Hatmage

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  • in reply to: Racial Balance Discussion #222571

    Hatmage
    Member

    The big beetle model has small round shields on it’s back as improvised armour, so armoured kind of fits well enough, and great blacksmith/rust strike have something to work with. It terms of abilities that fit beetles, lesser flying would be best, but we’re unlikely to get new artwork for the beetles in flight with their wings spread – I don’t think anything is modeled beneath the modified upper wings.

    in reply to: Sea, Islands and Continents Balance #222560

    Hatmage
    Member

    I believe ExNihil’s argument is that any battle winnable with just the ships is even more winnable if both the ships and the escorted units fight, and that therefore, idf you’ve paid for both the ships and the escorted units you’ll often be better off having both fight than having your embarkees hide in the hold, though if that is the case it’s not very clearly communicated.

    It could still offer an interesting tradeoff between combat power and fleet mobility, and has the advantage of making a lot of in-universe sense, but having to buy both ships and land troops preserves the economic disadvantage of non-nnautical classes.

    That’s part of why I’d sooner see embarked units, particularly embarked melee units, suffer less (though arguably embarked shooters are fine, and too good versus embarked non-shooters). Adding reinforced to both embarked units and boats would help a bit, but supports aren’t hampered by reinforced. Giving embarked unit’s back their unretaliated ram attack would also make sense, though it would be quite situational.

    The best option might be to try to find something thematically appropriate for each class that pulls its’ weight in early sea battles. Once Ironclads and flying troops are available the problem is somewhat alleviated, so lower tier sea options for the less nautically gifted classes could help a lot, which was the gameplay reasoning behind my suggestions that berserkers get mariner and dreadnoughts get cheaper harbours and boats.

    in reply to: Sea, Islands and Continents Balance #222388

    Hatmage
    Member

    I believe this is roughly how transports worked in prior games and the move away from it was because the AI struggled with the concept.

    in reply to: Sea, Islands and Continents Balance #222384

    Hatmage
    Member

    I suppose floating and perhaps swimming units might suffer sea penalties without mariner, or summoned units might suffer some sort of penalty when not in friendly city domain. I suspect there must be some balance that can be struck without meaning taking floating on a human sorcerer leaves you lagging behind your embarked troops. Phantasm warriors are pretty powerful already and might reasonably be targeted with a specific MP reduction or be specifically slowed or weakened by water (they’re basically made of illusions and lightning, so water might sap their energy by earthing them).

    Druids and necromancers don’t have a summon as spammable, tough and seaworthy as phantasms, though I’ve discussed previously the possibility of nerfing swimming hunters. I’ve also proposed some buffs to the less seaworthy classes that might even things up until their own naval options come online without needing every floater and swimmer to be nerfed into the ground.

    It might also be reasonable to have floating and swimming only reach the 3MP/hex rate over water after advanced logistics rather than advanced seafaring.


    Hatmage
    Member

    If people think that either giving deathbringers MCI or locking their ghoul curse to depend on the produce deathbringer upgrade is unacceptable, maybe they could start with a “lesser undeath curse” unlocked without produce deathbringer, which raises cursed foes as cadavers, and then have it overwritten by ghoul curse once unlocked “legitimately”.

    Similarly, necro heroes could have lesser undeath curse at level 7 as a prerequisite for ghoul curse at level 9, with the current cost of ghoul curse divided between them.

    Any good? I don’t expect a compromise to be popular, but it might as well be on the table.

    in reply to: Sea, Islands and Continents Balance #222378

    Hatmage
    Member

    Also, regarding good lore reasons for sirens to fly, would that relate to the fact that in greek myth they’re basically sparrow-people? Because that’s unlikely to be graphically represented any time soon.

    in reply to: Sea, Islands and Continents Balance #222373

    Hatmage
    Member

    @quo: Mermaids/sirens/kraken could have inherent advanced seafaring to represent their fully aquatic nature, and amphibious or otherwise sea related units like naga and reed serpents could have inherent basic seafaring (I’d give to reed serpents but not shock serpents).

    in reply to: Sea, Islands and Continents Balance #222363

    Hatmage
    Member

    Regarding ExNihil’s desire for a “cool” name for the proposed boarding ability: Will “corsair” suffice? It might also fit lost mariners.

    @Jolly_Joker: As I’ve said, I think that reducing the sea movement of floating and swimming units, then bringing it back up as seafaring research is pursued is ideal. Do you think that the latter is particularly problematic? I think that if swimming/floating cost 5MP/hex without any research, 4/hex with basic and 3/hex with advanced seafaring, and flyers were a step ahead of that with 4MP per sea hex at baseline and 3/hex with basic seafaring things would work quite nicely, especially with floating scouts tending to have more combat power in the early game than crows and cherubs.

    Regarding embarked unit balance: It seems to me that embarked melee troops (especially embarked cavalry) are too vulnerable and embarked archers get off quite easily in comparison, which brings me to an idea I’m not certain of the quality of, but which would help give ships a sense of size: In sea battles, ranged attacks have their range reduced by a category.
    This would avoid galleons starting in cannon range of the enemy, would make the range of arrows used by embarked archers equal to the range of the outer edge of flaming arrow volleys by warships and would make fire-using supports less deadly to wooden ships. It would also make it more possible for boats to kite all other seagoing troops, so it might not be a very good idea in the long run, but I’d like people’s thoughts on the matter.

    in reply to: Racial Balance Discussion #222348

    Hatmage
    Member

    low armor but highish hp would make sense for hardy but not-combat-trained miners. they could be a little tankier than your average irregular but still very much squishy

    The idea I had in giving them low defence is that they aren’t trained in fighting footwork, can’t really parry or block with their improvised weapon and are usually going to be slower to strike than people with dedicated, agile and long reaching weapons, but given the chance to attack someone distracted or immobilised they’re going to leave a sizeable mark, given picks break apart stone. High HP and low defence lets them survive a few altercations, but means more skilled combatants will tend to leave them bleeding, crippled or otherwise very sorry, and that fancy tricks like webs and nets effect them far more readily than they do trained soldiers, and thus fits nicely with the burly but unskilled combatant image.

    So, in an unnecessary number of words, I agree.

    in reply to: Sea, Islands and Continents Balance #222325

    Hatmage
    Member

    If the best classes at sea by a fair margin are sorcerers, rogues and druids, looking at boosting everyone else makes sense, and I forgot necromancers existed.

    in reply to: Racial Balance Discussion #222321

    Hatmage
    Member

    I’ve previously argued that a “polearm resistance” ability similar to projectile resistance would be good for boars and boar riders if it could be added, using more or less the same “boar spears have crossbars for a reason” argument as Draxynnic.

    To throw my hat into the design a melee-only prospector ring, I’d propose an offensively skewed unit with armour piercing and demolisher at baseline, overwhelm at veteran and wall crushing at elite, but poor defence for a dwarf – they’d cause quite a lot of damage, hooking their picks around shields and polearms, but their slow, cumbersome weaponry would leave them vulnerable, especially to fast moving or attacking foes, so they’d be most effective when flanking, as is common for irregulars, and would want protection from cavalry, as is the case (to a varying degree) for siege tools.

    in reply to: Sea, Islands and Continents Balance #222319

    Hatmage
    Member

    Building on my previous suggestion of builder built harbours: If we wanted to be fancy we could have them double as visit sites that either add fast embark to visiting units or prevent their MP from being lowered to zero as a result of embarking. The latter would be better for frostlings. For graphics, we may need to repurpose the master shipyard, unless the dev team is willing to put in a lot of effort.

    I still think that having flyers/floater/swimmers start with less MP and develop back up to their current speed as seafaring research is completed is a good idea, and justified by the need for proper navigational tools when flying or swimming out of sight of land. It prevents sorcerers rushing the ocean too easily and early, makes hunters less of a threat without seafaring research to hasten them, and lets us define units as naturally skilled swimmers by giving them advanced or basic seafaring at baseline.

    The weakness at sea of warlords is not addressed enough by fleet command, partly because warlords are more reliant on charging and mounted units than other classes – to compensate this, fleet command could be made available earlier and more cheaply, and embarked units could lose the mounted trait while embarked. Berserkers would still be sub-par at sea, but, given berserkers are norse, giving them mariner and taking them oardancing is a thematically appropriate way to buff them, though human berserkers may then need a new ability to call their own.

    Dreadnoughts, as the master boatbuilder class, should probably have some way of either giving their own troops mariner, or boosting constructed boats (perhaps they could grant boats reinforced and a reskinned fire pistol called something like “small guns”?) Furthermore, Ironclads should be very effectively earthed at sea and arguably less shock vulnerable than boats with upright masts – losing their shock weakness would suit them well.

    Theocrats get exalted and cherubs, though a strategic spell that let units walk on water would match nicely with their theme and repertoire, at the risk of being too similar to freeze water. Arguably theocrats are pretty biased toward water magic already, and they certainly like rot.

    in reply to: Sea, Islands and Continents Balance #222193

    Hatmage
    Member

    Hunters in particular might be nerfed by a penalty to physical ranged damage on swimming units, though that would also hurt monster hunters (but less, as it’s applied to one shot). Getting bows wet is bad for them, if we need a justification, and I don’t think most swimmers, barring hunters, depend heavily on ranged physical damage. This would also make the great hunt more useful, and poison bolts on shaman more valuable at sea.

    in reply to: Racial Balance Discussion #222191

    Hatmage
    Member

    To be entirely fair, fire immunity does neuter the amazing fire aura, which can deal a lot of damage if you attempt a two or three swing salvo on the firstborn. So in a roundabout way the firstborn do do high fire damage. But they’re quite viable without it.

    Also, I thought overwhelm on flyers just canceled out pikesquare, without any gain?

    in reply to: Sea, Islands and Continents Balance #222186

    Hatmage
    Member

    I think we’re talking about the ability of sorcerers with phantasm warriors to clear sites at sea very early, catch and kill any embarked force of non-humans they find and have the seas to themselves quite early, the fact that flyers and floaters have no combat penalties whatsoever at sea and all other fast, charge based land units do, and the fact fleet command comes too late, does too little and might also fit dreadnoughts.

    [There was stupid here, it is no longer relevant.]

    in reply to: Sea, Islands and Continents Balance #222179

    Hatmage
    Member

    I think that 5MP per sea hex is too much – I actually rather like the current strategic balance between embarked landlubbers, embarked mariners, flyers and swimmers, though early floaters are something of a problem.
    I mostly think that embarked units suffer too much in actual naval combat, and fliers/floaters are too good in it. Mariners should be prefered over flyers/floaters for sea battles, and swimmers should be just or nearly as strong against them as against embarked foes, with the exception of terror from the deep not affecting them, and polearms not affecting boats and perhaps embarked units (which would even the gap between flying troops and mariner cavalry at sea to a large degree).

    My one issue with strategic movement on water is early floating units, and some druid swimmers. Having these units move at 4 or 5 MP/hex over water until either basic or advanced seafaring is researched could work (potential in universe explanation: even if they don’t need boats, training them to navigate at sea helps). we could even do both: 5MP/hex with no research, 4 with basic seafaring and 3 with advanced. It also avoids human sorcerer leaders becoming drastically slower over sea if they decide to take floating the way a straight floating nerf would.

    If necessary, a similar nerf could be applied to swimming units, and mermaids/kraken could have inherent advanced seafaring. Naga might start with inherent basic seafaring instead, being amphibious rather than aquatic.

    EDIT: also, regarding the problems with non-settler starts on island maps and getting harbours: something that could help is changing harbours to a builder constructed building like forts and watchtowers – to avoid having to change the human harbour economic governance, the harbour city upgrade would then be added to a city with a harbour in its’ domain in the manner of an MCU, and would be the actual source of human harbour gold and ship building abilities, though ships would spawn in the closest harbour to the city. This would also make human economy one valuable in games without city founding, and multiple harbours would still be valuable for additional ship healing.

    in reply to: Bot attacks spotted #222128

    Hatmage
    Member

    http://aow.triumph.net/forums/users/ezjkjj8151/
    http://aow.triumph.net/forums/topic/ervsaev/

    User creates innumerable threads in the balance section with random strings of characters for titles and body text. Almost certainly the same user reported by overlorddarkslash, but I figured providing links might somehow be helpful.

    in reply to: Racial Balance Discussion #222114

    Hatmage
    Member

    Fire isn’t nearly as bad as spirit or blight in that regard – if something does have fire immunity without itself dealing fire damage, dispel magic is a readily available counter. That being said, replacing shatter strike and inflict scorching with steal enchantment would give the FB a useful, semi-unique counter to fire halo & suchlike, make them feel a little more magical and hopefully not change their overall power too much.

    But even if the firstborn have worse inflicts than comparable units, which I’m not sure is the case, baseline mind control immunity and total immunity to a damage type is very powerful – firstborn get what amounts to “strong will for fire” unmedalled, where knights don’t get actual strong will until elite rank.

    in reply to: Racial Balance Discussion #222093

    Hatmage
    Member

    Knights probably win a straight fight, but they lose to pikes, as do griffons, sphinxes, eagles and flyers. Shock troopers might also win, but lose to mind control and inflictions. Frost queens lose, but are arguably just as universally applicable if not more. Firstborn can be used against almost any enemy to good effect, where other T3s that might beat them in a straight fight are vulnerable to lower tier counters.

    And dueling other T3s one on one isn’t where abilities like fire aura shine. firstborn hurt anything that attacks them, are very durable and are relatively easy to heal, so the more units that end up attacking them the better off you often are. Pairing them with instant wrath or static shield can make attacking them even more dangerous. This relies on them being able to engage foes, especially archers and cavalry, in melee to be fully effective though. Hence, athletics would be very good on them, and hence my fear it might be too good.

    in reply to: Racial Balance Discussion #222048

    Hatmage
    Member

    Athletics might be good. It let’s them get next to enemies. That plus fire aura and the defence of a brick wall is likely to be plenty. But I’m not sure I’d agree knights are stronger than firstborn – devastating charge is highly situational compared to fire aura, strong will is better than MCI, but knights only get it at gold, and firstborn can’t be countered with polearms or overwhelm attacks. Firstborn are also far more able to remain on defence, with fire aura acting as a poor man’s tireless.

    in reply to: Morale and Mind Control #222014

    Hatmage
    Member

    Strong will blocks mind affecting magic, and thus magical fear, but not necessarily any sort of mundane fear. Historical deserters very seldom join any enemy army, so arguing that desertion and conversion are equivalent is just wrong – many deserters still hated the people their nation was at war with. And setting a man on fire should make him hate you and thus your cause, plain and simple.

    I admit that if you treat turns as literally single days, based on the “A new day has dawned” message, the morale penalties for insufficient upkeep are absurd, but if you imagine them as months or even weeks without food, clean water, pay or medical supplies of course they should be drastically worse for morale than having your coat catch fire for three rounds.

    Most effects that lower morale are fear effects or things that should reasonably cause fear – panic, being cursed or on fire, despair, dread omen etc.; effects that cause morale loss by inspiring disloyalty are, to the best of my knowledge, limited to incite revolt, wherein the actual disloyal parties – the rebels – have baseline morale, arguably indicating that the morale penalty on the city is due to fear among the loyalists.

    Machines require more upkeep than people. Gunpowder is expensive, hard to transport and useless when damp. Mould or small cracks on a trebuchet beam coud destroy the machine and injure the operators if left unrepaired. Iron rusts easily, pressurised steam is dangerous, and you don’t want any leaks in a flame tank. Machines require crew to serve them and huge amounts of effort by men or horses to move. Machine desertion and upkeep requirements make sense at least that far. What I admit doesn’t make sense is deserters taking their huge, heavy machines with them rather than burning them for warmth, or just leaving them behind to run faster. It might be reasonable for machines not to desert, but it would be deeply unreasonable for them to suffer no morale penalties when not properly maintained – you’re lucky poorly maintained cannons “fumble” rather than exploding outright.

    in reply to: Sea, Islands and Continents Balance #222011

    Hatmage
    Member

    That’s the wrong kind of arguing, though: without magic they couldn’t even fly (like Dragons), so their flying is based on magic. If they can fly at all, flying fast isn’t that much of a wonder.
    Also, as mentioned, the fact that they DO land is to their disadvantage as well, because it allows ships, swimmers and floaters to attack them, which wouldn’t be possible if they kept flying the whole time.
    However, marching Infantry and what looks more like ancient Greek and Roman ships with catapults and ram, are SLOW, and it’s just not possible that flyers are even slower.

    Dragons flying by magic is one way of looking at it. To avoid going on a huge tangent about dragons, they fly because winged dragons fly in myths.
    None of the ships in game are greco-roman triremes (single masted ships with largely nonadjustable square sails, often dependant on rowers to actually move). Frigates are single decked warships with adjustable triangular sails, making them quite fast, and galleons are huge multiple masted ships, which are going to be substantially faster than any travel by land. Ironclads are technically frigates, being single-decked boats, and have actual steam engines to paddle at great speed without regard for the wind. The other advantages of boats in reducing travel time is that they carry enough food for long trips without being slowed, can tack into the wind, and cary navigational equipment difficult to use from manticore-back.

    Flyers need to land, because they are all to heavy to hover without rotors, and flying over water with fewer opportunities to land might reasonably tire them, to the point where tactics like charging are off the table, just as they are for sailors. You also won’t find many horses to feed your griffon at sea. It would be ideal, I think, if a warlord with fleet command was best fought even by flyers/floaters by luring him onto land. More people would take fleet command, at least.

    in reply to: Sea, Islands and Continents Balance #221889

    Hatmage
    Member

    I’m not sure favouring flying units over people on boats has anything to do with realism. Gryphons and manticores are too big to work as waterfowl/seabirds, and having them land on the water just highlights the ridiculousness of ending a turn on the wing.
    I just feel that a more specialised ability, like mariner or swimming (water only), should beat a generalist ability like flying (acts as forestry, swimming, barrens running, arctic walking, cave crawling et cetera, grants effective passwall, acts as a poor man’s sprint with no cooldown) within its’ area of specialisation.

    in reply to: Sea, Islands and Continents Balance #221831

    Hatmage
    Member

    Reading this thread, a shallow water/deep water spilt would be useful, with corresponding shallows walking/swimming movement modes. It would allow hunters to use their bows while wading in rivers and along coasts, but embark at sea rather than standing on the ocean, which would in turn make the ranged power of shamans more useful. It would allow kraken and galleons to take penalties in shallow water while smaller boats and merfolk don’t. It might allow slow fording of shallow rivers at 1 hex per turn by walking units without seafaring research. If it can’t be added in this game, I want it in AowIV.

    To elabourate on my previous post, currently the naval combat pecking order is Kraken>Boats>Flyers/Floaters>Mariners>Non-Mariners. I think that Mariners should beat flyers/floaters, given that mariner is a situational bonus that only applies at sea and flight is useable on any terrain, and my previous suggestion was one way of reaching this state of affairs.

    I think it might be best for any unit without fishing, sea creature or mariner to have halved regeneration at sea to make units with both mariner and swimming/flying/floating less internally redundant, but there may be better ways to do that.

    in reply to: Morale and Mind Control #221761

    Hatmage
    Member

    Are you arguing that soldiers conscripted by force aren’t infamous for deserting at the drop of a hat? Open a history book. Which one does’t matter.

    Strong will preventing desertion makes a certain degree of sense, but I’d invite you to consider what upkeep is. Upkeep is the cost of keeping a man fed, armed and ready to fight. Volunteers are willing to supply there own equipment, feed their own horses and otherwise alleviate this burden, but most of what you pay in upkeep is not your troops’ wages, it’s the cost of feeding them, mending their arms and armour, supplying them with arrows, and such. Cavalry have higher upkeep than normal infantry because horses cost so much to feed. Supports are more ambiguous, but magical implements are probably expensive and dangerous to properly maintain.

    Units without their upkeep paid are afraid, yes, because they are undersupplied and at any moment might encounter a foe they are barely equipped to fight. To these unsupplied troops every spent arrow could mean disaster and starvation, for if they can’t hunt or forage they can’t eat. Every speck of rust on sword or armour could see them dead in their next battle. Of course they are afraid. To starve, or die slowly of an untreated wound, is a far crueler fate than any death in battle.

    in reply to: Sea, Islands and Continents Balance #221760

    Hatmage
    Member

    To those arguing that humans lose nothing on water, humans lose the ability to charge on water. For the cavalry faction, that is a huge deal. That is why I’d argue mariner isn’t a substitute for floating/flying in combat. A gryphon rider meeting a knight on what is theoretically the knight’s favoured terrain shouldn’t have the advantage in combat.

    Letting units with mariner charge while embarked is the lazy solution, but also reverses a decision the developers made in a previous patch. I personally advocate that flyers ending a turn above water should be subject to a debuff that halves their regeneration (given people think total nonregeneration would kill the AI) and prevents them from charging or pouncing (even accepting that a manticore can pounce just because and only when a tigran rides it, what are they jumping off?).

    in reply to: Racial Balance Discussion #221705

    Hatmage
    Member

    Just going to reiterate that white witches would be less ubiquitous and frozen flames less powerful, both of which I think are good goals, if frozen flames only gave 40-60% fire resistance. As it stands, it turns even frostling into fire resistant tanks, despite fire being their supposed counter, and makes other units almost fire immune, on top of being an amazing damage buff. I think that as long as white witches are the frostling’s only and best answer to fire, they will remain omnipresent.

    Perhaps mammoths or royal guard could be made into a soft counter to fire, or just a unit not countered by it, to incentivise some frostling strategies that don’t lean on supports?

    in reply to: Morale and Mind Control #221467

    Hatmage
    Member

    @host : Morale is a gauge of Fighting Courage not loyalty. Having it work against fear based effects like exploit despair makes sense, as does someone fearing for their life because they are on fire and/or cursed. It would not be unreasonable to tie a minor resistance bonus/malus versus fear effects specifically to a few preexisting morale related effects, such as High Morale, Shaken and perhaps Panic and Despair (and would likely be easier than tying this bonus/penalty directly to morale), but deserting soldiers desert because they are afraid.

    You lower their morale by sending them to scary places, losing battles and otherwise making them fear for their lives. You don’t seduce or charm them by such methods. You can give your soldiers the training and discipline they need to face their fears, but you can’t make them loyal. Loyalty (MCI) is a property intrinsic to the person.

    in reply to: Combat Survey #221465

    Hatmage
    Member

    Regarding the AHR: I like this rule, and think the best thing to do if possible is let players and the AI select multiple armies and move them at once. Splitting armies would still be possible using choke points such as bridges and tunnels, but would never depend solely on click speed.

    Regarding deployment: deployment at the start of each battle would be a pain, but an army setup screen available outside of battle where you chose the default formation for your troops, and perhaps selected a from a few AI behaviours (defend unless you can kill would be great for crusaders and pikeneers, and being able to set archers to remain at maximum range in auto would help their survivability) would avoid wasting time in battles while still offering the benefits of deployment.

    I don’t particularly care about the size and number of battles and armies.

    in reply to: Dwarfs – Nerfs and Flashyness #221464

    Hatmage
    Member

    If I could introduce new abilities to the dwarves, they’d be a throwing axe and polearm resistance – the throwing axe would go to the deepguard, as the axeman already has a fine active ability, and would act as a physical sun spear, causing bleeding rather than immolation, while polearm resistance would go to boars and their riders, as boars are famous for working their way along spears stuck in their flesh to gore their attackers.

    This boosts some of the less used dwarves, without making axemen, crossbowmen, forge priests and firstborn more powerful than they already are.

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