Champion Paths – A Review

By on May 15, 2013 3:05:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

deadhouse

Join Date 04/2013
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To give a little background, not too long ago I found myself once again loading up (the original) Age of Wonders and sending my leader storming around the countryside for some fantasy rpg strategy fun. It was never much of a challenge, and is even less so after replaying again and again, but I still get the desire to recapture the enjoyment I got from it. So this time, I decided to see what was out there to fill the gap.

So I discover FE:LH, and reading the description of what they’re trying to achieve with the balance between empire building strategy and champion led rpg game play, I decide to give it a try. I set things up to go rolling through the world with a warrior type sovereign, and start exploring…

…to cut the story short, the experience was not quite what I expected or hoped, but, there was enough promise for me to want to experiment and try different options to see what I could get out of the game. I’ve enough thoughts in general to fill many, many threads, but what I want to discuss here is the champion’s paths and the ability to get a satisfying rpg experience from this very promising strategy game. So here are my thoughts on the different options from my experience so far.

 

Mage

Of the five options, this one currently seems the most rounded, complete and rewarding. The focus on magic rather than combat instantly sets your champion aside from the rank and file of trained units and gives your champion both the uniqueness that the rpg side of the game should offer and a range of additional tactical options that give depth to the gaming experience.

Each of the three main branches of the path represents a viable option depending on whether you wish to focus on damage, support, or summoning. 25% off mana cost and a one trait option for 25% extra experience alone make this a very easy choice of path under any circumstances.

My only real complaint is that if you want your sov/champ to be even semi-focused on providing spell based tactical support, then this is basically the only choice. Why when there are five options is only one of them at all magic based? You can use a Defender or Commander as a caster type if you choose, but there are far too few reasons to regularly do so.

 

Warrior

This is everything the Mage isn’t, and not just in the obvious ways. Whilst Mage gives you a range of abilities trained units will never have, a Warrior (unless he gets lucky with finding rare loot) will spend most of the game just trying to keep up to the raw combat performance of trained units.

Far too much of the Warrior trait tree is filled with options to just slightly improve damage or survivability, which even mid game trained units surpass. The likes of Reap and Revenge are underwhelming, the occasional good choice like Decimate is hidden beyond two traits boosting the one weapon type I personally would be least likely to use on a champion, and the sword/counter attack trait options seem far better suited for Defender than Warrior. Blade Rush is ok, but considering the overall state of champions and swarming, it’s as likely to be suicidal as inspired.

In short, warrior seems lacking. The path needs something to make Warrior champions stand out from regular troops. I must admit I’m not sure what the answer is, though personally I’d like to see a couple of support type choices – a champion leading from the front should be able to inspire his soldiers to greater things, not just be another soldier.

 

Assassin

In many ways my thoughts regarding Warrior could also be said of the Assassin, although at least the crit based attacks of the Assassin give a different ‘feel’ than a Warrior/trained unit. Ultimately though, as often as not you’re still left directly comparing performance against trained units. Big crits are nice, but the single figure blows in-between are very uninspiring.

The biggest issue with the Assassin tree in my opinion is that you need all of it, so there isn’t actually as much choice as there seems. All the +crit traits are a must to be effective, you’re very vulnerable without picking up some bonus dodge, and then you need to try and grab some of the usable abilities that actual make you stand out from a regular grunt. An under-levelled Assassin is simply a liability, and this needs to change.

I’ve lots of thoughts on all the paths, but if there is one thing I could pick over all others to get implemented in game, it would be this:

Give Assassins an ability to move again after they’ve killed a unit. This would greatly add to the shadowy, hit and run feel of the class, and also give the added tactical depth it’s screaming for. Who wouldn’t love to avoid ‘wasting’ an attack to finish off the last few hp left on an enemy before sweeping through to the back lines to take out some archers?

 

Defender

Defender I struggle with. The class has a lot going for it, and in many ways seems a very strong choice for a champion. Additional survivability and options to boost the rest of your army? Yes please. Somehow though, I don’t seem to be able to make it work in a satisfactory way.

Abilities like Rescue, Guard and Arching Shield Bash are great, and can make even a low level Defender useful, or make mixing Defender traits with spell traits viable. Further into the tree it gets worse though. Every time I try and level a Defender I get so frustrated having to pick multiple less than useful stat boosts to get to the interesting abilities. The biggest single problem though is that in the current state of the game, successful tanking depends so much on tactical use of the defensive stance. This means trying to use a Defender as a front line tank leaves you feeling very passive hitting pass every turn, and not using the abilities that make the path so worthwhile. Surely it shouldn’t just be Ironeers that can use this class effectively?

Mostly I think it’s just a little reworking needed to make this class great. Tidy up the tree to give better clarity between a support role and front line tank. Please give some options to allow more ‘active’ use of defensive stance. Oh, and please, please steal the sword/counter attack traits from Warriors.

 

Commander

If there’s a path that is simultaneously really good and really bad at the same time, then it’s the Commander. As often as not my first recruited hero follows my sov around long enough to get levelled once, then gets dumped in a city to provide -20% unrest. The closest they get to action is being moved to a non-contiguous city where they’re needed more.

Occasionally, I feel adventurous and let my Commander get a couple more levels to get the genuinely excellent Command skill, but after that I almost instantly feel like giving up. Other than relatively worthless boosts to unrest, gold or research, the only option for a developing Commander is through three trait points increasing the accuracy of your army. Unfortunately, once you have an improved fortress, that’s three completely wasted and unnecessary trait points. After that it gets slightly better, but the lack of options makes it feel not worth it to get there.

In principle, the class is ok, but simply needs more, better options to make it feel worthwhile levelling a Commander champion in the field. At the moment Commander is mostly a one point wonder for dumping in a city, which reflects far too badly on the state of Champions in the game as a whole for this to remain the case.

 

Wish list

If you’ve managed to read through all of the above (congratulations!), then you should roughly know that a few tweaks and extra options here and there and I’d be quite happy. If it was completely up to me though, I’d be tempted to go a bit further.

One thing I’d love to see is an additional mage-type path. One possibility would be a Loremaster class. I’d probably give it a default bonus of +mana per turn, making it a viable alternative against a Mage’s -25% to tactical spells, but giving it more of a strategic/support twist. I’d probably take the summoner line from the Mage, the +research line from the Commander, possibly with some extra +mana traits, and then add some boosts and extra spell options to fill out the class. I’d even be tempted to throw in some +shard traits right at the end of the tree. It should be a class that doesn’t give you so much of a direct boost in combat, but rewards you for going through the effort of levelling. 

Obviously this would leave a big gap in the Mage path, but there seems to be a fair bit of support in the community for improving the structure of the elemental traits within the mage tree, so this would give an opportunity to do so.

If there isn’t room for a sixth path, then personally I’d be tempted to get rid of the Commander. If so then I’d move some of the support type abilities to the Defender and possibly Warrior paths. Both could do with a little extra, particularly when you pick up a third/fourth champion etc further into the game who you’ve no idea what to with.

Slightly off topic (can you be off your own topic?) but the other one thing I find lacking from the first time I read about FE:LH is that developing your empire does not improve your champions. I’d quite like if there was a technology deep into each of the three trees that allowed you to build a world wonder/ one per faction building that directly boosted all your champions. Maybe +hp for Civilization, +attack for Warfare, +initiative for Magic, for example. This would encourage those wanting powerful heroes to work on the empire building side of the game (part of the stated ethos of LH), help heroes stay competitive with trained units late game, and also actually help make it viable to throw those heroes you haven’t got around to levelling into combat in the later game without them dying to arrows in the first turn.

I don’t see any of this happening anytime soon though to be fair, but no harm in throwing the ideas out there.

 

Wow, longer than I thought it would be. Thank you for reading.

TL:DR? Mostly it’s my opinions on the various champion paths and what I think is required to make them feel great. Hope you enjoy the game anyway. 

 

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May 15, 2013 3:50:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Mage

Of the five options, this one currently seems the most rounded, complete and rewarding.

No. The path of the Mage is filled with redundant traits that make the main spell books pointless. The summoner tree is unnecessarily long, there is no reason a single trait needs to grant you a single summon. Summons should require a certain level of summoning and the relevant elemental spell trait. The Mancy traits also have no real point as they are basically just the elemental spell books excpet they take up points.

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May 15, 2013 3:52:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Good comments overall, I agree with a lot of them.

My favorite two trees are mage and defender. Mage has lots of interesting spells, the summoning path works great and the casting path does its job for a pure caster. The defender has lots of interesting abilities in both trees and feels like a complete class to me. The assassin is in the middle with lots of interesting abilities, but as you said its very squishy.

My least favourite classes are warrior and commander. Both have a lack of active abilities in their trees leading them to feel extremely lackluster and dull. The warrior could use either more active abiltiies in general (combat move themed) or move the existing ones so they aren't at the end of trees for weapons I have no interest in.

For the commander, this just feels like a missed opportunity to me. Command is great ability, why aren't there more like this. Thematically there are lots of options appropriate to general, such as a rally troops ability that boosts initiative for one turn, or combat tactic abilities, e.g. you could have a charge ability that boosts attack and movement of all troops but lowers defense, or a form shield wall ability that boosts defense but lowers attack, etc. etc. Even for the administration trees you could have interesting abilities at the end of the lines that basically function as strategic spells that boost some aspect of your cities, e.g. research, taxes, unrest, etc. Give them some sort of twist to make them different from the strategic spells in the spell schools. All these passive abilities are boring.

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May 15, 2013 4:46:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

My take on the paths: 3 numbers out of 10, 1st being early game, 2nd being mid game, 3rd being late game

Mage: 5 - Good early game safe damage, but losses out in mana usage

         8  - By now, mana issues should've been solved. Both summons, heal and spell damage trees shine really well here

         9 - Now with full damage tree unlocked, the Mage becomes an unstoppable one man army so long as you have mana.

Warrior:

          8 - great early game, no mana cost, powerful traits for early monster clearing

          7 - Nothing special is gained in mid game at all

          6 or 8 - If you have a great weapon, you will do great. if you don't then your sovereign will be just another unit

Defender:

           7 - Weak beginning, but rapidly improves in mid early game with army defensive bonus traits.

           8 - Extremely good mid game due to very nice combination of defensive skills and passive stat boosts

           8 - Doesn't improve much from mid game, but is able to keep up

Assassin:

           4 - Pathetic early game unless you are lucky

           6 - The traits start to stack with each other, and become multiplicatively better

           6 or 8 same as warrior, very weapon dependent

Commander:

           3 - You basically have to choose immediate benefit or level gains. This makes early game extremely poor as he isn't good at either.

           4 or 7 - Depends entirely on if you have Henchmen access or not. If no, then this tree is damn worthless still

           5 or 10 - Depends entirely on henchmen tree AND Frame generation. The longer the game lasts, the more henchmen commanders start to shine. With massive empires 20-30 cities large, these henchmen are capable of lowering the unrest down to 0% for every town extremely easily, allowing you to replenish a massive army quickly, while maintaining extremely high income and extremely high research rate.

I've gone 600 gildar/season with 500 research/season (on epic pacing) with relative ease.

           If you lack henchmen however, by late game, your champion basically become housewives, or else they would've just wasted most of their levels. And since there arent many champions without henchmen tech, your champion won't make a damn difference anyways.

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May 15, 2013 5:26:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Agree with OP' analysis.

I think also that mage should be split into summoner and spell-oriented, and assassin should be merged with a warrior

I have also proposed a skill for a warrior - 'mad rush' where a warrior moves and attacks as long as an attack ends with a kill. Another cool skill would be a frenzy - a hero counterattacks all attacks for number of turns. We need more skills for a hero, not less and well hidden behind useless bonuses.

There are also nice skills in weapons around that need boosting - every time you are attacked you get +1 defense, or you gain +1 attack when you attack. I would boost it to +3 to have an impact on a game.

 

 

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May 15, 2013 5:28:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


I really doubt Derek is going to take another seriously look at these skill trees before release so let's break it down really simple.

1.  Mage is fine.

2.  Warrior is fine.

3.  Commander is fine.

4.  Assassin needs a little work.  All Assassins should get a second strike skill (like Tarth's double-strike) just for becoming Assassins.  The dodge increases should be doubled.  And as mentioned above it would be nice if Assassins had more specialized attacks:  attack and move, flank attack, stun, etc.

5.  Defender .. argh.  Get rid of all the fluff!  Many of these are just the same traits over and over again.  You don't need spell resistance because the AI doesn't cast spells anyway.  They're just filler traits to get in the way of getting to the good stuff.  Fix it!

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May 15, 2013 5:36:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You're dead wrong on commander

 

Should lvl them up either to 5 for the -10 in all cities, if beyond that, +6 research per turn is useful.

If you go command route- it helps early game, and battle cry is broken with the right lategame units, thoughgetting a sov to lvl 12 is tough (should cut one of the tactician and one of the +accuracy levels)   Woudn't mind the +spell resist for armies/+defense for armies moved from Defender to Commander.

 

Assassin tree needs buffing bad.  Defender needs a little love.

 

I think Warrior/Mage are fine,

 

 

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May 15, 2013 5:53:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Trojasmic,
1. Mage is fine.

Mage

Of the five options, this one currently seems the most rounded, complete and rewarding.

Mages are terrible and calling them well rounded is a joke. You can go Evoker or Summoner, doing either consumes so many traits its impossible to do both. Going either is totally separated from your starting elemental traits now and a water mage can cast lighting spells effectively or summon the pyre of man and grave elementals. The spell rewards for taking mutiple elemental traits are gone, which all adds up to, you might as well as save points and just get 1 elemental trait for the city bonuses. Even if I do grab 2 element traits, its pointless to level past 2 unless going fire.

Why are mages built this way?

Mage effectiveness is entirely based on traits simply because the completely random nature of loot makes sure 90% of loot is for melee champions. This is the only reason.

There are only fire and earth summoning lines because the ridiculous 1 summon per trait means you'd need a bigger screen to fit them all on.

I have no idea why buffs/curses and healing spells have no traits in the mage tree. All I can think of is they ran out of space after filling the mage tree with ridiculous 1 arbitrary summon traits and weird traits that give spells like Hydromancy (Stolen from elemental schools why?), Evoker and Spell mastery repeats(Replaces actual mage items).

 


 

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May 15, 2013 6:12:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Alstein,
You're dead wrong on commander

 

Should lvl them up either to 5 for the -10 in all cities, if beyond that, +6 research per turn is useful.

If you go command route- it helps early game, and battle cry is broken with the right lategame units, thoughgetting a sov to lvl 12 is tough (should cut one of the tactician and one of the +accuracy levels)   Woudn't mind the +spell resist for armies/+defense for armies moved from Defender to Commander.

Assassin tree needs buffing bad.  Defender needs a little love.

I think Warrior/Mage are fine,
 

Problem with warrior is the armor.

As for commander, the -10 is definitely the best trait, however, +6 research is only significant in early to early-mid game. Anytime later it will only make a tiny difference when your faction has around 50-100 research per season in mid to late-mid game. And then what? Is losing a potential powerful hero worth sacrificing for the -45% unrest in a single city, and all the combat prowess with it?

A level 12 mage or defender + army > a level 12 commander + army in any match up.

Henchmen are the only ones able to fully utilize command tree without sacrifice, however are not available to all.

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May 15, 2013 7:33:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think more and more that everyone who posts should have mandatory description beside a name on which level they play.

Recently i played a scenario of FH, which is on very low difficulty level, and i was surprised how well my defenders/warriors were doing ... I just switched to my regular ridiculous settings and custom scenario and it is a different story. Below expert all heroes are good.

It is rather simple - by end game show up troops that have over 150 attack and i want to see a warrior who survives first attack, not to mention situation where he is swarmed by couple of such troops. Since armor was so nerfed and more and more weapons ignore it anyway hp pool of warrior is simply not big enough. Thus, I do not really understand how he can be considered viable hero if he cannot really be a melee fighter (at best he can jump in and finished wounded troops).

Regarding mage - once it is fully developed it is walking Armageddon. Once per turn fireball with basically no mana cost can decimate best army very fast.

I never used any bonuses by commander except bonus to xp and initiative, the rest is useless.

 

 

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May 15, 2013 7:43:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting bpalczewski,
I never used any bonuses by commander except bonus to xp and initiative, the rest is useless.

Thats 2/3 bonuses. The remaining 1 necessary to get the other two.

Quoting bpalczewski,
I do not really understand how he can be considered viable hero if he cannot really be a melee fighter

This, with commanders you can at least use command and the bonus initiative effectively. As soon as pikes are researched, assassins, defenders and warriors die in 1-2 shots. The complete lack of late game bows in 95% of games also makes archer assassins terrible late game as well.

Quoting Replicators,
Is losing a potential powerful hero worth sacrificing for the -45% unrest in a single city,

Yes. You can use a administrator/commander hero to rush and steamroll people, countering the occupation penalty in cities. Its a gamble but if you get a sand golem or some other reward unit, its almost a guaranteed win.

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May 15, 2013 7:44:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The one positive thing I should take reading these responses is the range of opinions there are. That some people are satisfied with one class where others are not shows what the game is capable of if you focus your approach. Essentially, there's something there for everyone, which is ultimately how it should be.

Main disagreements seem to be around Mage (particularly summoner and messy approach to different elements) and Commander.

With the Mage/summoner route, I understand the points about only getting one summon per trait etc., but at least spending that one point makes me feel like I've achieved something. Comparing the first fight where you get to cast an Air Elemental to adding +4 attack to a Warrior, and there's really no comparison in terms of overall game experience. I'm not saying it's perfect, but at least there's so much more on offer in terms of options and variety than some of the other classes. Having to choose between evoker and summoner? Still better than a Warrior's choice between hitting stuff and... hitting stuff.

For the Commander, I can appreciate the value in leveling one, but apart from basically two of the traits (which are too many levels apart), I take no pleasure in doing so. At least give me some more interesting options along the way if it's going to stay roughly as is.

Overall some interesting comments from people. I would be particularly interested to know how people are getting the most out of their Warrior champs, other than finding great equipment.

 

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May 15, 2013 8:53:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think what it really shows is as bpalczewski said, people are playing on different difficulty levels and therefore having different experiences. Only mages can stay relevant at high difficulty levels.

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May 15, 2013 9:52:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have a radical change in mind that I'd love to get people's opinions on.

Completely scrap the spell spheres, and the entire General trait page (because without the spell spheres, it is useless). Intigrate magic into every class tree.

The basis for the idea is that your sovereign, and to a lesser extent the other champions, are supposed to be channelers. Magic users are rare people gifted with immense power. That is what makes them different from normal, buildable units. People have largely been pointing out that the Mage tree is redundent, and makes spell spheres in the General tree feel useless (or vice versa, with Mage spells not being worth it, depending on your preference). I think a lot of this stems from the fact that Stardock has merged an old system (the random trait system) with a new one (skill trees). They are two very different systems, and they do not merge in a fun and balanced way.

By rebalancing the trees to combine the spell spheres, every champion is now a spell caster with spells appropriate to their role. Give a commander Forced March as part of the road building trait tree. Put Tutelage in as part of the +exp to army tree. A Defender gets a the stone armor spell and can focus more on summoning; perhaps even create a healing tree to make a Paladin-like warrior. An assassin can increase a units intiative.

This would take a massive rebalance of the traits by taking them all out and reworking them into logical new trees. There would have to be spell spheres of each type in each class to make mana even, although some classes could benefit more from one type. It would also be best to not have spells be exclusive to one class necessarily. For example, Defender, Mage, and Commander could all have heal, just at different positions in their trees.

I wanted to get this idea out there to what people think, because it could be a fun mod even if the devs don't have the time to devout to such a change.

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May 16, 2013 1:10:59 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Naidrev, as you say there aren't time and resources for such a radical overhaul of the system. As to how effective it would be, its tough to say without a detailed design to look at. I do think the current system gets a lot right and we don't need to throw out the baby with the bathwater. If they just keep streamlining, balancing and focusing what they already have while looking at giving some of the classes a few more active abilities we'll be in pretty good shape.

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May 16, 2013 1:20:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Replicators,


Quoting Alstein, reply 6You're dead wrong on commander

 

Should lvl them up either to 5 for the -10 in all cities, if beyond that, +6 research per turn is useful.

If you go command route- it helps early game, and battle cry is broken with the right lategame units, thoughgetting a sov to lvl 12 is tough (should cut one of the tactician and one of the +accuracy levels)   Woudn't mind the +spell resist for armies/+defense for armies moved from Defender to Commander.

Assassin tree needs buffing bad.  Defender needs a little love.

I think Warrior/Mage are fine,
 


Problem with warrior is the armor.

As for commander, the -10 is definitely the best trait, however, +6 research is only significant in early to early-mid game. Anytime later it will only make a tiny difference when your faction has around 50-100 research per season in mid to late-mid game. And then what? Is losing a potential powerful hero worth sacrificing for the -45% unrest in a single city, and all the combat prowess with it?

A level 12 mage or defender + army > a level 12 commander + army in any match up.

Henchmen are the only ones able to fully utilize command tree without sacrifice, however are not available to all.

 

 

I'd disagree.  Level 12 commander= your other troops are attacking twice as much.  have a late-game mage/archer (esp if Tarth) and command, there's a good chance your mage will be one-shotted.   That +4 init really does make a difference.

 

As for difficulty level : I'd say beyond hard it's irrelevant due to AI cheats which throw off the balance.   You should balance around challening/hard.

Challenging is a cakewalk right now though.

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May 16, 2013 2:10:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Stupidity10,


This, with commanders you can at least use command and the bonus initiative effectively. As soon as pikes are researched, assassins, defenders and warriors die in 1-2 shots. The complete lack of late game bows in 95% of games also makes archer assassins terrible late game as well.




Quoting Replicators,
reply 8
Is losing a potential powerful hero worth sacrificing for the -45% unrest in a single city,


Yes. You can use a administrator/commander hero to rush and steamroll people, countering the occupation penalty in cities. Its a gamble but if you get a sand golem or some other reward unit, its almost a guaranteed win.

Regarding Defenders, I use them in the back of my troops. He doesn't get attacked, while he buffs his troops with "Guard" ability, making a nearly invincible frontline, regardless of spears, while occasionally heal any injured troops. Not very heroic, but it is at least viable.

As for commander, the Defenders and Mages seem to be far more capable of rushing and steamrolling people. To counter Occupational penalty, the commander is forced to sit in that city, and thus you've just lost your initiative.

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May 16, 2013 2:20:31 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Alstein,


I'd disagree.  Level 12 commander= your other troops are attacking twice as much.  have a late-game mage/archer (esp if Tarth) and command, there's a good chance your mage will be one-shotted.   That +4 init really does make a difference.

 

As for difficulty level : I'd say beyond hard it's irrelevant due to AI cheats which throw off the balance.   You should balance around challening/hard.

Challenging is a cakewalk right now though.

Yes, commander at most optimal situation can double the efficacy of the army he is attached to.

A Mage (with things like diamond skin, fireball, flame pillar), is capable of being many times the strength of any army of size 9 in late game. With the ability to wipe out armies with fireballs, and destroy armies on the strategic map without even engaging.

A Defender is capable of boosting your army's strengths by about double as the commander(needs preplanning on troop design), but gets this power from the very start (again, troop design), and can be a momentary tank. (Enemies might have 150 attack, it is 150 divided amongst 6 (so 25 each). So long as your champion has 30-50 armor, you basically have no fear of being killed, or even swarmed(adds 1 per unit?)

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May 16, 2013 3:16:25 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Defenders should IMHO get a 33/50/75% (additional traits) chance to counterattack every (!) melee attack while defending. Conterattacks granted by weapons should of course grant the guaranteed counter first.

Defenders (and probably Warriors later in the tree) should be able to provoke enemies, so they will concentrate their attacks on them and swarm them instead of moving near other units. They are tanks, let them tank.

 

Assasins should be more likely to be ignored by enemy attacks and accuracy surplus should count into damge for their non critical hits.

 

Mages should get real effective defense against ranged attacks (Guardian wind did not do the trick for me to keep my mage survive until enemy archers could be taken out).

Since most spells lost their spell duration Mages should get "silence" (all spells on the field have a certain chance to be prevented, including allies) and "suppress" (enemy spells have a certain chance to be prevented) or something the like.

 

Commanders should IMHO be removed from the general class selection and instead become a retirement option for useless or blattered champions. Retirement could grant a certain amount of skill points right from the beginning and after that experience for further level-ups could be given as ongoing reward for gouverning, spiced up by special xp rewards for finishing world/fraction achievements.

 

--

All champions regardless their path should at least no longer be a burden to their army. They should roughly keep up with growing unit sizes and better gear availiable for regular troops throughout the game. Finding rare loot should not be mandatory to get them useful less annoying, instead this schould make the difference between a champion and a legendary hero.

 

 

 

 

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May 16, 2013 1:24:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

i think defenders would be a lot more interesting if their tanky special moves put them in def stance afterwards (like the ironeer blood "guarded strike" ability). right now, they are rock solid as tanks, but once you use one of your little green buttons, you're dead meat, so their most efficient use is to block troops and reposition from time to time and... nothing else really. that's efficient, but not really interesting.

commanders are rather boring, though pretty effective. the whole governor tree seems like a bit of a waste, but the military side is really useful. they could use a few less passive "aura" boosts and more active commanding abilites that buff troops or something. as an alternative, they could also use a spellcasting oriented sub branch to boost spellbooks traits they may have in their general tree. a commander with air, life, water or death and some traits that make the spells more useful wouldn't be as boring (like a carbon copy of the mage's "savant" perk that makes 1 turn casttime spells instant)

not sure about assassins. i guess they could use some effect that makes their excess accuracy useful. and condesne a few of the passive lines into less individual steps and add more active stuff.

 

the lower level traits for warriors are good-- they are real powerhouses early on, but the later traits aren't that impressive imo. they could probably use 1 attack/level passive as path of the warrior unlock trait (instead of the flat +3 attack) that would go a long way, imo.

 

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May 16, 2013 2:47:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This is an awesome thread. Thanks for putting in the time for the analysis.

Love to seem more love to the Commander and Assassins, for sure.

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May 16, 2013 8:51:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I REALLY REALLY REALLY hope this gets looked at, because it's the most lacking area in the game and has been for a long, long time.

My thoughts are basically that there is way too much useless crap in every tree.

 Here are my itemized thoughts.

  • Mage:
    • Summoner path is mostly good, except that Grave Elemental needs to be replaced with something better. 
    • Would love to see abilities that allow you to specialize in certain summons, similar to defender's buff.
    • Damage/Mastery needs support spells according to their effects (damage or debuffs).
    • There should be a way to specialize in elements for damage as well.
    • The "support" spells are super redundant and generally boring. If I'm spending a skill point I need to be able to get something I could not otherwise have access to.
  • Warrior:
    • Horrible tree design. Basically, a player gets to pick his weapon, gets the low hanging fruit, then grudingly climbs the only actual path that exists for them.
    • The skills from axe and club paths are redundant. Change them to something that doesn't already do what they already do.
    • Remove the following skills as they are boring should not be something that should have to be chosen: Brute, Enmity, Revenge, Sweep, Bloodthirsty, Reckless, Rage, Dragon Slayer. This should be replaced with more interesting things.
    • Move the following skills, Blade rush belongs with swords (counters belong with defenders), Reap 1 needs to be available at level 1. Decimate needs to be not buried in clubs.
  • Defender:
    • So.... many.... useless... traits!
    • So.... many.... awesome... ability traits!
    • Should have access to guard, or retaliate or something very early.
    • Spell/Elemental resistance currently takes up 9 slots. Who's idea was it to make an entire path designed around resisting something that is only relevant maybe once every 5 to 10 battles? There should be a 1 turn version of Arcane Veil, Withstand, and then 1 or two ranks of Obsidian Guard (near the rest of the army buffs).
    • Immune to Swarm should be in an area less dominated by army buffs.
    • Guard should be available from the start, and Defender should be optional.
  • Assassin:
    • Even worse tree design than warrior. Almost everything that's cool that an Assassin can do is anti-synergistic with the bonuses they have to pick to reach the cool abilities.
    • Vital Strike etc. are awesome, but there needs to be more to the class than just a warrior who is better/worse based on randomness.
    • The following skills are boring or anti-synergistic and need to be removed: Accuracy, True Strike, Gambler's Strike (can't crit), Fast, Charge (doesn't belong here), Break (Does not work well with Shadowstrike AT ALL. Move to warrior-clubs), Hobble, Evicerate (already likely to crit).
    • Bleed should be available earlier.
  • Commander (RIP):
    • A path that requires experience to do gain abilities, and is required to not gain experience to use abilities should not exist. That eliminates the first half of commander. If necessary you can move some of these abilities into general or something.
    • Get rid commander entirely create a new path for Warrior based on tactician and trainer to replace the crappy things you have removed.
    • Command might be useful to Mage, though perhaps with a different name.
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May 18, 2013 8:59:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The commander is either just fine or seriously overpowered.  Not only will they get the army to attack about twice as often they also affect their accuracy.  While this may not seem like a huge advantage at first, there are several accuracy dependent units.   Maul becomes completely obscene with a commander in the group.  Tarth Double-strike will likely hit making the archers with horrible init suddenly fire double-shot volleys after battlecry.

 

Now the entire upper half of the commander tree seems a bit  . . . meh.   Really, my end tree ability is 500 gold?  Seriously I'm putting a point into that on level 10?  That's my capstone for the tree-- congratulations on becoming a merchant  here is your pittance.  At least give me money per round, or a bonus to money produced in a city.

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May 19, 2013 2:41:30 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

A lot of good thoughts in this thread.  One thing I haven't seen mentioned is having a set line, perhaps under Assassin, solely for Ranged heroes.  You could have attack bonus or initiative penalty reduction early, followed by some ranged skills like Rain of Arrows.  How about something like Arrow Flurry which is a ranged double shot.  I don't know, it just seems like you could have a set line for ranged and do away with a lot of the fluff.

I also think that classes have been weakened by trying TOO hard to make each class completely independent from one another.  I think classes should be more separated by the special abilities rather than the attack/crit/etc. bonuses generic trait choices.  For example, with decent weapons I'm finding that Warriors, with all their attack bonuses, can be fairly strong now, but I don't see why you couldn't drop at attack +2 or 4 or 5 trait choice into the actual trees of the Assassin/Defender/Commander lines besides just in the general pool.  I think that you don't need to be so restrictive by class.  A little overlap here and there is fine. 

I do like the idea of getting rid of one of the classes.  Defender could really be merged with Warrior and Commander if you ask me.  Or, take Commander and merge it with Defender and Warrior.

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May 19, 2013 3:30:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I believe the design imperative should be every trait does something noticeable, and is something to look forward to in and of itself. In my opinion, if you can reasonably imagine yourself as a player going blah, or why do I need to take this to get what I really want, it should go. If it is in doubt, make it do two or more things to make sure the player is satisfied by it. The experience of getting level rewards is a big-time attraction which the player looks forward to before and revels in after the fact (it is not a moment in time, it is a gamelong experience).

I like the idea of combining classes to achieve this. In general, I think forcing heavy specialization may not be the most fun. Having some enticing generalist traits in all the trees may be good. Maybe a mage (with its generalist lure being some research and mana traits), warrior (both warrior and assassin, with a bit of defender), general/commander (some attack, defence, even spellcasting, but heavy army buffs), and maybe some Magistrate/Politician type (unrest reduction, single-city buffs, and economy-wide buffs, only gets experience in cities). I think the general class (or commander, whatever you call it) needs some fighting skills too. Every class that is in battle needs something active to do, no endless defensive stance or some commander with only passive bonuses hiding in a corner. 

I think a politician type class would be a lot of fun, if it was designed to level appropriately from just being in a city. Maybe it could have some "powers" that activate on the strategic map, such as a 10-turn infrastructure development, where for 10 turns growth goes up by 2 in the city it is in. 

Btw- potential should be removed. It is XP greed that drives players to it, so they spend 95 % of the game 1-3 levels behind to be at best 1 level ahead for the last 5 % of the game (because of the exponential xp curve). They are the epitome of an unfun levelup, and players shouldn't be tricked like this.

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May 19, 2013 7:56:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'd agree with most of this; the champions which need the most work are assassins and commanders, the others work reasonably well although might benefit from tweaking to make them more fun.

I have to comment on the suggestion that Summon Grave Elemental needs to be replaced with something better though; you do realise that if you cast it tactically all units within one square get Death Ward for five turns, yes? That made my dragon battle a helluva lot easier. I turned up with a full stack with Nature Ward, survived the initial breaths, got my troops in formation, cast Summon Grave Elemental, and I then had essentially twice as many troops, plus the grave elemental.

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