Stardock

Fallen Enchantress: Beta 4

By on June 29, 2012 10:46:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Derek Paxton

Join Date 03/2003
+118

Beta 4 

Beta 4 focuses on cities.  But that really means it focuses on the games pace.  Production, economy and research come from your cities.  When we change them we change the game.  First let's talk about a few of the design issues we have been wrestling with:

1.            Lack of city specialization.  Materials and Food are okay, but in general you want to build the same things in every city, or at least the player's preference outweighs the strategic benefit (so it feels like you just want to do the same thing everywhere).

2.            We need more improvements.  We want to double the amount a given city may have.  We want more choices, we want there to be a bigger difference between a city that focuses on infrastructure and one that produces troops.  I want a player focusing on infrastructure to never be able to run out of things to build.  And I want to do it without:

a.            Making improvements take forever to build.

b.            Making cities even larger than they already are (in fact I want to shrink cities).

3.            Basing the economy, research and production directly on population is painful/impossible when cities can grow from 1 from 600 population.  Whatever bonus we give for those resources on a 10 population city become 60 times as high on a 600 population city.  Lesson 1: To control game pace, control your ranges.

4.            City enchantments are a tightrope walk.  To good and you have to place them on every city, it becomes busywork.  Not good enough and you never use them.

 

I wish fixing it was a simple thing, but we needed a few pieces to make it all work.

 

Step 1: Starbases?

Outposts can be upgraded to give bonuses to anything in their Zone of Control.  They can boost allied units attack, reduce the attack of enemies, modify movement costs, scare away monsters, provide bonuses to the attached city, etc.  They are not destroyed when an enemy moves onto them, instead they are flipped to that enemies control and represent your control over the land itself (monsters still destroy outposts, I highly recommend you upgrade them with Wardens to keep the monsters at bay).

Outposts have a limited distance they can be built (or summoned) from each other, so you can't pepper the field with them.  But their ZoC's can intersect (with the right upgrades) and their bonuses are cumulative, allowing you to build strong defenses if you desire.

 

Step 2: Much like a bad Star Trek episode, it's all about the Queue

The production queue is a precious resource.  Everything in Beta4 builds faster, but there is a lot more to build.  As with Beta3 City Improvements and Units train in the queue, but Wild Improvements and Outpost upgrades go into the queue as well.  You can drag items around in your queue if you want to reorder them (and it remembers how much production you had on items you may move back in line).

The biggest change in Beta4 is that even though production is much faster, there are always things you want to build.  You can play as Pariden and drop outposts early on, but you will be making a hard choice to start claiming those resources vs making units or improvements in your cities.

Multiple cities are always good.  If you can defend them and you have the land to claim it's always a good option just because it gives you more queues.  The minimum distance between cities has been reduced in Beta4 to support more cities, closer together.

 

Step 3: Improvement Upgrades

In Beta4 improvements can upgrade.  Your Cleric upgrades to a Shrine which upgrades to a Sacrificial Altar (for Empire players).  Since the old improvement is replaced by the new one, we get a few benefits:

1.            City size stays relatively contained.  We added 40 new improvements and cities are about half the side they are in Beta 3.

2.            Cities look more advanced as they upgrade to higher tier buildings.  A cleric is a modest building, the Shrine is more pronounced, the artists can go all out on what the Sacrificial Altar looks like.  Upgraded buildings don't get lost in the jumble of the same buildings the rest of your cities have, they look more unique and specific to their purpose.

3.            You can't get to the higher tier buildings of particular types unless you have built the earlier versions.  You can't build the Treasury Vault unless you have gone through the economy boosting improvements on the way.  So you have to decide, do you want to build a Study, then School, then College and University?  If you do you won't be getting access to the best economy improvements without spending the time to go through the base one and their upgrades.  You are rewarded for specializing your cities and your cities build lists become very unique from each other.  Build lists also don’t become huge since you only see the highest tier you have access to (you only see the Pier, not the Dock and Harbor it upgrades to).

4.            Faction achievements and World Achievements are at the end of upgrade chains.  You can't build the Ironworks just because you unlocked the tech for it, and you can't build it in every city.  It will only show in a city that has specialized in what it does.

5.            Resource improvements upgrade too.  The first shard shrine only produces 1 mana per turn.  With the correct techs you can upgrade to ones that produce more mana.  The same goes for Crystal and Iron mines.  If you have enough iron mines to train your units maybe you don’t need to tech up the side of the tree to unlock these improvements.  But if you do want to have your iron come in faster, the research options are there for it.  This fixes a big issue for us by allowing us to control the pace of mana and resources as the game goes on, we can trickle it in in the beginning, then ramp it up as the player gets access to more expensive units and more costly spells.

 

Step 4: City Specialization

All cities start as villages.  When the city gets to city level 2 you pick a specialization for that city.  It can be either be a Fort, a Conclave or a Town.

 

Fort- Units trained in forts start at a level higher.  Forts are the only cities that can build walls as well as having access to improvements that improve defenders and improve trained units.

Conclave- Conclaves generate more research than other city types and have access to special magic and research improvements.  They gain additional bonuses from Essence (more about that later).

Town- Towns are the heart of your empire and are the source of your food, growth and money.  They also have a larger ZoC than other city types.  Towns have access to a series of improvements that improve the food production for all cities in your empire and they are cumulative with each other.  So Forts and Conclaves will never be able to reach the highest city levels on their own, they will need towns to support them.

 

The improvements for each city type are generally in that tech tree (Fort=Military, Town=Civilization, Conclave=Magic).  So players that are doing alot of teching in one area will find that they can get more advanced improvements for that sort of city.  If you have researched 90% of your magic tree and 0% of your Military tree you will have more high tier conclave improvements available than you have Fort improvements (in fact you will only have 1st tier Fort improvements available).

Choosing what sort of city you have opens up lots of new improvements to that city as well as determining what sorts of improvements the city can unlock at city level 3, 4 and 5.  The real magic comes in the intersection of the upgradeable improvement chains (which keep players from building everything everywhere) and the city types (which modify the effect of other improvements).  Maybe you want a food boosting town or a fort that creates super soldiers.  Or maybe you want studies in every city because you like studies (even if they are more productive in Conclave cities).

Note that studies are available everywhere.  Our point isn't to lock these city types down.  You can get research and money from non-town cities.  You can train units in Conclave cities.  The point is to open up new ways each type can specialize.

 

Step 5: The Economy

I love the idea of all the economics inputs coming from the population.  At one point I had a design where there were citizen types, unrest controlled how many were rebels, craftsmen produced special things.  It was a beautiful, intricate, stupid design.  Lesson number 2: If it's fun to design, it probably isn't fun to play.

Instead of getting money, research and production from the population, they now come from the city level.  A village (city level 1) produces 1 research a turn, a level 5 city produces 16 research per turn.  Of course these are modified by improvements, enchantments, etc.  But that is the extent of our range.

Because of that change tech costs drop to more normalized values.  A player with a large population isn't researching at 20x the rate of a player with a normal population.  He may be going twice as quickly.

Improvement costs can normalize since we know the ranges for a large production based city.  And they are close enough that they stay reasonable for a production focused city without being laughable for a moderate city.

Gold (*cough*, I mean Gildar) values were normalized since we control the ranges, meaning item costs in shops can come down.  Sell prices stay the same but now that money means more.  A gildar per turn means something to small and large empires alike because to don’t through a growth curve from starving for money to drowning in it.

 

Step 6: Essence

The final step is the addition of a new tile yield, Essence.  Essence appears much like Grain and Materials and is more prevelant around mana shards.  Only about half of the city locations have any essence nearby, and only about half of those have spots with 2 Essence.  3 Essence tiles are extremely rare.

There are chains of improvements that require essence before they become available.  The Cleric/Shrine/Sacrificial Altar chain I mentioned above is only available in cities with Essence.  Conclaves have access to Alchemy Labs and other improvements that give bonuses based on the amount of Essence in that city.  The Guardian Idol improvement requires Essence and is 1 per faction (it starts as a monument, upgraded to a Guardian Statue and then to a Guardian Idol), it is a powerful city defender that can cast any spell your sovereign can cast.

There are two improvements that can increase the amount of Essence in a city.  One is a level up option in Conclave cities.  The other is only available to Pariden.

The biggest advantage of Essence is that a cities Essence determines how many enchantments it can have.  City enchantments no longer have a maintenance cost and there are more of them and they are more powerful than before.  If you found a city on a place with essence the first thing you should do is get some enchantments on it.  Inspiration and Enchanted Hammers are good early ones that exist in Beta 3 (though in Beta4 the amount of their bonus depends on the amount of essence in the city).  Additional City Enchantments like Set in Stone (+100% production but no research), Blood Sigil (Withers all attackers, Berserks all Defenders) and Sovereign's Call (+1 Growth per Essence) allow you an additional decision on how to specialize your cities.  Trust in Glyph of Life to protect your Conclave from attackers, use Pit of Madness to speed the research in your Town.

Essence effectively becomes the most flexible tile yield, doing nothing on its own, but allowing you to reach in and play with the cities configuration.  Maybe you want it focused on gold and growth but dispel those enchantments and switch it into battle mode when enemies come near (enchantment maintenance is gone, but these spells still cost mana to cast so "respecting" your city isn't something you should do lightly).

 

Step 7: Balance

I find myself carefully considering the build options in my cities.  That doesn't mean it will be perfect.  I'm very curious to hear from all of you on what enchantments you use most and which you don't use at all.  Do you focus just on one sort of city type or play with a mix?  Do you chase down improvement chains to the end, or do you pick a variety of improvements in your cities?

In a few weeks you will have a chance to play and I'm excited to get your thoughts.  Until then we have work to do, mostly in making sure all the information is being displayed in an easy to understand way, and generally polishing the entire game to smooth the edges.

 

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June 30, 2012 6:33:38 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Heavenfall,
1) If outposts are going to flip, please give us something like militia to defend them against scouts, pioneers and those level 1 crappy demons summoned for Resoln. Otherwise it is going to be micro hell. Suitably, that militia would upgrade as you research warfare/magic tech like city militia do.
It would be good to just give each outpost a militia unit. I don't think the unit needs to differ from the militia in cities.

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June 30, 2012 6:45:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Cruxador,

It would be good to just give each outpost a militia unit. I don't think the unit needs to differ from the militia in cities.

Outpost keeper is not the worst job out there in times of cataclysm. Maybe Stardock could give them some little huts besides the main structure with husbands doing agriculture and some children playing in the little garden now and then.

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June 30, 2012 7:45:37 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This looks great... I was a huge proponent of upgradeable outposts.  Are outposts going to provide defensive bonuses to units stationed in them?  It seems intuitive that they would and it would help to protect them since they are now persistent.

A little off topic, but I would like adjacent units to have the ability to join a battle.  Especially with how cumbersome it is to deal with multiple units on the same hex.

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June 30, 2012 7:56:13 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


(you only see the Pier, not the Dock and Harbor it upgrades to).
 

Awesome, we get seaman!

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June 30, 2012 9:58:44 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Thanks much, almost all of this looks very promising! Two questions, if I may?

1. Since the economy is no longer based off the population, what is population mainly good for now?

2. A possible idea in addition to your other ideas regarding constraint #3 (economy based off population) in your original OP post: Instead of making bonuses based off population size, you could always make bonuses based off population tiers, e.g. <10, <50, <200, <500, <1000 and >1000 as groups to base population bonuses off.

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June 30, 2012 10:14:55 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I am really positive about what I read and cant wait to see it, I have something I could be a critic about, but then again, I can moan at having to walk down the stairs .

Will wait and see what we get, then get serious into the FE game again, I did halfway promise myself to look over a couple of items and suggest improvements.

I am mostly excited about the change in city enchantments, sounds awesome.

Sincerely
~ Kongdej

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June 30, 2012 10:15:19 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Wow ! That's going to make things more complicated ! Can't wait to see how this will play.

Personnaly I never really care for city enchants and maintening them I rather enchants my units, I just think cities can just do without them in the end !

The volcano spell is indeed very frightening and a high end city spell should protect the city against any spell... Now that's a city spell I would use.

Oh yes, I also focus a lot on research usually especially in the early game, I cant seem to focus on any other aspect no matter how many game I play, my other problem is that I found it impossible to focus on one research tree only during a game as I think we need early tech from every trees to start correctly ! I wish I saw people playing while focusing on one tree only and see how they manage it ! Totally unreal for me !

Now, I fear the city specialization will be the same ! I guess we'll see but you guys continue to do an amazing job !!!! (especially after the failure of Warlock: master of the arcane lol )

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June 30, 2012 10:23:33 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

--Drool--

 

This update looks fan-f'ing-tastic! Can't wait!!

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June 30, 2012 10:43:38 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well thought out, Derek.  A few points:

 

If you design something you enjoy, it isn't necessary stupid.  If you design something you enjoy where that enjoyment derives only from that element, and not from the way it relates to the rest of the game, then that might be stupid.  That "citizen-using" subgame sounded a lot like some of the joyless elements in WoM.

 

Artwork: consider offering different versions of it, hi-fi to low-fi, that will affect memory use.  This will allow players who are on 32-bit systems without the ability to employ the /3GB switch to perhaps handle larger maps, in exchange for simpler graphics.

 

My view on graphics in cities, personally?  Nice candy to have, but it's not mandatory.  I certainly don't need to see larger cities.  I don't mind clicking or hovering over a small city and getting a artworked graphic of what it might look like, similar to some of the earlier Civ titles, but other players may have their own ideas on this.

 

I may be mistaken, but I don't think I saw a mention of the merchants' 10% cartel.  It seems a bit excessive to sell for 9 gildars what you would buy back at 90.  Unless different buildings affect the amount merchants can charge, and the amounts you receive.

 

If outposts will be upgradable, something I'm very glad to see, could you make them also occupyable?  Placing a unit on one, only to see it continue to appear on the left side of the screen as though it were a freestanding unit, is confusing.  And that confusion only multiples if you leave more units in your outposts, currently.

 

I like the idea a lot of city specialization: every choice shuts out some other options, your city defining itself much as a person does while they grow.  I don't know, but perhaps you can tie this in to the Path of the Governor, since that particular hero at this point only appears to advance if they're not doing their appointed job, and when they're doing their appointed job, they don't advance.

 

I'm assuming some specializations will be race-based.  Perhaps you can add some that work with Essence which require casting a spell to lay the "foundation."

 

Tying city enchantment numbers to Essence: good idea.  Adds a strategic element that folds into already extant game concepts, like good city placement, the needs and uses of mana, and city advancement.

 

Best of luck with this.  I've liked the way the game has gone in Beta 3, and very much looking forward to Beta 4.

 

 

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June 30, 2012 11:17:00 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Malsqueek,
I do have one question, though. Part of the issue with the bizarre balance of cities in Beta 3 and earlier came from many buildings not having any upkeep at all and money being generally sparse. This led to many city features literally being placeholders for production simply because there was no downside to building them if you weren't doing anything else with your queue for the next 15 turns.

Is the economy in Beta 4 going to be similar to that, or are you going to scale the gold in such a way that pretty much all buildings have some manner of upkeep (and therefore a downside to building them)?

I don't like maintenance.  It is a nessesary evil sometimes, but if you can design systems that don't use it, that's even better.  I don't like there being a downside to work the player has done.  I don't like the most effective strategy being to to go wipe improvements you aren't using (growth buildings when you hit your pop limit, trianing buildings if you aren't going to be training units there for a while, etc).

Instead I want to make the queue so central that you are making hard decisions about what to put it in.  There are lots of things you would love to do, and that is your constraint, not a punishment for having built things.  The other control is the improvements that give additional bonuses when the city is idle.  So if you do want to not have to manage that cities queue there is a strategic advantage to doing that.  We do need to balance those so they are worthwhile (they are generally more beneficial than they were in Beta3).

 

Quoting Grizzyloins,
I don't see myself ever having a city that is vulnerable to an opponents overland magic (I'm deathly affraid of volcanoes & such), if there's an enchant to protect them I will be using that, if not then I will be using the city improvement options everytime - I can say this with a certainty

There are improvements that do that now though they are very rare.  I wouldn't be against an enchantment for it (especially since the tech is already there), except that it cuts off such a big part of the game, still it may be okay, I'll have to think about it.

 

Cruxador
Or you could just stick a logarithm in the function.

Effectively that's what switching it to city levels has done.  Since population determines your city level it allows us to control where the increases are.  It also makes the city leveling up a bigger experience since your city just got better at everything rather than having an early level 3 city basically the same as a late level 2 city.  So we build on mechanics we already have (rather that hitting players with another scale to learn).


onomastikon

Thanks much, almost all of this looks very promising! Two questions, if I may?

1. Since the economy is no longer based off the population, what is population mainly good for now?

2. A possible idea in addition to your other ideas regarding constraint #3 (economy based off population) in your original OP post: Instead of making bonuses based off population size, you could always make bonuses based off population tiers, e.g. <10, <50, <200, <500, <1000 and >1000 as groups to base population bonuses off.

Population is what controls a cities level just as it does in Beta3.  You need 60 population to get to level 2 (and pick if you want it to be a Town, Fort or Conclave).  So the heart is still population, we have just simplified the feed into resources.


Glazunov1
Well thought out, Derek.  A few points:

If you design something you enjoy, it isn't necessary stupid.  If you design something you enjoy where that enjoyment derives only from that element, and not from the way it relates to the rest of the game, then that might be stupid.  That "citizen-using" subgame sounded a lot like some of the joyless elements in WoM.

Artwork: consider offering different versions of it, hi-fi to low-fi, that will affect memory use.  This will allow players who are on 32-bit systems without the ability to employ the /3GB switch to perhaps handle larger maps, in exchange for simpler graphics.



There are close to 7,500 graphic files (png's and dds's) in FE.  They aren't simply made by an artist and checked in.  They are created, reviewed, inspected, placed in game, adjusted, etc.  Every new piece of art gets reviewed by the art directors and me.  Depending on what they are they may have to be looked at to see how work with the in game lighting and specular maps. We will have to make sure they match the games palette and convey what they need to convey.  And the game design may change and require them to be remade anyway.  It is a huge task involving a very busy art director and a talented team of artists.

Making a lower res version of those graphics of those graphics and making sure they still meet our artistic standard (ie: we want to be proud of anything we produce) would still require a lot of review and tinkering to get right.  Run through a macro to automatically export at a lower size and we won't get the quality we want.  It would alos dramatically increase download sizes to have multiple versions of all that stuff.  And that requires a lot of art time that could be spent making the normal resolution look better.

So we aim for one target and try to nail that target.  We aren't a huge studio, so for us that makes the most sense.

 

Glazunov1
I may be mistaken, but I don't think I saw a mention of the merchants' 10% cartel.  It seems a bit excessive to sell for 9 gildars what you would buy back at 90.  Unless different buildings affect the amount merchants can charge, and the amounts you receive.

The shopkeepers of Elemental are the true bad guys of the game, this is true.  The gap has been decreased in Beta4, shop prices have been halved but sell prices are the same.  Also anywhere you see an items value it is it's sell value (it was confusing to see "Value 200" and only be able to sell it for 20).

But that gap will continue to exist.  Its a nessesary evil if we want the player out grabbing lots of crazy stuff in the wilderness (and we do) without completely upsetting the economy.


Glazunov1
If outposts will be upgradable, something I'm very glad to see, could you make them also occupyable?  Placing a unit on one, only to see it continue to appear on the left side of the screen as though it were a freestanding unit, is confusing.  And that confusion only multiples if you leave more units in your outposts, currently.

We are working on the fortify command in general.  Meaning if you fortify a unit it doesn't show up in your empire tree anymore.  That way whenever you just want to park a unit somewhere (no matter where it is) you won't clutter up your empire tree.

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June 30, 2012 11:31:34 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Derek Paxton,

I don't like maintenance.  It is a nessesary evil sometimes, but if you can design systems that don't use it, that's even better.  I don't like there being a downside to work the player has done.  I don't like the most effective strategy being to to go wipe improvements you aren't using (growth buildings when you hit your pop limit, trianing buildings if you aren't going to be training units there for a while, etc).

Instead I want to make the queue so central that you are making hard decisions about what to put it in.  There are lots of things you would love to do, and that is your constraint, not a punishment for having built things.  The other control is the improvements that give additional bonuses when the city is idle.  So if you do want to not have to manage that cities queue there is a strategic advantage to doing that.  We do need to balance those so they are worthwhile (they are generally more beneficial than they were in Beta3).

 

Interesting. Not my personal preference, but I can respect the reasoning behind it. That system is going to be a bit harder to elegantly balance, but I'll keep that preference in mind when doing my write ups and suggestions after Beta 4 drops.

Thank you very much for the response.

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June 30, 2012 11:39:29 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I love the removal of upkeep for City Spells, the essence resource is great. 

A few random thoughts on magic and overland spells:

I would suggest offensive strategic map spells that pierce another player's territory require several turns of spell casting to allow a player to first detect the casting and then perhaps counter it if the proper research or quests or buildings have given you the necessary spell(s).  Your ability to suss out the identity of the caster and how many turns of warning you get could also be determined by a Sov's Spell Mastery (I NEVER pick this at level up ATM as it seems weak in comparison to other traits).

My turn starts with a text box:  "The Royal Astrologer (or crazy Tarot card Reader... can vary by faction) bursts into the Court clutching a star map and several crumpled sheets of parchment.  "My liege," he gasps, "we are being cursed from afar."  He catches his breath and points to his papers. "By my study of the stars, we have but X seasons to counter this sorcerous assault from the Y." (x being a number from 1-4 seasons, Y being a  25% chance to determine the ID of the caster, both scale with increasing levels of Spell Mastery 1-4.)

As far as Essence limiting the number of beneficial spells on a city, could a negative spell also have the effect of bumping a positive spell off of the city in question and even once removed, delaying the reapplication of a beneficial spell for 1-4 turns?  (Based on opponent's Spell Mastery.)

Please also take the time to give us the start of game option to scramble up the spells earned by ranks in different elements.  The same spells at every rank is boring and predictable.  Each level could earn several random spells of different strengths:  At level 3 perhaps I gain 1 third level spell and 2 second level spells or if I am lucky I get two third level spells if I have Path of the Mage.

Path of the Governor should have special Admin spells, Defenders get defensive/buffs (clerical), Warriors get weapon specific stuff etc.

Defender Spell Idea: 

Legions of Valhalla (Seanw3 can change to something in E:WOM Lore)

Cast during city siege combat, the souls of fallen comrades rise to augment the defenders of a city. (Think Phantom Warriors from MOM).

A death magic defender could have a similar spell called Wall of Bone with skeletons and zombies etc...

Looking forward to Beta 4!

 

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June 30, 2012 12:57:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

All the changes will make the map feel bigger. Thats a good thing since the map felt small. So thats good.

 

Instead of the ethereal "Essence" perhaps there should be something more plain like a Ruin.  The ruins are haunts of ancient power, which gives historical and spiritual flavor.

 


 

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June 30, 2012 1:02:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

WOW WOW WOW!!! This game is looking better and better all the time!!! Really like the update!!

Really like the city specialization!!

Really like the inclusion of Essense.....kinda like Nightshade on MoM...kinda.

Really like how cities now upgrade buildings, outposts, and resources. Fantastic move!

There is ONE little thing that I'm worried about from your update....you mention in the update that outposts will now be conquered like cities instead of destroyed like resources. Please please please give us the ability to raze the outpost if we want. As is with cities, the AI doesn't always do the smartest thing when it comes to construction. I would really really like the option in destroying the outpost so that I can reposition it in a more appropriate spot. In addition, since they now upgrade, the AI may be choosing one type of outpost strategy and you another. If you can't destroy and build your empire the way you want to, they're going to become really annoying to deal with. At the very least, it gives the user the added choice of destroying and starting over or using whatever the AI has decided to do.

I don't know if you are working with this idea, but I didn't see anything on it in the update, so I'll mention it here. Has any thought been put towards the idea of Scouts being consumed to build outposts? (just as settlers are consumed to build cities). I think this would go a REALLY REALLY long way into keeping those scouts useful into the mid and late game. As is, you scout early game till you meet your neighbours, and then they're useless...

Lastly, outposts in beta3 had the ability to build the resources in it's zone of influence. Has any thought been taken into limiting how many resources can be consumed by an outpost? I believe this to be VERY important towards to strategy of the game. you may need access to gold early and so you build that improvement, but later on you may decide to destroy it for another resource that is within the outposts zone. Ultimately, this shows that cities are the best as they can utilize all resources within it's zone, but a city may not always be available....ie, no wheat. OR, perhaps the location needs to be defendable instead. Maybe consider having outposts utilize more resources as it levels up??? Also, has thought been giving to having the building of improvements take time to build? Or have an outpost queue instead of a city queue? I think I've gleened something along these lines out of your update, but just in case.... I don't believe you should get your improvement bonuses instantly...

Thanks.

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June 30, 2012 1:04:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Will ZoC of outpost also spread your "culture" a.k.a. terrform?

Anyhow, I'm psyched for the new beta.

 

 

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June 30, 2012 1:05:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I want this update Norw!.... ... sitting here and have little to do (that I want to do )

Sincerely
~ Kongdej

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June 30, 2012 1:08:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Some faction specific ideas:

 

If we are going to move into a system where there are 3 city types, why not make certain factions benefit more from only one type? I think Pariden would be smart to get better results from Conclaves than any other faction. They should get magical versions of the troop bonuses that a fort would have. So basically they might have a Conclave that does about 25% of what a Fort would do. Suddenly you see Pariden shaping up into a kingdom of Conclave Citadels. Warrior Temples. This would be supported by a standard town base to fuel the economy. 

Another way to do this would be to give them some special magical bonuses to forts and take away a few of the standard ones. No stone walls, but they get an Ice Wall. Troops don't get a barracks, they get a Mage Guild.

The last way to differentiate a bit would be to give them special bonuses to Conclaves, but that doesn't seem as fun or interesting as the other two choices. It is the least flashy of the three. 

 

The best thing would be to do all three of these things for different factions. Basically you can have each faction play completely different by changing the types of bonuses they get. Maybe the difference between Pariden and Resoln, the two magic factions, is that Pariden get the second type of bonuses I posted. Resoln uses the first ones, basically totally relying on Conclaves to do some of the work of forts and towns. It will give the player the option to build mostly Conclaves, changing the fundamental layout and function of this faction.

Pariden might get Elemental Walls, more defense summons, a bonus to research from conclaves, and what they have now. So they still need the three types, but the player is always looking for the opportunity to get another Conclave. 

 

The coolest thing about this new design you have cooked up is that really only one faction needs to follow it as planned. The other factions get to deviate to along the three axes you have created in building design. Of course Altar will have to be the most vanilla. They are where most new players start the game.

The second coolest is how much more I have to work with when modding. 

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June 30, 2012 1:15:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I approve of every one of these changes.

You have just taken FE to the next level.

Is trade changed in any way?

It would be great if we could get buildings that increase food or gildar in adjacent cities connected by roads (factoring houses).

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June 30, 2012 1:53:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If I have two or more harbors, will these link together with caravals or other ships, like caravans do? I think it would be cool to see ships on the sea coast. I don't think this would happen, but it would be dahm cool.

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June 30, 2012 2:07:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The issue with population is connected with the lack of workable tiles, imho. In other games population affects production indirectly - via workable tiles, specialists and so on, and it's always worked great (in addition to making interaction with the land non-trivial and fun). 

I've always thought it was a big mistake streamlining cities so much, and now we're stuck with a fixed amount of "output values" per city level. Can't say I'm excited for this. 

Everything else does sound great and even innovative. So I guess I'm still getting "uneven vibes" from the game, even though it's been steadily and steeply improving.

 

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June 30, 2012 2:16:48 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Lots of positive response to the Beta 4 Update ... as there should be!   Thanks, again, Derek and Development Team members!

And with all that new information, naturally, the Beta Testers are coming up with LOTS of new questions.  Of course, you guys on the FE Development Team can't be expected to answer all of them.  A few surprises and little Unknown is a Good Thing; and anyways, you have far more important work to be doing!

All that said, thank you for answering several interesting questions already.  The one great question (IMO) that I haven't seen you address is the following:

Quoting Heavenfall,

2) You want us to have multiple cities, fine. But we don't like cityspam. How are you going to keep the amount of cities "several" but not "as many as I can fit into the map"?
 

I'd like to add my vote/voice to Heavenfall's question!  I think his statement/assumption is central to creating a great new 4X (or at least, 4X-like game); and I'd love to know your thinking on the subject, and/or get an answer to his question.  Please, please, please ...       This also gives me another opportunity to reiterate my own personal Mantra on this subject:

Spam Outposts, not Cities !   

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June 30, 2012 3:30:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Unlike most people I'm highly skeptical. At first because this is a huge change late in the game design process, I hope that it pushes the estimated release date back by quite a bit.

Moreover some of this sounds like it is making city spamming more attractive again, didn't we have lots of changes in order to prevent this?

I liked population controlling so much because then it was fluent... now it's like "new city level - huge booooost!".

I might be wrong as I ended up liking quite some changes I was very skeptical of in the first place, but we'll see.

 

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June 30, 2012 3:34:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting OrionM42,


I'd like to add my vote/voice to Heavenfall's question!  I think his statement/assumption is central to creating a great new 4X (or at least, 4X-like game); and I'd love to know your thinking on the subject, and/or get an answer to his question.  Please, please, please ...       This also gives me another opportunity to reiterate my own personal Mantra on this subject:

Spam Outposts, not Cities !   

I don't like the concept of 'spam' for anything. If it's spammable, it should just be given for free since everyone is just going to maximize it anyways......takes the fun out of that aspect of the game.

Outposts should be strategic decisions too....just as cities have now become. You need to ask yourself "why am I building this outpost?" Is it for the resources? Is it for the defense? Is it for the sight? Is it for the roads? All these should weigh into the construction of an outpost. If these are not being considered...then not having any outposts is just as relevant as everyone spamming them...

 

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June 30, 2012 3:34:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


 You can play as Pariden and drop outposts early on, but you will be making a hard choice to start claiming those resources vs making units or improvements in your cities.
 

Does this mean that resources go trough the building que of the closest city? Does this also affect outpost upgrades?

 

edit: never mind, I red the post another time. So it does now. Nice. ^^

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June 30, 2012 4:00:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Derek, I think it is important to note that you will still need to have population tiers for production and research, even if that number matches city tiers, due to cities being captured and having their population halved.  Currently, a city never drops in level, even though its population can drop below the number that was used to attain that level.  If you only use city level, then cities will never drop in production and research once they reach the next level, and apart from the occupation penalty, will never become lower when taken over infinite times.  So a city that just reaches level 2, 3, 4 or 5 "will never drop in base production and research no matter how much the population drops from repeated takeovers".  This is a bit counter-intuitive.  And you can't have city level drop when population drops, because otherwise you would need to auto-raze city level bonus improvements, and the player would also be able to re-roll city level bonus buildings by letting a city get taken over.

So basically, you will need to have population tiers for production and research, because a city's population will not always be above the last city level threshold and lower than the next city level threshold due to population halving due to conquest.

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