How does Stardock rate FE?

By on December 5, 2012 10:29:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

jmccrea

Join Date 06/2003
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AFter reading many of the reviews that are out about the game, I was curious how Stardock see's FE?  If you were to give it a number from 1 to 10...10 being perfect and 1 being not, where is it?  How would you rate it against GC and Sins?  Granted they are different in many ways, but hey, they are still games!  Others can chime in as well as Im curious how some of us long time players and testers think it is.

 

For myself, im in the about 8 range.  I hope that isnt insulting, because im not trying to be.  The game is so far from where WoM was that its incredible to me.  I think in time my score could also go up as well as more things are implemented and such.  So what does everyone think?  What does Stardock think??  The challenge is on!!(No reward though, you just get to post!!)

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December 6, 2012 11:53:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

8,6 from me and a clear potenial for 9 and 10 with the upcoming expansions. I think this game is an instant classic and already better and richer in many ways compared to simular games that have legendary status today like the Heroes of Might and Magic-series, Age of Wonders and Masters of Magic.

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December 6, 2012 12:29:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'd give it an 8.0 exactly. It's better than most and worse than many.

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December 6, 2012 1:11:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would think 8 to 8.5 for me, but I think anything above a 7.5 is fair and something for Stardock to be proud of.  I know you always shoot for 90 to 100, but any game that lands in the Metacritic green is an achievement  I think.  There are some polish issues, and I think all the races could have been fleshed out with things like special units.  The tactical combat is a negative to me, it's just not well designed, and although it has been greatly improved from WoM and even earlier FE versions, it's still mediocre in design.  But FE is a Strategy game first and foremost in an RPG setting, so the tactics part of the game is tertiary.  I like the look of the game, I like the play of the game, I like options and replay-ability of the game.  I think the biggest hits to the games score would be the tactical battles and the difficulty of early monsters rampages.The tactical battles being lacking in meaningful 3D environments,  having meaningful weapon ranges, having meaningful terrain, lacking ability to arrange armies pre-battle and  a very arbitrary auto-battle hurt the game. An the monsters are probably perceived as very difficult to deal with to a new player. A new player has a sov with a shit weapon, a couple of spells and no armor.  Every thing around it looks menacing and dangerous, and is.  It's hard to see the world conquering bad ass that Sov can quickly become from that perspective, and I bet a few people have been turned off from the game because of it.

 

I have a feeling that Elemental will gain in popularity over time.  Some games come and make a big splash and disappear  but I bet FE will gain and gain in popularity as more and more people hear about it and try it out.  It's really too bad there is no demo.  This really smart guy, named Jon Shafer, wrote a blog once about how important a Demo is to a game, someone at Stardock should take a look at it  I expect it's really, really important to a new IP, and massively important to an IP that's trying to improve it's image after a failure like WoM.

 

 

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December 6, 2012 1:28:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm with Lord Xia, 8-8.5 is what I think is fair, more likely closer to 8.

Things I feel should have been better done:

- The lore is overwhelming, despite vital events having taken place recently (the Cataclysm, the Titans being defeated, Kraxis betraying the Kingdoms) it is almost impossible to get a good overview of this without devouring every detail and text in the game. I respect that the lore is rather unique, but it takes too long to get into.

- The tactical combats were intentionally designed to lack depth, be quick 1-3 minute fights that were NOT meant to decide the outcome of the game. Rather, focus was placed on the strategic level as the main factor in who wins the game. This has led to tactical combat being barely enjoyable, but I nevertheless go through it because auto-resolve is so poorly done.

- No sieges and no crafting. Strategy and long-term being the focus of the game, why o why aren't there sieges and crafting which are excellent examples of long-term choices players can face?

- No independent city states, underwhelming interaction between Civilization tech tree and the world around us. Why aren't there 20 different unittypes we can find and recruit in the wild? Why isn't going full Civilization+Influence a viable tactic? I modded in 4-5 new recruitable monsters and it was all that was needed to make the Civilization tree able to stand on its own legs.

- Champions do feel disconnected from the progress of your empire. While this was improved greatly in Beta 5, it still needs to be polished up to get rid of the rough edges.

 

Things that I feel were almost flawlessly done:

- City customization is perfect.

- Magic is very good, but it lacks a few more summons and a few more late game-changing spells (see MoM).

- I love customizing my units, the graphics, the detail, the depth is great. What is not so great is the rather boring traits we get to choose.

- Strategic AI is great. Tactical AI is disappointing. Put all your armour on one unit, give him a good shield, walk up to enemies and press space while you shoot the enemies full of arrows. You just won the game, an unbeatable tactic apparently. The Meat Shield.

- Lovely tactical combat areas.

- A combination of pre-designed map stamps and randomized maps helps create random maps without losing the character of a sculpted map.

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December 6, 2012 1:44:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Lord Xia,
I have a feeling that Elemental will gain in popularity over time. Some games come and make a big splash and disappear but I bet FE will gain and gain in popularity as more and more people hear about it and try it out. It's really too bad there is no demo. This really smart guy, named Jon Shafer, wrote a blog once about how important a Demo is to a game, someone at Stardock should take a look at it I expect it's really, really important to a new IP, and massively important to an IP that's trying to improve it's image after a failure like WoM.

Brad actually stated in a thread on Steam a while back that there will be a demo, just not right away.

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December 6, 2012 1:49:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

For me 7/10 with Stormworld mod 9/10

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December 6, 2012 1:56:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I actually disagree about the tactical combat.  It's reminiscent of MOO2 tactical combat, although in a typical one champion plus contingent army there aren't very many special abilities flying around.  I really need to have my champions join up for some battles, even if it does mean the XP income is less, because multi-champion fights are fun.  And totally unbalanced.

What I like about it is that not every battle is a simple 'Charge till you see the whites of their eyes' massacre, there are some tough battles to be had.  Blocking with shield units works, at least until they die horribly.  Units can resist your spells even on a very unlikely roll.  They can dodge arrows.  They can be resistant to your weapons and tough as nails.  They can be immune to magic completely.  Oops.  Fighting that monster wasn't such a good idea now, was it?

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December 6, 2012 2:19:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Leo in WI,

Quoting Lord Xia, reply 3I have a feeling that Elemental will gain in popularity over time. Some games come and make a big splash and disappear but I bet FE will gain and gain in popularity as more and more people hear about it and try it out. It's really too bad there is no demo. This really smart guy, named Jon Shafer, wrote a blog once about how important a Demo is to a game, someone at Stardock should take a look at it I expect it's really, really important to a new IP, and massively important to an IP that's trying to improve it's image after a failure like WoM.

Brad actually stated in a thread on Steam a while back that there will be a demo, just not right away.

 

Not to be that jerk, the same was said about WoM.

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December 6, 2012 2:24:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree with many here as well.  The biggest factor for me is magic.  It still doesnt seem magicky enough.  I guess I go by MoM which is the inspiration(among others) for this game.  The spells in that game were really neat and fun.  Yes some maybe were OP(then again that didnt bother me) but it made the game very neat.  There was a spell for Death magic that allowed zombies to join you every time a unit died.  I think you lost magic per unit you got this way, but it showed if you had devoted yourself to getting enough death books that you could get extreme spells.  Like with Chaos magic...that damn Armageddon spell making flipping volcanoes everywhere haha...hated that.   IMHO, thats what is kinda lacking here in the magic system.  I was also a big Artificer in that game and enjoyed crafting items for my champs.   

 

Still, the game has come allllllooonnnggg way from where it started and im very pleased with it.  I have yet to try out Stormworld, but want to.  Just Dl'd the mod manager but cant figure out how to dl mods with it...though im thinking maybe I DL the mod and then use the mod manager to install it maybe haha.  Also, the fact that they are making the game very mod able makes it very appealing to me.  When i was talking to Derek and he asked me if I was using any mods and told him "No, just changed a few XML files...does that make me a cheater?"  He laughed and said "its your game, you can play it how you want."  LOL made me feel better!!

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December 6, 2012 2:44:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting jmccrea,
Just Dl'd the mod manager but cant figure out how to dl mods with it...though im thinking maybe I DL the mod and then use the mod manager to install it maybe haha.

Correct! Install the mod manager, get that all setup (make the new folders you'll need) and then download the zip of the mod(don't unzip it) into the folder you made for holding those. Then just run the mod manager again and you should be all set. Also don't forget to turn on "use mods" in game.

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December 6, 2012 2:45:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Lord Xia,
Not to be that jerk, the same was said about WoM.

True, but this has been said post-release, and I think we all can agree this release and that *other* release are a whole different animal.

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December 6, 2012 2:52:31 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I would rate the game a solid 7.

I deducted a point for its current unfinished state.

I deducted a point for the lack of flexibility between male & female characters/graphics.  Hopefully this will be rectified in the future.

I also deducted a point for lack of sea/ship development available in the game.  There is so much more that can be done with this.

The upside is that this game can, and probably will, get much better - especially with the GalCiv team now installed as the developers.  Their future looks bright.

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December 6, 2012 3:17:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

8/10 for me. Its very good, but has potential for much more in the future. 

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December 6, 2012 3:37:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

After getting this a few days ago, I'll go with an 8/10.  I love the concept and setting.  I think that there are a lot of things that work right and I'm staying up way too late to take that infamous "One more turn..."  Now that I've more or less figured out unit design, that's definitely fun.  Plus, dragon training = awesome.

I would like to see a more robust information/game concept directory.  The Hiergamenon is nice for flavor but honestly, even as a veteran of turn-based strategy games, there have been times that I've been really frustrated with figuring stuff out.  FE also suffers from a lack of polish.  The foundations are there but it still feels more like a beta than a finished game.  More robust diplomacy, better city upgrade options, and deeper spell lists wouldn't hurt.  

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December 6, 2012 3:50:20 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting cwalters567,

I would like to see a more robust information/game concept directory.  The Hiergamenon is nice for flavor but honestly, even as a veteran of turn-based strategy games, there have been times that I've been really frustrated with figuring stuff out.   

This is my only issue with FE.

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December 6, 2012 4:22:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

7.5 out of 10 for me.  It would be an 8 out of 10 if I was not involved in WoM and/or the Beta.

One of the biggest pluses is the ability to customize even the random maps.  Controlling the amount of shards, resources, monsters, champions, enemies is a great feature.  Then choosing the level of the world and the opponents gives an endless array of game choices which makes FE replayable.

 

Developer Choices I wish were different and really drop the game experience for me.

1.  As I have mentioned before I think the abundance of magic wielding champions is contradicting the lore of the game and breaks some of the immersion into the game for me.  Channelers are suppose to be rare but every Champion has access to magic, and is actually necessary to expand your magic library (except for Procipinee).  It is the exact opposite of how the lore of the game describes it.  I still think this was one of the biggest mistakes in the game.  Sovereigns should be able to imbue the ability for a champion to cast a specfic spell (which is already in the game), Champions should not have spells on their own.

2.  On the subject of Champions; Champions are way to powerful, and getting more so.  Now that they included the magic elixir that gets rid of injuries.  I feel no loss what so ever when a champion gets hurt.  Since none of them even have the option to die, an injury that can easily be cured is really not that big of a deal.  This again is a just completely immersion breaking.  You never feel the loss of a favorite champion---they are immortal just like the Sovereign so what does it matter.

3.  The lack of the dynasty system, or at least marriage and children, I think is a big negative that did not carry over from its predecessor.  Instead of improving it, it was cut completely.  This was one of the biggest immersions into the game for me.  Protecting my family, even though my oldest was a general and leading one of my armies, was just fun.  This could have been awesome.  Getting married could generate a 10 turn bump in research and production (the kingdom is happy).  Same thing with a child being born.  Flip the coin over, the loss of a spouse or heir could cause a 15% increase in unrest across the kingdom. 

 

You never experience loss in this game.  Your summons are easily replaced, injuries are cured, and troops are just cannon fodder.  You never spend time summing a powerful creature or developing a champion or off spring to become a great leader.  Carefully craft magical items for them to wield and then lose them in a battle.  Everything is almost instantly fixable or replaceable.

 

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December 6, 2012 5:09:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Here comes a really grumpy rating...

7.5

I don't feel the game deserves better rating due to a few things, let me list them.

Numerous Bugs, and annoying ones too, some I feel breaks the game down due to stuff like AI ignoring the rules of the game.

Poor Interface, so many buttons are too small, not all information shown throughout the big chumps or poorly sorted unit stats, and some things like traits are just hard to get a proper overview over, save the tooltips not reflect the true potential of a long line of traits, tooltips also doesn't add up the value of 3 traits of the same name, but rather just put the trait on 3 times showing 3 values with the same name.

Disconnected Items, some of the game mechanics seem disconnected, some decisions I don't take for my empire, rather I take them because this hero over here have a need for more attention, you could remedy this by either making these choices important (different armour pieces, why are they here, they are not important but rather more annoying) you could break up chainmail into 2-3 different sets that have pros and cons, making these pieces worth choosing from, or you could just give me the "equip chainmail" option as the armour for my units, that might even save memory.

Weapons and Armour, I think the weapon-armour balance and placement in the tech tree is poorly thought-out, and is easily messed up by players who know the game mechanics, some weapons are just boring due to they're special abilities who are meant to work, doesn't really work (axes and maces comes to mind).

Diplomacy, diplomacy is a half-sewn, half-baked donkey brought up by mountain goats, all I have to say.

Tech Tree, the tech tree is not as interesting or interactive as I have a need for it to be, I "need" to dip in each separate tech selection to remain competitive, this kind of setup makes me feel the choices are taken away from me, and its more down to micro-management, "do I want axes now, or in 10 turns... oh what the hell, it doesn't really matter that much".

Sometime during the Beta testing, Stardock yelled out a motto, it was "Go big, or go home". They removed all the attributes like "Stength" due to this motto, since the Strength score wasn't important, it was the modules it affected that was important. The problem is, they only really had this motto during 1 month removing stuff, then they kind of forgot about it and left it there.
Well thats my grumpy post written while in pain for more grumpyness, enjoy

Sincerely
~ Kongdej

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December 6, 2012 6:44:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

As a hardened wargamer - not an RPG enthusiast - I would still give it an 8.0

As Kongdej and others point out, there are improvements to be made. (And I hope he feels better - pain is not fun)

But looking at it from 10,000 feet up, there is nothing quite like it on the market. I love the depth and playability. I can even mod the game very easily.

Obviously, I bought the map pack. Many hours of fun to come.

Also, the forums are lively and people (not including me) really know and care about the details of the game. Many are quite passionate about improving it, and the devs seem to listen.

Thanks, and best wishes to Stardock for continued success.

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December 6, 2012 6:51:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Kongdej,
Sometime during the Beta testing, Stardock yelled out a motto, it was "Go big, or go home". They removed all the attributes like "Stength" due to this motto, since the Strength score wasn't important, it was the modules it affected that was important. The problem is, they only really had this motto during 1 month removing stuff, then they kind of forgot about it and left it there.
Well thats my grumpy post written while in pain for more grumpyness, enjoy

Exactly, can second that. I fully realize it when i started to play Sean's mod - the choices in hero's leveling and some upgrades to cities suddenly made me say: yea! That's a progress! My hero is getting powerful! Choices are game changing again!

 

For me 8 is a fair score. I am bugged mostly by bugs, if you know what i mean. Tactical battles seeing some love would be nice improvement too.

 

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December 6, 2012 8:35:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Compared to most games in general i would give FE an 8 out of ten, but.... if i had to rate Galciv out of ten then galciv would get 10 and FE would have to be pushed down to about 2

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December 6, 2012 9:01:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I am not going to give a numeric rating, but I will offer a few observations:

I have never played a 4X game before this one, and I was a total beginner just last month.

I have over 350 hours into this game.

@jmccrea: I think the magic system is incredibly powerful.  Anecdotally: I just got done wiping fighting Kraxis on insane after extensive buildup on his part -- he had dozens of cities and a 6 digit number of gildars while I had something like 1000-ish.  And, in terms of his character, he had much higher health than I, much higher initiative than I, and much higher attack than I along with whatever bonuses insane gave him.  And, his armies were easily 10x better than mine.  And he did not have a chance largely because I had a better selection of spells than he did but also, to be fair, because of AI weaknesses).  Magic is incredibly powerful in this game... I was taking on average one city away from him per turn plus all of his relevant mobile armies, purely because of the magic system in this game.  (I also got most of my shards and about 80% of my current mana generation ability during my war with him, and I was within a turn or two of expending all of my mana during a large part of the war.)  Anyways, I think that I have reason to believe that the magic system in this game is powerful.

Anyways, this game certainly has room for improvement, but I have been enjoying it.

P.S. despite the thread title and the question posed in the opening post, I am not associated with stardock in any way (except by being a customer).

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December 8, 2012 3:55:47 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

8.5/10, worse then SOSE:R, better then GalCiv (or on par with it).

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December 10, 2012 9:26:42 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I don't think anyone actually answered the OP's question.  The answer is that Stardock thought the game was an 8.5.  Brad had made a post somewhere that they wouldn't release it until internally they felt like they had an 8.5.  Not surprisingly, Stardock was a little over-optimistic about their own game as Metacritic has it at 76.  A lot of us fanboys love the game and we play it like it is an 85, but to an unbiased reviewer it is about a 75 because there were several mechanics that were not totally fleshed out before release.

1.  Balance -- We were still making significant balance changes up through the very last Beta release.  In fact, they are still making significant balance changes.

2.  UI -- There were several aspects left undone.  There's no pre-movement trail even though this has been done in other games for years.  There's a lot of detail missing from the mini-map (think Gal Civ 2).  It's easy to get lost in the empire tree.  There's no way to repeat event notifications in case you missed one.  There's text that gets hidden behind other objects so you can't read it.  Not everything is in the Hiergamenon.  The Kingdom ledger is a mess.  It's hard to see the Essence semi-circles.  The level-up info isn't totally accurate or missing.  And so on....

3.  Diplomacy -- The Diplomacy system is in its infancy.  It's just barely there enough to allow you to trade some stuff at prices that make no sense (i.e. 1 influence = 100 gildar, sometimes 1 gildar = 2 gildar, etc.) and to allow you to declare war on each other.  Speaking of war, either everybody is at war with you or nobody is at war with you.  It's too easy to make allies. The AI will often speak to you and you are only presented with one response to give.

4.  AI -- We're still working out the buggy (cheating AI) issues (i.e. autocomplete its production queue, free research, can raze a city in 1 turn instead of 5, etc.).  To quote Brad, the AI is generally pretty good, but specifically kind of stupid.  That means the AI plays the game pretty well overall, but you will see them do some pretty stupid stuff which is true.  They aren't casting enough strategic spells yet.  They aren't casting enough fireballs and blizzards yet.  They still attack you with soloing champions or pioneer stacks of doom.   And if you believe all the forum threads, Monster AI will attack Player before Opponent AI.

Even fixing all that stuff is still probably not enough for an 85.  They could have left in the Legacy (get married and have babies) system in.  They could have left in the minor factions.  They could have done multi-player.  They could have spiced up tactical battles (I know they didn't want to).  A few of those things and their Metacritic average could have been in the 80s.

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December 10, 2012 10:26:40 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I'm going to sound cynical, and probably get flamed for this but I've seen this "strategy" from other developers.

They release a game that's good enough to get people interested and excited for more.

Then they sell an updated version with features that they intentionally left out in the first version, and sell it for full retail as a new/better/faster version of the orignal. Then they do this again and again for a few more releases.

It's like the hardware gadget industry where a company releases incremental "improvements" over the last version of the product and then sell it for full price or more..even though those "improvements" have been around for a long time (e.g. first release is a black and white screen, next release is color)

 

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December 10, 2012 11:28:52 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

An 8 is a fair score- if you view this as a reboot.

As a sequel, I would be harsher.

 

This game has a great formula, but it's incomplete with some rough spots, and it would probably need 2 sequels to reach its potential.

 

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