Having played the game for some time now, I must say that I´m very confident that FE will be all that WoM was not.
Everything seems to be going the right way. With time the bugs will be solved and the game will gain even more content but my real concern is with a two key aspect of the game: MAGIC and CHAMPIONS
Champions are far too overpowered, I can win a game on maximum difficulty without ever building a single army. The sov and the champs can do all the work alone.
On the other hand, magic, especially direct damage magic is far underpowered when compared to melee damage, except when it comes to fireballing standard troops.
In my gameplay experience I have only used magic for the occasional buff, or for strategic map effects. I have completely abandoned magic as means to deal damage or negative status. The action that would cost me cast a spell is far better used making a melee attack, not to mention that building a spellcaster champ/sov is far less cost effective than making a melee on (be assassin, defender or warrior).
So I would just level up a spell caster until I got the spell ranks I wished and let all the tactical combat be done by melee combatants.
I gave a quick scan trough the forums and my concerns seem to be shared by other people. So I decided to take the time and put my suggestions in here.
It is a relatively long post, but I guess it´s worth reading, there was a lot of consideration on how to make FE a better game and the success that both stardock and the players deserve.
*Experience should be shared between the sov, champs and troops involved in the battle.
On of the reasons I can create uber champions is because they don’t share XP. They all get the same xp, be it with one or with nine.
I usually got one doing all the work, and others remain safely behind, just enjoying the XP.
I don´t think the is need to increase the xp cap for lvl up, but instead think on a better way to distribute it.
* Rebalance combat. One hit one kill. The flanked condition. The overpower trait. The rock paper scissor approach.
Based on the suggestions and feedback on the topic, I´m editing the original post to reflect the more polished idea that everybody contributed for.
I´ve suggest somewhere else already a one hit one kill rule. Many seens to have liked the idea, while others worried that it would change too much of how combat works or nerf too much the champs. I´ve given a little bit more of thought on the idea and considered all the comments. See what you guys think:
First and foremost: eliminate or mitigate those +1 per level bonus (could be +1 per 2, 3, 4 ou five level), that’s all balance.
Second: every attack, be it magical or physical will not be able to kill more than one figure per attacking figure in the army, unless some special trait or property says otherwise.
That would be valid for the sovereign, the champions, ordinary troops and monsters.
This would automatically nerf the melee sov/champs (specially the high crits assassins) who can no longer take down 9 figure unit in a single hit. Since the damage it deals was not diminished it will still be a powerful unit when it comes down to deal with powerful single figure units. Of course, traits could allow the champ to take down one or two extra figures…
That obviously doesn´t solve the super melee champs/sovs problem. It would only drag combats longer, instead of finishing it in 9 turns, it would take 81 turns to finish, but the invulnerable champions problem persists. If no unit can hit it or pierce it´s defenses, them he is invincible, just taking it´s time to finish of the poor troopers.
So the solution is adding a new trait. This trait could be called “flanking” for melee troops and “arrow swarm” for the archers. Essentially, multi figure units would reduce the dodge/defense of single figure units that suffers their attack. If every multi figure unit would have it, or it would have to be bought, or how much the reduction would be is a balance question. I personally think it should be a nice % reduction, so the benefits would scale. Better yet, having 2 or more units with flanking adjacent, would further reduce the def/doge. Even a lvl 30 verga would think twice before going in the middle of 3 city militia.
That logic would be valid for troops vs powerful monsters too. So you could send an entire army to deal with a dragon, if a powerful hero is unavailable.
That pretty much nerf the champions, without truly nerfing them. That’s the beauty. They remain almost as powerful as they are today, buy they will no longer single handily win games, take towns, etc..
Troops are suddenly important again, they can deal with champs and powerful monsters. But there still the matter of how they fare against magic.
As I have proposed, the one hit one kill would be valid for spells too, unless they have the overpower trait. The difference of the current overpower is that it would not cause damage multiplication, but instead allows damage to carry on to as many figures in the unit as it can. Needless to say, most attack spells would have this trait, including the fireball and similar. Without the damage multiplier, mages are dangerous to “hordes” of enemies, without turning them to dust in one turn.
But still, a very high init mage could cast two or three fireballs while the opposing army still close together. The solution is also simple: just increase the cast time. Spells so powerfull should take more time to cast, even giving opposing mages time to counter, creating cool and memorable spell duels. Other suggestion is allowing the troops to position themselves before combat begins (maybe a future trait for a general like hero), giving them the opportunity to split.
That takes us to the rock paper scissor approach that some suggested.
I must say that I really dislike it when it is inflexible (like the europa universalis games). I like more the “right tool for the job” approach of the civilization games. A spearman/pikeman is the right/best tool for fighting mounted units, but not the only one, and not a guarantee of success.
The above proposition tales us close to the civ style:
Multi figure troops (especially in numbers) are the best way to deal with single powerful non magical units.
Magical units are the best way to deal with multi figure troops.
Powerful single melee units are the best way to deal with mages.
But nothing is written in stone. Knowing that my opponent has 5 fire shards, I could equip my troops with fire protection equips and buffs. That would force the opponent to change strategies.
Knowing that the other army has a magekiller champion, my sov could cast several debuffs, summons or terrain control spells instead of trying to cast direct damage spells at him.
My almighty dragonslaying knight in shining armor, when faced with an army of peasants would remember that discretion is the better part of valor and run, maybe drawing away that army from a city or a vulnerable resource.
Of course, lots of balance needs to be done for it all to work, maybe even bringing back the dual build queue or radically reducing regular troops costs and training time, but I belive the solution for worst balance problem is there.
*New traits and rebalancing of the path of the mage tree
First, I guess that instead of increasing the spells damage, it would be nice to increase the evoker bonuses (like doubling them). On the other hand, strategic damage dealing spells should severely nerfed or eliminated.
A new set of traits dealing with summoned creatures would be nice, especially with the summoning spells I’m also suggesting. Those would be (of course opened to balancing)
Summoner I – caster summoned creatures are 25% stronger
Summoner II - caster summoned creatures are 50% stronger
Summoner III - caster summoned creatures are 100% stronger
Unshakable bounds - caster summoned creatures have double resistance (helps prevent banishing, should be rare)
*Make spell rank more important and balanced
As things are now, spell ranks add little to the game. They open up few spells, the different “schools” of magic are unbalanced and many of the coolest spells in the game are gained randomly through quests.
The suggestion here is that all spells should be accessible by unlocking spell ranks or by researching spellbooks. Some of the cooler/more powerful ones could require ranks in two or more “schools” (like sunder currently does).
The spell research that existed in WoM would be essentially replaced by choosing spell ranks when leveling up.
Every school should have combat and support spells. In fact, I would say at least one high damage one hit one kill, one mid damage single target overpower (carry on damage, not multiplier), one lower damage overpower (carry on damage, not multiplier) area damage, one very low damage strategic map damage spell and several buffs/debuffs as appropriate.
The school/shard would determine the damage type and other peculiarities to make each spell unique.
So spell research on the tech tree would be restricted to those that are too important to be restricted by school, or that does not fall well in one school (like the spells involving mobility, summonin or mind control). Also, to prevent abuses, some of those researched spells should require a minimum rank in any spell to be castable.
Here goes a few examples of the new balanced spells ranks and spellbooks:
In this book, chanelers learn that the ancient archmages of elemental treated magic as science, and learns to do likewise
Conterspell (rebalanced) (requires apprentice level in any school of magic): same as it is
Dispel (new) (requires disciple level in any school of magic): removes all good enchantments from the unit, unless it resists
Spell Purge (new) (requires disciple level in any school of magic): removes all bad enchantments from the unit, unless the original caster resists
Spell lock (new) (requires mage level in any school of magic) tactical (one battle only) or strategic (with maintenance): spell that must be dispelled or purge before dispel or spell purge can affect other enchantments. Its resist value is doubled. Can be cast on summoned creatures to prevent banishment
Disjunction (new) (requires mage level in any school of magic), strategic only: try to dipell on enchantment affecting a city or square. The original caster get a resist check.
Mana shield (rebalanced) (requires master level in any school of magic) tactical only: same as it is, but can only be casted on the caster
Mana blast (rebalanced) (requires archmage level in any school of magic), tactical only, does damage equal to 1/10 of the victims mana pool and costs double that amount to the caster. Affects every sovereign or imbued champion on the battlefield and takes as many turns to cast as there are targets. Can be resisted for half damage
Great unsummoning (new) (requires archmage level in any school of magic), tactical only, every summoned unit in the battlefield must resist or be banished. 3 turns to cast. Should be very mana expensive and the units should get a resist bonus.
Book of mobility
This volume deals with the secrets of space and time, allowing the caster a greater, but still limited, control of his movements and the movements of others.
Escape (tactical) (requires apprentice level in any school of magic): The caster alone can escape combat
Greater Escape (tactical) (requires disciple level in any school of magic): The caster and his army can escape combat.
Retreat (strategic) (requires disciple level in any school of magic): The caster alone retreats to the nearest friendly city.
Greater retreat (strategic) (requires mage level in any school of magic): The caster and his army retreats to the nearest friendly city.
Blink (tactical) (requires master level in any school of magic): The caster can teleport to any square in the battlefield
Teleport (strategic) (requires archmage level in any school of magic): The caster alone can teleport to any friendly square.
Book of summoning and calling
This volume enables the caster to summon creatures, for this world or elsewhere, to fight for the caster. The higher the caster lvl, the higher the lvl of the summoned creature.
Summoner´s boon (removed) – should become a path of the mage trait
Natures call (rebalanced) – (requires apprentice level in any school of magic), tactical (one battle only) or strategic (with maintenance), summon a random beast to fight for the caster
Elemental summoning (new) - (requires disciple level in any school of magic), tactical (one battle only) or strategic (with maintenance), summon a random elemental to fight for the caster
Banish (new) (requires disciple level in any school of magic), tactical only: summoned unit must resist or be banished
Demon bounding (new) - (requires mage level in any school of magic), tactical (one battle only) or strategic (with maintenance), summon a random demon to fight for the caster
Dragon command (new) - (requires master level in any school of magic), tactical (one battle only) or strategic (with maintenance), summon a random dragon to fight for the caster
Steal bond (new) - (requires master level in any school of magic), tactical only, takes control of enemy summoned unit if it fails to resist.
Call Titan (rebalanced/new) - (requires archmage level in any school of magic), strategic only, summon a titan to serve the caster. Consumes a life or a death shard. Only one titan per faction. If titan is killed, casting this spell again brings back the same titan (with levels eventually gained)
Dragon mount (new) - (requires archmage level in any school of magic), strategic only, summon a dragon to serve as mount to the caster.
Book of the mind
This old tome goes deep into the secrets of the mind, both good ou for evil. Spells of this book doesn´t work on elementals or constructs.
Touch of darkness (rebalanced) – (requires apprentice level in any school of magic), strategic only, same effect
Confusion (rebalanced) -(requires disciple level in any school of magic), tactical only, same effect
Mind blast (new) - (requires mage level in any school of magic), tactical only, untyped mid damage, single target, unlimited range
Cloak of fear(rebalanced) -(requires master level in any school of magic) tactical (one battle only) or strategic (with maintenance), same effect, but the caster can only cast on himself
Domination (rebalanced) - (requires archmage level in any school of magic), tactical only, takes control of unit that fails to resist. At the end of every one of its turns, the unit is allowed a new resist check to break free.
Shocking touch (new) – apprentice, tactical, high lightning damage, one hit one kill, single target, range one
Summon air shrill (new) – apprentice, tactical (one battle only) or strategic (with maintenance), summon an air shrill.
Storm (rebalance) – disciple, tactical, mid lightning damage, overpower, single target, unlimited range
Lightning weapon (new) – disciple, tactical (one battle only) or strategic (with maintenance), add low Lightning damage to unit´s attack.
Summon air elemental (new) – mage, tactical (one battle only) or strategic (with maintenance), summon a weaker air elemental (without titan´s breath)
Lightning shield (new) – mage, tactical (one battle only) or strategic (with maintenance), add mid resistance (%) to Lightning damage.
Thunderstorm (new) – master, tactical, low lightning damage, overpower, area one, unlimited range, chance to paralyze for one turn if target does not resist
Cloud walk (rebalanced)- master, strategic, moves (teleport) the caster army 2 squares in any direction (including enemy territory and over obstacles), plus one square per air shard, can be cast only once per turn.
Flight (new) – archmage, tactical (one battle only) or strategic (with maintenance), gives the unit the ability to flight at his speed.
Tornado (rebalanced)– archmage, strategic, very low blunt damage, affects all units, overpower, randomly scatters one unit per air shard that does not resist, can be cast only on the casters territory, can be cast only once per turn.
Summon elemental prince of air (new) - archmage, strategic, consumes an air shard. Only one prince of air per faction. If the prince is killed, casting this spell again brings back the same prince (with levels eventually gained).
Other spells seem OK, maybe needing some rebalancing in terms of costs and magnitude.
Few multi school suggestions:
Summon shrill lord (master in fire, earth, air and water), plus X levels per fire, earth, air or water shard.
Antipode (mage in fire and water), very high fire and cold damage, single target, unlimited range.
Dust Storm (disciple air and earth), every unit in the field (friend or foe, except the caster) must resist or get an accuracy penalty.
Storm call (master air and water): every unit (except the caster), every turn must resist or be hit by a lightning bolt. Consumes mana every turn.
Eruptions (disciple earth and fire): every turn a random square on the battle might erupt (the more shards, the more squares). A unit standing or entering a erupted square takes damage.
Several create golems options. Golems would not be considered summoned creatures, and could only be created outside combat (strategic spells) they should cost mana and gold to create and have a relatively high gold maintence (but not mana). Maybe “golemcraft” could be a researchable spellbook
Create sand golem (apprentice earth, air, life or death)
Create scrap golem (disciple water, earth, life or death)
Create stone golem (mage earth, life or death)
Create magma golem (master earth, fire, life or death)
Create obsidian golem (archmage earth, air, fire, water, life or death)
Sorry for the bad English, but its not my native language.