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A comprehensive criticism of FFH2

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Fall from Heaven' started by ProkhorZakharov, Jul 1, 2010.

  1. ProkhorZakharov

    ProkhorZakharov Chieftain

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    The guy who doesn't like religions (or just wants to play without religions this one game) can do that regardless of whether or not the Grigori can use religions. The guy who likes religions can play with religions as any other civ regardless of whether or not the Grigori can use religions. The guy who wants a buch of heroic Priors running around converting things is out of luck, though, because the Grigori can't use religions. Magic and the Khazad is the same issue, but less pronounced. Ultimately, it comes down to whether the Grigori flavor is worth losing out on some possible strategies. I personally, don't think it is (though sometimes flavor is worth losing out on mechanics) - Cassiel's single-minded, snobbish militancy really annoys me, and I'm no fan of any gods myself. In any case, I'm proposing abolishing the Grigori, and giving their adventurers to another civ. Under those circumstances, I don't think any other civ should have the Agnostic trait. As for the Khazad, the inability to use magic isn't really a fundamental part of their flavor. In fact, I've played a full game with the Khazad, and only realized they couldn't use mages when looking them up to write this thread.
     
  2. ProkhorZakharov

    ProkhorZakharov Chieftain

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    I've updated the OP to include the civilizations from the Lanun onwards. I've also edited some parts of my earlier criticism; those parts are underlined.
     
  3. Jabie

    Jabie Wanted in Monte Carlo...

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    Intersting post.

    Some of the gameplay is influenced by the Lore. Grigori are concerned with self-determination. They don't hate the Gods, they'd just prefer self-reliance (If you want a nation that hates the Gods try the Mechanos in RifE / Orbis) The Grigori play different to other civs. You can't use religion, so will have to change your tactics if you normally rely on religion. Same with the Khazad and magic. Same, for that matter, with the Kuriotates. Each Civilisation has different strengths and weaknesses, making each game experience different. That's far more fun than having one Unique Unit and one Unique Building like in basic Civ.

    The learning curve is steep, but most players should have the basics on Civ IV down to pat anyway. In addition, the new scenarios are amongst the best places to start for learning some of the FfH nuances. The Cave of Ordeals quickly gets the player up to speed with magic usage, Grand Menagerie teaches Animal Hunting and the first scenario in the Decius chain is a great scenario which teaches players some of the basics, but gives them enough guidance and attainable goals to get on with it.
     
  4. DaveGold

    DaveGold Emperor

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    When some strategies are removed you have to develop new strategies. I personally find that interesting. For example, if you're a Grigori player who can see Loki nearby you've got an immediate problem of how to generate culture in a newly built city, a problem usually solved by religions.
     
  5. Nikis-Knight

    Nikis-Knight Deity

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    Not really. Playing without a religion as a normal civ is intentionally handicaping your self. Playing without one as a civ designed around that puts you on a level playing field.
    He's not out of luck; he's out one civ out of 19, and so long as he is clearly informed of the major changes (something sometimes lacking, but not as bad now), will know to approach the Grigori differently, or not at all.
     
  6. Valkrionn

    Valkrionn The Hamster King

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    And once again... Your argument is based on every player liking every civilization.

    There is no need for every strategy to work on every civ. In fact, that is a large part of FfH's draw for me; Each civilization plays differently, each civilization must be adapted to.

    I'm also not sure where you get "Cassiel's single-minded, snobbish militancy" from... The lore states that the Grigori ideal would be a land-owning yeoman, serving in a militia. There would be a very small standing army, Cassiel simply teaches men to rely on themselves rather than so-called 'gods'.
     
  7. Valkrionn

    Valkrionn The Hamster King

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    First off: With your objections on Guybrush, you'd like Iceciro's module. :lol: Removes all outside references like that. Personally, I like them; See the "Shard of Strength/Wisdom/Courage", and the item they combine into, in RifE.

    Keep in mind, Pirate coves can be very strong. Personally, I'm okay with limited placement... And since you can set a distance requirement in the XML in RifE, it's used more commonly.

    A pangaea like that would be ErebusContinent; Check the modmods forum, or the maps folders with RifE and Wild Mana, it ships with both.

    It would be problematic to design the cove limit you prefer, I think; Possible, but to get it working right might cause issues.

    And the Merchant trait would be rather strong... The Lanun do not need extra food.

    I disagree here, but to each their own.

    I'm of the opinion that the two elven civs are tied together (as they should be), but play quite differently.

    My only complaint is that your units can be outclassed fairly quickly; Golems cannot be promoted. The RifE team has a few ideas for them, but hasn't done anything yet.

    Or you could stick to the current features and enhance them. :lol:

    Malakim+ gave them valid reasons to want to live in the desert. They receive less unhealth from floodplains, are able to create Oases (one per city), receive food from trade, a special assassin that is very strong but only invisible in the desert, and the Bedouin Sit improvement line, which allows them to develop a cottage-like improvement that will provide enough food to support the population working it.


    Your Pyre Zombie suggestion has been in FF (and thus, RifE) for several months, if not over a year. It's obviously one I agree with. :lol:

    RifE has done a bit here in 1.3 as well, mostly with Planar Gates; We've added a new 'basic' gate spawn, made it cheaper/earlier, created a display for the spawn chance, and rather than modify the spawn chance based on buildings... We modify the spawn chance based on the amount of hell terrain around a city. More hell, more spawns. Makes it quite worthwhile to destroy the world now. :lol:

    Also planning to add two more summons.... Just need to get around to it. And I wouldn't give them an Archmage hero, I'd give them a Mage hero that can upgrade. Again, not gotten around to it.

    Not going to spend much time replying to this one, just read this: http://greyfox.me/rife/blog/2010/07/01/city-actions-and-the-sidar-revamp/

    Some of the newest changes we've made. ;)

    Again, I think the two elven civs are unique enough.

    I really dislike the idea of combining/removing civs, but I'll answer each one as critically as I can.

    Technically, they'd be the Alfar, as Ljos and Svart are names for two factions of the once-united race.

    So essentially, this is just the svartalfar. In that case, my question is this: Why not simply give your "Elven Lore" trait to the Svarts?

    This is actually not a bad idea. It even sticks (fairly) close to the lore. However, I still prefer my implementation. It stuck even closer. :lol;

    This is basically a tolerant Grigori that gains bonuses in various terrains and is not agnostic.

    Admittedly, tolerant Grigori is fun: When I play them, I play Esirce in RifE, who is tolerant. The rest, though, I just do not agree with; I love the lore behind the Grigori, and this destroys it.

    Also, random races are only (really) in Wild Mana. RifE will have Refugees with random racials, but that's it... I see that mechanic as fairly annoying, as you never know quite what you're going to get, and occasionally may WANT the Grigori unit.
     
  8. JonathanStrange

    JonathanStrange PrinceWithA1000Enemies

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    Regarding most of the suggested changes to various civilizations: I'm glad the major changes are over! :)

    Some (many?) of the changes seem too specific to one person's ideal of how the game or the civilization should play. For example, the Ljosalfar leader Amelanchier's defender/raiders makes sense for a leader who's a touch xenophobic (I call him "territorial" myself) and willing and able to send pillaging raiders into another's lands while benefitting from fighting on his own turf. Changing that is wrong. Gilden Silveric is boring and uncool? Do not forget it was he who killed the Red Demon whom even Yvain feared to face.

    It's all moot now of course. We all can set up the parameters of a game just the way we like it. I've been experimenting with different Elven or Pirate graphics 'cause I'm not a fan of the Elven graphics (wbut that's all just personal preference.

    Anyone who gets the AI to use fleets that assemble, protect transports, and invade? My hat's off to along with a thousand doubloons.

    Anyone who can make the AI seem like it "has a plan" (and I don't mean in the Battlestar Galactica/ Lost "make it up as you go along" way), a hundred free mana nodes to you.
     
  9. Valkrionn

    Valkrionn The Hamster King

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    I disagree on your points about Amelanchier: Changing him as a leader while maintaining his xenophobia is fine. We're planning on changing his leader status (if you aren't aware of what that means, RifE has three 'levels' of leader), while preserving his xenophobic nature.
     
  10. ProkhorZakharov

    ProkhorZakharov Chieftain

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    A lot of people have been commenting on the lore. To me, the specifics of the lore aren't really important, what is important is the general feel of the game. This comes out through playing the game normally, not from reading the stories in the civiliopedia. I know that's not the case for many people. I should have made this more clear (I'll put it into the OP), but my "What I'd change" is more about making a modmod than about changing the game itself. My proposed changes have a very different purpose to those of RifE or Orbis; I want there to be as much interesting stuff as possible in a single game of FFH, by allowing each individual civs to do more interesting things, while still keeping the complexity of the game as a whole in check. RifE wants there to be as much interesting stuff as possible in the game as a whole, by adding many new features to existing civs and adding in even more civs on top of that.


    Yeah, I absolutely agree with limitations on Coves. It's just the implementation I have a problem with.

    Good point. They could get hammers instead, maybe, or simply more gold. The Lanun are pretty strong already, any buffs they get would have to be counterbalanced by buffs to other civs or nerfs to Pirate Coves.

    Yeah, I read through the Malakim+ entry on the RifE wiki, and it's an interesting way of doing it. I'd personally prefer to have one civ that's strong in all terrain than to have one that's strong in desert, another for ice, another for tundra, and another for marsh. I feel that the mechanic of "this unit is strong in this situation (e.g. desert), and weak in other situations" is a very risky mechanic to use. It often results in a unit being overpowered half the time and underpowered the rest of the time, meaning you've never got the close fights that make games so exciting. It can work, though, if you can give the player enough control over when the unit is and isn't strong (e.g. through Scorch), so I'd have to see it in play to judge it.


    That's an interesting approach. I'm not personally a fan of Hidden Lands, due to its complexity, but it's appropriate for RifE. You make a good point about Shades; I've found it very difficult to play Sidar because Waning cripples my army. I'd go for the simpler alternative of letting units Wane once and then losing the ability to Wane, though there's probably balance issues there if you give them that huge buff and then merge them with the Amurites.


    That's basically what I'm doing; it's just that I don't think the Svartalfar flavor stands on its own very well. People don't expect Elves to be sneaky and evil. The presence of the Ljosalfar gives a good explanation of that; the Elves split into two civilizations, one good, one evil. Without the Ljosalfar you're just left with evil Elves, and that's rather counter-intuitive.


    That's a good point. I originally thought it was a good idea because sometimes you'd get an Elven worker that can work forest tiles, but in retrospect that'd probably diminish the uniqueness of the Elves and be too luck-based. It's kind of interesting for flavor but not worth the complexity.
     
  11. Valkrionn

    Valkrionn The Hamster King

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    Yeah. There's just not really a better way to do it; It's either worse than the current implementation, or takes a LOT more code to accomplish.

    I don't really think they need anything more for their trade... Though I'll be giving them a different mechanic, when the Aquatic races are added. ;)

    I can agree that it's risky... But it also lends a lot of variety. Terrains that are usually bad become good. In and of itself, it's not enough. But combined with other features? It can work well.

    Right now Malakim land becomes desert automatically in both RifE and Wild Mana, but that's likely to change in RifE version 1.4.

    I don't find it too complex, not when it is essentially the main feature the civ has. The coding is actually pretty easy.

    I just dislike the original Shading altogether honestly.

    My argument is just that I think both civs are unique. They have very different playstyles... All that is similar is you'll be in forests.

    Yeah. Your last statement is exactly how I feel about it. That's why in RifE it is relegated to a minor feature on a single unit. One that you don't even build. :lol:
     
  12. ProkhorZakharov

    ProkhorZakharov Chieftain

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    Would it be possible for a mod to move this post to follow my original post?

    Religions

    I'll cover the religious civics later on in the "civics" section.

    Ashen Veil

    Demon's Altar: I don't think the Sacrifice ability really does that much. It's almost never worth focusing on the Sacrifice ability specifically, it's just a slightly better alternative to deleting units if they happen to nearby. I especially disagree with the Wild Mana change of requiring a unit to be level 2 or higher to be Sacrificed.

    Sacrifice the Weak: I really like the idea of this civic as a whole. I think the -20% GPP, +10% gold, +10% science is unnecessary, though. It's not really a positive or a negative, and it doesn't really change how you play.

    Overall: I think the AV are quite a balanced, well designed religion. They offer a lot of neat combos that make the player feel smart for discovering them, such as *SPOILERS* Diseased Corpses/Ritualist, Infernal Grimoire Malevolent Designs rush, Sacrifice the Weak with Slavery or Conquest (but not both! I learned that to my peril.) *END SPOILERS*.

    What I'd change: I'd make Sacrifice give 20 + level^2 beakers, rather than 10 + level^2. I'd get rid of the miscellaneous penalties and bonuses on StW.


    Octopus Overlords

    Asylum/Lunatic: Asylums are rather expensive. The +1 :mad: and 10% chance of any built in that city starting with Enraged pretty much cancels out the +15% science, +1 GPP and -25% war weariness, meaning you're building Asylums just for Lunatics. The problem is, Lunatics are just weak, unreliable Stygian Guards.

    Stygian Guard: These guys are just like Crusaders and Paramanders, except they can use metals. It means they pretty much overshadow Champions, seeing as they both cost 120 hammers, Stygians have a much more useful prerequisite building, and Stygians have 1 more Strength.

    Hemah: Hastur's Razor just seems like a very narrow, weak ability to give to such an expensive hero. She's obviously strong enough, as an Arcane Lore archmage hero, but I'd like to see her have a more interesting ability.

    Overall: The Octopus Overlords don't have much of a focus. They do a bunch of good stuff, but you rarely say "I'm going to go OO because I want to do blah". You say "well, I'm near a bunch of water, and I don't really need any other religion, so I might as well go OO". Also, I don't really like the name "Octopus Overlords", they're not worshiping actual octopi, and it just sounds silly. Something like "Cult of the Old Ones" (thanks Vakrionn) would be more flavorful, but that might infringe on copyrights.

    What I'd change: I'd make the OO (CotOO) focus more on Lunatics. I'd remove the ability of the Stygian Guards to use metals, bringing them in line with other "crusader" units, and give them Mutated. I'd remove both the drawbacks from Asylums, and make it so any unit in a city with an Asylum can't get Enraged (that's already been implemented in another mod). I'd increase the strength of Lunatics to 8/4 (from 7/4). This would give the OO a focus on unpredictable, wanton destruction; Lunatics attack anything that moves while Cultists smash up improvements.


    Council of Esus

    Overall: I think the Council's status as a pseudo-religion makes them really messy and overly complicated. If you join CoE, some things say you're in it, and other things say you're not.

    What I'd change: I'd make the Council a proper religion. It would still function in largely the same way as it does now. I'd give them the Svartalfar kidnap ability, as I feel it makes more sense for the Council than it does for the Elves, and the Council are slightly lacking in interesting things to do.


    Fellowship of Leaves

    Fawns: They're like Axemen, except they cost 50% more, can't use metals, and can't pillage. They're a bit faster, that's something, I guess.

    Guardian of Nature: +1 :) per forest is ridiculous. I support the Wild Mana change reducing it to 0.25 :).

    Overall: The Fellowship seems, mechanically, to be a bit too closely tied to the Elves. Ancient Forested Cottages, Farms and Mines are great. Ancient forests themselves are pretty weak.

    What I'd change: I'd make Fawns into Hunters that start with Woodsman I and don't get the -20% city attack penalty. This makes it much easier for them to get to level 4 in order to become Satyrs, and makes them actually worth building over Hunters. I'd allow Priests of the Leaves to cast Bloom on top of an existing improvement. This lets all civs following Fellowship eventually get an Ancient Forest economy going, but much more slowly than the Elves can.


    Runes of Kilmorph

    Overall: Runes of Kilmorph is a fairly well-balanced religion. Nothing they do is especially exciting, but they fill their role.

    What I'd change: I think Paramanders could use something to distinguish them from Crusaders and Champions, but I can't think of what that would be.


    The Empyrean

    Chalid Astrakein: This guy is absurd, or rather, Pillar of Fire and Crown of Brilliance are absurd.

    Radiant Guard/Ratha: I don't like the Blinding Light spell (I'll explain why in the spells section). I especially don't like having large numbers of highly mobile Blinding Light casters supported by Vicars who can take out any assassins you send to try and stop them.

    Vicar: Revelation would make more sense as a passive effect than as an active spell, although the Wild Mana auto-cast system more or less makes this a moot point.

    What I'd change: I think The Empyrean, mechanically, needs to be overhauled completely. I'd replace their current truth-and-justice focus with a truth-and-knowledge focus based on magic. I'll describe it below.


    The Order

    Basilica: 200 hammers is absurdly expensive compared to the 60 hammers required of a courthouse. +1 commander GPP isn't worth the extra 140 hammers, especially considering commander's aren't even very good Great People.

    Prior: Your high priest units shouldn't be sitting around in cities oppressing the populace, they should be out on the battlefield stealing units with their awesome Command IV.

    Overall: The Order seem a little unfocused. They've got a bunch of useful things, but nothing that really stands out and makes you say "I want to go Order".

    What I'd change: I'd make Order a religion with a focus on going out and conquering or settling a lot of cities, and spreading the Order to all of them. I'd reduce Basilicas to 90 hammers. I'd make Social Order give a 30% reduction in city maintenance due to number of cities. I'd replace Unyielding Order with another spell, but I can't think of one.


    New Empyrean

    Flavor: An order of mage-scholars dedicated to finding eternal truth.

    Dies Diei: Same as before.

    Temple of the Empyrean: As before, but also allows the building of Adepts. Gives +10% science instead of +10% production.

    Vicar: Level 4+ Adepts can upgrade to Vicars, if they do they retain their normal arcane spellcasting abilities as well as divine spellcasting.

    Luridus: Level 6+ Mages or Vicars can upgrade to Luridi.

    Radiant Guard: Can cast Sanctify, not Blinding Light.

    Ratha: Can cast Scorch, not Blinding Light.

    Revelation: Deals 30% (max 100%) damage to all summoned units within 3 tiles as well as revealing invisible units and removing Hidden Nationality in that radius.

    Crown of Brilliance: Deals 20% (max 40%) damage to all units in adjacent tiles. Destroys all summoned units in adjacent tiles. Grants all units in adjacent tiles the Silenced promotion (can be resisted, +20%): Cannot cast spells, wears off at the end of the owner's turn.

    Pillar of Fire: Deals 30% (max 90%) damage to all units, allied or enemy, except Chalid, within 2 tiles (including Chalid's tile). Allied units not in this area cannot move into this area this turn. Basically, this retains the power of the Pillar, but also introduces a corresponding risk. You have to either accept that your own units are going to be damaged, or leave Chalid on his own, or bring plenty of healers.
     
  13. Valkrionn

    Valkrionn The Hamster King

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    I'd like to point out that since not all religions have a civic, the religious civics need to be weighed with the religions. Not the merits of it as a civic, particularly, but the effects it has if you go with that religion definitely.

    I have honestly never used Demon's Altar for the sacrifice. I don't think it's a core mechanic, just meant to add a bit of flavor, so probably fine as it is.

    In RifE, following AV grants access to an expensive ritual (which destroys the city it is completed in) which sets you at peace with the Demonic barbarian faction. Helps make up for the fact that hell can and will spread into your territory, and spawn demons.

    One thing: Hemah is male. He may also be Danalin's avatar. :mischief:

    For the rest:

    • I agree (mostly) on the Asylum. I think a stronger Lunatic would fix that for the most part though.
    • Stygians use metals because they otherwise are lacking compared to Crusaders and the other religious T3 units.
    • Cult of Cthulhu is just wrong to me; It's not Cthulhu. I'd go with "Old Ones"
    Personally, I'd remove any tie to demons and explicit evil, and make it chaotic. Like you, an emphasis on Lunatics. RifE already has a Law-Chaos alignment axis, so it would work well. Hell, it's even planned. :lol:
     
  14. ProkhorZakharov

    ProkhorZakharov Chieftain

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    Even without metals the only difference between Stygians and Crusaders/Paramanders is that they lose medic 1 and demon slaying in exchange for water walking, and are demon instead of human. Making them start with Mutated could be interesting, and fits the chaos theme. I agree on the name.
     
  15. Valkrionn

    Valkrionn The Hamster King

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    I'd remove demon rather than metals (make them more like better Drowns, rather than Demons), and start mutated with a Legendary Mutation (see the RifE blog for details on our mutation changes; Legendary Mutations are just special promotions).
     
  16. ProkhorZakharov

    ProkhorZakharov Chieftain

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    Added more religions from FoL onwards.
     
  17. Sephi

    Sephi Deity

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    The key features of Wild Mana are improved AI and faster turns. New features are just part of the deal but many can be cancelled via gameoption. If you have the energy, go ahead and try to make the AI better by cutting some features/civs from the game. I doubt that will work but I'd love to see what you come up with.
     
  18. Valkrionn

    Valkrionn The Hamster King

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    Honestly, I like CoE as a 'hidden' religion, but it doesn't really work. What we are planning to do in RifE is make it a Cult.

    Basically, what this means is it will be both Religion (Cult of Esus) and Guild (Council of Esus), that move hand in hand. They can and will spread independently of each other, but when the two are combined you will receive the most benefits.

    Of course, this relies on our plans to remake guilds: You will have guild "categories", only one guild of each category may be active for your civilization, and guilds function as lesser civilizations; Each one brings several UU's and UB's, as well as allowing various Equipment promotions to be purchased.

    In RifE, the Fawn is 2/3, Woodsman 1 + 2, no city attack penalty, 75% withdrawal, and Mind 2 (Charm). Not very strong, but still useful.

    On Guardian of Nature, the change you mention was made in FF first, so it's in RifE as well. Didn't go as low as WM, however. Forests/Jungle/Kelp (aquatic feature) grant 0.5 :), Ancient Forest and Kelp Forest (AF version of Kelp) grant 0.75 :). With the Kelp Forest, the Lanun actually get a good use out of FoL. ;)

    I agree that it's a bit too closely tied, but we plan to change it slightly differently. Rather than focus on Bloom, your workers under FoL will gain a new build order (easy now; We can add build orders via promotion) for an Orchard improvement. Will be able to work a few new fruit resources, and will be buildable in all forests; This, and the Camp/Yaranga improvements will be enough IMO.

    RoK is generally my first religion. Depending on the civ I may switch out, or I may not.

    Paramanders could gain something based on metals/gems; I'm not sure what, though.

    In RifE, he only has Crown of Flames.

    As for the rest of Empy... It's too war-based. In the lore, it is a peaceful, tolerant religion, that is just hard to represent in game. I'm thinking some kind of city-effect promo (In FF and RifE, units can grant various effects like happiness, culture, gold, etc, to cities within X range) on one of their units would be good; Probably remove the Rathas.

    Personally, I like Order. Granted, Great Commanders are far better in RifE, thanks to FF.

    I like your revised Crown of Flames and Pillar of Fire, but the rest isn't in keeping with the lore so I wouldn't go for it. Already described my personal preferences above.
     
  19. Tielby

    Tielby Prince

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    The "Tip" that is relevant to this explains that their value comes from the fact that no building is needed to build them. (Funny that I keep referring to the "Tips".)

    Yeah, this is exactly the reason I avoid FoL (unless I'm elves) unless and until I have lumbermills built everywhere I want them. Ancient forest without lumbermills < forests with lumbermills, IMHO.



    I think that is a great idea!
     
  20. DaveGold

    DaveGold Emperor

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    Fawns promote to satyrs and the satyrs are potential game winners. They're one of the many features that the AI fails to use and you need to explore the game as a player to find them.

    Paramanders and crusaders are disciple units instead of melee units which provides a few differences from champions. One difference in play is that they don't use weapons, which seems like a disadvantage until your enemies start casting rust every time you approach their cities.

    You shouldn't forget that lunatics can be researched far earlier than stygian guards and have a few other perks, such as collateral damage and being upgraded from slaves. Like many other units they can be game winners when used early and poor when used late. Loyalty should perhaps still give some benefit in controlling enraged units, although perhaps not removing the risk entirely.
     

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