Elemental: July 2013 Status Report

By on July 30, 2013 7:42:24 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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Greetings!

So here we are! July 2013.  Next month will mark the 3 year anniversary of the launch of the first Elemental game!

2010: Elemental: War of Magic

2012: Elemental: Fallen Enchantress

2013: Elemental: Fallen Enchantress – Legendary Heroes

Could we worse. Could be like Star War: Episode 2: Attack of the Clones! Smile

So where do we stand?

Legendary Heroes v1.3

We are still working on v1.3.  The AI got a major overhaul for v1.3 and so there’s a lot of play testing in this.  In hindsight, redoing the monster behavior and the player AI for the same version probably was a bad idea. But in the long run, it’s better to get this out of the way so that players can feel like the world makes more sense.

One nice little touch in 1.3 is that the AI will inform you when it’s cast an offensive spell (see below):

image

A lot of the AI updates in v1.3 have to do with handling path finding and massing of troops.  There’s been some new internal APIs programmed in that have made it a lot easier for the AI to put together more effective armies.  The AI will also interact more with the player.

For those who play on below normal difficulty levels, have no fear. While the AI will be more “intelligent” we are lowering the resources that they get a bit and making them make fewer decisions per turn so that they aren’t so overwhelming.

Next up for Fallen Enchantress

We have some stuff in the works but it’ll be awhile before we’re ready to announce it.  Fallen Enchantress will continue to go forward with meaningful updates that we’re funding with the DLC purchases.  The DLC system turns out to be a good system as players are able to get more optional content which in turn lets us keep adding new features to the game itself.

v1.4 will probably focus on some UI and performance related items and v1.5 will (I hope) be the big diplomacy update. 

Beyond Fallen Enchantress

There’s a lot more we want to do with the Elemental world.  We debate regularly about what we should name future things.

I.e. Elemental II? Fallen Enchantress II? Elemental: Something New? Or a completely new series?  Tell us in the comments what you think.

Multiplayer

We have a lot of requests for this.  Here’s the basic issue.  The tactical battle system in the Elemental games was not written in a way that allows for multiplayer. All the actions in it happen within its own box. The short version is that all the tactical battle stuff would have to be rewritten, from scratch, to have the tactical battles happen in multiplayer and that’s just not going to happen. That would be extremely expensive for us.  It’s not that we don’t think there should be multiplayer. It’s just a cost/benefit ratio (not just in terms of dollars but in terms of human assets that would have to be taken from other projects). It’s not something I’m happy about either.

More DLC

The DLC has been doing extremely well. Thank you for your continued support! We have more on the way.  The next one we have in mind is called the “Loot pack” which is just adding a ton of new items to the world.  If that does well, there’s more spells and equipment that could be added to the game world as well. 

It would be amazing if we could keep making free Fallen Enchantress updates for years to come with optional DLC paying for it. Talk about a good deal for players.  I’d like to see the kinds of feature improvements to Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes that you’d normally see in an expansion.  The biggest problem then comes down to naming (i.e. do we need to come up with Fallen Enchantress: Infinite Edition or something someday? Give us your opinions there).

Anyway, we are just beginning still with the Elemental universe! Stay tuned!  We would love to hear your thoughts on the game name issues (in terms of making it straight forward to new players).

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August 4, 2013 11:09:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The planned updates sound great.

I haven't bought any DLC yet so I don't know if my opinion has value, but the biggest change I would like to see in future games is for the loot randomisation to occur when the map is generated. I find it frustrating when I reload (whether due to my own foolishness/perfectionism or a system crash) and I kill the same monster only to get entirely different loot. It breaks continuity and encourages reloading. I love the random elements of the game, but I don't want the outcome of each turn to be so random that it's tempting to keep loading and trying again until I get a favourable outcome. (This issue makes me less interested in loot packs/DLC.)

 

I'd be interested in new map features such as new wildlands. Ships, sea monsters, and underground exploration all sound cool, but I'm not sure how they'd work.

 

A new hero class might be fun too. I was thinking of a hero that is not used so much in battles but is used to antagonise the enemy. Perhaps like a spy or prankster who can switch shard types, steal technology and cause unrest etc. Maybe they could get xp for successful missions and an injury for each failed mission. They could come with extra snark too.

 

And I’ve suggested it before, but I’d really like to be able to play as a random sovereign (i.e. the game picks from available sovereigns for me). I would pay for DLC that adds this option alone.

 

Game names aren't important to me and have little impact on my decision to purchase. I never buy a game based on name alone, and the name "Fallen Enchantress" didn't appeal. (It sounded like a soppy RPG to me rather than a strategy game!)

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August 4, 2013 11:47:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting mdonais,
For Legendary heroes I would like:

1. Steam workshop for mods. I hate having to remove mods, patch, update mods, etc. Steam handles this much better.

2. Fantasy Races. I hate the 8 different human races. Add elves, dwarves, dragonmen, centaurs, flamekin, icemen, shadowmen, angels, devils, trolls, etc.

 

For the next game in the series:

1. Do not keep the elemental world. The races are too boring. The world is boring. The entire story is the world is grey and dead - what a bland premise with lots of bland art opportunities.

2. Do please keep making games. I love fallen enchantress and legendary heroes and I will buy whatever you release next. I love master of magic. I actually thought that galciv was not nearly as good. Too many small numeric things. +5% to everything was a bit boring. I did purchase all your games though to support the company and to try them out.

Thanks,

Mike.

I find this a very interesting post, because almost everything you list as hating in Elemental, I like. The non-standard fantasy races; the world of elemental and it's after the end/post apocalyptic setting; the feeling of bringing life back to the world/turning it into a dark and scary place. The aspects you describe as boring about the lore I find interesting. I also like the way the lore of Elemental ties into the lore of Galactic Civilizations, with recurring themes like the Dread Lords, the Arnor, the Telenath etc. Personally I would like to see them continue to develop the world of Elemental (as well as Gal Civ 3 of course.)

Please note, I'm not being critical. I honestly find it interesting that we can have two people playing and enjoying the same game, yet coming to such a totally different opinion on the setting. I guess it goes to show how tricky it is for the people at Stardock to make these games, when you can have such a variety of opinions amongst the players.

All the Best.

P.S. Just out of interest, who are you counting as the 8 different human races? I make it 3 fallen, 1 wraith, 6 human.

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August 4, 2013 4:37:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting MM77,

Beyond Fallen Enchantress There’s a lot more we want to do with the Elemental world. We debate regularly about what we should name future things. I.e. Elemental II? Fallen Enchantress II? Elemental: Something New? Or a completely new series? Tell us in the comments what you think.


 

STARDOCK, I know your a 4X game maker and my 2 cent's well be very UNPOPULAR on this forum but I believe you could make the BEST RPG to date EVER!

1. If your willing to try a new market that is RPG , take FELH and eliminate the building or at least minimize it 80%.

2. Go back to finding HEROS along the way.

3. No EXP split.

4. The world is built around you having a stack of DOOM not a army.

5. Random quest will give random spells , loot , gold and HERO perks.

6. regular quests and random stores with different inventory.

7.You and your HEROS still level up and pick paths or have a option for random spell and perks at the beginning of the game, in setting options.

8.All above helps so no two games will be the same.

Umm....'unpopular' may not be strong enough a word to describe this post. You've basically told SD that the last year of development is crap and should be backpeddled to the days of early FE.

I recommend you stick with FE and not FE:LH as you'll be able to obtain at least some of your desired results...

 

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August 5, 2013 2:48:18 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

You already name your next Elemental game:

Beyond Fallen Enchantress

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August 5, 2013 6:51:07 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Legendary Heroes is the iteration that finally made the game for me. I now consider it officially fun and addictive.

As I said before though, it still feels like it could use real content expansions. Obviously, the sum of several DLCs could also work as an expansion, so I'd definitely buy:

  • Spells DLCs (this above anything else. There aren't nearly enough spells in the game)
  • Monsters & Items DLCs (with more special stuff like the Banshees)
  • Quest & Events DLCs

Also I'd still hope one day to get:

  • Flying units
  • Naval units
  • Underground layer or a similar "expanding" element.

I haven't purchased any DLCs yet, but I'll definitely buy them all if/when at least the ones of the first group are out. My two cents

 

 

 

 

 

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August 5, 2013 8:48:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting mdonais,
1. Do not keep the elemental world. The races are too boring. The world is boring. The entire story is the world is grey and dead - what a bland premise with lots of bland art opportunities.

I completely agree. This is the biggest thing holding Elemental back right now. Since Elemental first came out, a lot talented creative people have joined the team: artists, writers, ect. Use that talent to make a new and exciting world. While the lore was been improved since the first Elemental was released, the basis was just too bland to really building anything interesting with. It is time to start from scratch.

 

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August 5, 2013 9:15:30 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Naidrev,
Also I'd still hope one day to get:

Flying units
Naval units
Underground layer or a similar "expanding" element.

Would love to see a mini-expansion with one or more of these.

 

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August 5, 2013 9:48:36 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Naidrev,


Quoting mdonais, reply 471. Do not keep the elemental world. The races are too boring. The world is boring. The entire story is the world is grey and dead - what a bland premise with lots of bland art opportunities.

I completely agree. This is the biggest thing holding Elemental back right now. Since Elemental first came out, a lot talented creative people have joined the team: artists, writers, ect. Use that talent to make a new and exciting world. While the lore was been improved since the first Elemental was released, the basis was just too bland to really building anything interesting with. It is time to start from scratch.

 

 

Out of curiosity, can either of you expand on what you mean? I see this as a strategy game with tactical elements. The backdrop is just to have a reason for there to be 'Empire' and 'Kingdom' races. I do not see this as an RPG, where the story would play more of a role. You play to unify the world under your rule (as I see the game). How would replacing the current races with goblins, orcs, hobbits and other Tolkien tropes make the game better? I actually give SD credit for not delving into this kind of world...while I like it (loved the LOTR trilogy), it is used by a lot of other games. While the Fallen Enchantress world isn't very unique either, at least they are trying to be creative. I, for one, appreciate the effort.

 

This isn't a challenge to either of you; I am just curious to see your take on why orcs, etc, would make for a better world/gameplay experience.

 

As to what I would like to see:

-A much better diplomacy system. I would like to see a world where peaceful unification is a viable option to win. Cold wars/realpolitik, peace through trade (I have cornered the market on a valuable resource...you can try to conquer me to claim it, but it might be less taxing on your people if you trade for it, with trade leading to peace, etc) and other methods of being peaceful and yet unifying the world under your rule. War is an option, but there can be other fun and challenging ways to win. Let there be penalties for going to war:less population-people too scared to bring babies into a war-torn world, reduction in research and production of items that aren't related to building the war machine (less construction of libraries, banks, etc). I do not know how difficult something like this would be to program, but it would be nice if going to war has penalties.

I would also love to see espionage.

 

-MORE magic. Way more...more spells, more enchanted items, more cursed items. Way more spells. The basis is good (tactical spells, strategic spells), but more. Have a brain storming session and just go crazy with spells and add them in DLC. I would pay for a magic pack. More spells. Lots more.

 

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August 5, 2013 10:32:00 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 Do not keep the elemental world. The races are too boring. The world is boring. The entire story is the world is grey and dead - what a bland premise with lots of bland art opportunities.

I think you're blaming game mechanics and art you don't like for the world.

Master of Magic had the most generic of settings. Barbarians, Halfings, High Men, Lizardman, Nomad, Orc, Beastmen, and High Elves. Talk about the mot uninspired races imaginable.

Elemental doesn't have a lore problem. Hell, did Master of Magic have lore? Elemental games have a lack of distinction in their races. They're too squishy. 


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August 5, 2013 12:12:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

How about sticking with "War of Magic?" I like that name.

PLEASE GIVE US AN OFFICIAL DYNASTIES DLC.

 

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August 6, 2013 9:07:20 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting mdonais,

For Legendary heroes I would like:

...

2. Fantasy Races. I hate the 8 different human races. Add elves, dwarves, dragonmen, centaurs, flamekin, icemen, shadowmen, angels, devils, trolls, etc.

 ...

For the next game in the series:

1. Do not keep the elemental world. The races are too boring. The world is boring. The entire story is the world is grey and dead - what a bland premise with lots of bland art opportunities.

 

This!

Just ditch the whole Elemental thing, name, storyline, world.. everything. Just reboot the game as a new IP with a new name and different storyline. And of course some really interesting races that does not look like humans. Does not have to be classic fantasy, even if that would be cool as well.

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August 6, 2013 12:09:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Magog_AoW,

This!

Just ditch the whole Elemental thing, name, storyline, world.. everything. Just reboot the game as a new IP with a new name and different storyline. And of course some really interesting races that does not look like humans. Does not have to be classic fantasy, even if that would be cool as well.

Your advice is that the sequel to LH should not be a sequel to LH in any way shape or form?  That's so deep it's shallow.

Personally, and this might just be me, I don't think the boobs in this game are large enough or nearly as prominent as they should be.  The LH sequel should definitely focus on nearly-naked ladies with biologically impossible curvy-ness and giant eyes.

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August 6, 2013 2:46:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would like to see some variation in the races.  10 nations, with 6 being white humans isn't very interesting.  They don't have to be stereotype races(Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Lizardmen, Catmen, Coldguys, Fireguys)  but some more variation would be grand.  I actually like that you didn't use the stereotypes.  Maybe with some technology advancement, you guys can show some more distinction in the races we do have, I read the novel, and know it should be easier to tell a Trog from an Urxen.  

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August 7, 2013 1:38:08 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Naidrev,

 the lore was been improved since the first Elemental was released, the basis was just too bland to really building anything interesting with. It is time to start from scratch.

 

I would generally say that I'm another vote for new "lore/world" from scratch, or largely from scratch. I'm not sure it's the kind of thing that holds back a game like this for most people, but it sort of does for me.

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August 7, 2013 3:46:33 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This is something I have mentioned before as an aside on a different topic but I will post it again here.  To increase the depth of the RPG aspect of the game I think explorable dungeons could be added.  To do this they would have to act like a mini strategic map where time does not pass while exploring it.  After all it is a whole season between turns on the regular strategic map.  The reason I say a strategic map is that you can then have blocked visual unexplored areas and get the whole exploring a dungeon experience.  This would add loads of available content that could be added by modders.

The only other thing I would like to see is destructible walls/buildings added to the game for tactical battles so that a better city siege effect can be implemented.  This would add more complexity/depth to the strategic game.

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August 7, 2013 7:53:13 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,
It would be amazing if we could keep making free Fallen Enchantress updates for years to come with optional DLC paying for it. Talk about a good deal for players.  I’d like to see the kinds of feature improvements to Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes that you’d normally see in an expansion.  The biggest problem then comes down to naming (i.e. do we need to come up with Fallen Enchantress: Infinite Edition or something someday? Give us your opinions there).

I'm down with this idea.  I'd keep buying DLC for the game.  The game has high replayability as is, and new content through DLC just adds to that, changes up the game.  I'd say release a few DLCs, then release them bundled together for a discount as an "expansion pack".  Some people (like me) would keep buying the individual DLCs, and some people would wait for the packs.  

The game as is has a good amount of groundwork, but still has a lot of bugs.  You guys keep hammering out the bugs, and you've made it pretty far, but you've still got a ways to go.  If you were to just start another game, then we'd have a whole new mess of bugs again, waiting for them to be fixed.  Also, the new game would be long-off.  I'd rather see the current game evolve over time, with bugs dropping in number, and the occasional new feature getting added, balance changes, etc..  Maybe after some number of expansions, you could bundle them all together and give it a new name.  Unfortunately I don't have any suggestions on the naming, but it shouldn't be too hard.

Some people say that the lore of Elemental is limited, but it's fantasy, so it should be easy to expand on that.  Dimensional portals opening up and such are an easy way to bring other types of creatures into the world.  You could do alternative race/faction DLCs, and monster DLCs. Problem solved (although I don't really consider it a "problem").

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August 7, 2013 3:24:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 

 

My thoughts:

 

Name: follow the fun iteration

 

Elemental: Fallen Enchantress then Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes 

and now Legendary Heroes: Defender of the Light or something like that

 

The pros for this is some hints in the next story  and meaningful naming way, the cons is it daringly remove FE and generic gamers might be harder to follow the next generation name / name branding power of the series. 

 

Beyond LH: Standalone expansion

I still think not going for sequal yet if all we do is only tweaking and not game engine upgrade etc or other massive changes

Another point is even with 3 iterations, I still feel we are exploring a better gameplay although no doubt it has been improved

(I skip LH due to steam, just my thought anyway)

 

Hence, I think another standalone would be best to freely explore any improvement in gameplay without being closely tied.

 

 

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August 7, 2013 5:20:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would be a fan of "Elemental II" if not for the fact that "Elemental" was completely dropped from the front of FE and FE:LH.

Well, not completely, but... the games are sold on Steam that way. They're publicized that way, even on the front page of their official website (i.e. this one). So I would say "Fallen Enchantress II", or just a new series entirely.

What I do not want to see is another standalone expansion (FE:title, or LH:title), when it could instead be a mix of DLC and patches for FE:LH. For much the same reason, I hope a sequel isn't going to come out for a few years or so, especially since there are other things from Stardock I'd like to see (GalCiv 3, please? ) in the mean time.

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August 7, 2013 8:59:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

DLC I'd pay for:

 

Water stuff - boats, creatures, sea battles.

Stylish equipment packs - Roman, Greek, Asian, etc.

Creature packs - New creatures with new models added to the game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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August 7, 2013 10:52:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm looking forward to the next update.  

As for what comes next, I think the next iteration should be something different.  That is, I'd like to see a successor to Elemental/FE/LH of sorts.  However, I think it should only be so in terms of user end game mechanics, basic theme, retaining the unique elements which make the game fun and different from other games of the genre.  Otherwise, I think the game may be due for a complete refresh.  Basically - start over.  Build a new engine and all.  Even at release, there were part of Elemental which seemed a few years dated in terms of graphics and user experience.  At some point you need move on so that the old backbone doesn't hinder the possibilities.  

My feeling is, once the game is at the point where you can comfortably make a handful of DLCs (including a couple "major") ones, have one person work on those... and have everyone else move onto the new project.  People will pay for new scenarios, weapons packs, etc... even though some of that we can make on our own.  it isn't terribly difficult to make new items or quests - and I suspect scenarios aren't too bad.  We would basically pay money to participate in a story that we didn't write ourselves.  In setting out a dev plan for DLCs, I would think you would get to the point that very minimal work will be done on bug fixes and other improvements to the game.  You can get money from the DLCs to support the development of the new game.  You could even milk it for a long time going... eventually re-release DLCs in a pack for new players at a discount once they have gotten "old." 

If revenue from the DLC is not enough to fund the development of top notch game, then perhaps if there was a solid pitch, you could do one of those community based seed money things to help move things forward.

All that is to say... milk what you got, but move on.

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August 7, 2013 10:58:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Next Installment: Legendary Heroes of Myrror

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August 7, 2013 11:40:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

A monster editor with the ability to skin and animate the finished product and add unique sounds.  

 

Also love the tactical battle tiles having fortifications and bonuses/maluses.

 

 

 

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August 8, 2013 5:10:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

MultiplayerThe short version is that all the tactical battle stuff would have to be rewritten, from scratch, to have the tactical battles happen in multiplayer and that’s just not going to happen. That would be extremely expensive for us.  It’s not that we don’t think there should be multiplayer. It’s just a cost/benefit ratio (not just in terms of dollars but in terms of human assets that would have to be taken from other projects). It’s not something I’m happy about either.

In a parallel universe where money doesn't exist and as government humans vote on a kickstarter page where to send global resources, WarOfMagic released open source the community developed the game so far beyond the first RC that it grew to have 20 times the assets in the first 3 years and by 20 years had almost none of the original code left in the tournament version people play online. Multiplayer tactical battles were added in 3 days and bugs ironed out in a month.

 

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August 8, 2013 9:04:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That sounds like good news. I like the idea of more DLC and more tuning of the game, along with incorporating the best mods around to make the game better.

Multiplayer is an issue for me. I definitely don't want it. Any time spent on the very difficult problem of multiplayer will be effort taken away from AI and the single player game. 

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August 9, 2013 2:11:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Another thought on the next "big" thing...

Increased visual customization: For many gamers, one attractive feature in games (particularly ones set in a fantasy environment) is customization - particularly of your "main" character... in this case the sovereign.  The face, body, clothing options are very limited in the preset game.  And... some of them just look weird.  It would be a big undertaking, but allowing users to have finer control over look would be attractive to many, I think.  (and I'm not talking about making a female sovereign with a massive chest and skinny waist).  

Champion-based Storyline:  One thing which I think would be compelling is to have a scenario (a long one), in which the main character is not a sovereign, but a hired champion.  This allows for a few things.  1) If there are wide customization ranges, the player would "create a character" as they would in an RPG, which would begin sort of weak, but as the main character.  2) By making the main scenario away from a sovereign, you increase the range of possibilities as to how the scenario ends, making the players quest choices mean something.  3) Variability in the quest line, and thus game ending/victory would increase replay value by a lot (at least for the scenario).  For example, one time through, you might play the scenario as a warrior who aligns himself with Kraxis and the storyline leads down a kraxis victory path which reflex that choice.  Another time you chose a mage that seeks out Pariden, etc.  Meaningful champion choices leading to different quest and game endings would make the scenarios more interesting and compelling.  Sort of like a little RPG nested in the 4X world.  

Objects in Tactical Combat: It would add a new layer of complexity if the tactical combat environment include "impassible" objects or tiles.  Say... a large tree in the middle of the field.  You can hide behind it and avoid arrows... but the tree can be destroyed with enough damage.   Or an assassin type character can hide behind a rock, so to speak, and receive a surprise bonus to damage when they attack diagonal 1 space when "behind" a rock.  

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