Uhh, ok. I misunderstood you, but now that I know what you were trying to say, I don't see the point really. Or at least I don't see the problem you're implying would exist. Yes, if Stardock creates an original creature and names it, people aren't going to read the name and guess what it is (unless the name happens to be very descriptive, of course). Stardock is going to write a description and history for all the creatures they include in the game, whether they're based on a classic fantasy archetype or not. If reading descriptions isn't your cup of tea, you can do without reading them in pretty much every game I've ever read - the stats sheet is usually enough to figure out how they function in the game.
Reading descriptions is not a problem... I never said it was a problem. It will probably take the developer a little more time inventing and describing a new creature. As I've mentioned classic fantasy creatures are not better than new fantasy creatures and vise versa. My original argument was an attack against the classic fantasy creatures which have always been the core creatures used in fantasy games.
The better the writing quality the more realistic the creature can appear within the fantasy game. A new creature with a poor description reads, "The Globoit likes sheep and enjoys banging his club on hills." This poor description leaves more questions than answers... "likes sheep" does this mean friendly with sheep or enjoys eating them? "banging his club on hills" does this mean fighting on the hills or wildly striking the hill itself? And what size are these hills?
To quote your exact words again:
NTJedi writes: There's no need to spend time writing a description and history for the customer to learn the unit... aka 'vampire' will drain life blood, is undead and holy attacks hurt.
Maybe you meant something else, but those words strongly imply that you think have to read a bit to figure out the traits of a creature is a bad thing - and that is a concept I just don't understand. If this were an FPS, fine, but it isn't and learning the abilities and characteristics of units is a big part of it. And honestly, even if Stardock included, say, unicorns - would you really be able to guess their traits and abilities off the bat? I've played lots of games with unicorns in them, and they've had very different traits and abilities. In your most recent post you even mentioned this - that the same creatures often function differently in different games... Long story short - this point of yours is farcical.
What I've implied is the developers don't need to spend time writing a more detailed description and history for customers to learn the unit. That's significantly different than what you've read as being, "The customers don't need to spend the time reading to learn the unit." The point here is time developers are spending.
NTJedi writes:1) Classic fantasy creatures already have well known traits, history and abilities which allows the gamers to more easily recognize and daydream about them from past knowledge of books, myths, movies, etc., .
This seems like the flimsiest reason to focus on including familiar fantasy creatures. For one, do unicorns and vampires really have well-known histories? As far as I'm aware that changes around quite a bit based on which fantasy world you're dealing with. And really, other than in the campaign, the important fantasy world is the world you create. Having well-known abilities is irrelevant because anyone with a half-decent imagination can imagine would 'new' abilities might look like. Same thing with traits. Not to mention the fact that battles with creatures will play out in graphical splendor right in front of you.
As I wrote earlier... they do have well known histories: Unicorns have a single horn on their head and Vampires drain life blood. And as I wrote earlier depending on the developers interest, abilities and time the other varying traits of varying popularity may or may not be included. These well known traits is what helps lure existing fantasy gamers... aka dragons are one of the most popular requests.
NTJedi writes: 2) Classic fantasy creatures are not better than new fantasy creatures and vise versa.
I sort of disagree, actually. I'm tired of the classical fantasy creatures. I see the same ones in every game and they get really damn old! Sure there are differences, but it's still the same creature. And when I see something over and over it loses its magic, if you'll pardon the pun. It stops feeling fantastical and wonderful and just because a run-of-the-mill standard unit. When I go to the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art) I don't go to see modified versions of a hundred of the most famous paintings. That might be fun once or twice, but it wouldn't keep me coming back to see the latest set of variants. No, I go to the museum to see different people's original work. That's what I'd prefer to see in games, too. Now, as Luckmann pointed out in another thread, being unique for the sake of being unique is more harmful than helpful - so if Stardock decides that coming up with many original or less common creatures would result in an inferior game, then they should stick largely with the common archetypes. But I have more faith in Stardock's creativity than that.
Now I could easily go into reasons why artwork from museums are significantly different then creations in a game, but I'll reference a different topic for comparison the same as you.
Well if you don't like the classical creatures then how do you stomach eating chicken a few times every week? Sure there are differences in how the chicken is prepared, but it's still the same creature. Here you see chicken over and over yet it never loses its magic. Feel free to replace the word chicken with any of your usual weekly meals. Unless you're vegetarian there's plenty of other edible meat you could be rotating into the food cycle with virtually no longterm cost difference if you're able to walk for hunting such as Elk, Rabbit, Bear, Coyote, Wolf, Goat, etc., etc., . Now add in the different types of seafood and you could have a different unique meal almost every day of the year plus the hunting and fishing is a healthy activity unless the small chance you fall asleep while fishing or carelessly walk to close to the bear. Even if you're a vegetarian there's plenty of other unique edible plants you could be rotating into the food cycle. Now before you go into a long explanation of how you can't hunt rabbit let me explain my point. Classical fantasy creatures such as dragons repeatedly appear within fantasy games because their fame has made them a favorite amongst fantasy gamers... just because you claim to be eager for something new doesn't mean others in the community will suddenly dislike the classics. The classics... such as dragons will be in the game and saying you're tired of classic fantasy creatures won't be changing anything.
3) New fantasy creatures require genuine creativity from the developer... which is good, but naturally a little more difficult than creating a fantasy creature from historical myth.
This at least we can agree on completely. Although I would argue that including less-common fantasy creatures (ala Rakshasas) is hardly more work than including classical ones.
The Rakshasas is not a new fantasy creature, but only one which has been "copied" from historical myth and thus not more difficult than "copying" a more popular fantasy creature from historical myth. Just because I'm the first to copy an idea doesn't mean it's new. A new fantasy creature requires more work and imagination... even if you have an idea of a new creature the extra work includes answering and detailing the units origin(s), evolution, behavior, abilities, weaknesses, etc., etc., . While the developer doesn't need to answer all these questions the more details the better the customer can envision the actual unit in the game. A short description would be less remembered, whereas a short description of a vampire would be a developers way of relying on existing lore about vampires to save time. Personally if I was creating a new fantasy unit I would provide a vast list of answers from the units origin(s), evolution, behavior, abilities, etc., etc., .
NTJedi writes: 4) Fantasy TBS games usually include the most popular fantasy creatures from historical myth to not only lure customers, but also to provide a reference point for any new unique creatures created. If the developers include dragons and then decide to create a creature more powerful than a dragon or three times more powerful than a dragon the gamer can better understand and visualize the power of the new creature.
Maybe I'm abnormal but vampires and unicorns won't catch my eye as a cool creature that I can't quite place... Although honestly the art style is more likely to impact my decision on whether or not to make an impulse buy for a game like Elemental than the creature they chose to display on the cover. Really I can't think of any situation where I'd decide whether or not to buy a fantasy game based on the creatures it includes except if its full of different units - that would probably attract my attention. But really I'm far more concerned about gameplay and game mechanics than whether or not there are dragons or naga or flying pigs.
For the majority of people vampires, unicorns and other fantasy classics by themselves won't catch a gamers eye as a cool creature for buying a game. However the interest of each creature for gamers fluctuates on how creative the unit is visually and strategically within the game. A game demo might spark interest for someone who recognizes the developer provides great detail in a vampires attacks, movements, behaviors, weaknesses, strategic depth and graphic image. The battlefield attacks and strategic depth might become a reason the creature becomes more popular in the community.
And the reference point thing is irrelevant, because it doesn't work. For one, there are always your born and bred humans to measure against. But more importantly because overall strength of different creatures is not maintained from one game to the next. For example in many games dragons are among the most powerful units, but closely or even outmatched by host of others. In some of those games there are also all sorts of lesser dragons that are not particularly powerful at all. In many others dragons are just another creature and are not incredibly powerful. In Elemental, it looks like dragons will be at the top of the hierarchy aside from maybe powerful channelers and it appears the odd god-like being that might be encountered once in a blue moon. The issues gets even more fuddled if you're trying to compare things like unicorns against vampires - who the heck knows! Even if you take HoMM games - in HoMM III unicorns were much stronger than vampires, while in HoMM IV vampires were unequivocally better than unicorns. But even then, strength does not equate to usefulness - special abilities and traits play a huge role in that, and that can only be gauged with experience and experimentation.
To gauge brute strength, looking at the stats will always tell you more than guessing its strength relative to another creature based on preconceptions. To gauge the actual usefulness of different creatures in different situations, you have to play (or read other peoples' advice).
The reference point of dragons is not irrelevant because they overall maintain a very high strength amongst all fantasy games... for example you'll never see a ghost as being stronger than a dragon. While the strength of a dragon obviously varies they are always on the higher end. Of course strength of vampires and unicorns vary since these are relatively closer in size and balance... while a unicorn size(weight) is slightly larger the vampire has more attacks/abilities. The reference point comes to other creatures such as comparing a vampire to a pixie or a vampire to a dragon.
NTJedi writes: I never said you didn't think the majority of fantasy units don't come from historical myth. Understand, I wrote that phrase to show new unique creatures are not the most memorable, because otherwise the truly greatest memorable ones would have their popularity grow beyond just a single game reference.
Not necessarily... Being memorable doesn't necessarily mean people will clamor for it to be reused. I'll use my example again - Rakshasas, for me the most memorable unit in HoMM V. But I'd never beg SD to please use Rakshasas! For one I've already played HoMM V to death and they have lost some of the glamour (they are no longer 'new' or 'novel' to me), and secondly I don't care what individual creatures Stardock includes, I just want there to be a hefty amount of originality or at least exotic-ness put into them.
Well if people are not interested in the unit being reused for other games, books, movies, etc., etc., than those units are clearly LESS memorable than the units which are being used for other games. Considering Elemental will have powerful modding abilities I would rather the Stardock developers use their time on other game variables and allow the community to create the new fantasy creatures and the less common fantasy creatures.
Secondly, creatures that were actually created for use in one game might not really be applicable in another, due to all sorts of factors like game mechanics and fantasy setting. The Syrons from AoW:SM fit that bill rather well - in a game without a shadow world (or another plane) a huge portion of what made them different is lost and they become something else...
This is actually not only easy for a developer to solve, but also helps them avoid the intellectual property rights of creatures created by another game. Instead of the shadow world I setup these creatures as coming from the realm of clouds, instead of Syrons we call them Sirons, instead of the Giant Warrior I call him the Storm Warrior with lightning immunity and lightning strike... create a new graphic image with even 50% similiarity and it's mostly finished. The majority of units can be legally copied the same way. Wait what about their enemy the shadow demons... well we call them the Dusk Demons and pretty much do the same copying. Such differences gets them out of legal issues and copying them helps to meet the demands of any fans of the Syrons race which might have been requested on the forums of the new game.
Another thing to consider here is - how many fantasy games are there based in original settings? Things like LoTR games don't count because their worlds and inhabitants are pre-established. There is MoM, HoMM, AoW, etc. I could probably count the worthwhile ones with my fingers! There is not a particularly huge pool to draw from - in fact it's so small that if one game incorporated a unit 'invented' for one other game, it would be kind of blatant.
If it's a true new creature which means no previous relation to historical myths, books or movies and has been creatively described than the developers would need to decide how tightly they want to manage others using the idea... which can still be copied pretty obviously. Personally if I created a true new creature in a game or book I would only ask to be included in the credits and a percentage of any other money directly made from the creature... hence if they start selling plastic figurines or halloween costumes I'd want my cut of the pie.
Really, I can't speak for anyone but myself - and nothing you can say is going to convince me that I will remember a game for its vampires and unicorns instead of its more original cast members. Again, maybe I'm abnormal - but these are my preferences.
Actually for me... and I estimate many others will remember a game for the units which have the greatest visual battlefield displays, most interesting skills/abilities and greatest strategic depth. Heck I'd completely enjoy a fantasy game which used only popular fantasy creatures as long as those three qualities are provided.