Empire 1.3 changes (previously was "1.2")

Discussion in 'EMPIRE (by Crazy Monkey Studios)' started by keithburgun, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Releasing Empire 2 would be a huge insult to everyone who just bought Empire, unless we were planning on continuing to support both games, which is just... weird.

    I'm not that committed to the abandonment restriction rule, we might change that.

    Also, you guys should know that these changes probably won't happen for awhile. We have time to work them out here on the forum before we go forward. And we will have a beta of it, for sure.
    Dasick likes this.
  2. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Just made a bunch of changes, and added a new section discussing a potential metagame that might work better than difficulty modes.
    Nachtfischer likes this.
  3. Nachtfischer

    Nachtfischer Well-Known Member

    I already said it on Reddit, but I think this metagame concept is great. It could really make this an evergreen competitive single-player game (which it already is), but with the comforting feeling of progression that so many people need (and let's be honest, probably all of us at least like to have it as long as it doesn't hurt the game). It also gives more meaning to the whole wins/losses thing. But if losses are meant to reduce your EXP, then you should probably not let people abandon games ever, else they'll simply never lose (because they just quit a turn before being killed).

    First, you have to do that. Second, I don't really care, but I know many people do and could get angry seeing their leaderboard accomplishment wiped. Maybe consider keeping the "legacy leaderboards" instead (like you did with 1.0).
  4. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    If you abandon a game, you get a loss for it. So like if you start a NEW game it's like "Do you want to start a new game and RESIGN from your saved game?".
  5. ComfortablyNumb

    ComfortablyNumb New Member

    Makes sense. Also provides a bit more in way of progression. I'd like to see some benefits long term for experience and level...

    Wiping boards also makes sense as game mechanics are a lot different. It will be disappointing for sure but something tells me those at the top before will continue to be. Saving all time scores somewhere in a consolidated list would be nice however.

    One other thing I noticed. Archers cost 2 gems and strife cards cost 1? Truly I think this needs to be reversed. If u want to increase cost of archers, adding material cost as before is fine, but 2 gems per is too expensive. Likewise paying only 1 gem to remove 2 strife is too low.
    keithburgun likes this.
  6. Fantom

    Fantom New Member

    Hi there,
    Some ideas that I had reading the proposed changes for 1.2

    General Changes
    - Remove material influx optionI use this option sometimes and I consider it very useful in some almost desperate situations when you have no more army.
    *** Alternative: Abandoning a city provide you with some material (Hey, you will not let everything in place when you leave!)

    - Launching an attack costs 50 MaterialsWe may consider that “moving” an army cost some material and it will be logical to pay for each launch but a cost of 50 seems to be too high (it like if you loose an unit each time you launch an attack.
    *** Alternative: Launching an attack costs 5 Materials / weeks of move (an attack that takes 4 week to reach the enemy will cost 20 Materials (of course it means that enemies doesn’t move anymore when fixed by an incoming attack from the player…)

    - You gain 1 Strife for founding a new cityI would prefer that it is considered “strify” to abandon a city, not to build a new one, especially at the beginning of the game for the three first cities.
    *** Alternative: You gain 1 Strife for abandoning a city

    - Savage blows is no longer uniqueOk… Meaning that Shirin no more has any unique card… But does that mean also that it is now a “copyable” card AND that the other emperors may use it?

    - Warriors have 1 HP
    Is it also the case for enemy warriors?

    Emperors Changes

    x Redraw, y Command: Is that their max values?
    Sometimes, especially with the first battles, you have no possibility to avoid losing (because of cards distribution).
    *** Alternative:
    Shirin:Max = 2 Redraw, 2 Command
    Start with = 2 Redraw, 1 Command
    Senator:Max = 8 Redraw, 1 Command
    Start with = 4 Redraw, 1 Command
    Wizard:Max = 1 Redraw, 5 Command
    Start with = 1 Redraw, 3 Command
    *** Alternative:
    I think it would also be useful to have the possibility to keep one card for one turn to the other as already discussed in the forum (Keyth : “Yeah. I actually do want to do something like this. In Puzzle Strike, these are called "pigs" (like a piggy bank, like, saving).

    And also, to let player see all future dealt cards in order (they will be randomly dealt at the beginning of the fight but you may have a more tactical game if you know on which order they will come...) and create a new card that allow to re-randomly-shuffle the deck...
    keithburgun likes this.
  7. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    - Replace "Material Influx" option with "Planned Migration". This gives you 100 Materials and 1 Settler.
    - Abandoning a city from the City screen gives you 0 materials and 0 settlers.

    Gonna do that.

  8. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    What if Shirin started with the Heal card, and/or it was unique? So she could turn her shitty soldiers into good soldiers.
  9. ComfortablyNumb

    ComfortablyNumb New Member

    She does already add 1 health to warriors, that wasn't proposed to change, correct?

    A unique card adding 1 health and 1 attack would be a decent boost keeping her somewhat competitive. Tho with warriors being severely hamstrung, and are basically now more of a militia... I foresee most who play her going straight to cavalry, limiting a warrior buff card's usefulness...

    How about a berserk card giving all troops on the field 1 turn of invulnerability?
  10. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Updated the post again. Shirin now gets +1 Health to warriors and looks at +1 action card after a battle, and a few other changes (like my You Always Have 4 Warriors thing as posted in the other thread).
  11. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Also what about this idea (or something similar) to scale up difficulty with XP level?

    That way, we could have the VP requirement never change (it's always, like, 200 or something). That would be REALLY good because then the players who are really good don't have to play 2-hour long games.

    - For every 2 XP levels you reach, you start the game with 1 more Strife in your deck.
  12. Dasick

    Dasick Well-Known Member

    At a certain XP level that would make early battles REALLY random, meaning you win or lose based on draws? Given the starting deck sizes, that wouldn't be a very high point.
  13. alastair

    alastair Guest

    I can see people not caring if they lose/quit, because gaining levels is bad and it's kind of optimal to do bad as it makes the game easier to win later.
  14. Senator

    Senator Moderator

    The meta game sounds good to me too, but I agree that the worst thing about it seems to be the arbitrary VP threshold moving around. Another option for increasing difficulty would be increasing the number of monster nests that exist simultaneously in the world.

    Also, terminologically: should they be called "experience" points if they go down as well as up? I'm not enough of a gamer to know if that's how XP works in some games, but just from a common-sense standpoint, a person never meaningfully "loses" experience. Maybe just "rating" or "skill" or something like that?
  15. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Actually, I'd make it that you gain +1 strife maybe ever 3 levels, to a maximum of like 8 or 10 or something. But then also, monster spawn rate increases for each XP level.

    Sure yeah I'm down with ranking or something, but there are still "points" you get and it's different than the victory points.
  16. ComfortablyNumb

    ComfortablyNumb New Member

    Besides bragging rights, how will skill or experience play out?

    Leaderboards will show the "skill" level and give a modified total?

    As it stands, the game naturally progresses until impossible, a very refreshing and unique twist.
    I guess a modified difficulty level will allow great players to get high scores with out 2 hour games.

    I'll honestly admit my games probably take more than 8 hours. I don't keep track but it takes me 4-5 days playing when able to finish my 800+ score games, so reducing that would be appreciated.
  17. vivafringe

    vivafringe Well-Known Member Staff Member

    - Not sure about the monster changes. They seem weird, but maybe okay. I do like actually having to pay attention to the map instead of just spamming the "next turn" button.
    - If you add the "Planned evacuation" option, please change the UI so I can see how many turns until the next upgrade when I choose whether I want to do it or not. It would suck to Feast or whatever, then realize you can't evacuate until 50 turns.
    - I posted about this in a different place, but IMO you should just gain Strife when bad things happen: you lose units, you lose a battle, your city takes damage. I don't like gaining Strife when I start a new city (causes me to want to avoid starting new cities for as long as possible) or Feasting (causes me to not want to Feast).
    - Tech upgrades happen too infrequently to realistically sustain an army; the way you are proposing leaves people with just shitty warrior armies most of the time. It seems much more reasonable to be able to upgrade Warriors into Archers or Cavalry as a free action, if you want to go the fixed army route (which seems like a good idea).
    - I think 1HP Warriors is overkill, though, and it should be 2HP. Let me tank a hit with Grit, and not die to an Archer punch.
    ComfortablyNumb likes this.
  18. Silvercloak

    Silvercloak New Member


    Just some more impressions and reasoned thoughts on the changelist.

    This is a blunt instrument for the matter that around 3-4 units give the best games. It might work, but I worry it's a little too blunt. I have really enjoyed the variety of gamplay of battles with different numbers of units (in 1.0 I won multiple battles against 10+ enemies with a single cavalry -- it was interesting but even more brittle than normal). It also has the disadvantage that it pushes against intuition. Both common sense and the tropes of many games tell us that armies come in different sizes, and that this makes a difference. I don't know all the things you've thought of, but it looks like the gain isn't big enough to beat that here. In particular you could look at some softer methods to encourage middling army sizes, where your first few units are quite cheap, but the last ones expensive.

    Is this meant to also abandon the city? Or it is also a replacement (and an upgrade) for gaining a settler? Assuming it abandons the city, I think this is nice. Adds more tactical timing matters to the city life/death cycle.

    Some restriction on launching attacks certainly seems reasonable. I'm not convinced off-hand that this is the best, but ... sure. It could be good.

    I agree with the person who said that it might be more flavourful to gain Strife for leaving rather than founding cities. Otherwise my comment here would be that it could decrease my interest in the tactical combat. If I'm fairly confident I'm going to win, I may pay less attention to keeping all my units alive. On the other hand, perhaps that's a good thing. This game can suck a lot of attention, and micromanaging every detail of every combat could be a detriment.

    A minor affront to my sense of game design aesthetics. I like the way that the it's quite situation-dependent which units are best, I like the symmetry between player and monster units, and I like a fair proportion of combat to end up with wounds rather than instant death.

    Apart from that, it's impossible to evaluate in isolation whether this is a good change for gameplay. But personally I'd try to find a way to keep them the same as the monsters.

    For myself, I think I'd enjoy this quite a lot less than a simple two-or-three difficulty level system. I don't want to have to play lots of games to get to the point where I'm appropriately challenged (in particular, tracking the emperors separately exacerbates this). I like being able to abandon a game because it's just not fun without feeling punished (even if I think I could have won it). I like having discrete achievement levels to beat (like 'beating hard'). Also, I'm not sure that increasing Strife is a great balance mechanism here. It adds to variance a bit, but is also feel-bad because you just get weaker. Making the opponents stronger instead makes it feel like you're doing something more heroic.

    To be clear, I definitely don't think victory point requirements should scale with difficulty either. Just make the game harder (more monsters and earlier seems natural).

    This sounds like it reduces variety-at-the-start, which can be an important tool for pulling people in and making them interested by the game and the different modes. The more similar the emperors are, the more I feel it's better if they're scored together.

    I think players will like it more if you avoid the 'feel-bad' of having a 1 Command or 1 Redraw limit when there are cards which give more than this. If you're going with these numbers, how about stopping the Senator from ever seeing the Tactics card, and likewise the Wizard and all the cards with +2 Redraws? (Or redesign the cards.)

    I do like having different limits for the different emperors as fostering difference. At some point it threatens to cut off interest for the game, though. For example since you get 1 Command per turn, if you have a cap of 1 you never get the interesting decision of whether or not to play the mildly beneficial card you hold in hand now, or save the point for next go. Perhaps 2 is already low enough with the limits.

    Most of the buildings I've no view on whether they're better or not. Two stand out:
    • Academy: this seems to remove interest from the game by reducing the number of non-obvious choices for the player, as they become really quite weak early, and fantastic later. I haven't played 1.1.1 yet, but I think the Academy sounds pretty good there and I'm not sure what problem this is trying to address.
    • Feast: I think this change sounds really good. A reason to hang on to the decaying city, holding out for one more Feast! Also in contrast to a poster above me I do like the tension between strive and VPs with feasts (although the exchange rate needs to be picked carefully enough that sometimes you want the effect and sometimes you don't).
    These two changes sound like they may weaken the flavour. I enjoy the feeling of "trying to keep on top of the growing monster menace". The changes might still be good, but you should be aware of the danger.

    Also, I'd note that the area where there's the most desolation may often be a current or ex city site. That could make destroying hives bad, if it causes monsters to pop up in the centre of your empire. This would be a bit perverse.
  19. Fantom

    Fantom New Member

    I totally agree with the problem of "1" limit for command and/or redraw... And of course with the "to gain Strife for leaving rather than founding cities" rule as it was my first though when reading the proposed changes for 1.2...
    But once again, the game still relies a lot on random because you have no control on ongoing cards! Let it be more tactical by just allowing to keep one card for next turn (if you want) and by seeing future incoming hand(s) of cards!!
    Then you will be able to think about future turns and not only pray to be lucky...
  20. Silvercloak

    Silvercloak New Member

    That does give the player more choice -- but it also lengthens the planning horizon. I find I hit analysis paralysis enough when I'm just trying to plan one turn that I'm not sure it would make it better to have more information. It is interesting, though. Also you're treading on the space that Tactics plays in (not necessarily a problem).

    Aside: when I first saw the card Tactics, I misread and thought you would keep your cards and draw an additional four. Obviously that would make that ability pure upside, so the card would get stronger. But would that play better?

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