Suggestions to redesign and balance (improve) the very weak Aristarkh -The Aristarkh are one of the three fallow civilization. There are the Infernals, the Aristarkh and the Scions. In MoM, the Infernals have a very weak potential of developpement unless they go for early offensive war to raze cities. But, lets's forget the Infernals because they should not live as non invoqued civ as they are now. Lets's consider the Aristarkh. - The Aristarkh are the most ambitious try to create a true undead with very different features than the others civs. But there are problems in the funntionnement of their features : The monotony of the Aristarkh developpement - There is huge monotony in the Aristarkh developpement. Each game looks like any game. Because there is nearly no special land feature to exploit. And no decision taking into the placement of the new cities. About improvement, a player need to build quarry essentialy, everywhere. Mines are not much importants, quarrys are importants because stone is needed in all buildings. Let's describe how an efficiant Aristarkh player develop his nation : 1) You need souls. The initials units and the palace soul income are not enough to support your first soul district (Vampire orientation, or cultural orientation). So at first build, before the district : Settler is a wise choice. Why settler ? To build a void catalyst (not sure of the name), the district which create soul, but block any soul consumtion. 2) You plant the second city as near as possible to the frontiers of the first. Because void catalyst city has no production, so land has no importance. 3) After have build the first consumption district in your capital, you have interest to spam units and go for killing the barbariann lairs. Because lairs give you rewards, clean the barbarian racket, and give you souls. Souls = population growth and carbuarnt to any output : it gives you commerce, science, productin output. You always need to have souls for a constant developpement. 4) In technology choice, your first choice have to be the Philosophy, for the special aritarkh district (don't remember his name). Without it, planting new city except void catalyst, will be totally useless. BUT, the problem with the sage district, it's you will have very little gold income to buid new quarryes as improvements. You'll have then a second city planted, with an access to a good district, but without much stone or gold to rush, this city will be very slow to build the district. This kind or problem : science access, but no production or rush to have it fast, it's the main dysharmonie in the conception of the Aristarkh new formula (made by Tesb, hail to this name). It's one of the most irrating think when you play them. You have no tool to avoid this very long phase where they sux, and where you don't know what to do to counter it. Before, a long time ago, there were two years, Aristarkh had not this dysharmonie or slownless developpement. In fact, they were very overpowered in my opinion. Things have much changed. But I'll speak of this ancient version of the Aristrakh later. 5) After this long slow story, Aristarkh, isolated in their awfull hell land, can start to move up the head with a better global ouput (which will be still very late, especially if there is another good human player in the game !), made by few science district, supported by few gold districts, then sorcery district, vampire district etc. Each specialised district city should be planted in a region with adapted ressources off course. Gold for their merchant district, mana nodes for their research city, etc. Void catalyst should be planted in the idea to use the land with no bonus, and in the minimum place. 6) When ready (vs A.I it means : when you got an A.I enough close without barbarians), you should attack an A.I, even in Deity, in the idea to : - Pillage improvement with fast units (cavalery is the best) because the profit is now ridicousely too important (can be largely exploited vs A.I, he generally does not well catch the ennemy units). - Catch cities (souls + nice buildings). - But it's better to only declare war when this close ennemy have enough improvement ready for pillage. Conclusion - These points have been said in the objectif to make understand that each game, it's the same protocole, same city placement, and same tech path : Settler, Philosophy, Warrior Caste for the immortal hero, Merchant district etc. This is not good. To have a so much diverse civ, with a poor path is a waste. I want to say too that the Void catalyst city is the worst idea of all the creatives ideas Tesb had. It's not interesting to have to build clone cities like that, with no potential, but with upkeep and management to do with it. For the reason that the Aristarkh are today very weak, have dysharmonic tech path, and tend to be too monotome, I propose the following suggestions about them, and these suggestions are not made to be handled by the A.I (again, as the Scions, I think it's a bit a waste of time to try to give them a good A.I, because they are too much differents). Suggestions : Total war as main ouput ressource Philosophy of the Aristarkh gameplay - I don't like the fact that the Aristarkh may have a normal developpement in an isolated territory, where they coud find some "souls". Souls, in hell land ? Or in nature, with rabbits and salmons ? - Aristarkh are extremist calabims, they need blood and soul, but they don't want (for some unknown roleplay or functionnal reason) to have a permanant living slave population in their city. So, they need to regularly take it to the ennemy. - In another hand, I don't want to see a situation where aristarkh could take easily a city by rush, at early game. - No, what I want it's a situation where the Aristarkh have a huge interest to attack a civilization, but not to wipe it at the beginning, but to cripple it, by harvesting his population, occuping their land, killing his army. Here is the features what I see It can be complicated to well understand it : The Tomb Lord as Aristarkh masterpiece unit - Today, the tomb lord has only a utility has a support unit. But it feat well with my idea : Aristarkh focus to harvest directly a city. To do it, you need to bring at least one tomb lord next to an ennemy city. Then you'll use a spell "Drain the life". By a dark ritual, the population is drained from one point, each turn. There is a huge city unhapiness impact. Their life is transformed into souls, which are bringed by the Ether to the soul vault, as the capital. During the time the spell function, any growth in the citiy is unpossible. When the population has reached the pop 1, the tomb lord defil magic attack to the campain of the city : his population, his villages. 10 random squares near in the city radius begun to be automatiquely transformed into wasteland. A wasteland long last 40 turns (in quick speed, I always speak in quick speed) then the land return to his natural state (or perhaps a more infertile state : grass become plain, plain become desert, etc.). After this second phase of drain, the Drain the life spell is automaticelly canceled. - Each population consummed give 100 soul (not sure of the number, that is just a base). It can look big, but what does it mean ? It means the aristarkh need to be at war, it needs he produced one tomb lord and others units, and bringed it to an ennemy city. This soul income mean that the Aristarkh will have a capital of soul for some turns after the operation. It's not a free pop ressources, as the Infernal have by their manes, because Aristarkh make time to transform soul into population (by soul consumption) and they have a limited happiness per city (contrary to Infernals). Each square consummed give 50 souls per turn. - Note : this should not work with barbarian land. Because it suck if it does, it could be too easy for the Aristarkh to harvest soul on them. Not for logical roleplay reason, but for balanced gameplay (souls need war vs a player, and war is hard). Is that possible to prevent them from doing it ? Maybe to only autorise the spell vs a civilization, not a barbarian city. - Important : the Aristarkh have no more void catalyst district. They cannot produce any soul (except the one soul of the capital). So they entirely rely on war to harvest soul, that is why the reward can be important because it is crucial ! No more boring city spawn. The ethered channeller : an invisible super fast settler - Any settler (except the first gived settler at turn zero) builded by Aristarkh will have this faculty : you can only have one at the same moment (to prevent using them as free scout), he fly, he cannot move into a cultural territory (except his own kingdom off course), he can move from 4 squares per turn, he is "hidden" (not invisible), and he can build a city. - Why this unit ? To open strategies where an aristarkh player can sneak this hidden settler to a place near from an ennemy land. He can plant it in front if he wants, but it would be dangerous because the city will be unproductive at the beginning. This settler could be a kind of dark citadel, as mordor grasp, near a living land. - I like the idea of a decentralised aristarkh empire : the central land, with the capital and possibles others productive land, and the front land, driven by war and harvest ! To do this we cannot have vulnerable settlers, it would be eaten by animals and barbarians ! We need this unit. - Let's make here another remark : I always have thinked that the augmentation of maintenance cost due to palace distance was a bad thing. It tends to make all players builds grouped cities. But in some cases, it's really more funny to have distant cities. You can sneak and hide cities, you can too try a distant conquest, and keep it. Bringing the units, conquer, then secure vs barbarians is largely enough hard. For these reasons, I would prefer to suppress the distance cost maintenance... especially for fallow civ or special civs as the Jotnars, or the civ which can swap two cities (I don't remember his name). Suggestions : Regiving them normal specialists - At a certain point of the Aristarkh developpement, Testb decided to nerf the aristarkh specialists. It was certainely at the time where they were overpowered. They could buid rituals to create population, and their cities outputs where very high, more than the stronger living civs. - For some reasons, the Aristarkh specialist have -1 output, even citizen. Citizen only produce one hammer, scientiest have -1 beacon etc. Worst, the aristarkh have -200 % in great personnage creation. It means the Aristarkh can never build any great personnage. In my opinion, it's always a bad decision to supress this to a civ. If you want to nerf a civ you got some possibilities to do it (as the -1 ouput per specialist, for exemple) than to deny the player from having the pleasure to gain great personnage. - As now, the Aristarkh are very underpowered (for the reasons I largely explained), I am for cancel the -1 output and GPP annulation. If, in one day, in one year, Aristarkh are too powerfull, it is always possible to revert the idea, off course. And with an accesss to great person, Aristarkh would specialise more easily they already very specialised city. Which would be really good for them. - There is not really roleplay reason that the Aristarkh would not have normal specialist or super specialist unless to thing their population is at 90 % made of brainless zombies (if yes, it means they cannot have scientist or sorcerer but only "citizen zombie"), or they cannot have super specialists vampires. Suggestions : Giving them a permanant rush acess to stone - I don't understand why rushing stone need the Apprentship regim. Rushing gold should be reserved to certain civ, with an advanced economy (and a speciality in the Merchant ligne for exemple), but not rushing stone. I think stone is hard to obtain, and regims should not interfear with stone rush. - As the Aristarkh can only build mines and quarryes, we should find a utility for the stone (metal has always a utility) and forcing Aristarkh to stay on this old regim would not a good idea to open strategies. So, for these reasons, I am for the idea to always autorise the stone rush. Suggestions : Consumming soul beyond the maximum cap of population - It's not logical that to have to slave your own undead population, to let the city consume souls again. It would be better to permanant consumtion, even when a city is at his maximum population cap. So, it would be simplier to have an auto consummotion (but with no growth) when the happiness cap and food cap of an aristarkh city has been reached. Conclusion about these suggestions - I tried to work on ideas without touching too much into the internal mechanismes of civ, and of the Aristarkh. I know the A.I would need a big rework to handle it, but as I said it's not important to let A.I handle this civ (he never did it well I guess). With these ideas putted into them, I am sure that the Aristarkh would be really more different and enjoying in their gameplay (sucking cities, not taking it ^^ !) Please make your critics in this topic. Or better, please code these ideas.