- Interesting Choices. Being forced to spend essence to build a city is not a choice interesting or not. I’m inclined to find some other use to revive land rather than forcing users to use it to effectively build a town. That is, we’d let the player build cities on the foresaken land. That’s a pretty big game change but when you add the new game behavior that the sovereign can only found their kingdom (after that, only pioneers can build cities) it makes things a lot more fun. I’d rather see essence used to generate fertile land or something (as an example).
Cancel the Essence cost of "Founding a City" and have the essence cost come Solely from "Reviving the Land". To make this useful, place other tiles on the map that would make it worth it to revive the land around them so they automatically get included in your Kingdom/Empires boundary when your city "revived land creep" reaches the other area where you revived the land. Example:
There is a Mine and a Earth Shard a little bit away from where I founded a city. I founded the city where I did because it was next to fertile land, but I want those other resources sooner rather then later, so I go cast "Revive Land" between those two resources. Now when my city boundary/revived creep reaches the other area they automatically join together putting the second area I revived into my domain. Now I can build on those resources with a Pioneer.
- NPCs. Playing as a Trog today makes me uncertain why an NPC from the race of men would want to sign on board. Should they just cost more? Or should they be hostile? Or what?
I think that should depend on if you're playing the "Scripted Campaign" or the "Sand-Box Game". In the "SC" (scripted campaign) I would say these two should have a strong dislike of each other unless the "Man" involved was a "Evil Man". In "Sand-Box" it should go by Diplomacy modifiers and values. Will the Man make more money working for the Trog then he would working for a human Sovereign? If so and "money" was the Man's primary want, he'd go with the Trog. If "Good Morals" were the Man's primary want, he would go follow the human Sovereign.
This would mean adding a limited "Behavioral Script" for each NPC type. Kinda like the "Behavioral Idea" I said about "Monsters" I.E. some like living in swamps, others might like living in deserts. Apply the same theory to different types of NPC's based on the NPC's Race, Sex, and Desires like "Money", "Power", "Honor", etc etc. You could call these desires "Wants" in script and give every living thing in the world it's own set of "wants". Example:
A "Fire Drake" would want: Monster_Fire_Drake Want= Fire, Heat, Dry, Fresh Meat. This would make the fire drake seek out places that were hot and dry yet near a steady source of food. Like a dormant volcano with a much traveled trade route near by. It would live in the volcano and come out and attack caravans when it was hungry.
Note: Not sure you'll have time to implement something like that though. It involves a little scripting be added, but not too much I don't think depending on the man power you assign to it. 3 or 4 guys could probably add "Want Tags" to every Creature/Npc in the game in a few days.
- Quests. I’m inclined to have quests have an Allegiance tag. That is, Empires would get different quests than Kingdoms. Right now, they share them. Relias, the do-gooder might escort some princeling to his estate. Verga, however, would use his bones as a paste.
I'm not sure I like that. I'd rather have all the Quests be Flavor Text based depending on what faction gets to them first. This way all the same quests can be gotten by every player regardless of Race/Faction but the quest would change slightly depending on who reaches it first. Example:
Quest, take the Princess to her Royal Estate. Kingdom faction gets to it first..
"Please my Lord, escort my beautiful daughter to her rightful beloveds city, tis not far from here and I will pay you handsomely. Or if you like, I would be honored if you could woo her your-self, my Lord."
Same Quest, Empire Faction gets there first...
"Oh Lord of Darkness, my unruly daughter has vexed me for far too long. She refuses to marry any suitor who comes to call on her and now I just want her out of my house, especially if you could procure some gildar for me as a dowry. Please, take my daughter and marry her off to who you will for as high a price as you can get and I shall reward you well for your trouble."
Now the Dark Lord can either deliver the girl and force her to marry someone, OR Force her to marry Him, OR just kill her himself and tell her father he got her married off and is ready to receive his reward. The Good Lord would either deliver the daughter as promised OR marry her himself.
The Quest stays the same, the Flavor Text is all that changes depending on if a Good or Evil faction gets to it first. A Simple Tag can be added in the Quest Script to determine which flavor text to use and to detect which faction the hero/sovereign that found it belongs to.
- Spells. Need a LOT more default spells that you can learn.
I've got TONS if Spell Ideas floating around in my head. I could fill the entire page of this thread with my Spell Ideas, even some that I conceptualized while working on UO. I have a "World's Worth" of fantastical knowledge locked away in this sack-o-crazy I call a brain. You want spells? I'll PM you about 50 Ideas for Great Spells. Better that then list them all here, trust me. I even have some of my old notes from when I was designing Necro Tokens for UO. If you want I can dig them up, these are spells. For Elemental we'd just take out the need for the "Necro Token" but keep the Spell Idea. The only reasons these were rejected when I brought them up to my old Boss on UO is because most of the effects I wanted to use were mirrored by other spells that already existed in UO for other classes (which oddly enough were my instructions when I began the project...). To my knowledge, these types of spells don't exist in Elemental. Some of these ideas for spells are so good you wouldn't want me to post them here. You'd want to save them as a "surprise" for launch and only use a few for the Beta. If you want them, let me know and I'll PM them to you.
- Spells #2. Need some way to queue up spell learning.
Add another Full Screen to the Kingdom Screen. Another research tab/page Just for Spells. Now add the list of spells you can learn, All the spells you have the "Books" to learn them from should be listed. Now add a row of boxes on it somewhere and "queue" up spells in those boxes to be learned as the time allows. Each spell will take so many turns and the right Shards/Mana to be able to "Research". This would also require that "Spell Research" be Specifically Separated from "Magical Research".
Edit Note: If someone whines and says "This is too much micromanagement I'll personally come stick my size 13 Harley Boot in their @ss. It's "Crunch Time", not 'Whine Time". Sorry, that's just how I feel. Honestly, this isn't much to add and it DOES NOT make things "More Complicated" by adding one extra research screen. If anything it will Simplify Learning New Spells. If you can't figure that one out, you don't have the brain power to be playing this type of game and should go play Pong or Spore or something more in line with your IQ level...sory to be a prick.
- City Improvements. I’d rather see fewer general improvements and more 1 per faction (Imperial Achievement) and 1 per world (World Achievement) buildings so that specializing cities is more fun.
I like specializing cities. Specializing Planets in GalCiv 2 was the same for me. If I had a Planet that had a lot of minerals and got production bonuses that Planet would be one of my main "Ship Yards" (I would put Ship Yard in the Planet Name). Cities in Elemental should be the same way, I should be able to specialize them. A City with massive population bonuses like "extra food income, scenic view" etc etc that would lead to High Populations would naturally make me want to use That City as my Main City for Producing Soldiers. Another City might be built near magical resources like it's close to Two Shards or it gets Research Bonuses, so That City would be my Primary Research City..etc etc...you get the point. This also means how-ever that the players need to be able to build more then one of the same type of building per town and the bonuses should stack for doing so. Meaning if I build Three Huts and Two Command Posts I should be able to produce soldiers twice as fast as a city with One Hut and One Command Post.
- Empires are more polished. Ironically, the Empires feel “better” than the kingdoms in terms of balance. Probably because they’ve gotten more love (polish wise) with the notable and obvious exception of graphics.
Having not really seen much of the polish in the Empires it's kinda hard for me to give you ideas on how to improve them. After I actually see some more and get to play with them some I'll be better able to give input.
Also, a slight pet peeve..but how about Ice to Water? Ice is more of a sub-section of Water imo..But other than that, a hefty dose of both utility and destruction spells.
YES...Please change Ice to Water. It makes a lot more sense to me that way, as Rath points out, Ice is more of a derivative form of Water. Please change it to being Called "Water Magic".