I'd like to start by saying that I really enjoy playing FFH2, and think it adds some great things to Civilization. I'm going to focus mostly on the negatives, though, because the positives don't need changing and talking about them would take too much time. I've played both vanilla FFH and Wild Mana, but I'll try to focus mostly on vanilla FFH in this thread. Maybe I'll make another one discussing the Wild Mana changes. If I don't mention something, it means I think it's fine. I'll try to keep my criticisms general, but my proposed changes are based on how I'd personally like the game to play, or what I'd put into a modmod if I were to make one. If anyone likes any of the ideas I set forth below, they're free to use them in any way they please. Civilizations Overall, I think FFH has too many civilizations, add the modmods that add new civs tend to only compound the problem. FFH has a many "unique features" that various civilizations possess, but they're spread too thinly, making some civilizations feel like they're not doing anything special (Elohim, Malakim, Doviello), and others feel too similar (Ljosalfar/Svartalfar). I'll discuss each civilization and its unique features below. Amurites Arcane Lacuna:: Giving free experience to all your mages is a fine, if uninteresting, worldspell. I don't like the spellcasting prevention part. I often require fireballs or other spells in order to fight an aggressive war, and when the Amurites cast their spell I have to simply sit back and wait for 20 turns. Waiting for 20 turns isn't fun. I think, especially given that this is primarily a single-player game, effects that stop you from doing something should be very carefully regulated. Govannon: Govannon is what defines the Amurite civilization. Unfortunately, he comes too late to really be useful. By the time you've got Arcane Lore, you've got very little use for a ton of level 1 spells, except perhaps as a few free Inspirations. The best use for Govannon is to turn Firebows into high-defense Mages. Firebow: Frankly, I don't like the ability to mass-produce Fireballing units. I also don't like that the best Amurite unit lies quite far down a completely separate tech path than the magic line the Amurites are supposed to go for. Focus on diverse mana: Cave of Ancestors and Govannon both encourage you to have a variety of mana nodes, but the Amurites have no good way of getting this variety. They're exceptionally weak early-game, as they don't get anything special until Bowyers or Arcane Lore, and the fact that they're going to be focusing on one or both of those techs means they don't have a reliable way of expanding their empire to include more mana nodes. A possible solution would be to have them start with more palace mana (mind and enchantment). Overall: I don't think the Amurites are unique enough. I also think that they're forced into an extremely passive, defensive playstyle, defending with archers until they can get enough Firebows to do something useful. What I'd change: I'd allow them to take advantage of spellcasting more early on, and give them more encouragement to go down the magic line rather than the archery line. To this end I'd let them build Adepts without Mage's Guilds. I like the Wild Mana idea of giving Amurite melee and recon units aptitudes for various mana types, giving them a decent early-game provided they get some mana nodes. I'd make Govannon available at Sorcery (perhaps even Divination?), but give him Channeling III only when Strength of Will is researched. A lot of the Amurites' problems are due to the narrowness of most level one spells, which will be discussed later. I'd also merge the Amurite and Sidar civilizations. I'll discuss this in the Sidar section. Balseraphs Loki: Everything about Loki is annoying. His disrupt ability is almost completely useless except when he's stealing a newly built city. This is an incredibly frustrating thing to have happen, and early on, there's very little you can do about it. When you're doing it to the AI, it almost feels like cheating. I once had the AI waste 4 settlers as Loki kept stealing and then razing the city they were trying to build. His Entertain is annoying to micromanage - why can't it work like Inspiration, and stay in the city? It's even more annoying to try and use puppets to keep 2 cities entertained at the same time. Puppets: Unless you're Keelyn, puppets don't really do very much except give you +1 range on all your spells. As either leader, Puppets require an incredible amount of micromanagement. Instead of casting Fireball when you're near a city, you now start by summoning a puppet when you're a few turns away, then moving the puppet closer to the city, then creating another puppet next turn and moving both the puppets, then getting the first puppet to cast Fireball, then moving the fireball next to the city, then getting the fireball to bombard, etc. Basically, what puppets do isn't worth the amount of effort required to get them to do that. Freak: I really like how it starts with Mutated, but it's really very expensive. It's kind of odd to have a unit that can be a warrior (25 hammers) or a pseudo-carnival (90 hammers) for 60 hammers. I'd up it to 4 strength, or reduce its cost to 30 and put a gold cost (40?) on using Freak Show. Its inability to use metals should keep it balanced relative to warriors and axemen. Mimic: Why does it have to be weaker than a Champion? It'd be fine at 6 strength, it would just mean the Balseraphs have a slightly-stronger-than-average melee line. The same goes for Harlequins. Overall: The Balseraphs are a very micromanagement-intensive civilization. Puppets are by far the biggest part of that, but there's also the fact that you have to check your Freaks to see if they're worth keeping, and get your slaves safely back to your civilization. The summoner trait makes it all worse. What I'd change: I'd start by getting rid of Loki and Puppets entirely, and also Keelyn, because she's so much less interesting than Perpentach if Puppets are gone. This leaves the Balseraphs without much going for them, and they can't easily be merged with any other civilization, so I'd have to invent a new mechanic for them to use. I think I'd make them the "culture civilization", with a few things to encourage them to build up a lot of culture. This synergizes quite nicely with the culture from Freak Shows. For example, they could have a Theater replacement which gives all units built in the city +1 EXP for each culture level of the city. They could have an Archer UU which can cast a mini-Hope (+2 culture/turn), a Longbowman that can cast Hope, and a Crossbowman that cast super-Hope (+6 culture/turn, +2 ). They could have a hero that interacts with culture in some way. Bannor Donal Lugh: It's quite annoying that sometimes Donal can Recruit every turn or two (especially fighting the Sheaim), and sometimes he can only Recruit once, and it's pretty much out of your control. Otherwise a fine hero. Crusade: I don't like that the defining feature of the Bannor locks you into going Order, and it prevents you from choosing other civics in the same category, but Wild Mana fixes all of these problems. Overall: I'd say that the Bannor are the most well-designed civ in the game after the Wild Mana changes. They're a bit one-dimensional, going for vast hordes of Demagogs and Crusaders supported by Flagbearers, Confessors and Clerics, but what they do they do well but not too well, and they're free of unnecessary complexity. What I'd change: I'd make it so Donal Lugh has to accumulate 12 charges to regain the ability to cast Recruit. He gains 1 charge from killing a neutral-aligned unit, 2 for killing an evil-aligned unit, and 4 for killing an undead unit. If that's too complex, just make it so he has to kill any 5 units to regain the ability to Recruit. Calabim Vampires: I don't like the idea of a mass-produced unit that can spam summons. Vampires are interesting enough on their own without needing the ability to have a dozen Spectres wipe out the enemy's defenses. Governor's Mansion: This building just gives way too much production. Overall: The Calabim just get way too much bonuses, and they can do it all without having to branch out on the tech tree. Just going for feudalism, they get an insane economy thanks to Financial agristo-farms, insane production thanks to Governor's Mansions, insane melee units thanks to vampires, and three of the most powerful pre-Archmage spells in Haste, Regeneration and Summon Spectre. What I'd change: I don't know the best way to nerf Governor's Mansions, but they'd be weakened significantly. I'd take away Vampires' ability to cast spells. I might give them something else in return, as without overpowered Governor's Mansions and Vampire's the Calabim don't really have much to define them. Perhaps something helping them to grow giant cities. Clan of Embers Goblin: I wish Goblins had more of a role in the Clan strategy than just being early-game Settler escorts and hoping to kill a Wolf. For the Horde: The unpredictability of this world spell makes it really ineffective. You're forced to delete the majority of units you get so as not to be crushed by upkeep costs. Overall: I think the Clan are a reasonably well-designed civ. Their Warrens give them something unique, and Ogres give them something to do once Axemen don't cut it anymore, though they still do drop off a lot after the early game. What I'd change: I'd make Goblins able to upgrade into Warriors and Axemen as well as Wolf Riders. This enables the Clan to run a fairly unique strategy of running 0 science and pumping out 2 Goblins in each city every turn, upgrading them into Axemen. To this end I'd also give Sheelba Ingenuity over Organized. I'd also let Goblins cast a "ride wolf" spell that turned them into a Wolf Rider if they're on the same square as a wolf (say, one captured by a lizardman), destroying the wolf in the process. I'd give them the Doviello's 40% reduction in war weariness to encourage more aggressive play throughout the game. Doviello The War Machine: This comes way too late for a civ focused on early aggression. By the time The War Machine comes around, you've either won or lost, and the hero isn't strong enough to turn the game around single-handedly. Wild Hunt: In FFH a large number of worthless units is still worthless. The mechanics of the spell mean that the Wolves spawned will always be considerably weaker than your existing troops. Forming Wolf Packs alleviates this a little, but they're still not strong enough to do any real damage. Overall: Most of what the Doviello has - Lucian, Beastmen, less war weariness, no production building requirements - is aimed at an early Warrior or Axeman rush towards your nearest neighbor. The problem is, they don't have enough power to do this reliably, and they don't have anything to follow up their early rush. Basically, they don't have anything really interesting, they only do one thing well, and the Clan of Embers does that thing better. What I'd change: This is simple. I'd get rid of the Doviello entirely. Elohim Tolerant: This is a really interesting mechanic, but it doesn't suit the Elohim at all. Tolerant requires aggressive wars; the Elohim specialize in defense. Sanctuary: See my comments on Arcane Lacuna, above, but worse. Sitting around for 30 turns waiting for Sanctuary to end is really boring. Corlindale: An archmage at Fanatacism is powerful, but also kind of out of place. Overall: Being able to see all the Unique Features, Corlindale, monks, and stronger defenses are all kind of nice, but they don't let the civilization do anything special. Tolerant does, but mechanically, it would work better on any one of the other civilizations. What I'd change: I'd remove the Elohim and give Tolerant to another civ. Grigori Agnostic: Denying one civilization access to one of the game's major features doesn't add anything to the game. It simply makes playing the Grigori less fun by reducing your options. Adventurers: I really like the concept, but the mechanics of getting adventurers mean that you can't really use specialists unless you're going to give up on getting many adventurers. Wild Mana alleviates this a bit by having more sources of Adventurer GPPs. Luonnotar: It's weird to have a Druid replacement come at Strength of Will, when Druids require Commune with Nature. Wild Mana makes them come at Religious Law instead, but I think that's worse. If the Grigori are supposed to be agnostic, they should be ignoring the religious tech path. Overall: The Grigori are all about restricting your choices - no religions, don't go for specialists, protect these valuable units. What I'd change: I'd toss out this civilization, as well. I don't think their should be an agnostic civ, and without that, the Grigori flavor of hating gods isn't really sustainable. I'd give Adventurers to another civ that lacks features (I'll cover this later). Hippus Mercenaries: The idea of a civilization which uses mercenaries a lot is cool, but mercenaries come too late for the Hippus. You need either the Guild of the Nine, which is quite far off the mounted units tech path, or Warhorses, which comes very late in the game. Overall: The Hippus are quite a strong, reliable civ to play, but they are kind of bland. I think a lot of their power comes from their ability to pillage well, and the AI's inability to deal with pillaging units. What I'd change: I'd move Magnadine to Stirrups, reducing his power to compensate. I'd like to give the Hippus some interesting non-horse-related ability (probably related to money, to synergize with mercenaries), but I can't think of one off the top of my head. Illians Agnostic: See the section on Agnostic in the Grigori section, above. Wilboman: There are too many generic heroes available at Iron Working. Drifa: Comes too late to be really relevant. Also, why is it a ritual that creates Drifa, rather than just building a unit? Auric Ascended: Given the insane number of hoops you have to go through to get Auric Ascended, it's not worth it just to get a unit that can die to any random warrior with a Godslayer. Samhain/The Deepining/Stasis: These three effects are what most defines the Illians, and they've all got something in common. They're all really annoying. They're all about wasting everyone else's time, by forcing them to build more defensive units and slowing their expansion, by reducing the worthwhile land available for expansion, and by forcing them to sit there and to nothing for 20 turns. Priests of Winter: Snowfall is an interesting ability; Slow and Summon Ice Elemental are just variants on existing spells. Overall: I've said everything I want to about the Illians above. What I'd change: I'd remove the Illians. The ability to have productive cities on snow is worth keeping, Auric Ascended might be too if you got rid of the 50% population loss from The Draw and let Auric know the location of the Godslayer. Infernal/Mercurian I haven't played enough as either of these civs to judge them. I tend to play with Compact Enforced on because these both affect the game in a wildly unpredictable manner. Khazad Can't build mages/archmages: This is similar to the Agnostic issue. If you're going to remove part of the game for a civilization, you ought to have either a replacement, or a good reason for why the civ shouldn't be allowed to do whatever it is you're removing. Making the Khazad unable to use advanced magic simply limits their options. Overall: The Khazad focus mainly on their gold, with a few random perks (Dwarven Druid, Dwarven Shadow, better siege, Battering Rams). It's a good ability, but I think they could use a bit more to define them. What I'd change: After more consideration and reading the feedback of others in this thread, I don't think the Khazad need to be merged with the Luchirup. Kuriotates Overall: I think the Kuriotates are a very interesting and balanced civ. The fact that their military production is limited by their city restrictions forces them to play defensively, but unlike other defensive civs like the Elohim, their large cities let them do something interesting while playing defensively. What I'd change: I'd halve the interval for trait changes using Adaptive. That'd let you do something like switch to Spiritual, build a bunch of temples and disciple units while switching religions around, then go back to your usual civic (i.e. Financial). Currently when you switch your traits, you're stuck with your new choice for a significant part of the game. Lanun Boarding Party: Losing 1 strength in exchange for an often irrelevant ability seems unduly harsh. Guybrush Threepwood: I don't object to the hero concept, but I do object to the name. 99% of the time, FFH is a high-fantasy style game that takes itself and its lore quite seriously. Guybrush and the Stooges kind of wreck this. Most of the best moments in FFH come from the feeling of epicness, say, sending all your forces off to war, only to have Stephanos come in and steal half your empire, before finally being defeated by the level 12 Champion you upgraded from your starting warrior. Having Guybrush Threepwood run in and sing a silly song kind of ruins that. Pirate Coves: The placement restrictions on Pirate Coves means you have to meticulously plan out your current and future city locations before building anything to maximize your Cove placement. I know some people like that kind of thing, but I find it extremely tedious. Overall: The Lanun really are a bit too tied to the coasts. This makes them insanely powerful in Archipelago, and rather bland on Pangaea. The problem is, the AI is deathly afraid of water, and can't really cope with anything but Pangaea. What I'd change: I don't think there's any way of separating the Lanun and their need of water; a Pangaea mapscript that introduces significant amounts of coast via peninsulas and lakes would probably be the best way to balance them (that mapscript probably already exists). I'd simplify the restriction on Coves to "a city can only work 2 Coves at a time", assuming that can be implemented. Finally, I'd rename Guybrush and take away his singing. The Merchant trait from RifE might be interesting for the Lanun. Ljosalfar March of the Trees: It's a decent panic button in the case of an invasion, but I don't like the fact that it completely destroys your economy through a combination of lost food and production from the forests, upkeep costs on the treants, and the time taken to build enough Priests of Leaves to bloom everything back up again afterwards. Overall: The main feature of the Ljosalfar is the Elven ancient forest economy, but the Svartalfar also get that. Having slightly stronger archers is nice, but it's not enough to define a civilization. What I'd change: I think the Svartalfar and Ljosalfar are far too similar to have both in the game. Losing the Ljosalfar means losing Dexterous, but I think archery units are already good enough at what they do (a single commando city defense archer on a hilled city can take out a dozen axemen without breaking a sweat). March of the Trees is kind of interesting but in its current state not too valuable. Gilden, Flurries, and Fydwells aren't anything particularly unique. Luchirup Overall: I haven't gotten around to playing the Luchirup yet, so I can't really comment on them. Malakim Likes deserts: Even though the civ is supposed to be all about deserts, they still can't use deserts for anything productive. Even worse is the fact that they're often thrown into a desert at the start of a game, though to their credit they can at least get out of it quickly. Lightbringer: I like the idea of an early disciple unit that can upgrade to any disciple, but 60 hammers for 2 strength is really harsh. Overall: I think the Malakim are another civilization that does some interesting things, but not enough of them. What I'd change: I'd start by losing the desert-related features and the Citadel of Light (they'll come up again later), and I'd orient them more towards getting a diversity of religions rather than focusing on one state religion (the Lightbringers already kind of encourage this). Sheaim Pyre Zombies: Given how much Fall from Heaven revolves around giant Stacks of Doom, Pyre Zombies are really annoying. It's impossible to attack a Pyre Zombie stack unless your units have 3 movement (or 2 and Commando), as by the time you kill 10 of them your entire stack is dead from recoil. Similarly, a stack of over 10 PZs can wipe out almost anything. Planar Gate: Planar Gates are awesome, I just wish they were worth their immense cost. It also kind of sucks to have to choose between spawning Chaos Marauders and Tar Demons and avoiding Carnivals (not that big of a deal) and Temples of the Veil (rather annoying). Abashi the Black Dragon: Just like all the other dragons, he comes too late to be relevant. What I'd change: I'd reduce the cost of Gates to 200 hammers. I'd change the spawn chance from 6/9/12/15% (depending on AC) to 4/6/8/10% (depending on AC) + 2% for each of the relevant buildings you have in the city. This balances the risk of getting crappy units with the higher chance of getting units. I'd change Pyre Zombies so they deal collateral damage on death to up to 4 units. I'd give them an archmage hero at Arcane Lore in addition to Abashi. Sidar Overall: The two things the Sidar specialize in (sorry), specialists and shades, are really interesting, but they're not enough. Playing the Sidar feels really bland most of the time, especially since your strong specialists and shades do most of their work in the background. Ghosts, Divided Souls and Into the Mist are kind of neat but don't really do all that much, given that the AI doesn't often base their decisions on where your units are anyway. What I'd do: I'd give the Sidar specialists and shades to the Amurites. They synergize very well with the Amurite builder playstyle, magic focus, and Caves of the Ancestors. This could well result in the Amurite/Sidar hybrid being way too strong late-game at the cost of a terrible early game, but my proposed changes to the Amurites are mostly based on strengthening their early-game. Anyway, it might be interesting to have a civ that can come back from a poor start to actually challenge you late-game. Rathus Denmora could be given to the Balseraphs to replace or supplement Loki. Svartalfar Strong recon units: I think it's a good idea to have a civ that focuses on the often-neglected recon line, but I wish there was more here than just +1 strength. What I'd change: As mentioned before, I'd combine them with the Ljosalfar. I'll discuss the details later. New Civilizations Some of my proposed changes would result in creating civilizations that, while not having many features not already present in the game, would be fairly distinct from any existing civilizations. I'll describe them below. They could be given some more unique units taken from the civs I advocate removing, it's kind of arbitrary. Ljosalfar Leaders: Arendel (Good), Thessa (Neutral), Faeryl Viconia (Neutral). Amelanchier's defender/raiders never made much sense to me. Faeryl's made neutral because the Ljosalfar aren't an evil civ. Flavor: I'd keep the Ljosalfar flavor, as the Svartalfar don't make much sense without the Ljosalfar for contrast. I think the Svartalfar mechanics are stronger, though, so the new civ would focus mostly on that. Elvish Lore: Gives all recon units a free Combat 1 promotion. Gives all captured animal and beast units the March promotion. Removes maintenance costs on animal and beast units. Justification: The most interesting thing recon units can do is capture animals. Unfortunately, animals simply aren't very useful in combat. You have to pay maintenance for them while they go back to your territory and heal up, then you have to bring them back to the front lines (they mostly have 1 movement compared to 2 for recon units), then they're fairly weak in combat and can't pillage. Elvish Lore (there's got to be a better name, but I can't think of one) lets you overrun your enemies with a horde of lions, tigers, and gorillas, and that's pretty epic. Combat 1 instead of +1 strength means you can get Subdue Animal that much faster, gives almost +1 strength on Hunters, and gives more on Rangers and Beastmasters. Hero: Alazkan the Assassin: He might need to be reflavored a bit, but he's a much cooler hero than Gilden. Nyxkin: Same as the Svartalfar one. It's just cooler than Fyrdwells. Flurry: Because they're elves, dammit, and they have to have something special in the archery line. Worldspell: Veil of Night: It's a unique effect, and it's a lot more interesting than March of the Trees. Can build in forests: Because that's really the whole point of the civ. Malakim Leaders: Varn Gosam (Spiritual, Creative(Adaptive)), Decius (Organized/Raiders). Flavor: The Malakim would still be tribal nomads, but they'd lose their desert focus. They'd gain more of a focus on accepting all the religions as being valuable without needing to believe in one to the exclusion of all others. Diverse: The Malakim can tolerate many competing world views. Units do not abandon them due to religious or alignment conflicts, nor require specific religions/alignments to be built (they still need the right religion to be present in the city, and of course the temple). Because of their diversity, the Malakim cannot choose a state religion and thus cannot choose the Theocracy civic (the loss of happiness here makes up for the free Incense). Malakim Palace: Provides 1 Life Mana, 1 Sun Mana, 1 Incense. Lightbringer: As before, but with 3 strength. Religious Fervor: For each city you own, gain a priest (or, for Esus, an assassin) of a random religion present in that city. Each of those priests gains 1 EXP for each city in the world with its religion. Justification: It's quite a powerful world spell, but that makes up for the Malakim's other weaknesses. I think it's better than the existing world spell because a diversity of priests is better than having lots of the same kind. Hero: None. Diverse gives them them the potential to have a ton of heroes already. Ascent to Divinity: Ritual, available at Divine Essence costs 1200 hammers. Requires you to control every Holy City. Causes all civs to declare war on you when you start building it. Wins you the game when you finish. This isn't really a necessary feature of the civ, but it would be kind of neat as a replacement for Auric Ascended. Overall: This would allow the Malakim to employ a unique multi-religious strategy, while still giving them a fair bit of power if they stick to one religion via Desert Shrines (rename to Tribal Shrine?) and their World Spell. Doviello This civilization has very little in common with the Doviello mechanically, but the game really needs a "hardly warriors of the frozen northlands" civ, and this fits quite nicely. Also, it's easier to take the art resources of a removed civ than to find new art. Leaders: One Industrious/Aggressive, one Organized/Charismatic. Conqueror: Same as the Elohim's 'Tolerant' Adventurers: Same as the Grigori's. World Spell: Ardor. Unique Units: All the Doviello unique units, but without Lucian or the War Machine. Survivalism: This civilization is able to thrive in even the coldest environments: Tundra gives 1 Food, 1 Hammer. Snow gives 2 Food (+1 Gold next to river). Overall: Basically, it's a civ that can conquer things reasonably well thanks to Adventurers, make use of their conquests well with Tolerant, and expand even more on their own thanks to Survivalism. Continued on page 2 because I've hit the character limit.