A Dialogue?: Larger Map Issues Compiled

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions A Dialogue?: Larger Map Issues Compiled

This topic contains 86 replies, has 21 voices, and was last updated by  Epaminondas 7 years ago.

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  • #175402

    Epaminondas
    Member

    As most of the regular posters here know too well, I have had a sometimes contentious relationship with the developers and the beta testers of this wonderful game regarding certain aspects of the game design. There were fundamentally two reasons for this unfortunate antagonism: First, I am hot-tempered and often immoderate in my rhetoric or presentation, which creates un-needed ill will; second, we were essentially playing two fundamentally different “styles” of games and hence could not appreciate one another’s concerns. So the first cause of the antagonism was personality-driven and unnecessary; the second cause was substance-driven but also potentially a real ground for fruitful dialogue to make the game better for all. Unfortunately, given the initial ill will created by my over-the-top rhetoric, the potentially fruitful, substantive dialogue was undercut before it even began in earnest, to the detriment of all.

    So I would like to re-launch the dialogue to see whether we can all meet halfway – or even a quarter way; and, failing that, to see whether we can begin to at least see each other’s issues with another’s eyes. Isolating the problems is already halfway to resolving them. Once again, I acknowledge that the initial fault in this communication breakdown was mine: So I will try to stop from editorializing or worse. I will try to move from “this is a huge problem, so go fix it, dammit” rhetoric to “this is an issue for gamers like me, so can we discuss it and do something about it in a way that does not hurt games with opposite preferences?” presentation. Further, while it may be redundant for some, I will better elaborate the context – my gaming background and preferences – for convenience.

    Stripping it down to the basics, the main substantive issue of contention is this: I prefer longer (200-plus turns) games, played in larger maps; yet the game is – according to the developers themselves – balanced toward shorter, blitz-style multi-player (MP”) games. It seems to me that the developers and the beta testers believe that my preferences are “unique” or “distinctive” and that most of the player-base prefer shorter games. I do not believe this to be the case, and that the developers and the beta testers may have in fact tilted the game mechanics more toward their own shorter game preferences – which may actually be a minority position.

    But be that as it may, absent a reasonably rigorous empirical evidence, I will not belabor this empirical issue for at least three reasons. First, it is since it is argument without a possible conclusion. Second, an iron-clad agreement on who represents that elusive, amorphous, and always-shifting creature – the “majority” – is not ultimately needed for a fruitful dialogue. Third, to dwell upon this unresolvable empirical question overmuch would take the attention away from the fact that the developers since release have actually done yeomanry work in terms of shifting the balance more toward longer game players like me (something I have acknowledged in many threads), as well as turning the focus away from the issues that still need to be discussed.

    So after this long “clearing the air” preface, I will get try to describe the issues that still remain for players who prefer longer games, played in a larger map, so we can together discuss whether these issues can be at least mitigated without hurting those gamers who prefer shorter games. My main intent is to portray the issues rather than suggest solutions; if I do suggest solutions, they are done tentatively. Finally, to try to evade the possible charge that I am cherry-picking those “unique” problems that plague only me, I have elected those issues that multiple posters (some including even the developers and the beta testers) have also acknowledged to be problems:

    1: The effect of excessively high amount of Casting Points (“CPs”) in over-powering certain high-end spells:

    While this is a problem that the developers and the beta testers have conceded repeatedly, it appears from evidence they do not recognize the true extent or the gravity of the problem. (For instance, one out-spoken beta testers gave his own estimate of the available CPs of the more thriving AIs in an extra-large map game that was less than half the CPs I see in actual games of this nature.) Simply put, there is so much CPs out there in larger map games that spells that are otherwise “balanced” when cast once or twice in battle can be spammed ad infinitum in a way that becomes un-balanced. I have already discussed personal examples elsewhere, so I will be briefer. Among others, it is routine to eat three or four Hellfires or Earthquakes in a single battle in games I play (ditto for some overland city-crippling spells like Forge Blast in one game turn); and I been hit with eight Disintegrates in another battle (this is the only game where I have had Disintegrate-capable opponent late-game, so I can imagine a far worse scenario).

    Now, the typical response is that I should have finished opponents with these problematic spells sooner. But on the one hand, some people simply want to play longer, more “epic” games to experience the late game units and spells to the fullest. On the other hand, sometimes due to geography or other context-specific issues, you cannot quickly finish off that opponent with spammable un-balanced spell.

    So can something be done about this issue? Assuming something should be done, one beta tester suggested that the available CPs in late game be reduced, but I do not like this option, because it penalizes the more CP-dependent classes and tactics, when the problem is the spamming of particular spells. So I thought perhaps dramatically increasing the CPs required for these problematic spells could work, but doing it excessively – as Bouh, another beta tester, helpfully stressed, and now I agree – would unfairly affect smaller map games, where these spells are possibly balanced.

    At the moment, I am thinking the fairest solution is to attack the spammability of these spells – either via increasing the cost to spam in the same game turn or battle or decreasing the effects of these spells as they become spammed. So perhaps a battlefield nuke could be reduced to 75 percent effect when cast the 2nd time in a battle, 50 percent the 3rd time, and so on. Would this be too cumbersome to code?

    Obviously, as my main intent is to isolate the problem and less to offer my own solutions, I would welcome other, better, potential solutions.

    2: The effect of the high volume of T4 units in obsoleting T1/T2 units:

    The first observation one must make on this topic is that the developers have been admirably responsive in recognizing and addressing this problem since release. Among other godsends, T1/T2s have been greatly boosted, and T4s have been correspondingly nerfed, as well as rendered less spammable. Still, while the problem may be nearly entirely fixed for shorter games, they loom large for longer games.

    Now, several beta testers have suggested that there are ostensibly easy ways to deal with T4s, but those methods are far less efficacious in longer, larger map games. The first method is not really a method but an observation that goes to the effect that T4s are economically inefficient to spam. Perhaps true in shorter games, but this is less the case in longer games; there you have so much money that it is not economically un-viable to have most of your stacks – and even city garrisons – composed of T3s and T4s. In such a scenario, T1/T2s lose purpose unless they can offer something more substantial than economic efficiency.

    Second, I am told of the numerous ways that T1/T2s can utilize the flanking mechanic and other tactical tricks to overcome T4s. I have been generally less impressed with this argument, because it does not account for space efficiency and higher attrition of the lower tier units. But regardless of the general viability of this approach, these tactical resorts do not work when T4s form entire stacks, rather than a small minority in such stacks.

    And I have yet to touch upon how the gap in performance between T1s and T4s is especially exaggerated in longer games due to the Champion levels that T4s can easily accumulate (all this for a separate sub-heading #3).

    So we now ask Lenin’s question, “What is to be done”? Well, there are really two separate issues. One is that the reliance on T3s and T4s is boring, because there are too few of them. So the answer may be in the direction of more T3s and T4s. (I have suggested another racial T3 and possibly – I am still not sure of the desirability on this score – of a class T4.) This seems to be a matter of developer resources and do not present a balance problem for the devotees of shorter games, provided everything is well-tested. The other issue is the obsolescence of T1s/T2s, which must involve boosting them further somehow, which might present problems for those who play shorter game. But perhaps a way to impact the shorter game the least may lie in changing how XPs are handled and/or increasing level-up bonuses for T1/T2s? This, then, brings to the next substantive issue.

    3: The effect of level-ups and Champion levels in increasing the empowering T4s further:

    In longer games, the gap between the high-tiers and low-tiers increase yet further, because high-tier units are easier to level, and they will truly reach epic power there. It is very common to see T4 Champion units running with 200-plus Hit Points in SP games; I’ve reached 400-plus. Now, obviously such a T4 “Spartan” god can hold off legions of your T1 “Persians” – to use one beta testers’s memorable phrase.

    But I think I speak for the majority of the longer game players when I say we do not want to nerf this feature; it lends an epic, RPG feel to the game. We live for such an apotheosis! But by the same token, even the gods may not want it this easy.

    So what to do without nerfing Champion units?

    My general approach has always been that the lower tiers are too brittle anyways; so I would look there first anyways. Yet, I also acknowledge that the developers have made them progressively sturdier, and that further boosts to survivability may upset the MP player-base who want/need quicker games. But is a compromise possible? I think so.

    My proposal would be two-fold. First, increase XP generation generally and implement a passive mechanism for XP generation. This would enable the lower-tiers to achieve Champion levels quicker and more securely to give them a fighting chance. And I do not think it will effect MP game much, since XP accumulation is gradual, and T1/T2 units will in practice not reach the levels they need to compete with the higher tiers except in longer, SP games. Second, give more benefits to T1/T2s at level up, perhaps slanted toward the greatest benefits toward the higher levels, so the level ups impact MP games less.

    There are other issues that are on my mind; and these three issues can be fleshed out further. But I think this is enough – already too much – for a modest opening proposal.

    Thank you if you have read it through to here – and even if you stopped far earlier!

    #175435

    What have you done with the real Epaminondas?

    Wall of text, that I actually read.

    Don’t worry, reply will be much shorter.

    The spell thing you touch upon is imho not all that related to longer/shorter games, but obviously the longer a game goes on, the more any stress fractures become evident.

    One noted player (Heretic Sage) did point out that spells, as in any spells, but especially damage spells, are effectively “OP” because they have no downside to casting them, other than available mana (which, to be honest, any reasonably competent player can accumulate) and casting points. You can boost your own casting points as well, and play the ‘cast damage spells from afar with a meatshield protector’ strategy all day long, and effectively there’s no real counter other than lots of numbers to swarm, or getting there yourself first, or perhaps going for resilient troops.

    Thus, your CP issue is actually evident regardless of map size, but like I said, larger maps = more time = more notice.

    For example, play a Sorc, get 2 or 3 damage spells, some cannon fodder, go for casting points, and you are a deadly force. People tend to ignore this in favour of the other, sexier, stuff (like invisible stacks).

    This is the original reason one spell per turn was brought in, but that discussion has been done to death.

    There were proposals to allow spells to effectively be another form of – ammunition limited (i.e. cp)- ranged attack, requiring positioning, and being subject to range penalties, line of sight etc, and also allowing the possibility to cast a spell over multiple turns in combat, provided the caster didn’t move.

    This isn’t, but conceptually it works, because a certain unit in the expansion gets a battlefield wide spell that requires it be in the green to cast it, and which can be cast just once per battle. (complete aside, I brainstormed a similar idea for a Frostling support unit a long long time ago, whereby said Frostling support unit would get wind ward, to represent controlling a snow storm. The unit in the expansion is not Frostling, and imho what it has is actually cooler…).

    I believe that your massive CP problems (which I did in fact notice once I started playing more XL maps) stem from the AI bonuses system, which is also imho the root cause of the various “T4 are overpowered” complaints because, pound for pound, T4 units are pretty weak. Their power comes from the mechanical issues of not being able to control many units at the same time as effectively as controlling a few.

    So, AI bonuses have been changed, and they don’t stack T4 units like they used to. You should see a much more varied mix.

    Ditto Settlers (there’s an algorithm which determines how they settle, which works).

    However, I was playing a Necromancer the other day, and it was my bad luck to start near a Sorcerer. That is a really tough matchup, because the Necro basically starts of fairly slow and the Sorcerer is explosive out of the gate. Also, Necros don’t really have an answer to massed shock damage.

    I got my arse kicked by turn 30, by an AI Sorc with Watchers who ripped me to shreds with chain lightning.

    So, the CP bonuses algorithm is still there, but perhaps with enough good ideas (i.e. ones that can work and are well presented, not whines) this can change. Afterall, stack composition and Settler logic got changed, so it shouldn’t be a stretch to pace the research bonuses AI get.

    I truly believe that tweaking the research bonus, or direction, is the way forward here (AI will always stack CP).

    With regards to lower tier unit survivability, I did propose, long ago, that the availability of buildings be tied to the size of the host city, e.g:

    Outpost: nothing really, as it is an outpost, so only militia units available

    Village – unlocks Barracks, Builder’s Hall

    Town – unlocks Warhall, Siege Shop

    City – unlocks T3 building, and all but the ultimate Class building, Masters’ Guild.

    Metropolis – unlocks ultimate class building.

    This would stop tier 4 “spam” dead in it’s tracks simply because in even the longest games, not every city will be a Metropolis.

    On the contra side, it would boost Magic dependent classes, or, rather, nerf Producing classes, although if the Henge and Sorcerer’s conflux ultimate buildings were tied to metropolis size as well, then not an issue really.

    This would hurt Necromancers though.

    #175438

    If city size and production buildings got linked, well the obvious balancer there already exists iirc, which is choosing your start size city.

    That would serve to help those who want a faster game.

    Edit: Sorry, got carried away with my initial reply!

    #175466

    Some of my thoughts;
    Instant Mega Spells (I.e Hellfire, Earthquake etc)

    I would love to see the Instant ‘mega-spells’ like hellstorm and earthquake nerfed, or at least given the Mana core treatment (2 turn delay w chance to disjunct). Alternatively, they could be disabled prior to starting a game. This will make both ‘slow and fast’ players content. Spells like these and disintegrate feel so cheap that we agree not to use them. I really don’t understand why there should be a chance to instantly kill a Tier 4 unit, and the chance is not that low, often over 30%.

    Casting points:
    It is common for 10hour + games to have upwards of 180 CP, or even 200+ with sorcerer. I feel that this is too much. I enjoy Massing casting points because it feels like progression. However the threat of Mega spells, nuke spells call them whatever you wish, is very irritating when spammed. If all of them had a Timer like mana core, It would already be a major improvement imo.

    Tier 4 Ranking should also have a larger XP gap or just cap out entirely after Champion rank. As you said, I adore ranking and every other RPG like feature in this game, but that does not mean that I consider it perfect.

    Like instant ‘mega – spells’, I think that Tier 4 unit scaling, or hell Unit xp scaling in general could be set-up pre match. In an even more efficient system, there could be developer or even community made presets which scale better for, let’s say a 1 hour or 30hour game.

    First, increase XP generation generally and implement a passive mechanism for XP generatio

    Could you explain this a bit more, I’m not quite sure what it means. Passive as in some form of passive unit ability that generates xp automatically?

    I agree with most of what you said. I need to read in greater detail later because, well I am lazy, its alot to think about. Plus your writing style reminds me of research papers :D.

    #175469

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    Really like the introduction.
    Nice one, Epa. 😉

    That said – ok, let’s try it this way: the game is naturally limited in length: research. Once everything is researched, the gane should come to an end FAST.

    So that means, if you want a LONG game, you basically must blow the game up like the baloon our universe is: PLay XL maps with nothing in it.

    In other words: you can’t make the game something it isn’t. There is just THAT way to play a long game, and in that game the issues won’t show.
    OTHERWISE, you play the game beyond the limits of what delivers reliable results, so-to-speak.

    IMO (big print), you should simply accept that you can’t have all RMG settings for all maps and make sure you play YOUR game by picking the settings that deliver.

    It IS that easy.

    #175473

    SaintTodd
    Member

    I agree with you that end game spell casting is a problem in longer games, I feel that the real issue is that some of those spells are simply too powerful.
    But I have to disagree on the other issues. Particularly, why do you feel that it’s easier to get T4 champions than lower tier champions? I typically have a few units that survive from the early game into the late game, and have a ton of HP as a result. Those champion units are very capable of facing the newly created T4s, and I really don’t have a problem with them. Now, sorcerers sitting on 200+ CP and Age of Magic active, spamming Chaos Rift? That’s a pain in the you know what.

    #175475

    Gloweye
    Member

    First, increase XP generation generally and implement a passive mechanism for XP generatio
    Could you explain this a bit more, I’m not quite sure what it means. Passive as in some form of passive unit ability that generates xp automatically?

    Basically, to (double?)increase the EXP required for each medal and award 1 EXP to each unit every turn, but with numbers up for debate of course.

    Issue #1 [CP Overload]
    It’s been a while since I had this myself, but I must admit it’s potentially incredible unbalancing. As for the measures to be taken, there’s something to be said for the Mana Core Treatment, but on the other hand spells like Hellfire enable certain strategies like Succubus Hellfire that I like exist.

    Personally, I would like to see a way investigated to increase CP cost for use of the same battlefield enchantment/global nuke spell in the same combat. For example, 50 Mana for the first Hellfire, and 75 for the next and 100 for the one after that. True, Sorcerers will still be able to spam, but at higher cost.

    This could be expanded to single target spells/all spells or maybe restricted by tier instead of scale, to limit things like x8 desintegrate(costs would rise to 80 CP…)

    Issue #2 [T4 OP]
    First of all, I would like to draw the attention to BBB’s mention of the AI’s army composition algorithm – it will try and mix it’s units, and the army’s I’m facing are much more varied than they used to be, which in my case means that I can’t mass a counter unit.

    For the measures, I doubt a further widening of the gap would really be that functional. However, I like BBB’s idea of limiting structures to city size, though a bit more simple – Outpost maybe nothing or just a Wooden Wall like in SM, and each next size getting one line of structures. Grand Palace and 3rd level Class building would be restricted to Metropolis, making the Class buildings the only chain to skip a Tier somewhere, or maybe just delay the entire chain one place – first one on town, etc.

    I would like to hear how hard it is to grow all your cities to Metropolis though. On the other hand, this could potentially mean that you have to adept your city founding tactics according to your army tactics(swarm/T4’s)

    I would give all my support to a second T3 for every race, but it’s not gonna be this expansion anyway.(Halfling Sheriff? Elven Stormlord?)

    Issue #3 [Champions]
    The current Champion system already gives some higher rewards to Tier 1’s, but I’ll admit it’s not much. (For those less informed, 1 Champion level equates to the same amount of EXP it takes to level a new unit to Elite/Gold). While I like more abilities on Medal, there’s only so much you can give a Civic Guard that stays believable, or to a Longbowman that won’t make everyone go “OMG OP”.

    I believe a possibility might be partially awarding damage or maybe specific abilities on Champion, or maybe something like +1 Damage on the first 5 Champion levels for all units, which would be a much higher % for lower Tiers than it is for the higher Tiers.(Titan has 29 Damage at Elite, and could go to 34, but your average Halbedier is currently at 15 Max, which will become 20, which is decent for a T3.)

    As an aside, Abilities bound to the first Champion level seem good to me to, but I don’t know if that can be coded easily.

    As for the issue regarding the EXP over time that could be done, I’m not to sure. I don’t think having your units sitting around should be a good idea.

    #175480

    Epaminondas
    Member

    Well, I can’t believe it, but I am going to agree with most of what you said – at least partly.

    The spell thing you touch upon is imho not all that related to longer/shorter games, but obviously the longer a game goes on, the more any stress fractures become evident.

    One noted player (Heretic Sage) did point out that spells, as in any spells, but especially damage spells, are effectively “OP” because they have no downside to casting them, other than available mana (which, to be honest, any reasonably competent player can accumulate) and casting points. You can boost your own casting points as well, and play the ‘cast damage spells from afar with a meatshield protector’ strategy all day long, and effectively there’s no real counter other than lots of numbers to swarm, or getting there yourself first, or perhaps going for resilient troops.

    Thus, your CP issue is actually evident regardless of map size, but like I said, larger maps = more time = more notice.

    I see what you are saying, but the magnification of the effect of these top-end spells in longer games is still something hard to appreciate until you are actually faced with it. As the example I used in terms of Hellfire, 1 cast is really not an issue, unless your force is entirely made up of un-leveled T1/T2s. But if the AI can spam 3-4 in a battle consecutively, nothing except extremely-leveled Champions or highly Fire-resistant units will survive. And you are obliterated so rapidly (first 3-4 turns) that you sometimes do not have the tools to respond.

    There were proposals to allow spells to effectively be another form of – ammunition limited (i.e. cp)- ranged attack, requiring positioning, and being subject to range penalties, line of sight etc, and also allowing the possibility to cast a spell over multiple turns in combat, provided the caster didn’t move.

    This isn’t, but conceptually it works, because a certain unit in the expansion gets a battlefield wide spell that requires it be in the green to cast it, and which can be cast just once per battle. (complete aside, I brainstormed a similar idea for a Frostling support unit a long long time ago, whereby said Frostling support unit would get wind ward, to represent controlling a snow storm. The unit in the expansion is not Frostling, and imho what it has is actually cooler…).

    Okay, we are definitely going somewhere now. These suggestions of yours can supplement or even replace my suggestions.

    I would welcome a solution that would require a line of sight or other casting distance limitations. Perhaps add a Leader exception to allow Leaders to cast when not present in battle under the rationale that they are more powerful than ordinary heroes.

    I also welcome the suggestion that certain “OP” spells are castable only once per battle. I know it’s fantasy or make-believe, what something like Earthquake or Hellfire must exhaust even the most powerful mages. How can you spam it 3-4 times in a few minutes?! 😉

    …the root cause of the various “T4 are overpowered” complaints… comes from the mechanical issues of not being able to control many units at the same time as effectively as controlling a few.

    So we do not disagree here. That is, as I have elaborated at length, in practice space efficiency from T4s often trumps economic efficiency from T1/T2s.

    I truly believe that tweaking the research bonus, or direction, is the way forward here (AI will always stack CP).

    Not sure you mean by “research bonus, or direction.” If you mean by reducing AI research bonus, then I am not so sure. For one, the problem is not exclusively SP-related; I also play marathon-length MP with my best friend (with 6 AI between us), and late-game CPs basically force us to pursue “what spells can be best spammed if you had unlimited CPs?” strategy. Second, to the extent that this is an AI bonus issue, reducing the AI bonus will simply make delay, rather than prevent, the problem. (And if you delay too further, you may cripple the AI.)

    With regards to lower tier unit survivability, I did propose, long ago, that the availability of buildings be tied to the size of the host city, e.g:

    Outpost: nothing really, as it is an outpost, so only militia units available

    Village – unlocks Barracks, Builder’s Hall

    Town – unlocks Warhall, Siege Shop

    City – unlocks T3 building, and all but the ultimate Class building, Masters’ Guild.

    Metropolis – unlocks ultimate class building.

    This would stop tier 4 “spam” dead in it’s tracks simply because in even the longest games, not every city will be a Metropolis.

    This is a proposal I would endorse regardless of the issues we have been discussing, as I am always in favor of slowing things down. Besides, in the slow games I play, research is too slow relative to how fast you can get racial T3 units out.

    Still, I am not sure if this solution will completely stop T4 spam, as I do see a ton of Metropolises in my games.

    #175484

    Epaminondas
    Member

    Some of my thoughts;<br>
    Instant Mega Spells (I.e Hellfire, Earthquake etc)

    I would love to see the Instant ‘mega-spells’ like hellstorm and earthquake nerfed, or at least given the Mana core treatment (2 turn delay w chance to disjunct). Alternatively, they could be disabled prior to starting a game. This will make both ‘slow and fast’ players content. Spells like these and disintegrate feel so cheap that we agree not to use them. I really don’t understand why there should be a chance to instantly kill a Tier 4 unit, and the chance is not that low, often over 30%.

    Yes, your suggestion of delay for battlefield nuke is an excellent one I endorsed in the other thread as well.

    BBB’s suggestion of line of sight/distance requirement (so that the caster runs some risk) and/or one-time per battle limit are equally ingenious, and I do hope all – or at least one among them – get looked at by the devs.

    It is common for 10hour + games to have upwards of 180 CP, or even 200+ with sorcerer. I feel that this is too much. I enjoy Massing casting points because it feels like progression. However the threat of Mega spells, nuke spells call them whatever you wish, is very irritating when spammed. If all of them had a Timer like mana core, It would already be a major improvement imo.

    I’ve had 400 CPs in an SP game (when I was a newb and city-spammed myself); and I’ve had 300s in slower MP games. So some of you haven’t even seen how obscene it can get.

    Like instant ‘mega – spells’, I think that Tier 4 unit scaling, or hell Unit xp scaling in general could be set-up pre match. In an even more efficient system, there could be developer or even community made presets which scale better for, let’s say a 1 hour or 30hour game.

    I am not a programmer, but this sounds very time-intensive to implement. Perhaps too much so to the point where there might be better alternatives that will yield more fruit for same amount of work.

    First, increase XP generation generally and implement a passive mechanism for XP generatio

    Could you explain this a bit more, I’m not quite sure what it means. Passive as in some form of passive unit ability that generates xp automatically?

    Passive XP gains is an issue I’ve championed multiple times in the past. Basically, passive XP gain is any XP you can get outside of tactical battles. Two examples. First, heroes get XP per day, regardless of whether they participate in battles or not. I’d propose this mechanism apply to all units. Second, there could be structures – either buildable or visitable – that give XPs to all units that are garrisoned or visiting.

    Here are the ideas in more detail:

    http://ageofwonders.com/forums/topic/should-troops-regularly-gain-daily-xp-like-heroes/

    #175486

    Bob5
    Member

    But I have to disagree on the other issues. Particularly, why do you feel that it’s easier to get T4 champions than lower tier champions? I typically have a few units that survive from the early game into the late game, and have a ton of HP as a result. Those champion units are very capable of facing the newly created T4s, and I really don’t have a problem with them. Now, sorcerers sitting on 200+ CP and Age of Magic active, spamming Chaos Rift? That’s a pain in the you know what.

    I can try to give my idea on it. T4’s generally have not only the HP, but also the defense and resistance to take much more punishment than T1s and T2s. I’ve had Champion 2 supports dying simply because I didn’t see some flanking opportunities for some enemy T4s, their defenses don’t scale up further after Elite. On the other hand, T4s can generally handle more punishment, they simply die less, so they can more easily be carried from battle to battle to level. Especially the Phoenix is very good at this, with both Resurgence and Regeneration you can have a stack or two of them entering pretty much any battle, come out entirely crippled and losing 80% of the phoenixes, only to have them all resurge, and then at the start of the next turn, at full health as well.

    #175491

    Epaminondas
    Member

    I agree with you that end game spell casting is a problem in longer games, I feel that the real issue is that some of those spells are simply too powerful.<br>

    I agree; but as I’ve said, OP spells are acceptable if it happens once in a blue moon, but the problem becomes worse when they are spammed multiple times in a single turn or a single tactical battle.

    Also, I am a realist. Currently there is a lot more consensus on the fact that end-game spells are OP when spammed but less of a consensus they are OP when cast once in a while. So I want to resolve problems at a level where there is a greater consensus.

    But I have to disagree on the other issues. Particularly, why do you feel that it’s easier to get T4 champions than lower tier champions? I typically have a few units that survive from the early game into the late game, and have a ton of HP as a result.

    Simple: T4s are easier to keep alive than T1/T2s; and I believe this advantage outweighs the fact that T1/T2s require less XP to level. But opinions may differ on this. All I can say with certainty is that there are a lot more T4 Champions running around in my games than T1/T2 Champions – exponentially more.

    Issue #1 [CP Overload]<br>

    Personally, I would like to see a way investigated to increase CP cost for use of the same battlefield enchantment/global nuke spell in the same combat. For example, 50 Mana for the first Hellfire, and 75 for the next and 100 for the one after that. True, Sorcerers will still be able to spam, but at higher cost.

    This could be expanded to single target spells/all spells or maybe restricted by tier instead of scale, to limit things like x8 desintegrate(costs would rise to 80 CP…)

    This was one of my suggested solutions, so I obviously will agree.

    Issue #2 [T4 OP]<br>
    I would give all my support to a second T3 for every race, but it’s not gonna be this expansion anyway.(Halfling Sheriff? Elven Stormlord?)

    Me, too. As I have said many times in the past, I think the game will benefit far more if an extra racial T3 were added than if another race were added.

    Issue #3 [Champions]<br>
    The current Champion system already gives some higher rewards to Tier 1′s, but I’ll admit it’s not much. (For those less informed, 1 Champion level equates to the same amount of EXP it takes to level a new unit to Elite/Gold). While I like more abilities on Medal, there’s only so much you can give a Civic Guard that stays believable, or to a Longbowman that won’t make everyone go “OMG OP”.

    I believe a possibility might be partially awarding damage or maybe specific abilities on Champion, or maybe something like +1 Damage on the first 5 Champion levels for all units, which would be a much higher % for lower Tiers than it is for the higher Tiers.(Titan has 29 Damage at Elite, and could go to 34, but your average Halbedier is currently at 15 Max, which will become 20, which is decent for a T3.)

    I am all for this suggestion.

    #175496

    Nodor
    Member

    Epaminondas,

    In regards to player preferences, given that the multi-player games are set up through Triumph’s servers, I would assume they have hard data on player preferences for map size and know what crazy things their playerbase is (or is not) up to.

    Secondly, I agree with your premise that the default game settings are balanced around smaller maps, and most games are expected to be over before you completely research everthing.

    Thirdly, as someone who enjoys large and extra large maps with underground I am familiar with a lot of the issues and concerns you list.

    Your first issue: excess CP’s. Assuming a solid expansion at the “mid game” on an extra large map, I expect to have 200-400 points from Grand Palaces contributing to my CP’s, and with Age of Magic, I want the ability to cast 2-4 Summon Eldritch horrors per turn. So, I agree, casting points become sick and wrong. I don’t feel like this is a disadvantage to the player, but more of a challenge to build the buildings you need in all of your cities to make this happen, thus it is a logistics problem.

    Your second issue: Tier 4 spam. I strongly disagree. In another thread, someone was arguing for production carryover. Because Age of Wonders lacks production carryover, the hammers of a city determine it’s optimal production – and this varies by unit for each city. I would much rather have 3-4 stacks of arcane focused archers, than a stack of basic tier 4’s. As a result, I have not experienced the boredom with tier 4 as you have, and I feel I have benefited as a result. .

    Your third issue; Champions. I can see where this is a “problem” in theory, but less so in practice. The AI units almost never reach champion due to the nature of auto-calc, and so, are always replacing (and losing) veteran units.

    Good luck out there.

    #175502

    SaintTodd
    Member

    Obviously, T4s are superior. They’re also alot more expensive. Personally, once I can make them, I don’t simply rely on them. I continue to make the bulk of my army be whatever units I need to deal with the enemy I’m facing, and that’s rarely the T4.
    For instance, the Shrine of Smiting is really cool, but it costs almost 4 times what a Crusader costs. In most cases, I prefer to have four Crusaders, but I’ll make an SoS or two to deal with certain situations. I just don’t see the advantage to spamming them.

    #175503

    Epaminondas
    Member

    In regards to player preferences, given that the multi-player games are set up through Triumph’s servers, I would assume they have hard data on player preferences for map size and know what crazy things their playerbase is (or is not) up to.

    That may be the case, but my argument is precisely that the majority of the player-base is playing SP games. And when you see the number of players on Steam versus how many MP games are running, my point seems confirmed.

    So, I agree, casting points become sick and wrong. I don’t feel like this is a disadvantage to the player, but more of a challenge to build the buildings you need in all of your cities to make this happen, thus it is a logistics problem.

    It is a disadvantage to the “player” if your opponent has elected those classes and Specializations that employ those spells that are best utilized when spammed. (Once again, 1 battlefield nuke doesn’t do much unless you have a lower-tier “horde” army; but 3-4 in a row in the same turn annihilates you in most cases.)

    Your second issue: Tier 4 spam. I strongly disagree. In another thread, someone was arguing for production carryover. Because Age of Wonders lacks production carryover, the hammers of a city determine it’s optimal production – and this varies by unit for each city. I would much rather have 3-4 stacks of arcane focused archers, than a stack of basic tier 4′s. As a result, I have not experienced the boredom with tier 4 as you have, and I feel I have benefited as a result. .

    While I agree with your argument as you framed it, you have re-framed the debate completely by importing a lot of external, non-germane variables. First, you are asking me to compare an enhanced version of one unit versus the other. Second, while 4 stacks of enhanced T1s may beat 1 stack of basic T4s in practice, that’s now what occurs in practice. In slower games, you can produce enough T4s to create multiple T4-oriented stacks. Moreover, I think I said several times that I wasn’t talking about stacks that are exclusively T4s, but T4s supplemented by T3s.

    Your third issue; Champions. I can see where this is a “problem” in theory, but less so in practice. The AI units almost never reach champion due to the nature of auto-calc, and so, are always replacing (and losing) veteran units.

    Warlord AIs have no problem reaching it at all; and I also play some slow MP games with my college friend where they appear in abundance – on both sides.

    Besides, the problem is not that I cannot deal with the AI having them as much as the game becomes too easy when I have them v. the AI.

    #175507

    Epaminondas
    Member

    Obviously, T4s are superior. They’re also alot more expensive. Personally, once I can make them, I don’t simply rely on them. I continue to make the bulk of my army be whatever units I need to deal with the enemy I’m facing, and that’s rarely the T4.<br>
    For instance, the Shrine of Smiting is really cool, but it costs almost 4 times what a Crusader costs. In most cases, I prefer to have four Crusaders, but I’ll make an SoS or two to deal with certain situations. I just don’t see the advantage to spamming them.

    As I explained to Nodor, “T4” is a catch-all term that actually includes T3s as well.

    As for your general economics/efficiency argument, as I’ve said, in the late stages of larger map games, you have soooo much money where you no longer face resource constraints to spamming T3/T4s.

    #175527

    Fingers
    Member

    An interesting discussion, although perhaps it’s a bit over my head since I’m waiting until EL has arrived to buy the game.

    Wouldn’t some of these issues be very easily dealt with by some pre-game options that let us adjust things like base rates of gold and mana income, research, production, population growth, etc? On an enormous map, the rates could just be lowered way way down. Or how about some very basic modding support, like just being able to edit some xml files to tinker around with these rates and with unit stats and abilities?

    #175534

    @ Fingers, those options exist to a degree.

    You can set the game up to ‘marathon’ which makes all research (and city growth too iirc) go 3 times slower, so it take 3 times as long to research anything.

    You can also choose the density of independent mobs, and the density of resource nodes.

    You can make a map with few resources, lots of independent enemies to harass you, and a very slow research progression.

    That is as ‘civ like’ an experience as you can get here, especially if you start with a settler, disable independent cities, and have few starting armies.

    It *can* be fun, but it is not “balanced” by which I mean in the almost literal (bearing in mind this is a virtual world we are talking about) sense.

    The game is most balanced around default settings, medium to large maps with 4 and 6 players respectively.

    For example:

    Starting with only Settlers favours anyone who can summon.

    Larger maps will favour producer classes, as their bottleneck is cities, whereas Sorcerers and Druids (and Necros to a degree) have the CP bottleneck.

    The central issue is that the game wasn’t ever designed (in this iteration or the previous 3) to be a fantasy Civ (hell, in the first game, you couldn’t even found cities, and their size was fixed) like, i.e. start from scratch and go for a long time.

    I mean, in Civ games, 100 turns is still early game. Here, that is a long game.

    I believe the early critiques of ‘simplistic empire management’ stem from believing this was a game designed to be like Civ, but it isn’t, and you have Fallen Enchantress and Endless Legend for that (your enjoyment may vary).

    That said, recent changes in GR and Eternal Lords are actually really cool, and good changes, in that they force hard choices, but you cannot, fundamentally, make a square peg fit in a circle.

    I’m not accusing anyone here of that, just generalizing some of the critiques (and my understanding of them) in order to understand the debate.

    Basically, even with the new stuff, play the game ‘long enough’ and you will “break” it.

    To what degree does this merit “fixing”?

    #175537

    Nodor
    Member

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Nodor wrote:</div>
    In regards to player preferences, given that the multi-player games are set up through Triumph’s servers, I would assume they have hard data on player preferences for map size and know what crazy things their playerbase is (or is not) up to.

    That may be the case, but my argument is precisely that the majority of the player-base is playing SP games. And when you see the number of players on Steam versus how many MP games are running, my point seems confirmed.

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Nodor wrote:</div>
    So, I agree, casting points become sick and wrong. I don’t feel like this is a disadvantage to the player, but more of a challenge to build the buildings you need in all of your cities to make this happen, thus it is a logistics problem.

    It is a disadvantage to the “player” if your opponent has elected those classes and Specializations that employ those spells that are best utilized when spammed. (Once again, 1 battlefield nuke doesn’t do much unless you have a lower-tier “horde” army; but 3-4 in a row in the same turn annihilates you in most cases.)

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Nodor wrote:</div>
    Your second issue: Tier 4 spam. I strongly disagree. In another thread, someone was arguing for production carryover. Because Age of Wonders lacks production carryover, the hammers of a city determine it’s optimal production – and this varies by unit for each city. I would much rather have 3-4 stacks of arcane focused archers, than a stack of basic tier 4′s. As a result, I have not experienced the boredom with tier 4 as you have, and I feel I have benefited as a result. .

    While I agree with your argument as you framed it, you have re-framed the debate completely by importing a lot of external, non-germane variables. First, you are asking me to compare an enhanced version of one unit versus the other. Second, while 4 stacks of enhanced T1s may beat 1 stack of basic T4s in practice, that’s now what occurs in practice. In slower games, you can produce enough T4s to create multiple T4-oriented stacks. Moreover, I think I said several times that I wasn’t talking about stacks that are exclusively T4s, but T4s supplemented by T3s.

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Nodor wrote:</div>
    Your third issue; Champions. I can see where this is a “problem” in theory, but less so in practice. The AI units almost never reach champion due to the nature of auto-calc, and so, are always replacing (and losing) veteran units.

    Warlord AIs have no problem reaching it at all; and I also play some slow MP games with my college friend where they appear in abundance – on both sides.

    Besides, the problem is not that I cannot deal with the AI having them as much as the game becomes too easy when I have them v. the AI.

    Point 1. Player Base – Based on what my friends do, I see a lot of people opting for medium maps. I like big maps, and I would like them to be in a good place. Your mileage may vary, but I don’t think we have a lot of disagreement on that point. However, I personally haven’t seen any anecdotal information that does not support people typically playing on smaller maps, and if Triumph is confident that most people prefer that format, I would assume they probably have data to back that statement up and are not just making up facts.

    Point 2. If you are going into an empire building style game on an extra large map, knowing you (and your opponents) will have 400+ CP, and you don’t have a plan to utilize that resource, than I would assume you have (or are) selecting something to compensate for that in some way shape or form. Engaging in a straight up spell fight has not worked for me. But I will frequently bring a force to bear on a non-critical target to “absorb the CP I expect to face” before starting a fight over a more important target.

    Point 3. Each city, as built with the individual upgrades around it, will have a unit it produces more efficiently than any other available unit. I often find that a cities most efficient unit is NOT a tier 3 or 4. I have had cities that produce a tier 4 a turn, and then you just make the big shiny thing. Generally speaking, if I can make 3 tier threes in the time it would take to make 1 tier 4, I opt for the tier 3’s. The other point about this is, how fast can I get the city to “most efficient”. If it’s producing tier 1 or 2 units (due to bonus buildings) building things like the master’s guild, or the warhall may not be good uses of your time. I find these “low tier units” useful for taking down poorly defend areas, but also critically, to draw CP fire as needed away from my big stacks of more valuable creatures. Not optimizing city production based on unique building benefits and going for sure tier 4’s may be an ok move as a Warlord, but it’s questionable for all other classes in my opinion.

    Point 4. I have not seen “champion units” in abundance for any players but Warlords who have cast their end game spell. And, you need to have a plan to deal with all of the end game spells on an extra large map, because they come up a lot.

    #175564

    Fingers
    Member

    Thanks for explaining how those options work, BBB! 🙂 Glad to hear there are some things that can be adjusted.

    #175578

    iceboy
    Member

    If city size and production buildings got linked, well the obvious balancer there already exists iirc, which is choosing your start size city.

    That would serve to help those who want a faster game.

    Edit: Sorry, got carried away with my initial reply!

    I really like the unit tiers being determined by the size of the city! Very cool idea!

    #175585

    Hatmage
    Member

    A suggestion for limiting the power of the instant nukes, hellfire and earthquake. Rather than a set amount of damage and CP consumption, they could convert all CP to damage with diminishing returns.
    Say the first 20 cp gets 20 damage with your leader on the field, then the next 20 gives 10, then five, then three, then one. Still a terrifying spell. Still melts cities. But very much a weapon of last resort.

    #175587

    Bear in mind that in the new expansion, using some of these nuke spells will have repercussions on racial happiness, and therefore governance.

    Ofcourse, as always, that’s more something for the Human player to consider.

    #175638

    Arlow
    Member

    only popping in to say i am also a larger map player when i do single play, in fact the point for my solo games isn’t even winning, but watching a world i made evolve. the governance will be great for me. would let a game go on forever.

    and i like to be the one with tons of cp and summons all over toying with my enemies >:)

    #175661

    Ericridge
    Member

    Issue 1.

    Well uh, in the XL games I’ve played, I almost never see endgame spells whatsoever
    even when AI have 300+ CP. In my own experiences, I’ve been hit with hellfire spell exactly once from the AI and that’s it. And that spell hurt the AI more than me! He lost alot of units to the hellfire while all my units survived except for tier 1 archers and longswordmen.. Even my trooper engineers survived! Somehow, I’ll never know how they survived.

    I will have to say it’s all dependent on how you fight will determine on how often you seethe doomsday spells or not. If you get the upper hand in the disjunction war then the AI might feel like it’s under pressure to get valuable global spells restored to the point where it choose to hold off from spamming earthquake/hellfire in order to bring it’s global mechanization/global assault etc up again.

    It depends on how very likely the AI thinks it will win the battle will determine how likely it will press the big red button to nuke your forces. I generally fight at disadvantage most of the times so I almost never see the god almighty nukes being unleashed against me.

    And I feel that the endgame spells shouldn’t be limited. I think this is more of a problem of your play style. Not shown in the screenshots below is even more armies waiting for their turn to do battle. Trust me, the CPs do run out very fast. I go through 300+ CP very fast in a single turn easily. And so do the AI too!

    One skirmish there, the AI might spend 40-100 CP there. And presto! You just burned off 1/3of the AI’s CP Supply! Another skirmish there, and AI might cast spells there too! And then the main battle time! AI will likely choose to cast a mass bless or mass curse if it’s limited on remaining CP.

    I did two to four battles before I initiated the battle on dragon’s peak. I had like 140 CP left by then XD And for the first battle of Dragon’s Peak, Bormac cast Mass Curse so I countered with Mass Bless. And that was about it, no earthquakes, etc.

    Issue 2.

    I cannot argue with the fact that tier 4s is mightier than tier 1s. It is
    simply a matter of fact! At most, tier 1s and 2s can use champion system in order to increase their staying power in high level battles so that they can burn retaliations from enemy units, eat shots that would’ve been sent to more valuable troops otherwise. And act as the finisher towards enemy units that survived a killing blow but is near death!

    I’ve been chasing Bormac for several turns and caught up with him parked in the Dragon’s Lair. It took me several battles to fight to completion. Was really tough.

    Battle 1, Stealing a 140 hp Champion Firstborn via true resurrect XD
    Destroyed three flame tanks who survived otherwise with my recruit human archers cuz they had 3 hp and less. Spy Drones provided as one turn distraction for cannons!

    Battle 2, Ericridge’s army attacks again with more spy drones and disembarking archons. Purpose of this battle was to destroy the near death machines with cannon fodder. I succeeded, archons slay a few, I did almost get to destroy two more cannons but I had to start retreating early because archons was dying at incredible speed. That’s what I get for bringing them into high level battles! XD Ericridge’s army retreat with archons as sacrifice to provide me safe retreat.

    Battle 3.

    So that you can see what I saw.

    And the results.

    As you can see, my Champion halberdier, golem, priest didn’t survive. But hell, they stayed alive for amazing amount of time. Those three had 140 hp. Knight at 140 as well and Juggernaut was at like 170 hp I think.

    By third battle, they have been hit with so many cannonballs, flame tanks, and juggernaut mortar barrages. Its’ a wonder that they survived for so long thanks to the hp pool granted to them through champion ranks. Their presence was exceeding vital to this victory. I won’t have done it without champions.

    The Ogre army was martyred because they ate all the first shots from juggernauts, cannons and flame tanks. But it let other armies to close range and start punching faces. But even with that instant death, the ogres managed to bring down one flame tank with them before being wiped out.

    The halberdier almost survived but the last three juggernauts was determined to end his life. And so down he went. And the Human Knight once the main line was broken, it slipped in and started to unleash the wrath of flanking devastating charges. HUGE HEAVY DAMAGE from a racial unit! You’re looking at 25-30+ damage from devastating charges. It was why the last three juggernauts didn’t win against me.

    I feel that the XP gain is currently fine but there’s no real way to gain large amount of champions because XP source is finite unless you purposely keep a Major AI alive to farm the XP points from it which is bit silly but makes sense XD

    Issue 3.
    I feel that the XP gain is currently fine. In fact, I want the limitation of 1 level gain from a single battle removed so that there will be elites from interesting battles where a lot of carnage happens. I’ve seen recruit tier 1/2 units that reach elite in a single siege battle and almost contributed to the victory of defender because it was very powerful and healthy for weakened attackers to fight. Most notable one I remember was a elite storm sister in a throne city battle, she started out as recruit. But ye gods. I was terrified of this unit, I had to maneuver my whole army so that I would charge as much as possible at once so it wont’ be able to kill me piecemeal.

    I miss that aspect in battles, units that get ignored because they’re too weak becomes a very huge threat by end of battle because they emerged victorious in many fights.

    One problem of Champions gaining other stats other than HP is that it could potentially break the game balance becuase you will see Longswordmen laughing at juggernaught’s mortar barrage because it only does 1 damage to them or if it only gives them attack boost, then you will see them one or two shotting tier 4 units on the virtue of levels gained. That would put them onto level of heroes. You know what? I actually don’t mind that at all.

    It has that coolness factor.
    Now, Champions just need unique unit graphics to help differ them from cannon fodder. Something which I don’t think will happen due to number of units in this game. ;_;

    #175687

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    Let’s repeat it: you can’t make the game something it isn’t.

    Imo, there is one naturally limiting factor in the game:
    RESEARCH. The amount of Research Points you can spend is limited, cannot be increased and doesn’t depend on map size.

    The amount of research points per turn, though, depends on size of map, the amount of settlements and the number of research giving map locations.

    With the premise a) the game reaches a natural end, once everything is researched (it should finish not long afterwards, at the latest, and b) the game scope is fine the way it is now, there are only two conclusions, when you want to have longer games:
    1) You must make very sparse settings: BBB (and others) explained that a couple of times.

    2)The alternative would be a way to “burn” research after the techs are finished; this might work like Champion level upgrade for units: All Ultimate Researches were Global Empire technologies and would increase globally one unit stat by +1 or HPs by 10 (or maybe movement +2); costs would have to be 5000 or something like that:
    Example: Master Tech Resistance 1: All units gain +1 Resistance; cost 6.000.
    There might be no limit here.

    This way you could just continue the game. I’m not sure it would be a lot of fun, though. There is a limit to the towns you want to administrate.

    I also think, like BBB, that you can’t square a circle. The game is spot-on, as it is, plus the RMG offers a wide array of ways to adjust things, all extreme settings somewhat “warping” the “ideal” game experience.

    I’d think, someone will make a “Civ mod”, once modding starts, and “Ultimate Techs” might be funny to mod as well.

    That said, I think there is one simple thing that MIGHT do the trick: If you play without settlements (none) and few dwellings, games on an XL map would take very long, but would be boring. You could change that by playing with settling.
    In this case settling speed would be pretty decisive, and that in turn depends on how costly a settler unit is.
    Which means:

    A slider for Settler cost would do the trick.

    That slider would adjust settler cost in increments of 100/10. Doubling settler cost to 4000/400, for example, would make building a settler still possible, but VERY costly, and the high pop costs would mean small building window, if you want to avoid underpopulation penalties. So playing without external settlements and just a few dwellings plus higher settler cost would stretch the game a lot.

    #175727

    Bouh
    Member

    I only read first post yet.

    From what I see all the problems you are talking about revolve around one problem : Resources overabundance in late game.

    Just think about it. In late game, you have too many cities, producing too much gold, mana, candles and CP (because of palaces).

    The solution is simple then : murder this overabundance of resources one way or another. Usualy a progressive tax is effective (where the more income you have and the less proportion of it you earn).

    I need to ask too : did you try to change the pace slider to extend the length of games without running into these problems ?

    #175737

    Bouh
    Member

    There were proposals to allow spells to effectively be another form of – ammunition limited (i.e. cp)- ranged attack, requiring positioning, and being subject to range penalties, line of sight etc

    It was like this in AoW1 : you could only cast spells in battle where your leader was present, and extremely few spells didn’t required a line of sight, and they all had a range. There was shard of ice for example that shot shard of ice (about 5, each with their own attack/damage through) with the trajectory of a balista, from the caster to the target, and there was friendly fire in these ones. It was the good old days. Without friendly fire it’s not really interesting though I’m afraid.

    Oh, and another thing I missed : I think a good part of the problem is the emperor and maybe the lord AI (or is it king ? I always mistaken them, I mean the two best AIs) that are not aggressive enough. With more aggressive AIs, you would be forced to war a lot sooner, and in order to survive you would need to kill them.

    #175738

    Bob5
    Member

    I only read first post yet.

    From what I see all the problems you are talking about revolve around one problem : Resources overabundance in late game.

    Just think about it. In late game, you have too many cities, producing too much gold, mana, candles and CP (because of palaces).

    The solution is simple then : murder this overabundance of resources one way or another. Usualy a progressive tax is effective (where the more income you have and the less proportion of it you earn).

    I need to ask too : did you try to change the pace slider to extend the length of games without running into these problems ?

    Resource overabundance is inherent to how the game works right now. The size of the borders with enemy empires where you need forces scale linearly with map diagonal, while the empire size itself is proportional to the square of the map diagonal, because it’s a surface. And it’s the empire size which is proportional to the income and production capabilities (assuming city and resource densities are equal between different map sizes). This is obviously not much more detailed than a dimensional analysis, but I think it is the most causal to resource abundance in larger maps.

    #175753

    Hunter
    Member

    I think a slider for the cost of settlers is a great idea.

    I also want a slider for the rate of increase of higher tier troops. They are too cheap to maintain imho.

    #175763

    Motasa
    Member

    It was like this in AoW1 : you could only cast spells in battle where your leader was present, and extremely few spells didn’t required a line of sight, and they all had a range. There was shard of ice for example that shot shard of ice (about 5, each with their own attack/damage through) with the trajectory of a balista, from the caster to the target, and there was friendly fire in these ones. It was the good old days. Without friendly fire it’s not really interesting though I’m afraid.

    A yes, the good old days. I still favour the system of the original Age of Wonders over the wizard-system introduced in the following titles of the series. The current system, where your leader can cast anywhere from everywhere, removes the tactical layer of spellcasting for me. You can stay out of harms way – hell, even out of the battle – and just spam your spells from a safe distance.

    From what I see all the problems you are talking about revolve around one problem : Resources overabundance in late game.

    Just think about it. In late game, you have too many cities, producing too much gold, mana, candles and CP (because of palaces).

    The solution is simple then : murder this overabundance of resources one way or another. Usualy a progressive tax is effective (where the more income you have and the less proportion of it you earn).

    I agree that this is the crux for longer games: piles of resources you can’t spend quickly enough. The “endgame” loses it’s strategic – you don’t need to worry if you spend your gold, mana and casting points wisely – and tactical layers – battles become a breeze when you can cast multiple high-tier spells, your leader and heroes adorned with mythical items, making them practically immortal and losses to your army that can be replaced within a blink of an eye.

    My experience when playing the occasional L or XL map is this: nothing more to research, you notice the game drags out – resources accumulate really fast, casting ultimate spells every other turn, disjunct the ultimate spell of that pesky rogue or theocrat every other turn, summon the occasional Horned God and start marching multiple homogeneous stacks to my remaining enemy’s capital – I just try to ally myself with the remaining AI players I deem to strong and to distant to my empire to finish the game quickly.

    Therein lies my problem with larger maps, but which is inherent to these type of maps (which is why I just occasionally play a game on larger maps), if I start in the upper right corner of the map, it is likely I encounter and go to war with the AI player in the lower left corner when the game is past turn 100. We both have such a vast empire, I rather ally myself with them and end the game. This is the reason why I like playing smaller maps in Civilization V with relatively many civilizations cramped onto the limited space it offers. Because when it’s cramped, you encounter your rivals quicker and go to war quicker – not just in the middle ages or modern era. For me, the enjoyment of playing Age of Wonders III revolves solely on these encounters with opposing races. The problem I have with extra large maps is that with max 8 players, I have too much space to only start bothering with my neighbours when the game is halfway it’s length. The first half of the game I’m doing things Civilization is better at, that is setting up my empire for any of the multiple victory types. But Age of Wonders is focused and balanced around military expansion, not extensive empire building/management. Therefore, I love the seals victory for larger maps – although I would like to make it more of a “King of the Hill” game, where you can not only alter the amount of charges you need for victory, but also the amount of seals. I hope the new victory condition of the expansion (racial governance) will make playing larger maps (turn 150+) more of an enjoyment for me.

    I don’t think you can make longer games more enjoyable with whatever settings that make the game longer, at least, not for me. Some extra settings may shift the endgame a few turns up, but ultimately, the game will not be fun when you can’t have an edge and you come to a stalemate with an equal foe.

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