Mainline Units

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Angry Andersen
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Mainline Units

Post by Angry Andersen »

I got this idea from the thread on the Ancient Lich. It is obviously a mainline unit and possibly an advancement from the Lich. But in MP and many campaigns a Lich will not be allowed to level into an Ancient Lich. The same goes for the Armageddon Drake.
Lvl3 outlaws were in a similar situation before they were changed in the development version. So sometimes there was a lvl3 advancement and sometimes not.

Furthermore, some mainline units are often used in campaigns, but don't exist in MP (Thugs, Sergeants, Death Knights, Orcish Leader,...). This is probably fine in most cases, but further adds to confusion.

While these are not major problems, such inconsistencies are somewhat unkiss and hard to remember for less experienced players.

Is there any support for clearing out some of these inconsistencies? I think at least in terms of advancement options (Ancient Lich, Armageddon, maybe Death Knight as a lvl3 skeleton advancement) it might be desirable to make things more consistent (as was already done for the outlaws!).
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Post by AI »

The Ancient Lich is supposed to be centuries old, not achievable by any living unit, and certainly not during the time of a campaign.

I don't know the story behind the Armageddon Drake, but I suppose it's similar.

The Death Knight was originally created for the Siege of Elensefar scenario in HttT I believe.


None of these units are achievable under normal circumstances (time or a spell that turns humans into undead), as opposed to the outlaw-lvl3s that are 'merely' high level units.
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Post by db0 »

Also, level 4s are not used in general but are there only for story reasons. The reason for this is balance
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Post by Angry Andersen »

db0 wrote:Also, level 4s are not used in general but are there only for story reasons. The reason for this is balance
I think most MP-Developers (i.e. the people who do the balancing) would agree that lvl4 units are of very little threat to MP balance. Furthermore, humans and rebels get lvl4 units without obvious unbalancing effects in campaigns.

So why not other factions too? Different rules in different situations is (to some extent) an unnecessary complication. I'm NOT talking about adding new units, just about fully integrating those that are already there. The same was done for the outlaws and my impression is that most players are very happy with that change!

Remember that lvl4 units cost lvl4 upkeep and require lots of XP that could otherwise have been spent on other units (e.g. more versatility). So the danger of campaign imbalance due to lvl4 units is rather remote at best.
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Post by db0 »

The danger of campaign Imbalance does not exist for the maintainer can just rebalance it as needed. However it is up to the campaign maintainer to make a choice if a level 4 is needed according to his story. If you wish to use them, you can always create your own campaign.

The imbalance comes from the MP (and this is what the MP Devs say).
Last edited by db0 on February 8th, 2008, 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Angry Andersen »

AI wrote:The Ancient Lich is supposed to be centuries old, not achievable by any living unit, and certainly not during the time of a campaign.

I don't know the story behind the Armageddon Drake, but I suppose it's similar.

The Death Knight was originally created for the Siege of Elensefar scenario in HttT I believe.

None of these units are achievable under normal circumstances (time or a spell that turns humans into undead), as opposed to the outlaw-lvl3s that are 'merely' high level units.
What about elvish shydes? They even transform their bodies and start flying, I bet that doesn't happen in a short time either. And necromancers can turn into liches in multiplayer (which is maybe a bigger step than lich to ancient lich).

Considering the implications in terms of story is right, but for me playability weighs more than realism, etc.
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Post by Edward V Riley »

all good arguments, but I'm on ANgry's side in this.

Why is level 4's, or in the case of the rogues level 3's, not permanent. SOme campaigns have them, others don't. I can't recall which campaign, but it was a disappointment to play Drakes and suddenly realize that I couldn't advance to Armageddon Drake. That would have altered my thinking earlier when I chose which to advance to.

The rogue faction of the Knalga alliance is also afflicted with this, but it doesn't affect my choices of advancement as their isn't any. Truthfully, I've always believed that the Knalga Alliance could split in two, rogues in their own faction, dwarves in another, and wouldn't need anything to "balance them", except possibly a healer...and I'm pretty sure they don't even need that. Dwarven clerics, for example, are rarely if ever used in almost all RPG type games. Rogue healers just doesn't make much sense in that regard.

Also, there was one old campaign that had a type of horsed rogue, but I can't recall the name of the campaign nor the name of the unit. Now that actually makes sense to have.
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Post by thespaceinvader »

The Outlaw level 3 units were not permanent mostly due to inadequate artwork - they were available to those who needed them, but not rolled out fully across the mainline because the art was not up to scratch. They're finished now and, as of recent dev releases, always available whenever the lower-level outlaws are.

The same might be true of the liches, but i'm not certain. I think the Ancient Lich is one of those units which stands alone, like the Elvish Lord/High Lord and Lady - available for use, but not included in advancement trees - for reasons already mentioned in this thread.
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Post by Angry Andersen »

thespaceinvader wrote:The same might be true of the liches, but i'm not certain. I think the Ancient Lich is one of those units which stands alone, like the Elvish Lord/High Lord and Lady - available for use, but not included in advancement trees - for reasons already mentioned in this thread.
Maybe the ancient lich is a unit that stands alone, but its name and concept suggest something very different. The same goes for the armageddon drake. The Elvish Lord is different - it obviously does not have a lvl1 version.

Furthermore, more high level units wouldn't hurt the undead (or any other faction than the rebels & loyalists). If you've played Descent into Darkness you will probably notice how limited this factions high-level choices are:
-Bats & WCs only go to lvl1
-Ghouls normally only go to lvl2, so a 3rd level was added in this campaign

Here is a count of lvl3/lvl4 units available per faction:
- Loyalists 14 / 2
- Rebels 13 / 2
- Drakes 7 / 0
- Knalgans 7 / 0 (previous: 4 / 0)
- Undead 6 / 0
- Northerners 5 / 0

My impression is: Rebels and Loyalists have lots, because the first campaigns were made for these factions.
Unfortunately, the current situation limits the possible choices for other factions in campaigns. Of course campaign developers can make up their own units, but usually such units will be of lower quality than generally accepted mainline units (Ranger/Huntsman balancing is much better now that they are mainline...).

So why not at least generally use those units that are already there? It is simpler to remember, stats & graphics already exist and it enhances campaigns without unbalancing MP.
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Post by Radament »

There are bound to be inconsistencies, because you can't put the thug with the knalgans, for obvious balance issues. Other than that your arguments make sense.
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Post by db0 »

Angry Andersen wrote: So why not at least generally use those units that are already there? It is simpler to remember, stats & graphics already exist and it enhances campaigns without unbalancing MP.
I honestly don't know what you are suggesting here. That we need more level 3s and 4s for use in campaigns? That is up to the campaign maintainer to decide. That we need more level 3s and 4s for the factions missing them? Then someone must create the concept and art for them.
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Post by Angry Andersen »

db0 wrote:
Angry Andersen wrote: So why not at least generally use those units that are already there? It is simpler to remember, stats & graphics already exist and it enhances campaigns without unbalancing MP.
I honestly don't know what you are suggesting here. That we need more level 3s and 4s for use in campaigns? That is up to the campaign maintainer to decide. That we need more level 3s and 4s for the factions missing them? Then someone must create the concept and art for them.
They already exist!!! That was the whole point: ancient lich and armageddon drake are even listed as mainline units, but the corresponding lvl3 units are not allowed to level into them. I find this a somewhat confusing and unnecessary restriction. The reason I made the comparison across factions is to show that there isn't a reasonable balancing problem with including them: both rebels and loyalists have many more high-level units that are not considered a balancing problem!

A further example is the Death Knight, which could be a lvl3 skeleton (possibly with some slight changes).

All of these units have stats and graphics, so all that is needed is a consensus (among the developers) whether such an inclusion is favorable or not!
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Post by AI »

They exist, yes, but they're meant as special (rare) units.

I mean, just look at their descriptions, they're meant as special units to be used in scenarios.

Sure, maybe the armageddon drake could be used as an advancement, but the others aren't build that way.
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Post by Aethaeryn »

I've actually thought that the Death Knight could make a nice lvl 3 skeleton, at least in EE where they already "complete" the lines (e.g. Ancient Lich, Armageddon Drake, etc.)...
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Post by JW »

I've actually never seen why adding more levels would be a problem other than for the art. Balance in MP is a weak argument because xp levels can be set sufficiently high enough to effectively bar them from play, and they can be removed from available leaders as well.

Just my $0.02.

In this case, since the art is there, why not?
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