For those who are not aware, Stardock made Gal Civ II. If you haven't played it, its worth checking out (and if you haven't a lot that i'm about to say won't make much sense).
Lets jump into the fun stuff. Combat in Gal Civ II was quite simple. each weapon on your ship rolled from 0 to N where N was the damage value of the weapon (Sound Familiar?). The defender would roll 0 to N of the defense type being utilized. If the defense was not optimal, the sqrt of the defense value was to be used. For each point of damage the defense mitigates, it is temporarily lowered by the amount of damage mitigated for the combat round.
Because each ship was to have a plethora of weapons, the law of averages took ensured that you would not have situations like in 1.09 of elemental where your attack would consistently miss. Derek's new squaring method of attacking has fixed this problem with 1.1. What still remains is the armor problem in elemental. Currently in elemental, you could have hundreds of guys with spears attacking a soldier in full plate and the soldier in full plate would win every time.
The armor value in Elemental could be depleted just like it is in Gal Civ II. In addition, we could have 3 armor types.
Light: Leather, Padded etc.
Medium: Chain Mail, Scale Mail.
Heavy: Full Plate
Now what I'm about to suggest may seem a little bit weird. Instead of Tiering the armors by the type of materials, I would tier them by the quality of the materials.
Light: Padded, Leather, Heavy Leather
Medium: Chain Mail, Scale Mail, Dragon Scale Mail.
Heavy: Light Plate, Heavy Plate, Elementium Plate.
More tiers should be added but this is the general idea. The thought is if we had 7-8 tiers, the technology gaps would be smaller. Right now the difference between two tiers of armor is very dramatic. In Gal Civ II it armor was researched more slowly allowing for more gradual increase in protection rather than the rapid jumps.
Each armor type could have its own unique innate effect. In Gal Civ II this was not the case but I think it could add some nice flavor to the game.
Light: The Armor gets a + bonus to defense when in forest tiles. This represents that leather can blend into trees far better than plate or chain mail.
I was thinking on the order of +10% bonus for a total of 20% def in the woods.
Medium: This armor is starting to get heavy. I would apply a -1 movement penalty in tactical combat for wearing this armor (not per piece but rather if you are wearing atleast medium, your at a -1 movement penalty).
Heavy: The armor offers the most protection but the causes significant speed issues. a -2 movement penalty in tactical combat speed should occur. In addition a -1 combat speed modifier should also occur (hard to swing fast when wearing heavy crap .
With the inclusion of armor types, 3 damage types should also be used. In Gal Civ II, 1 defense type was fully effective against 1 damage type. I'm proposing something similar. If the armor type is effective against a weapon, the weapon has its attack reduced by 33%.
Blunt: Countered by Light Armor.
Piercing: Countered by Medium Armor.
Slashing: Countered by Heavy Armor.
In gal Civ II (and elemental) there are ridged tiers of weapons. The older weapons fall away to be relatively useless. However in elemental, you have several resources to worry about, which does allow some of the non-metal weapons to remain effective if metal is scarce. If the tiers of weapons were material quality instead of a new weapon type, then more variety will exist in our soldiers.
Short Sword: + combat speed.
Scimitar: +1 combat speed, 2h
Rapier: + accuracy
Short Bow: + accuracy
Pike: 2h, -combat speed.
Lord hammer: 2h, -combat speed, High damage
This is an incomplete list (no stats, more possible weapons to add later). But generally if we had this many weapons to chose from at all times, soldiers would feel more unique (and would have more purpose). The materials for metal weapons could be, copper, brass, iron, ventri, steel, elementium.
Combat Speed Vs movement
An interesting issue in Elemental right now is that combat speed affects both combat movement and number of attacks. I believe these two should be separated (leave global movement to be the same as tactical (with armor type effects). Combat speed would simply determine the number of attacks a unit gets per turn.
A component missing from Elemental is unit upgrades. Upon researching a new armor material or weapon material, your old units are obsolete. Currently veteran warriors have no way of exchanging their gear for newer equipment. A unit should be allowed to upgrade equipment when inside of a city. Some turns should be spent representing the unit "training" with the new weapon. In Gal Civ II you could only upgrade a ships to another design of the same hull size. I would implement a "armor type" restriction so a light warrior could not suddenly switch to a heavy armor.
If you have made it thus far in this proposal, you are probably wondering why you would ever use light armor over heavy. Well Besides the fact that heavy armor should cost lots of metal, all three armor types would be unlocked after researching the first "crude armor". From here, 3 separate lines of armor would be available for research. The same would go for weapons.
New Combat Mechanics
I've felt that a few things could really add to the game if they were added in.
Attacks of Opportunity
Should a unit leave melee range from an enemy, that enemy can make a free attack (should AP remain).
In this diagram, Y can move to any of the X's without an attack of opportunity but should Y move else where, then E can make 1 attack against Y.
Enemies with only 1 enemy adjacent to them can offer support to allies. Each ally supported in this manner will add +10% attack (or lower enemy def because they are distracted) to its allies. For example
In this example, 1 and 2 cannot support because more than 1 enemy is adjacent to them. However because 3 is only touching one 1 enemy, he can support 2.
Morale was in this game but it was on an army wide basis. I think this should be moved to a per unit basis. I would start each unit at 100 morale (out of 133). The following would affect morale
Ally Retreated: -5 morale (per group level. So the tier 2 groups (3 soldiers for empire) would be worth -10 morale)
Ally Destroyed: -5 morale (per group level)
Enemy Destroyed: +5 morale (per group level)
Enemy Retreated: +5 morale (per group level)
Flanked: -2 morale
No Enemies nearby: +4 morale, none within 3 squares.
Death of Sovereign: -20 (on top of normal penalties)
Death of Family Member: -10 (on top of normal penalties)
Basically morale would work as follows. All attack values (damages) are multiplied by by the morale (a percentage). These ranges would be from 67-133. So if your side was winning, your troops would start to fight better. Units will start at +1 morale per 2 points of charisma on the highest cha character leading them. This gives more reason to use charisma.
This was an extremely important technology in Gal Civ II. It allowed you to create bigger fleets. A fleet was simply a stack that would fight together (similiar to a party but you did not have to be the same unit). The difference is in elemental, your "Stack" be of any size and can have "mini stacks" inside of it. I would propose the following change.
Each faction would start with a logistics value of say 4. This means that only 4 units can make up a stack. Now these 4 units could be parties but you are limited to 4 (until you research more techs.
Every 4 points of charisma raises the logistics cap by 1. This allows heroes to act as leaders (not to mention give more purpose to charisma).
There is a lack of abilities to be granted to soldiers/champions. I would suggest to allow a unit to be "trained" in an ability be purchasing it for them during creation. The following are some suggestions on abilities
Regular troops get 1 and each level of veterancy allows for 1 more ability (may be hard to implement, dunno).
Ambusher: +20% attack form forest tile
Morale I (II, III): +5 moral per level of the ability.
Poisoned Weapon: -2 health per turn for 3 turns.
Weary: Cannot be flanked.
There is plenty of more things that could be added to the abilities list. There is always room for improvement.
Anyway please let me know what you think of these ideas. I feel that these (+ modification, these ideas are not perfect) could lead to a very potent and fun game.