Let's Talk About Vassals and Some Other Stuff

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Home Forums Update v1.5 – Open Beta Balance Let's Talk About Vassals and Some Other Stuff

This topic contains 14 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  Yuriohs 7 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #166914

    Hello all! GeniusPantsPhD here! Long time Age of Wonders player, but my first time posting here in the forums. I’ve been playing a lot of the beta patch the last few days and I know you guys at Triumph are looking for feedback on various aspects of the game. So, here it goes. Hopefully you read this. It will probably be a bit of a book, but you guys asked for feedback so you’re gonna get it! 😉

    First, everything I’m about to say is based on my current understanding of the game’s mechanics. The developers have much more insight and knowledge into things than I do, so if some of my assumptions are wrong, I apologize. Some of the things I’ll talk about are guesses.

    *Deleting Units – as far as I am aware you cannot currently delete units in the game. I’ve looked high and low for an icon, and I’ve tried just straight up pressing the delete button. Now, I know wanting the ability to delete units might seem crazy to a lot of you; but with the way the new unit gifting from vassals seems to be panning out, I really, really want the ability to delete these units if I don’t want them. Halfway through the game and the Dwarf vassal I have is still gifting a single prospector unit that, not only do I not want, but is pretty useless to me. Instead of having to run him around and run him into a neutral stack, I’d much rather just be able to delete him. (A side note, but do units that are gifted to you by vassals apply the usual upkeep in gold and mana? If so, this might want to be stated somewhere. Maybe the tome?) Now, in the later part of the game when they start gifting you entire 6 stacks… well, that’s another story. It would be helpful to have the ability to delete Builder units when I’m done with them instead of just having to have a stack of them sitting there on the map like an eyesore.

    Deleting settlers is something that would have been helpful today. I built a settler and sent him to settle an area of the map that was partially revealed to me. When I got there, an independent nation was already there and settled in exactly the spot I wanted to settle in. I knew I’d be able to vassalize the settlement and later incorporate it into my empire as it was the same race as me; so, I no longer had use for the settler and he ended up sitting around the entire rest of the match. Again, I could just be being daft and not realize that there is a way to delete units; and if there is, you might want to consider making it a little easier to notice!

    Now, speaking of vassals…

    *Vassals – I like the direction vassals are going, but there are a few concerns I’d like to register here. First, I think it is a bit too easy to vassalize independent cities. Two or three turns after I make peace and open borders with them, they offer me a quest that includes vassalization. It just seems… a bit too easy. The quests aren’t hard. All they require are for me to wonder over an army and hit auto-combat and boom, vassal.

    Once they become vassals they basically function as gold and mana banks, which is fine. What concerns me is the extreme lack of a sense of self-preservation they seem to have. They don’t build military units to defend themselves or to clear independent stacks off of mana nodes, gold mines, etc. They don’t even make an attempt to clear these stacks. If I am understanding the system correctly, the amount of mana and gold you receive from a vassal is determined by the size of their city (village, town, city, etc) and the resources currently being “worked” within their borders. I have to divert armies that should be doing more important things from other tasks and task them with going around to my vassals and clearing all the independent armies off of their mana nodes and gold mines so I can get the most out of the gold and mana. Again, this is just based on my assumptions about how the vassal system works. It could be that the gold and mana you get from vassals is only determined by the size of the city. Either way, I’d like to see the vassals be a little more active and I think you should have to work a little harder to get independent cities to become vassals. Right now, it is just too easy.

    I think the quests they give you are too easy to abuse. Camp an army next to a vassal, wait 2-4 turns and you’ll get a quest (they are usually pretty easy) that has a reward of one unit. Accept the quest, move your army over to the quest, press auto combat, sell the one unit for 200 gold. In the early game this is INSANELY powerful, especially for classes that are starved for gold in the first 20 turns or so. Quests are too easy and give too much reward for selling one or two units.

    Another concern I have is what happens to the armies that spawn from quests from vassals if you decline the quest. Do they go away or do they remain on the map? A game I recently played was spawning some pretty crazy stacks of 6 on vassal quests with one or two Tier IV units. I declined a number of these quests (this was in the late-early to middle part of the game) and even though I declined the quests, the armies remained on the map. They would move into the fog of war, but I would never really see them on the map again. Of course, my vassals could never hope to deal with such stacks because they never build military units. I’m just wondering because I could see stacks like these being a real nuisance if you decline enough quests and there are five or six stacks of full armies with two Tier IV units (we’re talking Eldrich Horrors here) wandering around devouring armies en route to other tasks. Especially if they are popping up 18-20 turns into the game like mine did… then they are a real problem because you don’t really have a great way of dealing with them without devoting a great deal of the resources available to you to dealing with them.

    Why can I spin off a vassal from each individual city of an enemy leader? I abused the crap out of this in a recent game. Sundren declared war on me, I took all of her cities, spun off vassals from each city, and generated my entire final attack force from those vassals alone because by that point in the game vassals are gifting entire 6 stack armies. I think allowing you to spin off vassals from enemy leaders’ cities is a bad idea. It’s too easily abused.

    It was also difficult for me to tell exactly how independent my vassals are when it comes to declarations of war. If I am declared war on, are my vassals also declared war on? Will they/I have to defend them? Enemy leaders don’t seem to go after them. If I declare war on someone else, do they declare war on them as well by virtue of being a vassal of mine? If they don’t, I think they should. Obviously, you don’t want someone to blob with vassals; but, because it is already so easy to get them, it is easy to blob with vassals. This would cause problems if your vassals do go in on a declaration of war you make (again, I don’t actually know, I’m just assuming because it isn’t clear) because it would provide an overwhelming numbers advantage to the empire that has a lot of vassals (not that the vassals could actually contribute because they don’t really build any armies anyway). But, a way to solve this problem is to make it harder to get vassals. Beef them up. Make them a little more independent and a little less puppet state. Right now they just exist for me to suck mana and gold from and honestly it doesn’t really feel like a meaningful interaction. I want to have to work to make them vassals, and when they are vassals I want them to be more proactive and active on the map, clearing stacks sitting on top of their resources, joining me in attacks on enemy cities close to them. Those sorts of thing can go a long way in making them feel less hollow and more meaningful.

    I apologize for the length of this post. I just hope the developers are able to get something out of my rambling. Again, some of my inferences are just that, inferences, which is to say that, at best, they are guesses. I don’t know the code to the game, after all.

    I know a lot of this stuff is negative so I also want to say that I really love your game, Triumph. I love what you guys have done with AoW3 and I am very excited for the upcoming expansion. Once I’ve messed around a little more with classes and races I’ll likely be making a post about those changes as well. Again, thank you Triumph for making this incredible game that so many of us love. You guys do a great job.

    Cheers
    GeniusPantsPhD

    #167002

    Thariorn
    Member

    Heyo ~

    *Deleting Units – as far as I am aware you cannot currently delete units in the game.

    Open a unit’s stat-screen. In the upper left corner, next to the unit’s upkeep display, a white X on red background should be visible.
    By clicking said X, a pop-up asks if you want to disband this unit.

    They don’t build military units to defend themselves

    Hmm, seems like a bug. Usually if you vassalize an independent city it carries over it’s general defenders.
    If you release on of your cites as vassal, they get quite a huge defender-spawn (based on city-size if I’m not mistaken).

    Accept the quest, move your army over to the quest, press auto combat, sell the one unit for 200 gold

    In another thread, on of the Devs (Tombles) stated that this shouldn’t be the case and it’s going to be adressed. So (hopefully) the next update inlcudes less gold-value for reward-units aswell as less frequent quests given by vassals.

    Another concern I have is what happens to the armies that spawn from quests from vassals if you decline the quest. Do they go away or do they remain on the map?

    As with any quest-related spawns, if you decline that quest, those units should despawn the turn after.
    HOWEVER if another player is offered that quest too (Ofc this can’t be the case with one of your vassals) those units MAY remain, if said player accepts that quest.
    BUT quest-related spawns NEVER attack the domain they’Re spawned in (Or rather, in my ~420 hours I’ve never seen that happening).

    It was also difficult for me to tell exactly how independent my vassals are when it comes to declarations of war. If I am declared war on, are my vassals also declared war on? Will they/I have to defend them?

    Vassals are delcared war upon if you’re declared war upon and vice-versa.
    However I yet have to witness vassals going aggro against a player you’Re at war with.

    #167137

    Sunicle
    Member

    I think it is a bit too easy to vassalize independent cities. Two or three turns after I make peace and open borders with them, they offer me a quest that includes vassalization. It just seems… a bit too easy. The quests aren’t hard. All they require are for me to wonder over an army and hit auto-combat and boom, vassal.

    It’s not difficult indeed, but it needs to be balanced with taking the town by force.
    It’s not 2 or 3 turns it takes to go from peace to vassalage, it’s 6 turns before an independent town is willing to discuss this.
    Make it longer and more difficult, and why would you bother in a multiplayer game? You would just sack the town, migrate it to their own race in 2 turns and have it as yours for 100%.

    Balance between peacekeeper and warmonger has always been a big thing in how the diplomacy with vassals has been designed.

    #167179

    Teehon
    Member

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>GeniusPantsPhD wrote:</div>
    They don’t build military units to defend themselves

    Hmm, seems like a bug. Usually if you vassalize an independent city it carries over it’s general defenders.<br>
    If you release on of your cites as vassal, they get quite a huge defender-spawn (based on city-size if I’m not mistaken).

    I guess he meant, if you find an outpost with 2 peasants as guards and vassalise it, it will still have 2 peasants after 20 turns still…

    #167189

    Sunicle
    Member

    If you make an independent town a vassal it will grow from then on, so it shouldn’t be an outpost anymore 20 turns later.
    Otherwise I think it’s true that they don’t build units as such, but that some defense will be spawned based on the size of the town.

    #167232

    Question: will vassals ever build up their production buildings so they will generate more mana/research/happiness etc?

    Basically, I’m asking if, by accepting a city as a vassal, I’m giving up all the returns from investment I could have had by annexing the city?

    #167257

    Gloweye
    Member

    will vassals ever build up their production buildings

    No.

    Basically, I’m asking if, by accepting a city as a vassal, I’m giving up all the returns from investment I could have had by annexing the city?

    not all returns – it still gives income, and it will grow in population, increasing it’s domain. It will benefit from treasure sites if you clear them, though it won’t clear them itself. The growth will also increase gold income.

    However, possibilities are definitively less. To me, their main use is to reduce micro-management.

    #167821

    llfoso
    Member

    I’m finding the vassals provide a pretty good income. I was just today playing a theocrat (not an economic powerhouse by any means) and without any economic buffs active and not many gold mines in my domain I was bringing in 200 gold per turn by turn 20. That early in the game I only expect that kind of income playing dreadnought. I mean, is 200g per turn at turn 20 normal and I’m just a bad player or what?

    #167999

    NuMetal
    Member

    I mean, is 200g per turn at turn 20 normal and I’m just a bad player or what?

    Well, was it net or gross?^^
    What I mean is did you get 200 gold minus X Gold unit upkeep or did you still get 200 gold after the unit upkeep was payed?

    If the first is the case then that’s pretty average I think but it depends on the settings of course.
    If the second is the case however, it only shows that you are not building enough units^^

    #168101

    llfoso
    Member

    Doesn’t the number in parenthesis at the top show net income after upkeep?

    I was building as I usually do, city upgrade, 2-3 units, city upgrade, 2-3 units… Three of my six are vassals, the other three have their production running at full tilt and I’m sitting on >700 gold.

    Here’s the difference I think; normally I would have just bought those cities and then been spending all my money upgrading and garrisoning them, and so all the income from a newly acquired city goes back into that city (and more). But with vassals I get 75% of the income without having to give anything back, so I come out way wealthier.

    #168428

    NuMetal
    Member

    Doesn’t the number in parenthesis at the top show net income after upkeep?

    Yes, that’s correct.

    I think your assessment is quite right too:

    Less cities to spend you money on -> more money!

    Another effect most people forget is that a building or unit does not only cost 90 gold when it has a cost of 90 gold. It costs 90 gold + 50% of the income of the city, because you are not creating merchandise when you build the unit.

    From strategy games in general and SC2 in particular I have learned that you should never bank your ressources. A good player in SC2 is basically always at about 0.
    Now in AoW it’s slightly different since there are unpredictable opportunities where you can/should have and spend a lot of money (like heroes offering to join or Inns or meeting new friendly independents that you can buy…) and you also get a 100 empire happiness bonus if you are over 1k gold. Yet in the end it’s still true that someone who only banks his money will lose against someone who invests it and especially in turn 20 having 700 gold is too much.
    I guess what we need to learn is the city to vassal ratio that lets you use all your ressources efficiently and in your case 4 cities + 2 vassals might have been better.

    I’m finding the vassals provide a pretty good income.

    We basically just need to keep in mind that we shouldn’t compare 3 cities +3 vassals to 3 cities, but rather to 6 cities where 3 of which only produce merchandise.
    And a city with produce merchandise gives exactly twice as much gold as a vassal.

    TL;DR: Vassals are fine, you are not a bad player and we only need to get used to vassals and when and how many we should have of them. 🙂

    #168567

    hastypudding
    Member

    My experience has been that vassals are awesome and I love having them as an option for empire development, BUT…

    …your income/infrastructure will absolutely be higher in the medium/long term (~10-20 turn horizon) with a fully controlled city. Vassals are awesome for race happiness, reducing micromanagement, and spawning instant free garrisons. Those are good perks! But your empire WILL be stronger in the long run by absorbing the city…provided you don’t need that instant free garrison.

    IMO the balance is actually really, really good between vassalizing and absorbing/migrating right now. Both have advantages. Well done, Triumph.

    #168572

    Tombles
    Keymaster

    These changes are currently being tested, they’ll appear in the next update:

    • Vassals now give a choice between 2 of gold, units or mana, instead of just free units when they offer a tribute.
    • The size of offered tributes from a city is now identical to the rewards you would get from demanding tribute from a city, this typically means the rewards are smaller.
    • Vassals will now give free tributes less frequently, the frequency of free tributes will go up as you acquire more vassals.
    • The value of selling a quest reward will now correspond to the thing being sold, rather than being a big, round number like 200
    • Added quest cooldown per city, vassal cities will now give fewer quests

    So, in general a nerf to the goodies from Vassals and Quests.

    #168608

    llfoso
    Member

    TL;DR: Vassals are fine, you are not a bad player and we only need to get used to vassals and when and how many we should have of them. :)

    That’s a very well thought out and generous response. Much appreciated.

    I know the thing about not banking money in strategy games…long time RTS player here. AOW3 is actually my first foray into 4X.

    Anyway, I bought out another vassal into my empire after bringing in a garrison from my capitol and my gold reserves drained out pretty fast when I started upgrading it.

    Also, I miscounted before, I was at 3 cities and 2 vassals, now just one vassal. But I’ll be sending out another settler soon.

    I’m probably not going to incorporate my fey dwelling. They’re already giving me free dryads 🙂

    #168848

    Yuriohs
    Member

    I pretty much

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>NuMetal wrote:</div>
    TL;DR: Vassals are fine, you are not a bad player and we only need to get used to vassals and when and how many we should have of them. :)

    Pretty much agree with this after playing with vassals a bit

    One thing I’m worried about, is the incentive to obtain vassals while taking into the account of people using shadowborn spec’s or other spec’s that manipulate a dwelling/city’s likeness towards you.

    Some skills might be obsolete mid/late game but could have the potential to still be relevant if vassals aren’t just something that minimizes management.

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