The Home Stretch: Have we succeeded?

By on September 28, 2012 11:13:46 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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Greetings!

Yesterday we released Elemental: Fallen Enchantress BETA 5-C.  This build is our first pass at balance and UI enhancement.  

Next week we will have a BETA 5-D which will focus almost exclusively on bug fixing and balancing as well as some new AI counter-strategies so those of you who have posted your game play strategies online (foolish humans! <g>). We are reaching the home stretch.  We will also have a Beta 5-E. After that, we'll see where things stand.

Many of you have been in the beta for a very...very long time. I can't imagine the challenge it is to evaluate the game from the perspective of a typical PC gamer.  But we're going to ask you, once again, to try to do just that:

Please go to: http://www.elementalgame.com/journals and vote on your impressions of the game in your hands.

We are very excited to see what players think. 

These past two years have been wonderful. The community we have built together has been amazing and on behalf of the Stardock team, we really have enjoyed listening to your ideas, impressions and suggestions.

Like all Stardock games, 1.0 isn't the end of our journey. Even as I type, Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion v1.1 nears completion. Ideas and code snippets for FE expansions and successors float around. And there's some exciting things we hope to announce in the coming months.

We look forward to your opinions: 

http://www.elementalgame.com/journals 

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October 1, 2012 8:04:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Voted good...last patch helped a lot (hero vs. units balancing), but more ought to be done.

 

Imo units and spawns need more love.

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October 1, 2012 8:44:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
Greetings!
And there's some exciting things we hope to announce in the coming months.

Galactic Civilizations 3 ?

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October 1, 2012 11:00:07 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting AMDG,

quoting postGreetings!
And there's some exciting things we hope to announce in the coming months.


Galactic Civilizations 3 ?

 

Oh yes! Guess Jon is working on it already!

 

 

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October 1, 2012 12:29:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yesterday I started playing with this new build. I have to say that what I've seen so far has left me very satisfied. I think you'll get to your 8.5 metacritic mark with some polishing and bug fixing. But that's what this beta is for...

 

I'd still like to see some improvements done in the UI regarding champ/sovereing levelling info: Some way to visualize what it means to be a governor, or a mage, etc. (what skills I'll be unlocking by picking this or that path, how are the skills distributed in rarity and hierarchy, etc.). I belive that, for the new player, deciding what to do with this little information could be confusing.

 

Anyway, good job and keep it up!

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October 1, 2012 2:44:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Having finally finished two games under v0.981, I voted Excellent, on the Beta 5.  (I wanted to wait long enough to make sure of my vote.) 

Actually, I had already voted Excellent, when you did the last poll, on the Beta 4.  However, I had been seriously concerned then, about the number of bugs that remained to be fixed; so that was a pretty close call, in my opinion.  This time around, the call was not so close.  IMO, you have a pretty solid "Excellent" this time.

I am  NOT  going to offer any specific criticisms or suggestions in this reply.  I  TOTALLY  reserve the right to do so; the very next time I comment, on any other thread.           Of course, there are still bugs to be fixed; and yes, there are still a number of features that need to be tweaked, primarily to get the Balance right.

But bottom-line, I think this game is Excellent right now!  Thanks for all the work you have put into it.      

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October 1, 2012 3:33:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Voted Good. It is diffentantly getting there but the AI players are still not up to giving a good challenge in the mid late game. Please spend enough time working on the AI once the balancing is done.

 

Good work

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October 1, 2012 3:48:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So I was able to play a game without any crashing. Since the last beta I had time to play in way back when had crashing, I'm automatically ecstatic about that.

There are a few small gripes that I still have.

  • It is unobvious what each bloodline does for you when you are making a faction. I'd really love to have some sort of a tooltip for that or a selection box that also has a tiny blurb or something.
  • I would really like more control on where I can and cannot build a city. At the moment I have to almost always go with the initial location because I seldom find a suitable place elsewhere. My factions tend to be summoning-focused, using Binding to form the backbone of my army - it's a mage culture - and I feel sometimes that if I don't go with what is there immediately I'll begin the game pretty far behind everyone else.
  • On that same vein, I can't figure out how to get the Forge Golem trait for my sovereign. Given the summoning/magic focused culture I was going for, this is kinda irksome.

At the moment, I am planning to mod the crap out of this game to make it suit my needs. It's not a bad game, and my limited modding capabilities should make this doable, and vanilla itself is quite acceptable. It's not an exquisite game, but it isn't...it isn't Elemental.

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October 1, 2012 3:52:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

According to my very precise math calculations of the poll, using the Xia score of Terrible being 0%, 50% being fair,  and Excellent being 100%, the game is receiving a current score of 73%.  That's pretty good for a beta, and I think a score of 85% to 90% very doable by release date.

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October 1, 2012 4:27:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Gotta remember we're harsher critics than game reviewers.

 

I think Brad will be giving out some bonuses when the reviews come in, if the bugs get ironed out and balance tweaked a bit.

 

 

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October 1, 2012 5:51:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Alstein,
Gotta remember we're harsher critics than game reviewers.

 

I think Brad will be giving out some bonuses when the reviews come in, if the bugs get ironed out and balance tweaked a bit.

 

 

Like all Stardock games, bonuses occur at a meta critic average of 80 or better.  Hence, we are striving for a meta score of 79.  Our review guides have several types of profanity in them and the installer formats drives randomly...

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October 1, 2012 5:58:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
Like all Stardock games, bonuses occur at a meta critic average of 80 or better. Hence, we are striving for a meta score of 79. Our review guides have several types of profanity in them and the installer formats drives randomly...

Awesome....

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October 1, 2012 6:13:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,
Like all Stardock games, bonuses occur at a meta critic average of 80 or better. Hence, we are striving for a meta score of 79. Our review guides have several types of profanity in them and the installer formats drives randomly...

Sincerely
~ Kongdej

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October 1, 2012 6:27:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Velihopea,
Newbie view, 28 hours played total, 8 hours with latest patch. Few things that I find might need some change

1) Cannot upgrade number of troops in a unit as tech unlocks become available. Pretty annoying as it takes some of the motivation to level up units and thus takes away from one key experiences of rpg's IMO.

2) Units that level up should be listed in the battle info log after the battle.

3) Lighly armored/armed units become useless as tech levels rise. Damage delivered falls too quickly to "1 damage" level. Full array of troop types should be used through the whole game timecycle. Some ideas (although I know this isn't going to change by release if ever) to fix:

  3.1) Higher movement/dodge values for light troops

  3.2) Different (nonlinear) progression of damage delivered

  3.3) Flanking etc (more attacks to target lowers it's armor abilities) bonuses to increase the meaning of numbers over quality

4) Want Random Spawns. Cleared areas are too empty.

Overall I gave "Good" as the game is just a few inches from excellent. Progressions over the last month has been amazing though.

 

 

Not that you'll read this but dodge is already borderline stupid if you stack it.  Troops that stack dodge, and if you get lucky, with a warg already have 65 some odd default dodge (with the lucky trait) . Then if you're Krax well you're going to get near 100 dodge ... and yeeeah. 

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October 1, 2012 6:45:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

Was off on vacation and the old Android phone doesn't like letting me post on these forums.

 

I voted "Good", but with reservations.

 

First I need to say that FE is currently an entire galaxy distant from the "Proof of Concept" that was E:WoM. The game as is, is functionally sound. Aside from a handful of straggling bugs, there is nothing technically "Wrong" with the game, and it is fairly entertaining in short bursts in its current iteration. Everyone at SD has clearly worked very hard to get the game where it is today

 

However, I still feel like the main content that we were sold on this one, ie: Tactical battles, RPG via Customizable Characters, and a 4x Game with Magic, is still really lacking. None of the issues with these are new, and very little of them has changed since FE's beta opened.

 

Concerning Characters;

  • Sovereigns and Champions are largely identical in form and function with the exception that you get to specify what your sovereign does.
    • No real "RPG" elements with your characters other than taking them on quests. I have seen precious few champions that I would consider "Unique"
    • Magically identical
    • largely gear-dependent for their power (leveling doesn't improve them as much as a new sword does)
    • No significant reason to care more about my sovereign than a chanpion.
  • The character "customization" system is bland. Two entire classes are really flat in terms of play enjoyment (Mage and Governor), and the other three are incredibly similar in both form and function. Do you want Hps, Attack, or Crit? whee!
    • Between Warrior, Defender, and Assassin, I have noticed very little long-term significant difference. They all kill things well, just in different ways. They just don't really do anything else.
    • Traits should really mean something.
    • Your leveling skills should be COOL, you should improve significantly when you get these skill regardless of whether you have a club or the +1000 Sword of Awesome. You don't really.

Concerning Tactical Battles;

  • I realize that "custom troops" is a fundamental piece of the identity of this game, but it makes effective balancing near impossible.
    • I still feel like there are too many clear "build your units like this or they will suck" choices in the game.
      • Get "Groups", because they are significantly more powerful then a far better equipped smaller group.
      • Get "Chainmail" because a group with chainmail and a few levels worth of HPS is near invulnerable with a middling caster backing them up.
      • Get some form of 2nd tier weaponry so you can do damage to other units.
      • Profit!

Concerning Magic;

  • It's old, it's tired, you've heard it from me before, so I'll keep it short.
    • The magic system is fundamentally mechanical in form, predictable in process, erratic in acquisition. There could be 12,000 spells, and the way that they are attained in this game would still be stagnant and predictable.
    • Shards are erratic and impossible to plan for, but comprise a significant portion of magic's usefulness.
    • Magic levels always always always give you the exact same set of spells. Boring.
    • When you level a champion, you do not always get the option to level any school of magic, even if you qualify for them, and when you do, you do not always get a school that is at all useful for your current strategy.

 

FE is "fun enough" as is. However, I do not think that the above major selling points of the game are up to snuff, and while I do think that the capacity for Modding adds years to the life of a really good game, I sincerely feel like the above core mechanics have been made "good enough" so the modding community can come along afterwards and are not able to stand the test of time without said modding.

 

I anticipate a 75-77 meta critic score for this game as I'm certain that there are people out there who will be very happy with it as sold, and there are motivated and devoted members of the community like Heavenfall and Seanw who really get a kick out of twisting the knobs of games like these. They will be the drivers that get Fallen Enchantress recognition. As it currently sits, I will probably dust FE off a couple times a year for the next few years, but I sincerely doubt that I'll be playing FE "as-is" until the shine has come off both Torchlight 2 and X-Com.

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October 1, 2012 7:35:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If you had a perfect rating in the choices then a lot more people would have chosen excellent.

I gave it excellent because I have spent already a hundred hours playing and it has been the most fun game I have played in months.

I think it can be improved a lot but it is already excellent.

Mike.

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October 1, 2012 10:14:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

No. You have not yet succeeded.

This is a nice game. It has the potential to be a great game, but at the moment it is just OK. And as I get older (34) I find I'm becoming less and less interested in playing OK games.

I'm sad that you've decided to lock down the features, as I think there are lots of as-yet-unimplemented ideas in the forums. Not that you need to include more features, but that you should modify what you have to make the game more fun, and more harmonious. To me, the game feels jumbled. Many game elements are at least a little non-intuitive, and not as fun as they could be. Note that I'm not talking balance, but mechanics.

Some examples: (all with good discussions on the forums)

  • awkward upgrading of troop-type units
  • better upgrade/specialization paths for champion units
  • More fun and believable behavior of powerful monsters in early/midgame.
  • Misc UI
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October 1, 2012 10:16:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

And I strongly second Malsqueek's comments.

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October 2, 2012 12:54:25 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tim-Bur,
No. You have not yet succeeded.

This is a nice game. It has the potential to be a great game, but at the moment it is just OK. And as I get older (34) I find I'm becoming less and less interested in playing OK games.

I'm sad that you've decided to lock down the features, as I think there are lots of as-yet-unimplemented ideas in the forums. Not that you need to include more features, but that you should modify what you have to make the game more fun, and more harmonious. To me, the game feels jumbled. Many game elements are at least a little non-intuitive, and not as fun as they could be. Note that I'm not talking balance, but mechanics.

Some examples: (all with good discussions on the forums)


awkward upgrading of troop-type units
better upgrade/specialization paths for champion units
More fun and believable behavior of powerful monsters in early/midgame.
Misc UI

Feature lockdown simply means they are not going to to design any new mechanical systems (source code) into the game.  You will still see plenty of content, balance, AI, and UI work to come before release.  Oh yes, you will.

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October 2, 2012 2:15:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I voted good back when you first released the poll, and am debating changing that to excellent.  This is a truly great game, and for the past two polls I've felt bad about voting for simply "good," but I reserve the rank of "excellent" for only a handful of games, and I'm not ready to remove Kohan II from my rankings quite yet.   The only thing holding me back right now are the AI interactions, both with myself and with other AI, and wonky behavior from neutral and wildland monsters stemming from the issue of simultaneous turns.  This game likely will be truly excellent by the time it is released; this is truly the game I imagined I was buying with E:WOM.

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October 2, 2012 2:39:52 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Tim-Bur,
And I strongly second Malsqueek's comments.

And I strongly "third" them. Also   Karma to Malsqueek again because he can put into words things I perceive too but cannot explain so clearly.

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October 2, 2012 3:51:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Ok, at the weekend my wife went out, I'd said I was going to play this for a couple of hours then fix some stuff around the house. I lost track of time completely and ended up playing 4 hours until she got back. So yes I think 5C is brilliant, cetainly much more absorbing than the 4 beta I'd been playing. Still the odd bug such as combat sticking ocassionally with autoplay the only way to get out of it, but this is as absorbing as the origional GC2 was, though not yet as good as GC2 with both expansions .

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October 2, 2012 5:17:06 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I was about to vote good, but when i saw this i changed my mind:

So its excellent now, and i am sure you will fix the saving/loading crashes until release so i dont have to quit and restart every time i want to load a savegame.

 

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October 2, 2012 11:37:12 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Velihopea and King Felix both make excellent summaries of what remains to be done.  

IMO a simple fix to the XP for units and heroes is to give all units 1 xp per turn ala MOM and just up the level thresholds.  Give governor heroes a 2-3 xp per turn when in a city or a 5 xp bump when a city builds a building...  This way a unit guarding a city still get levels over time as "they also serve".

I guess people could abuse this by moving heroes from city to city, but if they are that committed to micromanaging um, good for them?!?  


Oops, just saw Malsqueaks post and gotta "what he said", that post too!  You are close to excellent, but these items should be improved to make it the standard by which these games are judged.  



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October 2, 2012 2:01:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting NaytchSG,

IMO a simple fix to the XP for units and heroes is to give all units 1 xp per turn ala MOM and just up the level thresholds.  Give governor heroes a 2-3 xp per turn when in a city or a 5 xp bump when a city builds a building...  This way a unit guarding a city still get levels over time as "they also serve".

^Good ideas.  We could even try giving the entire world a base xp per turn, so it grows.  Additional xp gained as usual.

 

Quoting NaytchSG,

I guess people could abuse this by moving heroes from city to city, but if they are that committed to micromanaging um, good for them?!? 

Such is the life of a governor.


Quoting NaytchSG,

these items should be improved to make it the standard by which these games are judged. 

Very well put

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October 2, 2012 4:18:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I guess people could abuse this by moving heroes from city to city, but if they are that committed to micromanaging um, good for them?!?

That isn't abuse, its just use.

Also, I suggested before that you seperate combat XP and governship XP.

A hero could be level 1 combat level 20 governor, level 20  combat level 1 governor, level 20 both... Make it completely separate non competing attributes and each being gained differently.

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