Endgame Predictability (Or: The "Mop-Up" Phase): How To Avoid?

... or is this simply a necessary evil of the genre?

By on March 21, 2014 3:17:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Eunomiac

Join Date 09/2008
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Whenever I play a 4X game, whether it be GalCiv or Civ 5 or Fallen Enchantress, there inevitably comes a point where I feel that the game is over, long before I've actually achieved victory:  I sit firmly atop the scoreboard, controlling far more of the map than any of my competitors, all of whom lag behind me in tech---and are fighting amongst themselves, further cementing my run-away.  The result is a long slog, a mop-up, which is a terribly anti-climactic way for a game to conclude.

Needless to say, I hate this part of the game.  The end-game offers so many interesting mechanics and possibilities... possibilities that are made boring because they've been relegated to mop-up duty.  I want that Fortress I've agonizingly leveled up and the Crystal I've banked to create some truly elite units to matter, but they never seem to.

I don't think this is a function of difficulty, either (though please disabuse me of that notion if I'm wrong).  Difficulty might make surviving into the mid-game more challenging, but I rarely find myself enjoying a game that remains interesting after that.  By the mid-to-late game, my playthroughs tend to fall into one of two categories: either I've already lost, or I'm a hundred points ahead of my nearest competitor.  The Let's Plays I've watched on YouTube suggest the same is true of most people's experiences (indeed, GalCiv2---rightly lauded as one of the best 4X games ever made---seems to suffer from this issue quite frequently).

So my question is:  How often do your games devolve into a long mop-up phase, instead of remaining competitive all the way to the end?  How do you keep that endgame interesting enough so that, say, teching up to Dragons matters?

I'm rather new to Fallen Enchantress, so I'm very hopeful that I'm simply wrong---that what I perceive to be a runaway victory really isn't, and I'm closer to loss than I realize.  Maybe I'm underestimating the AI's chances of staging a miracle comeback from a crippling deficit, which turned out to be the truth with at least one 4X game I've played (i.e. Civ IV, after BtS added mechanics to the late game designed to combat this very issue).

At a broader level, I'm interested in how the concept of end-game predictability informs the design of 4X games.  Are come-back mechanics built into the game?  Is the AI programmed to band together against the top-dog (as humans players would)?  This last question doesn't seem to be the case with Fallen Enchantress, at least---my current game has me at double the score of the second-place AI, and yet I continue to enjoy warm relations with the AI while they continue to war with each other.

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March 24, 2014 11:46:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


@domino215

- I like you're 'coalition' event idea.

- If neutral cities were added into the game, then it would be possible for cities to rebel under high unrest and become netural. The trick here would be when conquering another faction's city, the player would require enough time to sufficiently deal with unrest. In addition, the AI would have to change their view on unrest buildings.....currently they are weighed very low....AI Plus mod addresses this nicely....so that when they conquer cities, the same thing doesn't happen to them.

- I disagree with your view on inpregnable cities. The last thing the game needs is a streamlined strategy where the player doesn't focus on militaristic expansion until the endgame only. If you push early, you should have the oppertunity of having that risk rewarded. However, adjusting the types of city defenders could be a good start to making encounters more unique. Have Horsemen defend Fortresses, Mages defend Conclaves, and Crossbowmen defend Towns.

- You bring an interesting point to empire size and technology scale. Currently there is no upkeep for constructed buildings. Imo that is a mistake. Yes...the player (and AI) is not burdened with additional micromangement as they can just toss everything into the queue however this generate the problem you describe.

  • A simple upkeep system could be developed to manage empire growth:
    • Each building tier would have increasing upkeep less one. Thus a Tier 1 building would have 0 gildar per turn. Tier 2 buildings would have 1 gildar per turn. etc.
    • Additional Tier 2 and higher buildings of the same kind would have additonal upkeep based on the number built less one and the Tier level less one. Thus 4 Tier 2 buildings would have an additional empire upkeep of 3 gildar per turn. Thus 2 Tier 3 buildings would have an additional empire upkeep of 2 gildar per turn. It can be argued that tranporation costs exist between the different cities. It can be argued that additional buildings of the same type are not running at 100% due to partial redundancy. etc. Point is, additional cost for additional buildings forcing the player to decide IF more of that building should be built.
    • Magical oriented buildings should have mana upkeep equal to the tier level less one. Failing to pay should result in risk of the building crumbling apart.
  • So, as a combined example: Four tier two magical buildings throughout your empire would have the following upleep:
    • 4 gildar per turn for the building tier
    • 4 mana per turn for the magical requirement
    • 3 gildar per turn for the empire impact
  • Another example: Twelve Tier four magical buildings would have the following upkeep:
    • 36 gildar per turn for the building tier
    • 36 mana per turn for the magical requirement
    • 33 mana per turn for the empire impact
  • (not sure how often you would have 12 tier 4 building of one kind in your empire...especially considering that you have 3 types of city....you'd need 40 cities to consider the last example)

 - Iron, Crystal, and Mounts favor the player at the moment because the AI units are....unsatisfactory. This can be corrected given unit development time. AI Plus mod does a decent job at increasing the AI's ability to compete.

 

 

 

 

 

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March 24, 2014 8:24:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm more of an RTS gamer and the same problem existed before 2004 when Dawn of War was released (though it is a MUCH smaller issue due to an RTS match taking much less time to finish.

 

With Dawn of War we gotted Area Control that was standard and you had to change to Annihilate if you wanted that instead.

 

In Dawn of War there were these strategic points you had to capture to get the basic resource (requisition) that ticked in all the time and the more points you had the faster it flowed in.

When you had 66% of those points, a countdown started. If it reaches 0, you won. The enemy could come back if he decapped enough of your points which made the countdown disappear.

There were also Critical Points which there were only a few of which had their own countdown.

 

In Company of Heroes, Victorypoints was introduced. Capture a VP and the enemys points started ticking down. When one side reaches 0, they lose.

 

In 4x games, these points could be placed on certain places of the maps. Hold enough of'em for long enough and you win. If you choose to hold VPs instead of attacking an enemy that's close by though, you give them time to rebuild.

 

 

The thing these points achieved in RTS games, were that you had to go out and capture them so couldn't just sit in your base. In a 4x, it can force you to go to a place of the map that has quite little except that important VP.

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March 25, 2014 9:03:25 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Campaigner,
With Dawn of War we gotted Area Control that was standard and you had to change to Annihilate if you wanted that instead.

Yeah that works quite well in Dawn of War I always thought.

 

In a slightly similar way..... I haven't played the newer Total War series but in Medieval 2 you don't have to conquer everyone... just like 50% of territories or whatever it is... including a number of the key cities depending on what faction you play.

 

There's probably room for some additional victory conditions in a game like FE/LH, customizable ones even.  Wouldn't solve the late game issue but could help mix things up a bit... things that would might add a slight twist to the Conquest victory.  What if you could have victory conditions like:

- Allegiance Victory (where you have to eliminate all the faction of the opposite allegiance)

- Empiric Victory (first to get 10 cities to level 5)

- Shard Victory (control 75% of shards on the map)

With something like these you could play on a large map and not have to go around mopping up everyone to the last man.  Just a thought.

 

 

Medieval 2 also has factions that spawn later in the game, like the Mongols.  That's a kinda fun thing to given they appear in a semi-random location... they're nasty and you don't quite know when/where they will appear.  Adds a little something to late game.  We pretty much have that now with Events... but being able to spawn a faction rather than monsters might be cool.

 

I also really like the idea of Wildlands that grow in size gradually (GFireflyE's idea).  That'd be great.  Also have small "wildlands" or large monsters lairs appearing late game would also help maybe... as battling those things is fun.

 

More advanced diplomacy as mentioned, absolutely.... really hoping that 2.0 provides it.  That would help late game.

 

Lots of good ideas mentioned on how to make it more interesting.

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March 25, 2014 4:09:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The mongols in MTW2 eh?

 

Well I only played the first one but, I have done things like dump an massive army into the provinence where they show up one turn before before their appearance...

 

They spawn with 100k-200k soldiers right? Well I took almost every single soldier in my byzantine kingdom and sent them into kharov something I forgot what name that they spawn at plus crimea and others. And one turn later, they showed up. I went into manual battle with them.

 

I managed to rout the initial army then chased them off the map and that way the reinforcements which will have like other 90k coming instantly routed because it saw the whole army is running for their life even when it's only 10k. I stood there stabbing mongol soldiers in their backs for like a minute then won a massive victory.

 

I had like over 100k war prisoners from the golden horde, in other words, the entire empire is my prisoners and I executed them all.

And after that huge execution, my sovereign acquired some kind of bloodthirsty trait for "executing" the golden horde.


Then one turn later, the army split back up and returned to their posts in my empire

 

Golden horde more like Dead horde

 

There never was any uprising from the horde because every single one has been killed. And so the europe that never known the terror of the golden horde has been borne.

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March 25, 2014 4:25:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting abob101,

- Empiric Victory (first to get 10 cities to level 5)

 

You would need to scale it for the map size.

 

Having later factions spawn is an option - they should be scaled though to match the user's strength.

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March 25, 2014 5:15:27 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Sometimes I wish there was an auto-resolve button for the game, so once you got to a certain point, you could just press it and find out if you won or not.  That would solve the issue of feeling like the game is won but going through the motions just to feel like you completed the game. 

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May 18, 2014 3:30:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Though I burned myself out during the betas, I occasionally return to this game, amusing myself with different custom builds and oddball actions. Yet, the fun is still stymied by terrible AI and the often tedious endgame--problems that drove me back to these forums after many months away. Happy to see some clear thinkers still chipping away at the problems.  I hope devs/modders have been digesting these ideas and figuring out how to convert them from theory to implemented.

Brad spoiled many of us by personally investing so much effort into the GalCiv AI, and I kept expecting to be spoiled again by challenging games in the more complex environment of FE (Elemental reboot, heh).  Are there any non-superficial changes still being made to the core game?  I witness the AI being controlled by what can only be described as fatal mismanagement, and grind my teeth--it's a blight on an otherwise good sandbox game (I don't play above Hard level anymore because of the ridiculous, artificial boosts that try to take the place of AI strategy).

 

At any rate, here's a few questions/suggestions:

--Diplomacy is a tangled knot, but I agree with Heavenfall--it's worth serious effort to make it more complex (as an offshoot of generally smarter AI).  The AI, in effect, needs the largest boost to their sense of self preservation, because that is at the heart of their problems (others have mentioned their tendency to be passive against a bigger foe, or just "lay down and die")--they need to plot and squirm and kick and scream instead of bending over and taking it (unless that's a specific faction's M.O.--perhaps the Queen's, heh).

They "talk" to the player when another faction is getting too powerful, so this seems like a promising placeholder for actual scripting that makes them act upon it.  Why not make this diplomatic message followed up by a war alliance (for that war only) against a common foe?  This self-balancing act could be scripted to work in any fashion (for or against the player), and if implemented right, it would be more subtle than an all-or-nothing, kick-in-the-pants approach.  (And of course, it could be something more subtle, like "Let's cancel our trade agreements with the leader and reform the trade with each other.")

If the AI weren't so clumsy about gold/item payments, it would open up a whole new area for negotiations.  Attacking forces could sue for peace once their objectives were met.  As an example, let's say that 2 factions ganged up on the player faction who was expanding too aggressively, and in this entirely fictitious instance, were able to beat him back by each capturing one of his cities.  Then, just like in real life, they could send their diplomats to "punish" the player for his transgression: "For 10% of your gold or crystals or whatever, we will end this war and leave you alone for no less than 30 seasons." Or something like that.  This might be a bluff, depending on the player's situation, or it might be a genuinely viable alternative to taking a more serious beating.  This kind of interesting example can only be possible if the AI isn't terrible at strategy/optimizing, and if diplomacy gets the attention it deserves (both in making more options available, and making all options viable by understanding the maxim that unreasonable diplomacy isn't diplomacy at all).

Along those lines, it makes zero sense for an AI faction to sit by while their friendly neighbor is being overrun (the programmer knows it's a snowball effect, so why not put these perfectly reasonable hurdles in the game?).  It makes no sense that you cannot donate units (the game equivalent to covert arms supplying) or form war alliances to address the shifting landscape.  This is the type of thing that makes diplomacy viable, not just labeling a certain menu tab or function in the game "diplomacy" and thinking that will suffice.

You could even make factions intercede, like "We will give you x-amount of this item if you make peace with so-and-so for no less than 20 turns" or if they are more powerful or a trading partner, "We will cancel our agreements and consider war [implemented by placing a huge negative modifier on their attitude toward the player] if you do not stop this war."  Along that same vein, I have also found it far more tactically responsible to raze my enemy's cities and establish my own when/where I desire (yes, heh, I am a war criminal, but no one takes me to court for it), mainly because there is almost no negative pressure against such an action, and many negative hits to keep a captured city--there seems to have been almost no thought put into how to prevent a snowball effect through common sense (versus artificial means).  Why wouldn't razing cities lose you allies (once that is meaningful), or make permanent enemies, or spawn dangerous partisan units, or even negatively impact your own unrest (killing lots of people makes other people, even your own, very nervous, and with good reason)?  Stuff like that to slow the grind-to-dust campaign that too easily happens, without making the game overly tedious or unfair (unless the player selects an unfair challenge level, of course). IMO, if you make the endgame easy to win, you severely cheapen the early game struggle/accomplishments.

Opposite to razing a city, why shouldn't returning a city be a large (if temporary) boon to relations, when the player chooses to take that path? Why would any faction in their right mind choose to form economic/research pacts with the most powerful faction, unless they were allies?  Why wouldn't they form a pact with lesser factions to help boost both of them closer to the leader?  The AI helping the leader to win is one of the ways this game breaks itself.

 

--Unrest is an aspect of the game that adds no challenge, no change, no fun.  Eunomiac makes some fantastic points about rising unrest leading to possible rebellion/other kinds of instability like poor output/strikes (though I think any random, heavy-handed implementation of this would be a terrible idea that would hurt the game more than helping because it would be seen as unjust rather than a tactical opportunity to nip a problem in the bud).  The starting point, nature of, and degree could all be altered randomly to help replayability without making it a game killer ("hey, you just had half your empire declare independence without warning--have fun with that" is not a good example of how to do it, heh).  Part of this elegant solution could be financial/resource-oriented, which could also double as a maintenance/upkeep cost for larger cities (I agree with a previous poster that the simplistic build-everything mentality really hurts any tactical aspect of city-building--why is this even feasible?).  For example, paying double maintenance costs lowers unrest (i.e., more sophisticated than a simple tax/unrest dicotemy--I wonder how many players even bother to tweak that?); donating mana or crystals eases unrest in Conclaves; iron donations to the war machine diverts unrest in Fortresses.  You can see how this could be a tactical decision between paying something to help unrest, or using force (stationed troops), or ignoring and playing the dangerous game against resentment of the common citizen.  Border pressure from other factions and even from wildlands could be great triggers that would all make sense to a player, rather than the senselessness of a random event--a little of randomness per game goes a long way, so I suggest having a large pool of random events, but never allowing more than a few to happen in any single game.

 

--Endgame-specific ideas: Events like the blood moon, the one increasing creature levels, or spawning more mobs are at least thinking about the problem, if not in the proper direction (because they are superficial additives, which in FE's current environment are always a joke).  Perhaps if they were more carefully constructed to be meaningful without cheesy (scaled by faction power, as DsRaider suggested), they would be nothing but a welcomed addition to the randomness that should make a 4x game stand out.

Again, I think the idea of subtle empire problems/threatening instability is a golden idea, and hope devs look into it, because like many important suggestions, it's probably too big to simply mod in.  The implementation would have to find the sweet spot in between micro-management frustration and yet another inconsequential fly to be swatted away.

I agree with GFireflyE about Wildlands--at least some of them ought to scale and grow to make them more interesting in the late game, but like more cutscenes/events, they cannot be a welcomed addition while the core problems still remain, because then those additions spawn a new host of problems to tack onto the complexity of previously unfixed bugs/poor AI.  Speaking of Wildlands, why not consider a sea or large lake-based wildland that threatens the nearby coastal areas until it's dealt with?

While I don't agree with Eunomiac's attrition warfare idea (because that's just another predictability, and it's just not possible to implement well within the framework of this game), it's similar to an idea that would increase the unpredictability of the endgame and slow the snowball effect. What if certain factions (or random?) would decide at some point that if they are getting taken out, then they will sabotage the enemy with everything they have (like attacking a backfield city or cities that are not well defended and razing them--even GalCiv2 did something like this, penalizing the player for trying to cheat all their forces up to the "front" lines)?  Of course, things like this will only work if the AI armies aren't a laughing stock.

 

--Optimization:  It cannot be overstated, that nothing in this game is worth much if the AI is not optimized to present a challenge (preferably along the lines of GalCiv2 where at times it seemed player-controlled)--the AI shouldn't behave as poorly as it does now above the easiest setting. Also, many subtle ways to challenge players is far superior to one or two big "game changers" like Total War series' barbarian invasions or the realm divide (though credit is due to them for implementing something to challenge the late game).  For FE to be a whole game, the late game must be designed to be challenging--it simply isn't finished until then, no matter how many new factions or widgets that get added. For it to be challenging without being too frustrating for your average 4x junkie, the AI must perform optimally (at Challenging+ levels) and be programmed cleverly enough to seem unpredictable at times.

Is this truly too much to ask?  Heh.

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July 9, 2014 2:33:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I am working on a mod to replace the mop-up phase with sudden empowerment of surviving AIs.

Essentially, a turn 300 or 350 event where enemy difficulty will spike, making all surviving players a threat, even if they have only 1 city left.

The idea being, you want to hurry and win by a set turn limit, otherwise you'll be caught in a new, 'assymetrical' war where the AI is likely to pound you, unless you ruthlessly leverage your might to date to immediately win against AI opponents fighting with incredible new 'tech.'

Will post a link here when it becomes playable.

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July 9, 2014 6:10:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The 4x games that seem to manage this best is in my experience Dominions. Due to extremely drastic end-game spells, while some players will usually be sure losers during early and mid game, there is often a action-filled endgame. Granted, this depends on the AI being able to use the spells as LH is single-player only, but even in Dominions the AI is harder end-game than in LH.

Things that make Dominions succeed better at this include, I think:

1. Effective countermeasures against everything. Sure, you can make an expensive "stack of doom" of super-troops, like dead gods you've free from Tartarus, but they'll get permanent afflictions in no time due to the enemy's countertactics. Sure, you can send your mages through the astral planes to hunt the minds of your enemy's champions, but the opponent can summon eldritch horrors that'll go after those yummy astral-tainted mages of yours.

2. Drastic end-game spells with diverse and radical effects. Things like "whenever any other players casts a spell they send me mana", "the population of the whole world starts to die off", "reanimate and release dead gods from Tartarus", "summon an eldritch horror to possess an enemy champions, whose mere vicinity will cause other enemies to go insane", "take permanent control of all enemies in tactical combat unless they resist", "turn the bodies of all allies into living lead" etc etc. Spells that can destroy armies by themselves. The existance of spells like that means any opponent that is left unchecked, even if they are weak, can cause serious harm, especially if they team up with someone else.

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July 9, 2014 8:58:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting davrovana,

I am working on a mod to replace the mop-up phase with sudden empowerment of surviving AIs.

Essentially, a turn 300 or 350 event where enemy difficulty will spike, making all surviving players a threat, even if they have only 1 city left.

The idea being, you want to hurry and win by a set turn limit, otherwise you'll be caught in a new, 'assymetrical' war where the AI is likely to pound you, unless you ruthlessly leverage your might to date to immediately win against AI opponents fighting with incredible new 'tech.'

Will post a link here when it becomes playable.

 

In otherwords the AI will get god troops and free money?

 

Yeah, screw that. Unless there's a faction named The mountain of gods or something then I can tolerate it.

 

I will be extremely unhappy to watch my high lvl troops annhilated cuz I felt like having fun exploring the world. -.-

 

I apologize if my post sounded real mean in advance..

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July 10, 2014 9:36:19 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Ericridge,


I will be extremely unhappy to watch my high lvl troops annhilated cuz I felt like having fun exploring the world. -.-

I empathize, but nontheless 'knowing' you will win deflates a lot of the fun.

My bet is that a sudden difficulty spike will at least throw the game back into contention, and keep it more interesting.

Also, I need "god troops" to fight, to remain challenged. : )

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July 10, 2014 4:21:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting davrovana,


Quoting Ericridge, reply 35

I will be extremely unhappy to watch my high lvl troops annhilated cuz I felt like having fun exploring the world. -.-


I empathize, but nontheless 'knowing' you will win deflates a lot of the fun.

My bet is that a sudden difficulty spike will at least throw the game back into contention, and keep it more interesting.

Also, I need "god troops" to fight, to remain challenged. : )

 

There is one exception i'm willing to make.. and that is that I must be able to access the same types of troops as AI does with same trait choices.

Otherwise I would start calling the AI alot of unfavorable names because they get to hog new toys.

 

Edit: err wait! I think Realm divide is one of way better things to spike up the difficulty drastically. It was quite well done in shogun total war without giving the AI armies of super saiyans. But of course the AI needs to at least understand how to manage unrest, so that they can field enough soldiers with resources to support them. Otherwise they will always be tiny and puny unless you're playing in ridiculous and up difficulty.

 

Edit2nd: To me FE:LH is still very unfinished until stardock get their butts in gear and make the AI understand unrest without being required to download an mod just to account for a major part of the AI.

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July 11, 2014 11:27:09 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Ericridge,

To me FE:LH is still very unfinished until stardock get their butts in gear and make the AI understand unrest without being required to download an mod just to account for a major part of the AI.

Unfinished? I think that is way too harsh. Many other 4X games have the "mop-up phase" syndrome.

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July 11, 2014 4:21:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting davrovana,


Quoting Ericridge, reply 37
To me FE:LH is still very unfinished until stardock get their butts in gear and make the AI understand unrest without being required to download an mod just to account for a major part of the AI.

Unfinished? I think that is way too harsh. Many other 4X games have the "mop-up phase" syndrome.

 

Well considering that Civ series's AI can have massive empires with no problems with unrest while the damn AI in FE:LH suffer from unrest and is forced to set their taxes to 10% all just because the AI don't understand how to deal with unrest while the AI in civ series go if their citizens become mad = acquire new luxuries or build happy face producing buildings.

 

When AI in FE:LH suffers from unrest they don't even go out of their way to deal with it, they just ignore it and carry on like usual.

 

Over 400+ hours and I have found a grand total of five bell towers in AI cities. There was probably few more but they're very rare to find.

 

Bell towers and Town halls is Civ series' equivalent of colosseums, etc. I only play on challenging difficulty when I could drop down loer but I don't because that's the only difficulty level where AI can suffer from stupid amount of unrest while offering enough soldiers for me to stab without ruining the game like ridiculous difficulty does. I really hate it when I start near the AI in challenging cuz it means super early plate troops before I have even researched boar spears.

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July 11, 2014 5:55:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Ericridge,

I only play on challenging difficulty.

It's time for Hard/Hard, I think. If you're being smoked on tech by the AI on challenging, well...

It's not the AI. It's YOU.

Even the civ series gooses its AI economy on higher difficulty levels. Time to play against a worthier opponent, instead of knocking Stardock.

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July 11, 2014 8:54:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting davrovana,


Quoting Ericridge, reply 39
I only play on challenging difficulty.

It's time for Hard/Hard, I think. If you're being smoked on tech by the AI on challenging, well...

It's not the AI. It's YOU.

Even the civ series gooses its AI economy on higher difficulty levels. Time to play against a worthier opponent, instead of knocking Stardock.

 

Oh my bad I meant on Expert mode I had to go to set up to check cuz I don't even look at that setting anymore

Its fine if you don't believe me.

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July 12, 2014 8:01:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Ericridge,

Oh my bad I meant on Expert mode I had to go to set up to check cuz I don't even look at that setting anymore

Difficulty++.

Try ridiculous/ridiculous next.

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July 12, 2014 10:07:59 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

But the difficulty in this game doesn't really add depth, it just adds MOAR DAKKA to the computer player's army. Which to some degree is fine - it is a single player game after all, and it's not really "cheating" just like Bowser being able to take more hits than Mario isn't the computer cheating.

But it's still kinda boring, at least for me. Especially since it seems mostly heavy in the beginning; granted I haven't gotten that high up in the difficulty yet, but when I try at harder settings, it just makes the start harder. Once you go past a certain point it seems to really quickly get to where you're safe and can easily abuse the AI to make any challenge really easy.

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July 12, 2014 5:55:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting davrovana,


Quoting Ericridge, reply 41
Oh my bad I meant on Expert mode I had to go to set up to check cuz I don't even look at that setting anymore


Difficulty++.

Try ridiculous/ridiculous next.

 

I have tried ridiculous once. Million times more worse than expert. ><

 

Whole world colonized, wildlands cleared, and full tech tree researched plus multiplers researched like eight times.

 

I cannot even fathom why ridiculous difficulty exists at all.

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July 17, 2014 3:15:53 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I still don't get the real problem. Who has more gets more is at the bottom of all 4X games with an economy model. This fact should be considered in the options for a win, not in any attempt to artificially increase endgame difficulty.

I agree that FE has a particularly bad city management AI, same for unit management, and can't handle magic. But that influences mid game, where it is way too wasy to conquer well developed enemy cities, late game the game is decided anyway. What the devs could do is adjust win options accordingly, the late game boredom is a hallmark of all 4x games. And I would call it natural.

Regards,

Thorsten

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August 15, 2014 3:17:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

One thing that I saw on Civs games (I believe it was introduced with Fall to Heaven) is the ablility of "players" appearing and going or vanishing during the game. So a new civ appear of the middle of no where right beside your borders, of raiders decide your are a good target for them.

This way you simulate a real world situation, where new empires come and collapse, nomadic tribes attack or a formally peaceful area became suddenly hostile.

One nice thing in LH would be the ability of former outlaw camps became civs, of perhaps a troll civilization?

About end game situations, a game that you will not win until "kills" all the monster lairs or clear the whole wildlands (which should became much stronger if they have a growing civilization mechanic) would be interesting. The key here (besides the strategies discussed above) is having a ever evoluing, dangerous envinronment where you can never be sure what will happen last.

A closing thought, the main problem here I believe is the fact that it comes to a time where you are so strong that you cannot be challenged by other civs anymore. But from where does your power came from? From your resources, shards and cities, from your armies as well. Its easy for a nomadic army to raze much of your strenght before you are able to deal with them properly, by the time the damage was done...

By the way, although I love the cloudwalk and freeze like spells, but they make the game very overpowered, first because is very difficult to make the AI use it properly ( and avoid human players ruses for example) and because they leave out one of the biggests problems with real armies, that is: logistics. Even nowadays, with all the kinds of planes and so, it is an important issue. Imagine the time when you didnt have those facilities. It made necessary to protect each and every border with strong armies (esp. those near unrule "allies) to constantly move armies from one place to another, and to try and prevent most of the invasions. That is one of the key factor that made big empires so difficult to rule.

And you also have, corruption, diseases and many complicator factors. The cost of having so many armies, the allegiance of soldiers of different (or conquered) places, etc. All these are complicator factor to a big, long standing empire, and even if they couldn't (although some times they could) destroy an empire by themselves they could at leat creat a breach, that smaller civs or treats could use. Then, is a domino effect as well, but not the one to lead a player to victory!

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August 16, 2014 9:15:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Honestly, AIs uniting against you because you are too powerful just becomes annoying grind, unless they actually unite and become one civ as would happen in Master of Orion II if you went against the AI winning a Galactic Council vote.

Weak AIs that have fallen behind simply flinging themselves at you just because you're winning does not make a game more enjoyable for me.

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August 16, 2014 10:37:55 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

N/A

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August 18, 2014 11:09:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Chibiabos,

Weak AIs that have fallen behind simply flinging themselves at you just because you're winning does not make a game more enjoyable for me.


Well, that's not the way it must be. Any way, you most of the time would "look as" you was winning, but (as in real live) that's not exactly what is happening. It very easy to collapse after being mined by some time by (aparently) weaker foes.

I liked this setup Primal, 'll try it next time I roll a new game!


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