Discussion: The Future of 4X

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions Discussion: The Future of 4X

This topic contains 100 replies, has 27 voices, and was last updated by  spockimpossible 2 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #241887

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    Personally, I have no problem with AoW 3 in that regard. The game plays quite fine with the right settings in that regard.

    Btw, I already posted an answer in the mod section. I feel you want to accomplish too much. Imo, you must decide whether you want to make a race or a dwelling; for a race it’s too special, and some of the decisions are doubtful. For example, the unit you can hire always makes sense to be an Irregular, because it’s by default a militia class unit; as such, the unit should have a ranged ability (for Dark Elves you might have a 6/6 Fire/Blight acid/fire dart attack (one shot) for example.
    Then – a T2 Archer, a T2 Inf, A T3 Irreg and a T3 Monster plus a T2 Support that comes with Seduce and gets Dominate on medal?

    I also don’t agree with the characteristics – same as Elves, minus the bad? (Or did I get that wrong?)

    Anyway, I feel that this is more like an alternative Rogue Class setup… 🙂

    The problem, imo, is to have a racial line-up that doesn’t go berserk, but is still special.

    #241889

    Taykor
    Member

    I think I can suggest at least one thing which can be done to make gameplay of strategic games more interesting (at least for me).

    Nonhomogenious, interactive and changing world. Of course there are some elements of this in AoW3 (and there were even more in SW), but not enough, I think. Yes, other elements, like armies, combat, economics, diplomacy should be good, but what haven’t we seen there?
    What I’m talking about.

    Nonhomogenious: different conditions for moving, fighting, building, exploiting in different parts of the world. So yes, this includes effects from different heights, climes, vegetation, water bodies, local inhabitants and so on. Other, less conventional objects and effects could exist, too (like anomalies in EL, if they actually affected anything apart from income). In combat, too: morale bonuses, structure spells, fort and city battles are ok, but there could be more.

    Interactive: you should be able to change world and its conditions. Obviously, this concerns things I mentioned in the previous paragraph: landscape, clime, weather and so on. Also, of course, broad possibilities for building and destruction (and you can build and destroy little in AoW3 apart from cities, which you can’t even completely destroy). In fantasy settings this obviously includes my favourite – strategic magic (which provides extremely wide range of things you can change in the world). Exploring dungeons and structures, entering other parts of the world (underground, other planes) also belongs here.

    And changing: not only you and your opponents/allies should be able to change the world, it should change with time by itself, “linearly”, randomly and periodically. Again, this possibly includes everything mentioned above: landscape, climes, conditions, inhabitants, places of interest and so on. So, possibly, weather effects, seasons (better than in EL, where you can’t actually adapt to winter), cataclisms, invasions, landscape erosion, riverbads changing, forests growing, new anomalies and ‘dungeons’ appearing and vanishing, and so on.

    So, a world should not be just a static scenery, but another participant of a game (even if without intelligence).
    This is what should make a game more interesting for me, I grew a little tired of (just) playing soldiers… Even city planning (like in EL) becomes more interesting.

    Of course, another crucial thing is AI, for example. AI is just a critical problem for games now, a lot of things improve with time, but AI generally stays the same or even becomes worse. There could not be a good game (in all genres) without a smart AI (even fully multiplayer games sometimes need it) now.
    Other new technologies (like procedural generation of things or speaking AI, for example) would be very welcome, too, but probably for other genres.

    #241905

    Starfleck
    Member

    Ok I just had this thought at work today and don’t know why it wasn’t mentioned sooner…

    Smartphone apps for PBEM games. Give people the chance to use a mere ten minutes on their lunch break at work to do turn number 87 (as an example), and shorten that mop-up phase drastically.

    If there’s one sector of technology that is growing faster than any other at the moment, it’s phone capabilities. In order to be a part of the future, the 4x genre absolutely has to take full advantage of this. I know it might seem dumb/stupid/annoying/mainstream, and I hate it too, but it’s a basic necessity for the future. Especially for the future of 4x multiplayer.

    #241912

    Cadfan
    Member

    I am a very mechanics oriented player. I love theme, and will prefer games with better themes over games with lesser ones, but mechanics will break ties every time.

    For me, a lot of 4x games fail because of two problems.

    1. They’re just upgrade mills.

    2. They try to do everything at once and fail.

    This is why Age of Wonders 3, and Thea the Awakening, are my two favorite 4x games… even though by a lot of people’s standards they’re on the edge of the 4x world. Each one picks a specific thing its trying to accomplish, goes ALL IN on accomplishing it, and succeeds. Each has aspects of the traditional 4x four Xes, but they focus on the one thing they’re good at, and make the secondary Xs serve the central one.

    I would love if a 4x game were created that did the same thing for the other aspects of 4x gameplay. I would love a 4x that was all about territory control, for example. Or diplomacy. Look at the city planning mechanics in Endless Legend- that was genuinely fun, and I would be all over a game that took that mechanic and made it the core mechanic of the entire game.

    Hopefully that game by Arcen will be something like that, if they manage to release it.

    #241949

    Draxynnic
    Member

    There are advantages and disadvantages to allowing the player to build their own character in a campaign. The advantage, of course, is that many players feel more personally invested when they’ve customised their own character, and it allows players to play the character they want.

    On the other hand, there are a couple of disadvantages. One is that it’s possible to write a deeper and more involved story when you know the characters you’re writing for, rather than trying to do a one-size-fits-all story that can fit for all characters. Age of Wonders 1 does a reasonable job here, but the price of allowing the player to build their own character is that the campaign can’t do anything that assumes that the character is of a particular race or has particular spheres, and even then there are some minor inconsistencies that can come up with certain races. The AoW2 and AoW3 campaigns, by contrast, were able to make assumptions about the race and spheres/class of the player because these were set by the campaign (although Shadow Magic did allow you to recustomise spheres) which allowed for deeper story, more focused dialogue, and (although this probably wasn’t done as much as it could, with the exception of Eternal Lords) scenarios with mechanics that assume the player’s leader is of a particular class.

    The second is that playing the same character through, even one you made yourself and therefore presumably has a style you enjoy, has the risk of getting repetitive (especially given that the writers can’t put in any special class-related mechanics into the scenario, unless they go to a lot of extra effort to put in ‘if player class is X, then Y’ triggers). One of my criticisms of the original campaigns was that out of 16 missions, two of which you need to repeat with relatively minor changes to get all 16, ten of them, including both repeats, were playing rogue and dreadnought. By the time I’d done them all, I was a bit sick of playing rogue and dreadnought. Again, AoW1 gets away with this – this time because, in AoW1, your leader’s identity does not actually influence your game all that much (it just determines what creatures you can summon and what spells your heroes can cast): the races on the map influence the game much more. In AoW3, on the other hand, your class arguably has more influence on the game than anything else. Using preset characters also allows the storyline to switch which character has the focus at particular times, allowing for more variety through the campaign.

    Speaking of the ‘mopup phase’: This is certainly a thing.

    One thing that I think has possibly exacerbated it in AoW3 is the request people made to make it so you basically couldn’t pull a diplomatic victory, which Triumph responded by making it so that some AI leaders wouldn’t ally with you whatever you do… forcing you to destroy them even if there’s basically no logical reason why you should have to do so. The game I’m currently mopping up, for instance, had my Pure Good Keeper Theocrat take out a Pure Evil Necromancer relatively early on in a classic showdown. As things entered the ‘mopup phase’, however, I had two remaining AI opponents, both of good alignment. There’s no good reason we couldn’t simply agree to share the archipelago, but both refused to form an alliance and so I have to gather my forces and crush them in rather onesided battles (I’m strong enough that once I get my forces in place I can take several cities the turn after declaring war and force a surrender in quick order… and since I’m breaking a peace treaty to do that, I’m not too worried about the computer players recognising my buildup and taking countermeasures).

    To be perfectly honest, I feel a bit like the problem this was intended to solve was more of a player self-control issue: yes, you could get an easy victory by bribing all of the AI into alliance, but if you don’t want to do that, then don’t do that. The current system where you don’t know if an AI player will arbitrarily refuse an alliance whatever you do until you’ve got them to 1000+ relation and your empire and army is three times larger than them and there’s basically no reason they wouldn’t form an alliance (for self-preservation if nothing else) except for an arbitrary block in place (“Sorry, we really can’t afford this.”). What I think would be more suitable is that if your alignments are compatible, you’re clearly significantly more powerful than them, and have a reasonable relationship score, it should always be possible to form an alliance. Requiring alignment compatibility, now that we have more variation in AI alignments, should make it so you can’t just bribe your way into an alliance with every AI opponent on a map with multiple opponents and win that way, but if you have a good alignment it should be possible to build a grand coalition with good-aligned AI players and finish the scenario as the dominant power of good that nevertheless allows other good-aligned nations to exist. Even as an evil leader, it should be possible to get an evil AI leader or two as vassals (evil may prefer to be on top themselves, but being the lickspittle to the big dog is better than nothing).

    One thing I generally don’t like is having a bunch of secret objectives that everyone is pursuing, and if they achieve their objective that’s it, the game is over. That sort of ‘gotcha’ win tends to annoy me in games (although I wouldn’t object to having it as an option in multiplayer games for people who like that sort of thing). What could be interesting from an approach of having the scenario tell a story, though, is for each player to have an objective, and for an ‘allied victory’ win in such a game to require each of the allies to have completed their objectives at the point at which the allied victory triggers (so if, for instance, the objective of a draconian player is to control a fully-upgraded dragon lair, they have to control it at the end of the game to trigger the allied victory – if they lose it, they have to retake it in order to be part of the allied win). This would make winning through forming a ‘grand alliance’ more interesting: instead of winning simply by forming a lot of alliances, you also have to ensure that your allies achieve their own goals (which may or may not be compatible with one another) as well as completing your own. This could also add an interesting aspect to multiplayer games where you can win as soon as everybody in your team achieves their objectives without having to defeat all other opponents as well: with fixed teams, you could have a couple of players on either team who have achieved their objective and you have to defend your allies’ objectives while having the option to try to take away objectives of the opposing team that have already been achieved, while with fluid alliances, you can have the potential for intrigue between allies (how much do you want to help your ally to achieve their objective if they have the option to break alliance and declare a win right away if they get it? Can you hold someone else’s objective hostage, with the promise of making a trade once you can both win?).

    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by  Draxynnic.
    #241964

    Taykor
    Member

    I think this is particularly true of ranged units…

    I strongly suspect this part is from some other post. Or at least, I didn’t understand logical connection.

    #241973

    SaintTodd
    Member

    Sometimes I think the videogame journalism industry will be the death of videogame industry. Yet another misguided article. The main reason I like this genre is because there is no story. I think the problem with videogame journalists is that they are journalists, and tend to look at games as stories, and stories need a narrative. But games are not stories, they can have a story, but that is not their purpose. This genre is kind of an offshoot of the RPG genre, as I see it. While have RPGs have stories, the less integrated the story is into the overall experience the more I like it. I’ve spent hundreds of hours in Skyrim and practically none in the Witcher 3 for this reason. Skyrim is far from perfect, but I get to play as myself, or as a hot slutty chick, if I want. The story is what I make it. Same goes here. The story is how the game plays out, I don’t need any forced narrative. Perfect the mechanics, the interface and the balance, and leave all the story telling to those crappy Assassin’s Creed games.

    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by  SaintTodd.
    #241989

    Draxynnic
    Member

    I strongly suspect this part is from some other post. Or at least, I didn’t understand logical connection.

    Ah, frell. Yeah, that’s a copy-paste error… Fixed now.

    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by  Draxynnic.
    #241995

    Starfleck
    Member

    I got lost in Draxy’s last paragraph as well. Totally missed where that came from.

    More to the point, some fair points have been made about storytelling, and I’d like to revise my first post (except I can’t seem to edit anyway). While it certainly is important for a campaign to have a story, it isn’t too critical to have a story (or by association a campaign) be the central part of a 4x game, or the main reason for the game’s existence.

    The main reason for AoW3’s existence, in my honest perception, is to build a class system into previous AoW’s in the series. The distinction between choosing just a race, and choosing race alongside class, is what makes AoW3 a great addition to the series, and the genre at large. (If there are other 4x games that let you pick two main leader characteristics, I don’t know them). A solid combination of race and class is one of the basic RPG concepts going back to tabletop days, and since it’s translated well into a 4x game here, that really is cause enough to be a central part of this game.

    My problem is that that was never considered when creating the campaigns. The best, most unique part of AoW3 got sidelined to only random, scenario, and user-made maps. Gameplay suffered for the sake of telling Sundren’s carebear story or Edward’s little moral conflict. I really don’t care about either story. Let’s tell it like it is: the game is about conquest, and both of the game’s original campaigns can’t change that fact. Class and race choice being taken away was a terrible decision. Random maps, rather than being additional content, have become the main game content.

    I would be ok with the campaigns being central to the game if they featured the race and class choices as a player-made decision that allows them to think their way through the campaign. I would also be equally impressed by a decision to build with Live or PBEM multiplayer game concerns at the heart of the game. It just has to be intentional. They intentionally created race and class choices, but unintentionally took those choices away from the core game content.

    Regarding asymmetrical win conditions:
    Very risky, from a balance standpoint, but very cool. One thing about it, is that allied victory is just not practical unless the teams are fixed, because once one player has their victory achieved, it’s all too tempting to break all alliances and simply win that very turn. That said, though, when your team is fixed and you’re working with others on different goals, that creates a very awesome, dynamic victory condition indeed. Building your X number of hospitals as your teammate builds X number of tier III units from 4 different races, for example, creates not only conflicting interests between teammates, but multiple strategic fronts for the enemy to undermine.

    If the intention is to create more ways to drag on the boring end-game, then sure, adding victory conditions on top of being in the surviving alliance is one way… but asymmetric victory conditions were suggested as a way to shorten the mop-up phase, not prolong it to the point where everyone has achieved their side quests in addition. Any other variation is the “gotcha”-like scenario which you said you don’t like anyway, being able to win without defeating all opponents. I personally don’t mind being told “gotcha” at that point, though, as it’s probably already apparent at some point which side is closer to dominating.

    One tiny side note: if one player in an alliance dies, their victory condition has to be passed on to allies, or else the game could end in the opposite way intended. Otherwise, Player A has their side quest done, but his teammate Player B does not; when Player B is defeated by the dominating players C and D, Player A wins.

    Regarding “secret” win conditions:
    Not knowing your opponents win conditions can be very very bad. Saltiness aside, it’s basically just the same game we’re playing right now: overpower the opponent. The only difference is the reasoning behind it: you don’t know what they’re trying to accomplish, so negate their power to accomplish anything at all. Worst of all, though, would be the outcry from players yelling “foul play” often when they lost… simply because they weren’t expecting to lose.

    JJ you make a comparison to the game RISK (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_(game)) why, exactly? I really don’t know what version of RISK you have been playing, but in my experience the end of the game is exactly the same: take out everyone else. The nice thing in that game is that movement is unrestricted. In one turn your massive army can cross the globe. Getting a lucky card draw can take you from one country to owning 90% of the map in one turn, and so end-game can swing back & forth, and be very fast.

    Side thoughts:
    -I forgot to mention, for my smartphone ideas, the real concept. Basically, I believe the 4x genre would benefit greatly from a smartphone app with the ability to take turns for PBEM games in-progress, even if only on the strategic map with autobattles. Ideally, it’d be just a graphically simplified version of the game with much less animated, and the intention is to make the game readily available whenever your turn happens to pop up, for those with smartphones.
    -Changing maps over time: Yes. Structures disappearing and appearing over time on empty hexes would be a very cool thing. Probably harder to implement than I’m imagining, but it would certainly make empire-building much more interesting. At least you wouldn’t have to suffer through producing merchandise with 80% of your villages for no reason.
    -Are there any plans to take advantage of something like Amazon’s Lumberyard (https://aws.amazon.com/lumberyard/) to lower the cost or development time of future games? If it were me, I’d seriously consider going that route for multiple reasons, including Twitch and “GameLift” resources. I don’t know, though, since I’m not even close to knowing anything about game development in earnest.

    #242027

    Taykor
    Member

    Skyrim is far from perfect, but I get to play as myself, or as a hot slutty chick, if I want. The story is what I make it.

    Offtop here, but I can’t stand senseless mannequins which used as NPC there. For this (creating story myself in an open world) to work, all NPC must have some sort of speech-generating AI, good behaviour AI and some kind of personality. Otherwise there is no real story and nothing else to do for me.

    Ah, frell. Yeah, that’s a copy-paste error… Fixed now.

    🙂

    My problem is that that was never considered when creating the campaigns. The best, most unique part of AoW3 got sidelined to only random, scenario, and user-made maps. Gameplay suffered for the sake of telling Sundren’s carebear story or Edward’s little moral conflict. I really don’t care about either story. Let’s tell it like it is: the game is about conquest, and both of the game’s original campaigns can’t change that fact. Class and race choice being taken away was a terrible decision. Random maps, rather than being additional content, have become the main game content.

    Agreed. I couldn’t finish campaigns mostly because I don’t really like stories and I dislike classes I’m forced to play.
    Especially as I now know that Rogue and Dread really are main classes in campaigns… Apart from DLCs, but I don’t like Warlord, too…

    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by  Taykor.
    #242037

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    JJ you make a comparison to the game RISK (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risk_(game)) why, exactly? I really don’t know what version of RISK you have been playing, but in my experience the end of the game is exactly the same: take out everyone else. The nice thing in that game is that movement is unrestricted. In one turn your massive army can cross the globe. Getting a lucky card draw can take you from one country to owning 90% of the map in one turn, and so end-game can swing back & forth, and be very fast.

    When you read that wiki article, eventually you will stumble upon Secret Mission Risk and the comment that this was the standard version in Europe for decades and in the US since 1993. There is also a “quest version” (everyone getting a series of easier VCs).
    (Campaigns are more or less meaningless for a game with unlimited playing time, so that “story”-discussion is a dead end anyway.)
    Why was that mentioned? Because “mop-up boredom” starts when you KNOW you’ve won, and abstractly spoken, you can only know that you’ve won when you know the VCs of all players and that they cannot beat you.
    In Secret Mission Risk, while you can actively try for a win only when it’s your turn and you can muster an army. Tactically, though, it’s often better to wait a round with card exchanging, because you get more armies – but in that case you risk another player fulfilling their VC. Also – you may help another player fulfill their VC, wither by smashinga fortress with your efforts or even destroying another color, thereby fulfilling that VC for someone else.
    Back to AoW 3. The problem isn’t “different VC consitions” – we have them. And you don’t have that mop-up boredom in MP games either. It’s only playing certain kinds of map versus several AIs.
    For this specific scenario, secret (and different) VCs will work. This is not necessarily a simple thing; you can easily add a mechanic that is based on Class and race, creating a certain number of possible VCs, picking one at random.
    So it would look this way: Human -> always conquer the map/kill all.
    AIs: draw a secret VC, possibly based on “character”. For, example, a Goblin Theocrat might have the following possible VCs:
    a) Kill all Necromancers and Rogues (Class based)
    b) Explore the whole underground and control every underground settlement/dwelling
    c) Migrate X setlements to Goblins (probably depending on map size and town frequency)
    d) Convert X units
    …..

    and so on. So the AI Goblin Theocrat would randomly “draw” one of those. Obviously, winning isn’t so straightforward anymore in that case, and even if the map is one for you from a military pov, you may still lose. Even better – suppose, a Rogue has survied, plus Goblin Theo; you play, say, Sorc or Warlord. You are clearly in the lead. Rogue would be the next to get at, since he is nearer. However: killing him may make Theo the winner (there is that chance) – you may even be forced to help the Rogue. Whoe has a VC as well, that might involve exploring a certain number of specific sites, which would mean that was a time bomb as well.

    #242043

    Draxynnic
    Member

    My problem is that that was never considered when creating the campaigns. The best, most unique part of AoW3 got sidelined to only random, scenario, and user-made maps. Gameplay suffered for the sake of telling Sundren’s carebear story or Edward’s little moral conflict. I really don’t care about either story. Let’s tell it like it is: the game is about conquest, and both of the game’s original campaigns can’t change that fact. Class and race choice being taken away was a terrible decision. Random maps, rather than being additional content, have become the main game content.

    I don’t think this is really all that much different to AoW2, where the storyline was built around Merlin collecting all the spheres. The AoW3 campaign is still engaging with the class mechanic – in fact, there are some scenarios in there that only really make sense for specific classes.

    It is problematic that dreadnought and rogue are so over-represented in the original campaign (you’ll note that they compensated for this by having none of either playable in the DLC campaigns…). On the other hand, I’d have probably grown bored playing exactly the same character through six scenarios even if it was my favourite race/class combination in the game.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that unlike previous installments, random map play was always intended to be a big part of the overall experience.

    Very risky, from a balance standpoint, but very cool. One thing about it, is that allied victory is just not practical unless the teams are fixed, because once one player has their victory achieved, it’s all too tempting to break all alliances and simply win that very turn.

    As I commented, this would be part of the intrigue in such a setup – you can, for instance, have someone hold something that another player needs to win, and offer to trade it if that trade would mean that both won. If people don’t want that sort of intrigue… then yeah, fixed teams would be more practical.

    If the intention is to create more ways to drag on the boring end-game, then sure, adding victory conditions on top of being in the surviving alliance is one way… but asymmetric victory conditions were suggested as a way to shorten the mop-up phase, not prolong it to the point where everyone has achieved their side quests in addition.

    My thinking there is twofold. First, it allows another avenue for the map to tell a story without being a campaign map. Second, it’s essentially a compromise that allows for a diplomatic victory without it simply being a matter of throwing bribes at any remaining AI players until they agree to ally up.

    Any other variation is the “gotcha”-like scenario which you said you don’t like anyway, being able to win without defeating all opponents. I personally don’t mind being told “gotcha” at that point, though, as it’s probably already apparent at some point which side is closer to dominating.

    If that’s the case, then it’s probably reasonable. What I’m against is the scenario where you’re dominating and then all of a sudden someone trips a victory condition without warning and you suddenly lose. Which is pretty much exactly what JJ seems to be going for.

    Regarding “secret” win conditions:
    Not knowing your opponents win conditions can be very very bad. Saltiness aside, it’s basically just the same game we’re playing right now: overpower the opponent. The only difference is the reasoning behind it: you don’t know what they’re trying to accomplish, so negate their power to accomplish anything at all. Worst of all, though, would be the outcry from players yelling “foul play” often when they lost… simply because they weren’t expecting to lose.

    This is pretty much it. It’s a bit like the Illuminati card game – every faction has its own win condition, but with one exception, everyone knows what each other’s win conditions are. (The exception is balanced with that uncertainty in mind.)

    At the very least, I wouldn’t want to have any secret victory conditions that could trigger from something someone else could do. Consider JJ’s example of the theocrat that wants to kill all rogues – what if one of the conditions that rogues could get involved killing all theocrats and archdruids? You could end up in a situation where you simply can’t win because killing either would trigger the other’s win condition. Even if the game is programmed to avoid such catch-22s, if one of them has it and you don’t know which one, it becomes a coinflip.

    I could stomach secret victory conditions where they’re things that require action on the opponent to prevent, and you can take steps to prevent that action. For instance, if the goblin’s objective might be to control the underground, you could ensure you maintain enough of a foothold that they can’t. If their objective is to control or migrate X goblins settlements, then you can contain them so they don’t get that opportunity. But there’s not a lot you can do about an ‘eliminate X’ objective.

    As JJ says, though, this could just create a mopup phase when you know you’ve prevented all possible secret victory conditions from being completed. However, the alternative is people feeling cheated.

    At the bottom line, I just don’t think the ‘gotcha’ is appropriate. As you said, it just creates a situation where you largely play normally and simply attempt to dominate, and you’d still have the ‘mop-up phase’. The only difference is that there’d be the possibility you could suddenly lose in the mop-up face because something random happens to make one of the AIs be declared the winner instead. I don’t think that actually adds anything to the game – most times it’ll play out as normal and the mop-up will still be boring… the rest of the time, the mop-up will still be boring, and then you’re spitting chips because you got gotcha’d.

    The most elegant solution, I think, would be to have AI players recognise when you’re approaching (or into) the mopup phase and act accordingly. If you’re approaching the mopup phase, then enemy players might ally against you, or if allied victory is on and their personalities suit, they might try to ally with you in order to join in on your victory. If you’ve reached a point where it’s clear that even a grand coalition of all enemy players cannot stop you, then have the whole grand coalition offer a surrender after a couple of decisive battles rather than having the player need to force a surrender on each one individually.

    Basically, have a point at which the game recognises that one player has effective hegemony, and provides the option to end the game there rather than having to drag it out and knock out each opponent individually.

    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by  Draxynnic.
    #242050

    llfoso
    Member

    I agree with others that most of what he talks about don’t apply to AOW. Even then, I don’t know if I agree with the prescription.

    The one thing I would like more from AOW that relates to this article is more in-depth quests and dungeons. For example, what if instead of recruiting heroes that randomly show up at your cities, you recruited them by rescuing them from dungeons, getting leaders of independent cities to join you, or once in a blue moon finding them at taverns? Or if they do show up and volunteer it’s only after clearly defined events like winning a major battle or an empire quest? That creates more background for your heroes and makes retelling the events from a random map more interesting. It’s emergent storytelling that goes beyond flavor text.

    #242052

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    I repeat that secret VCs would always be for AIs ONLY – there is no need for those in a pvp fight.

    #242365

    The one thing I would like more from AOW that relates to this article is more in-depth quests and dungeons. For example, what if instead of recruiting heroes that randomly show up at your cities, you recruited them by rescuing them from dungeons, getting leaders of independent cities to join you, or once in a blue moon finding them at taverns? Or if they do show up and volunteer it’s only after clearly defined events like winning a major battle or an empire quest? That creates more background for your heroes and makes retelling the events from a random map more interesting. It’s emergent storytelling that goes beyond flavor text.

    This is genius.

    Back to 4x discussions, and the endgame, I’m just reading this article about Stellaris.

    There’s a quote there that I thought was quite interesting:

    The idea of these crises is to prevent players from getting too complacent as the game progresses, you give them something unpredictable to deal with in addition to the other factions. “It’s supposed to surprise you, throw a wrench in your plans from time to time. Not to the degree you would see in Crusader Kings, where for example, your single heir dies from disease, and that is game over. But, threats that are manageable should pop up from time to time.”

    Now combining that with Ilfoso’s idea and now you get heros with agency. They’ve joined you because you did x y and z, and they require you to do a, b and c, and if not, they might rebel. Thus you have emergent storytelling in a game. If they rebel they might form an emergent faction, taking some of your cities with them, thus making the end game less of a slog. It’d also facilitate assymetric warfare where the goal is not destroying the enemy militarily, but subverting their heroes and cities.

    If done right, i.e. not made too fiddly, this could work in an aow3 context, and also in any 4x really. I believe Paradox are building this empire rebellion feature (linked to population sympathies, consistency etc) into Stellaris.

    This is the first game in a long time to penetrate my cynical haze. Incidentally, Last Days of Old Earth piqued my interest.

    Has anyone else been following the development of these?

    Bizarrely, Warhammer TW continues to fail to really intrigue me, as it seems that it will suffer from the same 4x related issues it had in the previous titles, albeit they are introducing limited regional occupation and things like the book of grudges to provide more organic and lore friendly seeming quests. The amount of eye candy is going through the roof however. It’s a shame because I really want to like this game.

    #242368

    Taykor
    Member

    The idea of these crises is to prevent players from getting too complacent as the game progresses, you give them something unpredictable to deal with in addition to the other factions. “It’s supposed to surprise you, throw a wrench in your plans from time to time.

    That’s partially what I was talking about when suggesting changing world/strategic map in my last post here.
    By the way, “unpredictable” is not mandatory, it’s ok if general tendency of (some) changes could be predicted, but you still need to change your production system/economics/defence accordingly. Imagine frostlings fighting global warming.

    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by  Taykor.
    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by  Taykor.
    • This reply was modified 4 years ago by  Taykor.
    #242408

    The Mentat
    Member

    They’ve joined you because you did x y and z, and they require you to do a, b and c, and if not, they might rebel. Thus you have emergent storytelling in a game.

    Yeah, I think this can work.

    Ideally the requirements of the heroes have some connections with the current situation on the map, e.g. with the other heroes. I suggest that heroes have relations and alignments in a similar way as currently leaders. Two examples:

    As you enter a workshop with a human hero the following quest triggers: The people there offer you to buy a Cannon constructed by Goblins for a low price. However one of your heroes is a Goblin and requests to free the Goblins instead as they are obviously forced to work there. The human hero also expresses his support due to his good alignment. So this choice would improve the relation between the two heroes and additionally increase their loyalty.

    You have a Dwarf and an Orc hero with a quite bad relation. As one of your armies gets close to an independent Dwarven town the Orc suggests to capture it. The Dwarf protests of course. Depending on this choice the loyalty of the heroes would increase or decrease.

    With these conditions it should be easily possible to create some stories. Regarding rebellions: They have to be somehow limited to the lategame and to the dominating player. Therefore it makes imho sense that powerful heroes are more likely to rebel, especially if there is no common threat by other leaders.

    #242410

    Starfleck
    Member

    My predictions for the future is that 4x will move, bi-polar-ly, in two directions:
    1) Multiplayer will have to get shorter (turns taking less time, even PBEM matches ending sooner)
    2) Singleplayer will gear more toward the randomly generated map with more emergent storytelling based around concepts like Heroes and Happiness/Contentment/Rebellion.

    Personally, I don’t know how these two formats could thrive in the same game, with the same set of rules, but who knows!

    Campaigns, it seems, will be simplified and largely relegated to other game genres (action RPG, traditional RPG, MMORPGs). Turn-based strategy… there is a potentially huge market for, exactly the same as RT-strategy, and in my honest opinion it will continue to grow as gamers get older.

    For ideas on what to build on, you could borrow a lot of concepts from new and old RTS games. C&C, Starcraft, Total Annihilation… games that also understood strategy basics of risk, reward, and counter. You could borrow from MOBA games as well, converting specialty skills that have been designed to counter each other, rather than be numerically superior or mechanically out-mode-ing. I’d recommend, in that line of thinking, “incomparables” (explained well in one of my all-time favorite videos: around 3:45, https://youtu.be/Bxszx60ZwGw).

    For emergent storytelling, I’m thinking Taykor’s and Ilfoso’s ideas are some of the strongest, and BBB you’re absolutely right in requiring the monkey-wrenches to be manageable. Odd win conditions are one thing, but not as strong. It can still boil down to the same concepts as Seals and Unifier… a simple checkoff list. (Have you held your seal for 30 turns? Leader still alive, capital intact? Okay, Check, and check.). You could think of it as “Cosmic happenings” born of what’s really going on in your empire, like a hero in an evil empire suddenly grows a conscience, or decides he doesn’t like your race, after a battle involving that race on the opposite side. One day, a player experiences a mountain range hex suddenly collapsing down to a cavernous dungeon entrance, spewing forth monsters which cause a cherished hero to flee in terror, and in the middle of his boring end-turn-for-another-dragon endgame, he’s fighting a war on three fronts. In another game, an elf’s home forests are suddenly stricken with a populous-decimating blight, turning random residents into walking dead who lay siege to his capital. The challenge could scale based on worldwide strengths, too, so instead of delaying the end with stuff that seems unnecessary, it could cause your opponents to suffer worse than you, or even die off, if their empires are relatively weak. Either way, you should give the players warning some turns in advance so they can prepare as one would naturally prepare before war with another player.
    i.e.:
    “The mountains are trembling, sir, in your domain. I strongly suspect something emerges from the depths. (5 turns till new Landscape Challenge)”

    #242418

    Draxynnic
    Member

    My issue with a lot of these ideas for breaking up the mopup phase is that while they sound good on virtual paper (and some would likely be worth having in their own right as an independent game mechanic, just not part of a mopup disruption mechanic) is that they basically fall into three categories:

    1) The disruption is trivial. You can ignore it, deal with it using resources that weren’t going to used to claim victory anyway, or it might even help you. The mopup phase continues unaffected.

    2) The disruption is effective at slowing you down, but you still win in the end. The main effect is extending the length of a game that was basically already decided anyway.

    3) The disruption is catastrophic, and costs the player the game. Maybe it’s one of JJ’s secret AI win conditions, maybe it’s some random event that catches the player out in a way that they can’t recover from. Either way, the player will likely end up feeling cheated that victory has been stolen from them by the RNG. In SP, the player may choose to reload from a save as far back as necessary to ensure that they aren’t caught out by the event… in which case, it effectively becomes a category 2 that simply causes the game to take longer.

    Now, there can be some skill and excitement in turning a potential category 3 into a category 2… but the end result is going to be that you deal with the issue and then go right back to mopping up. By the time these disruptors start coming into play, the player is probably already in a stage where they’re looking forward to finishing and moving on to the next game – all these are likely to do as mopup disruption mechanics is artificially draw out the final stages of the game even more, and make the mopup phase take even longer.

    If the game was intended more as something like Total War or Civilisation, where you’re looking to guide your faction through a set period of time and the win condition is based more on how well you do at that generally rather than being a matter of pure conquest, then things like emergent factions would be worth considering (although I’m inclined to think that any rebellion in the player’s faction should be the result of something the player has done that the rebels don’t like, rather than something that just randomly happens). When the win condition is basically ‘defeat all enemies’ (the alternate conditions are basically presented as being alternative ways of doing that over direct military conquest), though, I think that once a player is in a dominant position they should be allowed to do that without being hit with a series of inconveniences that just drags it out more and more.

    I honestly think that the only way effective way to eliminate the mopup phase is to have the AI players recognise when the player is getting into a dominant position and react accordingly. If the AIs believe that a coalition of all of them that aren’t already allied to you has a chance of winning against you and your allies, they should band together in one last attempt to take you down (note: such an effort should not necessarily hold together long enough to actually finish you off, particularly if allied victory is turned off: the AI players should be looking to achieve victory themselves and they might decide that when you’ve been taken down a couple of pegs they’d rather go after one of their former compatriots). If it’s at the stage where it’s just hopeless, than the remaining AI players should offer a collective surrender. If the player wants to go through the mopping up they still can, but if they want to end it there and move on, they can.

    I think Starfleck’s idea, where an event can put strain on the dominant empire but knock off struggling AI empires, does have some merit (although I expect it would have to be something that can be turned off for competitive multiplayer, where there’s a bit more of a chance the losing player can make a comeback). It does, actually, make me think of one of the alternate victory conditions that Master of Orion 2 had: there was an alien race from another dimension that would occasionally raid the main dimension, and one of the alternate win conditions is researching a way to access their dimension and defeating them on their home ground. (Presumably, the other surviving empires then acknowledge your hegemony either out of gratitude for removing a common threat, or out of recognition that if you could do that, you could also do a number on them in turn). So that could be another way of resolving the ‘mopup phase’ – perhaps if you have a certain amount of map control, you can have the opportunity to set up a final battle against some Big Bad rather than having to knock off the remaining AI opponents one by one.

    This could possibly work similar to a ‘seals victory’, but instead of holding them until you build up to an arbitrary total, it could require you to hold all of the seals to open a portal that allows you to attack the Big Bad. Of course, hostile creatures in increasingly powerful stacks will be spawned by the Big Bad in an attempt to prevent any one empire from being able to do that…

    #242426

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    I think, the discussion is leading into the wrong direction, because you people are not realizing that the only way to spice thing up is a REAL threat to lose. Real, as in, you WILL lose a couple of games.

    Now, no one wants to lose due to a random event – that’s just too silly. “An Earthquake reduces half of your towns to rubble, and as a consequence half of your troops desert to the enemny.” Sucks.

    This problem is relevant only in SP games against AIs, and regarding secret winning consitions for them, the following is just not right:

    Not knowing your opponents win conditions can be very very bad. Saltiness aside, it’s basically just the same game we’re playing right now: overpower the opponent. The only difference is the reasoning behind it: you don’t know what they’re trying to accomplish, so negate their power to accomplish anything at all. Worst of all, though, would be the outcry from players yelling “foul play” often when they lost… simply because they weren’t expecting to lose.

    You would be a bad player if you didn’t try to “outthink” opponents and try and guess what they are up to, denying them to reach their goals. The key here is to a) have a set of VCs for race/class combos and b) a possibility to garner info about their “goals” – via diplomacy.

    Take Master of Orion. There is the vote every 50 years, the leaders of the two population richest empires being for vote. It’s entirely possible to lose the game at each vote, and it happened. However, the races in MOO have a different character and different goals – you have to play them somewhat to be successful.

    There is nothing better to spice up a game as a real possibility to lose.

    #242429

    Draxynnic
    Member

    From my perspective, the “real possibility to lose” comes in the part of the game before you reach the dominant position. Once you’re at the stage where nobody can beat you without pulling a secret victory condition out of their nether regions, you’ve earned it (at whatever level of difficulty you’ve set the game at). Which is why my proposals are focused on shortening that period rather than throwing in spoilers that may drag it out, or some artificial feeling of risk of losing the game right up until you defeat the last opponent even if all they have left is an empty throne while they hovor in the void.

    (Okay, that’s an extreme example, but you get what I mean.)

    You use the example of the Master of Orion vote, but one thing I think you’re missing is that the vote is primarily a means of ending the game quickly when it goes into mopup phase. As I recall, the number of votes each faction received depended on their population, so if you’re in a dominant position (you’re one of the two most populated empires and you and your allies make up enough of a majority to win the vote), you win. If a rival wins the vote, then clearly you’re not dominant enough for it to be in the mopup phase.

    Giving the AI players objectives and personalities is something I’m all for. Furthermore, having it so that there are means to diplomatically establish what their objectives are does make it less of a rectum-pull if they do manage to trigger one.

    However, some of your examples are things that, well… it’s nice for them, but why does it bother me? If I’m not a rogue or a necromancer, why should I lose because that goblin theocrat hates rogues and necromancers and I just finished off the last one? Shouldn’t that goblin theocrat’s hatred of rogues and necromancers be something I can use, possibly to secure an alliance with them in order to finish off the rogue or necromancer and get an allied victory? If they want to control the underground and I’m a leader of an above-ground race and we both have good alignments, why can’t I come to an arrangement to simply let them have it in exchange for control of the surface in turn? Why should I care if one of my opponents reaches an arbitrary population figure if I still have the capability to conquer them? If I’m evil and I don’t have any elves in my empire, how is it any skin off my nose if an evil AI player wants to wipe them out? Maybe I’d like to help them…

    Sure, okay, this is a fantasy game and you can come up with reasons. Maybe the goblin theocrat becomes the chosen of their god and becomes infused with ultimate divine power. Maybe the elf-killer is sacrificing them to some ritual that allows them to raise an army of unstoppable demons. But is this actually desirable?

    All of this could be used to add spice to the diplomacy side of the game… but you’re basically trying to extend the period at which there’s a chance you can lose. What this would do is create a mopup phase where you’ve probably won, but maybe, just maybe, the computer will pull something out of a hat and you go from being on the verge of victory to losing. Does this actually add to the excitement of the mopup phase? I don’t think so. Most times, if you’re in the mopping up phase, you’re probably stopping them from achieving their victory condition in the first place, and it’ll play out just the same. That odd time when you are surprised? I suspect most SP people’s reactions will be to swear, reload back a few turns, and make sure they don’t get bitten in that unfair way the second time around. It doesn’t add anything to the game, it just means it’ll take a bit longer and the player may be aggravated in the meantime.

    I think it’s a much, much, MUCH more elegant way of doing things to make it so there are faster ways to win once you hit mopup phase… things that are generally only practical if you’re dominant, but which are faster and/or more interesting than simply going Kohr-Ah around the map wiping out every remaining opponent one by one. The ‘kill a final boss’ route is one. Another could be to make some of the more difficult alternate victory conditions available to a player (it could be interesting to play the part of the goblin looking to conquer the underground, or the genocidal human looking to wipe out all trace of dragons, including draconians). A third could be making it so that you can help remaining AI players to achieve their objectives, they can support you in winning a diplomatic victory.

    Don’t punish the player by throwing something random that takes away their victory. Reward them by giving them an interesting and accelerated means of achieving victory once they’ve reached the stage of knowing they’ve won.

    #242435

    Taykor
    Member

    I believe that the main problem of mop-up phase is not its existence, but its tedium. Besides, if a mop-up is tedious, probably it’s a problem of the game itself, not of the mop-up phase. If it was interesting, even the term itself probably wouldn’t exist.

    The game should have an interesting course, flow, gameplay. You should want to play the game, not to win it (though it’s always a nice addition). And changing external conditions could help here. Not necessarily random and/or extreme.

    #242440

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    While I understand what you say – you could just end the game, couldn’t you? If you play against AIs only, absolutely nothing is forcing you to mop the remainders of the opponents up, right? The score? Well, you know it will be good if you pull it through.

    In my opinion the whole issue is a direct consequence of blowing the game up to proportions that are warped anyway. After playing for nearly 2 years I think that an M map with underground and 6 players all in all is a pretty good setup: For those who think that’s not enough space, 5 is still ok (especially if you make sure you get 2 UG players).
    An XL map is massive – you will have to slow down research, which makes sense only with few sites, but then you could just as well play on a smaller scale and reduce general movement.

    Which means, if you pick the right environment, there is no such thing as a mop-up in the first place.

    I mean, does it really make sense to pick a gigantic map size, and make everything so all can develop giant empires and then wage war against each other at a stage where the only advantage the AI has are the income cheats? And then be bored, when no one stands a chance against your tactical and strategic acumen?

    You could simply do the following: at any time when your overall strength is biggger than that of the best two AIs combined you can end the game and get a score based on that.

    A word on MOO. If you played on highest difficulty you’d never be one of the two biggest empires within the first couple of elections and you were somewhat dependant on one of the two not being well-liked by enough others to win. This could happen, especially when playing races which specials you couldn’t really make a lot of use of – say the Alkari or Bulrathi.

    In that case you could lose the game.

    The MOO diplomacy module and system might be a worthy addon to solve that. High Court, starting with turn, say 40, then an election every 20 turns. Big boost for Goblins, sucks for Elves, pop growth important.

    #242455

    The MOO diplomacy module and system might be a worthy addon to solve that. High Court, starting with turn, say 40, then an election every 20 turns. Big boost for Goblins, sucks for Elves, pop growth important.

    In an AoW3 context, cities/land controlled might make more sense that total population.

    #242461

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    I’d like to hear your reasong for this.

    #242480

    Draxynnic
    Member

    A word on MOO. If you played on highest difficulty you’d never be one of the two biggest empires within the first couple of elections and you were somewhat dependent on one of the two not being well-liked by enough others to win. This could happen, especially when playing races which specials you couldn’t really make a lot of use of – say the Alkari or Bulrathi.

    I don’t think Simtex ever got together in a meeting and said “Let’s design a victory condition where the player can lose without there being anything they can do about it! That sounds like fun!”

    It’s a consequence of a victory condition that can end the mopup phase, since if you’re in the mopup phase you probably also have enough population that you can control the election. That at higher difficulties it is possible for the AI to trigger it before the player can do anything to stop it is basically reflective of the fact that if the AI leader had enough clout to win the election and they had a player’s skill, they would be in the mopup phase. (Consider: IIRC, an empire could choose to abstain in the vote and abstentions still count against getting a majority, so if an AI player wins the vote, that means that empires representing the majority of the population actually like them rather than simply winning based on donkey votes. So, theoretically at least, at this point they could ally up and crush all the remaining empires by overwhelming force.)

    Certainly, it’s not a scenario particularly relevant to this discussion, because if you’re in the mopup phase, you’re not going to lose the election. If there are enough AI players aligned against you that someone else can win the election, there are enough AI players aligned against you that, at least theoretically, they can band together to eliminate you. In this way, it’s analogous to seal or unifier victory conditions that already exist: if you have dominance, pretty much by definition you have the ability to prevent an opponent from triggering one of these, but if an AI player on the other side of the map gets enough of an early lead before you achieve dominance, it’s possible to lose through them without being able to do anything about it.

    Regarding BBB’s point: I think this reflects that in Master of Orion, the resources that a colony could generate were more or less proportional to the population, and thus an empire’s total population is likely more or less proportional to its overall power. In Age of Wonders, however, population determines the size of a settlement but the resources generated from the settlement is dependent on the size of the settlement, not directly by population. Under standard settings, for instance, a settlement becomes a metropolis at 25000, but can grow to a maximum population of 50000 – the additional 25000 does nothing for you apart from giving you a buffer against population loss.

    While I understand what you say – you could just end the game, couldn’t you? If you play against AIs only, absolutely nothing is forcing you to mop the remainders of the opponents up, right? The score? Well, you know it will be good if you pull it through.

    Sure, you could just declare victory arbitrarily without going to the victory screen – but it’s more satisfying when you get there, no? Really, any criticism about the mopup phase can be answered with “well, if you knwo you’ve won, then just stop.” Besides, your suggestions basically boil down to giving the AI a way to arbitrarily declare victory when what they’ve done isn’t necessarily something that you care about. As I’ve said, if you know the AI’s objective and it’s not conflicting with your own, why shouldn’t you be able to help them achieve their condition in exchange for their assistance in achieving their own?

    You should also note that part of what I’ve said is that AI opponents should recognise when you’re approaching dominance and at least consider banding together against you, so as long as your total strength is not enough to be dominant over the combined strength of all remaining opponents that aren’t allied with you, there’s still the chance they could group up and overwhelm you.

    In my experience, in the AoW3 context, the mopup phase is a consequence of Triumph having made it so that some opponents would arbitrarily never ally with you (in response to complaints that it was too easy to bribe your way to victory), which I always regarded as a solution to a problem that only occurred because some players didn’t have the self-control not to go for such a cheap win. Previously, you could make a few alliances along the way, and if you finished off with all remaining “opponents” being ones that like you, you win. Now, you get situations where the only “opponents” are ones that like you and are never going to break peace with you on their own accord (due to a combination of the difference between empire strengths and having a high relation score) but because they arbitrarily refuse alliance, if you don’t have other win conditions like unifier or seals, you have to wipe them out one by one. Because they’re not going to break peace themselves, you can pretty much set things up so you can hit them hard enough to force a surrender (which is itself largely an anti-mopup feature) two turns after breaking peace.

    Under those circumstances, I think it would be much more interesting if you had a means of achieving a diplomatic victory from that perspective. This could be helping remaining leaders achieve their objectives in exchange for allying with you, a MoO-style vote, or some other mechanic. Either way, I’d much prefer a way to eliminate the mopup phase through offering a way to achieve a quicker (or at least less tedious) win, than trying to drag it out through the possibility that an AI opponent will trigger a condition and arbitrarily declare victory.

    #242481

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    Hmm, I would simply say in AoW 3, if you are in the mop-up phase and it’s boring you picked the wrong settings for your map, and the settings array is so vast in the game, that it’s absolutely possible to pick settings which will basically crash the boundaries in which the game excels.

    For example: the game has no extended research; once you have researched everything, all research is wasted, and you cannot extend any research lead (so with every passing turn other players are gaining on you). So that means, settings that lead to games lasting (much) longer than after everything was researched are definitely not in the area of “good” settings.

    Ultimately this is clear as well: the bigger and longer the game the more Diplomacy makes sense (it’s actually the other way round: if you are near each other and there is a chance to win an ensuing conflict you will go to war, so diplomacy is at most a tool you may use to avoid a war on all fronts). Phrased differently – if you want to make AoW 3 MORE of an empire builder and less of a tactical fighter, you have to change or add a couple more things.

    #242487

    Draxynnic
    Member

    I generally run on settings pretty close to what you espouse, actually (I’ve done XL games, but most of those were in testing). And you’re right – smaller maps with fewer opponents do tend to make it less likely that you’re going to have a tedious mopup phase. On an XL map with 8 opponents, by the time you’ve taken out three or four you probably have an insurmountable lead and dealing with the remainder is likely to be tedious. On smaller maps with fewer opponents, the potential to build an insurmountable lead while you have more than one remaining opponent is less.

    (It may actually be the ‘fewer opponents’ that is the more important thing here. Something I pointed out early on in testing the final maps of the original campaigns is that 6 cities controlled by one leader is far more dangerous than two leaders with 3 cities each. An XL map with a large number of opponents tends to have some that just simply fail to get anywhere, while a smaller number of opponents means that resources are less divided.)

    My last game, which did have a mopup phase, was largely the result of the RNG. I tend to set map type (continents, islands, etc) to random, and got an islands map with lots of pirate nests around, which severely hindered aboveground expansion. The main challenge of the map was actually the map itself – once I managed to get a couple of armies underground I was able to expand rapidly. This had a few effects: First, the main challenge offered was basically from the map itself, not the AI leaders. The same thing that made it difficult to break out in the first place meant that once I did, it was reasonably easy to bottleneck them off while claiming about half of the underground for myself. Second, this turned what I had planned to be a quick map with relatively few opponents into a 100+ turn slog and the first game where I’ve either completed all research or reached the top level of a racial governance.

    The final phase was very much mopup, though. I clearly had map dominance, and my relations with the two remaining AI opponents were such that they weren’t going to declare war on me (I was significantly more powerful, and I had positive relations with each). As it turned out, though, despite both being Good-aligned, both had also apparently drawn the arbitrary “This AI will refuse alliances under all circumstances” trait. So while, pre-Eternal Lords, in this situation I would have simply offered alliances and ended it, in this case I had to spend about thirty turns crushing first one and then the other.

    As you say: the more opponents you have, the more of a role diplomacy should play. If you’ve only got one, then you’re unlike to get into mopup phase, and you really should have some conflict, no? If you have seven… then negotiating your way to victory after you’ve knocked a couple of them off their posts should be an option, and an alternative to the Kohr-Ah routine.

    #242489

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    That’s why I always include Seal Victory with maps that are at least Large and have 4+ opponents (apart from teh fact I like the loot to be gained).
    They allow victory via map dominance and without destroying everything.

    #242490

    I’d like to hear your reasong for this.

    Because land control would be a better measure of dominance in this game than total population. It would also counter the tendency to spam tonnes of cities to boost pop growth/city numbers. So, land control could be domain control in effect.

    Tangentially, I think alot more could be done with population mechanics in a future version of aow3, by which I do not mean civ type pop mechanics, where you move a pop unit into farming etc, but rather working on the concept of manpower and ageing etc. Assuming Humans remain the basemark, having x % of your population be militarily available, but having to orry about them ageing etc could provide interesting tradeoffs. Massive Chalice kind of touched upon this with ageing heroes, with experience being valuable but that experience coming at the cost of ageing.

    In a future version of aow3, or indeed an arena based tactical combat game, this ageing/experience/manpower mechanic could be very interesting. Elves could never age, thus having no cap on experience earned, but if the elfpowerpool (manpowerpool?:S) regenerates very very slowly, you wouldn’t want to risk them very often.

    Goblins, otoh…

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