Since a broken foot has allowed me lots and lots of gameplay time, I decided to give some more extensive feedback (something I couldn’t do since the early FE beta).
First the compliments on great job everyone at stardock is doing, as one of the early buyers of WOM I’ve seen the long way the has come.
I won’t be listing everything I like, since it would fill pages and pages. I also won’t go bug checking, since every time I took the time to write a bug report It is already corrected or scheduled to be corrected (English is’nt my native language, so when I write I try to make reading the post the least horrible experience I can, which ends making post a very time consuming experience for me). The idea is giving feedback to make an even better game, which includes some criticism and lots of suggestions
Roads have been a struggle since ever and they are still not right….. The “auto-roads” that comes with techs and agreements are weird and no always useful. Neighboring cities sometimes have roads doing long detours through other cities instead of having a direct route.
I would suggest throwing out the auto-roads (maybe just keeping the treaty one) and making the players build roads as they like (with some restrictions to avoid civilization like road on every title). To make things more interesting, maybe giving pioneers that ability, but making they “wear out” after a given number of uses. It would prevent road spanning since they now cost population. There could even be a “magic road” spell, putting a road on a title for mana instead of population (like arcane monolith).
RIVERS, FORESTS AND IMPROVEMENT PLACING
When a city is built near, but not adjacent to a river or a forest you are never able to build the river and forest improvements, even if the city expansion latter reaches them. I don’t know if it’s a bug or not, but I personally dislike it, especially with the rivers, when they many times effectively prevent you from creating choke points.
I suggest being able to build the rivers and forests improvements as soon as your city reaches them, and that either the river improvement fills the whole title, or you got more than one chain of river improvements so you can keep on building your city crossriver.
I really like the direction the races are taking, with the special abilities and all, there are some balancing issues though.
Wraiths – became very cool, the dodge and the life sucking skill, balances the -1 hit points (a major disadvantage) on the sovereign and heroes, but the troops are in bad shape, since they have low levels by default and low spell mastery, the wraith touch form the troops are almost always resisted, and resisting nagates everything. On the wraiths I would suggest making the skill non resistible, half damage doesn’t cut, since the damage full damage is already so low. As it is now, using the skill is usually a waste of the unit turn. For heroes being non resistible is not a great issue, since it will be only lvl based times 1).
Quendar – easily the overpowered faction. On almost every game, unless they got extremely unlucky the steamroll everyone except me. I guess It’s the slave troops that are available right from the beginning (unlike golems, henchman, juggernauts and the likes), that gives them a great edge. I like the slave mechanic, but they should be given a big unrest penalty because of having armed slaves (could be dynamic, the greater the slave to regular troops ratio, the grater the penalty). Since flame tongue does damage even when resisted it’s way more usefull than wraith touch, but I’m under the impression that it’s doing 3 dmg per lvl instead of 2.
Amarians – should also receive some bonus form life/death shards (maybe +1 health) and the same concerns to wraith touch applies to soul spark, half damage of resist makes it OK, especially because there is a mana cost, damage should be higher than flame tongue, also it could not have a cooldown, but the mana cost could scale with number of figures and/or lvl.
I started by those tree races since they have similar damaging abilities that should be balanced to each other, here goes my suggestion:
Wraiths – least damage (1 per lvl), non-resistible, gain HP, 5 turn cooldown
Quendar – middle damage (2 per lvl), limited range, no cost, 5 turn cooldown, resistible
Amarians – higher damage (3 per lvl), unlimited range, resistible, mana cost (maybe scalabe), resisitible and shorter cooldow or a 1 turn casting time without cooldow (the latter my favorite option)
Altarian – I really never found the henchman useful, now with the heroes being such a rare resource they are finally good for something. They special ability seems broken somehow, or I don’t know how to use (or it is not very well explained), but I never got nothing like an extra action when I use it. Fixed the +10% XP, henchman and the rush might be a little over.
Mancer – seen underpowered. The move bonus is great and should stick, but the +1 accuracy is not so useful for trained troops, who tend to start at lower levels and be short lived. I would give a plain +10 accuracy bonus, but that is still not enough. I would add some special ability of their own. Since Carrodus is a general and the background is more military like than magic like I would add a short throwing spear (I think the romans had something like this) it would be a better throwing knife that every trained troop would have for free (and not count towards the accessory limit). Could be 2 dmg per lvl, 5 turn cooldown, 3 titles range, and another +10 accuracy bonus).
Tarth – great as they are. Guess it’s the most balance race. Maybe some adjustments on the double strike penalty (making it a percentage). This way it would be more useful for low lvl trained troops and less overpowered for high lvl high accuracy heroes.
Krax – also great, like tarth they are already very balanced. The fortify title needs some adjustments, tough. When the unit leaves the title the fortification should disappear (the graphics remains, not sure if the effects also remains). Fortified unit should have some extra resistance against forced movement.
Urxen – great as they are. The double swarm is a great ability, especially when coupled with atk bonus for several units. To make the urxen even more bestial and give them a special ability I would suggest a “poison bite” or similar.
Gilden – always a favorite. Seems great the way they are, but you can easily skip their disadvantage (extra mana cost) by never making a gilden mage. I would balance suggest this by applying the extra cost to any heroes at the service of the faction, regardless of the race (if an explanation is needed, spending so much time around the gilden messes up the spellcasting, or something like that). Golems seen to cost right for what they provide.
Trog – Juggernauts alone make the race great. The berserk ability is great, but it’s broken (berserker heroes still cast spells, they behave exactly like any unit under the AI control). I believe AI control is only a disadvantage because the AI is still very bad at tactical battles, as the AI evolves, it will be less of a disadvantage. The berserker shoul always go for a specific kind of enemy (highest lvl one, lower lvl one, highst or lowest HP, etc) without any strategic consideration. Also, juggernauts should be berserkers by default, even damaging their own side in their rage.
That covers the base races, one last comment is needed. I personally believe that the extra unit kinds (slaves, henchman’s, juggernauts, golems) should be detached for the races and be a faction ability. In the standard factions everything is balanced, but the special unit race bound can lead to very overpowered custom factions.
First, having a tree to chose from was a great decision, but most of the paths are not so interesting. I’m porposing a major change here:
Assassin: seens the best balanced path. Correspond to the fast and nimble martial fighter. Would make some punctual changes on the tree, but the idea is good.
Defender and warrior: they both correspond to the heavy fighter archetype, I personally belive they should be fused on a single path – a martial character with lots of bonus on special moves with the weapons and pure damage bonus (as the warrior) and lots of defensive options for himself (like the defender). That way we would have the counter part to the assassin. The assassin survivability is great thanks to the high dodge. Warriors dies like flies, most of the time without even having acted, and the defender sticks a little more around the battle field but is boring on the actual battle.
So creating a high defense, with high regular damage and special moves (opposed to the high dodge, critical damage of the assassin) is the way to go. The army wide effects of the paths would be transferred to de the commander. Also that summon from the defender is totaly out of place.
The commander should be completely reformed. The “administration” tree should go away. With heroes now rare It is hard to imagine someone letting one of them idle on a city, not to mention that wile adventuring and lvling up the unrest reduction is unavailable. On the other hand, I never spend a precious lvl up point in something as trivial as a +1 research or gildar bonus. Even early on the game this choice is so poor that noboby should consider it.
The new commander should have lots of passive army wide bonus (including those that are now on the defender tree), and lots of active abilities that make one unit fight better. Lets say, an ability that greatly increases the accuary, dodge, defense, spell resist, damage, gives double swarm bonus, extra HP, raises effective lvl, etc of a single trained unit for X turns. A different tree could affect monsters troops.
The commander would also need some survival abilitie. I would suggest a “lead from behind”passive ability that prevents the commander from being attacked as long as there are trrops around, unless he attacks, of course.
The mage should be dived in two paths: invoker (specialized in direct damage spells, buffs and debuffs) and summoner (focused on summons and making they better).
Also, regardless of the magic path chosen, there should be a mana free spell coming with the path, like a magic arrow for the invoker (say doing 1 dmg per lvl, no mana, no cooldown, with the improvements on the tree and lvling up the spell would be usefull even latter on the game) or a summon guardian spirit for the summoner (weak summon, with 1 lvl every 2 or three lvls of the caster, no mana, can be recasted when killed)
The mages classes also need more survival skills (personal spells like focus, but that would heal, increase defense, dodge, even making invisible for as long the caster doesn’t cast or attack – would be great for summoners)
The reason for a free mana spell is simple: a wizard sovereign is often forced to fight hand to hand, without being cut out for that, that’s a major disadvantage, not to mention the constant need for troop support, that slows development in other areas. When I play with as assassin sov, even with insane world difficulty I never have that kind of problem, I simply go soloing everything I can until the lvl is so high that I can conquer and destroy everything (even with auto battle). That also hints how unbalanced things are. Soloing from beginning to end is unthinkable with other paths (at least for me).
AS I have been saying since the times of WOM, there is too little magic in a magic game. The fact that as of now we have 3 martial paths and only one magic paths is proof enough. Also, the source of the magic spells is a little confusing. You can have spells coming from faction traits, form the elemental traits, form sorcery research and now from the path of the mage spell tree.
Personally, I would like to see all spells coming from the elemental traits (the "books"), even with combined traits for spells like there was before. Some special spells that doesn’t fit anywhere could result from research, or research could expand the spells from the elemental traits (my favorite option), but in no case heroes without any spell traits should be able to cast spells (except on the anointed by fire likes, and even so, a spell caster of appropriate fire lvl should be avaliabe).
The spell casters trees (I really hope that the division of invoker and summoner cuts in) should have lots of perks and special abilities that makes spells from all sources better, but not spells to choose form, that’s alreary on the elemental traits side (witch are 5 X 5), a lot with plan to have a master of all magic.
Everybody with the right elemental book/trait should be able to cast the corresponding spells, just the invoker/summoner paths would be much better in their respective fileds.
I really liked the fame = heroes system, but it resulted on relatively little heroes during gameplay, having bad picks, heroes overlapping is bad enough. I believe that there should more than two heroes to choose from, in fact, there should be an option for each path. Truth is the only time I find myself constantly reloading is on the time to pick the heroes.
Overpower items early on gameplay are a rare occurrence now, but repeating items are really a pain sometimes. Finding 5 wooden shields or rusty greaves in a row is a game killer. I would suggest loot to be not so random, maybe cycling the types you get and avoiding repetitions. I like found items to be somewhat unique and I guess most players are with me here. Also there seem to be too little items focused on spellcasters, except for the occasional robe. There should be more types of staves and accessories to make mages happy.