Shadow Realm – Brainstorm

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Home Forums Modding and Map Making Shadow Realm – Brainstorm

This topic contains 1,098 replies, has 37 voices, and was last updated by  Refineus 3 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #249628

    Draxynnic
    Member

    It’s only one point more than the standard Revenant version, on two damage channels. I wanted to keep the blessed arrows by default to at least differentiate the two a bit, but we could reduce the base physical damage if it’s too much. Also, the DEF/RES should probably be lowered by 1 each as well.

    I think it’s fitting – Tier 1 ranged attackers from dwellings typically are more powerful than from cities. In this case, gold medal archon legionary archers will be comparable to gold medal human archers – they just get Blessed Arrows earlier. On the Mounted Archer matchup, they’re still slower, have less health and melee attack, and have less firepower than the special MAs like humans, elves and halflings… and that’s before warlord researches or mystic structure upgrades potentially come into play.

    The Def definitely does look it could be pulled down by one. Knocking down their Res would also bring it down to High Elf level, which is probably reasonable.

    Well I thought I had written down the older versions of liked terrain, but I think I screwed up what I was reading. Looking back at the manuals again, the archons/highmen were always indifferent to all terrain.

    We could try to set it up so that they dislike blight and like temperate climate and avoid the standard liked terrain/disliked climate formula.

    Dwellings are typically less caring about terrain than cities… possibly they can like Fertile Plains and dislike Blighted and Volcanic? Being effectively ascended humans, it stands to reason they’d have similar preferences, although the effect of disfavoured terrains on them is less because they have more of a sense of purpose that helps them to put up with discomfort and do what they have to, particularly since their foes often hide in such terrain.

    I wondered why most of the Revenants had projectile resistance. Should probably replace it with some other bells and whistles.

    High Men in the original had universal true seeing… and it was part of the lore that you couldn’t hide from them. Might be worth considering.

    Unless there is a better naming convention, I think Archon Revenant Titan, etc. should work.

    Could even just call them Revenant Titans. Lorewise, it seems that the titans weren’t actually archons per se, but more a case of being to giants as archons were to humans. Not a perfect analogy, since we have no indication that titans ascend from regular giants as archons did from humans, but titans do seem to have been giants infused with holy purpose rather than being giant archons.

    #249630

    Gloweye
    Member

    High Men in the original had universal true seeing… and it was part of the lore that you couldn’t hide from them. Might be worth considering.

    I really like this one. Also gives them a sense of uniqueness. Perhaps also add a seperate Mind Control Immunity to their already high spirit resistance ? Would be ridiculous on a race, but I think it’s responsible for a dwelling, at least as much as Regrowth for the Naga.

    #249634

    Draxynnic
    Member

    Additionally, there’s a subtle reinforcement to titans not actually being the same there:

    High Men all had True Seeing in AoW1… but titans and valkyries did not.

    Regarding Mind Control Immunity… Avengers, Saints and titans had it, but the rest didn’t have a general immunity to mind control. Spirit Protection plus having good resistances should mean they’re pretty hard to mind-control: that’s probably enough.

    #249644

    Hiliadan
    Member

    I certainly like them being unique but in terms of gameplay, Mind Control Immunity (MCI) has big consequences and True Sight too. There are already many many units with True Sight (too many actually) and I’d rather not have a full Dwelling with it.
    What about MCI for the Titan (the balance mod is giving MCI to all T4, I think we should go in that direction too) and True Sight for the Avenger or another unit (but just 1)?

    You don’t like the idea of a “Military Discipline” ability that would give +2 def, +1 res to the unit for 2 turns for 0 AP, once per battle? It could also give +1 def to all adjacent Archon units, that would be interesting.

    #249690

    Charlatan
    Member

    I’m out.
    Don’t ask me why, don’t send me invites.
    I only apologize to those innocent bystanders who hoped for this to work out.

    #249695

    lordoflinks
    Member

    I’m out.
    Don’t ask me why, don’t send me invites.
    I only apologize to those innocent bystanders who hoped for this to work out.

    So as one of the “innocent bystanders” what does this mean for the mod?

    #249699

    Hiliadan
    Member

    It’s sad news but I understand Charlatan, no problem. Take care and I hope we have other opportunities to collaborate in the future! 🙂

    It means for the mod that we need to find someone else to do the strategic map structures’ 3D models and that we also need someone to do the weight painting of the Dark Elves Charlatan designed.

    #249717

    vfxrob
    Member

    Hello, hello.

    First of all, i thin their should be a ‘#Drop Mike’ after Charlatans comment, and defriended again rough! now onto business.

    Here is the updated Shadow Elven units cosmetic file
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/gl9xp8hwq8jw6zs/Shadow%20Elves%20Cosmetic.rar?dl=0

    All units are working as intended or as close to as intended to be.
    Whats included
    * Shadow elves racial and class (all 7) units.
    * Hero skins (pretty much High elves but glowy)
    also
    *Shadow elve test rpk and map, so all the shadow elves are hooked up to the vanilla high elves, you could technically just throw it in your folder and start using them. Heroes skins are not hooked up. It just seemed as a waste of time as this will need to be redone in whoevers rpk file.

    Added just a couple of the glowy weapons, can always just use the vanilla but if someone wants to make more its pretty simple as its just a shader no textures jump into the shadow elven units .clb and labelled weapons in models and materials tinker away.

    Haven’t included structures can always just throw a dark shader on the elven ones and dont know how to work with the TM environments yet.

    This should be overall plenty to get the shadow elven race up and running and keep you busy for a while. Ive been itching to work on my own mod, need to do some bug fixes ive promised to my own sub clan and add alot of content, plus experiment with some other features so wont be available for a few months.

    If of course this mod gets up and running, im happy to jump back on board and add a few additional things!

    ps everything is labelled ok so should be no worries navigating around the mod.
    Below is some of the final units, enjoy chaps!

    #249722

    vfxrob
    Member

    And heres some more if your too lazy to download it!

    #249736

    Gloweye
    Member

    They look awesome.

    #249748

    Hiliadan
    Member

    Look nice, yes! 🙂 Would be great if someone could make screenshots of units by class + the racial ones, so 7 screenshots for classes, and 1 for the racial unit.
    Dr_K is ok to start work on the race in the mod editor.

    Gloweye, if you can build the RMG integrator, we’ll be quite advanced to finalize the expansion!

    vfx, I think when you become available again, the greatest thing you could would be to work on strategic map structures, but not sure you are experienced in that?

    Drax, would you be interested to work on the building names for the Shadow Elves and the 2 Dwelling, as well as the unit description? (that appear on the unit panels)

    On a technical side, I really think we need to have only 1 mod that users check on launch to benefit from the expansion. How can we merge the Archon mod from Dr_K and the Dark Elf mod from Gloweye for a start?

    #249750

    Gloweye
    Member

    We can’t merge mods.

    #249751

    vfxrob
    Member

    Yeah thats no worries, haven’t touched it at all, and im guessing im just doing the models, i think it would be pretty simple for one of the rpk overloads to throw it in, im no gansta like charlatan i would prolly just purchase a few premade model packs i aint spending blood and sweat making each peice. Hete is a quick search but with a little texture tweak and a glowy shader they should be fine. If its not just altering the vanilla something like these Bitgem https://shop.bitgem3d.com/products/fantasy-demon-caves and maybe this https://shop.bitgem3d.com/products/fantasy-land-set good thing they are optimized so wont take ip much room. Yeah, maybe share it via dropbox and update each other when editing it. Always back up too!

    #249752

    Hiliadan
    Member

    We can’t merge mods.

    We can do a compatibility mod with both, or we can copy all the changes to a new 3rd mod. I think you need to make more effort to solve this and not just say that. If we have 5 mods for the expansion, nobody is going to use it.

    Ok vfx, and you can re-use these models as you want (no licence issue)?

    #249753

    Gloweye
    Member

    We can’t merge mods.

    We can do a compatibility mod with both, or we can copy all the changes to a new 3rd mod. I think you need to make more effort to solve this and not just say that. If we have 5 mods for the expansion, nobody is going to use it.

    Ok vfx, and you can re-use these models as you want (no licence issue)?

    Compatibility patch might be fine, but I don’t think we’d really need it. Worst case, shared dependency on a mod implementing stuff like shadow sickness.

    Copying all changes is easier said than done. There’s no way to get an overview of what a mod does without opening it, and no clipboard or anything you can copy to and from. If I had half a year of full time, I might be able to hack a tool together that merges mods, but that’s quite the stretch. Right now, we just don’t have the interface to do something like merging mods without basically building them all from the ground up.

    We’ll probably be able to pick and choose a bit. So if you have global base mod, you can enable like custom dwellings and races and just enable those you want without any issues.

    #249757

    Hiliadan
    Member

    Can you add comments in the mod code? I understand you edit .rpk files that are text, right? So if you can add comments all over your edits, like === Gloweye == /== Gloweye == then it’s easy to spot.
    If you list all the .rpk you edited in your mod, then it’s also easy to search.

    I could do the merging if really necessary but I’d prefer if someone else did it obviously.
    We could have a Dropbox or GoogleDrive shared so that we see whenever someone modifies the files and we are sure we always have the latest version. We could start now and merge the Archon and DE mods and then work only on the common version in the Dropbox.

    #249758

    Gloweye
    Member

    No, they’re not text. They’re preconfigured entries with a number of flags and/or references, probably identified by binary code. We can’t open them as text files as they’re saved in binary, so all we have is the official mod tools to edit them. I could of course try to make a list of all possible entries and try them out one by one in minimalistic mods, look at them in binary and force decode it, but then I’m going to need that half year.

    We can only look at a mod’s edits easily if you open that specific mod – edited lines are red, others are black. If you open a mod dependent on another, they still look black even if the other mods edit them – only the mod you have open is red. Therefore, it’s really hard to compare multiple mods and spot conflicts, or merge them.

    #249759

    Charlatan
    Member

    I was quite angry when I posted last so heres the missing clarifications:

    None was here in the topic, but some have treated my work here in what I wouldnt call fair. I wont change my opinion another time, and wish everyone here luck with the project.

    For everyone in this project counts: all units I near-finished, the DED dwelling, and the CLB with my shadowrealm content can be freely taken from decodence and used without credit.

    #249760

    Hiliadan
    Member

    Ok but the Dropbox solution would still work if we had only 1 version of the files shared with everyone? I’m going to open the mod editor to have a look to understand better how it works.

    @charlatan: wow, I’m quite surprised, I didn’t think that was the cause. If you change your mind and are ok to add me again, I’d be interested to understand more.

    #249761

    Gloweye
    Member

    Ok but the Dropbox solution would still work if we had only 1 version of the files shared with everyone? I’m going to open the mod editor to have a look to understand better how it works.

    Define “Dropbox Solution” ?

    The mods’ changes are stored in the .acp files, which are the same ones you have to activate in the launcher. We can get them in a single folder for distribution without (real) problems, but you will need to activate them all seperately.

    • This reply was modified 5 years ago by  Gloweye.
    #249775

    wusong
    Member

    Great work, look amazing.

    #249776

    Hiliadan
    Member

    Wusong, aren’t you the one with skills in logo? Because we now would need logos for the Archons, DE (if Gloweye is ready) and Shadow Elves.

    Regarding Dropbox solution, I need to check the files to understand them a bit more before I reply.

    #249811

    Hiliadan
    Member

    Regarding Archons, I think we should really go the “battle ability” way rather than the “True Sight” + MCI way. Battle abilities increase gameplay options, MCI and True Sight decrease them (for opponents). A few units may have MCI or True Sight but not all the Dwelling.
    So what do you think about a personal “Battle Cry” or “Battle Discipline” or another name, which would give +1 def and +1 res to the unit for 2 turns, cost 0 AP and be usable once per battle? To compensate for such a relatively strong ability, the upkeep or Archons could be +25% compared to other troops (“Elite troop”). Or it could be the same but for all units at short range, non-stackable. Then that would really require the +25% upkeep.
    The other things discussed (Shadow Demon Slayer, -1 def/-1 res for archer, terrain preferences) should also be implemented.

    Regarding the Shadow Elves, I think they should Hate Subterranean and Surface (I don’t remember what we said about feasibility for Surface) and get -1 cost of MP on the Shadow Realm, to make them really special.
    I also think we should give their heroes +5 CP.
    I was in favour of 2 themes for them: magic and sacrifice. I think we should at least keep one, to give them more flavour in terms of gameplay. Several abilities were proposed:
    – Disappear in Shadow: the unit loses 90% of its full HP and gain Invisibility and No regeneration for 2 turns.
    – Blood Sacrifice: the unit loses 15 HP and gets +3 phys damage, +4 def for 2 turns.
    – Absorb Mana and Devour Mana
    – Summon Lightning Sprite

    The current line-up is nice but too classical and close to other elves (High-Elves, Dark Elves from Gloweye), it will be played very similarly to them. I think we need to take more radical steps (but stay balanced) to make them unique.
    Their spirit should be: excellent in the Shadow Realm but quite weak outside of it; good against Sorcerer, Arch Druid, other Shadow Realm units, Feys; bad against Warlord, Draconians, armies who do not rely on magic and have physical damage; play more on mobility and higher risks/rewards (sacrifice, harder sites on the Shadow Realm).
    I think we should remove the Incorporeal idea, because even if it’s very fitting, it goes against their weakness on physical damage.

    #249816

    vfxrob
    Member

    Here are some pics, not all but most

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/de6vddvf1as3uer/Shadow%20elves%20pics.rar?dl=0

    • This reply was modified 5 years ago by  vfxrob.
    #249825

    Draxynnic
    Member

    Is this in response to your exchange with GeilerRitter?

    I think one thing that needs to be kept in mind here is the ‘can’t please everyone’ effect. As I recall, the Shadow Elves won the vote competing with the possibility of an entirely new race. The Shadow Elves concept is of a race that is fundamentally still Elves, specifically Elves that were more influenced by Dark Elves than Wood Elves (as opposed to the High Elves) and which have been further changed by their time in the Shadow Realm.

    The last part there allows for quite a few options, but at the bottom line, people were voting for a racial concept based on (Dark) Elves. Having similarities to existing elves in theme and even in playstyle should be viewed as an asset, not something to be avoided at all costs. (As long as, of course, there are enough differences that they do feel like another race.)

    Multiple subraces of elves, for better or worse, are a fantasy trope. There are some people who are always going to roll their eyes at that trope whenever it comes along, and there are other people who will expect it because there’s a particular subrace they prefer and they’re disappointed when that subrace isn’t present. At the bottom line, we have to choose who we’re going to please… we can try to please the ‘not more elves!’ faction by making the Shadow Elves something that has nothing in common with known elves beyond pointy ears and magical talents (might as well call them syrons at that point, really…), or we can recognise that at the bottom line, the Shadow Elf concept was the one that won the vote and that concept does bring with it an assumption of a certain amount of elfiness, including some Dark Elf flavour. Being unique for the sake of being unique isn’t always a virtue, particularly if the consumer is expecting some similarities.

    Regarding the Shadow Elves, I think they should Hate Subterranean and Surface (I don’t remember what we said about feasibility for Surface) and get -1 cost of MP on the Shadow Realm, to make them really special.

    I think this would be a bad move, for two reasons:

    First, it would make the Shadow Elves essentially unplayable on one-layer surface maps. While we might well think that most players will want to use the full features of the mod including the new layer, that may not be the case: there could well be times when people will want to play a simple one-layer map but they still want to have the new race. While we could make it that they’re fairly restricted in terrain they’re happy with on the surface, they should be viable in a one-layer game.

    Second, it’s enhancing the ‘home field’ effect. Presumably we’re looking at having some sort of ‘shadow sickness’ effect (could just be that affected races have morale penalties in the Shadow Realm): if we have most races having penalties in the Shadow Realm, while Shadow Elves have penalties everywhere but, then this could potentially lead to stalemates where neither side has a reasonable ability to push into the other’s territory… particularly when we consider the chokepoint potential of portals.

    I also think we should give their heroes +5 CP.

    As a racial governance upgrade: Great!

    As something that comes automatically… well, previous comments still apply. What will you balance it against? How do you judge the value of casting points, something which is very situational depending on the hero’s build and player’s (or AI’s…) tactics?

    When something is optional, you can balance it on the assumption that the player will make maximum use of it (or at least better use than the alternative). When it’s automatic… then with something like CP, you risk saddling them with something that’s of little or no value to them.

    I was in favour of 2 themes for them: magic and sacrifice. I think we should at least keep one, to give them more flavour in terms of gameplay. Several abilities were proposed:
    – Disappear in Shadow: the unit loses 90% of its full HP and gain Invisibility and No regeneration for 2 turns.
    – Blood Sacrifice: the unit loses 15 HP and gets +3 phys damage, +4 def for 2 turns.

    There are a few issues here:

    Combining with your proposal for Archons, this would be introducing two factions with a racial self-buff. Along with the prospect of basically using the same idea twice (where currently it is only used for Orcs), there’s also the known issue that the AI doesn’t make the best usage of such self-buffs – so you’d be making more races that the human player can make much better usage than the AI, which will potentially be a balance consideration, particularly in PBEM games. (Possibly more so than the Orcs, in fact, since the Orcs are otherwise a fairly simple faction to run, so the AI not making full usage of War Cry can be considered to be balanced against the AI not optimally exploiting some of the special features of other races. A race with a self-buff and other complicated features might further exaggerate the weaknesses of the AI)

    This goes double with the Blood Sacrifice proposal. There’s been a discussion recently about how the AI currently does not really understand durations, and tends to throw short-duration effects too early. Now, imagine attacking a Shadow Elf city where the defenders all activate Blood Sacrifice in the first turn. Even with a flying army swooping directly at the walls, it will usually take at least one turn to approach and at best the second turn will have a few single attacks. Likely, the buff will have worn off by the time the real fighting starts, and the Shadow Elves will have had little to show for their 15HP sacrifice.

    Now, assuming the above is either resolved or not considered significant enough to be a hindrance going ahead, I do have a couple of issues with the specific Blood Sacrifice proposal.

    To begin with, +4 defence (as well as being a bit incongruous with your thematic idea of Shadow Elves being weak against physical) makes it a fairly straightforward analysis of when to use it: if you expect the unit to receive four or more attacks with a significant physical channel in the duration of the effect, then the damage prevented exceeds the damage from the sacrifice, and therefore using the sacrifice is clearly the right move. This could be beneficial regarding the previous problem of giving the AI simple rules of when to use it, but makes it a less interesting choice for the player, and the rules of when to use War Cry are also relatively simple and the AI doesn’t handle that well.

    Thematically, too, shedding blood in order to make them physically stronger and tougher seems more like Orc magic than Dark Elf magic or shadow magic, which is what the Shadow Elves should be inspired by.

    If you want an in-combat sacrifice effect, I think it should have a sort of ‘surrender to the shadows’ theme. The unit calls shadow magic into its body, a process which is physically (and possibly spiritually?) harmful but provides benefits to the user. For instance, a possible effect could be making the unit partially incorporeal, granting it physical resistance, while some of the energy goes into the unit’s weapons, providing a non-physical damage channel, possibly at the cost of some physical damage. This would make for more interesting questions of when to use it: for instance, if we were to make it 40% physical resistance, then it may be equivalent to +4 defence against attacks of a value of around 10, but it becomes more valuable against physical attack values of 20 and above. Adding a non-physical damage instead of simply piling on more physical damage means the player may weigh up the benefit of the new channel they’d gain and its potential effect on the target.

    Should it be desired, from a lore perspective this could inject a degree of pathos to the race: maybe, between the pre-existing connection of Dark Elves with shadow and living in the Shadow Realm, the Shadow Elves are constantly resisting being consumed by the shadows. The sacrifice effect is something that they do simply by choosing to stop resisting… but if they stop resisting for too long it could kill them. (Heck, one could represent this by reducing the sacrifice and reducing the duration to 1 combat turn… but making it so that they can choose to sacrifice every combat turn if they wanted to. This might also make it easier for the AI to use, since the AI is reasonably competent at calculating expected damage dealt and damage taken within the current turn, so it might be able to use such an ability reasonably intelligently rather than using it as a first-turn buff as previously raised).

    Such an approach, though, would involve a redesign of the list, since many of the things that are currently part of the theme of specific units would become genericised into the sacrifice ability.

    – Absorb Mana and Devour Mana

    See previous discussion, again. We can put something in with a similar theme, but I think the abilities taken straight out of the mod are a little too powerful.

    – Summon Lightning Sprite

    It’s a suitable possibility for a support unit.

    The current line-up is nice but too classical and close to other elves (High-Elves, Dark Elves from Gloweye), it will be played very similarly to them. I think we need to take more radical steps (but stay balanced) to make them unique.

    See preamble. At the bottom line, the majority of people who voted in the poll are expecting Elves. They should be our unique take on Elves, but still, fundamentally, Elves (with some inspiration from Dark Elves of previous games).

    Yes, there are people who don’t won’t more Elves. We can’t please them without disappointing the people who do want Elves.

    Their spirit should be: excellent in the Shadow Realm but quite weak outside of it; good against Sorcerer, Arch Druid, other Shadow Realm units, Feys; bad against Warlord, Draconians, armies who do not rely on magic and have physical damage; play more on mobility and higher risks/rewards (sacrifice, harder sites on the Shadow Realm).
    I think we should remove the Incorporeal idea, because even if it’s very fitting, it goes against their weakness on physical damage.

    Personally, I prefer to see weaknesses come out naturally from what’s fitting for that race. If something that is “very fitting” is thrown out because the decision has been made that they should be weak to physical damage… is weakness to physical damage really a suitable weakness for the entire race to have? Perhaps a better way of thinking about it is that they’re generally weak to physical damage, but they have a trick that allows them to ameliorate that weakness. Meanwhile, they’re always weak to fire damage, because corporeal or not they’re just not used to that sort of heat in the Shadow Realm.

    #249829

    Hiliadan
    Member

    Drax, for me the debate is not about pleasing people who likes multiple subraces of Elves or those who don’t. You and most authors in that discussion put lore first, but I put gameplay first. For me the most important is not if we’re adding Shadow Elves or Syrons or Shadow Demons, or whatever (though it’s important for me too), it’s what they bring in terms of gameplay. I don’t see the point of adding a 2nd High Elf race, not because they’re elves, no, I don’t see the point because we already have a race that players like that, so we need to bring something new. Otherwise it’s not an expansion, it’s just a mod full of nostalgy.

    Saying that does not mean there should not be similarities. I’m not asking that each unit must be 100% different, but when no unit distinguishes itself and the whole race plays the same, there is something wrong. We need to have both a lore identity and a gameplay identity.
    Goblins play the mass numbers, fast expansion.
    Orcs play the big guys, hit first and ask questions after.
    Draconians are quite flexible and are easier to start thanks to Fast Healing.
    Humans are of course the most flexible.
    Dwarves play UG, you need to take care of your units but they’re rewarding.
    High Elves play more in subtleties (evolve, Inflict Stun).
    Tigrans play expansion and research.
    Frostlings play concealment, water.
    Halflings play luck and morale.
    What about Shadow Elves? Where are they in terms of gameplay? You really need to answer that question first. Then their lore-elfishness can be modified at will. It’s really not about “having elves or not”.

    While we could make it that they’re fairly restricted in terrain they’re happy with on the surface, they should be viable in a one-layer game.

    For me Shadow Elves should spawn only on the Shadow Realm layer by default (independents). They should not be played without the Shadow Realm. It’s a bit like playing Goblins or Dwarves without UG, it doesn’t make much sense. You make a good point, they should not be unplayable if one’s does not use the SR. But then let’s make it “Dislike”. It’s possible to play with -200 morale. And I think it’s really necessary in terms of balance. Shadow Elves will be very good in the Shadow Realm, if they have no disadvantage (40% Fire Weakness is not a big disadvantage and it’s compensated by their +2 resistance), then they will be OP.
    Regarding stalemate, please do not forget: alternative victory conditions, machines, elementals, undeads, dragons, etc. Draconians do not have Shadow Sickness. And more generally, -200 morale is not a game winner.

    Regarding +5 CP, ok I forgot we already had that discussion.
    I don’t find your points convincing. +5 HP or +1 resistance can also be considered “useful” or “useless” depending on cases. When you’re hit 11 HP and you have 5 HP as a basis, getting +5 does not change anything. When you’re fighting full physical damage enemies, +1 res is useless. Still, you can see the value of these. Balancing +5 CP is not about balancing it in isolation, it’s about balancing the race overall. Overall, all its bonuses and maluses should be balanced. Just play the race and you’ll see.
    But ok to put it as a RG upgrade.

    there’s also the known issue that the AI doesn’t make the best usage of such self-buffs

    The AI uses Warcry well and Gloweye explained we could make these work like Warcry so it would not be an issue for Archons. Blood Sacrifice is not a self-buff, it’s a trade-off between HP and buff and indeed it’s more complicated for the AI so maybe should be abandoned for that reason, yes.
    Your idea of surrendering to shadows is good. But it may still be badly used by the AI, so not sure if we should keep it in the end.

    Regarding Incorporeal and weakness to physical damage. They’re actually not weak to physical damage, they’re relatively weaker to physical damage than elemental damage (except fire), because they have +2 resistance and no bonus to defence. Maybe we could add “Incorporeal” for Infused on Racial Governance? That way, you have a way to increase your physical resistance, like you said, but it’s not built-in. Each race should have strengths and weaknesses in terms of gameplay. If your race both have +2 resistance and 1 unit with Incorporeal, how are you going to fight it? And when a Dreadnought leads it and it has no Fire weakness?

    #249833

    Gloweye
    Member

    . They should not be played without the Shadow Realm. It’s a bit like playing Goblins or Dwarves without UG, it doesn’t make much sense.

    And still they’re viable….

    What we should do is make them unique, and beneficial on the shadow realm, like dwarves and goblins. Lets sum up what they got on underground:

    -1 move cost (obsoleting roads until logistics)
    no clime penalties in layer
    no impaired vision

    What the Shadow Elves are basically going to get:

    -1 move cost (obsoleting roads until logistics)
    no stat penalty
    no clime penalty (unlike other races, tho dracs also shouldn’t)
    no impaired vision (perhaps use same night vision stat? feels kinda right…)

    #249834

    Draxynnic
    Member

    Drax, for me the debate is not about pleasing people who likes multiple subraces of Elves or those who don’t. You and most authors in that discussion put lore first, but I put gameplay first. For me the most important is not if we’re adding Shadow Elves or Syrons or Shadow Demons, or whatever (though it’s important for me too), it’s what they bring in terms of gameplay. I don’t see the point of adding a 2nd High Elf race, not because they’re elves, no, I don’t see the point because we already have a race that players like that, so we need to bring something new. Otherwise it’s not an expansion, it’s just a mod full of nostalgy.

    Personally, as one of the people who originally came up with the concept, I’d consider it disingenuous to call them Shadow Elves if you’re going to throw out everything in the concept in order to make something ‘new’. If you want something totally new and wacky, then make something new.

    If you look at the distinctions between the existing races, you’re making a big deal out of fairly subtle differences. A stat tweak here, a special ability swap there. The themes emerge naturally out of the characteristics of the race rather than being forced. You don’t need complex activated abilities all over the place or for every unit to be its own unique snowflake for the race as a whole to have its own unique feel and flavour.

    So, what themes do we currently have? Well, because they are elves, let’s focus on what distinguishes them from High Elves. They have a higher resistance, but their units tend to be unarmoured (there are some that I’ve listed as armoured in the draft that probably won’t be in the end, since the models produced thus far aren’t): this presents a bit of a soft rock-paper-scissors approach against enemies (they’re generally vulnerable to physical, but can use incorporeal units to offset this: however, the incorporeal units have low health for their tier, and thus are likely to fall quickly to nonphysical attacks despite their high resistance). They have a lot of dual-channel attacks, which makes them strong against incorporeal foes and foes with low Resistance, but only one good option against high resistance enemies where pure Physical attacks would be better. They don’t have the mobility of High Elves (although they still have a decent amount of mobility due to incorporeality) but have a lot of tricks they can deploy to hinder an enemy (although the exact support abilities are still under discussion, so that may change).

    So, the key distinction I’m seeing here is ‘synergy’. Having two supports, by nature, pushes them towards focusing on synergies rather than spamming tier 3s. For their units, they’ll need to pay more attention to their matchups than other races might, since their melee units each have distinct strengths and weaknesses: their pikemen are reliant on non-physical damage and thus are effective against Physical Resistance units; Infused and Shadowtouched are strong against physical attacks but don’t have much health for a tier 2 unit when attacked with nonphysical attacks; Exterminators have a pure physical attack and can thus cut through high resistance where other units can’t.

    And that’s just what I see from the draft stats. Emergent gameplay may generate additional distinctions.

    To be honest, I’d be more concerned about them being too close to Frostlings. Both have a lot of nonphysical damage, tier 3 supports, and the potential for sneaking around on the strategic map. I think the distinctions are there, though.

    For me Shadow Elves should spawn only on the Shadow Realm layer by default (independents). They should not be played without the Shadow Realm. It’s a bit like playing Goblins or Dwarves without UG, it doesn’t make much sense. You make a good point, they should not be unplayable if one’s does not use the SR. But then let’s make it “Dislike”. It’s possible to play with -200 morale. And I think it’s really necessary in terms of balance. Shadow Elves will be very good in the Shadow Realm, if they have no disadvantage (40% Fire Weakness is not a big disadvantage and it’s compensated by their +2 resistance), then they will be OP.

    I’d disagree with playing dwarves and goblins without UG. Sure, dwarves and goblins have more advantages when there’s an UG layer – however, not having an UG layer to exploit doesn’t hurt them nearly as much as -200 morale would. (Keeping in mind that, while -200 morale on your armies can be ameliorated, -200 morale on your cities is often a much bigger deal…)

    Personally, my approach would not be to make them ridiculously strong in the Shadow Realm and balance that by being weak in the other layers. My approach would be to make their ‘home field advantage’ no stronger than dwarves and goblins underground: keep Shadow Sickness relatively mild, and give the Shadow Elves no special advantage in the Shadow Realm apart from Shadow Walking.

    Regarding stalemate, please do not forget: alternative victory conditions, machines, elementals, undeads, dragons, etc. Draconians do not have Shadow Sickness.

    I wouldn’t consider people being forced to use non-racial class units, summons, dwelling units, or a specific race to push into the Shadow World to be a good outcome.

    As for alternate victory conditions… they exist, but they function on the assumption that it’s possible to push into the enemy’s territory to take out the enemy’s alternate victory condition if necessary. A stalemate between layers which is resolved simply by who has the most seals on their side doesn’t seem very satisfying to me.

    The AI uses Warcry well and Gloweye explained we could make these work like Warcry so it would not be an issue for Archons. Blood Sacrifice is not a self-buff, it’s a trade-off between HP and buff and indeed it’s more complicated for the AI so maybe should be abandoned for that reason, yes.
    Your idea of surrendering to shadows is good. But it may still be badly used by the AI, so not sure if we should keep it in the end.

    I think making it a one-round thing would help, since part of the problem is that the AI doesn’t recognise the difference between a 2-round buff and a rest-of-the-combat buff, but it does recognise a this-round-only buff. However, I don’t know enough about how the AI behaves to know how well it would be able to judge if the sacrifice is worth it.

    Regarding +5 CP, ok I forgot we already had that discussion.
    I don’t find your points convincing. +5 HP or +1 resistance can also be considered “useful” or “useless” depending on cases. When you’re hit 11 HP and you have 5 HP as a basis, getting +5 does not change anything. When you’re fighting full physical damage enemies, +1 res is useless. Still, you can see the value of these. Balancing +5 CP is not about balancing it in isolation, it’s about balancing the race overall. Overall, all its bonuses and maluses should be balanced. Just play the race and you’ll see.
    But ok to put it as a RG upgrade.

    I think balancing flat bonuses are fine – sure, there are times when one is more beneficial/harmful than the other, but exploiting your strengths and the enemy’s weaknesses is part of the game.

    However, the basic stat modifications, protections/vulnerabilities, and so on, are always there. A bonus/penalty to attack will be there every time you attack. A defensive modifier will be there every time you get attacked (or at least every time you get attacked on that channel).

    Casting points, however, is something that could be extremely powerful or not useful at all. On one end of the scale, you could have a hero which isn’t intended to cast spells or where +5CP doesn’t hit a breakpoint to allow them to cast another spell, and it’s effectively worthless. On the other end of the scale, it could allow a hero to hit a breakpoint for a powerful spell without needing to pay 9 hero points for the next level of additional CP, and it’s then effectively worth another two levels for a spellcasting hero. What are you going to balance that against (particularly keeping in mind that regular units don’t have casting points)? If it’s an optional upgrade, you can balance for something close to the best case scenario. If it’s not an optional upgrade… well, you’re probably going to end up with the only way to play Shadow Elf heroes being to abuse those extra casting points.

    And that’s without considering the effect that an additional 5CP on your leader in the early game could have.

    Regarding Incorporeal and weakness to physical damage. They’re actually not weak to physical damage, they’re relatively weaker to physical damage than elemental damage (except fire), because they have +2 resistance and no bonus to defence. Maybe we could add “Incorporeal” for Infused on Racial Governance?

    The Incorporeal quality is basically worth a tier on its own. Look at the existing Incorporeal creatures: tier 2 incorporeals have tier 1 stats, and Wraith Kings aren’t much better than Tier 2 cavalry without Incorporeal.

    I literally made the Infused by taking High Elf Swordsmen stats (tier 1, and not the greatest therof), replacing the High Elf characteristics with Shadow Elf characteristics, and giving them Incorporeal, Frost Weapons, and protections that make sense for a shadow creature – and the latter two both come out of the incorporeal theme. Without the Incorporeal theme, they’d basically be High Elf swordsmen.

    I don’t see a way that they can be balanced with Incorporeal being a governance upgrade, since that upgrade would essentially be promoting them a tier. Even if you have a system where their price and upkeep goes up when they get the upgrade, you could have someone stockpiling them and then getting a big power boost when they get the upgrade.

    Each race should have strengths and weaknesses in terms of gameplay. If your race both have +2 resistance and 1 unit with Incorporeal, how are you going to fight it? And when a Dreadnought leads it and it has no Fire weakness?

    By building a balanced force yourself and setting up favourable matchups. Hit the Infused with appropriate attacks and they will melt quickly, while your physical damage units focus their attentions elsewhere.

    Regarding leading the stack with a Dreadnought: I’d say that ameliorating a weakness through having a specific hero lead the stack is fair play, just as ameliorating a racial weakness with a class feature, or vice versa, has always been part of the game.

    #249835

    Draxynnic
    Member

    What the Shadow Elves are basically going to get:

    -1 move cost (obsoleting roads until logistics)
    no stat penalty
    no clime penalty (unlike other races, tho dracs also shouldn’t)
    no impaired vision (perhaps use same night vision stat? feels kinda right…)

    Yeah, I’d be inclined to just use night vision for both.

    Personally, I’m not inclined to give them special movement in the Shadow Realm. Considering that relatively few races are going to have Shadow Walking, while the majority of races tolerate underground, that’s probably enough of a home field advantage.

    #249838

    Gloweye
    Member

    No Shadow Running ability ? I kind of consider it like Subterranean in that way….that said, perhaps not required.

    Another possibility would be to give Shadow Realm a base MP cost of three, basically making everyone faster (Tho not to the ridiculous amounts of SM)

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