Bouh

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  • Bouh
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    Bouh wrote:

    I think the class and sphere concepts should have been melted more. Spheres could be corrupting all you class research and magic for example. Or the reverse.

    I don’t really understand how this could solve the problem of diversity in one particular game. Wouldn’t this further reduce available possibilities?

    The feeling of lack of diversity IMO comes from a simple thing : the class has more importance than most other things.

    For any class, the spheres you pick will only add a handful of things you might not even use if you focus on your class stuff. Whereas in previous games the race would determine the first units and the strategy you would use, and the spheres would add onto it. That was something like 12*6*6 possibilities at the least (one race, one mastery and one adept sphere), and I discard the “cosmos” splashes you could do.

    What I mean is that now the class forces you both on the units you might use and the magic. The spheres are only a specialization. So, in some way the class took the place of both the race and sphere for the theme you want to give to your game. Races are still important, but that would make 7*7*10, with the ten being equivalent to the secondary theme a second sphere would give you.

    Maybe it’s only that I miss the enchantments of units that made a huge difference in how you would play. Magical spheres do not push your playstyle like this in AoW3. Classes do.

    So I think the feeling of less diversity comes from this : the class took too much importance at the expanse of race and magical spheres.

    But I think I’m also a bit biased. The diversity was not that crazy in previous AoW : there was alway the same squelton of infantry/archer/support/cavalry/T2utility/T3combat/T3support/special/T4. The core was always the same, each race simply did it its own way. Considereing what have been added to make the races more singular I think the feeling is close now.

    Yet, to go back to what I was saying, the research bottleneck both the class stuff and the spheres stuff. And usualy you can’t make a strategy out of the sphere stuff alone. Spheres are only here to support you main strategy that will lie on the class and race.

    That’s why I talk about the spheres that could bleed on everything. It’s only a way to increase their importance.

    And actualy the last spheres (grey guard, shadowborn and torchbearer) go this road, with research that pushes your playstyle to something. Elemental spheres should have more of this. Without losing their magical sphere feeling.

    Actualy, I think that the only thing that miss is enchantments for the magical spheres. Empire, city or units enchantments. This would have a visible effect on your units. Combat enchantments are nice but either you lose a powerful unit to cast it in combat or it is very expensive if the unit is not there. And damage spells, they have to be worth the cost. A leader turn in combat is usualy worth much more than 20 damage on a unit. Compared to before, you could flood the land and give water walk or water skin to you units. Air would give flying, which was very important to take cities. Earth stone skin was as good as it is in AoW3, but haven’t to be cast during the combat. These were spells with a big influence on the game. This kind of influence is now mostly in class stuff.


    Bouh
    Member

    You made me realize something about magic and diversity : actualy there is only one drawback with the way AoW3 use magic, it’s the research system.

    There are two problems with it :
    1) as you said, magic spheres are diluted in the class tree.
    2) everything being tied to research, you must prioritise, so you are very limited in a single game to the first choice you make : empire research or magic.

    The second main diversity problem brought by AoW3 design is the T4 diversity. There may be as many T4 in AoW3 as there was in AoW 1 and 2, but game conditions forces you into a handful of them. Your class only allows you one, and it’s unreasonable to take more than one per dwelling. And the same apply for the AI. Previous installment where more flexible for this because you only needed a big city and the race you want a T4 to produce. AoW3 lock you after the game begin.

    Much have been said about racial differences already, and much have been done actualy. Class and race units are now largely different and each race has its own feel now I think. More could be done for heroes though.

    I think the class and sphere concepts should have been melted more. Spheres could be corrupting all you class research and magic for example. Or the reverse. Maybe there could be a path of research more intertwined with racial units, providing the sorely missed racial T4.

    Maybe races could have been considered to have a kind of class already that would make class/race combo some kind of multiclass ?

    Overall I think the class system is a brillant idea of AoW3, and reunite it well with AoW1 compared to AoW2 because it adds a lot of personality to the leader. But indeed races and spheres lost a bit of their influence and personality.


    Bouh
    Member

    Actualy heroes already all have three paths : combat unit, army leader or spellcaster. Indeed at level 13-15 you can start to mix some things, leaders don’t need the spells and stuff you find can quickly make your hero a powerhouse.

    But, first, that’s the point, like a queen in chess. And second, they are stil very vulnerable (like a queen in chess or any unit in AoW3).

    I guess the objective is to prevent the possibility of any hero to become more than a T3 unit before level 18 or 20 ?

    Also, this question is not about balance but about gameplay. It is quite different.

    Finaly, why not use the work of Eomolch directly ?

    IMO the only thing the class system of AoW3 lack is more distinct racial variations. Something Eomolch mod fixes elegantly I think.

    in reply to: How To Give More Relevance to Ships/Sea #258874

    Bouh
    Member

    Problem of these ideas is that it makes water mostly harder to go in without real ships, and that leads to water being an undesireable place for players.

    Most of the problems that were have been adressed anyway : there much more water structures than there was before, and ships are monsters of the sea.

    Seriously, three frigates will murder any party without proper naval movements and enough tiers 3 units, and galleons are terrifying when they come out of pirate dens.

    Forts can now be build on water to reclaim the nodes there, and there are more nodes since update 1.5-6-7or8 (don’t remember the update, but it’s some time ago now).

    The last remaining thing to balance is the embark/disembark balance and the speed of embarked units. In the past rivers could be used as highway on continent maps, and some people didn’t like it, so it was severly nerfed. Now I think movement is about the same or faster on land with basic seafaring (21/3 vs 28/4 on average).

    The only thing I would see is that advanced seafaring could provide a small bonus on naval warfare (for embarked units), but I’m not even sure about that.

    in reply to: Collected Wishes for the next project #258869

    Bouh
    Member

    I’m on JJ’s side on this one.

    Tying the power of units stacks to their size was discussed BTW, at the begining of AoW3. The problem is that it inherently makes weak units weaker and strong units stronger, because logic implies that small units are weaker and large ones stronger ; exceptions occur of course but they become even harder to balance.

    And we already discussed similar problems in this thread anyway. The thing is that balancing early, small and weak units versus late, large and strong units is difficult because the equilibrium is very thin. If early units are too powerful, late units become completely useless. And if late units are too powerful, people complain that their early units are obsoleted. This subject might differ from the size to power ratio currently discussed, but ultimately it is deeply tied to it.

    Considering all this, I think the solution of Jolly Joker, having leadership values and capabilities is the best to reflect this size to power ratio without making an AoW4 a completely different game. In fact, I’d say that the balance between low tiers and high tiers units is quite good in AoW3, particularly with the flanking mechanic.

    I don’t remember if I talked about it, but these idea about the size and number of units in the stack imply that you consider the scale of the fights you want. AoW series have alway been designed around a small scale tactical battles. If a dragon must be equivalent to 8 units you need to either change how the battle plays or increase the battle scale dramaticaly. Neither would be very interesting IMO.

    Another idea for late vs early balancing is to make the smaller units evolve, like there already is in AoW3 with evolve mechanic and champion levels. Some mods explore very nicely this idea BTW.

    in reply to: Collected Wishes for the next project #258570

    Bouh
    Member

    Also, I 200% agree with your analysis about crafting items. I think that’s the best way to do it. Also, limit leader-provided crafting options by research, so you can only grab the stronger options later on. And of course, Kill item crafting in the campaign. I think it’s not to bad if you delay winning just to explore treasure sites and level your heroes, but item crafting just made it silly. I had won the first Julia scenario of Shadow Magic in like 30 turns, and ended it on turn 200, to make sure I had a couple of sets for all heroes. Not that I ended up needing them, but well, there we are.

    I don’t think it is a good idea to design a game to prevent players from playing against themselves, because this way you limit the game more than it is healthy for it.

    I mean that if players want to spend 200 hours to ruin the balance of the following of the game, they should enjoy it. If they want a challenge in the following, they are free to *not* spend these 200 hours only to spoil themselves.

    To say it differently, I don’t like the idea of protecting people from themselves, because this way you are only spoiling the people who can simply enjoy using the freedom offered. Because yes, there is no other way to protect people from themselves than removing freedom. On the other hand this freedom is precisely what people enjoy most because it allows them to have a gaming experience that fit themselves perfectly.

    A better “solution” to this “problem” would be to remove the forge only in the higher difficulty levels.

    Back to what makes AoW, I’d say the most important part is the focus on deep yet simple tactical combat focus. That’s what made AoW 1 so good to me : this aspect of an RPG with a full layer of strategy. AoW1 played more like an RPG than a strategy game BTW. The strategy was merely a way to make your own customization shops. This feeling was lost in AoW2, but you could still play an RPG-like with the mighty enchantments and the items. The leaders back as heroes was the best thing to be in AoW3 for me.

    So for me the tactical combat is the most important thing : it must be good enough to be the game alone if the player like it so. And the strategic layer must not force the player to rely on large armies and strategic cunning if all he wants is to play an allmighty hero with his fellow elite guards. Some popular mods expand very well on this BTW with the evolve mechanic.

    For solo play at least AoW always was as much a tactical RPG as a strategy game. And IMO this define the game more than everything else. If only because it is the only game to do this. I think the only other game to do something like this is spellforce, but it’s real time strategy/combat. Endless Legend if I remember correctly tryed to approach this, but it lost itself in the 4X part and screwed the tactical combat part. The mix AoW 1 and 3 have is simply perfect.

    in reply to: Collected Wishes for the next project #258341

    Bouh
    Member

    I’ve just understood something you are all talking about ! This punishment you’re talking about is, I guess, the fact that at some point the empire moral penalty will put your cities down a moral threshold and cripple your income in a somewhat unpredictable fashion.

    I don’t think there is any better solution for AoW3 (I’ll talk about it), but for another game maybe that could be more of a scale instead of three threshold to reach. I mean that the bonuses could be directly proportional to the moral value instead of being linked to some threshold the moral reach. I guess it can achieve the same limitation as the current system, but it would be more progressive, and hence the player would see it coming and feel less suddenly punished.

    But overall this system is quite elegant for AoW3 because with the little number of mechanics we have it forces you to make choices when you conquer something and, in some way, fix the tedium of managing an unmanageably large empire by preventing you from having an unmanageable empire. Basicaly, there is a limit you can reach in the number of cities you hold. After that, you need to burn or vassal them, or suffer the consequences. Problem is that you need to experiment it to discover it, and the discovery is painful.

    About heroes and leaders : I love the ideas of BBB, like more leader races and more races at all. Already discuss on this forum is the idea of having dwellings as playable races and leaders, would be wonderful. being able to choose another race than your leader one to start would be nice too.

    in reply to: Collected Wishes for the next project #258293

    Bouh
    Member

    What Fluksen described is good game design: helping players who are losing and not players who are winning. That makes for funnier games. It’s not fun to steamroll the AI and play 20 turns at the end of the game where there is no challenge at all. People also like some difficulty. And they also like not having to quit a game after 40 turns because they have NO way to get back in the race because of an error they made on turn 10 (e.g. losing their whole stack while clearing).

    Actualy this kind of game design also has its drawbacks.

    First, for competitive oriented minds it means the issue is less stable, because a bad player can be bad all along but profit from one oportunity offered by the power balancing mechanics to steal the victory.

    Second, it can lead to some very long games dragged by the power balancing mecanics if the players are of similar skills (some kind of yoyo effect).

    And third (or a consequence of the first two), it can lead to even more tedious late game than AoW3 is already said to be, because then when you win, you must go against increasingly difficult odds, or you must be increasingly careful and methodical to not let the victory slip through your hands and hit you right in the nose.

    In practice AoW3 is already well served to stop the late game tedium with the leader assassination, the seals and the unification victory conditions.

    The problem of the game dragging after one players has reach an unstopable way to victory is actualy very subtle I thing. It starts with early game allowing to gather enough difference (and that’s what balancing mods aim at adressing in practice).

    That’s why I think the solution would be to put the players in direct opposition, so the race of early game can be countered right when the losing player see he is going to lose. The game may also feel less about playing against the computer until you face a player, with all the random factors it includes.

    Speaking of which, another solution might actualy to have harder independant (both monster and independant cities), so that even a duel would feel a bit like a threeway, forcing players to a more defensive position (to repel the AI), which would also give players resources on which to fall back in case of a defeat buy time to rebuild. I think some 4X have this kind of mecanic already but I can’t say about the results.

    So, tl;dr is either give more time to players before the match result is comited, so the losing player have time to see he is losing and he can adapt his strategy ; or put the players into direct contact so they don’t have time to build enough advance to make the end pointless after the tipping point is reached.

    Finaly, about the “punishment” for being successful, it is a necessary thing for solo play and long multiplayer play I think. Because the game behave very badly when the economy becomes too powerful. These mecanics make the game economy progress logarithmicaly (hopefuly) instead of exponentialy, which allows a losing player to recover in case of multiplayer and the AI to not be completely obsoleted after turn 50. The mechanism is definitely not perfect. Maybe it is only a matter of fine tuning it, maybe it is not a good enough mechanism, but the idea of it is required I think.

    in reply to: Collected Wishes for the next project #258159

    Bouh
    Member

    I’m thinking about something “easy” to test : decrease the cost of movements of everything, like decrease it by 1 or 2 for each and every movement.

    This way, the map will become virtualy smaller and the players virtualy closer. This would mean the players would meat sooner and be forced to fight sooner. Which means less time to simply farm an army and bring it to the ennemy for one big fight. Intelligence gathering would be more important, and it would push players into more defensive positions. A game would often be shorter, but if the players both manage to deter an all-in strike against one or the other, then a “cold war” would start, with each player trying to acquire key location or technologies to get the advantage, and an arm race at the same time not be left open to a big strike.

    Intelligence being more important would also mean more play around it, and more space for economic and magical warfare.

    Basicaly, by making players aware and open to quick strikes, they would have to play in a way that allows a slower warfare, more about position, defenses, siege or guerilla, rather than going for a race to the ennemy.

    It is certainly a counter-intuitive idea, because one would think that a faster paced game would deter from going sideways, but in practive, from what I know of competitive gameplay, the game actualy turns into a race to farm the best army on the way to the ennemy, but by leaving time for players to consolidate at the begining, it means a single defeat will often means the end of the race, and then a slow grind to the end if there’s no quick abandon of the loser. But the power difference usualy build with time whereas the armies are balanced at the begining. So if a player would open himself to an attack when he tries to race the other, he would be more cautious about it, a caution that would actualy allow for more fights of lesser importance.

    Side effect : the most mobile units would lose a bit of their superiority because it would be kind of overkill.

    I’ll try to mod this to trial the idea !

    in reply to: Collected Wishes for the next project #258147

    Bouh
    Member

    Actualy, if I understood BBB correctly, what he wants is a way to have less tedious management of large armies, so powerful units can become rarer and go to specific locations.

    This would flatten the unit treeand put the balance pressure on the map I guess, but it would solve the balance between low and high tier units, because low tier units would be the norm and high tier ones would be available on specific places so objectives to fight for.

    Yet, as I said, this would still depend on the space-time-resources constraints (depending on unit/resources/distance balance, it can still be more effective to rely on your base units and kill the ennemy rather than increasing your power), and it would go in another direction than AoW, puting the emphasize on regular units instead of powerful magical ones. That is if I understand correctly.

    in reply to: Collected Wishes for the next project #258110

    Bouh
    Member

    @BBB : the problems you describe (players not fighting enough for locations) is not due to location not being worth enough but a problem of “space-time”.

    There are many very important locations in the game already, but most of the time you can’t alocate resources (units, gold or time) to gather and use them.

    In fact, what you are describing is no more than the dwelling that already exists, and we saw what happens with this : they have been nerfed several times because a player would acquire a T4 too fast. Replace T4 with anything else you are describing in your proposition, like cavalry or whatever, as long as it is a worthy advantage it will work exactly like dwelling.

    And as I said the problem is that time, money and gold are very constrained. And knowledge of the map is limited in random maps. Actualy maybe this knowledge is the key factor. Because with a key structure on the map, you first need to know it’s there to plan with it, or at least know that your ennemy might go for it. Then you can decide if you need to go for it or not.
    And then, once you have this important location, for a fight around it to happen you need the outcome of the conflict to not depend on it : here, does the location garanty the owner a victory ? If not, the ennemy can go for its own objectives and will probably try to win before you can profit too much from the location.

    The equilibrium lies in the speed of units, the size of the map (and the distance, relative to the speed of units), the distance between the various objectives, and the development speed (technology and income growth).

    On a side note, I feel like many discussion involving power balance of things is highly skewed by the random map paradigm : using random map settings, many things can happen, especialy things that gives a player an “unfair” advantage. Yet, by essence the randomness will give different things to players at the begining and hence unbalance things. Balance of things should be considered for custom map, not random map. Applyed to what I’m talking about before, I think that random map largely decrease the value of special locations, because you can’t know where or if you will encounter them, so by the time you find one, your strategy may already have excluded the use of it.

    That would be a wish for a future project BTW : do not balance the game for random maps.

    Also I don’t see the problem you have with spells. I love the current system. I actualy would wish there was more powerful spells like in the first AoW.

    in reply to: Great game partly ruined by extremely poor AI #256246

    Bouh
    Member

    A very interesting topic !

    I’d like to add some things about the state of the AI that I think should be emphasized.

    First, it’s not a real AI but a program. Which means it won’t have any inovations in strategies or whatever. So after you played it for a time, you know all of its tricks and you will never be surprised, which is a big drawback in a war game against a good oponent. It also means that if the AI was able to beat you, it would beat you all the time, which would not be enjoyable for most players. Then you can see the problem if you take the place of the AI : you can only beat the player if you bring more stuff than he has. Another important point is about the sites : the AI cannot gain a leverage with them because it fights an equal oponent there unlike the player. Additional resources the AI gets are merely a compensation for the site clearing the player can do. Then the strategic level : as the AI, you must realize that you will never beat the player unless you can corner it with a lot more resources. And once the player gets an endgame army, you’ve basicaly lost, because he will only engage it when he is sure to win.

    So in practice an AI, to offer a decent challenge, should play like an excellent rogue player. There probably are some things that could be done to partialy achieve this, but its not easy. And either the algorithm risks to be to basic, and the player would find a counter, or would have some randomness and be unreliable.

    So the current strategy the AI use is the best available to her I think, eventhough it works best with production classes.

    Second, the neural network : these things are currently good at finding patterns, not creating strategies. I don’t think this kind of technology can do anything for a complex strategy game currently. I don’t even think they are the way to go for this problem.

    I have meddled with AI priorities for spells, skills, city buildings, unit’s active and passive abilities and racial governance. Increased their sneaky healing and defense-versus-neutrals bonuses. But it is such a subtle change, that I doubt it will perform miracles.

    I think this is a brilliant way to improve the AI, even if only slightly so. Probably the most ellegant way without access to AI intelligence routines directly.

    Although I’ve seen ways to alter the priority values in it’s calculations for tactical combat targets — which I haven’t messed with since the AI is fine in that regard as far as I’m concerned — I have yet to find settings in one of the many core rpk files that involves strategic map movement.

    Do you think the AI strategic decisions are accessible ? I’d love to work on that.

    in reply to: Remaining balance issues #235190

    Bouh
    Member

    People asking for the raptor to change are silly. Fire damage is the best damage channel now, and combined with physical it means nothing in the game short of and handful of units can resist it.

    If high resistance is a problem, you have chargers and flyers to take care of it. For everything else, you have your valiant raptor. And for anything tier2 or below, resistance is definitely not a problem.

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    in reply to: Tournament reports #228496

    Bouh
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    Wow, this was a sad show of the “great” AoW competitive players community…

    But the worst is all these talks about judge decision. I mean, since when can anyone discuss a judge solution ? Usualy such a decision is finale and you can’t discuss it or comment it without suffering big consequences. But here this is even worse than football (or maybe it’s call soccer) !

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    in reply to: Node Serpent #227694

    Bouh
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    The thing is that Sorcerer can produce only a single unit at a time, always, on the summoning channel, and the problem here is what this unit brings to the table. Horrors bring a lot more for x2 time the mana then node serpents do, so they are more worth while the investment, simple.

    Now you are talking about interesting things, but you don’t go far enough : what would happen if 2 node serpents are worth more than a horror ?

    The thing is, that is true for ALL sorcerer units but the apprentices, because they are summoned, and you summon only one at a time. So either you make the lower tier too good for their price and you don’t need to research further, or you leave as it is, each tier being better than the other, albeit more expensive, and at each tier you mostly forget about the preceding units to focus on the new one.

    This problem has no solution in the current sorcerer paradigm. No cost change and no buff or nerf will ever change the problem, because the problem is that you will always use the best unit you can, and there will always be only one best unit, unless you hyperspecialize all of them, but hyperspecialization in AoW is considered worthless, and the node serpent is a perfect exemple of this.

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Viewing 30 posts - 1 through 30 (of 2,616 total)