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eric o

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  1. The capture ability certainly changes the game in several ways. I cannot say "like" or "dislike" yet, but I have played five games since the new release. 1. Capture potential changes a LOT about towers. If you have a wall, and you have some towers outside of it (and I'm not saying that is necessarily a good plan, but it could happen for various reasons), in previous alphas the outer towers might be strategically weak, but they were still worth quite a lot for both offense and defense. In fact it was almost unfair/unbalanced how much offense towers could do. But now, if you have some towers in an advance position where they don't have much cover or backup, they will get captured and used against you. This is good because it decreases the previously unreasonable offensive strength of towers in advance positions. It is now much less of a successful tactic (at least with medium and stronger AIs) to sneak up and build a tower to harass the enemy's resource areas or supply lines. In previous alphas, it was too easy to win by simply building enough towers near enemy supply lines to eventually ruin them by forcing them to put all their energy into population replacement. Just cutting down their citizens over and over at a small but constant rate so they never raise an army. However, capture is probably not the most expected way that that problem would be addressed. Advance-position towers now seem much more likely to be targeted for capture than they previously were for attack. I'm not sure if the reason is more in program code or Petra's AI. 2. Capture feels like a bit too strong and too easy of a tactic compared to attack. Suppose in a previous alpha you unfortunately allow some enemy troops to enter an area where you have a lot of houses and economy buildings and other non-military structures. It seems they can capture most of them now at a rate much faster than they used to destroy them by attacking. There is a conflict in this. On one hand, it physically, logically, makes sense that it would be easier and faster to capture than to destroy. On the other hand, it changes the game's fighting mechanic a lot. The risk of allowing enemy troops within a perimeter, at least in any area without garrisoned defensive structures, is now FAR higher than it ever was before. But maybe that is desirable! In the previous alphas a player could be successful against weaker to moderate AIs by building enormous perimeters, extra long walls enclosing vast areas and multiple population centers, partly because it just didn't hurt very much to let a few enemies in as long as they weren't a full army. But now even a few enemies get in and they might capture some structures and start to destroy the empire from inside. 3. I don't know if it's just me, but capturing enemy battering rams and other siege equipment now looks very, very preferable over destroying them, but I have found it can be difficult to control which is chosen in the heat of battle, especially given the density of graphics around siege equipment (which, in turn, is partly because they move slowly enough that foot and cavalry units are often piling up against and around them). Aside from the points above, I think perhaps my old play style had become dependent on some specific characteristics of the game (and of the Petra AI) that are no longer true. I think this because in the new release I immediately failed in the 3- and 4-player (on medium and large terrain) scenarios that I used to succeed in at medium or hard AI strength. In fact, now I have had to cut all the way back to a single opponent with weak AI at first, and small territory, and now have built back up to medium AI at least, but still one opponent and small (not tiny) territory. I will continue to re-learn from there.
  2. It's very fast via Bittorrent... only took a few minutes on my broadband connection.
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