So I finally got a (small) chance to plug around with b4. Maybe 100 or so total turns (started maybe 3 games with a custom faction, "hard" world and opponents).
[typo] - Haste Spell on mouseover on the tactical battle screen says "+4 initiative in target" or something along these lines. If you find the .xml entry it will be clearly engrish.
[bug] - with tactical battle and a ranged weapon, I get a graphics bug that makes it appear as though the arrow is hitting the target from the lower left hand half of the map, instead of where the archer is standing.
I tend to think that the equp/trade/use windows are a bit clunky. Maybe I'm just bad at using these but I feel like I'm closing and re-opening windows all of the time to give a new item to a different champ and then having them use the equipment.
I also tend to be left wondering about game mechanics. There are a lot of modifiers, say +15% experience. Does this stack with something else that gives 20% experience? If so does this mean +35% experience, or does it mean 1.15*1.2 = +38% experience? Do percentages stack? How about percentages + numbers. Do these stack? If so in which order are they added? Maybe I'm lame and I should see these somewhere. Or maybe it's not clear and that's why I'm asking.
Cities are too easy to flip/sack:
Pacing. I haven't played it past the first section of the game where you kind of just wander around in the wilderness and beat on things with your sovereigns. But I feel like cities are WAY TOO EASY TO SACK. If you start a game next to your opponent you can just walk over on turn 5 and win. This seems fairly whimsical to me - especially a longer term strategy game where it's a bit of a grind against the world. Cities just flip way too easily. Take GC2 for instance - flipping planets is fairly difficult, as far as things go. One must have a commanding influence advantage for them to be so unhappy that they flip themselves. To flip it militarily one cannot do it without invasion modules which are a fairly large technology investment for most races - flipping planets just doesn't happen until mid-game at the earliest.
From the standpoint of playing a long strategy/4x/domination game this allows for an organic set-up for the game to begin, when you're spamming the universe with colony ships trying to grab as many planets as one can and then climb out of the economic debt hole and build up a fleet before the Dengin or Koranth decide to attack you - well, you're drawing the battle lines that will define all of the skirmishes later in the game (this also allows a lot of turns to pass that lets the player define non-military battle lines (the tech tree has time to get filled out a bit, trading relationships are established, wonders/achievements can be constructed, etc)).
With FE, I don't really feel like this happens, city-wise. I feel like this is what happens with the sovereign/champs where you're walking around, exploring and trying to build them up. But I feel like cities take a second seat to this. They sort of sit there in the background and if you stumble across one you can just waltz in, sack it, and be out the next turn. There isn't a natural barrier to changing ownership of cities like there is to changing ownership of planets in GC2. However, cities, like planets should have their own intrinsic inertia that resist change. There should be natural barriers to simply 'owning' a city and having it produce things for you. If Mexico marched up to Minneapolis (where I live) and sacked it, would Minneapolis /be/ Mexican? The answer is - not really... If anything (again comparing FE and GC2), planets in GC2 should be /easier/ to flip than cities in FE, simply because there are more of them and each matters a whole lot less. In FE one might only have 2 cities the entire game, in GC2 one often has a hundred. If the intent was to eliminate city-spam, then the continuity of city ownership should be stronger, not weaker.
Maybe I should just be training defenders sooner, but they really aren't any match for an attacking sovereign/champ team anyway in the early game, so I feel like I shouldn't even bother. This would be akin to the little exploration ship that one starts with in GC2 having god-like powers and an ability to flip planets it walks past - there really wouldn't be much reason to defend against them because you couldn't even if you tried.
If I could make one change to FE at this point it would be this: Implement some sort of a time drain on sacking a city. Call it a siege or diplomacy of convincing the populous of your superiority, or whatever. When your champ/sov is doing this, they are not out in the wilderness doing quests, exploring, leveling up, etc. There is an opportunity cost associated with taking a city - the city might be worth it, or it might not - but this is a calculation that needs to be made. Perhaps razing would still be available, but not insta-flipping as it seems like things are now.
What does everyone else think? Am I missing something here?
cheers, it's a subtly addicting game thus far.