After playing 3 games since the launch of the beta (2 of them were on .76 .77) I wish to give this project some feedback.
Also I would like to address Das123 issues regarding:
The champion stack of doom
City spam micromanagement hell.
The reason why FE is facing trouble is not due to 1 or 2 reasons IMHO. There are many reasons that contribute.
0. Winning and losing.
There's a thought constantly going on as I play a 4x game: Am I winning? This is important because it affects my level of enjoyment. If I’m way back behind the AI I’m not having any fun. If I’m way ahead the AI with 2x score points and territory, I have already won and I’m bored. The AI currently can’t expand as much as the player can. Why? He can’t deal with the wilderness as the player can, so the player empire always gets bigger faster, and we end up with many small opponents even on big maps.
1. Limit the city count?
Limiting my empire size doesn’t solve anything. You’re just delaying my eventual victory artificially and yet again I’m bored. If anything else, razing cities will become the standard thing to do after I reach my cap. The game is just telling me that I will win with less cities. A similar approach was attempted with empire population growth in WoM (growth would stagnate if you had too many cities) and it sucked. If I am limited in my number of cities there’s another tactic I could use which is even more boring: I would find and capture the best spots on the map, raze the rest of my cities and claim the rest of the land with outposts. Also, limiting the city count would also affect the AI.
As far as micro is concerned, play small maps. If you select a big map you’re responsible for your choice. Also the cities have build queues, you can line up 3-4 buildings and let it crunch for 50 turns. I am definitely requesting more building choices. The current selection is poor.
2. Can I take over a city?
In the current build of FE if you can take over 1 city, you can take over ALL cities, and if you can’t, you can’t take over ANY city. You’re stuck with what you got from the start plus any new settlements. It’s not important how big your empire is, all that is important is if you can take over one city. The player will exploit the game mechanics to no end to win a battle. Army size of both sides seems irrelevant.
3. Peace & War is free in the temporal sense
The AI will accept peace anytime. In fact if you’re stronger that an AI you can repeatedly declare war and make peace to drain his/her coffers. There is no consequence in your standing with other factions when you declare war.
4. Diplomatic capital is useless.
Why would I exchange 1 gold per turn for 1 capital if 1 capital is worth much less that 1 gold and is less flexible? And even if their value is the same, why then spend the production time of cities to build the improvements? There’s a diplomatic model that tries to show itself but it’s lost. Where’s the Fun diplomacy from Galciv 2? Perhaps later in the beta?
5. There isn’t a stack of doom problem there’s a champion of doom problem.
My champion can kill almost anything on the map (with the exception of some epic stacks) SOLO by turn 200-250. Limiting the size of the stack solves nothing. There are many mechanics that are at fault for this. The most important is that all character/item/enchant bonuses stack together, and this leads to uber stats in no time.
Armies can’t keep up because as you unlock new gear for trained units, champions become even more uber with said gear as well (let alone the super epic gear they can find in 1/1000 of the time it takes to research weaker gear). Look into DnD 3.5 ed for lists of non stacking bonus categories like defection, enhancement, natural, inherent, luck, etc.
Also limit total jewelry on a champion to 4 or 5. Walking around with the full kitchen sink suite equipped is just silly. This is the reason why almost all games have specific slots for items on heroes.
6. Units move way too far in tactical and strategic combat.
Compass is IMBA. You need to separate strategic and tactical movement bonuses to add variety.
Since units move way too far in combat I can’t protect archers, and there’s no point in using single target damage spells (a waste of mana in most cases). Where are the tactical maps that would offer narrow passages and tactical choice? (rivers, mountain passages, hills)
7. Shops dress champions way too fast! It’s like they wait for you to finish the tech and they have infinite stock of the new items on day 1!!!
You must place caps on the items bought from the store per season. Make the store accessible only from within towns. And have a cooldown on using the store on newly conquered cities. Make the categories of items separate shop buildings: alchemist shop , arms master shop, armor store etc. make those buildings expend resources per turn and add other benefits (perhaps gold income?). Don’t have iron? No chain mail items for heroes. I wrote about this in WoM as well.
8. Flank, Flank FLANK!!!
Champions don’t face penalties when facing a unit with multiple figures. Beyond the first figure of a unit each figure should add +1Attack, +1 Defense, +1 dodge to all figures, because the figures will surround the champion. The bonus is also increased for other units adjacent to the champion. Also the champion receives penalties when flanked perhaps 1/2 or 1/3 of the bonus the flanker receive. This makes armies useful vs bosses big monsters and champions. This bonus is smaller depending on the numbers involved (3 vs 7 figures, 5 vs 10 figures and so on). Remember: numbers matter.
9. AI settles lands poorly.
They make suboptimal settle decisions. If you raze the city and re-settle you can usually turn a 3/3 town into a 3/4 or a 4/4 or a 4/3. I see this very often.
10. You slow down my expansion-by-conquest by killing all of the population of a town and hurt the AI in the process.
Slave master doesn’t work. (my capital never got any pop even if they have 200-300 food left. And if it did it’s IMBA) You are just overheating my economy by giving me an empty city, and you’re just delaying me and kill the AI in the process( If the AI could get the city back, it would mark a big loss for his economy – he might never recover)
11. I rebel therefore I am, but there’s nobody around to rebel.
Cities should rebel if left unguarded. But:
I just conquered a city with just my champion (which is bad) and on the same turn I move on to get another city. The city I conquered this turn remains empty with no ‘garrison’ of mine and no population. A bear attacks it and there’s a garrison generated to defend. If you’re abstracting garrisons with city buildings and city levels you need to have the city rebel if it’s left without any of my units enforcing the new regime (on the non existing (0) population).
What a mess…. I wonder which side the poor animated guardian statue would choose…. (Perhaps random? 50%)
12. Where’s my Kraken????
Where are the end game gargantuan summons you promised us? I won. Please help me clean up the rest of the map with cool spells. Armageddon? Summon death? Plague?
13. Group spell icons and item icons in tactical combat by element/skill/item categories (one group per line).
The spell Icons need a color coded background to note their elemental affinity and on each line for the elements you need the number of shards.
14. Where are my mage troops? And my fantastic creatures?
The stuff you unlock and recruit from the lairs are just useless and a waste of time. Units costing food? Not in my lifetime…
15. Tech costs are unreal.
I never reached the end of any tree on my 600 turn games. Not to say anything about the repeated techs that I was soo looking forward to.
16. The game is still slow.
I don’t know if you still have debug code in there that will be removed.
17. The number of things the devs could do with outposts are mind boggling.
18. Need more special resources on the map or add more upgrades to the existing ones ala galciv2.
19. Taking materials out was a mistake
Now I can flood the map with units dressed in leather armor and t1 weapons non-stop from all of my cities.
20. Need more tiers of materials
Steel, Obsidian, Adamantium, titanium, selenium, unobtanium, uberium. The game and gear progression is currently just flat.
21. Removing Spell research was a bad choice.
Choosing the next level of spells instead of new stats or character perks is too meh.
22. I’m still searching for that Fallen enchantress. There’s no mention for her ANYWHERE in the sandbox games not even in a quest. Is she a campaign exclusive? Can you play with her in the campaign? It’s too weird when a game takes its name from a character yet there’s no mention of a fallen enchantress other than the title. LOL
 fixed numbers
[edit2] fixed numbers yet again!