War of Magic, should it be brought back?

By on December 7, 2013 7:23:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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Greetings!

For those of you not familiar with our Elemental game universe here it is in brief:

Elemental is a fantasy world made up of many different civilizations vying for control the world. There is a great deal of history and lore to tap into and we decided to begin making games in this world back with 2010s release of War of Magic.  Unfortunately, when it came out, it was pretty buggy and got some negative reviews. We fixed the bugs but the game itself was still pretty meh.

So in 2012, we released the second game in the Elemental universe called Fallen Enchantress which was good and we're pretty proud of that game.  We followed it up with an expansion pack called Legendary Heroes that further refined the Fallen Enchantress game mechanics.

We do intend to follow Fallen Enchantress with a third strategy game in the Elemental universe but it'll be very different from either War of Magic or Fallen Enchantress as it focuses largely on, well I can't really go into that yet. 

When Fallen Enchantress was released, we discontinued War of Magic. I don't think it's available for sale anywhere anymore.  My question is, would anyone be interested in us revisiting War of Magic in the future to release a kind of "War of Magic: Director's Cut" or something where we refined the WOM game design, updated the visuals.

WOM had some interesting game mechanics such as a pretty big emphasis on a dynasty system and a number of other distinctive mechanics that could be refined further.

Let us know what you think. Would we be opening up "old wounds" or would be restoring faith to those who believed in the original "not-MOM" concept?

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December 8, 2013 8:08:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

E:WOM is essentially a very different game than E:LH, for several reasons...

In E:WOM cities could walk and chew gum at the same time (i.e. build and train simultaneously).  I like this.

In E:WOM, we had ships.  I liked ships...

The E:WOM map has a different artistic feel.  I actually prefer it to the 'darker' E:LH map.  I'm all about adding new terrain types, but the color pallete should be brighter for an E:WOM game, to distinguish it from E:LH.  E:WOM quite simply feels more desolate to me, which is the point...

IN E:WOM, we had dynasties.  While this system DOES need some improvement, it is one reason I was excited about E:WOM in the first place, but Dynasties were never given a 'fair shake'.  Port over the improved diplomacy of E:LH (which is still lacking some of course), and make marriages a important facet of diplomacy (i.e. cement alliances with a marriage, or perhaps a disgruntled child 'rebels' and joins up with another faction, lots of possibilities here).

The MAIN thing I would like is to take the lessons in game stability (E:WOM had issues with crashes) and apply them to E:WOM.

Oh, and Arcane Research had a different track than Tech Research.  I actually had a few ideas on how to 'rush' production of one Research track with the other track, but at it's core, I liked this idea.  The tech trees did need a little love, of course...

E:WOM originally did NOT have global mana pools.  Spellcaster had their own pools.  After seeing where Global Mana ended up in E:LH, I still find myself preferring the original idea, with some balance tweaks of course.  I very much liked the idea of having to 'imbue' new spellcasters, which limited their number a bit.  Hence, Spellcasters were more important, and you didn't have them in every army. 

Character stats.  I miss them.  Mainly the 'assigning new stat points every level' thing.  Sure, this encourages min-maxing, but some of us LOVE such mechanics.  Stats would need to be revisited as far as game balance, but at their core I think they were working fine.

The initiative system in E:WOM was different.  If we could have the 'round robin' initiative approach applied to the E:WOM initiative system, I think that would be good.  This plays into character stats a bit.  More speed, more mana, more strength, each had it's plusses and minuses.  I'd have to play with the original initiative system again a bit to make a concrete suggestion here, but I liked a lot of the aspects of the old system.  Fortunately, I have both E:WOM 1.0 and E:WOM 1.4 still installed (I'd love a 1.08 or so patch - some of the critical original features were changed between 1.0 and 1.4).

Overall, I enjoyed the 'original idea' put forth by Brad and the team at Stardock, and would like to see that vision realized, using as many of the 1.0 concepts as possible with improvements.  With perhaps hero classes thrown in for good measure, I do like the arc that has taken.  Of course, if Stats are re-introduced, then traits could focus more on abilities and less on 'stat gains'.

The original E:WOM game was SLOOOOOW, and had lots of Out of Memory Problems.  When a game engine is failing, people start looking for reasons to hate the game, besides the crashes.  THIS is why I say E:WOM was never fully realized.  The Stardock team 'let go' of their original vision in an attempt to appease players through engine changes and such.  I certainly did throw out a few suggestions of my own.  If E:WOM 1.0 was as stable as 1.4 was, with only balance tweaks, I'd play 1.0 over 1.4.  Personal preference, of course, but that is how much I liked the original presentation. 

And, since global mana has been fully realized in the subsequent games, going back to the orginal idea isn't a bad thing.  If you prefer global mana, play E:LH.  If you want individual mana pools, play E:WOM Director's Cut.  Or introduce a 'toggle' that allows you to play with either system as you see fit...

I still have fond memories of Mr. Dragon, Mr. Giant and Mr. Elemental fighting alongside my Sov, while we journeyed out into the wild battling monsters and other factions.  At some point, the summoning track changed between 1.0 and 1.4, and it just wasn't the same.  The Dragon was a quest thing, but finally being able to add him to my ranks was a very cool moment...

In E:LH, the summoned creatures just don't feel as 'personal' to me for some reason.  I'm not sure where the 'wow factor' was lost, but it isn't there for me anymore.  This thought is kind of hard for me to fully articulate, but I think this ties in with the limited number of spellcasters in the original E:WOM, if I were to try to put my finger on what changed.

Edit: OK, I think I know what changed.  With individual mana pools, simply maintaining summoned creatures tapped your individual mana pool a bit, so you had a tradeoff of sorts - you might not have enough points in your individual pool to cast the spells you want, as you had 'invested' some of your pool in the summoned creatures.  With Global Mana, which regenerates at a much higher rate, losing a few mana points for Summoned Creatures in your empire isn't nearly as big a deal.

 

Can you tell I miss E:WOM a lot?  Not so much for where it ended up, but that the original idea/game wasn't really fully realized and fleshed out.  With the game engine lessons learned, E:WOM could be a great title if fully implemented.  And it would play differently than E:FE/LH, hence making it more interesting and it's own game.

No doubt that a lot of the concepts in E:WOM weren't really fleshed out, hence making the game feel more 'bland'.  But those 'concepts', and original design decisions, if they WERE fleshed out to their logical conclusions, would make for a hella cool game!  IMHO of course...

 

AND, for those who just absolutely hated E:WOM, well no one is holding a gun to your head saying you have to buy it.  You have E:LH, and I'm sure that franchise will continue... But I'd love to see the game promised on the box I bought back when E:WOM was released fully realized.

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December 8, 2013 8:42:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would pay for it if it was a dlc for LH, just for the modding stuff, but otherwise I think it would be a waste of time.

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December 8, 2013 9:49:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I am with Tjashan here.  This is how I really feel about a E:WoM but in much better detail than I originally posted and for that thanks man.

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December 8, 2013 10:42:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting halmal242,

I am with Tjashan here.  This is how I really feel about a E:WoM but in much better detail than I originally posted and for that thanks man.

I missed a couple of other points I'm sure, but I'm glad that I could help you articulate how you felt as well.

I was so excited when I read this thead, seeing Frogboy had actually posted this idea, that I did not read the fine print.  So, I will comment further on the DLC concept.

 

DLC for the current engine would, by definition, be using the most recently tweaked game engine.  1.4 and 1.5 lockups aside, this certainly is a good starting point.

That being said, and I've said this before, Brad has thrown us enough 'freebies' for the E:WOM misstep.  As I posted in another thread, at this point I'd be more than willing to pay for a new game.  And since DLC is usually priced considerably cheaper than the full game, I think making this available for purchase via DLC is qute fair.

While I would not want to see Brad devoting a LOT of resources to this (a lot of us are really excited about GalCivIII, and don't want to see that lose any steam), I DO think that if there are any of the original design team left that could be assigned to 'recreating' E:WOM via DLC that this would be preferable to having those that become involved in the subsequent iterations after the fact work on it.  There is a certain 'world feel' that needs to be recreated...

I would also suggest a constructive brainstorming session beforehand r.e. which more recent concepts (i.e. trait trees, spells, items and such) would fit in the original E:WOM setting, with some of the older members of this forum involved that DO have a love for E:WOM, in order to find the path to best 'merge' the old E:WOM with the current engine.

 

Unfortunately, I think that there are two areas where this becomes a little more involved than a simple DLC package.  Those being Navies and Dynasties. 

Dynasties really needs to be thought through, to make their (re)addition worthwhile and a compelling addition.  As I mentioned above, this really plays out on the diplomacy front.  Kids shouldn't marry just because you want to make more kids, but because you are trying to cement alliances, and otherwise augment your diplomatic situation in some way.  There are a LOT of potential ideas here, hence it needs a deep discussion BEFORE any penalties/bonuses/game mechanic implementations are contemplated. 

The other area is ships, which, unfortunately, the current AI apparently has issues with r.e. using them properly.  Navies would by definition require a lot of AI work in order to implement properly, which may distract the AI guys from other pressing projects.  Re-adding them just because without fully contemplating how the AI will be able to use them to the AI's full advantage makes them more of an afterthought than a worthwhile addition.

 

Really, the above two should be worked on whether or not E:WOM DC sees the light of day, as E:FE and E:LH would benefit as well from the addition of proper Dynasty and Navy implementations, perhaps as DLCs on their own right as suggested by others above.  But they would certainly be need to be integral to an E:WOM DC implementation.  Maybe the stepping stone approach here?  I.E. A Navies DLC pack, followed by a Dynasties DLC pack, and THEN release an E:WOM DC DLC pack.

 

Heavenfall did mention one point, that being that the original E:WOM factions weren't really sufficiently fleshed out.  A lot of history has been added since E:WOM, so porting over the 'more recent historical data' would be a good idea.  That being said, E:WOM was set up to explore separate tech and spell trees for each race.  I would VERY MUCH like to see this fleshed out fully, so again a robust discussion beforehand to get the best ideas mapped out would be a great idea.  FYI, I was working out my own tech tree mappings for E:WOM back in the day, that were somewhat different than the existing Kingdom/Empire trees, plus a few others had done this as well (the Doctor Who mod comes immediately to mind), so I know that, at one time, this was very much possible.

 

So, to summarize, I would HIGHLY recommend to Brad and the gang, if he is indeed serious about this, to create a separate 'E:WOM Directors Cut Discussion Section' so that those who actually want to see this can help flesh out what will be in the DLC before he assigns staff to it.  Then, when the time comes, the Stardock staff can cherry pick from the various discussions as to what will be included in the DLC.  E:WOM has enough detractors certainly, and for (arguably) good reason, but as I've posted numerous times now, many of us LOVED the vision and premises laid forth within the original concept, and E:LH, while a very good game in it's own right, is a different beast.

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December 9, 2013 2:06:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Seriously, don't bother. It sucked. Let it be. Take the cool ideas you guys put into it and work them into a new game (and work them out properly this time). Re-doing WOM would be kicking a dead horse imo.

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December 9, 2013 3:47:32 AM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

+1 for tjashen.
The ideas were great, the implementation were lacking.
But... the AI must know how to use all this features. If this is not feasible, than: NO
Also, way bigger armies (but small unit scale - 4 man max, for balance-reasons)
I yearn for the feeling of the original picture, the one were the dragon was attacked.

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December 9, 2013 4:09:16 AM from Galactic Civilizations III Forums Galactic Civilizations III Forums

Please no. If you want to waste your money (thats my opinion strictly) put it on the ground, nicely stacked, burn it and post the video on YouTube. That at least would give you some attention from the web.

Or, less wasty, give it to charity.

FH was so much better, i see absolutly no reason to release E:WoM again. None. To bring E:WOM up to par would take you too much resources which could be better spend.

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December 9, 2013 4:10:00 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would say drop it. Spend your time on making new DLCs for FE or new strategy games

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December 9, 2013 5:32:43 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I wanted to take a second to talk about the interesting differences between E:WOM and E:LH interfaces.

Here's a screenshot I just took of both interfaces (E:WOM 1.0 on the top, E:LH 1.3 on the bottom).

E:WoM vs E:LH game screens

There are a couple of interesting differences here.  While most of the information has been streamlined in the new interface, the Arcane and Tech Research bars were removed.  I liked having these along the bottom as you could see at an immediate glance how your research was progressing, without takng out a significant amount of real estate.

In E:LH, this was moved to the upper right box.  This blocks the view of the tiles in your upper left corner, of course.

The minimap was moved from the top to the bottom.  In the grand scheme of things not a major change.

The E:LH adds the unit ovals windows (3x3) for cities.  I think that overall the new city window is fine, and takes up a little less screen space left to right, but is a little taller.

One thing the E:WOM City bar had was the 'half moon tracks' to either side of the city portrait oval. There is a semicircular bar to the left for building progress, and on the right for unit training progress.  While not a showstopper, I think this minor feature was a nice way to see at a glance how your production was doing whenever you clicked on a city.

Plus, the unit/city list on the left has ovals in E:WOM, but was changed to squares in E:LH.  Again, a minor artistic point, but I liked the ovals better from a visual standpoint.  Also, the ovals on that list to the left had the same semicircular training/building progress bars to the left.  These were replaced with two horizontal bars in later iterations.  Again, I think I preferred the artistic touch of the semicircular progress bars to the horizontal bars, but the horizontal bars are a little more visible.

Finally, note the 'fog of war'.  In E:WOM this is a white/light gray mist, while in E:LH this is a dark/black fog.  I'm sure this is why the E:LH interface feels a lot darker to me, and not in a good way.  The E:WOM Fog Of War mist looks more natural to me, while maintaining that 'desolate' feel of the E:WOM world....

Essential city info (population growth, resource production, etc.) was presented in a more artistic way in E:WOM as well, but I can live with how these were condensed in the new interface, as it frees up a little underlying screen space.

The E:LH interface is more functional, but I think the E:WOM interface is more artistic, realizing of course that the underlying terrain was vastly upgraded since E:WOM was released.  Being an artistic type myself, the E:WOM interface speaks to me more.  And I think it made a couple of key points of information (arcane and tech research, city build/training progress) more immediately visible at a glance.  If I were to make one improvement on the E:WOM city progress bars, perhaps I'd add two circles to either side of the city portrait window, on top of the semicircular progress bars, with numbers contained within showing the number of turns until completion of either cue.

 

So, in short, I think a couple of minor tweaks to the E:LH interface could help bring back a lot of the feel of the E:WOM interface, without having to recode a lot of interface stuff.  Mainly, re-adding the Arcane and Tech progress bars on the bottom, and perhaps re-adding the semicircular progress bars for the building and training cues in the city interface window (not the ovals on the left).  And changing the Fog Of War back to a light gray...

Of course, the 'turns to build' is displayed numerically in the new interface, but as E:WOM cities can walk and chew gum at the same time, there needs to be some way to show both build cues in the 'updated' interface.  Adding a 'second row' of icons for training, with the first row showing buildings, would eat up more screen space of course, or the icons across the top of the city bar could be relocated to make room... Lower left maybe but that might look tacky.

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December 9, 2013 6:17:44 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

My vote would be no. I think the work required to bring WoM up to scratch would be far too great and I really wasn't that fussed by the few features it had which differentiate it from LH.

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December 9, 2013 9:14:36 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

No.

Something new please  

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December 9, 2013 1:18:31 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Well I played WOM a lot and I would say no it is not worth it.  However I liked Heaven's idead to make a DLC for FE where you add the Dynasty rules (of coarse revamped.  But to tell you the truth when  Age of Wonders 3 coming out as well as Warlock 2  I probably won't be playing much of Elemental LH.

You should really stick to GC3 now that is a game I'm really looking forward to.

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December 9, 2013 1:31:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

War of Magic is a strong name. Unfortunately it is tied to a very bad game. Legendary Heroes, which is what i call FE:LE in my mind, is also a strong name, tied to a strong game. I pre-ordered WoM. I seriously regretted it, to the point that I am not going to pre-order GalCiv3 ( yes, unreasonable, because 2, which I played a lot, was fabulous to the extreme). Amends have been made, and they have been extremely, superbly well, and the mistake has been forgiven. But I will not pay twice for the same title, even if it is DLC. If it is offered free, I still think it reeks of failure. Forget about it. Game Necromancy, like movie Necromancy, never surpass the original, and always remind you of what is left behind.

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December 9, 2013 2:05:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If it seems like a no go for bringing back WOM, I do want to see the return of the dynasty system for either FE or the next chapter of Elemental. I like the idea of having to raise an heir and succession for the empire instead of immortals. This concept is why I keep reapproaching CKII. I will learn that damn game lol. Prob helps if I had a bit more time. 

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December 9, 2013 2:20:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

With respect, the game E:wom is not a diamond in the rough. The game was universally panned, and even abandoned by the devs so they could work on FE instead (because making a whole new game just made sense). 

If it could be polished, I'd be willing to look at a DLC. It does not need polishing. It needs to have whole game systems re-built from the ground up. And THEN you can start adding what's missing in terms of content and gameplay.

You should not be asking E:wom owners to buy a DLC just to fix a broken game. And people who didn't play E:wom but did play FE or FE:LH will be sorely disappointed in anything you do with E:wom (unless it is a year or more in active development). They simply played a better game already. So who exactly is the target audience here? ¯\(°_o)/¯

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December 9, 2013 2:46:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Why not make an optional DLC with whatever stuff that you think is great from E:WOM that can be optionally integrated into Legendary Heroes?

 

For $5 you can EWOMize your LH.   If you want as a game option.

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December 9, 2013 3:04:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting smeagolheart,


Why not make an optional DLC with whatever stuff that you think is great from E:WOM that can be optionally integrated into Legendary Heroes?

 

For $5 you can EWOMize your LH.   If you want as a game option.

I don't legitimately know that the devs could do this for a $5 DLC and have it be profitable, it doesn't seem feasible.  Like HF said, it would take a lot of work even to re-build the dynasty system to be integrated usefully into LH.  I personally would rather see more progress and content toeards future expansions of the current, more sustainable titles.

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December 9, 2013 3:10:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

like i said: reading is so last century.  frog, will you please update the op with your statement that ""It wouldn't be a major game project. More like a stand alone DLC level thing for players who wanted to see what awOM was supposed to be like.m what shipped", so this thread will stop filling up with invalid data.

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December 9, 2013 3:27:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

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December 9, 2013 5:06:24 PM from Brad Wardell's Little Tiny Frogs Brad Wardell's Little Tiny Frogs

I think the consensus is no WOM.

Though what I had in mind wasn't to go back to the game, called WOM, that got released but to take the code base we have today and mod it to be the game WOM was supposed to be before it went off the tracks (and it went off the tracks in 2009, a year before it shipped when we started injecting all kinds of cool but impossible to reconcile ideas into the game).

The original WOM concept was a lot LOT simpler than what shipped and, in some respects, players can kind of tell because a lot of the "Hey, let's throw this in" parts were just barely sketched out.

The original WOM could be summed up like this:

  1. You had your sovereign. He was a channeler which meant he has magical essence.
  2. Essence could be spent on: (a) Reviving land to build cities on OR ( Turning people you found on the map into Champions (you would not have enough essence to do both well).
  3. There were NO quests
  4. You could marry and have children which would, if you were willing to hold off on using up your essence, result in more powerful children.
  5. You could use children to create alliances by betrothing them and this was the primary mechanism for winning via alliances.
  6. The graphics were supposed to be cell shaded looking (I had just finished Zelda Windwaker and loved that style)
  7. There was no unit design. You could only change weapons weapons (piercing vs. cutting vs. blunt).
  8. Each race had hard-coded units tied to their own, unique tech tree (even to this day, each race can have its own tech tree, the code supports it). 
  9. Because the units were pre-designed, they were supposed to be very different. The Quendar were evil elves, the Trogs were basically Orcs and so on.
  10. The battles were supposed to be simple, RTS maps with lots of units. This got changed because of the graphical performance problems.
  11. Cities were 1 tile.

What happened is that Stardock didn't, in those days, have a concept of a dedicated "designer", producer, etc.  We all would put in stuff and while I had the original concept (shown above) I was working on Demigod and Sins of a Solar Empire for most of the time and so additional features were added to the game -- MANY of which were taken out.

Here are features that WERE in War of Magic that weren't part of the design but were implemented 90% of the way (and thus lots of wasted time and effort):

  • Dungeons (player enters a dungeon and goes to a different sub-map)
  • The tile editor in the game was actually supposed to be a game mechanic where players could design their own cities. You didn't have "city improvements", you instead built out your city item by item to contruct something neat.  A big part of the game was going to be that tile editor tied to game mechanics for adding things to your tiles (and selling them to minor races or getting designs from minor races).
  • A first-person mode was, at one point, implemented
  • Each tile was supposed to have cool little stuff in it (this was my stupid idea) so you could, within a tile, run around and get something. This cost quite a bit of time to implement and was eventually abandoned.
  • Players mined resources which in turned had to be converted into other resources before they became available for your cities, troops (i.e. you mined iron but you needed steel so you needed a smelter to turn the iron ore into steel and then a armoror to turn it into a sword which made that piece of equipment available to your soldier).

The next time you load up Legendary Heroes, load up the Workshop and realize that most of that, including the map editor, was supposed to be GAMEPLAY.  You were supposed to have to spend magic to transform the land (ala the map editor) and you were supposed to design your cities tile by tile.  

While interesting ideas were everywhere, it didn't make for a very coherent game.  We would have been better off sticking to the original design.

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December 9, 2013 5:13:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think that the two options of "WoM" or "not-MoM" are bad. I believe you should go for a new MoM game, do it well, and then expend it to include the WoM features. There haven't been a true game following MoM lead. (AoM is closer to Heros of might and magic than to MoM in some regards)

Below is a wall of text of what I believe to be the problem with WoM/FE, and it can easily be solved by expanding a game, instead of creating it too big.

I would love to see a new MoM coming up. Or a proper Starcon 3 (I know you bought the rights for Starcon 2!)

My personal thoughts regarding FE and WoM:

Both WoM and FE are a little bit too expanded. You tried to do a lot of things, but ultimately did nothing well. In WoM, it resulted in a buggy mess, and after fixes it was still a mess.

FE cut a lot, and didn't introduce much. This let the devs to focus on less things, and do them well. I personally don't like FE because it's still too spread as it focuses 3 different tech trees, magic, heroes, and world (cities, monsters, lairs etc..).

The Civ series focused a lot on the tech trees (even if some are a bit boring, it's better than "lets get better weapon/armor"), and a bit on the world. In the latest two expansions, civ5 had its world expanded to include faith, tourism and trade routes.

Master of Magic focused heavily on magic, a little bit on heroes (they never were intended as a major part of the game) and decent amount on the world.

Age of Magic focused less heavily on magic than MoM, but gave more attention to heroes.

Heroes of Might and Magic focused greatly on heroes, less so on magic.

 

This leads to me as a player to feel as if the tech trees in FE are stale (another upgrade, usually nothing "new" or interesting between any new tech).

The magic system is not nearly as varied as MoM or even AoM- in most games, you won't have more than 20 different spells, and amongst them you will refrain from using some, sometimes for whole games.

The heroes got more attention in the new expansion, and are in a pretty good spot. Not being the focus of the game turns this point into a minor one, though.

The world is not very interesting- monsters/quests/units are separated to tiers. You can usually take something from a tier above with heavy losses, but taking something stronger is impossible. This forces you to sometimes sit tight and pass turns, since you have nothing to do, as you cannot fight the monsters surrounding you.

Cities in FE are not very interesting, too. While choosing a city improvement path is an interesting mechanic, in itself building is quite boring. Assuming you got some set of priorities "production>-unrest>research>mana>unit improvement", you know exactly what you are going to do, in every city. There are no intertwining trees, just a set path. In contrast: MoM, for example, you might decide you need stronger army so instead of going for the long term power (magicians) you'd go for pikemen, and then go back to working on getting magicians.

Units- the unit customization idea was pretty nifty, originally. I expected a MoO system, where I'm going to choose one of 10 options for each hand, give him a triple set of armors, and go cry myself to a corner because his initiative is 1 and he can't move. In practice, you get to choose a weapon tier (note- I know there is a difference between the weapons now, but once you decide on one, you will rarely change to another), an armor tier and a couple extra weak abilities. As game progress, you are building at most 3 types of units- melee, ranged and special (golem/juggernaut). Nothing is changing besides the tier. In contrast: in MoM your main forces might only include elite (ie the strongest of their race) units, but you might use more than one race's elite units in your armies. Also, due to expanses, you will defend most cities with a large army of small units to quell the unrest and protect from enemy skirmishes. This give the cheap, normal and elite units roles in your empire.

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December 9, 2013 6:23:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

make this one, please >

  • You had your sovereign. He was a channeler which meant he has magical essence.
  • Essence could be spent on: (a) Reviving land to build cities on OR ( Turning people you found on the map into Champions (you would not have enough essence to do both well).
  • There were NO quests
  • You could marry and have children which would, if you were willing to hold off on using up your essence, result in more powerful children.
  • You could use children to create alliances by betrothing them and this was the primary mechanism for winning via alliances.
  • The graphics were supposed to be cell shaded looking (I had just finished Zelda Windwaker and loved that style)
  • There was no unit design. You could only change weapons weapons (piercing vs. cutting vs. blunt).
  • Each race had hard-coded units tied to their own, unique tech tree (even to this day, each race can have its own tech tree, the code supports it). 
  • Because the units were pre-designed, they were supposed to be very different. The Quendar were evil elves, the Trogs were basically Orcs and so on.
  • Dungeons (player enters a dungeon and goes to a different sub-map)
  • A first-person mode was, at one point, implemented (just give us a pre-set camera perspective at ground level)
  • Players mined resources which in turned had to be converted into other resources before they became available for your cities, troops (i.e. you mined iron but you needed steel so you needed a smelter to turn the iron ore into steel and then a armoror to turn it into a sword which made that piece of equipment available to your soldier).

Frogboy

 

 

 

oh man, what a game you had in mind.  we ended up with something much more standard 4x.  solid, but nowhere near as ingenious.

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December 9, 2013 6:48:15 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I was going to post a lot of the points tjashen has formulated so well.

In short: There were a lot of interesting mechanics in WoM (the released version) that would offer material for 2-3 more games - too much for a single game - and they were barely integrated with each other.

The more interesting ones

* Essence

* Dynasties

* Minor Kingdoms

* Ships

... but then you posted this

Quoting Frogboy,

The original WOM could be summed up like this:

You had your sovereign. He was a channeler which meant he has magical essence.
Essence could be spent on: (a) Reviving land to build cities on OR turning people you found on the map into Champions (you would not have enough essence to do both well).
There were NO quests
You could marry and have children which would, if you were willing to hold off on using up your essence, result in more powerful children.
You could use children to create alliances by betrothing them and this was the primary mechanism for winning via alliances.
The graphics were supposed to be cell shaded looking (I had just finished Zelda Windwaker and loved that style)
There was no unit design. You could only change weapons weapons (piercing vs. cutting vs. blunt).
Each race had hard-coded units tied to their own, unique tech tree (even to this day, each race can have its own tech tree, the code supports it). 
Because the units were pre-designed, they were supposed to be very different. The Quendar were evil elves, the Trogs were basically Orcs and so on.
The battles were supposed to be simple, RTS maps with lots of units. This got changed because of the graphical performance problems.
Cities were 1 tile.

... and I can only say

Yes, please.

I'd like to see this game.

It looks like a coherent design, with an interesting tradeoff on how to spend essence. It also has a proper focus: diplomacy via marriage and war.

But I'd like to ask for more effort than a simple DLC for LH's successor because that would be wasting the opportunity a second time. Getting the diplomacy AI right to carry this focus will be a major effort.

I wouldn't like RTS battles, please either keep the current mechanics or go for (understandable, predictable) auto-combat. I think auto-combat would be appropriate, further emphasizing the diplomatic focus.

 

Quoting Frogboy,

Here are features that WERE in War of Magic that weren't part of the design but were implemented 90% of the way (and thus lots of wasted time and effort):

Dungeons (player enters a dungeon and goes to a different sub-map)
The tile editor in the game was actually supposed to be a game mechanic where players could design their own cities. You didn't have "city improvements", you instead built out your city item by item to contruct something neat.  A big part of the game was going to be that tile editor tied to game mechanics for adding things to your tiles (and selling them to minor races or getting designs from minor races).
A first-person mode was, at one point, implemented
Each tile was supposed to have cool little stuff in it (this was my stupid idea) so you could, within a tile, run around and get something. This cost quite a bit of time to implement and was eventually abandoned.
Players mined resources which in turned had to be converted into other resources before they became available for your cities, troops (i.e. you mined iron but you needed steel so you needed a smelter to turn the iron ore into steel and then a armoror to turn it into a sword which made that piece of equipment available to your soldier).

The next time you load up Legendary Heroes, load up the Workshop and realize that most of that, including the map editor, was supposed to be GAMEPLAY.  You were supposed to have to spend magic to transform the land (ala the map editor) and you were supposed to design your cities tile by tile.  

While interesting ideas were everywhere, it didn't make for a very coherent game.  We would have been better off sticking to the original design.

Stuff for more games 

Dungeons: Multi-Maps like MoM, AoW or Warlock are an obvious extension. However, I'd expect dungeon crawling to happen on an oversized battle map, staying in battle mode throughout the dungeon.

Both mechanics would be useful for a RPG-Strategy hybrid or even a full RPG, but I think they distract from the strategic focus that a 4X game should have.

 

The production chains would do well in game focused more on city management, where war requires a really well running economy (e.g. a supply mechanic that gets more expensive with distance), going somewhere in the direction of the Anno series.

Together with the tight workshop integration it would also allow a rather pure sandbox game with only player-set objectives (think Minecraft)

 

Quoting Frogboy,

The battles were supposed to be simple, RTS maps with lots of units.

This answers a question I have had ever since you said that the battles aren't multiplayer capable. I was asking myself how the battles can be anything but "simply" another map in the strategic engine, just with different rules (which would automatically inherit the main game's multiplayer support).

 

In closing, I think the only cheap (to implement) WoM-as-a-DLC option would be a re-release of WoM 1.0 and/or 1.4 on top of the current engine, with as little (redesign) effort as possible - essentially upgrading "just" the technical basis. Call that "WoM Director's Cut", but make it cheap (to buy) - it's admittedly not a good game. Besides reminding people why WoM was left behind it would also verify and demonstrate the broad modability of the game, which might be an alternate reason to do it besides the potential money from selling the DLC.

 

A (re-)implementation of the original design should rather be WoM II and should IMO be comparable to LH in scope and effort (and price) to do it justice.

 

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December 9, 2013 7:23:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm still going to recommend a 'Stepping Stone' approach here.

Yes, I did see Frogboy's last post, and how the E:WOM that was released isnt the game that was originally planned.  I'm going to focus on what WAS released, and the path forward with E:LH to make a fun and playable E:WOM a reality.

1) Make a Navies DLC pack.  Sure, ships weren't the most essential thing in E:WOM, but I've seen numerous 'bring ships back' posts.  Since the people want it, and since E:LH could be more interesting with them, if implemented correctly, I think this might be worthwhile.  Of course, such a package needs to be thoroughly thought out, especially on the AI front.  It isn't really fair if only players understand how to use ships correctly, so a lot of AI stuff needs to be contemplated and worked out.  And also, how involved are ships?  Are we talking just a couple of classes, or maybe more like a dozen? 

     Maybe introduce a new empire/kingdom in this DLC that is essentially a seafaring nation, that has unique bonuses for coastal and maybe even sea/river squares.  This idea alone has a LOT of potential, and I wouldn't regard it as wasted effort as it would benefit the Elemental franchise as a whole, for now and future iterations.

 

2) Make a Dynasties DLC pack.  Once the Navies pack is ready for prime time, work on this one can commence.  If fleshed out, this concept could add a LOT to diplomatic interactions and such in the game.  But I would not recommend a simple 'cut and paste' of the old system - it wasn't really fleshed out.  What I would recommend is that the Sov choose a partner at the start, from a pool of candidates of various disciplines.  Similar to the 'Two heroes emerge, but only one will join your cause' concept, but with a larger pool representing multiple disciplines/classes.  That way, if you want a Scholarly type as your mate to complement your own life path choice, you can.

Your initial mate choice would have bearing on your children's upbringing and such, similar to what happened with E:WOM but without the 'uber' children problem of course (for those of you that remember that balance issue).  Your mate would probably need remain 'at home' to rear the children, allowing your Sov to roam free/don't want to crimp anyone's style here.  No showstoppers here so far.

I'd probably suggest that there be a 'you are trying for a kid' option (handled in a very 'G' fashion of course), as this might take a Sov out of circulation for a season or two.  While the 'immaculate conceptions' in E:WOM were interesting, it did leave you wondering exactly how a husband and wife that were separated by large distances still managed to have kids... are we talking infidelity here?  Hmmm....

When your children come 'of age', HERE is where things get interesting.  Sovs will probably have 'plans' for their children, but the children may have ideas of their own.  Certainly, arranged marriages will be useful on the diplomatic front, and such unions should have a major impact on how strong a new alliance may be.  HOWEVER, sometimes the kids decide that they want to marry for love... and you are faced with a dilemma... do I allow the kid to marry their sweetheart (which might be some peasant, or belong to a rival faction you aren't happy with), or do I force them into an arranged marriage?  Obviously, there will be a loyalty penalty for forcing said marriage... 

Maybe one of the kids wants to be the next ruler, and you need to give him a city or whatever to rule over.  Perhaps he/she will be content, or perhaps he/she will begin raising an army in secret and forment a rebellion/break away from your kingdom.  Or, perhaps he will sneak off and marry someone from your rival empire, to oppose you at every turn.

Maybe one of your children is a 'bookworm', more interested in their books than in love.  Or maybe you have a warrior prince/princess that wants to lead armies, not get married...

There really are a LOT of possibilities with Dynasties, which is why I suggest working on them second.  Implemented properly, I really think this could take Elemental to the next level.  Of course, this is a 4x game, and players like to 'know' what their pieces are going to do, but there is a whole new dynamic here that, done properly, would really make for an interesting 'game within a game'...

 

3) A minor stepping stone that some people might not mind seeing is Minor Empires.  These were very much an afterthought in E:WOM, but I think there is some potential here.  If a compelling framework for handling these could be worked out (i.e. make the Minors living and breathing empires that may ally with you temporarily to defeat a monster infestation, or perhaps be willing to collaborate with you on some research that they specialize in, perhaps they have kids that you wouldn't mind marrying one of yours off to, etc. etc. etc.), then this could be a fun DLC.  Again, though, no sense having these if they really aren't adding much to the game, hence this DLC is ultimately a judgement call.

 

4)AFTER the above DLC's are worked out/released, THEN it might be time to revisit E:WOM (I certainly look forward to that, but I seem to be in the minority here).  An E:WOM DLC pack by definition needs the above two working properly, and I don't think that anyone really wants a 'frame by frame' remake of E:WOM.  Rather, taking the 'framework/game concepts' from E:WOM, taking the E:LH system as a base (with it's balance lessons and such), and then recreate the world of E:WOM.  There is a lot of potential here, as Arcane knowledge is separate from Tech knowledge, so that concept needs to be fleshed out.  As I've said MULTIPLE times now, cities in E:WOM could walk and chew gum at the same time (build AND train simultaneously), so this needs to be done right (i.e. a production bonus if a city decides to concentrate on one, versus doing both at the same time, but say 50% efficiency not a 1 to 1).

Sovs in E:WOM are supposed to be VERY powerful, so this distinction needs to be restored/played up.  Also, I loved the wandering heroes concept, and indeed added to the 'RPG' element of E:WOM.  In fact, I remember being broke when I first crossed paths with certain heroes, and once I finally had the money to hire them, spending multiple turns tracking them down.  For a 4x game, this is kind of annoying, but from a first person perspective, this adds to the storyline, playing up the 'tale' aspect of the game.  Really, since the released E:WOM is more of a first person game, albiet with an identity crisis (it was supposed to be focused on your Sov), this needs to be played up.  The Dynasty concept certainly lends itself to this.  But the whole 'what makes a Sov different from a hero' needs to be nailed down fully.

Cities in E:WOM had more moving parts.  Specifically, you needed to build huts for the people flocking to your cause.  I actually didn't mind this (some call it micromanaging though), but the entire 'population growth mechanic' has several ways that it could work.  E:LH does the 'build it and they will come' approach.  I'd like to propose the 'people flock to the Sov, based on how powerful/charismatic he is' approach.  Sure, cities may still have structures that entice newcomers, but the people are flocking to your kingdom as a whole, and what it has to offer them, not just your cities.  This makes the game more Sov-centric, and  your Sov has a 'Charisma/Prestige' stat that ties into this heavily.  Also, successes and failures on the diplomatic/war front would increase or decrease the number of people flocking to your banner.  So, rather than tracking population growth by city, you track your total population growth as a whole (which increases based on the prestige, etc. of your kingdom/empire), which are then distributed AMONG your cities based on available accomodations. 

Finally, armies in E:WOM were larger.  While the graphical implementation of this looked kind of silly sometimes (16 guys crammed into a single square?), the concept of this is important.  This is WHY cities building and training simultaneously becomes important.  Sovs are SUPPOSED to be leading powerful armies, so producing said armies in larger numbers adds to this dynamic.  BUT, there needs to be a serious attempt at combat balance here.  While the current balance in E:LH may make most people happy, doubling unit sizes will dramatically change that balance.  Plus, there are those of us that think the current formulas encourage 'magic uber swords' that do not lend themselves well to game balance.  So, if there is ANYTHING that E:WOM could bring to the table, it would be a tighter balance on weapons,armor, and unit size interactions, and of course heroes that can hang with these larger armies.  Having tinkered in this area, I have full confidence that this CAN be done, but the playtesting necessary is time consuming, which is again why I say put this off until the other DLC is released.

 

To Summarize:

Instead of tackling E:WOM directly now, take the best parts of E:WOM that are missing from the franchise as a whole, and get those working awesomely.  Navies, Dynasties, and maybe Minor Empires.  Each of these by themselves would make for great DLC packs, and aren't E:WOM specific ideas.  THEN, IF these DLC packs are well received and working well, AT THAT POINT revisit E:WOM, but not until.  E:WOM will be better served by this approach.

 

E:WOM had more moving parts.  This isn't a bad thing, some of my favorite games have lots of switches and toggles to work with.  But those toggles and switches need to be meaningful and useful.  E:LH simplified a lot of things, and I'm sure the Fallen Enchantress franchise will continue for all of it's lovers.  But E:WOM should be different, and appeal to a slightly different audience.  I.E. those that LOOK for intricate interactions that can cumulatively have a great effect on the success of your Kingdom/Empire.  Also, E:WOM was about the Sov and his journey to greatness, so E:WOM should focus on the presentation from that perspective.

IMHO of course!

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December 9, 2013 7:31:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Frogboy,

I think the consensus is no WOM.

Though what I had in mind wasn't to go back to the game, called WOM, that got released but to take the code base we have today and mod it to be the game WOM was supposed to be before it went off the tracks (and it went off the tracks in 2009, a year before it shipped when we started injecting all kinds of cool but impossible to reconcile ideas into the game).

The original WOM concept was a lot LOT simpler than what shipped and, in some respects, players can kind of tell because a lot of the "Hey, let's throw this in" parts were just barely sketched out.

The original WOM could be summed up like this:


You had your sovereign. He was a channeler which meant he has magical essence.
Essence could be spent on: (a) Reviving land to build cities on OR ( Turning people you found on the map into Champions (you would not have enough essence to do both well).
There were NO quests
You could marry and have children which would, if you were willing to hold off on using up your essence, result in more powerful children.
You could use children to create alliances by betrothing them and this was the primary mechanism for winning via alliances.
The graphics were supposed to be cell shaded looking (I had just finished Zelda Windwaker and loved that style)
There was no unit design. You could only change weapons weapons (piercing vs. cutting vs. blunt).
Each race had hard-coded units tied to their own, unique tech tree (even to this day, each race can have its own tech tree, the code supports it). 
Because the units were pre-designed, they were supposed to be very different. The Quendar were evil elves, the Trogs were basically Orcs and so on.
The battles were supposed to be simple, RTS maps with lots of units. This got changed because of the graphical performance problems.
Cities were 1 tile.

What happened is that Stardock didn't, in those days, have a concept of a dedicated "designer", producer, etc.  We all would put in stuff and while I had the original concept (shown above) I was working on Demigod and Sins of a Solar Empire for most of the time and so additional features were added to the game -- MANY of which were taken out.

Here are features that WERE in War of Magic that weren't part of the design but were implemented 90% of the way (and thus lots of wasted time and effort):


Dungeons (player enters a dungeon and goes to a different sub-map)
The tile editor in the game was actually supposed to be a game mechanic where players could design their own cities. You didn't have "city improvements", you instead built out your city item by item to contruct something neat.  A big part of the game was going to be that tile editor tied to game mechanics for adding things to your tiles (and selling them to minor races or getting designs from minor races).
A first-person mode was, at one point, implemented
Each tile was supposed to have cool little stuff in it (this was my stupid idea) so you could, within a tile, run around and get something. This cost quite a bit of time to implement and was eventually abandoned.
Players mined resources which in turned had to be converted into other resources before they became available for your cities, troops (i.e. you mined iron but you needed steel so you needed a smelter to turn the iron ore into steel and then a armoror to turn it into a sword which made that piece of equipment available to your soldier).

The next time you load up Legendary Heroes, load up the Workshop and realize that most of that, including the map editor, was supposed to be GAMEPLAY.  You were supposed to have to spend magic to transform the land (ala the map editor) and you were supposed to design your cities tile by tile.  

While interesting ideas were everywhere, it didn't make for a very coherent game.  We would have been better off sticking to the original design.

 

Umm Brad,

Next time post this as your plan then instead of "Do you want to recreate us to recreate WOM?" I loved WOM but I can understand if people want it to be left alone. However, this concept looks amazing. In fact, if I were you I'd just repost this in a new thread and ask again. 

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