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Tides of Crimson (FANTASY MOD)

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Completed Modpacks' started by haluu, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. tjs282

    tjs282 Socially distancing since 1975

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    From what I've read here on CFC, it would happen occasionally in Vanilla (and PtW), although I don't remember this happening in any of my games.

    (It's a long time since I played Vanilla, though, and most of those games were at Regent-Monarch, so the AI-Civs generally had fewer units to fight with, promote, and spawn MGLs, than they would have had at e.g. Emperor or Deity).

    But in nearly 8 years of playing C3C epic-games (mostly at Emperor, occasionally DG), I don't remember ever encountering an AI-Army during any of my wars, neither fighting in the field nor hiding in any town I've captured.

    This would suggest that no, the C3C-AI tends not to use MGLs to create Armies — or at least, that it doesn't get many opportunities to do so, likely because it doesn't reliably retreat any MGLs that it does manage to win on the battlefield. Probability says that it must (also) occasionally get MGLs during town-defence, but if it doesn't turn those into Armies either, then the only(?) remaining possibilities are that it immediately uses the MGL to rush the town's current project, or that it disbands the MGL.

    Mods and Scenarios are another matter.

    When the AI starts the game with an Army (as in the Firaxis Scenario Rise Of Rome), it will usually load at least one unit into them — but it often won't send them out to fight.

    From what I gether, this is because the AI is programmed to match a potential Army-recruit's M-value with the Army's (current) M-value — but because of the Army-movement bonus (added in Conquests), once the AI puts an M=1 unit into the Army, it is 'forced' to wait until it has an M=2 unit(s) to add to that Army. Or if its first Army-recruit is an M=2 unit, it then 'needs' M=3 unit(s) to fill the Army (i.e. Chinese Riders, or Cavs, in the epic game).

    So any Armies it does get given for free, tend not to get filled. And because the AI does value its units according to their stats, and is thus unlikely to risk a 400-shield, 4-5HP unit in battlefield combat, when it can send out basic units instead — which have essentially identical A- and D-values, but are vastly cheaper — its Army(s) is usually/ eventually killed 'defending' the city where it started.

    I do also remember seeing the occasional AI-Army in WorldWide, but again, never in battle, only in a town (and with only 1 unit loaded). And I don't know where those came from (autoproduced, maybe?).

    ETA:
    Yes, they were autoproduced. I was reading the WorldWide thread later, and saw mention of at least one Wonder (Terracotta Army, for China) which autoproduces Armies.

    Putting that together, the best/ only way to allow the Civ3 AI to both acquire and use Armies even close to competently, may be to make Armies autoproduced (e.g. by the epic-game Military Academy — which would itself have to lose the "Requires a victorious Army" flag: maybe require MilTrad plus 10x Barracks built instead?), give the Army-unit a transport-capacity of only 1 but a significant (8–10) HP-bonus as compensation, and (probably) reduce its nominal shield-cost by at least half.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
  2. r16

    r16 not deity

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    lord of the Mods goes that way , one unit per army , 8 hit points for the regular army , 10 for the second army type that's autoproduced by a great wonder . ı am at 460th of an 600 turns game , ı might have destroyed 10 armies already and it stands to reason that ı will see up to 7 or 8 armies of the leading Al when it finally comes down to fight . Requiring that many barracks for a small wonder might be harsh though .
     
  3. tjs282

    tjs282 Socially distancing since 1975

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    From what I remember, it would (probably) be harsh in LotM — but not in the epic-game.

    Battlefield_Medicine (500 shields) requires 5 Hospitals, and Wall_Street (300 shields) requires 5 Banks (160 shields each). So just to begin building either of those SWs, will mean spending at least 800 shields over 5 towns (admittedly, likely post-Factories, but still...).

    Compared to that, 10 Barracks is 'only' 400 shields (unless Militaristic, then 200 shields — or zero shields if that Civ controls SunTzu!), which doesn't seem at all unreasonable to me. If anything, it's still too cheap, especially given that most of those Barracks will likely already have been built in the late Ancient/Early Medieval — and an Army-producing MilAcad will also be saving the player the Army shield-cost each time (and boosting each Army's A- and D- bonus, though to a much lower degree if TranspCap is set to 1 rather than 3).

    I should probably stop thread-jacking, though... ;)
     
  4. Lamabreeder

    Lamabreeder Chieftain

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    What have I done?! One tiny remark and such a number of follow-ups! And good ones, too! I especially liked r16's idea of giving the Green Dragon directly with the added option to upgrade it to an even stronger dragon. If that is possible. All in all I see this as a pretty minor item, however. I mostly mentioned it to have a bit of content in my post in addition to the praising and requesting! :D I wouldn't see it as a real disadvantage if the AI wouldn't be able to get their hands on the shiny Green Dragon. They can mass produce expensive units too well as it is already.

    haluu, to your question which factions I find easier to play. I'd break this question down into two: Which factions are easier to start with and which factions are easier to play with in the middle/late game? Since the economical aspects (buildings) are almost identical to all factions (I will mention the exceptions where they occur) it comes down to the units: cost of settlers and workers, special abilities of settlers like high defense, all terrain as road, teleportation, cost and effectiveness of (active) defenders, possible early summons and/or building-produced units. In this post I will "only" discuss the first (part of the) question: Which factions are easier to start with? Wall Of Text follows.

    The IMO easiest faction by far in the beginning are the Trolls. Their special building increases combat strength against barbarians and auto-produces the Snow Troll at a decent rate which is strong enough to fight barbarians, Zaken and Maniacs both, to farm them and summon as many Arctic Apes as possible, which is a unit of a strength level most other races only get during the second era, and is fast on top of that. This requires a bit of luck, though. I have had games where I lost my first two Snow Trolls quickly or simply did not get a single Arctic Ape. But in most cases I get enough of them to feel very safe (the military advisor seldom tells me that my military is stronger than anybody else in the world that early in the game, if ever). You could get the vibe that the Trolls are very overpowered and feel inclined to change that. Please don't. First off, this is simply too much fun. Secondly, I don't think the AI can pull the barbarian farming off nearly as effectively as a human. And thirdly, I myself use the Arctic Apes purely defensively and don't overrun my nearest neighbor with them which probably would not be that hard at this point. Well, I DID overrun my nearest neighbor once when they respawned on MY TURF in a game where I didn't disable player respawning, but that was also a game in which I was unlucky with my Snow Trolls and had to use Troll's unique Berserker Mode (aka mobilization) and (quite strong) standard units to do that. Did I already plea not to dumb down the Trolls? Please don't!

    I surprise myself a bit by saying this, but I think the Undead are the second best race in the beginning in terms of expanding, at least in human hands. At first glance they appear awful because their workers are as expensive as their settlers, which is simply due to the fact that their workers ARE also their settlers. Then I noticed quite recently that the shield cost of this unit is surprisingly low, with 26 shields in fact only one half of the average cost (~45) of other civs' settlers. Since shields are harder to come by in ToC, this means that the Undead will actually have settlers faster than other races in most situations. On top of that they also, like the Trolls, get a strong unit from a cheap building in the start, even if they don't get the added benefit of double combat strength vs barbs or summons. In the hands of the AI they are not nearly so good, probably because the role their settler/worker plays is determined randomly on unit creation. So they might plan to build a settler to compete in the land grab, but unfortunately the RNG decides that it's another worker instead. This problem could be solved easily, actually. Simply have two copies of the Tomb Crawler with identical stats except for one difference: One is a pure settler, the other a pure worker.

    Then there are a number of "standard" races, that have a settler unit of ~45 shields and a worker unit of ~32 shields. Of these I find those races easier to play in the beginning that have a "cheap shooter" available, in most (all?) cases available with the Ballistics tech, cost of ~20 shields. This cheap shooter is produced very quickly and, in numbers, is very useful to combat both barbs and early AI agressors.

    A few civs of these "standard" races have notable advantages:

    The Osiri (only race I haven't played yet extensively) are agricultural, which translates into extra food, which is an obvious benefit. Also see below.

    The Orcs have a Pig Farm which is, I think, the only granary in the game. That means that in comparable situations the Orcs will have settlers earlier than everyone else, except perhaps the Osiri and Undead.

    The Amazons have a Plantation, which gives an extra 25% to shields, which translates to slightly faster settler production.

    The Chaos Dwarves have the Chaos Hero, which is helpful against barbs.

    The Lizardmen have teleporting settlers. This can be a big advantage, as this allows to win a settler race easily when another race is obviously going for a certain city spot. It also allows to avoid barbarians to a certain degree. Unfortunately, they have a big disadvantage: Their high defense. Normally when going to a city spot next to a barb camp that you can't effectively take out, you can cover your settler with enough cheap units, barely survive the barbarian onslaught and then found your city next turn. With the Slann Overlord you can't do that, as he is the strongest unit in any early Lizardman stack, and as such possibly a casuality.

    The Ramayanians and Osiri both have a Small Wonder which gives two extra technologies. This does not help with the expansion, but it does help immensly in the tech race. Played correctly it can mean getting an unassailable lead in the tech race if the land grab and subsequent build up and/or conquest was satisfactory.

    Finally there are races which I consider to be disadvantaged in the beginning:

    Every race without a cheap shooter, but especially the following.

    The Zorge have a settler unit that treats all terrain as roads, which is a certain advantage. Unfortunately, this settler is significantly more expensive than other settlers. The building-produced Larvae do not help (me) with barb control, but because I want to have them anyway, detract from building a worker or settler immediately.

    I found the Beastmen, while in total IMO the most overpowered race and unfun to play AGAINST surprisingly difficult to expand with, mostly because their military units take quite long to build and you can lose even more time by building one or even both unique buildings. The trick is to ignore their military potential in the beginning and go for founding (temporarily) undefended cities. IF you want expand with them peacefully (as I do). The AI usually only founds a handful of cities and then goes to all-out conquest, usually successfully.

    The Moon Elves do have with the Ranger a quite strong shooter, but this is not a cheap shooter, nor is it a really strong unit. It's strong for a shooter, yes, but not strong in comparison to stronger melee units from other races. The Spirit is unfortunately a very weak unit, unable to hold cities against other races' melee units with 6 or 7 attack value. The Moon Dancer is also not cheap, and using her charm ability effectively requires having more of them than I likely will have early in the game, plus they are weak in the defense. On top of that the Moon Elves do only have a single visible combat unit in the beginning (the starting vodoo doll) so running around with invisible units will trigger the submarine bug rather sooner than later. That one is probably the main reason the AI controlled Moon Elves in most of my game collapse quite early in multi-fronted wars and never get to the stages in the game when they DO get nice units (Banshees and Demon Hunters).

    This, uh, list does not claim to be complete. I'm sure I have forgotten some important item or other. I hope it's at least a bit helpful/interesting!

    Lamabreeder
     
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  5. haluu

    haluu Confused Troglodyte

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    I too really like your idea of the battle victory going straight to a Green Dragon, and a possible upgrade thereafter. I'm thinking I might add another dragon to upgrade to for some races only. For example, maybe an alternative Dragon as you suggested. Thanks for your thoughts on this!

    I also like the small wonder idea. But yes, requiring that many barracks for a leader is a lot. It might get really unbalanced in the late game with my mod too, since producing a decent amount of Green Dragons would give anyone who got to the required # of barracks first too huge of an advantage. Again, agreeing with u here.
     
  6. haluu

    haluu Confused Troglodyte

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    You are not thread jacking! I love the conversation topic! ;)

    Very interested by the AI behavior you describe. I really don't want the AI to get armies anyway, if they are not going to properly use them. As I mentioned to r16, I'm leaning toward having the battle created unit be a Green Dragon (in my mod) rather than a leader. I like the idea of some randomness and "luck" being involved in getting a Green Dragon. It feels more exciting when you get one.

    The autoproduced leaders from buildings may work in other mods, but I don't like it too much in this one. Playing the game would become a race to getting that small wonder due to the strength of the Green Dragons. Thank you for the in depth explanation on the building requirements, however. You are correct that it would seem the 10 barracks requirement is not that heavy, after all. Great point!

    Another thing I found interesting. Are you suggesting that Shield cost for an autoproduced unit would affect how the AI values it? For example, if 2 units have Identical stats, but one has a shield cost of 40 and the other has a shield cost of 0 (autoproduced), would the AI disband the 0 cost unit first if it's economy started to go bad?
     
  7. tjs282

    tjs282 Socially distancing since 1975

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    This would apply to all the units and hence all the nations in the game, though. So if there are any nations in ToC which should not have Dragons (Green or otherwise!), then you'll need to think of another method to produce them, e.g. using something similar to Civinator's "advanced autoproduction" method, where the Battle-created unit ('Magic egg'?) is unbuildable (and available to all nations, obviously), but only some nations have the tech -- or can see the resources -- needed to upgrade (hatch?) that unit into a Dragon.

    Or there's Enslavement. Enslavement, while also 'luck'-based, has several drawbacks compared to Battle-created units: (1) a unit of any experience-level can enslave, and do so more than once per game, and (2) enslavement is hardcoded to happen too 'often' (slave-unit produced once every 3 victories, on average). To get around those it might be possible/necessary to construct an "enslavement chain" consisting of 2-3 (weak) units, the first of which is infrequently autoproduced (e.g. by an SW, to limit numbers), and enslaves the second (and the second enslaves the third), which can then enslave a Green Dragon. Unit-stats would still have to be tweaked very carefully, to strictly limit the frequency which Dragons might be produced in-game.
    That's a good question, to which I don't know the answer (sorry!). If I had to guess though, you're probably right that the cheaper unit might be disbanded, yes.
     
  8. haluu

    haluu Confused Troglodyte

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    Thanks so much for this comprehensive reply, Lamabreeder! I very much look forward to your analysis of the mid-game! ;)

    I never thought of the Trolls nor the Undead as being good in the expansion phase, but with the points you bring up, I can definitely see that. I always felt that I expanded better with quick-moving settler units, but to your point, this is not the only factor in expansion. Great usage of the Snow Trolls to get the most out of the early phase! So you don't take out your neighbors with your Arctic Apes because you want to be a kind ruler? Sounds like you, more often than not, have the ability to go conquering quite early with the Trolls. ;)

    Your idea with splitting the tomb crawler into two different settler/worker units is an interesting one, and I can definitely see how that would help out AI usage. I am a little concerned about losing the ability to have a dual-purpose unit from the human side. I think it leads to some interesting tactical abilities. i.e. using a tomb crawler to build a road to iron on his way to settle a new city. Looks like I will have to mull this over! =)

    I like and agree with your list of the "standard" races that have special perks. Do you not list the Dwarves in that list due to their weaker military units? I feel as if their Dwarven Refineries would be good in the early game as far as increasing Shield production for settlers/workers. I do love the Orc Pig farm, and yes you are correct that it is the only "granary" in the game if you do not count the somewhat similar population bonuses from the Sphere of Life.

    The usefulness of cheap shooters cannot be denied, as you state. However, I am looking for ways to make races without shooters more valuable/fun to play with as well. For verison 1.7, I'm considering adding a single starting Walking Dead unit to the Blood Cult that can create more Walking Dead, who can then create even more Walking Dead, etc. However, losing that one initial unit will forever make you lose the ability to create more Walking Dead throughout the game.

    The Moon Elves will also have less invisible unit as I noticed the same thing you did about the submarine bug. Great call out! They will also (in version 1.7) be getting a Hunter Elder unit that can summon Hunter Apprentices. If you can keep your Apprentices alive until you have the tech for Demon Hunters, then all your Apprentices can upgrade to Demon Hunters for free. Just like the Blood Cult Walking Dead, losing your initial Hunter Elder will forever make you lose the ability to create Apprentices. A good portion of the early then becomes farming with your Elder while making sure you keep him alive at all costs. I found it very fun.

    Once version 2.0 rolls along, the Moon Elven Rangers will be upgradeable (as will many other units from all races), so that will make them more useful moving forward. :0

    Keep the great suggestions coming! Always great to hear from you!
     
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  9. Takhisis

    Takhisis Jinping, wer fragt uns?

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    Weeeelll, due to the awful, awful economic downturn I suddenly have more ‘free time’ so I think I'll download something here in a few days to keep me busy.
     
  10. haluu

    haluu Confused Troglodyte

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    I like your ideas here! In ToC every race can get a Dragon, and I think I may want to keep it that way. An alternative Dragon (nor Green) will be an option for some races in future versions.

    I love the egg-hatching idea, although I believe I will keep that for something race specific. Maybe use it for one future race to make them more unique.

    The summoning chain u speak of is already in use by the Zorge in my mod. For the sake of keeping them unique, I'm not sure I would want to make a summoning chain universal. You are right that units are "enslaved" quite often, but I like it that way for units with standard "summons" in ToC.

    Looks like I will have to research more on the cost of units and AI effect. Thank you so much for your insight. Your knowledge is high on Civ 3!!!
     
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  11. haluu

    haluu Confused Troglodyte

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    Takhisis, I'm sorry to hear that brother. I hope you get back in the workforce soon! Yeah it's a crazy time right now.

    But alas, I'm hoping that ToC will keep you occupied! New version coming before the end of the year, mate! If u have any additional insight on ToC, let me know! Always looking to improve it.
     
  12. Takhisis

    Takhisis Jinping, wer fragt uns?

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    up yours!
    Life, like vampires, sucks.

    At least we have videogames.
     
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  13. Lamabreeder

    Lamabreeder Chieftain

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    Not necessarily a kind ruler; I'll explain that in detail in my next post. As for the ability to go conquering early: It really depends on luck how many Arctic Apes I get. I expand VERY aggressively, and I mostly need them to hold my territory or reconquer my cities after a surprise attack. Plus, the AI normally has more and better units than the barbarians, against whom I even get a combat bonus.

    You will definitely not want to build a road on your way to a city site. When you are done building it the expansion phase is over. Plus you have wasted time building another Tomb Crawler in your newly found city. You actually don't need to change anything with the Tomb Crawler, except for the name of the clone and, of course, the AI strategy. So you could, if you really wanted, still build that road even with the settler version of the Tomb Crawler...

    You are absolutely correct, of course. I simply forgot them, just like the Skaven Factory. Good thing I didn't claim comprehensive coverage! :)

    I'm not a fan of losing any ability forever (short of losing the game, of course, which I'm also not a fan of). Additionally I'm not a fan of adding another weak summoned unit to the Vampires, as they already have one, which is central to them if they wish to pursue cultural victory. It's a distraction.

    Sounds fun, ...

    ...but keep in mind that this would be another thing the AI can't do (it cannot upgrade units), so this will shift the balance even more to the player for the Moon Elves, and they are already strong enough (well, some time after the expansion phase, at least).

    Plus I really like the concept of not having any upgrade lines; it's one of the (many) features that makes this mod unique. It also plays to the AI's strength (or rather, covers up one weakness), which is good, as a stronger AI is always desirable!

    Keep up the good work! More importantly: Have fun and stay safe!
     
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  14. Lamabreeder

    Lamabreeder Chieftain

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    Alright. To the question "Which factions are easier to play with in the middle/late game?" Wall-of-text-warning applies. A TL;DR section will be provided at the end. (Ha! You still need to scroll!) This is the first of probably 4 posts.

    More than the opening phase of the game this requires the consideration in which direction the player wants to steer his empire. There is a whole spectrum between peaceful building and all-out conquest from the first turn. And while the mod's name may suggest it is mainly intended for warfare, it can actually be played quite well in a peaceful manner, thanks to the many buildings, complete and beautifully done "space race" and the option for a diplomatic victory (kind of "space race light").

    I haven't played on random maps in quite a while and my last world conquest is several years in the past and wasn't done with this mod. I usually play on a standard sized random pangaea map which I augment with a peninsula with space for 12 cities. I follow the house rule that I may never found or conquer cities outside of this domain, but may keep cities that switch to me via culture flip. I wage war, of course, simply because the AI almost always attacks sooner or later. I often will play puppet master then and bribe other factions into the war on my side. I also don't use dedicated artillery units (because the AI isn't able to), but WILL use ranged attacks of non-artillery units, including ships. This information is necessary to put all experiences and opinions in perspective that I will offer shortly.

    How well a faction does in the middle/late game is in part a function of how well it did in the early phase of the game. Incidentally, all factions with boni in the earlier phase of the game do quite well later on as well, no matter if played by the human or the AI, with the exception of factions that are handicapped because of their high settler defense (Archons, Lizardmen, Ramayanians), and with the exception of the Undead, who, while not doing badly, don't reach the potential they could because of the double-duty settler unit. (With my playstyle this factor is negligible for myself, however, as I will settle no more and no less than my "own" land.)

    As I menioned in a prior post the main difference between factions is their unit scheme, as buildings are common to all, with the exception of a few unique buildings that lose their significance, however, when faced with the sheer volume of desirable buildings.

    Some general observations:

    Useful units
    With a few exceptions early on units are expensive in shield and population cost, but also and especially in maintainace: 2 gold per unit beyond the limit, and the limit is quite low, hardly allowing more than two city defenders and a worker. This means that every unit needs to be useful. And a unit is more useful if it can fulfill more than one role effectively (or one extremely well). An example for a very effective unit is the High Elven Silencer: With ADM 11.9.2 and two extra hitpoints this unit can be used offensively, defensively, and it can be used as "area defender": Multiple Silencers from different locations can quickly come to aid a city under sudden threat (like an enemy landing operation next to a coastal city). So instead of putting i.e. two slow city defenders in a city, you could afford to put just one Silencer into it and have other Silencers from nearby cities come to help in case of an emergency. This frees up other units for other jobs. Incidentally the Silencer is even statwise clearly superior to the Phoenix guard (ADM 5.8.1 without extra hp), so it's generally not sensible to have the former one still around as soon as the latter is available (in a real game you might have other building priorities, however, and a transition to better defenders might not be on the top of the list).

    Unfortunately, the unit scheme does not always provide useful units. This is a general observation and affects all factions that have such units: Defensive units are often clearly underpowered in comparison to offensive units of the same faction, and "tower" units are the worst offenders in this regard. Dedicated defensive units generally need a higher defensive value, but especially more extra hp. Hitpoints are enormously important in Civ3's fickle combat system. Offensive units, in contrast, often can defend too well. I would suggest to decrease the defensive stat of Knight type units by a third. And a tower without defensive value (i.e. Archon's Coastal Gun) is close to worthless. As nice as unit and idea are, it's simply not useful enough.

    Population requirements
    The population requirement for units perhaps needs to be tweaked a little: In my games the AIs - all of them - are typically broke around the time the 3rd age dawns. That means that most or all their cities are down to size 1 or 2, because they are in constant wars with each other and are building late(r) game units that require three or more pop units, leaving their economies in shambles. By the time of the last age I am typically almost one complete age ahead of everybody else and my empire with only 12 cities contains a third to a half of the entire world population. I suggest to use population for units a bit more sparingly, at least for the late(r) game units. Another argument for less pop requirement for later game units is the fact that the regrow of a population unit typically takes longer in bigger cities because the food box gets larger with each city size level. So a population unit from a small city is actually regrown much faster and thus worth much less than that of a big city.

    Please note that I consider this item of lesser importance, because a human player at this stage has probably normally won anyway, no matter what.

    Weak summons
    There are a number of units that summon stronger units. In fact, I build some units mostly because of their summons. The Moonelven Banshee, for instance, is a mediocre unit (8.3.1, no extra hp, invisible), but can summon the Blue Halfdragon (10.9.1, +3 hp), which is a truly powerful unit, even if slow. Then there are units that summon weaker units. And while every summon is welcome, the weaker ones are mostly not very useful, especially when the summoner itself is not that powerful to begin with. The worst offender is the High Elven Malakhim/Pixie. Then there are units that are okay themselves but have underwhelming summons like Lizardmen's Queen/Sala, Skaven's Seer/Fink or Beastmen's Beastigor/Ungor. Summons start as regular units (as opposed to veterans), so they are in fact a bit weaker than they appear to be. I would suggest to rebalance these units and/or their summons, because they (or at least their summons) are not that useful. Exceptions to this are, of course, Undead and Vampires. For the Undead the Ghouls and Skeleton Warriors are part of the... charm... of the faction, and for the Vampires the Zombies are welcome sacrificial material.

    I do realize, of course, that some of these weaker summons possess unique abilites. For instance both Queen and Seer summon fast units. It's just that these summons don't have enough strength to be worthwhile, unlike i.e. Amazonians's Beastmaster/Sabretooth or Humans' Griffin Rider/Wild Griffin. The latter is actually an example of a weaker summon that is actually strong enough to still be worthwhile, so it's weaker, but not weak.

    Dual combat/ranged units
    Later game units have increasingly more hitpoints than earlier ones. That means that ranged attacks become less useful over time. There are a number of units that serve the double purpose of being regulat combat units and having a ranged attack, i.e. Burning Legion's Yama or Zorge's Hydralisk. They are much too expensive. Their combat stats don't justify their astronomical costs, and their ranged attacks are quickly becoming obsolete. They could be used effectively in numbers (by the human, not the AI), but for that they are too costly. Having ranged attacks on much more advanced units, but with the low power of a cheap shooter is completely pointless since their ranged attack against a unit of their own strength level will likely fail and cost them their fortification bonus, while against a low level unit their melee attack would be much more effective and not waste a turn.

    Early cheap quick attackers
    A number of factions have an early cheap quick attacker in their arsenal, a unit with high attack, low defense and good speed for a rather cheap cost available quite early, halfway into the expansion phase, i.e. Burning Legion's Flesh Hound, Chaos Dwarven Basilisk or Wood Elven Pathfinder. These units are extremely effective and compared to that too cheap. Factions having these units have a distinct advantage which often leads to early conquests.

    Thank you for having made it this far!

    TL;DR

    City defenders, especially towers, are too weak, Knight type units too strong in defense.
    Population usage for late game units might be a bit too much.
    Weak summons (i.e. High Elven Malakhim) may be strenghened a bit.
    Dual combat/ranged units (i.e. Burning Legion's Yama) need to get cheaper/improved.
    Early cheap quick attackers (i.e. Chaos Dwarves' Basilisk) need to get more expensive/nerfed.
     
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  15. Lamabreeder

    Lamabreeder Chieftain

    Joined:
    May 11, 2004
    Messages:
    54
    To the individual factions as seen by Lamabreeder, part 1 (of probably 3). A TL;DR section will be provided at the end. This is the second of probably 4 posts.

    Humans (please remember to change the name): They are delightful. They don't have too much units, every unit has a defined role and is different from all others. Only the Mana Shield sucks (see above). And the Red Dragon's ranged attack is pointless (see above). Their units are slightly above average. They are strong summoners, and all their summons are really good. They need Gold and Kilmaries for Dragons and Griffin Riders, respectively. The AI is quite good with this faction.

    Moon Elves: The civilopedia is a bit misleading when stating the Moonelves have "a lack of dependence on resources". They need Mystile for Demon Hunters and Kilmaries for Guardians of the Moon, which are the two best units they can have. (Guardians of the Moon have an error in their Civilopedia entry, they actually have +4 hp.) The Moon Elves have a slightly harder opening than most factions but can become quite strong later on. They have a number of worthwhile units in their arsenal. The Moon Elves are very strong summoners, Banshees and Demon Hunters at the forefront, with Sorceress/Night Jaguar and Guardian of the Moon/Fenbeast being border cases of weak summons (see above), where the summoner in both cases, however, is a very worthwhile unit even without the summon. They have a rounded air unit for invasions (Elohim). Their Moonsinger is a border case of an early cheap quick attacker (see above), on the less powerful and more expensive side of the spectrum. The Treant is a less useful unit (see above). The Spirit is a liability, much too weak and its invisibility can quickly trigger an unwanted war via submarine bug. This is the single most eradicated faction if played by the AI because their many early invisible units WILL trigger wars, lots of them, until they are either destroyed early by one of the stronger factions early (and early almost everyone is stronger than them) or by the inevitable dog pile a bit later. The invisibility issue needs to addressed.

    Beastmen: Their expansion is not the best, but their unit scheme is. They start with the Gor (7.7.1, +1 hp) for the relatively cheap price of 45 shields. For a starting unit this is very expensive (~28 shields for most other starting units), but for a unit of this strength level this is a bargain. On top of this they get free barracks in all cities practically from the start, giving them an additional hp and an increased chance to get elite units during barbarian hunting, giving them two more hp for a grand total of +4 hp. A few highly promoted Gors are enough to destroy one of the neighboring civilizations within the opening phase quickly (I haven't done it, but watched it), and they don't require luck to do so (like the Trolls). And on higher levels the AI already starts with a number of them. Beastigor/Ungor is a case of weak summons. At the end of the second age they get access to the Tuskgor, which in essence is a Knight type unit comparable to Humans's Knight, Amazonian's Raider or High Elven Silencer, but with a speed of four. They cost more, yes, but in my opinion this speed is too much. Beastmen should be slow and powerful. I would prefer speed 2 and a few points more in attack. At the pinnacle of the unit scheme are two units, Bull King and Keeper, who are almost identical to each other. Why not at least have them require two different sets of resources, so that they can be alternatives to each other? The AI playing Beastmen will practically dominate every game they are in, as long as they don't have too bad a start nor get destroyed early on in a quick dogpile. I think they desperately need being nerfed a bit.

    High Elves: Despite what the Civilopedia insinuates, the High Elven unit scheme is above average. They have a strong starting unit, cheap shooters available, a strong Knight type unit (Silencer), a well rounded air unit for invasions (Seraphim) and every 100 turns a Phoenix auto-generated from a building that is a late game unit available at the start of the second era. Yeah. Not as strong as a Green Dragon, but not far from it. However, Malakhim and Rampart Tower suck (as explained above). The AI does well with them.

    Goblins: Playing them is a challenge as many of their units are underpowered. Units available to them often are weaker than contemporary units from other factions. Put differently, comparable units are available to them later. Their siege units can defend themselves, but these defenses are far from being impressive. Curiously their later artillery unit has a worse defense value than the earlier one. Their only good land unit, the Spider Boss, comes too late to make any difference. They can transport their settlers and potentially defenders quickly to their destination using the Goblin Zepellin which is much fun. The auto-produced Sea Mine is utterly useless. It is a sea-based hidden nationality cruise missile with speed 1 and range 1 and can potentially destroy an enemy ship. Lack of speed and range effectively prevents using the mine (and I tried). I disband them even though they cost no support. I think a better idea would be to not let the Goblins build sea mines, but actual rockets, land based and with a range greater than 1. Neither can I bring myself to like the Planet Bomb, which acts like the Nuclear Missile from the vanilla game. The AI usually does not have much success playing the Goblins. Sad, as I actually like them.

    Osiri: I haven't played them extensively, yet. Advantages are rapid expansion and bonus tech from Small Wonder. Disadvantages are no summons. Unit scheme at a glance seems strong. Usually top contender when played by the AI.

    Trolls: They can have a strong opening and later on have super strong units, albeit for a cost. It is very strange, however, that the Ogre has no pop requirement, although comparable units from other factions require at least two pop units for units of this strength level. The Troll-playing AI loves capturing cities with Seekers (early cheap quick attacker, see above) and then rush-building Ogres there the next turn with money, which is no fun to play against (pop requirement would drastically reduce this abuse). Trolls have no reasonable method to detect invisible units (Preta comes too late and is too expensive), which they don't need to defend their cities, but worker stealing could be a real problem. Luckily the not-Troll-playing AI is not smart enough to really exploit this. They have a clutter of units with quite similar stats in the second era: Ogre, Gora, Preta and Boulderbeast, whose secondary abilities (invisibility detection for Preta, pointless ranged attack (see above) for Boulderbeast) are not worth the increase in cost (shields and pop), so I normally only build Ogres here. They don't cost population, so my Troll cities normally prosper during the second age! Interestingly the AI does not play too well with the Trolls, although they often take a while to crumble even when dog-piled, thanks to their strong units.

    Blood Cult: One of the most unique factions of the mod, special advantage to gain cultural win in a single city by waging lots of war and summoning lots of zombies for sacrifice. They also have a hidden nationality unit to zombify unsuspecting units (Wailing Virgin), although that is probably not enough to get enough sacrifices. I am still trying to gain a cultural victory with these folks, but I guess my playstyle gets in the way. Disadvantages: They don't have cheap shooters and their defender is quite expensive. Their units lack hitpoints. They don't have a single unit with more than one extra hp until Omega Zombies are available and that is way too late. Therefore their military is too weak.

    Still need reviews:

    Undead, Skaven, Jade Empire, Orcs, Burning Legion, Amazonians, Dwarves, Naga, Zorge Swarm, Lizardmen, Archons, Chaos Dwarves, Wood Elves and Ramayanians.

    TL;DR

    Humans are delightful, slight problems: Mana Shield, Red Dragon's ranged attack.
    Moon Elves are strong, strong Summoners, Spirit and Treant less useful. AI almost always gets destroyed because of invisibility/submarine bug.
    Beastmen are single most overpowered faction. Gor far too strong. Beastigor has weak summons. Tuskgor too fast. Bull King and Keeper too similar. Needs nerfing.
    High Elves are nice and strong. Malakhim and Rampart Tower suck.
    Goblins are underpowered. Goblin Zepellin is much fun, but Sea Mine sucks. Don't like Planet Bomb. Need less explosives, more love.
    Osiri have easy early game and look strong afterwards, too.
    Trolls are very strong and fun to play. Ogre needs pop requirement. Ogre, Gora, Preta, Boulderbeast need more differences/merging. Ranged attack of Boulderbeast pointless. Invisibility detection might be earlier and cheaper available.
    Blood Cult is a fun idea, but actually less fun to play because they need units that have a few more hitpoints.

    Parts 2 and 3 (third and fourth post) are still in the works...
     
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  16. haluu

    haluu Confused Troglodyte

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2010
    Messages:
    273
    Hi Lamabreeder!
    Sorry it took me so long to respond to you. I'll try to respond to all your posts when I get a chance!
    I"ve tested the undead tomb crawler as a combined settler/worker unit, and the AI always uses them correctly. What behavior are you seeing that makes you think the AI is not using them correctly? I see them prioritizing expansion first and they don't build workers until around the same time that other races start building workers. Please keep in mind that I'm testing this with a reduced defense statistic for the Tomb Crawlers (3). I think any misbehavior or poor use of the Tomb Crawler that you have seen from the AI had more to do with their high defense value than the fact that they are a combined worker/settler unit. Once defense on them was reduced to 3, the AI used them perfectly from what I saw. Thanks for pointing out the defense value issue on settlers!

    I know what you are saying about additional weak summon units. But with the Blood Cult, i think the Walking Dead units add an extra little flavor to them in gameplay. In my tests of the 1.7 beta, I find that i have more fun than i did in 1.6. I would love to hear your opinion once i send you the completed Beta version to test (i'm hoping for late November on this.. hoping)....

    You bring up a good point about the AI not being able to upgrade. I had forgotten about that. However, I'm hoping it doesn't affect the balance too much. The Demon Hunters aside (there will be a decent rift between a human and CPU player once Demon Apprentices are upgraded to Demon Hunters... but that's also assuming that the player/AI has had enough luck to have Demon Apprentices in the third era), most other upgrades will be available shortly after a unit is available. Once all races have Unique Techs in version 2.0, that is. For instance, an archer could get a +2 ranged attack upgrade shortly after the archer becomes available to build. Hence, even without the ability to upgrade, the AI will soon be able to build the "upgraded" version of that archer straight from their cities. So the amount of non-upgraded AI archers floating around should be minimal, while still giving the human player a fun strategic option of going for an upgrade of an existing unit or a new unit, for example.
     
    ashen god likes this.
  17. Takhisis

    Takhisis Jinping, wer fragt uns?

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    50,334
    Location:
    up yours!
    The problem is the spoilers! I play this type of scenario for the setting and storyline about as much as for the gameplay itself. :)
     

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