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[B]Aging and experience[/B]

Discussion in 'FfH2 Modmods, Scenarios, and Maps' started by Rainbow Sand, May 9, 2010.

  1. Rainbow Sand

    Rainbow Sand Chieftain

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    As "unit age" variable had been added in some modmodmods, where it is primarily (and possibly only) used for jotnar unipromos, i had initially suggested that mortal units shall die from old age, offended by the free-for-all immortality inherent from vanilla Civ (where warrior sent on auto-explore sometimes wandered for millenias), which had become even more striking with the "human swordsman, 348 years" on longer gamelengths. That proposition was declined for the reason of gameplay "inconvenience" - as the need to replace dying units and risks of sudden deaths of units in the key positions. I believe that main unspoken reason was that of a simple greed and fear of loss of preciouss 2k xp unit raised to these humongous proportions by countless reloads after each of its deaths. As i see now, my proposal was flawed, so a little excource into "fantasy" history and unit composition i had taken shall reveal why.

    First, "humongster steamroll" is not existant in any "serious" fantasy warfare writings among the authors of which i count JRRT, R. Howard and R.A. Salvatore. Dragon succeeds in sudden attack on dwarven stronghold which narrow tunnels combined with his fire breath grant him enormous advantage but falls to single archer with enchanted arrow, a huge hyena statue possessed by the chaos power first tricked into stomping allied army then disabled by being cut from its supporting mages acts as a liability instead of "game-ender" and almost invulnerable demons are being banished by drow and humans, so they amass a mortal armies in order to cause havoc more substantial than a minor distress from their unseemly visage.

    Second, ascendancy of tiny mortal warrior to demigod proportions is something i have not encountered in anything "serious" i read. Its either he/she/it a demigod or hero by a heritage and/or a deity's chosen, possessed/merged by/with power or is a simple mortal who by persistant hardships, trials and survival earns/wrestles some favour and empowerment, which rises him above others as, let's say, berserker or a paladin. Still aging, and still mortal by the sword.

    And third, as any troop is composed from the many beings who differ in the aptitude, personal experience, equipment, personalities etc, it is impossible for any troop to maintain the same (ever-increasing) efficiency level all the time. Soldiers die, retire, get wounded or crippled, break their armament, loot better one, achieve new feats of valor, learn from others, grow weak from slacking in backwater garrisons, absorb residual power from slain monstrosities, train, do many other things.

    A legendary human archer unit (drafted from peasantry) who with crude weapons massacres hordes of goblins, orks, troll giants, ghosts and elementals in a single battle... well... "hilarious" is the word.

    So the experience level of a unit is an ever-fluctuating value which never rises far beyond an average cap for its consistence type (goblins can never achieve the same heights of archery as elves or melee combat as humans and so on) and swiftly drops from removal of veterans - also because the education of novices does suffer.

    There was my quite detailed proposal about dividing promos into "achievable" - auto-assigned after certain combat events and "trainable" - selected after training at facilities - buried somewhere in FfH forum.

    And so, at last, my "age and experience" proposition:
    - after some bloody carnage when mortal unit had been slaughtered to some 4% strength, its exp level should drop not rise (preventing btw those situations when an attacking stack dies completely leaving a few heavily wounded survivors from the city garrison and next turn they're ultra-promoted full-staffed elite corps);
    - after mortal unit had reached vicinity of his composing race lifespan its experience level should steadily decline because of veteran retirement and possibly stop dropping only at maximum possible starting exp level for a new-built same type unit;
    - "immortality" should be differentiated from "rebirth" because by definition immortality is an inability to die from old age in safe environment (vampires are "immortal" but quite and finitely killable, while phoenix ages and dies quite often but reborn after its death - although the very "phoenix" thing looks cheesy) and "immortality" promotion should be split into itself that should prevent xp drop from aging and good old "resurrection" spell.
    - and yes, xp loss should lead to demotion.


    In psychological aspect, realisation that xp is fleeting should alleviate that "AAA my doomsday ultramegaspearman had died AAA reload/worldbuilder" syndrome.
     
  2. Rainbow Sand

    Rainbow Sand Chieftain

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    The whole "healing" civ system as it is is applicable only to the single being unit; whether there is more than one as it is in those warrior and archer troops this natural/accelerated regeneration does not works, because of some soldiers quite dead. The 'realistic' in-game representation of that for many-figured units:
    - unit can be restored to full strength by "resurrection" effect, retaining its experience
    - unit can be 'merged' with another same type unit with resulting exp calculated by formula "result exp = reinforcement unit exp + ('wounded' unit exp)*(its hp %)"
    - unit can be 'retrained' by deleting that unit if it is within city building same type unit and adding larger xp amount to the newly-built one.

    That should enhance the significance of a special one-figure units as heroes and monsters and allow to lower their stats in order to reduce "single unit steamroll".
     
  3. Valkrionn

    Valkrionn The Hamster King

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    No, the issue was not 'simple greed', and it is not safe to assume 'countless reloads' as many (myself included) refuse to reload to save a unit.

    The issue is flatout data overload. By the end of the game, you can have hundreds of units, sometimes in just a single stack. Adding a system like this forces you to check their ages individually, trying to figure out who will be your best bet NOW and who will keep his new xp the LONGEST.

    Another issue with your proposition; How do you decide which promotions are lost? That would be a massively complex function, and slow the game considerably. It would have to be nearly as detailed as the code telling the AI what to promote to next.

    It is simply too much for Civ4. Wait for Civ5, with it's One Unit Per Tile requirement.... You may well find that modders decide that with that system in place, unit aging is worth the micro that it brings.
     
  4. Seven05

    Seven05 Warmonger

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    Promotions are a game mechanic that allows the players some degree of customization of their units. Promotions are a game mechanic that rewards the player for not sending all of their units to their deaths in hopeless fights and adds a consequence to your descision to sacrifice them.

    Civ4 and any mod based on it is simply too abstract to focus on such small details as attrition rates for individual units.

    If the worldbuilder and reloading saves bothers you so much, don't use/do it. :)
     
  5. Neomega

    Neomega Deity

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    Military units gain experience, even after losses, because the survivors are battle hardened, and learn things, to pass on to the green guys. A unit is immortal, because a unit is not one guy, it is a command structure and a military tradition that passes from officer to officer as officers retire or die.
     
  6. [to_xp]Gekko

    [to_xp]Gekko QCT junkie

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    /thread :D
     
  7. Till

    Till Adventurer

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    It's not enough for a proposed mechanism to be "realistic", it needs to be fun as well.

    And this sounds like it would actually eliminate a lot of fun and drama. Fretting over whether or not to soften up an enemy with fodder, or risking the elite troops, which you have nutured since the beginning of the game, is a fundamental part of the combat experience for me.

    Maybe you disagree, but even then, what business is it of yours if people chose to reload/worldbuild? They can't do that in multiplayer, so why try to dictate them how they ought to enjoy the game?
     
  8. PPQ_Purple

    PPQ_Purple Techpriest Engineer

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    We have plenty of examples of real life immortal units lasting for centuries. Take any country in the world that has lasted uninterrupted for centuries and check out the names of its combat formations and their heraldry.

    This is especially true with units in a fantasy settings where a group of battle hardened personnel would presumably be replaced not by some strange newbs but by their children or apprentices who they would teach everything about war.

    Also, many of the promotions (shock, cover etc.) could actually represent weapons and equipment that the unit has been given. A flanking 1 and 2 horseman could be explained in that he has a special breed of horse meant for running fast and a Formation 1 axeman unit might actually have a few pikes thrown in between.
     
  9. Evalis

    Evalis Prince

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    Besides all the arguments to support not having your units simply die on you, you are forgetting something massively important - Civ4 uses 'turns' which don't necessarily translate into years. In fact the world editor includes an option to modify turns to function as months. A campaign that lasts 40 turns in which all your human units die off is neither realistic nor fun. Just assume each turn is a month or a week or something and you'll find emersion much easier.

    The standard version of civ is only a problem because the time frame is specific - year 4000bc to 2000ad. And yeah I agree, having a unit live that long is proposterous, but meh.
     
  10. ScrubbyTheKid

    ScrubbyTheKid Chieftain

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    aside from the ovious technical problems to realize that
    (tons of data that would have to be checked every turn; demote? which promotion is the first to go, etc.. ):
    'Unit' does not mean 'consists of the same soldiers as it did when formed' or do you think the American 101st Airborne still consists of the WW2 vets?

    and i simply don't think i want to field twice as many units just because several will die in the next round because of old age...

    and even those 'doomsdayswordsman' or whatever you call them die eventually in a fight because those 99.X% fights have a habit of ending the wrong way... and the only one you have to answer too is yourself.. Do you consider a reload as cheating? or not?
    I for myself don't reload when a strong unit dies because i think its more fun that way.

    But i like the thought of 'trainable' and 'achieveable' and the orbis mod introduces those 'trainable' promotions.. Maybe you want to give that mod a shot
     
  11. dommain

    dommain Warlord

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    14 turns and 40 gold for combat level 1 would work for example :mischief:
     
  12. Skitters

    Skitters Prince

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    Whilst I agree, the counter argument to this is that experience gained through combat doesn't stack up with the analogy.
     
  13. Deon

    Deon Lt. of Mordor

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    But if they teach their sons, give them magical trophies and legendary weapons and tell them battle stories, it works well.
     
  14. PPQ_Purple

    PPQ_Purple Techpriest Engineer

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    When a unit achieves success they do not only gain battle experience and trophies. They also gain standing within the armed forces.

    A successful and renowned unit will get the first pick of the most skilled recruits and best weapons while units that have no "combat promotions" will usually end up having to accept recruits and equipment from the opposite scale of the supply chain.

    This, combined with experience and training methods brought over by the older troops will greatly benefit the unit as a whole.

    That swordsman that slew that dragon a while back will end up as the drill sargeant training a new generation of dragon hunters. These in turn will go on to slay even more dragons and bring their experience together into the training of new troops.
     
  15. Skitters

    Skitters Prince

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    On that basis, if a warrior is recruited 80 turns after your first warrior has gone on to gain x number of promotions it should actually be worse than the base first warrior because all the best candidates would have been cherry picked to keeps its number up. That leaves the new unit with a stock of troops that are relatively worse than those who were originally recruited to the initial unit.

    The implication is also that units can only ever improve - it doesn't allow for the possibility that a unit becomes complacent about its own sense of worth. It doesn't allow for the possibility that the dragon slayer who was a brave sod when it came to fighting dragons, turns out to be an incompetent leader (a World Cup analogy: Maradona was one of the greatest players to grace the game, but his tenure as Argentina coach has (so far) been far from inspired). It doesn't allow for corruption - ie; recruiting on the basis of who you know rather than what you know (ie; in the British Army in Victorian Britain, many Officer roles were filled by Gentry who often obtained their commission using their political influence and hard cash rather than on their ability, many of these Officers joined units that had distinguished themselves in the Napoleonic war). It suggest that a unit that is at half strength is going to be choosy about who it fills up the rank and file with, rather than just press ganging 15-40 years olds from the nearest town in order to bring itself up to a full company quickly.

    I also have to say the legendary weapons analogy doesn't sit very well with me either. There are only a few truly legendary weapons in vanilla FFH. For every other weapon there is already a chain of improvement in the game - base - bronze - iron - mithril (plus poisoned, enchanted....)

    To attribute +20% strength to a warriors club that was used to fend of a wolf and then a Goblin scout contradicts this chain - and indeed would imply that a unit would lose the promotion when they are upgraded to bronze weapons.

    That isn't to say that some trophies wouldn't help inspire the next generation, it's just that most battles are not particularly glorious and the tale of how the unit once defeated a skeleton perhaps won't exactly mean much when the unit is upgraded to a Champion with iron weapons.
     

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