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Thorfinn the Shallow Minded

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Everything posted by Thorfinn the Shallow Minded

  1. There are a couple obstacles to that from a historical perspective. First, kings had little authority outside of military matters. Of course they did sit in the Gerousia, but Ephors were much more influential. The second problem relates to the heroes used. Brasidas is not a king. The simplest option would be to introduce two kinds of heroes: Eurypontid and Agaiad, and have two or three of each. The player could train one as the primary dynasty, and the second one could be unlocked via technology. The Spartans did besiege cities, but this was usually done by building siege walls (Take the siege of Plataea). The ram is an adequate way of represent their less than creative means of taking cities. I appreciate your advocating for Spartans being available at phase 1. I would, however, encourage two suggestions that I have made in a previous thread: make them free albeit with a long training time, costing 2 population, and limiting the number of Syssita to 1 +1 per next phase. This would encourage Spartan production yet make it extremely difficult to mass.
  2. What is balance and what is not can be a fine line. It feels at the moment that the weight is far too conservative, but I could easily see it swinging the other way. For what it's worth, yes there was a scathing criticism for issues, but I think that in part, that has to be expected with any change. Ideally speaking those should not be taken personally, but that's asking the impossible. Again this is why I think that when making changes that could both add colour to each faction, transparency is key, especially if there will be sweeping overhauls. Likewise, since the work would focus on just one faction at a time, there could be a large amount of balance testing focussed on just it alone.
  3. This is precisely why I proposed working with a new schema, the kill your darlings concept applied to 0 AD. First, while the current alpha is an excellent template to work off of, it does not have to be followed to a T since the first civilisation that would be reworked could be balanced against itself. Things would complicate themselves with each successive rework, but the important thing is that there would be a coherent idea of how each civilisation would perform beyond just looking back at previous versions. At the same time since there would be the option to play the factions prior to the rework, players could still enjoy the variety of them without a grossly imbalanced game. This would allow for much more radical departures from the current formulae. Instead of champions always being available at the 3rd phase simply because, there could be some, like say the Spartans, who could train Spartans at the very outset. There could be new ways of collecting resources like Athenians collecting metal from olive fields.
  4. Personally the house walling concept is something I dislike; they take away the idea of using other structures for defence like... walls. I think that a soft way of punishing that sort of tactic would be to allow a town phase technology that allows infantry to set buildings on fire. If they are too close together, the fire would spread, but I digress. Walling with buildings is nothing new to RTS games. What we want to think about is ways of providing more nuance. Another thing blacksmith adjacency could do is award experience to units trained from nearby barracks. Honestly there are so many cool, thematic synergies that have remained unexplored that could add some much needed spice to the economic/base building side of the game.
  5. This is precisely why I would propose a systematic approach to updating civilisations one by one. There would be time to forge a clear identity to how they would work, yet at the same time since it would just be that civilisation, players would be able to see how matchups with it and other factions would function. Choices would be deliberate, not either dogmatically following the whims of the meta or taking in every shiny idea.. That said, I see the balancing advisors to be have a valid place here, noting where things are broken and noting where fixes could be made. At the moment the economies for civilisations run fairly similar to each other, which I find unfortunate, especially since a large amount of a players concentration has to be dedicated to it. It also can be fun to build aesthetically nice cities in game, but there are no rewards to consider with building placement. What if there was one faction that had reduced training time to barracks placed next to blacksmiths? The Romans could also have their Temple of Vesta offer increased gathering speed to nearby women. Maybe so, but the point is still valid. There is no clear documentation of where the team wishes to take the civilisations from a design perspective (There are documents on each civilisations design, but those seem to have been left by the wayside.), and this would perhaps fix that apparent issue.
  6. First I would like to offer the disclaimer that an emphasis on balance is not a bad thing. It helps to maintain a thriving community, and the community is integral to an open source topic. That said, many design decisions that have changed the game on an integral level were done so with balance in mind, not an end vision. Again, this is not bad either, but ultimately it means that many of 0 AD's design choices are near sighted and balanced =/= good design. Ultimately a problem I see with the game from this standpoint is that the factions are fairly bland. Yes, there are restrictions to what units are available, but at the end of the day a Persian spearman has the same statline most other factions. Many great proposals have been done to flesh them out better. I would particularly mention wowgetoffyourcellphone's and my own, but I'm sure that there are plenty of others. Despite often a great amount of thought being put into them and at least some of the community having positive opinions on the alterations, to my knowledge little if anything gets done. This is ultimately motivated by the fact that these would throw the balance in flux. While this is exasperating to people who would like change, the points behind these conservatives are valid. The multiplayer community might suffer. That said, I think that there is a reasonable compromise that 0 AD can and should take to help diversify factions and gameplay for the longterm without ruining the competitive scene. One by one factions could experience overhauls with key things in mind: How would their economy function differently from other ones? Are there any ways to reward strategic building placement? Are there any glaring inaccuracies in the design? What are current strategies used in the competitive scene, and how could these be expanded upon? These new iterations of the factions would initially be an option until all factions have experienced an overhaul, allowing for players to freely choose between the current, more balanced faction designs and the more experimental ones. Then, the team could in theory even turn around and continue the cycle of overhauls.
  7. Definitely that would be fair. True, but her ability was in recruiting foreign leaders to side with her. Her retreating at the Battle of Actium was baffling at least in my opinion. Neither of these really are the makings of a 'hero,' but I am sure that there are some qualities to her I've missed. I would support this even though he was not ruling during the Golden Age, but that would definitely be contingent on Sparta having access to pikemen. While Iphicrates is hardly bad, he is again outside the scope of Athenian hegemony. Aristides would be a redundancy to me. Pericles fills the role of statesmen pretty well as is. Thucydides was a phenomenal historian; his quality as a general is difficult to assess as he is only known for being late to the Battle of Amphipolis. Another alternative I would offer would be for Cimon to be represented.
  8. At the very least their removal and replacement should be strongly considered. 0 AD attempts to represent factions at their zenith. Cleopatra was reigning when the Ptolemies were in decline; she might be iconic, but that does not change the fact. Agis III reigned when Sparta was at most a minor regional power. The Spartan golden age could be considered immediately following the Peloponnesian War, but during the Persian Wars and up to the Battle of Leuctra would be a more general point. Agis IV died heroically, but so did many other kings. As a final note, having more hitpoints is just boring. Agesilaus II would be an objectively better king to select in my completely unbiased opinion. Iphicrates suffers from the same problem. The Golden Age of Athens could be regarded as from the Persian Wars up to the end of the Peloponnesian War. He is simply after that. I would argue for someone like Miltiades who could have a similar function.
  9. Small typo there. Allow me to show how it could be rewritten: "I think Sparta without Spartans is weird, and it is also unique to have only one champion unit and let it be available early." Jokes aside, I don't see non-citizens as a champion being a good candidate despite the mechanics you proposed being interesting. Those individuals seemed to be rather rare. Xenophon probably only was able to get such an education for his children due to his personal friendship with Agesilaus. To me the skiritae unit virtually occupies the second champion slot despite being a citizen soldier. There are definite problems with its current state (why is it so slow?) that I think would make it not just a beefy legionnaire. Removing champions in fact might be a good way of improving diversity. Rome for instance, had horrendous cavalry compared to that of Carthage, leading to much of Hannibal's success, yet in game their consular bodyguards are considered first rate. I would strongly advise removing it to better establish Rome as a predominantly infantry and siege based civilisation. Why does the bodyguard exist? Because the commandments of game design dictated that all civilisations should only have two available champions at the time.
  10. Keep in mind that building the Syssiton itself is an expense; supposing that there was no batch training possible and Spartans had something like a sixty second training time, I would hardly call that a completely broken mechanic. This could be coupled with their champions having reduced stats that improve with each subsequent phase. Making them spawn from the Civic Centre would make the Syssiton a redundancy, an unideal outcome. My point is that Spartans should be able to viably have Spartans at the beginning of the game in a way that is not a massive opportunity cost. Keep in mind that we are talking merely hypothetically, and calling such a mechanic either weak or overpowered is a false dichotomy without further experimentation.
  11. I believe that I already outlined my opinion much earlier regarding a very obvious Spartan gimmick: Be able to train Spartans at phase 1. Simply speaking Sparta without Spartans is stupid. My proposal in a thread regarding ways to diversify champions included making making Spartan hoplites free as well, only offset by a lengthly recruitment time, two population, and a hard cap of one Syssiton in the Village Phase and +1 for each subsequent one. Technologies would be able to change the characteristics of its citizenry over time, making each Phase give an option to represent the political elements affecting Spartans.
  12. Crush, Hack, and Pierce attack types do not have to conform to reality. Simply speaking there are plenty of abstractions as is. Swordsmen for instance dealing hack damage in the case of the legionnaire makes little sense as the gladius functioned primarily as a stabbing weapon. Likewise spearheads could oftentimes be used for cutting, as represented by medieval treatises on the matter. The terms hack, pierce, and crush are merely lovingly face-lifted from Age of Mythology. Yes, the terms generalise and are unoriginal, but they kind of work (outside of the fact that spearmen and pikemen suddenly become worse at demolishing buildings and destroying rams).
  13. Could somebody clarify the spearman versus sword cavalry matchup? How does rank 1 versus 1 play out? Obviously in most cases sword cavalry cost 150 resources, meaning that engaging against spearmen with a narrow win is already inefficient, yet at the same time spearmen are extremely slow, meaning that cavalry rarely have to take these unfavourable engagements. It is that problem that I believe makes sword cavalry difficult; their counter to them has no easy way of getting close enough to force fights. The question that we maybe should ask ourselves is if spearmen are not an adequate counter, what is?
  14. There are a few minor quibbles here and there, but as a whole it seems good. Is there any reason that the Seleucids remain unchanged aside from the library?
  15. The spear/polearm being specifically designed to combat cavalry is a bit of an RTS convention; simply by virtue of much better reach spears were used by and large by all infantry regardless of whether they were facing cavalry or not. Whether a spearman would outperform a horseman one-on-one is a triviality in which matters of other equipment, training, etc,... complicate the matter. Even if the game does not embrace a battalion system, it would be nice for players to benefit from engaging in orderly formations. Even making it possible if only suboptimal would be a nice change of pace. I personally like to see my troops in proper battle lines, but the stand ground stance is annoyingly restrictive while the defensive stance goes too much in the other extreme.
  16. That is an unfortunate aspect of the current gamestate. In the past there were a few ways the original team though that they could be more useful. These included making individual target random units in the formation in such a way that ranged units and melee could never focus fire a single unit. Others included a number of buffs and debuffs. Phalanx for instance made hoplites generally tougher at the expense of being slower. Seeing just a few of these ideas in the game could perhaps make the mosh pit battles a less common occurrence.
  17. A lot of people have been throwing flak at Biden, and while I would not say the withdrawal was the best parade out of a country, I find it unfair to push all of the blame on him. Clearly he was acting on some intelligence, and the idea that the government would collapse in a number of weeks I would say blindsided much of the world, myself included. The New York Times has an interesting article on the matter that might be worth a read. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/18/us/politics/afghanistan-intelligence-agencies.html Obviously he could have delayed the pullout considering the warning signs, but that would have been political suicide. Keeping to the arranged time was arguably the best bad decision, but quite obviously mistakes were made by Biden and a large number of others.
  18. That I could generally get behind. It could even open up the divergent upgrades, one that focusses on pierce armour and the other that ups their melee attack so that in one case they could have better survivability in raids or in attacking ranged units, or in the other case being a force to be reckoned with in a pitched battle. I'm not sure if I would extend an option for champions to gain for all cases, but it could be cool to have one or two do so. To paraphrase Syndrome, if all champions gain experience, no champions gain experience. I guess that didn't really make much sense, but the point still stands.
  19. I edited the initial post to include a few suggestions I thought were good ideas along with a few additional thoughts and clarifications I thought of following the post. Skiritae are kind of weird in that they are regarded as a champion unit but don't actually fulfil that role since they are citizen soldiers. With this change Spartans would be the only faction with one champion (two if they had access to Spartan pikemen but I digress). This would be an interesting difference from others. As for Skiritae, them being super swordsmen is not really a proper approach to them; a more accurate one would be that they were one of the more mobile elements of the army that was generally higher quality than other non-citizens, and doing this would help show that in my opinion.
  20. Glad you do; giving any suggestions for changes or additions is obviously welcome. As a clarifier, Spartan Hoplites would never be able to be batch trained. That could quite obviously abuse their lack of any cost. One of the things I tried to do when writing up a list of examples was to go beyond the mere defined role. Think about Age of Empires II. A berserk was like a champion but also regenerated. Cataphracts were like knights but with a bonus versus infantry. Kataphracts having more armour could maybe work if they have a speed reduction as well. Hetairoi having more speed and a bonus versus infantry could work as viable trade off for not performing as well against cavalry. That said, I can't think of a historical justification for it, but not everything needs that.
  21. At the moment, aside from upgrades that exist for some civilisations, tests that I have made with champion units has revealed that they are for the most part completely identical. This means that in a one on one fight, an un-upgraded spartan fighting an immortal will always result in a tie. I am not criticising this vein of logic; it makes balancing easier by having identical stats for different classes, yet at the same time it seems like a lost opportunity. Champions should have defining features to them that flesh out the culture they came from. As such, I thought up a few potential changes to how some (not all) champions could be altered to better reflect this. Immortal: capable of swapping to archer mode at the cost of lower armour. Spartan Hoplite: free but extremely long training time and two population, can be trained in the Village Phase through a the Mess Hall, which has a building cap of one in the Village phase, 2 in the Town Phase, and 3 in the City Phase. They cannot be batch trained. Consular Bodyguard: buffed when by a hero. Sacred Band: buffs citizen soldiers within a small aura at the cost of taking up two population. British Chariot: incorporate transport aspect (see Geneva’s thread.). Naked Fanatic: ignores armour. Scythian Archer: buffed when fighting in friendly territory. Is trained at the Civic Centre. Marine: small movement buff to ships it is garrisoned within. Cataphract: Higher armour but slower speed. Hetairoi: Faster movement and bonus against infantry at the cost of a smaller bonus against cavalry. Skiritae: faster movement speed and starts trained at advanced rank instead of elite. These are just a few things I thought up that may not be practical to implement at the moment, but I think that a line of thinking like this would greatly help in characterising defining part of each civilisation.
  22. I would disagree with the last statement. Axes were often used by professionals throughout history. I would agree with the points about shields. Being two-handed is also not the only qualifier to being well suited against shields. The head could easily work as a means of catching weapons and shields in such a way as to displace them and create an opening. The general way I could see that reflected could be through a decent cancellation of armour when attacking.
  23. Player size is a major factor in choosing the right game for your family. Also, how competitive do they like games? How long of games are you looking for? Codenames is an excellent four player+ game, and if you wish to restrict the number to two players or have the game cooperative, I'd recommend Codenames duet. On a similar light complexity game, The Crew is an ingenious trick taking game that works well with three to four players but is functional at five. If you're looking for something a bit more meaty, there is Pandemic the board game, but I would warn that although that is a fantastic cooperative game, it can lead to a bit of a problem if one person asserts over everyone else. As a light asymmetrical wargame, I am a fan of Root, which functions best with 3-4 players, yet I would warn that it is very cutthroat and could vary in compatibility from one group to the next. Isle of Skye is phenomenally well designed and worth investigating, works well with up to 5 players, and tends to clock at around 45 minutes of play-time. RPG-wise, Gloomhaven is fantastic if you're willing to spend that much money (at this rate you might as well wait for it's sequel Frosthaven coming out next year.), yet I personally prefer Mage Knight; that game however is much more cerebral and might be for a more niche audience. If you want a heavy-weight civilisation game, I cannot recommend another game more strongly than Through the Ages: A New Story of Civilisation.
  24. I think that introducing a completely different slave mechanic simply seems to be an arbitrary way to put in more complexity than necessary. Citizens are trained in game rather than naturally spawning. Why should slaves be too different in that respect?
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