Suggestions on the Aristarkh : Total war as main ouput ressource

Discussion in 'Wildmana Modmod' started by Jojo_Fr, May 20, 2015.

  1. Jojo_Fr

    Jojo_Fr Prince

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    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. :p
     
  2. Psychodad

    Psychodad Chieftain

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    Huh, long text...

    Some good suugestions in there. I second that rushing with stone (maybe somtimes wiith wood or a combination from both) should olways be anabled.

    Two things bother me.

    1. Casting a spell consumes 1 pop of a city, makes it unhappy and give you many souls?! This better be an expansive spell. Such a mighty ability can be hard to balance.

    2. Making war and casting a spell the only possibility for them to advance semms very railroaded. Better give them alternative soul generation.
     
  3. esvath

    esvath Apprentice of Erebus

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    I never play as the Aristarkh (undead civs are just not my things :p) so I don't know about their special economy mechanics. Does someone care to explain their special economy mechanics for me briefly?
     
  4. Jojo_Fr

    Jojo_Fr Prince

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    Psychodad,

    - The wood combination with stone would be logical for any civ, maybe not for the Aristarkh which don't have much wood in their land (due to corruption), and don't have the cuture to use it, as they are necromancers.

    - It can be hard to balance the "Drain the live" spell, but if Aristarkh have not a big incitation to go for growth war, I don't see why they would go for it. If the alernative is here, what is the difference between the Aristarkh and the living developping civ ? The living civ stay at home, expanding to take ressources and land, and the undead civ too would do this I fear !

    Unless you see ideas to change this ?

    - Hum I agree that these wars for souls could be railroaded as you say. But still less railroaded than now, and war by nature is not railroaded. If we don't want of the mechanism of these crippling raids (or if we want an alternative mechanism) I think first, we can keep the void catalyst system (which I don't like because it not incitate to war), or we can too imagine another system, based not on war but on corrupting erebus land itself. I am not really for this idea, because I guess the spell system could be balanced and not boring, but I propose to use the anciant system of "rituals" :

    Re using the dark rituals

    - This abusing nature system already existed in the anciant Aristarkh system. Now, the nature is automaticely transformed into wasteland in the Aristarkh land. But before, it needed a ritual. Each ritual destroyed a square to transform it into a ritual who transform the square into a waste land square, but giving temporary output boost in all fields (science, commerce, production) during the process.

    - In counterpart, the rituals costed hammer, and giving permanant diplomatic penalty with all civs. So, as we still have the sprites and code to do this ritual, maybe we could supress the automatic wasteland transformation, supress the void catalyst (free permanant soul system), and use this system again (with the difference that the wasteland should be auto reversable, in 40 turns (quick speed). And any food ressources conserved, not destroyed. If not it is a too big disavantage for the people who conquer the aristarkh land !


    I think with this system (dark ritual possible ONLY if there are remaining non waste land squares in the city radius, give 10 souls per squares (15 for forest)) we could give a nice soul boost for early game, but in the mid game, the aristarkh would still need to go for war if they want a good soul feeded developpement for their empire.

    What do you think of it ?



    Evasth,

    - Aristarkh don't have special mechanism about the specialist economy, except the reductions what Tesb introduced in the late version of Aristarkh : they got -1 output for each specialist including citizen, and they never can produce any great specialist (-200 % to the great person rate). Scions or Infernals have nothing like that (their specialist are like any others). As I said, the Aristarkh are far less strong in developpement that the others civilisations, so I think it would be good (and not illogical) to restaure their normal specialists.

    - To explain the difference between fallow civilization and living civilization about specialist, it's good to say that as they don't need food, the undead (or devils) can have some specialist on their city, and only exploit the best improvements of their city (the quarries, for example). So, undead tend to have more specialist in their economy, and less improvements (specially for aristarkh because they got no improvements buildable exceptes fortress, mines and quarries). But as the specialists are limited by the regim, you cannot have full specialist city (for exemple, building library give you two slot for scientiest, but library cost you some wood, and you cannot build forest exploitation, so you cannot easily have some wood, except with magic rituals...)

    A new element of information on the Aristarkh weakness

    - I guess I just saw a new thing about how the Aristarkh has became very weak.

    At a certain time, Sephi changed the way the district functionned. In plus of their normal buildings, every district now gave +1 something per each citizen (+1 gold for a merchant district, for example).

    BUT in the same time, the specials Aristarkh districts designed by Tesb had not been upgraped to follow this changement. It's surely of the main reason why the Aristarkh players have the real impression that they are very weak in their developpement.

    - As we don't have the original MoM forum, maybe I am making a mistake, if I do that say it. But if not, I propose to give to the Aristarkh the same kind of bonus as the others districts of living gives. Off course, I don't mean the happiness bonus of things like that, but all the output bonus.

    Unless we consider that 99 % of the population of Aristarkh cities are constitued of Zombies or Squeletons slaves and hordes. If it is, we could thing that a specialisation of the city, cannot increase the efficiency of the subjets of the city, because subjets are a mass of undead hordes controled for laborious task by an elite of conscioous vampires.

    But if we consider that, it means that the specialist given by buildings are sentients and conscients, because if not, I cannot imagine a fantom or a zombie being an engineer or an artist, lol.

    - What is your opinion about this gameplay and lore question ? What the Aristarkh population point represent ? The vampires or an undead working hord ?
     
  5. Jojo_Fr

    Jojo_Fr Prince

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    I edited the precedent post to add this new part :

     
  6. Jojo_Fr

    Jojo_Fr Prince

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    Is there others persons to give their opinion about the suggestions I made in this topic ?
     
  7. ivanbin

    ivanbin Chieftain

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    Where would y'all think we should put the district that is currently in philosophy (one that gives them science)
     
  8. Jojo_Fr

    Jojo_Fr Prince

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    Mysticism.

    You got the gold district with Barter. Mysticism is not expansive, but not too cheap to grab.

    Anyway, Aristarkh will still be monotone (a bit boring) to play. The suggestions I did would be good to make them more funny.
     
  9. Jojo_Fr

    Jojo_Fr Prince

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    Hello Esvasth.

    The ideas I proposed would require some works. I know no one is motivated to work on it.

    But do you consider to work on Aristarkh for the next version of Xtended ? With several small changes they could be really funier to play and balanced.
     
  10. esvath

    esvath Apprentice of Erebus

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    Sure. I tried few games as Aristarkh yesterday, to get the hang of it. I'll look through your suggestion here as well and will try some that I can mod in.
     
  11. Jojo_Fr

    Jojo_Fr Prince

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    Cool. :)
     

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