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Author Topic: Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension  (Read 430582 times)

TheMastermind

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Re: Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension
« Reply #60 on: June 24, 2013, 11:28:24 am »

Seeing hoe much dom3 had so many races and unit types, sometimes going down to 2 units exactly the same besides one has a hammer and the other a sword, i always wanted the game to have a unit designer, where you can pick a race (depending on what nation you choose), weapons, armor and training and answer your army's needs.
Guess it wont be at this release S:
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Frumple

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Re: Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension
« Reply #61 on: June 24, 2013, 11:43:40 am »

Pretty doubtful that'd happen, yeah. S'mostly a balance thing... stuff like limited weapon selection for your chaff (and other stuff, really) has/had a subtle but surprisingly significant effect on what your army could deal with particularly effectively. Hammer unit's good (or at least better) vs. one sort of enemy compared to sword unit, and vice versa. Untrained chaff had niches that elite chaff didn't (sieging, mostly. Maybe patrolling, if you didn't have the better stuff for that.), unarmored better for some uses than armored, etc., so forth, so on.

If the combat system in general shifted up a bit, there might be room for it... but that's pretty unlikely, so a kind of 'custom' in-game unit builder is also pretty unlikely.
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Neonivek

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Re: Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension
« Reply #62 on: June 24, 2013, 10:56:53 pm »

At the same time Frumple a lot of the units were just the same unit with different sets of armor.

How I'd do it is I'd have a "Basic unit" (Or possibly a basic and a skilled) and have those be equip able while still having the faction specific units (For example Pythium would still have the old vet soldiers)

Now for Dominions I wouldn't add that system for the reason that the game has a very limited art assets and for that a visual cue for each type of combination would be required. It is rather labor intensive.
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Frumple

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Re: Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension
« Reply #63 on: June 24, 2013, 11:59:18 pm »

Different armor sets have the same effect as different weapons :P

Light armor, heavy armor, with or without helmet, with or without shield, etc., so forth, so on, all nudge the units towards particular uses, open up synergies with particular spells, and so on and so forth. As I said re: weapons, it's pretty subtle, but surprisingly significant (especially over the long run of a game, where all the little advantages start adding up in big ways). Particularly so when folks that are really good at Dom 3 start working their magic.

As for the visual aspect, that actually would likely be little trouble. There's already at least one fairly functional unit randomizing mod for Dom 3 that handles the graphical aspects related to different weapons et al without terrible much issue. I'd imagine taking notes from its methodology would greatly streamline the effort of implementing something like an in-game custom unit builder.

Thinking on it a bit more, it... actually might not be that big of a balance issue. You'd just limit the equipment loadout and suchlike by nation and let that handle the balancing aspect of it. I'm not entirely sure whether that'd actually save the developer any effort or open up much possibilities to the player, though... you'd probably end up with the same (or very similar) "mix" that th'nation'd be designed with anyway.
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TheMastermind

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Re: Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension
« Reply #64 on: June 25, 2013, 06:00:45 am »

Art asset wise, drawing combinable parts can save a lot of work. if you draw 3 basic races, 3 weapons and 3 armor, you get 27 combos (is my math correct?), and it gets much bigger as you have more assets and more options, like shields, duel wielding, helmets, footwear. You need do draw much less and the program does the annoying part of adding them together.

As a gameplay mechanic, the unit customization would really open up a tons of choices to the player, because of the big amount of stats in the game, you might want light armor for you troops to have low encumbrance, or maybe equip them with more magic resistance equipment. With the new element of different kinds of weapon damage (crushing, slashing and piercing), you would want to equip your army with hammers when going to war against skeletons. Of course everything effects gold and resource cost.

I would like to imagine troops being made of race, equipment (all different parts of it) and training, training means having more strength, attack, defense, being able to cast magic, being better with certain equipment, mounted and so forth. while each nation has its own access to different things and magic sites may give you even more options (a site that makes magic swords or one that allows you to recruit dwarfs, or train your troops as anti mages).

It can even be used to farther customize your pretender.

I think this would be awesome (but probably wont happen in dom4).
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Mictlantecuhtli

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Re: Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension
« Reply #65 on: June 25, 2013, 02:24:55 pm »

You give every nation the ability to build their own Ermor Legionnaires and there won't be much reason to do anything but. It's arguably the most broken part of the game, how strong Ermor's chaff is.

I'd argue the armor system itself almost needs fixing. Can't be too detailed with it as I don't remember the specifics, I just remember that 1 unit with 15+ armor can be practically invincible to anything not special/blessed/Notaheropretender. What's that late age Fire nation, Abysia?  With the guys in plate mail, tower shields, AND fire maces, with blessing ability? 24 resources to make. That shit is incredibly broken and should be removed completely, and you should have to spend crystals and research energy to create such elaborate equipment, not start the game with such ability [See below]. Would cut down on rushing castles to rush chaff to win.

While there should be an option to upgrade the sections of armor individually outside of unit creation itself - aka you 'research' chain boots as opposed to leather boots you began with [or chain if you're late age, working to half plate and beyond] - to gradually [marginally] increase your strength. But no throwing plate mail on everything. That'd be.. Broken.

Resources are barely a limiter in those situations per my experience, gold is. And at the start of the game you tend to begin with plenty of gold, so what would stop a new game from becoming a pump-out-elite-soliders-you-designed-cheaply from turn one? Turn two they double their resources. Turn three they're pumping out 20+ resource units.

With the fixed units it alleviates this strategy, unless of course they're like LA Ermor and have fucking stupidly broken chaff soliders [which are free, cost nothing to raise..] and then the strategy is still to zerg rush.

I want polished mechanics and added inventive spells, for the most part, from Dom4.

Combat is rather wonky in my opinion and could enjoy an entire rebuild, heh.
Fatigue rarely effects anyone other than tournament heroes who fight long rounds.

Chaff troops can easily be categorized as 'throwaway' and 'incredibly useful' see: EA Atlantis, EA Pangaea, R'lyeh in general..

While other factions are balanced to absolute perfection through every age: See Agartha, C'tis [for the most part] and Marignon. Ulm isn't badly balanced either, but they're incredibly weak compared to countries like Arco and Ermor. Even Caelum is pretty strong compared to the others. That's why I like the Hellgate mod, then atleast there's a demony faction which is able to curbstomp all those do-gooders with their severely unfair chaff troops.

Balance balance balance is almost all I truly yearn for in Dom3. But with Dom4 I can atleast hope for a bit extra, heh.

There also needs to be a 'good' faction that isn't insane and self serving to be the Yin to Ermor's LA Yang. Sure, Aero and Marignon claim to be good, but we all know they're genocidal pricks for the most part by late age as all the fighting turns them into Xenphobes. Not an 'Angel' faction either. Something unconventional. Bogarus is pretty close to what I feel would be appropriate. The Giant Nations are almost good, but seem more like a Lawful Neutral type. Just seems like no nation in Late Age is dedicated to bringing the world back from the brink of chaos, everyone and their sister does necromancy.. Just seems like no matter what'd happen Post-Dominion Battle the people on the world itself are pretty screwed, heh.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2013, 02:34:05 pm by Mictlantecuhtli »
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Neonivek

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Re: Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension
« Reply #66 on: June 25, 2013, 02:29:08 pm »

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You give every nation the ability to build their own Ermor Legionnaires and there won't be much reason to do anything but.


The costs, quality, and even availability would be on a nation per nation basis.
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Mictlantecuhtli

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Re: Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension
« Reply #67 on: June 25, 2013, 02:36:26 pm »

Quote
You give every nation the ability to build their own Ermor Legionnaires and there won't be much reason to do anything but.


The costs, quality, and even availability would be on a nation per nation basis.

Under which terms though? Sounds like way more work than the payoff would be [balancing theoretically unlimited possibilities that change, with the different equipments to take into account, on a nation by nation basis? oh lord the manhours], as they've been using the fixed units effectively till now. A few nations with broken chaff [that are banned online like Ermor] doesn't mean we should make every nation get broken mooks. I just think more balance work needs to go into the factions themselves instead of that. Dom3 was never about customizing your troops, the nations make those. You're a god heading their ultimate destiny, not equipping militias.

But that could be a very interesting topic to pick up for the COE games, think about it. That game is a bit more personal and it'd make sense to be equipping units on your own. Not to mention how much more rad it'd be [Think about the payoff for COE in those changes!! Way better for the work itself], bringing depth and interaction to it. The game's a smaller scale than Dominions so it'd make sense for the faction leader to be worried about the equipment of their soldiers. Dominions, well, it'd make less sense to me that a Deity is worrying about the boots of their soldiers.

This isn't even mentioning the extra added layer of micromanagement we'd have to do to comply with that kind of a design system. Stardock games can get away with it as they're a lot less micromanagement intensive. With obviously much less depth to their combinations. I can't see a way to do something like that in Dom without spending their entire development time balancing combinations. Which they don't do. So we'd just have a broken mess of zerg rushing designed legions.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2013, 02:46:26 pm by Mictlantecuhtli »
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Neonivek

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Re: Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension
« Reply #68 on: June 25, 2013, 03:46:34 pm »

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Under which terms though?

What?

Quote
Dom3 was never about customizing your troops

Ok as a side note... It SHOULD have been easier to do that for your generals.

Heck for some units I basically started going insane because I wanted to equip them but no apparently they need the "gift of reason".

Quote
I just think more balance work needs to go into the factions themselves instead of that.

I think it is a mostly pointless feature made to be interesting. Most-all the factions already have all the combinations of armors and weapons for the soldiers they have already (excluding the special soldiers who don't count.)
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Frumple

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Re: Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension
« Reply #69 on: June 25, 2013, 04:01:49 pm »

I'd argue the armor system itself almost needs fixing. Can't be too detailed with it as I don't remember the specifics, I just remember that 1 unit with 15+ armor can be practically invincible to anything not special/blessed/Notaheropretender. What's that late age Fire nation, Abysia?  With the guys in plate mail, tower shields, AND fire maces, with blessing ability? 24 resources to make. That shit is incredibly broken and should be removed completely, and you should have to spend crystals and research energy to create such elaborate equipment, not start the game with such ability [See below]. Would cut down on rushing castles to rush chaff to win.
Iirc it takes like two/three level of research and some n2 or w2 casters to pretty much neuter most early game heavy armor rushes :P Probably less than that, it's been a while since I muddled about with Dominions. Most heavy armor period, really, when it doesn't have a heavy earth bless (which even that may not be enough) or heavy buffing backing it up. Little bit of fatigue spam and they keel over dead to spearmen.

Fatigue is incredibly deadly in Dominions, heh. If you're not seeing fatigue issues with something like that Mict, it's because it's not being leveraged against you, not because it doesn't exist. It's less drastic early on (but even then, a couple dudes spamming some of the early fatigue spells can wreck some serious havoc), sure, but in the later game some of the battlefield wide stuff can absolutely neuter huge swathes of anything that actually has fatigue. It can get pretty incredible, ha.

Re: some of your later stuff in that post, don't get me wrong, some of the nations do have comparatively notable advantages, but it's never because of single units like that -- not even when it's a decent bless strategy (even EA or LA mict's relatively trivial to drop if they're not doing something more than just spewing blessed jaguar warriors around.). It's all about the ability to leverage combined arms -- particularly what the casters bring to the table -- not the sole ability to spew chaff. Armies in dominions live and die by their magical backup. The rest provides the lever itself, perhaps, but it's the casters that provide the leverage. You can get away without much magic use vs. the AI, but even a semi-decent human player would tear y'apart if you try that.

With the fixed units it alleviates this strategy, unless of course they're like LA Ermor and have fucking stupidly broken chaff soliders [which are free, cost nothing to raise..] and then the strategy is still to zerg rush.
Trying to say this as unaggressive as I can, but things like that make me wonder if you actually play Dom3 much Mict. LA Ermor's chaff units are pretty close to trash. They're broken, sure, but they're broken because of how useless they are against anything with two brain cells to rub together. They're hard countered by priest spam and like a half dozen specifically anti-undead spells, some of which can wipe out huge swaths of LA Ermor freespawn in one casting. They tromp the AI (which doesn't know how to react to chaff spamming, undead or otherwise) and basically nothing else, because they're so one dimensional it's almost painful :-\

People hate playing against them because they ruin the land they're in, not because their chaff is a threat. LA Ermor can sometimes be dangerous if they make it past the early/mid game, once they've gotten enough summons and casters about to leverage the few turns the chaff can buy them before being annihilated -- but whether they can reach that point is almost entirely dependent on the whims of the game's other players. Before that all it takes is a few indie provinces mass producing priests to completely walk over the undead freespawn and just a little extra to murder off their (painfully monochromatic, if very good at what they actually do) casters.
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Neonivek

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Re: Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension
« Reply #70 on: June 25, 2013, 04:29:23 pm »

late age Ermor's main advantage is that they are the earliest nation that can spin out of control and become essentially unstoppable. As well because they tank the worth of all lands in their dominion, it often becomes a juggling act to convince anyone to attack Ermor, and because they don't need dominion they are one of the few factions that can "dominion tank".

Their weakness is until the point where they spin out of control they can be seriously pushed back and pretty much stink in the early game. They actually outright rely on their dominion to diminish the strength of the independent nations.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2013, 04:44:28 pm by Neonivek »
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Frumple

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Re: Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension
« Reply #71 on: June 25, 2013, 04:46:50 pm »

Um, actually not, to that first bit. Ermor's more constrained than most of the heavy death nations just because it relies on gems to get its casters out instead of gold, which means it's not going to ramp up as fast as many other nations are capable of (since the rest of them can spend gold on casters and gems on getting the doom machine(s) running, instead of having to split gems between both.). Further, its lack of diversity makes a lot of options for them (such as clamming, if you're not playing the community balance patch stuff) a lot harder to get to. Pretender can offset that, somewhat (and the junkload of points coming from ruining your scales gives you some good options, there), but they're worse off than a number of other nations in that regard. They've maybe got a slight advantage in terms of caster quality (at least in the field of death magic, if basically nothing else), but they lose out a bit on quantity (which can be particularly nasty if you're up against a good communion nation).

Their main advantage is the heavy death and their dominion ruining everything, more than anything else. Ermor doesn't spin out of control much (if at all) worse than any other of the death nations, it's just maybe a little more brainless about it, heh.

Their weakness is as you say, plus the caster diversity and cost issues and their heavy reliance on summons and/or indie stuff to get anything done on the battlefield (that doesn't involve their casters, anyway).
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Neonivek

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Re: Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension
« Reply #72 on: June 25, 2013, 04:52:09 pm »

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Ermor doesn't spin out of control much (if at all) worse than any other of the death nations

You can only compare late age Ermor to the other Late Age since there is no "Shattered Timeline Era".
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Mictlantecuhtli

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Re: Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension
« Reply #73 on: June 25, 2013, 05:14:54 pm »

Re: some of your later stuff in that post, don't get me wrong, some of the nations do have comparatively notable advantages, but it's never because of single units like that -- not even when it's a decent bless strategy (even EA or LA mict's relatively trivial to drop if they're not doing something more than just spewing blessed jaguar warriors around.). It's all about the ability to leverage combined arms -- particularly what the casters bring to the table -- not the sole ability to spew chaff. Armies in dominions live and die by their magical backup. The rest provides the lever itself, perhaps, but it's the casters that provide the leverage. You can get away without much magic use vs. the AI, but even a semi-decent human player would tear y'apart if you try that.

So... How do you rate Caelum and Aero and Ermor, with their versatile and strong choices of troops, and strong magic to back them up? Other factions get largely unbalanced choices of troops, favoring one style or the other, while certain nations happen to be good at everything and wrecking-ball all other opposition. The factions need balance, bottom line. How many times have you opted to play as Jomon late age?

Quit giving me these quips about 'that isn't how actual players play' because that's the game as is, and it's relatively easy to counter expensive priest spam. Don't make me PBEM you and prove the brokenness.

Also, I do not have issues with fatigue outside of tournaments or specific instances where a spell-caster blows their whole load on an exhaust spell and passes out the whole match to delay 20 of my soldiers. Worthwhile full battlefield effect fatigue spells are difficult to get to far as I remember. It's why I opt for defensive magic in Dom3. Those types of spells fall pretty flat when you've got all sorts of counters and buffs ready, of which there is a wide availability. Isn't it something like three branches are defensive and utility oriented mainly?

I will re-install Dom3 now and play to refresh myself on the things that annoyed me so as to rant less and specify the silliness in balance, and because the announcement made me want to play again.

Also, my game experiences might vary from others as I always went with having dormant [the long one] pretenders to enhance my dominion and magical abilities. Might give me an unfair advantage against things to have rainbow blessings on all holy units.
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Frumple

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Re: Dominions 4: Thrones of Ascension
« Reply #74 on: June 25, 2013, 05:59:53 pm »

You can only compare late age Ermor to the other Late Age since there is no "Shattered Timeline Era".
Yeesss... and there's a number of other LA nations with a strong death presence. Ermor's got a slight advantage in caster quality, but pretty much everything else has more casters, and better spell access outside of death.

So... How do you rate Caelum and Aero and Ermor, with their versatile and strong choices of troops, and strong magic to back them up? Other factions get largely unbalanced choices of troops, favoring one style or the other, while certain nations happen to be good at everything and wrecking-ball all other opposition. The factions need balance, bottom line. How many times have you opted to play as Jomon late age?
Aero... do you mean Arco? Arco's solid across the board, with the elephants for early expansion and then the caster presence to leverage their higher map move chaff stuff excellently later, after everything and its little cousin can make those elephants demolish your own army. Heavy astral and good spread otherwise makes them an absolutely vicious communion nation, too. Arco's nasty in most of the eras due to that communion punch and solid early expansion.

Caelum's always had major fatigue issues for me (flying wrecks your dudes fatigue), insofar as their non-caster stuff goes, not to mention the problem inherent to things like the enemy deciding to laugh and cast storm. The mammoths are alright (same niche as the Arco 'phants, and the same problems), but they've got less of a unit presence (again, the flying thing) to help back it up than Arco. Archers are alright, but short bows are comparatively eh. Magic spread isn't exactly mindblowing either, though air magic is pretty solid and they've got what they need to bootstrap to a fair bit of excellent low hanging stuff, eyeballin' 'em... they'd definitely be relying on the pretender or summoned stuff for late game casting, though. Ubiquitous flight does offer a lot of strategic advantages, though, even if pound for pound most of your flying units are on the sub end of par.

Ermor... doesn't have versatile or strong troops, at least in LA, and while it's got strong death, it doesn't have strong anything else.

Jomon's actually not that bad. Their yari-dudes are good for blocking stuff and their archers are one of the better ones in LA. Elite stuff's kinda' so-so, unfortunately. They've got a solid combat magic presence as well -- which is the big thing -- and alright communion potential (especially via forged crystals.).

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Quit giving me these quips about 'that isn't how actual players play' because that's the game as is, and it's relatively easy to counter expensive priest spam. Don't make me PBEM you and prove the brokenness.
Indie priests are kinda' cheap :P And you'd be going well out of the way of simple chaff spam to do it, which was... kinda' my point. Couldn't play yeh even if you wanted to, though... don't have access to the game at th'mo.

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Also, I do not have issues with fatigue outside of tournaments or specific instances where a spell-caster blows their whole load on an exhaust spell and passes out the whole match to delay 20 of my soldiers. Worthwhile full battlefield effect fatigue spells are difficult to get to far as I remember.
That's why you have five or six casters with maybe a minor earth bless if they're holy :P There's a couple of full field fatigue spells, checking on it -- one for fire and one for ice, at the very least, both at enchant six, 4 ranks in the respective path, which is a little high but pretty doable. Then a handful of decent AoE ones (sleep cloud, etc.) much lower down and easier to use.

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It's why I opt for defensive magic in Dom3. Those types of spells fall pretty flat when you've got all sorts of counters and buffs ready, of which there is a wide availability. Isn't it something like three branches are defensive and utility oriented mainly?
Ehn, not exactly. Or rather, depends on what you call utility. There's only one major direct damage school (evocation) and two largely non-combat ones (Conjuration, construction), but the rest of them have pretty good mixes of offense and defense.

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Also, my game experiences might vary from others as I always went with having dormant [the long one] pretenders to enhance my dominion and magical abilities. Might give me an unfair advantage against things to have rainbow blessings on all holy units.
Yeah... I leaned toward that myself, but I'm terribly aware that it's usually a fairly suboptimal thing to do. SC for the early expansion, rainbow for early rainbow-y stuff, etc., so forth, so on, is often a better idea depending on how capable your nation is of early expansion or conflict. If you've got a dormant pretender and your neighbors have an awake SC, there's even odds you don't survive 'till the pretender gets out, heh. To say nothing about the nastiness of what happens if you start near a blood sac nation without your pretender up and about.
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