Why [1.00] Fallen Enchantress does not work

By on November 5, 2012 12:57:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

ntino

Join Date 10/2012
+2

First game I played was on challenging using Tarth - it was not interesting and easy I posted my opinions here and got flamed(by some) because I was playing Tarth on the default settings. I then started a new game with a custom sovereign - I dont remember what perks I went with exactly but it was mediocre - I did not pick any of the stronger traits because I did not want to abuse the game too much.

I don't review games but have a background in professional RTS gaming back when few people did that and have played many turn based strategy games even though I wouldn't call myself very good at TBS - simply because I never spent too much time on any one TBS game (other than Homm3/Homm2 a long time ago).

The short version:

I think that unfortunately Fallen Enchantress fails at the greater picture of being a fun game to play. After my first play through I thought that most of this can be remedied by balance but unfortunately, after the 2nd game, I think the game design simply does not work - it strays from the conventional tried and true ways of TBS in many aspects but fails to provide anything better and as silly as it might sound, for a game of this scope, it fails to delivery variety and uniqueness.

The long version.

Main problems with game design -

1)City management -

Why are cities even in this game - in most TBS games, you start with a wimpy outpost that can barely produce a chair given a whole season, and end up with something that can build a submarine in a couple of days - this is cool!

Not so in FE, you start with a normal kind of city, and you end up with a better version of the same city some 130-250 turns later. The only thing that has any effect on how nice it is are the starting stats - thats it, it doesn’t matter what you do to that city because everything works off of the starting stats or and adjacent resources. There can be many cities and they all look the same and can function in the same way - they might produce more gold or mana or whatever else but who cares about those things - which brings me to my next point....

2)Resources are just numbers -

Sure, for the few people that like this game and will play it hardcore on some very high difficulties they are very useful, but on Expert you hardly really need any resources - sure, you use them, but really, you almost always have a choice to do something else - dont have enough gold to get that hero - its ok, it can wait anyway, and you do have so many other things you can do. Dont have mana to cast spells - thats ok because you almost always have the option not to, or just wait till you can.

Your heroes always have stuff they can be doing, so even if you cant do something right now, you have something else to do - so in essence you don't really NEED all those resources. - This of course will not apply to the people that play the game on hard settings, but for us mere mortals this argument stands.

What about crystals, Metals and all that other stuff - well I have 130 turns into the game ending with a victory on a medium map with 3 other AIs and I havent used either, yet they are there from the very start of the game. And YES, I realize there are strategies that would really require you to invest in those early on, but you can do just fine without them for a long while.

GOLD - This is the only useful resource - the main reason to do anything with your cities and will allow you to do everything. In fact gold is paramount to your success in higher difficulties, this is fine, but boring. Its somewhat sad that half the game spent dealing with cities mostly amounts just to this one resource.

3)Magic.

What? The name Fallen Enchantress is very accurate - you do feel like a fallen mage that can maybe enchant some stuff - mainly big items like cities, but you can also do champions and yourself.

Wait, what about real magic? Its really easy to slow and haste and do a couple of other minor things, but since everyone gets the same spells and most starting heroes have a couple its just becomes part of the strategic interface. Your slow never gets better, and your fire spells do +2 damage per fire shard - How many fire shards will you have in your empire is anyone guess. In short, magic is not very magical and often times even on a mage kind of hero you are much better off using weapons especially if you have nice equipment to go with it.

Again, yes I do realize you can play a very customized empire and hero build that would allow for some magic potency - but really, its not easy, requires extreme min maxing to be competitive and also luck.

Spells also cost a FORTUNE, so you can hardly afford to cast them all the time until later in the game and only if you have been carefully cultivating your citizens, got lucky with essence, etc. Its not very fun to play a magic based sov only to find out you cant get any mana.

4)Items

Most are boring, some are cool, a lot of the boring items quickly become useless and the cool ones are far in between.

Now I know this was done to balance stuff out but you literaly get the same "magical" item 10 times in one game. but wait, once you look more carelly its not so magical its just another stat here and there. You can buy some items. You need gold to do that, and how do you get gold? Well one of the easiest ways is just selling stuff - in fact instead of using most of the stuff you get from fighting - you just sell it, because its useless anyway and spend that money on a new champion or rush something or get some items - like a horse.

Why not just give more gold in spoils and make the useless items disappear. Do I really need 10 venom sacks? 20 wolf pelts? 10 spider webs?

All of this has a big effect on heroes - for example, in my current game I really wanted my hero to wield a bow with double shot, picked all the right perks for that - I wanted a hero with a bow and some magic,.

In the end I never found a bow to wield, wasted abilities on that and had to pick other ones that would compliment a sword.

5) Heroes

Why the hell do my warrior heroes get all those magic perks and the other way around - you can have a very strong hero by level 8 if you get luck with a few abilities and a fairly shitty hero by level 15.

Skills like double strike, dodge, some others are very good, but a lot of skills are idiotic. Also, while you are able to pick certain paths, that absolutely does not mean that you aren’t stuck with what are often useless choices for skills.

All of this makes Heroes feel bland and you just end up with a bunch of similar heroes running around.

Add to this that most of the time, at least on Expert the AI heroes are a worthless bunch of idiots and the amount of heroes you get varies ALOT you start to wonder why you have them in the first place. I think it would be much cooler to have only units that could level up with new abilities and maybe your Sov for all those items, maybe +1 hero when you get certain tech.

6)Monsters.

The monsters are good for the most part, and are somewhat varied, which is nice. BUT, boy do they start to annoy the shit out of me when around turn 100 all these wimpy monsters start to roam the land and you have to micro manage stuff to fight them in case one of the packs actually presents any danger – I realize this might be a way to get extra experience for new armies... but its annoying.

7)Quests.

Why are some good and some are useless and again its completely random which ones and how many you get?! Some are stronger than they are led to believe while some are weaker and there is no way of knowing which is which without knowing every quest in the game. Its frustrating to find out that a “medium” strength quest has 8 Ogres guarding it killing the army you worked so hard for early in the game, while some other medium strength quests are easy. And all those Epic quests the game is full of? I was way too busy killing the AI to be doing anything on that side, not to mention my army was probably way too weak and I wasnt gonna fall into the guessing-how-strong-the-quest is again. I could of course save and reload but that gets old really fast and besides there seems to be a lot of hating “cheaters” on these boards so I did not resort to that despicable tactic.

 

NOW TO THE REALLY BAD STUFF!

8)AI

Unfortunately the worst part of this game stems from its poor AI. Without resorting to an insane amount of bonuses and just plain AI “cheating” of the kind that was prevalent 20 years ago in computer games, given the complexity of the game the AI cannot present any challenge, and unfortunately the game designers did not design the game keeping in mind the limitations of said AI.

One AI in my expert game was building Juggernauts by turn 70 I think with fully built up cities(and of cource rushing some without paying) . Another AI had just 2 cities and fell relatively quickly. Both had very poor heroes and it is evident that the AI does not know how to play the game – it only knows how to build units and attack you.

Given the amount of cheating help the AI gets to provide for a challenge to the player it becomes obvious just how limited it is.

A lot of this may come from the RPG and neutral stack fighting part of the game – its just a game the AI does not know or care to play, yet THAT is a major part of the game.

In short -the AI sucks at this game, and probably not because Frogboy does not know how to code AI. There is a reason why the majority of games that combine a lot of RPG with strategy are single player campaign mode only – its pretty hard to code a good AI for those games without resorting to a lot of bonuses and free units, etc.

 

9)Units

I dont know much about that aspect of the game because I played the 2 of my games without building almost any units, and I was still able to win. Its not that I didn’t want to build units – I just never had the need to, and it didn’t seem like the right thing to do.

So I guess I missed on a big part of the game but that’s hardly my fault.

10)Balance

The game lacks any balance. Which brings me to my next point.

11)Soveriegns

Some are good, some are bad, some are worst, but the custom creation traits lack any balance whatsoever, and needs to be redone. Of course that in itself does not hinder the player from enjoying the game but certainly some Ais are far better than others. Juggernauts being one example.

 

Where it goes totally wrong

The biggest problem of them all I think though is this – despite the fact that the game features many races, customized units and other stuff, the game feels like a Mod made by someone off of a different game.

In other words, the tools are there to make it a good game but the wrong design choices were made.

Example: Custom units – these would be great in mutli player but really, whats the point for a handicapped AI? The AI obviously cant do a good job designing them, And does not understand how to use the units it designs, it in turn that handicaps the AI. And the player can surely take advantage of the AI by designing certain overpowered combinations of traits – thus the AI would need more cheating to beat the player.

But even more than that, the game shies away from diversity when it comes to how the player can play the game – the races are all similar, the units are the same for these races, there are no Trolls, Dwarfs, Gnomes, Orcs. Elves or whatever else you can come up with in a game like this to make things more diverse.

The point here is having units in the game that are more than just some stats attached to them – units that have special abilities and require strategies to play against. Mix of different kind of units requiring the player to think how to beat a certain combination.

Instead what you have is just stacks of spearmen, or swordmen or whatever else that the AI pumps out. And the Neutrals on the map are very much the same way, save for a few exceptions.

BORING.

Let me finish by saying something I am sure I will get flamed for – Both games I played I did not finish. For a simple reason – it was not fun to play anymore. I killed 2 Ais in both of these games while not even encountering the 3rd AI – while in the second game I have revealed almost the entire map.

I just stopped playing the Expert/Expert game when for the 10th time the pitiful lord Verga used the last of his mana and escaped yet to another city that I have absolutely no idea where it might be and I am too tired to gather a search party. Lord Verga will NOT surrender though his score is now a mere 20 to mine 200 (was 120(him) to 70(me after killing first AI) when he declared war), furthermore, he wont even accept PEACE, even though it says the value of peace is -720 gold?!

I have 16 or so cities that I dont know what to do with. Ahead of me is a tech tree that I need to research with countless techs that I surely wont need to finish the other AI .

 

**********************************************************************************************************************


Now I really wanted to like this game, its sounds very fund and it is the kind of game I enjoy the most. However everything about this game is poorly designed.

Much may be fixed with balancing and tweaking – it does seem like this is a VERY modder friendly game.

But right now the game is broken at the core and is not very fun to replay. The AI is either too easy or frustrating when you see that its pumping units that you could not possibly hope for and that it cheats on every level from unit creation to buildings to scouting to founding cities, its relationship Neutral monsters and the list goes on – the game design makes the odds stack against the AI so its only hope to win is massively cheating.

There ARE good things about this game but in its core its broken, at least in my opinion - if you enjoy the game please continue playing and enjoying, do not flame me or the post for posting my opinion with something like "this game is so good you dont know how to play or enjoy it, why do you make posts about how the game sucks -just dont play it" - I took the time to make the post so that the community can benefit

 

To be clear, while I may not be playing much for this game for a while my hope in making this post is that some of these problems are addressed in the future by either Stardock or the Modding community, as well as promoting meaningful discussions of this game.

 

Thanks for reading.

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Stuie_
November 5, 2012 4:27:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Ntino, you say you are trying to talk about this in a respectful manner. If you consider yourself a professional gamer, then i would imagine you would take the time to analyze the game a bit more, after all it doesn't take that long to look at the tech tree. You say you couldn't find a bow. There are 4 bows to unlock in the tech tree, you can start the game with one on a custom sov, with a custom faction you can get improved bows for another 3 bows to unlock.

I personaly find what you are writing about to be not very credible when you state you are a professional gamer.

 

ntino says

"as well as promoting meaningful discussions of this game."

 

It's difficult to do that if you don't investigate what has already been said. That's why people take what you have said as a rant.

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November 5, 2012 4:29:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Austinvn,
You can definitely play an early mage, I'm thinking Ceresa/Resoln here.

Arent those considered gimped races? correct me if I am wrong

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November 5, 2012 4:32:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ntino,
Quoting Austinvn, reply 25You can definitely play an early mage, I'm thinking Ceresa/Resoln here.

Arent those considered gimped races? correct me if I am wrong

 

they are restricted in their armour use, but hardly gimped. The thoughtful use of bound elementals and spiders is a devestating combo - and as someone has already said, resoln because a mass murdering magical powerhouse in the mid to late game.

 

Please try actually playing these factions out. Use your analytical rts gaming background and please pay more attention to the fine details. Ask more questions, play for about 20 hours of game time then come back and rewrite your post. Then i will be happy to listen to anything you have to say.

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November 5, 2012 4:36:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Resoln makes up for crap trained units with the amazing binding demons and Ceresa's death magic; overall they're comparable to most default races, I think, perhaps a little below average (certainly not as good as, say Yithril, but better than Pariden at any rate). Of course they don't match up to a good custom faction, which can have binding and enchanters and master scouts along with a decent race and an equally min/maxed sovereign. But no default faction matches up to custom ones, and you could design a custom mage faction that outperforms Resoln or Magnar - I just stick to the default factions as examples because everyone should be familiar with them.

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November 5, 2012 4:44:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Well, you have some valid points to your post. I can't go into detail with everything that I agree/disagree with though, as it would double your own original post length. However.. Gold as the most important resource? Depends on what faction you are playing. I'd really enjoy you telling Ceresa with 130+ spell mastery and 9 death shards that her wailing spell that hits all enemies on the field for 250+ is not as good as a weapon. Got something that has more hp than that? Sure, the elemental lords with 500 or more. I one-shot them too with Kill. If it ain't magical immune, it never existed. And for those pesky things that are? Fully fed death elementals and earth elementals.

 

Ceresa doesn't need your weapons, nor your armor. Nothing will devastate the map so completely as magic. The entire combined might of the AI or even other players would be reduced to ruin for anywhere from 40 mana(Tidal Wave) to 150(Starfall). Yeah, my magic feels plenty.. magical. Every time I get the "An enemy is within your territory" tab, I click to zoom to target location and I can hear the targeting sound and Nuclear Launch Detected from StarCraft starting to loop in my head.

 

Yeah, Fallen Enchantress doesn't have everything we'd each like in it, but it has more than enough for me to consider the game a good game. I personally give it an 8 out of 10. And with all the mods that are out there and those that will be coming, plus added content from Stardock.. I'm a lot more hopeful now days than I was in the past about the next chapter in Elemental's story not being the last one.

 

Though I will say.. Magic would be a terrible path to go down on a small crowded map. Magic is something that requires time, you get all the time in the world on large maps, but tiny, small, medium.. Eh. But I'm fine with that.

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November 5, 2012 5:10:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Glowing_Ember,
Ntino, you say you are trying to talk about this in a respectful manner. If you consider yourself a professional gamer, then i would imagine you would take the time to analyze the game a bit more, after all it doesn't take that long to look at the tech tree. You say you couldn't find a bow. There are 4 bows to unlock in the tech tree, you can start the game with one on a custom sov, with a custom faction you can get improved bows for another 3 bows to unlock.

I personaly find what you are writing about to be not very credible when you state you are a professional gamer.

I said I used to be a long time ago. I barely play computer games nowadays. I dont mean to lie about this, in fact you can forget that I ever mentioned it because RTS pro gaming has nothing to do with this game. I did help a bit with balancing for a game for a developer before so I have some idea of how things work but even that shouldn't matter - my post wasn't about that. 

I won my my 2nd game  - playing Expert/Expert without abusing anything so I think I have a decent grasp of basic game mechanics. 

The bows in the tech tree? Oh yes, those are great. You need to research 5 techs to get to it and the starting bow gives you 6 damage and I forget how much -initaitive was it 8? and guess what, they still suck because they are ballanced for the archer units that have 5 units in them and attack from a distance - not very good for your hero! You pretty much get a better hand to hand weapon than the one you pick the first couple couple of fights, and many more after.

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November 5, 2012 5:16:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ntino,

I did play the game. I dont like to build 5 buildings which some variable from 1-2-3-4-5. Its ok in a game like Total war where really the tactical battle is where its supposed to make up for that but I actually think the total war games have  better city management - at-least it doesn't pretend to be something its not. 

That surprises me -- I don't see any huge difference between the city improvement model in this game and the TW series.  About the only thing here is the lack if need to build better barracks to gain access to new troops.  In fact, I think this game handles that model well -- improved military infrastructure provides for faster, cheaper recruitment.

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November 5, 2012 6:01:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ntino,
The bows in the tech tree? Oh yes, those are great. You need to research 5 techs to get to it and the starting bow gives you 6 damage and I forget how much -initaitive was it 8?

So...you wont a bow early in game with good dmg. and less initiative penalty without needing the luck to find such a rare magical item? And btw. less armor, traits like fast/quick and air magic and you can handle the init. penalty. 

 

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November 5, 2012 6:42:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Glowing_Ember,

Quoting ntino, reply 27Quoting Austinvn, reply 25You can definitely play an early mage, I'm thinking Ceresa/Resoln here.

Arent those considered gimped races? correct me if I am wrong
 
they are restricted in their armour use, but hardly gimped. The thoughtful use of bound elementals and spiders is a devestating combo - and as someone has already said, resoln because a mass murdering magical powerhouse in the mid to late game.

 
Please try actually playing these factions out. Use your analytical rts gaming background and please pay more attention to the fine details. Ask more questions, play for about 20 hours of game time then come back and rewrite your post. Then i will be happy to listen to anything you have to say.

I would really love to, but the problem is that I don't want to - that's what I am writing about.

I just saw posts asking to buff these so thats where the conclusion is from.

Sorry every game takes a while to play. I dont want to try everything if I find the game to be boring - I tried some of the races and I dont think the core gameplay changes. The points I made I believe apply.

If they dont then I am wrong - I am being honest in my posts and I said what I think. If these points arent vaid then I could be wrong. But I believe even Tuidjy agrees with some/most of my points and as far as I understand he understands this game in and out.

Dont forget, I am talking about core design elements here, not the little things or strategies that could be made fun to play with.

Its like discussing the paintwork on a new Aston Martin while completely dismissing the chassis balance/performance 

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November 5, 2012 6:45:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting rlane48,

Quoting ntino, reply 26
I did play the game. I dont like to build 5 buildings which some variable from 1-2-3-4-5. Its ok in a game like Total war where really the tactical battle is where its supposed to make up for that but I actually think the total war games have  better city management - at-least it doesn't pretend to be something its not. 

That surprises me -- I don't see any huge difference between the city improvement model in this game and the TW series.  About the only thing here is the lack if need to build better barracks to gain access to new troops.  In fact, I think this game handles that model well -- improved military infrastructure provides for faster, cheaper recruitment.

What I said is that this game is like Total war in respect to city management which to me is a very superficial way to handle city management - but the total war games arent about that, they are about real time battles. TBS games tend to be very much about base management because battles tend to be deterministic if played by equally skilled opponents.

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November 5, 2012 6:50:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Lantros,

Quoting ntino, reply 32The bows in the tech tree? Oh yes, those are great. You need to research 5 techs to get to it and the starting bow gives you 6 damage and I forget how much -initaitive was it 8?

So...you wont a bow early in game with good dmg. and less initiative penalty without needing the luck to find such a rare magical item? And btw. less armor, traits like fast/quick and air magic and you can handle the init. penalty. 

 

I'm sorry but you get great swords axes clubs and daggers 5 turns into the game. Even without the other considerations Bows suck compared to swords that add to initiative and can have other effects - which is why I wanted a charter with a bow! Dual strike with back swing is nice, guaranteed double damage. Add a very fast hero with dodge + some spells and you are VERY strong even if you dont do that much damage a lvl 10 hero can easily take on 2 Juggernauts, even 3 with some more spells. Actually if you abuse slow and haste you can kill most anything with simple hit and run because the computer is so stupid!!!

Compare a haste bow user with a haste sword user....

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November 5, 2012 7:26:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You can't please all of the people all of the time. But I must admit after starting two games in FE release 1.0 I'm disappointed and think they could have pleased more of the people more of the time!

It seems Stardock got the game to the point where it was finally becoming fun and then said "ship it, ship it, ship it" without spending time on arguably the most crucial phase, polishing the game. That means there are way too many bugs still (I'm planning a post on this, but the bugs list I wrote down from my first two hours of playing 1.0 is depressingly not that different from the one I wrote in beta 4) and balance is still very poor in places.

You would think Stardock would learn after WoM, and indeed it appears they did for a while but then at the final hurdle they just gave up!

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November 5, 2012 7:28:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ntino,

Quoting rlane48, reply 33
Quoting ntino, reply 26
I did play the game. I dont like to build 5 buildings which some variable from 1-2-3-4-5. Its ok in a game like Total war where really the tactical battle is where its supposed to make up for that but I actually think the total war games have  better city management - at-least it doesn't pretend to be something its not. 

That surprises me -- I don't see any huge difference between the city improvement model in this game and the TW series.  About the only thing here is the lack if need to build better barracks to gain access to new troops.  In fact, I think this game handles that model well -- improved military infrastructure provides for faster, cheaper recruitment.

What I said is that this game is like Total war in respect to city management which to me is a very superficial way to handle city management - but the total war games arent about that, they are about real time battles. TBS games tend to be very much about base management because battles tend to be deterministic if played by equally skilled opponents.

 

I'm not quite sure I follow you on the "Battles tend to be deterministic if played..." comment?

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November 5, 2012 7:54:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

After reading through this thread I think most of the points you make are just objective and are from the point of view of someone outside of the niche 4x genre. What other 4x games have you played? Seriously set down and devoted a hundred plus hours into? I personally put 200 hours in on Civ 3 and at least that on Civ 4 + FFH2, not to mention the hours I spent on Alpha Centari, X3, Colonization, and several others. The truth is that these games are an acquired taste and if you don't have that taste they're boring. They're not always about bum-rushing a fort, they're usually about slow methodical planning and constructing. Some of your points contradict themselves and all of them are purely opinion none of which are measured by fact. In short, I respect what you have to say - but ranting isn't helping the game improve. If you don't like the game you don't have to play it, but I am going to enjoy another 20 hours of vanilla and then delve into some mods once they develop more. 

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November 5, 2012 8:00:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting rlane48,

Quoting ntino, reply 36
Quoting rlane48, reply 33
Quoting ntino, reply 26
I did play the game. I dont like to build 5 buildings which some variable from 1-2-3-4-5. Its ok in a game like Total war where really the tactical battle is where its supposed to make up for that but I actually think the total war games have  better city management - at-least it doesn't pretend to be something its not. 

That surprises me -- I don't see any huge difference between the city improvement model in this game and the TW series.  About the only thing here is the lack if need to build better barracks to gain access to new troops.  In fact, I think this game handles that model well -- improved military infrastructure provides for faster, cheaper recruitment.

What I said is that this game is like Total war in respect to city management which to me is a very superficial way to handle city management - but the total war games arent about that, they are about real time battles. TBS games tend to be very much about base management because battles tend to be deterministic if played by equally skilled opponents.

 

I'm not quite sure I follow you on the "Battles tend to be deterministic if played..." comment?

meaning that the outcome between a set of forces is usually set if both opponents equally are good players, within certain allowable variance,

(e.i you can predict the outcome) , since time is rarely a factor and considering superior tactics are known by both players

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November 5, 2012 8:07:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ntino,

Quoting rlane48...
 

I'm not quite sure I follow you on the "Battles tend to be deterministic if played..." comment?

meaning that the outcome between a set of forces is usually set if both opponents equally are good players, within certain allowable variance,

(e.i you can predict the outcome) , since time is rarely a factor and considering superior tactics are known by both players

I can pretty much predict the outcome of all of my TW battles... I always win

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November 5, 2012 8:10:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Emperor_Nero,
After reading through this thread I think most of the points you make are just objective and are from the point of view of someone outside of the niche 4x genre. What other 4x games have you played? Seriously set down and devoted a hundred plus hours into? I personally put 200 hours in on Civ 3 and at least that on Civ 4 + FFH2, not to mention the hours I spent on Alpha Centari, X3, Colonization, and several others. The truth is that these games are an acquired taste and if you don't have that taste they're boring. They're not always about bum-rushing a fort, they're usually about slow methodical planning and constructing. Some of your points contradict themselves and all of them are purely opinion none of which are measured by fact. In short, I respect what you have to say - but ranting isn't helping the game improve. If you don't like the game you don't have to play it, but I am going to enjoy another 20 hours of vanilla and then delve into some mods once they develop more. 

Fair enough but -

x4 is hardly a niche.... Maybe in today's world of FPS its not as dominating, but that's another discussion. I don't play FPS.

I have played all of the games you mentioned starting civ 1(only few games though) long long time ago when i was really little. AND many others, such as MOM, MOO2, and tens of other lesser known titles.

I can still play many of those and not get bored. I can routinely beat civ 4 on immortal without too much trouble, unless i get really ganged up on early which sometimes you do.

I have no idea how many hours, but probably not nearly as much per each game. That being said TB tactical and strategy games is what I enjoy now.

I did make the post to let the devs/modders know what I personally think should be worked on, thats all.

But at the same time I am a very picky gamer and for example I can no longer play/enjoy any RTS after having played competitively - that genre stopped existing for me altogether.

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November 5, 2012 8:45:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

But even more than that, the game shies away from diversity when it comes to how the player can play the game – the races are all similar, the units are the same for these races, there are no Trolls, Dwarfs, Gnomes, Orcs. Elves or whatever else you can come up with in a game like this to make things more diverse.

The point here is having units in the game that are more than just some stats attached to them – units that have special abilities and require strategies to play against. Mix of different kind of units requiring the player to think how to beat a certain combination.

There is quite a bit of faction differentiation here among the Fallen if you pay attention. Yithril, Roseln, and Magnar are quite unique. I agree that among the races of men there is not a lot of in your face differentiation, and this could use improvement. A lot more could be done to make each faction play different in tactical combat though, here only Yithril is done well with no ranged and berserk. 


BORING.

Let me finish by saying something I am sure I will get flamed for – Both games I played I did not finish. For a simple reason – it was not fun to play anymore. I killed 2 Ais in both of these games while not even encountering the 3rd AI – while in the second game I have revealed almost the entire map.

I disagree with a lot of the things you say, like about magic and cities, but this is pretty correct. If I finish a game it is because I want to get a high score not because I am having fun late game. It's usually a chore. I am curious what you would actually do to improve late game though.

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November 5, 2012 8:50:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I feel the same as OP. I started about ten games and didn't finish any. My record is about 100 seasons. Playing every sovereign is the same: leveling heroes and city spam that really leads nothing. The game just doesn't keep you playing. FE doesn't give you enough incentives and aims for each moment of playing. Really you can skip many turns and nothing changes. So you play or you don't play - nothing really changes. It seems the game is not player-oriented.

 

I totally agree with this. The game does not keep me playing. I have started more than a few games of FE and it's just too boring and bland. Nothing to keep me coming back. In fact, if I didn't know any better this game seems to have all the mistakes of WoM. Granted, I never played WoM(thank god) but from what I have heard about it FE has some of the same issues. There are technical problems like WoM, same ugly look of WoM, and a lot of the bland/boring design choices are the same. I even tried the Stormlord mod and though it helps some it can't save FE. There's not nearly enough variety and 'zing' for my tastes. Maybe once the summons mod gets finished...

I was really hoping FE was going to be the answer. I waited for FE after playing Warlock, a fun game with 'variety' issues of it's own, but I find myself going back to Warlock time and again because even though it's limited in regards to spells, units, etc. I think FE actually has LESS variety than Warlock in regards to those things(at least in the vanilla version). To be brutally honest, I think that I wasted my money on FE.

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November 5, 2012 8:56:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hi guys,

This will be my first post here, been lurking for a while.  My own experience with FE has been fairly enjoyable so far.  It's a massive improvement over Elemental.  FE has been relatively stable, and perhaps most importantly it's got that "just one more turn" quality to it, that lets me overlook the flaws.  So far I've finished sandbox games with 3 of the 8 builtin rulers.  I've noticed some definite differences in how I played with each one  so far with regards to questing.  With Gilden it was all about getting some tanks (golems and my ruler) to soak up damage and putting in mages  for ranged damage to make my kills,   City-wise I priortized production and settled sites near metal crystal, pretty much ignoring shards.  Alter was a bit different, with them I just went champion heavy.  My cities were geared for research, specifically so that could go get me free high level champions.  My armies were solely champions, and whatever free units I would get from quests.  I would try to sunder quickly and then go hunting for elementals.  With Rosalyn, I still went big for research (though more for spells), but I also found myself playing much more aggressively.  it was as mentioned by Rath above all about getting lots and lots of shards.   My last completed game was with Kraxis.  That ended up playing like my games with Alter.  So the ruler I've chosen has definitely affected my battle strategy and my research/city strat to some extent, but.. 

this is where I find ktino's criticisms start to come in.  

1.)  For the most part I didn't needed to mess with building units.  Gilden was the only side I played with were I can remember constructing any.  For some reason I just don't find designing fantasy units fun.  It's weird in MOO2, I spend a fair bit of the game designing new ships, building special ships just for a couple battles.  It was a big part of the game.  Here, I just don't need to even build the default units.  And if I design my own, they'll look pretty much like the ones that are already in the game.  Sure I would get to min/max, but it just distracts from the fun of questing/exploring with my Ruler stack.  I do enjoy outfitting my heros, though the aforementioned loot duplication is a bit of a downer.  

Possible Fix?  A few more unique units/powers per side would help I think.  Also, maybe have an option to set an injury threshold  where heros/rulers die. It would encourage the player to put in some units to at least take hits for the heros on occasion, and help make them a bit more precious.  I remember the feeling in MOO2 and MOM when a hero died, it sucked a bunch.  Even early in the game I'd make sure to have some extra units in my main stack so I wouldn't lose heros.  In FE, I don't really needed to worry about that.  Worst case I can have a hero who has wracked up a bunch of injuries go the governer route and help my cities out.  And of course if my ruler dies, well I lose some mana, but he or she remains a great unit.  

2.)  With regards to faction differences, I've mentioned how my games played somewhat differently based on my ruler selection.  But it feels like that was mostly a function of my reliance on questing and heroes to play the game.  If I played the game in a more traditional 4X way, then I feel like the factions would start to feel a lot more similar.

Fix?  Well I'm okay with it, since the way I play the game magnifies faction differences.  The game does feel like it's being held back by a couple things.  They've been mentioned quite a bit, but here's my perspective.

A.  Budget/Engine.  I really wonder what FE could have been if a 2D engine had been used instead of a 3D one.  It would be so much easier to make factions that looked different.  Instead of having a bunch of sides that all look essentially look the same, we could see sides that looked completely different.  Think of the faction variety in MOM, ants, lizards, dwarfs, elves, beastman, nomads each with sprites that looked different.  It was really easy to see the difference between two nations in a battle.  A lot of the crashing/stability of issues would probably not have come up allowing more time/money to be spent on the actual gameplay.  Would it be possible to use the current engine to do some of this?  How about making the trogs units bigger (like say make them Huge by default).  More like say ogres or trolls that are in the game.   Maybe have models for guilden that are shorter (and chunkier) then the other humanoid races.  I mean if the monsters can look different from the the various races in the game, why can't that be done with the various sides?  Something as simple as the aforementioned size changes would make a world of difference.  More money would have probably helped, and I think modders have a chance to help out a lot here.   This brings me to the other issue I see with FE and faction differentiation.

B.  Mythology/Design.  MOM, Civ, Alpha Centauri, MOO all drew on well established mythologies/ideas to make to differentiate sides.  With MOM and MOO having visual differences to back up and emphasize the differences.  Elves, dwarves, hobbits, yeah basic stuff.  But look at some of the other races in there.  Klackons, aka antpeople., obviously look different, but they also played in a way that drew on what folk would expect.  HIgh Production (yeah hard working ants makes sense right?).  In Moo, the darlocks, just a guy in a cloak, but it fits right, looks a like sneaky,mysterious being.  With CIv, firaxis can draw on history and stereotypes to help differentiate the factions.  For a lot of players that's not present in FE.  The visual differences are not there, and the mythology/history is one that you need actually learn.  It requires an extra investment from the player, and everytime I see a unit on screen it kills the suspension of disbelief a bit.  For a while I can fool myself into seeing Roslyn as some kind of vampire/ghost race, or guilden as dwarves, but then I see my cities/units/ruler and other folks and well it's gone.  I think with more play and some more time in the encyclopedia that will help with the mythology.  But it's just not all there for me right now.  

Still at the end of the day I'm having fun with it.  This game reminds me to some extent of MOM, but even more  of Birthright, the Gorgon's Alliance (anyone else play that one?)   Birthright had a mythology I didn't know initially, and graphics that weren't that great, both of which hurt in terms of differentiating sides, but the combo of strategy and questing made up for it.  I feel like FE is another case where somehow lackluster parts somehow add up to something quite fun.  I hope it keeps getting better, and I'll keep playing in the meantime.

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November 5, 2012 8:59:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Magic in this game is actually great. You just need to level up a proper mage with access to at least 3 schools of magic. Mages dominate when properly done.

As for using champs, if you don't like that option you can always spawn a map with zero champs. It's just an option in the map generator.

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November 5, 2012 9:43:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

First game I played was on challenging using Tarth - it was not interesting and easy I posted my opinions here and got flamed(by some) because I was playing Tarth on the default settings. I then started a new game with a custom sovereign - I dont remember what perks I went with exactly but it was mediocre - I did not pick any of the stronger traits because I did not want to abuse the game too much.

I don't review games but have a background in professional RTS gaming back when few people did that and have played many turn based strategy games even though I wouldn't call myself very good at TBS - simply because I never spent too much time on any one TBS game (other than Homm3/Homm2 a long time ago).

The short version:

*snip*
 
Thanks for reading.

 

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November 5, 2012 10:01:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That dude sure don't like this game!

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November 6, 2012 12:19:35 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

For the most part whenever I see someone complaining about "balance" I know just what kind of criticism the game is in for.  It's the veteran MP gamer.  It's not too surprising, since most games these days are built and targeted at the dedicated MP gamer.  And most online game forums are filled with the same.

This gamer is the kind of person who has been trained by years of MP gaming to find the "best strategy" and hone it to a knife's edge.  He recognizes that 3d models and sound effects are far less important than the numbers those graphics and sounds represent.  As such, for him games aren't really about presentation as much as they are about some variation on Rock-Paper-Scissors.

It's a valid point of view.  But it's easy to see why a game like FE would fail to capture said gamer's imagination.  Mainly because imagination doesn't really play a part in how he approaches games.

The tipper in this case is the complaints about randomness and luck.  Randomness and luck have no place in the world of the veteran MP gamer.  Everything is deterministic.  Do thing A, followed by thing B, followed by thing C and if your opponent doesn't do D and E, you win!  Which is why it's a breeze to program scripted & braindead AIs for such games.

FE is distinctly not deterministic.  (If anything, the game is not random enough for my liking.)  And "balance" in FE is not about ensuring that all strategies can be countered.  It about allowing the maximum number of viable strategies possible.

IMHO, posts like these can be helpful in that they'll spur Frogboy on in his development of the AI.  But in terms of review of the game, I just think you're missing the point.  The joy of FE is in crafting a narrative of your own, not in ROFL-stomping the computer.  It's about working towards your own long-term goals and seeking to accomplish them despite the opposition arrayed against you. If you fail, start again with new ideas!  If you succeed, start again with new ideas!

There is no "correct" way to play; you can win with almost any strategy.  I get that for you the game is broken because of that.  I see many of the same flaws that you do (and the developers see them too), but they are small in my mind compared to the ease with which this game lends itself to fun, creative play.

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November 6, 2012 12:53:09 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Wow.  Great post!

I will say that for most of the past couple years I've been ensconced in hardcore online MP RTS play, and that's why I love this game so much.  It's nice to sit back, relax and have fun building your own story for a change instead of making sure your build order is optimized.  

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