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I was definitely feeling the pain of not being able to research ITEMS. I think that this is the drawback of only having one research pipe. It's hard to find the time to do everything, and it really just railroads you into researching only the things that you *THINK* are compulsory.

The human brain is a terrifyingly nightmarish beast and when you pin it into a corner like this I feel like it tends to FREAK OUT! :D!

I think that some of the feelings of THE ONE TRUE BUILD ORDER for the game are overstated - it looks like there are some differing opinions amongst the hardcore players here. I think that's good!

Would it be useful for us to post our actual build order for an entire game so you can see that data? I, for instance, felt like it must be absolutely necessary to research all the armor and training as quickly as possible, but I admit that I don't know if that's true. Although the Advanced Armor certainly seems essential . . .

That being said I just want to be able to get more toys. I think that reducing research times on all of the cool sidegrades is a great idea. Then we'll be looking into buffing (and nerfing!) some items.

Items on my nerf watchlist:

STEADY HANDER

VITALIBAND

(These are both kind of boring wonder-solutions that you can just jam on all of your guys and be content. I would MUCH RATHER see them be crutches/solutions for NERVOUS and SICKLY heroes)

I used steady handers on all my heros as often as possible (sometimes two!). Hunters didn't have a problem with seeds and it took a lot longer for a caberjack's Kill Rage to dip far enough in accuracy to miss an attack.

Items on my buff watchlist:

HEALTH VIAL - I just don't think it's doing enough!

SPONGE STONE - I think the penalty is too brutal and it's not really worth it right now. It's cool if your dudes live through an onslaught but sometimes they just get one-shotted because the health penalty is so savage. :(

XP SCARF - It's a good idea but I'm not sure what to do with this guy!

PERILOUS CORE - There's hardly a reason to use this thing! It's only really useful for pure Alchemists and Trickshots that pick up the Throw/Shoot Items Skill. Then it gives you a bonus mega nuke which is kind of sweet. But man it's niche. Looking for ideas here! :D

AGE N RAGE - I'm going to look at the numbers. It has to give a GREAT BONUS (which I think it does?) in order to be worth the drawback.

Age N Rage is definitely one that I just default avoid because of the aging. I researched Wunderpants to stop Wrinklers doing that . . . why would I choose to do it to my heroes! Likewise with Perilous Core. If I can't throw it, the sacrifice is just too great.

I like the idea of the XP Scarf, but I've never had a real reason to use it.

I think the other ones are in pretty good shape:

ULTRALIXIR

DODGING STOCKINGS

SKIPPING STONE

HASTE HOOCH

WUNDERPANTS

If they were cheaper to get you could actually experiment with some of the niche items which is really good! I don't know why I've been so hesitant to reduce the times. You are limited by the number of slots you can take into battle so promoting item diversity is really great!

I'll probably be looking into a 50% reduction in item costs so that you can snag a bunch of toys.

Skipping Stone is definitely one of my favorites and I usually get it.

Wunderpants, as I noted above, actually feels too powerful against Advanced Cadence--it removes an element of the fear!

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Oh one more thing! We're going to rename the difficulty modes!

EASY -> NORMAL

NORMAL -> HARD

HARD -> BRÜTAL

That does just feel better, although I like the idea of adding a new Easy underneath and two difficulty levels above Brutal (the last one should literally be impossible without perfect luck!) And you have to get a difficulty called MASSIVE CHALLENGE in there!

Is fertility something that's adjusted with difficulty or is that stable across?

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We decided not to touch the fertility across difficulties. It's the same all the time.

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What about a never-ending mode, or give the player the choice to continue after the final battle? It makes sense since the chalice says cadence will never end!

Then we could compete in "who can last the most years" challenges, sounds fun :P

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Wouldn't that just be a function of who was lucky enough to get the most keep attacks? Given a 3 region attack always moves the game closer to a loss state.

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Wouldn't that just be a function of who was lucky enough to get the most keep attacks? Given a 3 region attack always moves the game closer to a loss state.

Interesting point. It would be a bizarre advantage to building on the outer territories.

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Wouldn't that just be a function of who was lucky enough to get the most keep attacks? Given a 3 region attack always moves the game closer to a loss state.

Interesting point. It would be a bizarre advantage to building on the outer territories.

Not that bizarre. An outer ring of fortified territories to defend the inner ring and the chalice makes sense :D

I think? Maybe I'm not interpreting that right...

I like the idea of an eternal battle.

New Game+ and New Game++ would also be awesome. Maybe DLC or patches or expansions or MC II :D

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I think reducing the build time multiplier, dropping it back one if a building gets destroyed, and reducing research times and buffing the weak items will make the game easier and probably more consistent.

Since a lot of people have issues with recruitment, maybe recruit heroes should give you a few more heroes and a mix of levels.

I honestly get confused about who the new heroes even are when I use it. But maybe without the upgrade it should give you a level 3, a couple of level 2s and four or five level ones? So for people who are having fertility issues it would be a way to get a potentially pretty good level 3, then some level one breeding stock in case they were lacking decent partners for their regents.

I didn't realize level 1 relics were so weak. If the base damage was increased a bit then it would make the characters using them feel more like badass. I kind of just assumes they were really good, but never even looked at what stats they had.

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I've got a but in there for building construction times. When you lose a building for any reason I want to knock the construction penalty down by 1. This way you can rebuild that Guild or Crucible and it's not as punishing!

Brad, would you consider simply eliminating the building construction penalties? I understand these were a perfectly reasonable fix to the first Beta, where people were abusing both Crucibles (my favorite) or Guilds. But from what I understand, it looks like you guys fixed the underlying problems that the construction penalty was designed to patch.

First, Guilds: You solved this with the intuition "nerf." It used to be that guilds were really powerful, but now even a fully staffed guild of level 10s only gives you like 30% reduction, right? In the early game, it's more like a 10% reduction if you are lucky and expend lots of hero resources on it. If you have a guild year 50, that's 250 years of maybe 10-20% more efficiency over the long run, so you save 25-50 years. But you have to build it for like 15 years, so that's not exactly a crazy ROI. And remember, that's only if you "spend" good heroes on it. Plus, 15 years is a long time to not be able to recruit or adopt in a pinch, which is important in the early game. Allowing more Guilds without penalty still creates a "penalty" in that you need 6 full time heroes to make use of it, and the longer you wait the less useful a guild is anyways. If someone wants to spend 45 years in the early game to get lots of research later, encourage that as a cool alternative strategy! (not to mention that staffing under this strategy would be very difficult given that you're not building keeps). I would love to see people bragging about how if you take some pain in the first few decades, it pays off with lots of research in the late game.

Second, Crucibles: You solved this by capping training to the highest-level trainer. I think in the early betas it may have been possible to train a kid past the trainer's XP. Chad explained to me that, at the moment, any given trainer stops providing XP to a trainee once the trainee's XP matches the trainer's XP. So having tons of Crucibles and Standards can't ever make a trainee have more XP than the highest XP trainer. Thus, there's already huge diminishing returns in place because after 1 Crucible, the Standard + two parents of equal level will essentially maximize the amount of training that can be given to a kid. What you essentially get for additional Crucibles is additional flexibility: If I have two+ powerful Standards, I can focus on parents' traits rather than parents' levels. And that's awesome! It makes another cool alternative strategy (my personal favorite) --> get a few crucibles to handle the level curve so you can spend a significant chunk of the game focusing on developing parental traits rather than only worrying about having the highest level parents.

Third, Keeps: Was this ever a problem? Look, lots of people like to play with lots and lots of keeps, so they don't have to worry about the population drying up and they have lots of flexibility with hero classes to bring to battle. But this isn't like exploiting some dominant strategy. The more you spread out your bloodlines, the harder it is to focus XP on a few trainers and keep up with the level curve. In my opinion, mo parents mo problems, because I can't focus XP on them. Now... with lots of crucibles, you can fix that, but it's tough to have lots of crucibles AND lots of keeps.

In conclusion :) I think that eliminating the construction penalty opens up the research tree as much or more than reducing item research times. People just NEED to have a certain number of buildings, so penalty or no they are simply gonna do it, and all the penalty does is eliminate time for other things. If you have good items with reasonable research times, some people will prefer to research them, while others will prefer to get the benefits from lots of buildings. It just means there are multiple viable strategies, which is cool!

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Chad explained to me that, at the moment, any given trainer stops providing XP to a trainee once the trainee's XP matches the trainer's XP. So having tons of Crucibles and Standards can't ever make a trainee have more XP than the highest XP trainer. Thus, there's already huge diminishing returns in place because after 1 Crucible, the Standard + two parents of equal level will essentially maximize the amount of training that can be given to a kid.

Holy crap that is a huge detail that I was completely unaware of. If this is staying in for v1.0, it definitely needs to be more explicitly mentioned in-game.

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I like pretty much all the suggestions in the last couple of posts.

I agree; and I daresay there's a consensus on the two biggest issues in the strategic layer.

especially rebuilding destroyed keeps. Items are too slow to research as well.

I think Fertility is okay, but I'm going to bring back a suggestion I made earlier. More Starting Heroes. I hope this counts as a #.

+3 on Hard (3-5 could be a bit random)

+6 on Normal (5-10 could be a bit random)

+9 on Easy (5-10 could be a bit random)

I think this should temper the crisis of early missions being down a person.

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I've got a but in there for building construction times. When you lose a building for any reason I want to knock the construction penalty down by 1. This way you can rebuild that Guild or Crucible and it's not as punishing!

Brad, would you consider simply eliminating the building construction penalties? I understand these were a perfectly reasonable fix to the first Beta, where people were abusing both Crucibles (my favorite) or Guilds. But from what I understand, it looks like you guys fixed the underlying problems that the construction penalty was designed to patch.

First, Guilds: You solved this with the intuition "nerf." It used to be that guilds were really powerful, but now even a fully staffed guild of level 10s only gives you like 30% reduction, right? In the early game, it's more like a 10% reduction if you are lucky and expend lots of hero resources on it. If you have a guild year 50, that's 250 years of maybe 10-20% more efficiency over the long run, so you save 25-50 years. But you have to build it for like 15 years, so that's not exactly a crazy ROI. And remember, that's only if you "spend" good heroes on it. Plus, 15 years is a long time to not be able to recruit or adopt in a pinch, which is important in the early game. Allowing more Guilds without penalty still creates a "penalty" in that you need 6 full time heroes to make use of it, and the longer you wait the less useful a guild is anyways. If someone wants to spend 45 years in the early game to get lots of research later, encourage that as a cool alternative strategy! (not to mention that staffing under this strategy would be very difficult given that you're not building keeps). I would love to see people bragging about how if you take some pain in the first few decades, it pays off with lots of research in the late game.

Second, Crucibles: You solved this by capping training to the highest-level trainer. I think in the early betas it may have been possible to train a kid past the trainer's XP. Chad explained to me that, at the moment, any given trainer stops providing XP to a trainee once the trainee's XP matches the trainer's XP. So having tons of Crucibles and Standards can't ever make a trainee have more XP than the highest XP trainer. Thus, there's already huge diminishing returns in place because after 1 Crucible, the Standard + two parents of equal level will essentially maximize the amount of training that can be given to a kid. What you essentially get for additional Crucibles is additional flexibility: If I have two+ powerful Standards, I can focus on parents' traits rather than parents' levels. And that's awesome! It makes another cool alternative strategy (my personal favorite) --> get a few crucibles to handle the level curve so you can spend a significant chunk of the game focusing on developing parental traits rather than only worrying about having the highest level parents.

Third, Keeps: Was this ever a problem? Look, lots of people like to play with lots and lots of keeps, so they don't have to worry about the population drying up and they have lots of flexibility with hero classes to bring to battle. But this isn't like exploiting some dominant strategy. The more you spread out your bloodlines, the harder it is to focus XP on a few trainers and keep up with the level curve. In my opinion, mo parents mo problems, because I can't focus XP on them. Now... with lots of crucibles, you can fix that, but it's tough to have lots of crucibles AND lots of keeps.

In conclusion :) I think that eliminating the construction penalty opens up the research tree as much or more than reducing item research times. People just NEED to have a certain number of buildings, so penalty or no they are simply gonna do it, and all the penalty does is eliminate time for other things. If you have good items with reasonable research times, some people will prefer to research them, while others will prefer to get the benefits from lots of buildings. It just means there are multiple viable strategies, which is cool!

This reminds me of my comment about Seeds. I think the Cradle is awesome, as is, but the problem is that Seeds have an ability designed to limit over powered Hunters. I think the Hunters are pretty close to where they need to be, if you have to give them too many buffs to compensate for Slippery, you might run the risk of swinging things back to the over powered Hunters. Your probably have some flow charts and stuff, which have exactly the right balance though. Just saying that I think this is an interesting way to look at the game right now. It's still Beta, technically, but it's getting a lot closer to not having any of the problems there were in earlier Beta and being a challenging unique game.

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If they were cheaper to get you could actually experiment with some of the niche items which is really good! I don't know why I've been so hesitant to reduce the times. You are limited by the number of slots you can take into battle so promoting item diversity is really great!

I'll probably be looking into a 50% reduction in item costs so that you can snag a bunch of toys.

Very cool. I know I'm guilty of researching Vitabands pretty much every game now. Although Steady Hander was an excellent choice, as well. Not sure why you'd nerf it, but ... I'm playing Hard. Accuracy bonuses can be essential.

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Chad explained to me that, at the moment, any given trainer stops providing XP to a trainee once the trainee's XP matches the trainer's XP. So having tons of Crucibles and Standards can't ever make a trainee have more XP than the highest XP trainer. Thus, there's already huge diminishing returns in place because after 1 Crucible, the Standard + two parents of equal level will essentially maximize the amount of training that can be given to a kid.

Holy crap that is a huge detail that I was completely unaware of. If this is staying in for v1.0, it definitely needs to be more explicitly mentioned in-game.

This probably does need to be more clear, but it isn't too far off from say how parents of a certain level (say 2) can't make a level 9 baby. But making things more clear is always good.

Smiles

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I think the SPONGE STONE hp decrease was way too huge for people to want to use it. Could use a buff in that aspect. -30% scared me off for sure, although it was nice symmetry with the vitaliband.

Late game item for Brewtalists and Caberjack/hybrids. A level 10 Caber/hybrid with a Sponge Stone is pretty much my "super secret ultra mega technique" that I used to use to blast through the last fight. Maniacal Laughter Optional. Results may vary.

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Chad explained to me that, at the moment, any given trainer stops providing XP to a trainee once the trainee's XP matches the trainer's XP. So having tons of Crucibles and Standards can't ever make a trainee have more XP than the highest XP trainer. Thus, there's already huge diminishing returns in place because after 1 Crucible, the Standard + two parents of equal level will essentially maximize the amount of training that can be given to a kid.

Holy crap that is a huge detail that I was completely unaware of. If this is staying in for v1.0, it definitely needs to be more explicitly mentioned in-game.

This probably does need to be more clear, but it isn't too far off from say how parents of a certain level (say 2) can't make a level 9 baby. But making things more clear is always good.

Smiles

I've asked permission to share the specific training breakdown (it would be understandable to not want to get too specific if the team is thinking about changing the dynamic), but even with information we already knew it is possible to have a level 10 baby from low-level parents. If you've got three crucibles with level 10 standards, you can pop out level 10 trainees from two level 1 recruits.

I think 3 crucibles is overkill, especially with the construction penalty, but 2 crucibles vastly increases flexibility by only requiring one parent to be high level. You can recruit for good genes and simply not worry about the level of the partner.

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Chad explained to me that, at the moment, any given trainer stops providing XP to a trainee once the trainee's XP matches the trainer's XP. So having tons of Crucibles and Standards can't ever make a trainee have more XP than the highest XP trainer. Thus, there's already huge diminishing returns in place because after 1 Crucible, the Standard + two parents of equal level will essentially maximize the amount of training that can be given to a kid.

Holy crap that is a huge detail that I was completely unaware of. If this is staying in for v1.0, it definitely needs to be more explicitly mentioned in-game.

FYI Chad said it was fine for me to post his full explanation :)From DF Chad—How Training XP Works.

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Brad, would you consider simply eliminating the building construction penalties? I understand these were a perfectly reasonable fix to the first Beta, where people were abusing both Crucibles (my favorite) or Guilds. But from what I understand, it looks like you guys fixed the underlying problems that the construction penalty was designed to patch.

I'm clipping this so as to not take up extra space, but this all sounds pretty good. I, of course, agree with the keep one (although I could see that there might be some balance issues), but the points about the Sagewrights and the Crucible seem pretty strong too. I'd love to see these building times at least reconsidered.

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Thanks for all the feedback you guys! I'm on a buffing/nerfing spree right now! :D!

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Thanks for all the feedback you guys! I'm on a buffing/nerfing spree right now! :D!

Do you play support characters in MOBA games? I bet you'd be super good at it.

(Uh. Not sure why I feel the need to clarify. But this is meant as a friendly joke.)

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Thanks for all the feedback you guys! I'm on a buffing/nerfing spree right now! :D!

I'm really excited to see the changes you make in the next patch. Although I said I wouldn't, I ended up starting another game on Easy to test out the strategy of having a large number of keeps. We'll see if anything interesting comes of it.

What I'm trying to say is that I'm really addicted to the mechanics of this game.

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Thanks for all the feedback you guys! I'm on a buffing/nerfing spree right now! :D!

Look forward to the next patch and to digging into things.

Smiles

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I've played 3 games on normal. The first 2 were in version .93 and the 3rd in .96b.

The first game I ran 4 hunters 1 caber. It was the most difficult of all the games I played. I had several wipes around the 4th battle, and I thought the game was really difficult. I kept plugging away though, replenished my heroes and eventually was clearing maps fairly well. Then during the final battle I almost lost. I went in with all lvl 10 heroes with lvl 10 relics. The hunters were mostly worthless. My one caberjack ended up killing more than half of the mobs by himself. That was when I realized hunter abilities were completely opposed to the final battle. There is no stealth in the final battle. The hunters focus mostly on single targets. They are useless.

Still I didn't know realize this until the next game I played with alchemists. Also in .93. This game I played with 4 alchemist/brewtalist/boomslingers and one caberjack. This was a cakewalk. I don't think I even lost any regions. Again level 10 heroes with lvl 10 relics. Alchemists no matter what hybrid are OP. They simply kill everything with high damage in a big area. Boomslingers and alchemists have free throw which lets them destroy multiple packs of enemies per turn rather than single shots like hunters.

____

I was going to wait for the final version to play the game again, but decided I'd give it a go to help with testing.

I went in thinking I'd go all cabers, but when I got my starting heroes, all the caber dudes sucked. So I went with alchemist and cabers again. I played with no hunters and it was fine because as long as you breed your heroes with Hawkeye you always have at least one and you don't need stealth.

So I went in preparing myself for a harder game. I figured I'd try 2 crucibles since I hadn't done that before.

Throughout the game I built:

3 keeps (4 total) (2 alchemist(same house) 2 cabers (2 different houses))

2 crucibles

1 sagewright

I researched:

Both alchemy armors

Both Caber armors

ramcap (late, around year 250)

both alchemy training

both caber training

nation armor boost

nation fertility boost

healing pots

ultra elixer

wunderpants

Items are useless. All you need is some healing potions early and then every character wears wunderpants for the rest of the game. No other item is worth the time it takes to get them AND none of them give enough benefit to trump the wunderpants.

For build I went:

keep

keep

recuit heroes

crucible

sagewright

armor

armor

crucible

with baby adoptions in between

I didn't research and item until... what 120 years in or something?

By year 100 my heroes were all about level 4-5, but I had no relics.

I got 3 relics all at the same time from one group of vanguard in between 100 and 120. I got 1 more relic at about 250 and 1 more relic at year 298... thanks random event.

By year 200 my heroes were around level 8.

By the final battle every hero was born a lvl 10. I had 27 lvl 10 heroes sitting around.

Relic XP gain is so much better though. I went into the final battle with 4 relics. 3 level 9's and 1 level 7 (the level 7 was from year 250)

Here's the problem though. With the research and bonus I was able to take my lvl 1 relic to lvl 7 in 2 battles. I just had the one dude kill almost every enemy he could. I wasn't afraid and he did kill almost everything by himself. By the end game I could have cleared any encounter with 1 level 10 alchemist.

The final battle was a joke. My heroes lost 16hp total and no cadence got with 10 tiles of the Chalice. The last 50 years I was just trying to push through as fast as possible so that I could present my findings. I knew I had won by year 150 because I could see my XP curve and I knew I was fine. I lose 3 regions because of the games random choice of which regions to hit. Supremely annoying because I lose the sagewrights guild around year 230 and I couldn't research more that I wanted to try out. I will say nice touch shortening the elite training when you're close to the end of the game. I didn't think I could get the elite caber training, but it got cut from 30 years to 15 years when we got to the final years so I could squeeze it in. (not that it mattered. My caber only killed 2 cadence during the final battle.)

So what does this tell you? I think the third game was the easiest of the games I played. But the reason it was the easiest even though you ramped up the difficulty is I knew what to expect, I knew the right build order, I didn't waste any research time on hunter armor and any of the items for hunters (veil armor). I knew I needed to grab the armor upgrades as quickly as possible after I got the first crucible down. I knew I need to funnel XP to certain heroes that I planned ahead of time would become my regents and standards. I knew which traits I needed to prioritize early on (hawkeye, bountiful, quick, quick study).

A note on the breeding. Part of the issue with the breeding is that you simply need to limit certain traits. It's less about breeding good traits and more about not breeding bad traits. Sometimes useless traits are great because it means that there isn't a bad trait in that slot instead. Still I do find that interesting.

The cadence are much improved actually! I love the new character designs and that they have abilities. I think it became too easy for me because I over leveled the XP curve. I don't think its a bad thing. It just means I knew how to prioritize my XP and breeding in such a way as a gamed the game.

I should have played on hard, but I wanted to see how the normal difficulty had been improved.

Let's talk classes for a moment.

Alchemists are wonderful and all the hybrids are useful. I would say all of them are the best classes. They are the most fun to play.

Cabers are fun with charge and knock back. I've read people think that blastcappers are terrible, but seriously they aren't. They are still pretty good with the acid solution.

Now I haven't played with hunters in .96 but from my experience in .93:

Hunters>Trickshot>>>>>>>Enforcer - All three of these are terrible compared to the other two classes which I hate. I love hunters thematically. I love bows and arrows. In every RPG I play I always choose this class. In this game they are weak, single target, and then just obsolete by the end game. It actually makes the game HARDER to play with them.

I do not think changing the names of the difficulties is good. But then I'm coming from it as a vet of 3 games now (86 hours according to steam though I might have been afk for some of them). I can see how those are appropriate names for the difficulties for new players.

*I think the biggest issues are this:

There is a "right way" to play the game in terms of build order and research. I feel like you can be punished for researching things that are sub optimal.

In particular, all items are trumped by wunderpants. By the end of the game I'm not even caring about tactics. I run units into the fog because I know they can't be killed, lose XP from lapses, or gain age. Age and rage? A punishment! What a terrible item. I do not want my heroes aging prematurely. And if you play the tactics right there is NEVER a need for you to gain extra power for a short time. The research time to get the item is prohibitive because it puts off time you could be getting better armor or training or a nation boost which are all MUCH better, and the correct answer because they effect ALL your heroes.

Should heroes be allowed more item slots? I think so. If there were I might research more items and use more items! More variety would be allowed because you wouldn't forced to choose just one essential item

I love the game so much. I love the tactical element. I love the aging of heroes. I love the breeding. I love the strategy layer. I really hope you guys can figure out the research and item issues and the hunter class.

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So what does this tell you? I think the third game was the easiest of the games I played. But the reason it was the easiest even though you ramped up the difficulty is I knew what to expect, I knew the right build order, I didn't waste any research time on hunter armor and any of the items for hunters (veil armor). I knew I needed to grab the armor upgrades as quickly as possible after I got the first crucible down. I knew I need to funnel XP to certain heroes that I planned ahead of time would become my regents and standards. I knew which traits I needed to prioritize early on (hawkeye, bountiful, quick, quick study).

This fits my experience pretty well. Once you figure out that the research largely doesn't matter (I still would argue that Advanced Armor and Recruit Heroes are it, with wunderpants being very useful and so often a must research since I'll have the time), the main strategy is

1) Keep fertility up.

2) Make sure you always have heroes of the right age (typically thirties) to become regent that are being leveled up in battles.

3) Avoid bottlenecks in marriages.

The third one might be the hardest part of the game because you can't keep track of it easily, although point one can also be a problem if you don't immediately pursue bountiful as a trait for all your lines. And, granted, you have to keep doing well in the tactical battles, but for someone who has beaten X-Com, I would expect that to be doable first try on the hardest level (maybe I'm wrong there, though. I've never beaten it ;) Perhaps someone else can speak to that).

Although there's variation in the general build order you can do, if you prioritize this stuff, then you will get through the game and win.

And if you do that, the final battle will also be a cake walk and you will never see your ancestors . . . which is disappointing.

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Playing through the game on Easy (after playing on Normal and Hard), I can say that one of the biggest things that seems to impact difficulty of individual battles (outside of the experience of the heroes) is the mix of pawn types and their numbers. The least satisfying battles are those where you are fighting a bunch of lesser powered pawns (seeds, lapses, ruptures) with no higher powered pawns (cradles, twitchers, wrinklers). The most satisfying seem to be the ones that have a few high powered pawns grouped with a large number of lesser pawns. Or, of course, just a huge number of high powered pawns ;)

The absolute least satisfying is when a map says something like Cradles and seeds and then it turns out there is only one cradle, which you killed at the start of the level. You plan for dealing with cradles, but then you don't really need to deal with them and you spend most of the level just mopping up.

The Advanced Pawns do help mix this up as pawns like seeds, ruptures, and lapses begin to pack a surprising punch (especially when those seeds get together as a group and just take turns beating up on a single hero).

Basically, diversity in the pawns you are fighting and the appropriate ratio of each type seems to be what makes for an entertaining battle. I had one last night where I was fighting advanced seeds, lapses, and wrinklers. Some of the seeds turned into cradles and some just ganged up on my heroes. I then had to balance that against taking out the lapses little hits (I had wunderpants, so that wasn't a concern) and taking out the wrinklers as fast as possible. Having to juggle these concerns was really entertaining. The same thing happens when you have three or four twitchers on a map surrounded by tons of smaller pawns.

As a side note: it feels like the way armor works makes things less interesting. In the first half, once I research advanced armor, I can generally just take hits and outlast the pawns . . . .

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Maybe Wunderpants should require advanced wrinkler and advanced lapse corpses. Then you would have to play most of them game without them and they could be more of an endgame reward. I'm surprised that everyone seems to use them and then bypasses the scariness of wrinklers.

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Wunderpants do seem a little like too much of a cure-all....

Smiles

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I have never bothered with Wunderpants, I would rather the added security of ultralixers or sponge stones, or just the added accuracy of the steady hander. In general I can minimise my contact with Wrinklers and Lapses and Wunderpants are not that interesting, they just turn off the special abilities of some enemies rather than do something cool in of themselves.

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