As it is now a unit is defined as collection of Attack, Defense, Movement, Training time, Upkeep. Upkeep is only calculated in gold. Every unit can be only 'composed' of Weapon, Armor & Special. In my opinion these elves the unit creation & diversity VERY low. That's why I would like to present to you the comprehensive overhaul (or evolution) of units proposal.
P.S. My native language isn't English - that's why there will be many mistakes, but I hope it won't disgust you .
§2 New unit system
§2.1 Unit statistics
Every unit should be composed of stats divided into two groups:
- Main stats
These stats should be always present in the units info window (in the bottom left corner of the screen). These are the most important stats so these should be always visible.
- Secondary stats
While those stats are called 'secondary', their impact on the battle/unit effectiveness shouldn't be neglected at all. There will be quite a few secondary stats, so these should be only present when entering specific unit description (ex. double click the unit's portrait and/or Right-click the portrait and select "Info").
Main stats should consists of:
- Attack (ATK)
Physical attack - how much damage the unit can deal to the opponent. Everything is based on the ratio attack/defense. The greater the attack of your unit, the more damage it will deal. Attack equal 0 or lower (being cursed) can't inflict damage to enemy.
- Defense (DEF)
Second half of attack. The more defense you have, the less physical damage you will receive. (Physical) Defense protects you also from magical damage, but with 50% effectiveness (10 DEF = 5 Magic Defense). You can change the modifier choosing different race/training/equipment. Unit with defense lower than 0 feel more damage for every hit.
- Hit Points (HP)
How many damage (after applying DEF) the unit can handle. HP should regenerate itself by - let's say - 10% per day. Thus, bigger units regenerate more HP every day. There should be special items improving the regeneration. If units HP reaches 0, it's dead, period.
- Movement rate (MR)
How far the unit can move in one turn. MR is also applicable to the battleground (during the fight). Units with MR equal to 0 can't move - they are stationary. Together with movement rate comes the way that unit's travels, here is a small UML diagram to present what I mean:
- Upkeep (UPK)
All units should require some kind of upkeep (at least huge majority of them). The typical form is just to pay them some money. In my opinion this is too simple. These are several types of upkeep I would like implemented into the game:
The most typical kind of stuff - your units just have to get their pay. Think, typical soldier. If you can't provide your units with enough gold they will either disappear or switch side (kingdom soldiers are far more interested in joining another kingdom's forces and vice versa). Very loyal units will stay with you even if you can't pay them, but expect morale drop in return.
We summoned some elementals/golems/undead - in order for them to exist on our plane, we have to support them with sufficient amount of energy. That's why we will have to pay them for every round they stay with us. Without enough mana your summons will just vanish.
- Fresh meat®
Dragons hate eating cows/sheeps all the time - from time to time they want to taste human blood. The particular amount of citizens would be subtracted from your total number of citizens (taken evenly from all towns, where bigger towns would 'pay' more). If there is some system of civil disorder, any unit with such kind of upkeep should add a considerable amount of unhappiness factor. If you don't provide your unit with food it will either disappear (fly away to some deserted island), switch sides (unlikely) or become berserk .
During countless battles your units will gain experience. Lets assume there will be 5 types of experience levels:
Your unit will start as a rookie, unless you train it. Higher levels of experience should be obtained only in real battle. Needless to say, the bigger the unit's experience the better (MUCH better) unit's efficiency in battle. Unit can get faster, stronger, more resilient to damage, gain some new abilities etc.
Secondary stats should consist of:
- Familiar type of terrain
Every unit has it's own terrain on which it feels the best. Such unit doesn't receive any movement penalties when it is on a specific type of terrain. For example: an elf will move through forest like it was a road. Normal units (of type terrain: grass/plains) are screwed here as their terrain doesn't apply any penalties - of course this will be the majority of units, so the better ones (with different type of terrain) will cost more.
The higher, the faster the unit. It may happen that due to high initiative the unit will be able strike even 2 time before other - particular - unit will have it's chance. Of course we are talking about battlefield here.
- Attack type (range, melee)
Simple - if you have range attack, you can attack from afar, while melee units have to close on someone.
- Attack damage type (physical, magical)
Also very simple - you can deal either physical or magical type of damage. Physical damage will come from great majority of units (unless equipped with magical items), while magical type will be reserved for some priests/sorcerers and of course spells cast by your sovereign as battlefield spells.
Your units aren't mindless ghouls (ok, some are), so you have to be careful not to stress them too much. Basically if the morale of a unit drops to 0, the will desert - aka disappear. We don't want to make the game too complicated, so this thing is optional, or it's impact on the game small. Let's say that desertion will only happen if you really treated your soldiers bad/enemy sovereign cast a really nasty spell/the units you are controlling are said not to be very brave (think: bunch of goblins).
How to keep morale of your soldiers high:
- Don't let them get serious injuries
- If they are harmed, try to regen their HP as soon as possible
- Try to fight on your territory
- Win as many battles as you can
- Lose as few battles as possible
- Don't let the enemy wizard cast nasty - morale breaking spells - on your units
- Try to make your units fight in one group - this way they will feel safe
- [Attack range]
Attack range applies only to range attacks (duh!). It's describe as X÷Y. "X means minimal distance that has to be between attacker and attacked, while "Y" is the maximum range.
- [Special abilities]
Oh, this section will be huge. Previously mentioned are the basis of every unit - they describe it as the lowest level. You have units with tons of HP, attack & defense - probably it will be a killing machine and cost you arm and leg. On this level units are, however, not very diversified - they lack the uniqueness. That is why there are special abilities. In order to make the game even more interesting, we might add some negative abilities, but for simplicity - and pleasure of game - we will just stay with the positive ones.
Let's start from saying how to obtain such special abilities. There are couple of ways:
Choosing a specif race (or a unit's base) will grant to some inherited abilities. For example: orcs gain +5 to attack if they lose more than 50% HP. This ability will apply to ALL orcs that you train.
One of the options before creating the unit in the unit editor, should be the training. Let's say we have a typical Joe wielding a chain mail, a sword and a shield. Everything is nice & simple, but we want our Joe to be a battle cleric of some sort, so we send him to some priest training. Of course it will take SOME time and money, but in the end we will get a Joe the cleric. There should be a fixed number of how many trainings such units could have.
Let's say that our Joe is wearing "boots of traveling fast through forests©". This way, he - somehow - can travel through forest like he was an elf! Woot!
Experience bonuses should be one of the most important ones, as they would reward players that spend enough time & patience on rising their units to be almost as good as heroes. Experience boni should be based on the race (type of unit) and training. For example: only elves can be sharpshooters and double their range, while only priests can become Ultra-clerics and rise your units from the dead.\
- Abilities list
- Quick - Always first regardless of enemy units' initiative (Quick vs. Quick2 = the unit with higher initiative).
- Fear - Your undead lich strikes fear into hearts of opponents; if they don't have morale high enough, they will be paralyzed for 3 rounds.
- Paralyze - Your unit can't move, attack, cast spells, blah blah.
- Ignore armor - Your unit strike the opponent as if he hasn't got any armor against your unit's attack.
- Overpowering attack - If the enemy unit has armor lower than attack of your unit, your unit will deal 2x damage.
- Scout - On the main map, your unit can see 2 hexes further.
- Able learner - Unit gains 1.5x exp (faster promotions).
- Heroic - Your unit will never be afraid and will never desert you - it will fight till the end.
- Reflect spell - 15% that the spell cast thrown on this unit will be reflected on sovereign's unit.
- Reflect damage - 10% chance that the melee damage dealt to this unit will be fully reflected.
- Group fighter - +25% do damage if there are at least 3 units of this unit's side.
- Cavalry killer - +30% to damage against cavalry.
- Sharpshooter - Regardless of distance and obstructions, this unit will always hit and/or deal max damage.
- Summon units - Unit can summon units to help it against attackers.
- Crush walls - Unit can deal damage to walls.
- Heal - Unit can heal wounds.
- Dominate opponent - 20% per attack, that unit will gain control over enemy unit. Every turn there is a 30% possibility that the unit will break the spell.
- Evasion - 25% to evade melee/range attacks.
- Monster slayer - +50% to damage against any monster type unit.
§2.2 Unit creation screen
There should be 5 tabs in the unit creation screen:
- Type (race)
Something new. Basically every kingdom should start with their basic unit type. On this poor Joe you can put all the things you want - armor, weapon and even train him. Later in the game you should meet some other kingdoms/empires (probably Stardock will make them the same race...) AND independent 'races'. For example you met some elves in the woods - they are a really powerful opponent (every neutral race should be decently powerful, so that they won't be conquered too easily). Elves could join you, providing you succeed in fulfilling their demands. Let's say they need some protection; you have to kill a dragon; you have to provide them with a lot of expensive materials etc. You can always conquer them, but it should be rather hard, thus forcing players to seek other ways to obtain new races.
Unit made of non-standard race should posses new abilities, and should be able to go through different types of trainings. Let's say only an elven unit can become a druid - a unit able to summon units and heal allies.
Basically a class of a unit. There should be a fixed (and rather low) number of maximum training that the unit can go through - let's say 2. Sending your unit on a training would considerably lengthen the time required for the unit to be available. However, it would make the unit unique, with a specif role on the battlefield - not just another boring Joe.
- Horse riding (Can ride a horsee! - aka cavalry)
- Cleric training (Healbot)
- Mage training (Poor man's sovereign)
- Ambidexterity training (Drizzt style, oh yeah!)
- Rogue training (stealth, evasion, this kind of stuff )
As it is now - you give your unit a weapon, and it will deal more damage. Weapons can be made of different materials and can be enchanted, so for example they deal more air/fire/water/earth damage.
More armor - lesser damage. You can equip your units with different types of armor. For example: plate armor the best, but also the heaviest. If you are fighting against purely melee forces, you should be able to survive using only chain-mails.
Pedants, necklaces, rings etc. Accessories should provide your units many interesting advantages. Namely: better spell resistance, bigger XP gain, bigger attack and what not.