Dev Journal: Cities of the Dead

Here is the next update on the Necromancer Class Design, thanks everybody for the feedback. Here is some of our progress that hopefully answers some of your questions and may be it incorporates some feedback here and there. There are many aspects to this class, but we’ll start at the root which are the mechanics for Undead towns and transformed undead races.

NecroTCCityUndead towns are shrouded in eerie fog

Ghouls: Living creatures that have been transformed into the Undead are called Ghouls. Ghouls are sentient, and retain some of the memories and abilities of their former selves, while gaining the characteristics of the undead. While ghouls do not have the powerful abilities of the greater Undead units that the Necromancer can field, they still have the common undead properties. They are immune to blight damage and a large number of different status effects, whilst being vulnerable to spirit damage and unable to heal naturally on the world map. Undead units are also vulnerable to certain special Necromancer abilities, such as “Control Undead”.

 UndeadTownWmap

 Daniel is working on overlays for undead towns on the world map.  Also notice the High Elf Ghoul Unit.

Necromancers can convert their own units into Ghouls using magic, or by producing them from undead cities. One of the Necromancer’s higher level units can even infect enemy unit’s with the Ghoul curse; which might even include enemy heroes or leaders.

Sundren_SkinCondition

Allert’s Ghoul Skin Shader – Sundren! what happened to that smooth skin of yours?

Undead Cities: Necromancers can convert whole city populations into Ghouls. The population of these cities does not increase naturally over time, and doesn’t get population growth from farms or normal city upgrades like store houses. Undead Cities are also not subject to standard rules about city happiness, instead they get a permanent boost to their income, representing the fact that the undead require no rest or food to continue their labors.

 

UndeadCityHeader

City header of a transformed town

We are replacing city upgrades for which the undead clearly have no use. For example, instead of a Hospital an undead city has an Embalmer’s Guild which restore hit points for garrisons. Undead cities can be made to grow again by constructing Breeding Pens; where the undead breed mortals to expand the ranks of the living dead. (sort of like revenge for the classic zombie pens seen in horror flicks).

Undead Unit Sets: Some people raised issues regarding cliched undead units: the brain dead zombies, blood sucking vampires, etc. The team has come up with some great new undead concepts that are new interpretations of archetypes and some entirely new units with cool tactical abilities, synergies and visualization. Of course we’ll be sharing more on these units in coming dev journals.

PurgeIs there life after death? Once is city is transformed, is there any way back? Yes, but it’s a drastic one. For undead cities, a new city operation called “Purge” is added that burns down most of the town, cleansing it of the living dead. The town goes back a couple of size steps and loses infrastructure. It’s basically raze/rebuild with no alignment penalties attached. It’s also likely we’ll add a way for Ghoul units to be returned to mortals (especially handy if your leader gets infected), but this will not be so easy.

 

Hero_outfits_scale

Ilse has done more variants of the Necro outfits. The variants on the left more warrior like, the center is ones are decayed. The third variant proves that being a necromancer doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish.

Let us know what you think!

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Home Forums Dev Journal: Cities of the Dead

This topic contains 122 replies, has 58 voices, and was last updated by  Fenraellis 7 years, 6 months ago.

Viewing 30 posts - 61 through 90 (of 123 total)
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  • #128761

    11balanced11
    Member

    Why?

    Just because it depreciates the undeads, making very few difference between them and living ones.

    It’s a matter of taste of course. But pardon me, I see NO taste in that ‘mirror’ units. Yes, Death Knight. But he should differ REALLY from normal knight, not just its rumpled variant. Priests should also be different, they just can not pray, preach and make rithuals the same way in undead state, right? Otherwize it’s a kind of trash – all the same but ‘they are undead and their skin hue changed’. Probably it’s good for some other games, but not for AOW. If they make ‘undead copies’ of ogres and faires as you suggest, I’d hardly buy this product.

    That’s why I suggest the concept of gradual transformation, where the ‘ghoul’ stage (the same but bad-looking) is like deadly sickness which leads to true undead state.

    #128765

    Triscopic
    Member

    Breeding Pens – Increases Ghoul population per turn by 300 + Any treasure sites that give you population growth + Any other effects (like being a Goblin city and/or Fertility Rites). However, building this will give you 100 Evil points.

    Burial Grounds – Increases Ghoul population based on a percentage of the growth of other non-Ghoul cities of the same race, and the more non-Ghoul cities you own the growth will stack. (but there would also be a restrain based on the distance between the cities of course)

    This. I’d love to see this mutually exclusive option. Actually, I’d be even happier to see this as mutually exclusive research paths, like the Archdruid’s “Favoured Enemy” upgrades.

    #128851

    Just because it depreciates the undeads, making very few difference between them and living ones.

    I don’t really understand your argument. It seems to me that the necromancer class would have more differences when it comes to race than any other class, with undeadish race units as well as class units to go with them.

    Am I misunderstanding something?

    #128859

    Etztak
    Member

    A Campaign Idea:
    Good: Lead the (undead) Archons back to their former Life
    or
    Bad: Let them stay in their defiled Form.

    #128881

    Draxynnic
    Member

    @11balanced11: I would presume that ‘ghouling’ creates substantial changes in how the unit operates. They probably stop healing naturally at the very least.

    There’s no reason why any living racial unit couldn’t also be made undead. Priests… Well, why can’t they continue the same rituals and such while undead? If they are able to preach the same ideals and pray for the same magic as a living priest that serves a necromancer, then it would seem that those beliefs are compatible enough to the necromancer’s to be maintained in undeath. No reason undead can’t be religious. If it’s an enemy priest unit that’s ‘ghouled’, then could that not potentially make them even more devout as they pray for salvation from their condition?

    The system also has the significant advantage that it allows a lot of baseline undead units to be generated with relatively little effort, allowing for more effort to be put into making truly unique undead class units (rather than just making undead equivalents of racial units), new races, new independent creatures, and so on. Additionally, ‘ghouling’ might turn out for non-heroes to be more of an art shortcut than a template that always applies the same modifiers. To take that death knight example, it’s plausible that ghouling a knight unit could create what is mechanically a quite different unit with different special abilities – but they’ve still saved the resources of designing an entirely new model. Expanded over seven+ races – even if they individually redesign the abilities of every ghouled racial unit, that’s a massive saving of resources that could go into other units.

    #128884

    Kaiosama TLJ
    Member

    I don’t really understand your argument. It seems to me that the necromancer class would have more differences when it comes to race than any other class, with undeadish race units as well as class units to go with them.

    Am I misunderstanding something?

    As a matter of fact, yes.

    11balanced11 argument is just common sense, we cannot simply give a new skin to a unit and slap the Undead basic trait to call it an new and unique unit, it’s laziness. The only difference between a regular Storm Sister and a Ghoul one is that the latter cannot regenerate and can be crushed easily by Crusaders.

    While I can see that ghouling can be used in the game for things like Ancient Ruins (to animate killed units as Ghouls instead of Archons even if they weren’t Archons to begin with) certain racial units don’t fit for Ghoul “flavor” like Human Priests (will they even continue to use Spirit Ray and Bestow Iron Heart?), or even Brew Brothers (a nourishing meal of what? brains?), or even Unicorn Riders (Friendship is… BRRAAAAAAAIIIINNS!!!!), etc. If the skills of certain units would change and/or the racial supports becomes Doom Priests or something like that them it’s fine.

    But another problem with this mechanic is if they are going to be 90% of the Undead the Necromancer will have. All the other classes have a roster of distict and unique units and some of them they can mass easily in numbers, so why the Necromancer would resort to putting make-up on the races for the Zombie Walk to say it’s his/her horde of shambling dead? Why the Necromancer can’t mass a horde of things like this:


    (And before you guys ask, this is Belth, one of the bosses from the SNES game Demon’s Crest by Capcom)

    For me an unique Necromancer is not just about animating the dead, he/she is also a twisted artisan and a general of the damned. We can say that the concept of crafting twisted Undead creatures is already present in the Bone Horror but I really want to see more creatures like that, even if “weaker” Tier 2 units. Maybe I can rool out with the concept of Ghouls, but not if they are the majority of my cannon fodder.

    Edit: Don’t know if posting this image is a violation against the forum regulations since it’s from another game, even though I not posted here as advertisement but as a reference for what I want to mean with my post.

    #128890

    Draxynnic
    Member

    References have generally been allowed in the past.

    I think part of the point of ghouls is so that they do allow for the creation of entirely unique creatures as class units. Without something like the ghoul mechanic, then a lot of the necromancer’s roster would likely be taken up be filling in ‘basic’ undead. With it, they have that covered and can concentrate on more exotic stuff for the class stuff.

    Essentially, it seems to me to be an equivalent of Master of Magic’s undead units. The ability to raise pretty much any other unit in the game under the right circumstances didn’t prevent death wizards in Master of Magic from having their own interesting unit lineup as well. If Triumph isn’t planning something similar, I would be shocked, surprised, and disappointed… because I’m pretty sure they are.

    (Regarding the various examples you’ve given… why not? Spirit damage in-game doesn’t appear to be inherently good or evil any more, so there’s no reason undead priests wouldn’t still be able to use it, and the same goes for Iron Heart. A ‘nourishing meal’ seems quite fitting for ghouls, which are typically best known for their eating habits. Undead versions of creatures of light and life magic seem to be exactly the sort of irony that the archetypical evil necromancer would enjoy.)

    #128892

    Kaiosama TLJ
    Member

    @Drax, you may be right. Thinking now maybe I’m a bit biased since I’m more used to the big rooster Death Magic had in Master of Magic (Death Knights back them were my favorites, second place goes for the Shadow Demons).

    But my biggest worry is how varied will be the Undead rooster outside the Ghouls, but I’ll sit down and wait for the next journal to see what they have in mind. I can even accept from zombies wearing wooden masks (Zelda fans will know what I’m refering to) to monstruous evolutions for vampires (ditto for Soul Reaver fans).

    #128897

    Fenraellis
    Member

    …or even Brew Brothers (a nourishing meal of what? brains?), or even Unicorn Riders (Friendship is… BRRAAAAAAAIIIINNS!!!!)

    To be fair, I actually chuckled a little bit. That said, if Drax hadn’t said it first, I would have. “Why not?”

    #128912

    vota dc
    Member

    I think that some skills should change for ghoul version. Think about human priest when ghoul. You have a ghoul army, so you would prefer him to cure undead units instead of alive one for first. And for second you are a ghoulified priest that fear spirit damage so who you are to give to the others the immunity to spirit damage….it would be just like giving fire aura to frost elemental!

    #128920

    In this and the class design thread I find it interesting how varied the wishes and definitions for a Necromancer are and how many of them are mutually exclusive.

    #128922

    terrahero
    Member

    I think that some skills should change for ghoul version. Think about human priest when ghoul. You have a ghoul army, so you would prefer him to cure undead units instead of alive one for first. And for second you are a ghoulified priest that fear spirit damage so who you are to give to the others the immunity to spirit damage….it would be just like giving fire aura to frost elemental!

    That is interesting. A human priest who becomes a Ghoul loses in value from his Iron Heart ability. It cannot heal himself anymore, or other Ghouls.
    But we havent seen any actual class units yet, no telling how they fit into this.

    #128929

    Fenraellis
    Member

    ….it would be just like giving fire aura to frost elemental!

    Fire Halo, eh? Eh?… I’ll stop.

    #128951

    gracious11
    Member

    cant wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    #129015

    Gyor
    Member

    I’m curious as to how it will work if a leader of another class captures an undead city, and decides not to purge it, does its class units come out as Ghouls?

    #129038

    SleepyDave
    Member

    I hope there will be a unit with the ability to heal allies at least. Its endlessly frustrating to win a single battle only to immediately turn around and run back to a city with a built hospital so the army can be healthy enough for combat again. The lack of immediately available repairing units is what cripples the Dreadnought class. If your army gets harassed by global damage spells like sunburst then you just cannot properly engage in combat without already being crippled.

    Also the immunity to blight seems like its just a slap in the face to goblin players. Suddenly your main damage sources are rendered unusable to near useless. I really hope the other races and classes get some extras added to them to compensate for the new extras.

    #129040

    Kaiosama TLJ
    Member

    I think maybe Heal Undead can come out in the form of an “Acolyte” unit (or maybe we could call it something like “Grave Digger”), similar to the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, or even maybe as an Empire Upgrade like Order of Healing.

    #129050

    Draxynnic
    Member

    But my biggest worry is how varied will be the Undead rooster outside the Ghouls, but I’ll sit down and wait for the next journal to see what they have in mind. I can even accept from zombies wearing wooden masks (Zelda fans will know what I’m refering to) to monstruous evolutions for vampires (ditto for Soul Reaver fans).

    Yeah, I suspect they’ll have six or so class units like everyone else, not counting the ghouls. With the ghoul mechanic in place, my expectation is that this will mean they have the opportunity to make the class units more unique – basic things like ‘undead infantry’, ‘undead archers’ and ‘undead cavalry’ will be covered by ghouls, so they’ll have the opportunity to really go to town on the class units.

    I think maybe Heal Undead can come out in the form of an “Acolyte” unit (or maybe we could call it something like “Grave Digger”), similar to the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, or even maybe as an Empire Upgrade like Order of Healing.

    Empire upgrades are an interesting possibility – it’d make a necromancer’s Wraiths particularly interesting, as you’d then have wraiths that can heal other undead. Whether self-healing wraiths (outside of life-steal) would actually be balanced is another question, though…

    But yeah, I think it’s pretty much guaranteed that, through one route or another, necromancers will have access to units with Heal Undead.

    #129089

    Gloweye
    Member

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Kaiosama TLJ wrote:</div>
    But my biggest worry is how varied will be the Undead rooster outside the Ghouls, but I’ll sit down and wait for the next journal to see what they have in mind. I can even accept from zombies wearing wooden masks (Zelda fans will know what I’m refering to) to monstruous evolutions for vampires (ditto for Soul Reaver fans).

    Yeah, I suspect they’ll have six or so class units like everyone else, not counting the ghouls. With the ghoul mechanic in place, my expectation is that this will mean they have the opportunity to make the class units more unique – basic things like ‘undead infantry’, ‘undead archers’ and ‘undead cavalry’ will be covered by ghouls, so they’ll have the opportunity to really go to town on the class units.

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Kaiosama TLJ wrote:</div>
    I think maybe Heal Undead can come out in the form of an “Acolyte” unit (or maybe we could call it something like “Grave Digger”), similar to the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, or even maybe as an Empire Upgrade like Order of Healing.

    Empire upgrades are an interesting possibility – it’d make a necromancer’s Wraiths particularly interesting, as you’d then have wraiths that can heal other undead. Whether self-healing wraiths (outside of life-steal) would actually be balanced is another question, though…

    But yeah, I think it’s pretty much guaranteed that, through one route or another, necromancers will have access to units with Heal Undead.

    Well, if the Wraiths stay in the Archon Dwelling, it would be a strong synergy, but not something you can build a strategy on. Sure, no Necro will be building Archon Titans since they’ll be busy pumping out wraiths, but well…

    right now, Sorc Wraiths are already good at fighting…

    #129116

    Fenraellis
    Member

    Also the immunity to blight seems like its just a slap in the face to goblin players. Suddenly your main damage sources are rendered unusable to near useless. I really hope the other races and classes get some extras added to them to compensate for the new extras.

    To be fair, a Dreadnought isn’t that incomparable in that regard, as far as being a nuisance to Goblins, Arch Druids or, heaven forbid, a Goblin Arch Druid(Snidget Filthpillow will have her day in the sun!). That being said, Arch Druid’s have Rust Strike to at least make machines less annoying, and Goblins have access to Weaken which removes blight Immunity. The Water Adept spell, Rot, will also apply Weaken to Machines.

    As for the Undead, well, Goblins will still have Weaken. Arch Druid’s will have to rely on their decent variety of other units, though, although they still have a largely blight-focused elemental set.

    It’s just the risk you take, though, for choosing a given race and/or class, without knowing what your opponent will select. For example, aside from their Halfling Jesters or Orc Priests, Halflings and Orcs, respectively will have a pretty sorry time against Incorporeal units. If that Unit is a Shadow Stalker, then Orcs are just out of luck.

    So, just try to select a class/race combo that provides enough versatility, or accept the limitations of a given selection and play around it.

    #129135

    Draxynnic
    Member

    Well, if the Wraiths stay in the Archon Dwelling, it would be a strong synergy, but not something you can build a strategy on. Sure, no Necro will be building Archon Titans since they’ll be busy pumping out wraiths, but well…

    right now, Sorc Wraiths are already good at fighting…

    True enough. Kinda like me with naga dwellings in the halfling campaign…

    Mind you, there is some precedent for a dwelling and a class sharing a unit, albeit so far it’s all been through random summon spells. So I could see necromancers having a ‘summon undead creature’ spell that has wraiths as a possible result (as well as carrion birds, bone wyverns, possibly wraith kings as a ‘jackpot’ summon).

    #129147

    Gloweye
    Member

    Reed Serpent? not really worth calling it a double unit…seriously, who’s gonna build baby serpent instead of build 1 additional building in order to stamp out T2 regrowth Infantry/Pikeman? Or Mature’s vs Matriarchs? rofl.

    I’ll admit Mature’s can be usefull, Matriachs are usually quite a bit better.

    As a side note, I would love if Mystical City upgrades get allowed in Dwellings. I’ve had thrice already that I had a Forbidden Sanctum in a Archon dwelling, and I’ve seen a Ancient ruins in a Naga dwelling domain as well….

    #129185

    Great job Triumph (as usual)!
    What I also would like to see, is some sort of mechanics (maybe just spells), that turn specific units (maybe even just heroes), into vampires or werewolves. After all, ghouls are supposed to be quite a basic low level units. A high level necromancer should be able to create also more powerful undeads with special skills.
    Vampires should be able transform into bats, fly, and have all sort of dark powers. Werewolves maybe should be unable to control their transformations and randomly turn into beasts who are powerful but maybe also become unable to use spells and most of their human skills.

    Just a random idea: Introducing the concept of day and night: Alternating day and night turns, so that certain creatures would become more powerful or gain specific powers during either of them… pretty great for undead (and rogues) no?

    #129189

    As a side note, I would love if Mystical City upgrades get allowed in Dwellings. I’ve had thrice already that I had a Forbidden Sanctum in a Archon dwelling, and I’ve seen a Ancient ruins in a Naga dwelling domain as well

    they did at first, but then there were concerns that there would be wasted structures, like a Forbidden sanctum in a dragon dwelling.

    #129192

    Fenraellis
    Member

    into vampires or werewolves

    Just going to point out that Vampires are Undead(although I believe they made reference to the fact that they may not be returning) but… werewolves are most definitely not Undead units. Heck, the only non-Undead unit that’s ever really been noteworthy as part of their lineup(besides their machines in AoW1) were the infernal Demon and Hell Hound units from the same game. Which still had Regeneration and Fearless like all other Undead units, and at least Death Protection.

    Now, while it would be fairly easy to argue the above three traits to a werewolf, but the Hell Hound and Demon were very much connected to the concepts of death and the afterlife, something a werewolf is not.

    I don’t have anything against werewolves in particular, and if they did include them as a Monster unit for the Undead I wouldn’t likely complain, but I just think it’s worth pointing out that they have never been related in any of the past games.

    —–

    they did at first, but then there were concerns that there would be wasted structures, like a Forbidden sanctum in a dragon dwelling.

    …was that how it went? Honestly, I would think the greater concern would have been the existence of a Forbidden Sanctum in a Naga dwelling, rather than a ‘wasted’ structure somewhere. All they would have to do is disable the structures for Dwellings without the potential to build units of the given type. That is, currently only Naga and Archon(and Faery’s Nymphs) would be able to build related site-structures.

    For point of reference, I doubt you see very many Warlords rushing to get Soul Chambers. Or pretty much any non-Warlord trying to get Pillar of the Stylite(unless they really need Pikes for some reason), or non-Rogues(and a dash of Dread) being eager for Mercenary Camps. There are other examples, I’m sure.

    #129202

    Draxynnic
    Member

    Reed Serpent? not really worth calling it a double unit…seriously, who’s gonna build baby serpent instead of build 1 additional building in order to stamp out T2 regrowth Infantry/Pikeman? Or Mature’s vs Matriarchs? rofl.

    I did, actually. Partly because hey, it was possible they might evolve, and partly because under the circumstances, a ranged tier 1 NOW was more useful to me than a Slither the turn after. Admittedly, most of the production of the naga dwelling in question was Slithers and then Matriarchs, and that’s what I leaned on for the game in question.

    There’s also, incidentally, wyverns from Fantastic Creature and Eldritch Animal that overlap with the dragon dwelling.

    #129205

    Gloweye
    Member

    they did at first, but then there were concerns that there would be wasted structures, like a Forbidden sanctum in a dragon dwelling.

    Well, beter a few being a wasted structure, than the current treasure sites always being wasted inside a dwelling’s domain, unless it happens to be in the border and you actually build a city directly next to it.

    my resurgent wraiths…:(

    #129209

    NuMetal
    Member

    As a side note, I would love if Mystical City upgrades get allowed in Dwellings.

    Yeah, I’d love that too!

    We had it in the beta, but as chrys said it got removed because Triumph was afraid that some players would build buildings that do anything for them and then be frustrated.

    Since it’d not be difficult to turn on again (I guess), you could just propose it in it’s own thread and maybe if enough people say they’d like it too they’l add it again 🙂

    #129224

    And now we got the situation of people being unable to build them and getting frustrated 😛

    #129236

    NuMetal
    Member

    @ferrus_animus:

    Well, just start a seperate topic for this and if enough people feel the same way we can add it to the compiled issues list.

    You’d definitely have my vote! 🙂

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