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Thread: A Matter of Pacing

  1. #1

    A Matter of Pacing

    OK guys, in this post we're going to discuss WoM's pacing (especially in the early game). What do I mean by “pacing”? Well, “pacing” is the speed at which the game seems to move. At the moment WoM has a very slow early game and a number of people want us to speed it up. There are a number of ways to do this and a number of things we have to consider before we decide to change anything.

    We're going to start with the first major consideration: Why does the early game seem slow?

    Now, some of you may feel that it's the build times on the low tier buildings. I disagree. I think it's simply a matter of there being nothing to do in the early game. That is to say there is very little you CAN DO with your starting army.

    I don't feel this is so much a problem with the army itself as it is with the world features. At the moment the early game goes something like this:

    Start building buildings.
    Send your starting armies out to explore.
    Find that your armies can't conquer any of the world features.
    Run your starting armies back to your starting city to fend off the hoards of incoming enemies.
    Turtle for maybe a hundred turns while you start to build a real army.

    Let's face it, that's pretty dull. Dull as dishwater... A few games of that will getting you turning on the TV to watch the “paint dry” channel, lol.

    The early game should go more like this:

    Start building buildings.
    Send your starting armies out to explore.
    Focus on finding and taking out the weakest world features.
    Use the loot you get from that to speed up production in your starting city.
    Add a unit or two to your army (you'll have the resources to do that because of the gold you've found).
    As your units gain more experience you'll be able to take out more difficult world features.
    And as you find more mana crystals you'll be able to bring more magic to the battlefield.
    You might even invest in persistent buffs to make you high-level low-tier units truly dangerous.

    By the time you've knocked out all the world features within close reach you'll have built up enough to have a dedicated scout. You'll be searching around for those few remaining freebies and gearing up to take up some of the harder stuff. Your starting city will have had time to grow while you were clicking off exciting (rather than empty) turns and you'll be able to found your second city fairly easily.

    The problem at the moment is that there's no reason to explore and every reason to hide. And there's no point in starting a battle because you're going to loose. The reason for this is simple: the world features are just too difficult.

    The solution is also simple (from a conceptual point of view). The world feature generator has to ensure that there are a number of “conquerable” features near every starting city. This is actually trickier than it sounds, but we're working on it.

    I feel that once we get the new generator in place the pacing issue may disappear. In any event, I feel we need to wait until it's in place to make changes.

    That having been said, we're very open to suggestions.

    Do you guys agree with my assessment? Do you have anything to add? Do you have any suggestions concerning early game pacing?

    Speak up guys. You know we're listening
    Last edited by Troy_Costisick; 03-13-2015 at 01:23 AM.
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  2. #2
    Give the civs a small, disposable "hidden" unit that can be used as a scout. Elven hawk, Human forester, Undead bat, or whatever.

    Something you can use to expand the black zone around your city without losing your starting army, which really needs to be for defense.

    I don't mind a little slow pacing, but maybe an "auto end turn" could be enabled for when there's no notifications?

  3. #3
    Developer Hoverdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miradus View Post
    Give the civs a small, disposable "hidden" unit that can be used as a scout. Elven hawk, Human forester, Undead bat, or whatever.

    Something you can use to expand the black zone around your city without losing your starting army, which really needs to be for defense.
    Master of Magic had Magic Spirit, a cheap arcane summoning spell you always got at the start of the game. This spirit was rather useless in battle, but had 2 movement points and could float over water. A perfect early scout unit.
    We want to incorporate such a summon too - that'll ease the exploration somewhat (along with no zerging neutrals)

  4. #4
    I'm not sure I'm feeling the scout, but the auto-end-turn is a good idea! (I used it all the time in MoO2.)

    I do agree with the summon-able scout, of course
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  5. #5
    What about starting players off with more than just 2 units. What about 4? That would be a much easier fix than endlessly tweaking the feature generator and would be an editable fix across all factions. Players could then make a strategic choice: clump units and take out features OR spread out my units and explore. Strategic choice is what makes a strategy game fun imo.
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  6. #6
    Developer Hoverdog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troy_Costisick View Post
    What about starting players off with more than just 2 units. What about 4? That would be a much easier fix than endlessly tweaking the feature generator and would be an editable fix across all factions. Players could then make a strategic choice: clump units and take out features OR spread out my units and explore. Strategic choice is what makes a strategy game fun imo.
    With more units, upkeep starts to be a problem, and assigning more pops to farmers and upping taxes can hamper development. Then again, we could make players start with a bigger city or additional gold income.

  7. #7
    I think another thing to consider is equating number of opponents and neutral cities to map size. It seems that there are a random number of neutral cities, because I have been playing on nothing but medium maps, and getting different numbers of neutral cities. I feel that just saying "hey, you are on a medium map, so that means you get X neutrals and X real opponents".

    As it is now, you choose how many opponents you have. That is cool, and I guess does allow for you to choose your own pacing, but if you want a balanced game, well we as players don't know what that is necessarily.

    Along that same vain, the maps seem pretty big. Although this may be because I am never really able to explore very far before either being swarmed or the game breaks lol.

    I do agree that there are a TON of world features, but I can't really do anything with them because they are huge dungeons or keeps with huge defenses. Fixing that may be the key. Maybe instead of making them easier to conquer though, maybe instead just taking the easy features (bandit camps, wagons, and similar easy things) and having them take the place of the more difficult features that are nearby your starting city.


    Another problem seems to be how long it takes for turns to go by once your are part way through the game. It takes about 30 seconds for your turn to come by again while the AI takes its turns. That is a pretty long time. Civ 5 late game, if you are playing with all AI unless you are playing on the largest map, wait time wasn't much longer than 10 seconds.

  8. #8
    Developer Hoverdog's Avatar
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    Maybe instead of making them easier to conquer though, maybe instead just taking the easy features (bandit camps, wagons, and similar easy things) and having them take the place of the more difficult features that are nearby your starting city.
    This is something we are currently considering. It will require a total overhaul of our feature generation system, so it can take a while to do.

    Another problem seems to be how long it takes for turns to go by once your are part way through the game. It takes about 30 seconds for your turn to come by again while the AI takes its turns. That is a pretty long time. Civ 5 late game, if you are playing with all AI unless you are playing on the largest map, wait time wasn't much longer than 10 seconds.
    That's mostly a problem caused by the relentless, merciless hordes of the Dark Empire of Neutrals.

  9. #9
    THE GRAND BACKER zdsdead's Avatar
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    Aaron I totally agree with your assessment, +1. Im not sure there is a simple or easy fix, and I dislike the ideas of more starting units/scouts. I would much prefer the option of easier world features next to your starting city, even if this takes a little bit of time to implement.

    I certainly don't think that building times should be shortened, etc.
    Last edited by zdsdead; 09-15-2014 at 03:48 PM.
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  10. #10
    Adding more units is something I'm willing to consider, but it's not something I want to implement until after the new world feature generator in place.

    On the other hand, I'd like to look at auto-end-turn soon
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