Why are all the class units the same?

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions Why are all the class units the same?

This topic contains 77 replies, has 35 voices, and was last updated by  Sartharina 7 years ago.

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  • #211016

    Sartharina
    Member

    If you stop playing this fantastic game due to unit appearance,you will be missing out on MANY hours of great game play.

    But the gameplay isn’t great if it’s not centered around leading an army and building an empire of Egyptian Cat People that actually look like Egyptian Cat People.

    Of course, if the developers allow for multiple T1 units to be trained in a turn, I’ll have much less concern, because then I can stick with my racial units instead of having to upgrade my city production to higher-tier units.

    #211017

    Tibbles
    Member

    I found that changing a non-animation element is pretty simple.

    Not every animation system is the same. Skyrim is made with modding in mind, Creator engine is not. It’s not simple.

    #211019

    Smaug3
    Member

    If you stop playing this fantastic game due to unit appearance,you will be missing out on MANY hours of great game play.

    But the gameplay isn’t great if it’s not centered around leading an army and building an empire of Egyptian Cat People that actually look like Egyptian Cat People.

    Of course, if the developers allow for multiple T1 units to be trained in a turn, I’ll have much less concern, because then I can stick with my racial units instead of having to upgrade my city production to higher-tier units.

    This game has never been about Egyptian Cat People. It’s a fantasy, TBS where your goals are to slaughter your enemies and unite the world. Tigrans are just one of the many races inside, and it isn’t the most important. I get that you want your Tigrans to look like Egyptians, but that’s not why they exist in the game. They exist to provide variety and a new race for you to try with different combinations. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the reason you want this to be changed is because you came here expecting one thing, but got something else, correct?

    #211020

    Sartharina
    Member

    If you stop playing this fantastic game due to unit appearance,you will be missing out on MANY hours of great game play.

    But the gameplay isn’t great if it’s not centered around leading an army and building an empire of Egyptian Cat People that actually look like Egyptian Cat People.

    Of course, if the developers allow for multiple T1 units to be trained in a turn, I’ll have much less concern, because then I can stick with my racial units instead of having to upgrade my city production to higher-tier units.

    This game has never been about Egyptian Cat People. It’s a fantasy, TBS where your goals are to slaughter your enemies and unite the world. Tigrans are just one of the many races inside, and it isn’t the most important. I get that you want your Tigrans to look like Egyptians, but that’s not why they exist in the game. They exist to provide variety and a new race for you to try with different combinations. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the reason you want this to be changed is because you came here expecting one thing, but got something else, correct?

    Yes, to your question. The jarring shift between my low-tier racial units and higher-tier Class units really put me off. Of course, hearing that the developers ARE slowly improving unit diversity (Such as the Halfling golem (But why party-bot instead of Farmbot? Oh well) and Goblin units, and Tigrans do ride tigers now – my installation was patchless, and I didn’t realize it) is good news to me!

    My only other grump with this game is that the Tigrans don’t get enough outfits like Tigran Sorcerer Outfit 3.

    #211022

    vota dc
    Member

    EDIT: even adding small aassets like suggested above is a lot more work than it seems, you can’t just add a new weapon to an animation and be done with it, you have to reskin everything, same for any change to a model.

    For me it is better to leave this kind of job to modders (they could be countless, they will do for free), but I am curious. I remember that goblin mounted archers couldn’t use the mosquito because incompatibility with the weapon model and the mount, how many steps required compatible and simpler stuff like giving axes instead of swords to crusader?

    #211025

    Gloweye
    Member

    (But why party-bot instead of Farmbot? Oh well)

    Because they already appeared in the GR campaign and a real lot of people really, really liked those Party Robots.

    #211037

    zeelilus
    Member

    While I generally disdain people who go around screaming graphics are everything in a game, I have to agree with the OP here.

    I understand that all class units are the same in looks because it saved tons of money and without that the game probably wouldn’t have gotten this far. That doesn’t mean you have to defend, justify, or enjoy this necessary shortcoming.

    Despite what some people have said, a lot of people do care how things look in a game. It’s kind of inevitable when you spend a fair amount of time LOOKING at the game you’re playin, ya know?

    I know Triumph can’t afford to fix the problem and it’ll probably fall to modders, but that doesn’t mean having identical clothes and weapons for all races makes the game more enjoyable in the mean time.

    As someone who enjoys immersion in a game, some of the class/racial combos are literally unplayable. If I want to make a draconian warlord based on the lore and ascetics of the race, I can’t because your hero is locked into using plate mail. Not a single draconion unit uses armor and your leader apparently was raised in a human family and wears European armor with lion heads on it. This isn’t enjoyable, it’s not a nice addition, it doesn’t make the game more fun. The copy paste of the armor and weapons on every race is nothing more than cost cutting, albeit unavoidable.

    To those who would prefer gameplay over graphics I agree, but might I suggest we petition for the next AOW to use8bit graphics so we can divert funding to the important parts of the game. I mean nobody really enjoys looking at all the beautiful things in this game amirite? I’m crossing my fingers for a mod that removes the portrait on units and replaces it with the stat sheet, it’ll save effort and I can focus more on what that unit is about. (Sarcasm aside, this game would have made far less money if it didn’t look as amazing as it does so PLEASE don’t spout nonsense about “Who cares about the time and effort of the artists, pssshhh.”

    TLDR, OP is right, but all Triumph can do is shrug because it’s a small company.
    Excuse me while I continue avoiding all units that look out of place.

    #211044

    Unknown250
    Member

    Personally my only complaint with class units is with the Frostlings. The whole lore there (if I’ve understood it correctly) is that the Frostlings had to basically become servile to the Frost Queens in order to survive, so now status in their society is determined by how much Frost Queen blood they have. Leaders, heroes, and elite troops tend to be tall and blue/white-skinned, like the Frost Queens, while rank-and-file troops tend to be short and grey-skinned, like the Frostlings we all know and love.

    To me, the only problem here is that AFAIK every single Frostling class unit are tall and blue-skinned. Are units like Scoundrels, Martyrs, and Scouts really the elite of Frostling society? I’d like to see most T1 units and some T2 units be made short and grey, to fit more with the lore. It shouldn’t be too hard to do – honestly I’d be happy with just recoloured Goblins, but maybe that’s just me.

    #211061

    Rabenschwarz
    Member

    For Orcs the Warlord units are great. But Highelf Warlord units marching alongside Highelf race units is really mismatching.
    not like Shrek s mom as they do now.

    One of the reasons playing Warlord only with Orcs are the graphics of the class units.

    Scouts
    They look good. No need for changes.

    Berserker
    They look good when playing Orcs.
    For Elves I would like to see them swinging a two-handed Elven-Stlye longsword and having long hair. Dwarves could swing a two-handed hammer and Humans could go with a two-handed sword.

    Monster Hunter
    The look is ok. Only the movement reminds me of some manga style movie…

    Mounted Archer
    They look like Mongol Riders. To be honest, this kind of Style doesn’t fit in any army pool. They are so ugly …
    To fix this just remove this ****** hat. That would make so much difference.

    Phalanx
    They look like their historical relatives from Greece. This fits ok for Humans but for the other Races it brakes their Class-Stlye. To fix this issue the solution is maybe the same as it is for the Mounted Archers. Change the helmet to a Class specific one and they will look much better.

    Warbreed
    They fit for Goblins and Orcs and if you remove those teeth maybe for humans.
    For they other races no. Especially for Draconians and Tigrans the helmet doesn’t fit the face. Draconians should have scales and a helmet that fits the reptile looking longer face. And the Tigran one shouldn’t use a weapon at all and have fur (does it have a tail? I havent checked that so far).

    Manticore Rider
    The Rider uses the model of the Berserker. So all changes for the Berserker should be applied here as well.

    The most urgent changes have to be made at the Phalanx and the Mounted Archer. Since it is basicly only changing the helmet/hat. This means changing 18 models. Assume 1-2 hours per model and an average hourly cost of 50-60€/hour gross expense ration those changes would come for less then 2.000€ (only estimating. I don’t know Triumphs wages).

    #211071

    cosa65
    Member

    Bah. Class should determine how you play, while Race determines what you look like.

    Nope, as an example: frostlings will suffer flamers no matter what they are dressed like.

    #211073

    Gloweye
    Member

    While I’d welcome any improvements, I think they’ve done a good job balancing out the cost/gain ratio of the 3D models. That said, I’d love to see some good graphical modders give it a go.

    As a justification, I always assume that class is much more dominant for an empire than race is.

    “The Armor is part of standard Musketeer Equipment, and it keeps them alive a little bit longer. I don’t care if those Draconians like it or not. They will wear it.

    —Could be a possible Quote from a Dreadnought Leader.

    #211088

    Fenraellis
    Member

    Your right, I don’t really have any interest in the TBS genre for the sake of the TBS genre. However, what I <em class=”d4pbbc-italic”>do have interest in is the “Egyptian Cat People Empire Building” Genre (Which has depressingly few games in it), which this game is, as of the latest expansion, part of.

    Just to clarify, but you didn’t get the game to play the game at all. You got the game just to play with “Egyptian Cat People”, correct?

    That’s fairly shallow of a reason to come with your particular concern, if I must say.

    Now, that doesn’t mean your concern doesn’t have some validity, and it would certainly be lovely to have the various units reflecting their racial appearances to a closer degree. Is that going to be a good business decision for Triumph, though, to spend the time and money on doing so? On that’s I’m not so sure. Because they sure as heck wouldn’t be doing it just for Tigrans if they did it.

    Even there, how would Triumph handle the pricing, to make a return on investment, considering the knowledge that a reasonable portion of players simply wouldn’t care? Too high, and even less people wouldn’t bother. Too low, and they wouldn’t make money. Of course, that’s all relative, but still.

    #211091

    As a justification, I always assume that class is much more dominant for an empire than race is.

    “The Armor is part of standard Musketeer Equipment, and it keeps them alive a little bit longer. I don’t care if those Draconians like it or not. They will wear it.

    —Could be a possible Quote from a Dreadnought Leader.

    Also a class unit is majorly that unit and the race rarely is a big factor, so even to keep form aligned with function would require the class aesthetics to be dominant. And once an army includes multiple races and units types, it is really more convenient to see at a glance which unit is what type instead of seeing discerning its race.

    Also here the Phalanx description, because it fits so well:

    ‘I gathered the most vigorous orcs of my forces and informed them they would be wearing armor, hefting a shield and wielding a pike. All three of these bits of news they scoffed at. After decapitating their chieftain they agreed to fight according to my way, with soldiers gathered as a wedge, shields tight together like a wall, crawling across the battlefield with pikes extended. I will admit only a skilled Warlord can create the discipline required to create a phalanx from his troops, but once mastered, the troops that engage in the technique will live a lot longer.’

    –The Economics of Ego, by Lady Loki

    #211094

    Yarovit
    Member

    As much as I’d like more visual variety among units I have to say standarized “uniforms” make sense- after all I guess most sorcerers learn their magic in similar academies, all dreadnaughts study at Commonwealth universities, warlords follow similar doctrines and training, archdruids’ circles are similar in entire world, rogues most likely want to appear “civilized”, theocrats follow fairly similar religions and necromancers only wish to look like dead. From all these classes I’d only see rogue, sorcerer, maybe necromancer units as different.

    #211114

    BB Shockwave
    Member

    Okay, I just got the game because I saw the Tigran race on the GOG summer sale, and for the first few turns of the game, I absolutely loved it – the egyptian-themed cat people are incredibly awesome… until they stop being Egyptian-themed. As soon as I moved out of the Tier I and II empire units and into my class’s units, the visual theme of the race was instantly broken (And with it, my enthusiasm for the game).

    WHY!?

    Maybe the problem is worst for Tigrans because they’re otherwise so different from the Medieval Humans… but why do my Tigran Mounted Archers ride <em class=”d4pbbc-italic”>horses instead of Tigers? Why do my Tigran Phalanx look like Swiss Pikemen? Why do my Theocrat’s soldiers look like Christian Crusaders? Almost all of my elite units look too awful to even <em class=”d4pbbc-italic”>think about training, and my armies of Tier 1 soldiers cannot hold up into late game.

    THIS IS A VERY SIGNIFICANT PROBLEM!

    LOL dude. You make a fuss out of what is one of the CORE CONCEPTS of the game, and which you could have seen if you just checked the game’s website.
    Class units yes, all look the same because otherwise it’d be very hard to tell them apart. And it makes sense. Necromancers like to wear dark robes. Dreadnaughts and Warlords favor efficiency and an unified army, and thus make the same weapons and armor for all their troops regardless of race. Druids and Theocrats are more of a religion and hence all their priests and shamans dress the same, regardless of race.
    It’s like any RPG – all wizards wear robes, whether human, elf or gnome.

    #211118

    Caveat emptor?

    #211126

    Sartharina
    Member

    As a justification, I always assume that class is much more dominant for an empire than race is.

    “The Armor is part of standard Musketeer Equipment, and it keeps them alive a little bit longer. I don’t care if those Draconians like it or not. They will wear it.

    —Could be a possible Quote from a Dreadnought Leader.

    Also a class unit is majorly that unit and the race rarely is a big factor, so even to keep form aligned with function would require the class aesthetics to be dominant. And once an army includes multiple races and units types, it is really more convenient to see at a glance which unit is what type instead of seeing discerning its race.

    Also here the Phalanx description, because it fits so well:

    ‘I gathered the most vigorous orcs of my forces and informed them they would be wearing armor, hefting a shield and wielding a pike. All three of these bits of news they scoffed at. After decapitating their chieftain they agreed to fight according to my way, with soldiers gathered as a wedge, shields tight together like a wall, crawling across the battlefield with pikes extended. I will admit only a skilled Warlord can create the discipline required to create a phalanx from his troops, but once mastered, the troops that engage in the technique will live a lot longer.’

    –The Economics of Ego, by Lady Loki

    Armor, shield, and pike can all still be part of the unit outfit and visible in their silhouette (Same with Musketeer armor and gun). That doesn’t preclude racially-influenced detailing of the weapons, armor, and helms.

    #211144

    zeelilus
    Member

    As much as I’d like more visual variety among units I have to say standarized “uniforms” make sense- after all I guess most sorcerers learn their magic in similar academies, all dreadnaughts study at Commonwealth universities, warlords follow similar doctrines and training, archdruids’ circles are similar in entire world, rogues most likely want to appear “civilized”, theocrats follow fairly similar religions and necromancers only wish to look like dead. From all these classes I’d only see rogue, sorcerer, maybe necromancer units as different.

    I would disagree with the theocrats following the same religion. I think tigrans and elves would have very little in common among their preists.

    #211155

    BB Shockwave
    Member

    It’s quite clear that say, Tigran Theocrats do not follow Yaka but a different God – lack of fire skills or sacrifices, for example. Nor would say, Karissa or Mab grant their priests exalted angels, IMHO.

    And as others said, unified armies. Does the US Army give different uniforms to soldiers with caucasian, african-american or asian descent? Of course not.
    In fact, one of the things I love about AOW3 compared to the old games is that your units are “color-coded” and their clothing color reflects the colors of your empire, regardless of their race or class.

    Caveat emptor?

    Well, considering the game with expansion is 40EUR I’d assume people would check what sort of a game it before buying… and then complaining about sa rather minor thing like this as if it was some huge game-breaking thing that “nobody warned me about”. 😀

    #211157

    BB Shockwave
    Member

    If you stop playing this fantastic game due to unit appearance,you will be missing out on MANY hours of great game play.

    But the gameplay isn’t great if it’s not centered around leading an army and building an empire of Egyptian Cat People that actually look like Egyptian Cat People.

    Of course, if the developers allow for multiple T1 units to be trained in a turn, I’ll have much less concern, because then I can stick with my racial units instead of having to upgrade my city production to higher-tier units.

    I facepalmed, hard.

    Really? You dismiss the CORE CONCEPT of the game just because you want it to play like Civilization?
    I am curious, do you also NOT summon creatures or accept units gained from treasure sites because it distrupts your mono-culture? Or you migrate Tigrans to every city you conquer, not caring if it is an Evil Act in-game?
    The funny thing is, the game you criticize this much LETS you do that, if you want. You even get an empire quest reward if all your cities are the same race, or if you reach Pure Evil alignment. And you can, if you want, use only racial units – with class upgrades that affect them. Sure you are losing out on some great units, but it can be done, at least if you are agressive enough and conquer your enemies before they get to their Tier 3-4 Class units. And your request to “let you train more than one Tier I” would be game-breaking, Tier I are not weak if levelled up and used well with class upgrades. Found more cities if you want more troops.

    #211159

    BB Shockwave
    Member
    <a
    Berserker
    They look good when playing Orcs.
    For Elves I would like to see them swinging a two-handed Elven-Stlye longsword and having long hair. Dwarves could swing a two-handed hammer and Humans could go with a two-handed sword.

    They already look different. Halfling and Goblin and Frostling barbarians have smaller axes that they wield in one hand, while orcs and draconians wield their larger axes two-handed.

    Mounted Archer
    They look like Mongol Riders. To be honest, this kind of Style doesn’t fit in any army pool. They are so ugly …
    To fix this just remove this ****** hat. That would make so much difference.

    I think it’s far enough racial diversity that they ride their race’s animals.

    Warbreed
    They fit for Goblins and Orcs and if you remove those teeth maybe for humans.
    For they other races no. Especially for Draconians and Tigrans the helmet doesn’t fit the face. Draconians should have scales and a helmet that fits the reptile looking longer face. And the Tigran one shouldn’t use a weapon at all and have fur (does it have a tail? I havent checked that so far).

    I’d agree, but be realistic. The best they could do is change the texture. And well, they are basically half-ogres. They will always look ogre-like. The draconians have no longer long snouts, so why would their warbreed do? Tigran Warbreed has no tail either and it is brown. It has the same color as the darker fur on the legs and arms of tigrans, so you could say it has fur.
    warbreed

    Manticore Rider
    The Rider uses the model of the Berserker. So all changes for the Berserker should be applied here as well.

    I think they are slightly different, at least the rider seems to have more shoulder armor than the berserker.

    #211160

    NINJEW
    Member

    Pretty sure that the general rule is that Class units have visual changes depending on function differences in those units. So a Phalanx will always look like a Phalanx, no matter what race it is, because it’s far more important to convey to a player that they’re fighting a Phalanx than it is to convey that they’re fighting an Elf. However, when there is a strong functional difference between Phalanxes (for example, the Goblin Phalanx has Life Steal), there is a slight model change to reflect that functional difference (Goblin Phalanxes have spears with the same heads as the Life Stealing Butcher spears).

    It’s mostly a matter of good design, and what that design communicates to the player. Functionally, a unit being a Phalanx will matter far more than if that unit is an Elf or a Human, so the Phalanx-ness takes a higher visual priority, because it really sucks when you’re squinting at unit models going “uhhhhh, I’m fighting an Elf of some kind? But which unit is it? I’m not so sure…”

    Your visuals in a game should, first and foremost, tell the player what they are looking at. A Player is looking at a Phalanx that happens to be an Elf, not an Elf that happens to be a Phalanx, so the visual model far more strongly emphasizes the Phalanx part of the unit, because that’s the part that is more important and relevant to a player trying to make gameplay decisions in their video game. All Phalanxes looking similar helps eliminate confusion when Phalanxes of different races are mixing together, or if the player isn’t familiar with every single specific unit model.

    This is the message that your visuals send – this is the “art.” Art is meaningless if it does not send a message, and the message being sent with this art is reflective of the priorities of the game, because art has more responsibilities in a game than simply “looking nice.” This game is a cohesive whole, and all parts of it reflect each other.

    If you want something that only looks nice, I suggest becoming a Movie aficionado.

    If I’m reading a book, I want it to be well-written and evocative. If I’m watching a movie – yes, yes I do watch them for the visuals, not the writing. Writing is for books. Videos are for Viewing.

    You know, I don’t know about you, but personally, when I am playing a game, my chief concern is “is this game fun to play?”

    That’s kind of the point of games you know. You play them. You don’t watch them.

    #211210

    quo
    Member

    It’s this way in pretty much any 4X game I’ve ever played.

    Anyway I have a feeling that, budget wise, had they chosen to deliver on every class/race combo looking different we just wouldn’t have gotten as many classes. The fact that there is a Dreadnought and Arch Druid class in the Vanilla launch always felt to me like a huge boon, like this game was bigger than what a lot of competitors would have offered.

    EDIT: However I will concede I greatly dislike the Warbreed. I greatly look forward to someone modding that unit away.

    #211213

    Armor, shield, and pike can all still be part of the unit outfit and visible in their silhouette (Same with Musketeer armor and gun). That doesn’t preclude racially-influenced detailing of the weapons, armor, and helms.

    No it doesn’t. But for the visuals to fulfill their function they have to be minor in impact. So we have racial-specific textures for each class unit as a solution. As most class units have specific equipment, that means making about 200 additional unit textures, or 600 if we assume separate textures for armor, weapon and helmet.
    That is a ton of work that needs to be payed for and at no point it is not a good investment of resources for the devs.
    So outside of a mod it wont happen, and that is a very reasonable decision.

    #211219

    Sartharina
    Member

    You know, I don’t know about you, but personally, when I am playing a game, my chief concern is “is this game fun to play?”

    That’s kind of the point of games you know. You play them. You don’t watch them.

    Fun is subjective, and a big part of what makes games fun to play is the visuals and context provided by those visuals.

    I find that having the units be visually distinct from each other, even if they only slightly vary in race-granted abilities, dramatically increases the fun of multiple games and experimenting with different race and class combinations – if an army looks different, it feels different in play to me.

    And, I would say there is significant value in making the different racial units of the same class visually distinct at a glance without being dramatically different from the class unit it’s based on, since the races do add different abilities to the units. For example, Tigran Phalanx have their Sun Shields, and possibly Sprint.

    As for the numbers of models/textures that need changing – remember to exclude Humans – they’re fine (Being the baseline). In fact, it may be a good idea to try and see which units would benefit most from tweaks, and how significant the changes should be (I say every Mounted Archer should lose the mongol hat, and wear a race-specific helm/headdress. That should actually be a pretty quick change).

    I’d really like to see the units have a balance in unified theme between Race and Class, so that an army of a class’s units of assorted races looks unified, as well as an army of a single race with assorted class units looks unified.

    #211249

    Eomolch
    Member

    Pretty sure that the general rule is that Class units have visual changes depending on function differences in those units. So a Phalanx will always look like a Phalanx, no matter what race it is, because it’s far more important to convey to a player that they’re fighting a Phalanx than it is to convey that they’re fighting an Elf. However, when there is a strong functional difference between Phalanxes (for example, the Goblin Phalanx has Life Steal), there is a slight model change to reflect that functional difference (Goblin Phalanxes have spears with the same heads as the Life Stealing Butcher spears).

    It’s mostly a matter of good design, and what that design communicates to the player. Functionally, a unit being a Phalanx will matter far more than if that unit is an Elf or a Human, so the Phalanx-ness takes a higher visual priority, because it really sucks when you’re squinting at unit models going “uhhhhh, I’m fighting an Elf of some kind? But which unit is it? I’m not so sure…”

    Your visuals in a game should, first and foremost, tell the player what they are looking at. A Player is looking at a Phalanx that happens to be an Elf, not an Elf that happens to be a Phalanx, so the visual model far more strongly emphasizes the Phalanx part of the unit, because that’s the part that is more important and relevant to a player trying to make gameplay decisions in their video game. All Phalanxes looking similar helps eliminate confusion when Phalanxes of different races are mixing together, or if the player isn’t familiar with every single specific unit model.

    This is the message that your visuals send – this is the “art.” Art is meaningless if it does not send a message, and the message being sent with this art is reflective of the priorities of the game, because art has more responsibilities in a game than simply “looking nice.” This game is a cohesive whole, and all parts of it reflect each other.

    I think this sums up my thoughts about this topic pretty well.

    Distinctive models for different races would be cool, but far too much work and more importantly they would make life for beginners even harder than it already is given aow III already has a big variaty of units you have to identify and memorize their strengths and weaknesses.

    Still this doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to see a mod that would change all of this – in fact I imagine one that goes one step further and makes the class unit line-up completely different for each race creating a perfectly imbalanceable game of endless possibilities and enjoyment ;P

    #211256

    Sartharina
    Member

    Pretty sure that the general rule is that Class units have visual changes depending on function differences in those units. So a Phalanx will always look like a Phalanx, no matter what race it is, because it’s far more important to convey to a player that they’re fighting a Phalanx than it is to convey that they’re fighting an Elf. However, when there is a strong functional difference between Phalanxes (for example, the Goblin Phalanx has Life Steal), there is a slight model change to reflect that functional difference (Goblin Phalanxes have spears with the same heads as the Life Stealing Butcher spears).

    It’s mostly a matter of good design, and what that design communicates to the player. Functionally, a unit being a Phalanx will matter far more than if that unit is an Elf or a Human, so the Phalanx-ness takes a higher visual priority, because it really sucks when you’re squinting at unit models going “uhhhhh, I’m fighting an Elf of some kind? But which unit is it? I’m not so sure…”

    Your visuals in a game should, first and foremost, tell the player what they are looking at. A Player is looking at a Phalanx that happens to be an Elf, not an Elf that happens to be a Phalanx, so the visual model far more strongly emphasizes the Phalanx part of the unit, because that’s the part that is more important and relevant to a player trying to make gameplay decisions in their video game. All Phalanxes looking similar helps eliminate confusion when Phalanxes of different races are mixing together, or if the player isn’t familiar with every single specific unit model.

    This is the message that your visuals send – this is the “art.” Art is meaningless if it does not send a message, and the message being sent with this art is reflective of the priorities of the game, because art has more responsibilities in a game than simply “looking nice.” This game is a cohesive whole, and all parts of it reflect each other.

    I think this sums up my thoughts about this topic pretty well.

    Distinctive models for different races would be cool, but far too much work and more importantly they would make life for beginners even harder than it already is given aow III already has a big variaty of units you have to identify and memorize their strengths and weaknesses.

    Still this doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to see a mod that would change all of this – in fact I imagine one that goes one step further and makes the class unit line-up completely different for each race creating a perfectly imbalanceable game of endless possibilities and enjoyment ;P

    I highly doubt it would be a problem for beginners – if anything, the current sameness is a far bigger problem, because it makes the units seem to be too similar, when they actually do have (slightly) different abilities.

    #211298

    zeelilus
    Member

    It’s quite clear that say, Tigran Theocrats do not follow Yaka but a different God – lack of fire skills or sacrifices, for example. Nor would say, Karissa or Mab grant their priests exalted angels, IMHO.

    And as others said, unified armies. Does the US Army give different uniforms to soldiers with caucasian, african-american or asian descent? Of course not.
    In fact, one of the things I love about AOW3 compared to the old games is that your units are “color-coded” and their clothing color reflects the colors of your empire, regardless of their race or class.

    You make a good point, but do different nations have different uniforms? Because last I checked you’re not fighting your own army with your own army. As it stands the armies of the elven court look identical to those of the commonwealth.

    #211305

    Nodor
    Member

    The art is really well done.

    As Ninjew said, you can tell when you are facing a pike unit or an archer. This is critical information a player needs when planning a cavalry charge.

    All of the races have mild variations but the class troops are almost always recognizable (I have trouble with a few rogue and undead units). Again, critical information is efficiently conveyed.

    On top of these “conveys required information” items the art is beautiful, thematically consistent, and even the heroes are somewhat customizable with mounts and weapons. If you are not applauding Triumph’s efforts in this area, you need to go play Dominions 4 or Dwarf Fortress.

    #211332

    And, I would say there is significant value in making the different racial units of the same class visually distinct at a glance without being dramatically different from the class unit it’s based on, since the races do add different abilities to the units. For example, Tigran Phalanx have their Sun Shields, and possibly Sprint.

    This is a good point, actually. I can’t count the number of times where I didn’t realise what I was fighting until a firebomb hit my formation in the centre. “Oh, right. That generic group of robed guys was a Draconian apprentice instead of some other race.” Or going “I guess those were Tigran berserkers” at the moment they started overrunning my city walls. (Patched now, but the point stands.)

    In some cases, it’s far too hard to distinguish between racial variations from a distance. Often I have to repeatedly select units to be sure, and this gets old fast.

    Other than that, tastes differ and some people will value the aesthetic of a game far more than others. Some might not care if they’re playing a rogue-like with ASCII graphics, other people will. Neither argument is right or wrong. This is perhaps the quintessential matter of personal taste.

    Still, I think it’s hard to argue that it’s a -good- thing that class units look very similar to eachother, given the above. In an ideal world, you’d be able to tell at a glance both that a unit was a Phalanx and that it was composed of Orcs. And it would look cool on top of that.

    I understand that Triumph is a small studio and couldn’t afford to make them all look different, but it’d be pretty high up my wishlist for a hypothetical AoW4.

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