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[Gameplay discussion] Phasing out phases

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Here's to another one of my random "we should remove features" ramblings. I will in this post argue for removing phases from the game entirely.

Let's begin with "why phases are broken".

Why phases are broken.

It's really quite simple. We have 3 phases. They simply are not different enough. The second phase brings the market, the blacksmith, new CCs, and some towers which you can't really use for offensive purposes. The third basically brings fortresses. And it feels like we could just make fortresses way more expensive and have the same effect.

There's not a lot of strategical finesse either: rushing isn't reliant on phases, and any other strategy is going to involve champions which means fortresses. Town phase is sort of an awkward in-between, necessary but never "enough". You really don't want to stay in town phase.

Why is this worse than in other RTS? Well for one thing phases don't really make sense as they did in say AoE or RoN, where they represented huge technological advances, so you could completely upgrade units and stuff. In 0 A.D., the idea is that you're simply… having a bigger town, I guess? We don't really "unlock" that much nor upgrade our units a ton, so it all feels very forced and not really that useful. As I said, you just want fortresses, there's really no reason to stay in town phase. It's no castle age or anything.

Another oddity is that they really aren't that costly compared to units and buildings. Particularly since the in-game economy tends to be super easy to boom, you quickly end up with fortress age being limited by the speed at which you build the required buildings (which can be somewhat big as you hardly need them in town phase), not by ressources.

So what do we replace them with?

That's of course the more difficult question. We don't want to go back to earlier alphas where the winning strategy was just to make a fortress straight-away.

I see one course of action: upgrading buildings manually. You'd start with a small town council, upgradable in a town center then a town hall or something. Each time, you unlock better techs and abilities (say, batch-creating villagers, more citizen soldiers…). But those upgrades are quite costly. Same with the blacksmith. Barracks. Temple? Whatever we can think of, really.

The idea is also that the top buildings, techs, and upgrades should be more costly and tied together. Can't build fortresses until eg you have upgraded your town hall enough (sorta simulating phases but differently) or you have enough barracks, or you have unlocked some tech, or you can straight away but they're sorta weak and useless until you pour more ressources in, and champions have a super long build time until you research tech.

But why?

This would have several adantages: it makes it way easier to diversify strategies. Want to focus on champions straight away? Well it's going to cost you a ton of ressources but if you do it properly and the opponent doesn't scout you it's game over for him. Want to trade right away? Doable. Basically it allows going way crazier.

Individual upgrades of buildings also give more info on what your strategy is (particularly if we go with specialization, such as for example allowing a barracks to specialize in ranged or cav units), so that properly countering your opponent's strategy becomes more reliant on scouting.

Overall I think this would be a positive change for the game, making gameplay both more unpredictable and more strategic, while also removing a completely artificial system in favor of something that makes a little more sense.

The biggest drawback would be of course multiplying our art substantially.

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No. We must only limit the military units per class, and add basic military units.

First phase a cavalry explorator male and female basic unit, the citizen soldiers should come in the second phase, but not all classes

Skirmisher/ slinger , cavalry spear, cavalry ranged, spearman and hoplites/ swordsman for Romans limited the experience to reach.

Third phase the rest of units and add a 4 phase.

The first phase units can't build farms without a farmstead. Wooden towers

The second phase only give blacksmith , and (barrack?)and market, towers and palisades

Third phase give temple fortress and advanced defenses and special buildings

4th phase give the marvel and the second sp building.

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We don't really "unlock" that much nor upgrade our units a ton, so it all feels very forced

lol, then why don't you?

No offenses yo you, wratti who does a lot for the game. You say phases are broken but i have not see any attempts to fix them or to add anything cool or to expand and expound on the existing idea in the game. None in months and months (alpha after alpha). Only useless tweak of unit stats to satisfy a small core of online player (and you remove things like technology pair which made the game unique).

You have built some powerful features into the game, but you don't try to use them to maximum potential. Phase II unlock stone tower when wooden tower that does the exact same thing is already available in Phase I. Why? This adds nothing. Why isn't stone tower a powerful and expensive upgrade to the wooden tower instead? There is a function in tech code to swap actors. Why don't you guys do thing like this? The feature is there but you ignore it or forget it or what?

Something like Lion say, make Phase I economic focus more. Make Phase II unlock cavalry, blacksmith, stone towers upgrade, stone walls, etc. Phase III unlock fortress, civic center expansions, hero and champion and siege. Build Wonder togo to Phase IV and unlock super powerful game-change techs. Experiment. It would be nice if GUI could group structure and units better by phase. Make the tiered system more prominent.

Honestly, the Level-Up buildings idea is cool, but make more sense for a game like Starcraft. Or if you make level-up individual building, then you have to reduce management elsewhere, but where? Sadly you say there will be no fighting in formation, so can't reduce management there. Where else?

Edited by wowgetoffyourcellphone
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Perhaps the problem is that we are not looking in-depth at how functional games do it. Upgrading buildings seems a bit strange; in Starcraft there were building tech trees. The same could be done for 0 A.D. the Civic Centre would unlock barracks, which unlocks more units, which in turn unlocks the fortress after a tower has been constructed.

If we are talking about phases still existing, I would look to Age of Kings as an example for our framework and move from there. In Age of Kings the Dark Age could see rushing, but this was mainly just simple harassment. The actual contact would come in the Feudal Age, in which fighting could occur with soft counter units used offensively and the hard counter ones defensively. The alternative would be to wall, a practical option, and jump to the Castle Age, when crossbows, knights, and siege revolutionise the battlefield. In the Imperial Age real power could come to play with unique units, trebuchets, and gunpowder, yet the army compositions would also have to be balanced with cheaper trash units as the game continued since resources, being finite, would continue to limit the purchasing abilities.

The point is that there must be a point to the phases, and Age of Kings did that job extremely well. While everything seemed coherent, it was also distinct with one age to the next. Currently 0 A.D. lacks those distinctions, so the purpose is lost.

I personally would advocate for the ageless concept. It may seem avant-garde, yet it works for the current vision of 0 A.D.

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I don't think phases are broken as a concept, but a lot of things derivating from it are. Even if there can be an other way to have a similar effect.

Each phase already gives an advantage in theory, but not maybe in current implementation.

In village phase you only have the basics. With the addition of wooden towers you also have a few defensive abilities (considering they should be part of a strategy and not a always do or never do, with proper advantages and drawbacks). In phase II you unlock the ability of having better soldiers, either with new classes or technologies, better defenses and better economy. In phase III you have the same power upgrade that can outclass phase II. On that point I have a different view from wowgetoffyourcellphone, not unlocking new strategies by phasing up but unlocking other -and more efficient- ways of doing them (why excluding diversity from early game?).

So if you phase, you unlock things that can overwhelm the previous one, but you need to spend resources on it (and can be overwhelmed by just number). In theory it's a cat and mouse, a race between exploiting phases bonus and costs.

I agree, currently there is no real reason to stay at a low phase. It's just going up to town phase, build a CC and towers and attack with towers (offensive towers? Isn't this a siege weapon?), untill you go city phase, get champions and fortresses and wipe everything. Which I feel is way more broken than phasing and to be deeply linked to it. At least it's how I see the latest svn games I played, I would be truely happy to be proven wrong and wouldn't have started Sibyllae Vox otherwise. If there would be some way to fight in early phases (and things to fight for), it would be harder to spare more resources for phasing. Then phasing cost is just a matter of finding the right cost.

You are providing interesting ideas like more diverse buildings requirements and building upgrades. But I don't know if it will open more strategies, it will surely provide more build orders. To the extreme, Warzone does specializing at a huge size, and because you can't really switch from a strategy to an other, it's still rather linear (once you have made your first choices, you are really stuck in them, switching is losing). I really don't know about this, it a matter of finding a good balance between choices and destiny and invite you to develop it a bit.

I don't have made my mind, I was thinking about extending village phase in sibyllae Vox, to make it not just a sub-phase, but a full entity, like you can already play a lot of things in town phase (well, in Sibyllae Vox) and make it last a bit longer (say if an average game lasts 45 mins, have more or less 15 min of each phases and not phase III at 15 min). Thinking it the reverse way, phasing being the effect of growing and not a requirement (you can get town phase once you already have a town, and not be able to make a town when phased). Thus the "step", requiring investments (resources and time) may add one choice more to do in the global strategy, instead of flowing by itself. It may be a bit artificial but it seems to work (maybe the cost is having a strong will to evolve politicaly and set up the tools for a richer and broader civic life). I don't know about it, for now I'm for keeping it, just not to reboot the game (and deal with it, which with time often make sense of the feature but not always) but if someone convince me that it is far better with a more linear progression why not?

Finally, I may be locked in my concept to implementation way of thinking, when you say "I want to focus on champions", isn't it "I want to focus on a small unstoppable strong army" that translate to training champions (but is not the only way)? The argument of making more diversity isn't in fact revealing the current state should have more? And there are tons of way to deal with it, the phases concept is one of them. Not saying that it won't be modified at all, but are we trying to solve the right thing?

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I agree with wowgetoffyourcellphone

The first phase i suggest no military soldier only a scout/ minted or dismounted.

With some citizen as starting units but you unlock, remember they are settler in the first phase.

4 military infantry mele and 2 ranged and 3 females.

Low LOS. We need more tech to give sense to phasing.

In second our villager need train the first citizen soldiers and scout.

Need a research a tech to unlock cavalry( this way you save make a stable)

The wooden tower can be improved individually to stone.

Palisades need be cheap but worst.

Sp1 you can research many thing like a university.

We can have a each phasing with a kind governor in each phase, each phase unlock speciality units

And embassies , so all mercenary historical can be trained there.

Romans can unlock Marian reform but don't have yet legionaries with Lorica segmentation.( 3 phase)

Other faction can perform their reform and evolve to more strong or cheap units ( weak)

The factions without reforms evolving to mix with other Civs , example celtiberians and Iberians .

Gauls with Germans.

Carthage can recruit more mercenary and unlock technologies , by italiotes, Greeks , Iberians and celts.

Persians can reform to give more Greek style and have a embassy with Scythians, Frigians, the other special building that they have in scenario editor only.

Mauryans can experiment hellenization and have some kind Greek units( need to research in the web about this)

Britons can create Druids that can combat and have aura like heroes. Is like Japan in AOE isolated can have Gaulish features may be.

Seleucids can have many kind of archer and full roster of mercenaries me included Scythians, Frigians, Thessalians, Myssians, Iranians, Cretan archers , Thracian and ace men from. Asia ( Anatolia )

Spartans can create reform to have pikeman and walls and some Hellenistic mercenaries.

The problem are not the phases, are the lack of technoloies.

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I'd like to suggest a slightly different direction.

The phases already seem to represent increasing levels of population/organization. This could be expanded upon.

Village -> Town -> City -> State

As the civilization expands it allows greater specialization for individuals, due to economies of scale. Earlier phases offer a few general purpose units that, although they are versatile, are mediocre (or maybe even straight up bad), at everything. They shouldn't be able to counter anything, but should be easily countered by units in later phases (probably not until city phase, to avoid allowing the first person to reach town phase from effectively insta-winning).

Something like:

Village:

- Citizens, crappy melee citizen soldier, crappy ranged citizen soldier, and a mounted scout.

-- These are little more than conscripts using whatever weapons and armor they can get.

Town:

- Access to first professional cavalry units.

-- These are the early elites of your society. It takes a certain level of organization and wealth to support a noble population, especially one that can afford their own arms, armor, and horses.

- Ability to upgrade your crappy citizen soldiers to passable.

-- now they get some training and equipment provided by the state, but are still basically conscripts. They shouldn't have quite the crippling weakness to the City phase professional soldiers that the crappy citizen soldiers have, but they'll still lose without a sufficient numbers advantage.

- Access to several tech and service buildings; blacksmith, mill, etc.

- Early defensive structures; wooden towers, palisades.

City:

- Access to professional soldiers.

-- These are pure military units with no ability to do menial tasks. They should be much stronger than the citizen soldiers, and equally more expensive.

- Some cavalry specialization.

-- Horse Archers? Chariots? Light Cavalry that excel in harass tactics?

- Fortress access (?)

- Basic siege weapons

- Heavier fortifications

-- stone walls and towers

- may want to introduce support units here

-- something like priests in AoE 1/2 or Druids in R:TW

State:

- Upgraded professional soldiers.

-- Badass++ Pay++. Should be a ridiculously hard counter to village citizen soldiers, and a hard counter to town CS.

- Specialized infantry.

-- Pole-arms for anti-cav, skirmishers, etc.

- more specialized cavalry (?)

-- I don't know what kind of specialized cavalry might have existed in ancient times

New technologies should obviously be introduced as they progress. Not just another +1 to A/D, but more exotic bonuses (especially in the State phase) should be made available. Taking some inspiration from AoK, things like Murder Holes, Herbal Medicine, and Ballistics were great techs that went beyond a boring (but effective) +1 to X stat.

One possible technology, which takes the theme of Generalist -> Specialist a step further, would be to make your citizen soldiers unable to build anymore in exchange for increased combat effectiveness. This tech would have to improve the Citizens as well (perhaps beyond giving them access to constructing military buildings).

You could take it even further by removing the distinction between citizens and citizen-soldiers until a technology is researched that unlocks professional soldiers and "dedicated" laborers/engineers. The specialists would be much better at their jobs than the previous generalists. You could also have this tech automatically researched for certain civs that have a caste system in place.

Lots of ways to go!

Edited by xirsoi
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I like the idea of leveling/upgrading buildings :) (Similar to BFME2, where you can manually upgrade the barracks, or level it via training units)

Plus,

Lvl 2 Barracks = advanced units

Lvl 3 Barracks = elite units

If you want to train basic units for harvesting, build two barracks (one upgraded and the other one, not)

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Yes this is what I like about upgrading buildings: you don't have to. You can take risks. Say the first level CC is very weak: you may not upgrade it if you're just interested in making women and not techs or whatever, but if you get attacked early on you won't be able to defend. Or you can make it into a quasi-fortress if you pour enough resources in. I don't really think it'd be that much micro-management, and we don't have to make all buildings upgradable.

I'm inspired for this by Tower Defense games, which I think have quite a few interesting characteristics, and also city-builders: I think 0 A.D. should be a little more about city-building.

I do agree with you guys that if we keep phases, we need to separate them more and make them more interesting. There are a variety of ways of doing this, but they all end up running in a problem imo: we don't have that big of a unit roster. Most civs have between 5 and 7 different units. And start with 3 from the CC straight up.

An issue with making village phase all about economy is that it's really really boring. Hunting doesn't work. Scouting is pretty darn easy with the huge LOS that units have and the territory mechanics. There's just not that much to do. The economic side of 0 A.D. just isn't that interesting, and to this day I regret that the original design wasn't waaay fancier economically.

I remain unconvinced by phases. I believe they make sense in the context of games such as Rise of Nations. They had their place in Age of Empires since units really progressed (BTW this is also why AOE 3 phases felt weird to me: you didn't feel like you were advancing in ages). In 0 A.D.? I just don't think so.

I kinda like the idea of allowing more specialization in gathering. It makes sense and it would give something to do beyond the early phases for economy. But we need to rethink a lot of the game for that.

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[...]

An issue with making village phase all about economy is that it's really really boring. Hunting doesn't work. Scouting is pretty darn easy with the huge LOS that units have and the territory mechanics. There's just not that much to do. The economic side of 0 A.D. just isn't that interesting, and to this day I regret that the original design wasn't waaay fancier economically.

[...]

If the Village Phase is boring it doesn't mean that you need to abolish it. Why not make it more interesting? => Reduce LOS, make Hunting more viable (by somehow reducing the impact of the distance to the dropsite -> increase carry capacity just for hunting or something). Maybe even something in terms of a Player vs. Environment... I think that is much more fun than removing phases.

If we remove every gameplay feature that's not perfect, we would be left with a bare-stripped game that's not fun to play at all. Better improve those features instead.

Edited by niektb
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IMO, the other ways of gathering food are being ignored because of the efficiency of farming..

Farming is a good and stable way to maintain food resource, but the gathering speed and gathering rate should be tweaked. IMO, so that players will consider other forms of food resource which are faster to obtain, specially during early game.

Ex 1: 3 strikes = 1 food gathered , increase the starting carry capacity to 10 , so a long period 30 strikes will yield 10 food, this can help simulate that farming/growing crops takes time.

  • Inability to complete 3 strikes yields zero food, counting does not resume, it resets every time it does not complete 3 strikes.

If you like to rush, then farming is not for you, you should try breeding food-yielding animals or go hunting.

If you want an auto-managed and less hectic way of gathering food, then you should stick to farming, but it can put you to a disadvantage, despite of its effectiveness as a food source.

Edited by wackyserious
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What about both.

Every Era phase gives a X amount of bonusses and onlocks new buildings while building those you onlock a new "Era phase" then you get new buildings but also have to upgrade existing buildings to get to a new phase for more onlocks with new techs you name it you can do it with a system like that. And i believe it will give you a good feel when you reached the next era to upgrade buildings for new units,techs,buildings, to then hit the next ERA for more bonusses and stuff and so on.

I think when done right you can get everything from both worlds with a unique system.

But if there where a building upgrade system it would be nice to have different models to show the upgraded buildings.

And every new age phase give's you the feel of progressing in time (with every phase new goodies) while building upgrades gives you more to do with many different options.

Edited by RoekeloosNL

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Yes I'm thinking the same about city-building, but can be nice have a evolving visually these building.

And interaction between building for example in Grand Ages Romes you able to place to Romans houses to form other more complex.

Or attach building to speciality that building like Starcraft Terran building, attach a mill to a farmstead for example or and little archery range to barrack, these are examples.

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If the Village Phase is boring it doesn't mean that you need to abolish it. Why not make it more interesting? => Reduce LOS, make Hunting more viable (by somehow reducing the impact of the distance to the dropsite -> increase carry capacity just for hunting or something). Maybe even something in terms of a Player vs. Environment... I think that is much more fun than removing phases.

If we remove every gameplay feature that's not perfect, we would be left with a bare-stripped game that's not fun to play at all. Better improve those features instead.

don't forget less military efficiency , like initial militia in AoK, and train men as workers,ncitizen solders will come next.

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I like the idea of leveling/upgrading buildings :) (Similar to BFME2, where you can manually upgrade the barracks, or level it via training units)

Plus,

Lvl 2 Barracks = advanced units

Lvl 3 Barracks = elite units

If you want to train basic units for harvesting, build two barracks (one upgraded and the other one, not)

Ah, someone else mentions BFME.

In BFME, maintaining the same units battle after battle was critical. There were more ranks available (1-10 in BFME1 and 1-5 in BFME2), so there was a large difference between experienced troops and regular troops. Also, all upgrades had to be researched at a building and then purchased for each battalion. You had to research the tech first, then have enough money left over to actually purchase it per battalion. Losing an upgraded veteran battalion was a big deal. However, it is too much effort to manage veteran units if they are all individual.

It was similar for buildings because they all grew in "rank" too. (Buildings only featured 3 ranks.) They didn't gain rank by defeating enemy units like battalions did, they just grew after existing for a certain amount of time. So, if a structure was destroyed before you had a chance to research all the advanced techs from the building, it would be awhile before you could get another building up to that rank/level. However, you never lost techs that were researched, and you didn't have to keep the building to continue using the tech.The way they handled technologies made it feel more like you were involved in production. We just research and immediately all units are upgraded everywhere.

Elite unit battalions could only trained from high level buildings. If you destroyed all of those, recovery was slow since you couldn't train advanced units for a good while. Of course, if a player was strong enough to destroy all of your advanced structures, they were generally going to win anyway.

Really like the way things were handled in that game. (Heroes were ridiculously overpowered though, and the civilian side left something be be desired.)

Edited by WhiteTreePaladin
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Ok sorry for three replays. But I think some.

The thing is as you say Wraitii, give more interesting the phasing, more difficult , may be survive to the environment inmerse into a no man's land.

Think about future Campaing

283.jpg

First Phase or Nomad

viking-village-x.jpg
More predators, Gaia hostile units ( creepers in Warcraft 3 Frozen Throne) protecting or treasures or near to a resource, the only danger is the enemy, but the environment can be hostile, specially the first phase.

You have only single scout/ or more if are foot explorer.
In nomás a kind hero Explorer like AoE 3 ( an example of Ancient Explorer was the carthaginian Hanno)

The first phase we will get soldiers from the second de as starting because they are protecting the settlers from mainland ( May be because they are founding colonies in Sicily from Athens) but are few.

-----now I have a surprise for you guys-------

And what about have something similar to gods power but feeling like more deck from AOE 3.
We will call to them political powers,similar to Civs power in Empire earth 2 but we have 4 instead 1 and isn't a deck like AOE 3

This get bonus or troops called from mainland/ homeland

7FColYQ.png

z8XnnHp.png
----returning for the phases-----

The Second Phase

TGoC8zC.jpg
The colony is growth, so the danger from environment and enemy player requires train solders as citizen home, so if are Greek start to train Pezhetaroi or if are Classical Greek are hoplites, but they have only basic armor even not helmet for all, so they unlock or research the techniques to crates a blacksmith and forging weapons. Now they have weapons, so they need religion, because aren't great city but need their believes to protect them from this hostile environment , so they research health and bonus festival for their farming, this get bonus too for hp for human units, but they are only infantry, they need development of cavalry, to explore more the map.

( may be scout was killed) and development the hunters. The second phase is that is about diversity. Is a long path to unlock religion, unlock political institution, protect the colony, improve the palisades, even include small stone walls( without turrents) The first stone towers improved by wooden defenses. So citizen increase gold and stone productions and need more richness so they unlock market, having the market they found the first territorial expansion a new CC. Now the homeland put their attention on their settlers and they.

The Third Phase

rom-town-caistor-sm.jpg
Unlock more technologies with them [third phase] so they are in a open war with another civilization, so they need specialize their in to politician ( support unit with abilities may be they can creates embassies) or the citizen can be assassins or can be spy ( with black ops) to try destroy and avoid enemy defenses.

Finally the last phase the siege engines, the war is very destructive and the enemy will deserve be punish even vanish from that land.

The Last Phase

gaming_total_war_rome_2_2.jpg
Creates siege engines and the ultimate warriors(Elite Soldiers) will be trained, even a Heroe rises to protect their people, their faction. so they need be the proud of their Civilization build Special buildings and/ or The Marvel.
This the concept its like the life itself about evolve and speciality to the humans to survive and destroy, and leave a legacy , the glorious history.

------

About the enviroment.

in this enviroment the settler, citizen will be found, wild animals, Cattle, even abandoned buildings(Neutral Capturable buildings), mercenaries (Mercenary Camps), abandoned settlements like (AOM), Wells to heal nearby units, discovery ruins, take reliques, hunt trasures, may be found group of gaia native tribes, and may ... i say may be, control rare resources to boost the economy.

Edited by Lion.Kanzen

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Ah, someone else mentions BFME.

In BFME, maintaining the same units battle after battle was critical. There were more ranks available (1-10 in BFME1 and 1-5 in BFME2), so there was a large difference between experienced troops and regular troops. Also, all upgrades had to be researched at a building and then purchased for each battalion. You had to research the tech first, then have enough money left over to actually purchase it per battalion. Losing an upgraded veteran battalion was a big deal. However, it is too much effort to manage veteran units if they are all individual

0 A.D. need battalion combat like this game. Promotion of rank will have greater meaning and it more decisive to keep groups of units around. Right now, if I lose a Elite Spearman, I don't care.

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IMO the main issue is that your settlement growing isn't represented by well by a research. It would make more sense if the phase functionality were instead attached to upgrading the city center building itself (i.e. Village Hall -> City Hall -> Palace).

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IMO the main issue is that your settlement growing isn't represented by well by a research. It would make more sense if the phase functionality were instead attached to upgrading the city center building itself (i.e. Village Hall -> City Hall -> Palace).

An interesting idea. It does seem appropriate that the most central / core building should be upgraded both visually and in effect. We do the effect part to a limited degree with the LOS increase per phase, but this is a somewhat weak upgrade. Most is left to new research or newly available structures.

In BFME2, you upgraded your fortresses (combined fortress / civil center). They had upgrade slots that you clicked and chose an available upgrade (defense turret, etc.) They also featured general research upgrades like increased vision or armor. The upgrades always had a visual affect so you (and your enemies) could see at a glance what you had chosen.

Perhaps we could combine some of these ideas? Upgrades make the structures more valuable (because of the additional time and resources needed to create). Advanced units and technologies could be available from the most upgraded structures rather than just the most "advanced" structures (like a fortress).

Edited by WhiteTreePaladin
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I'd like to point out I suggested that in my opening post. I completely agree that it would be an interesting experiment.

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Phases themself as an idea are not boring. There have been no changes to how they work ever though. Instead of making phases and technology more interesting you gut the interesting tech pairs idea and made technology more boring and less interesting. Whatever you do, make it more interesting. But I don't think you have even consider ideas to make phases more interesting instead of just chopping them out.

All new idea and "wouldn't it be cool if..." things like this are fine, if only they expand and complement the core vision. Can team even articulate the core vision of the game anymore? How does removing phases and replacing them with building-leveling affect the core vision? I think the core vision imagine a game that has players taking his settlement through phases of growth and that was the phase techs represent. I don't think building-leveling is bad, but it is not a subsitutute for one of the core tenet of the game vision, just an interesting add-on. Leveling up a barracks and making it prettier is not a good substitute for settlement phases. My advise (as if you want it) is to make the phase techs more interesting instead of giving in to the dark nature and chopping them. Or come up with a better way to integreate settlement growth into the game in a meaningful and impactful way as a substitute for phases. Because settlement growth, I believe, is part of the core vision of the game, in the same way that age advancement is part of the core vision of Age of Empires.

Edited by wowgetoffyourcellphone
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[...]

I don't really think anyone is going to disagree with you here, you're covering every existing base. But a "phase growth" technology is imo a super weak way of representing settlement growth. Like literally the worst way you could do this.

Even a super simple where you'd need a number of buildings or a certain villager pop to unlock buildings would work much better.

The issue of whether techs are interesting is separate, and I do disagree with how you handle tech pairs. I'd like to reintroduce them, but I'm not sure how, haven't given it much thought.

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