Empire 1.3 changes (previously was "1.2")

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

  1. ComfortablyNumb

    ComfortablyNumb New Member

    I think most card games do not let you see the next playable hand and for good reason. It allows for more logic based decision making when choosing what to play, and what not to play. It fosters knowing your deck (which is currently impossible as when viewing your deck on android version, you cant see the number of each card you hold). Tho adding a card that allows some foresight or searchability would be a fine addition. Say a card that allows you to draw the next 4 cards, put one in your hand and discard the rest etc...

    I also feel it important to reiterate my agreement with those arguing for max 6 army. The more choices and control we have over our game the more we can influence our own success (within reason) the more we as players emotionally vest in the challenge.

    I have been thinking about the exp and level addition and would love to see some form of reward in game for reaching those bigher (and hopefully harder) levels. I had mentioned somewhere else that cross game buffs or skills would create a more driving influence and give us players another goal to reach for. I know this isn't the primary purpose of this new update, however I feel it is just as important or even more so than shortening the games, decreasing high end of scores and overall balancing.

    Again. I think the game is fantastic, refreshing, well polished and uniquely brings some of the best elements of other strategy games into one. I think some form of long term goal addition needs to at least be introduced here.
  2. XehutL

    XehutL New Member

    I don't like this changes that much, but I think I can live with them.
    It would be nice to get some resources back from abandoning the city, maybe based on the city tier (0/10/25)?
    These seem like good changes - but why to have any specialized cards for just one type at all? Maybe it would be better idea to join all type-specific cards into one... like:
    "Charge! - Move an archer behind a cavalry / warrior OR move a cavalry 2 squares forward OR move a warrior to any leftmost free square."
    I like that idea of replacing this by unique "Heal" card..
    Maybe it would be an interesting idea to implement card replacement here too (i.e. add OR replace OR none)?

    So the actual game length does not change, nor the difficulty, and it is still the "stay in as long as you can"?
    What is the point the changes above in the end? To make it harder for expert players to increase their score any further by spending more and more hours in one play? - somehow I don't get it...

    The real effect of maximal values depends highly on other factors: how common the redraw effect would be, how much command points will the spell costs and if there will be some permanent effects for them, or just the one-time as it is by now, and of course for the redraws - how big the decks can become. In the end - it is almost useless to have redraw for very thin decks, as is the high command if one needs some additional cards for it first...
    IMO to have here 1 as maximum seems like too harsh, but it will need more testing to see how it goes.

    What about this distribution:
    Limits 4 Redraw, 4 Command
    may stack effects of Attack / Defend cards (max 2 per each?)
    Limits 6 Redraws, 2 Command
    +1 Redraw per turn
    Limits 2 Redraws, 6 Command
    +1 Command per turn
    keithburgun likes this.
  3. XehutL

    XehutL New Member

    Unless the Cavalry or Archers will be much durable and stronger for combat, I will not choose their respective buildings - as the units are just too fragile (and to receive them again, I'll need to build the respective building again!). In fact - I don't like the fact of not being able to replace them quickly AND being limited to only 3 cities at all.

    Maybe it would be good idea to swap the Watch Towers to Tier 1 and the Shaman Hut to Tier 2, to make the choice at least less unfair...
    Good changes.

    Hard to say now, I need to see it in play..
  4. Dasick

    Dasick Well-Known Member

    I see three major problems with Empire right now. Being able to buy units, lack of material utility and army size/composition is more of a symptom of those problems. There's far too much waiting involved with the overmap, the cards are too situational, and the overmap is far too disconnected from the main mechanic.

    On the overmap, there are far too many situations where you're just waiting for a city upgrade, or a gem mine to be finished, or to have enough minerals for scouting purposes. I understand that there are certain limitations in place, and that's good because you can't have everything, and have to make decisions. But this is also a problem, because so many turns are spent just hitting the next week button. Oftentimes, I'll make the decision, and then just hammer the next week button until the next decision junction. This reminds me a lot of Civilization late game, so good work on capturing the 4x feel :p . There is also weirdness in the sense that some actions end your turn, and others do not. A better system would be 1 action per turn. So in one turn, you can train a unit, upgrade a unit, send out explorers, drain a city tile (instantly make it desolation for a huge, yet inefficient, one time growth boost), build a city, build a mine, train a settler, launch an attack, etc etc. This way, you're always doing something per turn, without the need to keep skipping turns. This has the problem of making the resource systems redundant, but maybe the materials/food can be combined into one resource, or you could have a different system where the cities automatically drain as many resources as necessary in order to perform the action (unless you don't have enough resources around the city?), with the added tradeoff that you're draining the land faster.

    The cards also have problems. I've mentioned before that it feels weird that you start with so much strife, and you never really get the feel of what an efficient deck looks like. Another side to it is that so many cards are so situational that they're effectively strife most of the time. For example, played a game as Markus the emperor; lost horseman in the first battle, so now all the cavalry charge cards are dead weight to me. Or drawing invulnerability on the first turn. Or drawing 2 or 3 grit/valour cards. If you don't want to change the cards to be more universal/multipurpose/self-balanced (so, Fireball would be bad to cast every turn because area of effect hits your units as well or something), then it would be nice to see initial strife ditched or reduced. Actually, it would be nice to see the initial strife cards replaced by grit/valor; that way, in the beginning of the game, you still have a lot of clutter, but it's useful clutter, it's this early game "youth" boost that you eventually lose as your empire expands and your deck grows.

    The problem with the overmap isn't that it's big, the problem is that it's "empty", and that is why it feels so big. The overworld mechanics are just not very connected to the rest of the game. Yes there is resource gathering and desolation, and the occasional +1 redraw for defending city because I misclicked and built a watchtower by accident, but aside from that, the different tile types don't tie into combat, the most important aspect of the game. Aside from the tiles around your city and distance, the overworld doesn't really matter. In your garden variety 4x, say, Civilization, this is not true; yes, when it comes to building a city the resources and the land around are important, but so is sea access (speaking of which, why are there water tiles in Empire?), and the defensive terrain boosts and the movement impediment. What sort of resources you have access to is also incredibly important to your technological advancement, as well as building roads for trade and transportation.

    That being said, the monster movement changes seem really promising in terms of making terrain matter for movement purposes, so yay for that, but it really feels like the rest of the map still has little effect on the rest of game - the link between the overmap and the core mechanic - combat - is just very weak. I agree that fiddling around with individual units, or even several armies (in Heroes 3 I would always have one hero dedicated to fighting and the rest were sort of support heroes, bringing reinforcements and visiting the monster lairs/windmills round the map) is bad, and I'm glad Empire doesn't have it, but what if your army wasn't omnipresent, and also had a presence on the map - just one army though, that automagically gets any troops you build/upgrade? You could do some things with it, but the important thing is that it would make the tiles in between the cities a lot more important, especially if you have movement penalties and stuff.

    Another way to give overmap more impact is have terrain effects for combat. Maybe fighting in a forest gives you some extra archer shift cards, or fighting on a plane gives you extra cavalry charges, or on a mountain extra grit and valor; something to combine your idea of grit/valour only have effect near cities without it being a huge nerf to the player.
    Senator, keithburgun and Nachtfischer like this.
  5. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Dasick, thanks for the lovely post. I read it all and took it to heart. Been mulling over the changes over the past week. One of the cool things about the PRACTICE conference I spoke at this last weekend was that I got to speak with Soren Johnson - the Civ IV guy! - about EMPIRE, which he's been playing.

    Anyway, there are big changes to stuff. Generally the game's pace is increased a lot (because of bigger cities) and there's more to do on the overmap (because you can improve ANY city tile now, and because of roaming monsters), and many other things. What do you think?
    Dasick likes this.
  6. Nachtfischer

    Nachtfischer Well-Known Member

    I like the new city concept. Seems like it will give you much more to do and think about on the world map. I guess it's inspired by Civ (advice from Soren? :D), but it's a much more discrete and meaningful system instead of the "maximize this or that" that you have in the Civ cities (which is actually taken over by the computer 99% of the time). So, cool change! Especially combined with the smaller map change it should make for a lot more to do and the really interesting stuff happening erlier in game.

    What about mines, though? It says you can now build a "town" or a "wall", but I assume mines are still in for mountains with and without gems?

    Unit changes: Okay, the "upgrade your crappy warriors ASAP" thing got dropped as far as I can see. I think it's probably for the better. The units now lose HP permanently, which I think is a good way to make sure that you still have to play as good as you can during the battles. You're not losing strife for losing units and you won't use units as quickly, but you won't get those HP back (besides the healing spell probably).

    The new building tiers seem like they can really give you a headache sometimes. I mean, early game it will probably come down to settlers with the first city, then some units, then you should probably try and go for the "bonus buildings" to get rid of Strife etc., but if you lose units that'll be a tough call. By the way, just starting with 2 Strife will hugely change the difficulty. As will the new monsters, though. Looking forward to the beta, haha. ;)

    Cool! That should make sure that you won't play on forever, I guess.

    So, this stops getting harder at some point, so it's not exactly "evergreen". Also, I'm not sure if 10 Strife make for a better ("more fun") game? My guess is, that it will (at the least) not be as frustrating as it sometimes can be in the current version where you just lose one or two units in the first battle without being able to do anything because of bad draws. With the higher HP values you should at least be able to keep your starting warriors alive.

    I'm also not sure how far you can go with this. I mean, the monster spawn rate is "every 4 turns", so you really can't go up indefinitely. But I guess this is not about the game getting harder and harder forever, but about some kind of self-balancing difficulty around your current level of skill (mastery). Probably nobody will be able to regularly win at some point and then the average win ratio is the decisive factor to still slowly increase your level. As I said before, I love the idea of this kind of meta-game!
    keithburgun likes this.
  7. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    You can still build mines as you could before. Mountains/G-Mountains have the other two options plus mines.

    Oh, did I write 2 starting strife? I'll have to fix that. Typo... EDIT: Ok no, you just read it wrong. It said 2 fewer strife than before.

    The XP system will be designed to be evergreen, or as much as any single player can be anyway.

    If 10 Strife is too many we can pull that back, or remove Strife as the difficult thing to begin with. One thing I'm sure of is that we DON'T want "get 200! or 300! victory points". Games shouldnt be getting longer, they should be getting harder.
    Nachtfischer likes this.
  8. Senator

    Senator Moderator

    These new changes sound interesting, but I'm slightly confused. Are Structures different from Buildings, or do they also encompass Buildings? In other words, has the game changed so that players can buy city upgrades at any point, or it is just that we are still using the food meter plus also have more things to spend materials on?

    I still think that relying on Strife alone to weaken the player's hand sucks (Dasick made the same point in his post). I know that the rest of the team doesn't like it, but I thought the game was more interesting when winning caused you to take on valor/grit--not to mention that it just felt better than the focus on Strife (even if added valor/grit was almost as bad as Strife). The "get a Strife every time your city upgrades" rule is just crying out to be "get valor or grit every time your city upgrades". I agree with Nacht that increasing starting Strife as the player climbs the metagame ranks feels bad.

    I still don't understand the purpose of punishing the player with Strife for abandoning a city before it fully upgrades? Why disincentive the player from building different "types" of cities? (Although if you're taking on Strife for every upgrade I guess you're really just getting off easy when you abandon early...?)
  9. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Structures are like Mines. They exist on the overmap and you can build them whenever (although building one ends your turn). And they take some time to finish, and wanderin' monsters will destroy them.

    I agree actually. Will change that rule to Valor/Grit for each upgrade.
  10. Senator

    Senator Moderator

    Got it. But do monsters destroy Walls as well, then? Having to move around them or at least take an extra couple of turns to destroy them would make more thematic sense.


    You know, one thing that I think many players will hate but that you had in an earlier version of the 1.2 changes still makes sense: Basically, that players earn VP only from destroying nests, not from killing wandering monsters...
  11. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Yeah they'd take a couple turns to destroy them.

    Yeah, I still feel like that's what we should do. Especially since you still get spell cards from attacking monsters.
  12. Dasick

    Dasick Well-Known Member

    The tweaks look interesting. It's hard for me to imagine what the game will actually be like with them, but it does seem like there would be a lot more to do on your turn and around the overmap. Is the unit upgrading system out? Also, I agree with Nacht and Senator about the evergreen difficulty knobs. The system is just not granular enough to keep upping difficulty forever, OR in an even fashion... going from one difficulty level to another can be a huge jump in such a tight system. How about giving a buff as well as a nerf to smooth out the system? Maybe instead of getting strifes, players get additional cards to the deck, say, swap units. On one hand, it's a tactical buff because hey, you start out with 10 of those! on the other hand, it dilutes your deck. Or maybe for each strife card you get from the difficulty metagame, you get a higher max command/max redraw point or something.
  13. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member


    We'll up it as much as we can. If the game reaches a point where it's literally impossible, we'll tell the player that he has MASTERED the game and end his "campaign" right before that point.

    Buff + Nerf isn't gonna happen, I think that entire concept which you find in RPGs is like, madness. If you get a buff and a nerf, is the game even getting harder?
  14. Adycat

    Adycat New Member

    Empire 1.2 does not work on my mac!
    I cannot get past the opening screen, once I got the three emperor cards to choose from but no further.
  15. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Ah I see, you're on the mac version. I'll let our programmers know! By the way, how did you get the mac version?
  16. alastair

    alastair Guest

    I tink there was an update today for android, was that 1.2? Or was my version just really out of date.
  17. Senator

    Senator Moderator

    It was 1.2; I guess they ended up doing much less than Keith had hoped to do.
  18. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Yep it's a much smaller version. Much of this stuff is getting pushed back to 1.3 which will be released in Jan. I'll change the name of the thread.
  19. Senator

    Senator Moderator

    Glad to hear that there's still more to come. Doing things incrementally may be better from a social and marketing point of view anyway.
    keithburgun likes this.
  20. alastair

    alastair Guest

    Dear Kieth, for future updates is it possible to get a version number on the title screen (or options/help screen)? This way it will be easier to tell which version we have!

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