Suggestions, Oddities, and Observations from a new player

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions Balance Suggestions Suggestions, Oddities, and Observations from a new player

This topic contains 18 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  overlorddarkslash 6 years, 9 months ago.

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  • #219153

    callmewoof
    Member

    Hello! I recently bought AoW3 including both expansions. I’ve played through all four campaigns and wanted to post some of the things I’ve noticed. For reference, games I play are the whole Civilization series (started at age 6 on the first game), Europa Universalis series, Sim City, Endless Legends, and too many space 4X games to count. I hope that some of these suggestions might be useful.

    I’m also playing on the most recent open beta patch as of 7/27/15. I have never played any Age of Wonders game before this one, and I have only spent my time playing the single player campaigns on normal difficulty with classic turns. I read that the game was improved before I started playing to make it more newcomer friendly, so as a newcomer, here are my thoughts.

    –Disjunction–
    1. In battles (usually city battles), you will see effects listed like the Flowrock Citadel which have a battlefield effect. The game lets you click to disjunct, which opens the box with a Mana/Spell Point cost, but the game says you can’t disjunct! Please either let me disjunct these, or don’t pretend to give me the option. Very confusing at first!

    2. As a new player I found it very easy to get stuck in the horrible pattern of trying to disjunct a negative effect on my cities. It would say “5% chance”. It would fail, then say 50% next time because it was halved. Well, during that time, the AI would boost it back up to 200 integrity, putting you in a frustrating cycle that never ended unless you got lucky. Having said all that, I found that as I got better at the game this became less of an issue, so I think this is just a problem when you are newer and playing very slowly or defensively.

    –Research–
    This is a biggie. Research points don’t carry over except sometimes they do which is very weird. I’ll explain: If you make 59 wisdom per turn, a 60 Wisdom cost spell will take 2 turns. This is straightforward and a simple concept, but coming from games like Civilization, I hate seeing research wasted.

    I have 99 wisdom per turn. A 100 wisdom spell takes 2 turns to research. On my second turn, I lost the extra 98 wisdom produced that turn.
    
    Head Scientist: Good job everyone! We finished our research early this morning and can now start on our next project.
    Other team member: I heard that a group of Bards arrived in town today.
    Head Scientist: Ok people, we're done for the day. Everyone go home!

    Surplus wisdom is even weirder. If you gain surplus wisdom that turn (from Ancient Knowledge sites, or Necromancer’s (beta patch) Whispers of the Fallen, or one of those happy city events, you will find that you have surplus knowledge.

    Surplus knowledge may complete your current research, or let you instantly research a spell in that same turn, or cut the time down for your next research spell. This is where it gets murky.

    I have 50 wisdom per turn. I have 50 surplus wisdom from events this turn. A 100 wisdom spell will complete in 1 turn.
    
    I have 50 wisdom per turn. I have 49 surplus wisdom from events this turn. A 100 wisdom spell will complete in 2 turns with the remaining 49 surplus wisdom (50 + 50 + 49 - 100) completely wasted

    To add to that, at the start of a new turn the game can say Please Select New Research. Now, if you do this, you might be really screwed.

    I have 100 wisdom per turn. I choose a spell that costs 200 wisdom. Now that I picked my research, I play out the rest of the turn.
    I gain 99 bonus wisdom this turn from shrines and treasure scrolls. I end the turn with 199 wisdom.
    
    My 200 cost spell still takes 2 turns and will waste the entire 99 bonus wisdom from turn one.

    However, if you ignore the research selection and play out the turn first:
    I have 100 wisdom per turn. I gained 99 bonus wisdom this turn. Knowing this, I will either spend that bonus wisdom on an instant complete spell (eg. one that costs 60), or I will pick a different research (eg. one that costs 260, thus only "wasting" 30 surplus wisdom)
    So confusing to optimize, not really explained, the sometimes-wasted-but-not-always extra wisdom, and getting punished for picking research at the start of the turn. Yikes!

    –Heroes–
    It turns out that your heroes can only have 12 action buttons. Sounds like a lot but it isn’t. You already have 3 taken up (Move, Defend, Attack) and usually a fourth from a ranged item that they start with. Now, let’s level up our hero. We’ll use a Sorcerer. By level 13, I can take: Break Control, Dispel Magic, Steal Enchantment, Stunning Touch, Mend Magical Being, Phase, and Thunderstorm for a total of 7 abilities.

    Now, with 8 equipment slots you are almost certain to have one or two abilities from equipped items, and with 10 item slots you can easily have, well, 10 more abilities. Oh, and if you gained a shrine buff before a battle for something like Greater Webbing Touch or Fire Spit, you can add in those abilities too.

    What happens? You are maxed out at 12 buttons, but you can’t pick which ones you want. I noticed that the game seems to give preference to Chosen Abilities from Level Gain > Temporary shrine abilities (I think) > Worn Equipment > Order of items in inventory. I don’t recall anywhere in the game telling me that I would be limited to 12 buttons (really, that’s only 9 because 3 are standard). You can re-arrange the “usable” items but you can’t change the abilities you picked at level-up or anything like that.

    In short, it is confusing, screws you up, and you won’t even notice it until you gain a really cool item and find that you can’t use it in battle (where the feeling of a powerful hero quickly sinks to a feeling of “I guess my hero wants to impose a self limit. Yeah, thanks, I didn’t really want to use that cool new item this battle anyway.” I found it very frustrating.

    –New Player Confusion–
    The game campaign does a great job of introducing features like Race Governance to you. And then the very next map, you can’t choose those things. I spent forever trying to find out why my race governance wasn’t leveling up in the second map of the elven campaign. Please don’t show me features at the start of a campaign only to go “yeah first map only WOOSH we took it away”. So confusing!

    Also, in the campaign you get to carry over your items from map to map. Awesome! Except, whenever you beat the campaign by capturing that last hero city, you can’t pick up their loot. Oh sure, you can see it on the ground and look at it, but you can’t keep it or anything other than clicking the continue button. A minor thing but annoying.

    Both of these things are minor, but made the game feel unpolished or unfinished to me. If you show me all the glamour on level 1, I expect it to be there on level 2 as well. Instead, you give me the hype on the first map and then it goes into a feeling of “we just threw the rest of this crap together, only the first one was polished”.

    –Oddities / Bugs(?)–
    1. In the last Halfling campaign mission, you can build the arcane item forge. The tool-tip says “not available in campaigns”, except, in this specific map it is. You can not only build the building, but it lets you build the items as well. One of those things is wrong.

    2. Explosive Death (and possibly the Frostling Guard’s icy death I didn’t check) destroys the corpse when activated. I couldn’t find anything that said this would happen (not the knowledge index book thing, or tooltips or whatever). Very crappy to discover this during the Necro campaign. Wanted to raise that unit with Greater Raise Undead? Sorry I think it turned into giblets. Can this be added to a tool-tip please?

    3. Hero or Necromancer or other unit abilities not available when raised in battle from Undying or Lesser/Greater Raise Undead. My necro hero gains Unying, yay, he dies, comes back, and wait what? Every ability is on cooldown (and once-per-battle abilities can’t be used at all now). The game says “you already used it”. No, I didn’t, and the game didn’t bother to mention that my reanimator won’t be able to use Heal Undead or my hero to use, well, ANYTHING when I bring them back. Arrgh!

    4. What I wouldn’t give for a “remember my choice for battle speed” button. I appreciate the speed controls, don’t get me wrong, but if I want to go quick, do I really need to set every single battle to speed 3? Please, an option to set a default speed. Please!

    5. You can’t set the Next Unit button (default N key) to TAB. Wait, what? The keybindings just won’t let you do it. ARRGH! Having spent years in data processing, or heck, almost anyone who has ever used a word processor, or played games that have input fields knows about this button. I don’t want to hit N. I want to hit TAB. Please and thank you. TAB!

    Edit: 6. You don’t really seem to get much of any notice at all when your vassals cities are conquered. Sometimes I wouldn’t even notice at all until I found enemy units spawning from that direction. I’m pretty sure you don’t get any notice at all, in fact. Or if you do, it must be very minor. Makes it hard to keep track of vassals if you have to check if they even exist every turn.

    I think that’s all for now. You all made a great game and the campaigns were VERY enjoyable. I’m now ready to start digging into the random map modes (which I’ve been looking forward to for a long time now). Yay!

    #219164

    NINJEW
    Member

    the research example is also how city production functions. it’s actually a fairly important part of how the game is balanced (it makes the small differences between unit costs actually matter quite a bit, since production costs are simple the gold cost + the mana cost of a unit), to the point where by now it’s basically a “feature.” so that probably won’t be changed, though it is somewhat unintuitive i agree.

    as for battle speed: you can set “force high speed tactical combat” in the map options/upon loading a save, so you can have 3x speed all the time.

    i would also like a notification for when a vassal gets conquered.

    #219165

    Wallthing
    Member

    You make some good points. I’m not going to really discuss them, but there are some things that should be mentioned:

    Disjunction: Try to research Greater Disjunction for that sort of situation if you have the spare time & the enemy’s enchantments are dangerous enough to warrant it – it helps a lot. Also, the campaigns don’t exactly come out and say this, but they’re mainly meant to be played very aggressively – you generally start with an army advantage of some sort and your enemies’ AI is kind of on hold for a few turns, but your enemies have a big city advantage and if you leave them long to play with it they’ll smush you. So go kick ’em inna fork before they get enough casting points to reinforce a city enchantment to 200% in almost the same turn as casting it.

    Heroes: You can click the hero’s portrait and click the ability you want if you can’t see them all. The devs are working on a better UI option for this problem though – or were last time they mentioned it.

    Undying: pretty sure the abilities are all put on cooldown so that you cannot exploit undying to re-use abilities before the cooldown is over/twice in a battle for once-in-a-battle abilities. Not the best way to do it but I’m betting the other option was rewriting enough of the basic game’s code that it wasn’t worth it.

    Speed: there’s an option for this somewhere in… the options. It might or might not cause units to move fast outside of combat but it is there.

    #219196

    callmewoof
    Member

    Thanks for the replies. I’ll look for the speed setting next time I play. Also, holy crap THANK YOU for telling me that you can use the portrait list of abilities to select the ones you can’t see. I honestly thought that you were “capped” and couldn’t use them AT ALL. It isn’t the best UI but I’ll take function over nothing at this point (considering I wasn’t using those abilities, so I was using the nothing option lol).

    #219200

    First of all, welcome to the forum Lord callmewoof, you are lucky I usually don’t enter the darkness of the balance discussion forms, I just don’t like balancing.

    Now a small question concerning your “–New Player Confusion–”, do you think that the at first confusing things are really an issue? in my honest (and all powerful) opinion a part of playing a game is to find out the gameplay mechanics and “unwritten rules” of abilities, items and other things.

    I think it partly adds to the magic “first play trough” charm to not get force feed all the possibilities and keep some secretes behind the hand to let the player himself discover.

    even then you get some valid points that might could use some improvements.

    #219208

    callmewoof
    Member

    I guess they aren’t as bad as I thought, and yeah it is certainly better than being completely spoon fed. But I still feel it is confusing to say “here are these cool features like race governance that you only get for the first map and then won’t touch until random maps”. Something to that effect, anyway. Maybe it’s just me. 🙂

    #219210

    I guess they aren’t as bad as I thought, and yeah it is certainly better than being completely spoon fed. But I still feel it is confusing to say “here are these cool features like race governance that you only get for the first map and then won’t touch until random maps”. Something to that effect, anyway. Maybe it’s just me

    it is not you, but the racial governance is just recently added to the game, they didn’t put it in the first campaigns because that would break the balance and make the campaign less enjoyable.

    also the tutorial is not only to “prepare” you for the campaign but also to play a RGM or other skirmish map. where you actually could use the racial governance.

    #219220

    callmewoof
    Member

    Ok that makes sense. I literally picked the game up around the steam sale last month so I don’t know its update history. I assumed that was there from the start (or maybe an expansion? I thought the expansions just added races/class). Thanks though!

    #219222

    Ok that makes sense. I literally picked the game up around the steam sale last month so I don’t know its update history. I assumed that was there from the start (or maybe an expansion? I thought the expansions just added races/class). Thanks though!

    Age of Wonders 3 is a “evolving” game, the game you play now is not the same as the game was when it was released about 1 year ago. the racial governance was added to the game as a patch around the time that the last expansion is released. and because Triumph studios is one of the few good game developers they added it as a free patch for all instead of putting it as part of the expansion.

    also you don’t have the expansions? give me your steam name for a second.
    nevermind

    #219242

    NEHZ
    Member

    Racial governance is part of the Eternal Lords expansion. It was not part of a patch. It can be hard to keep track, with the massive amount of stuff that the patch did include 😛

    About the Item Forge: it was probably available because it’s the last mission and has a timer of sorts (seals). It’s mostly banned from the campaign to prevent people from filling out their heroes the boring way before finishing a mission, since items are carried over.

    #219247

    Racial governance is part of the Eternal Lords expansion. It was not part of a patch. It can be hard to keep track, with the massive amount of stuff that the patch did include

    hmm I directly bought the expansion on release Lord NEHZ so I might made a small overlook, sorry for the misinformation about that small particular thing.

    About the Item Forge: it was probably available because it’s the last mission and has a timer of sorts (seals). It’s mostly banned from the campaign to prevent people from filling out their heroes the boring way before finishing a mission, since items are carried over.

    Yea those weaklings that load the heroes full of items and sell everything again on the next map to have a financial buff it used to also work when you played a sorcerer and just filled the inventory up with mounts and eggs. isn’t it just pitiful that the devs have to remove features so that players cant abuse them to cheat on themselves…..

    #219337

    callmewoof
    Member

    Er, when I mentioned the items carrying over I thought it was a feature of the campaign. When I played, I just kept them on my hero with the thought that I was “growing more powerful” (in a fantasy RPG game style way). I didn’t sell them, but I suppose you could assume that people would just try to scam the system, I guess. And even if the item forge is “ok” for that last mission, it would be nice to not see a tool-tip that says “not available in campaigns” since you are in a campaign.

    Please understand that I’m new to this entire series and have owned the game for less than a month. I’m not here to criticize, but to give feedback of a newbie. I had read somewhere that they had improved the tutorial campaign semi-recently to try to make the game better for newer players. With that in mind I was keeping my mindset while playing of “is this newbie friendly? Do I understand this? Do I have to google stuff because the game won’t explain it?”. I figure that the developers are searching for this kind of feedback, I could be wrong. I’m sorry if anyone takes these things the wrong way. (I admit that while I tried to sound nice and objective by the end of my posting I think it turned more into a rant LOL)

    And yes, things like mislabeled tool-tips are minor, but to me they are A. Annoying and B. can confuse new players. So, YMMV I guess.

    #219341

    Fenraellis
    Member

    Racial governance is part of the Eternal Lords expansion. It was not part of a patch. It can be hard to keep track, with the massive amount of stuff that the patch did include 😛

    To clarify even further. Racial Governance is part of the Expansion, Racial Happiness is part of the patch by default.

    #219362

    NINJEW
    Member

    this would probably have been a better thread for general discussion rather than balance. ’round these parts, everything you say is an attack on the game or a defense of the game

    #219376

    Lykus
    Member

    –Heroes–
    It turns out that your heroes can only have 12 action buttons. Sounds like a lot but it isn’t. You already have 3 taken up (Move, Defend, Attack) and usually a fourth from a ranged item that they start with. Now, let’s level up our hero. We’ll use a Sorcerer. By level 13, I can take: Break Control, Dispel Magic, Steal Enchantment, Stunning Touch, Mend Magical Being, Phase, and Thunderstorm for a total of 7 abilities.

    Now, with 8 equipment slots you are almost certain to have one or two abilities from equipped items, and with 10 item slots you can easily have, well, 10 more abilities. Oh, and if you gained a shrine buff before a battle for something like Greater Webbing Touch or Fire Spit, you can add in those abilities too.

    You can use every ability in battle just select your hereo. Then you have the usaual unit information panel and every ability is listed on the left. Leftclick on the ability and you can use it.

    #219390

    callmewoof
    Member

    Thanks Lykus. I didn’t know that until these replies in this post. Oh and I was wrong it isn’t 3 buttons it’s 4 (the spell button) so your heroes only show 8 abilities. But considering the game never actually bothers to tell you that you can access them (I don’t even think it says that in the tome of wonders), I think it might be slightly helpful to mention this somewhere in the game. But that’s just my opinion 🙂

    #219394

    Wallthing
    Member

    Thanks Lykus. I didn’t know that until these replies in this post. Oh and I was wrong it isn’t 3 buttons it’s 4 (the spell button) so your heroes only show 8 abilities. But considering the game never actually bothers to tell you that you can access them (I don’t even think it says that in the tome of wonders), I think it might be slightly helpful to mention this somewhere in the game. But that’s just my opinion

    I don’t think they had access to that many abilities earlier in the game so it isn’t too surprising. Like others have said, the game evolves pretty fast – not surprising if even the developers can’t keep up sometimes. XD

    Of course now you can as a Necromancer end up with 1 ability not accessible even before you throw magic items into the mix.

    #219507

    callmewoof
    Member

    Of course now you can as a Necromancer end up with 1 ability not accessible even before you throw magic items into the mix.

    Now that you mention that, I think that’s actually when I noticed this issue for the first time. It was during the Eternal Lords campaign, and the main character was leveled up with abilities and had some equipment with abilities on it, but no actual items, and I still couldn’t use everything. I was so confused at first, I started to be scared about leveling anyone’s abilities. Basically every hero got break control and that was practically it. I spent the rest of the campaign carefully balancing abilities by trading items so that nobody went past the 12 button “limit” (that doesn’t exist but I thought did). 🙂

    #219618

    I started to be scared about leveling anyone’s abilities. Basically every hero got break control and that was practically it. I spent the rest of the campaign carefully balancing abilities by trading items so that nobody went past the 12 button “limit”

    I love the image of Lord callmewoof siting behind the computer sweating and crunching teeth. looking at the item pickup screen, opening once again the Excel file containing all items all the hero’s have equipped right now. silently cursing because another ability granting item has been dropped, “is it really a good trade to lose my holy bolts for a feast?”.

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