalent for Empire players as well...

 

Already done. It is a level 3 earth spell with no tech prereq in my mod. 

 

well done seanw3 !!! Now if only you got your quotes right ...

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September 24, 2012 3:05:17 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting seanw3,
Already done. It is a level 3 earth spell with no tech prereq in my mod.

I know, your mod is pretty awesome.  I'll be downloading it again as soon as I get bored rampaging the world with my level 20 super-sov and her henchmen attendants   Also, quote attribution fail FTW!

 

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September 24, 2012 4:57:56 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Trojasmic,
So there's the first problem.  If you came here to play an empire building game, then FE won't meet your expectations.  FE is more a of hybrid, but as an "empire builder" you'll recognize that there are warmongering empire builders out there who don't like tedious cleanup when they're rolling through the end game.  It is these gamers that Stardock thankfully created a mechanic so that the AI won't be able to rebuild as you begin to raze all their cities.

The mechanic is fine.  Leave it in.  Someone one said there is a spell that can restore land.  If so, choose that magic combination and have fun!

That is a big call. And even assuming you are correct I didn't say that FE had to be an empire building game, I said I was an empire building player. I prefer to build up my empire (and my heroes in FE since heroes can be built up in a similar way) and then crush my enemies. With the current AI I could almost always crush my opponents faster by going all out war and making more short term build choices, but that is not my preference. I think you will find there are a moderate number of people like that in the 4X genre. I believe Stardock are also at least partially targeting such people, otherwise it makes little sense for them to have put as much effort as they have into city building options in the recent beta's.

I agree it might be frustrating for warmonger type players to have the AI constantly resettling on land that has already been razed but there are other ways to deal with this. Land could be made temporarily blighted and require a moderate investment in mana, gold or similar to be rejuvenated. This would make it difficult for the AI to instantly rebuild but make it possible for a determined player to do so.

They could also change it so that victorious monsters do damage to a city based on their power so a damaged bear might only kill 30 people or 1 building, while a Felldrake (name?) might destroy a level 3 city. When a human player razes the city it would count as being destroyed obviously (I would still want to be able to rejuvenate the land though even in the latter cases).

Quoting Heavenfall,
Instead of simply removing all tile yields, perhaps Stardock would consider reducing their power in the vicinity? Change the terrain to "ruined city", put some cool graphics on it, and give it mediocre tile yields.

I can see your point but personally this would have similar problems to me as the current situation unless there was a way to restore the ground to full yield. If your prime 3/4/2 town that you settled recently gets destroyed by some wandering creature you didn't notice and is now reduced to 2/4/1 or similar then it is still a pretty major downer and still a major temptation to turn the game off or reload. Have a penalty by all means but let it be fixable by a determined player.

BTW I feel the same way about heroes, wounds are great, but it should be possible to remove one wound by say 100 turns of having regeneration active, or a level 4 life spell costing 200 mana, or a level 5 death spell turning the unit into an undead hero, fixing all wounds and increasing their strength by 20 but reducing their healing per turn in half, with subsequent casts also reducing their rate of experience gain by 5%, etc. There is lots of potential here if the engine can handle it!

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September 24, 2012 6:58:30 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Agree with op 100% as I have already said in other threads.

Also, would someone please explain to me what the justification was for putting in such a "feature" in the first place? Heavenfall mentioned a reason but didn't specify what it is and I honestly cannot think of one that would justify that.

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September 24, 2012 7:59:51 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I too am not a fan of the 'salted earth' issue with the game. It does take away from the fun factor as does Heros that never die. These two things bug me the most about this game well other than the ugly graphics but I have come to terms with that besides stratagy games don't have to look good to be good.

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September 24, 2012 8:24:28 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Trojasmic,




quoting post


For an empire-builder player like myself the greatest satisfaction in most strategy games comes from building up my empire of cities/planets/whatever (and in FE's case, also my heroes).

Do any other empire builders feel like me?




So there's the first problem.  If you came here to play an empire building game, then FE won't meet your expectations.  FE is more a of hybrid, but as an "empire builder" you'll recognize that there are warmongering empire builders out there who don't like tedious cleanup when they're rolling through the end game.  It is these gamers that Stardock thankfully created a mechanic so that the AI won't be able to rebuild as you begin to raze all their cities.

The mechanic is fine.  Leave it in.  Someone one said there is a spell that can restore land.  If so, choose that magic combination and have fun!

How about an option that will allow the majority of us who hate the mechanic to turn it off and the few who do like it such as yourself to keep it on.

By the way that was kind of a lame excuse you gave to keep the mechanic in the game. Just FYI.

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September 24, 2012 9:37:38 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting taltamir,

Also, would someone please explain to me what the justification was for putting in such a "feature" in the first place?

Pretty sure it was to prevent players from raising and then rebuilding every city they conquered, to avoid the unrest penalty you get in conquered cities.

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September 24, 2012 11:32:24 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

It is great that after a city is destroyed it is impossible to build there, because it means that desroying a city has a consequence, but it should be more difficult to conquer a city. The city defenders should be replaced by one catapult without a watchtower. The watchtower should increase the accuracy and the attack of the catapult by 15.

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September 24, 2012 11:35:12 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting seanw3,
I would also like a spell to salt the earth. If I can't defend an area, I would like to make it barren so that no one else can use it. Currently I just lay down a city and then destroy it or let the monsters feast. A spell using this old mechanic would be a nice salvage.

I like this idea, really

Sincerely
~ kongdej

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September 24, 2012 12:34:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree with OP (except that it maybe isn't quite as much of a big deal to me).

I wouldn't be heartbroken if sites of destroyed cities and some kind of loot + guardian awaiting the next intrepid explorer to reach the site.  You know, the spawn of the monster who destroyed it, the ghost of someone who lived there, etc.

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September 24, 2012 2:06:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Also agree with the op, I first thought it was a bug when I found out I couldn't rebuild . I mean it is hard enough that you lose all your buildings and population and have to start from scratch, but not even to be able to do that is seriously un-fun

 

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September 24, 2012 2:11:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Agree with the OP here too. Salting the earth after city destruction or after empire surrender is very unfun.

@seanw3: Really like your 'Salt the Earth' spell idea! However, imo, should be the same strength and availability as 'Revitalize the Earth' spell.

@Satrhan: Agreed. I think that's why the feature was put in place. However, the amount of time a city would take to get to level 3-5 should be enough of a deterant to raze every city you come accross, especially now that unrest buildings and path of the govenor can be very effective.

@Bellack: Agreed, at the very least, an option to choose how this feature interacts would be great!

I would also love to see some better AI when choosing their city types. 9/10 are conclaves; shows imbalance right there.

 

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September 24, 2012 3:57:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Trojasmic,
It is these gamers that Stardock thankfully created a mechanic so that the AI won't be able to rebuild as you begin to raze all their cities.

Razing a city destroys all the buildings it has, a brand new colony has nothing and can't effectively produce anything.

And why in the world would you not keep the cities if you are steamrolling the AI?

Some godawful strategy games penalize you for having more cities to the point where adding new cities lowers your overall production/finances (by introducing a % penalty for over expanding to all colonies). But FE isn't saddled with such stupidity.

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September 24, 2012 4:02:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yep, destroying the tiles isn't fun. I'd also like to see a better indicator of which city just got eaten by Monsters. If I have 3, that is is easy to see. If I have 10, not so much.

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