Good uses for wasted XP

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gabba
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Good uses for wasted XP

Post by gabba »

(Please read the whole post before replying)

I think we all feel a bit frustrated when one of our unit reaches its maximum level (usually level 3), and there's nothing more to look forward to in the development of that unit. Besides, any XP they get is completely wasted, so in a sense you are happy to have powerful units, but you feel bad each time about using them instead of your weaker, lower level units that can still progress.

I have here what I think are interesting proposals to actually make XP gained after the maximum level useful:

1. The first idea is to give a bonus to the unit every time it reaches a multiple of a certain amount of experience. For example, it took your unit 120 XP to get to its maximum level. It will now start again from zero XP, and will get a special bonus when it reaches 120, 240, 360 XP, and so on.
The most obvious bonus to use is maybe the famous free healing: for already leveled-up units, it could represent a growth in heroism, new resolve in the middle of combat. Anyways, it doesn't need more of a justification than the current free healing. But the bonus could be something else:
-- Unit's next attack is a special attack with 100% chance to hit.
-- Unit's next attack deals double damage.
-- Unit gets all its movement points back, and can move and attack again.
-- Unit gets a temporary leadership ability, which lasts only one turn.
-- add your own!

We might also consider giving a choice to the player from a list of special actions the unit can get as a bonus. Here I'm assuming the action applies immediately (such as the healing), or at the first possible occasion ("next attack"). However we could allow for "storing" the bonus to be able to use the special ability later; I'm afraid this last option would be unbalanced, though, because players would just wait until all their powerful units are "charged up" with special abilities, and then rip the enemies to pieces without needing any strategy.

Lastly, the bonus/special ability could maybe be different for each unit, and related to its nature: a marksman would get a powerful, sure-hit attack; a healer would fully heal all the units adjacent to him; a scout would get the extra move, and so on.

2. The second idea (we could use both ideas 1 and 2, they are compatible) is based on a thread I read on this forum about Fear. Some people were discussing it as a new ability (which sounds good), but I would like to propose here a kind of fear based on reputation. When Delfador first fights an enemy in HttT, he says "I am Delfador the Great, prepare to die!". Well, I guess he's entitled to say that: he has 500 experience, imagine how many people he must have killed even after reaching level 5! So, as your units pass from simple grunts to legendary heroes, I think that the fearful effect their reputation has on the battlefield should be reflected in some way.

a) The first way I thought of, is to compare the total XP accumulated (add even the experience which was earned before the current level of the unit) by the two fighting units, and give an attack bonus similar to leadership to the one which has a better XP ratio. Example:
3 to 1 : 10% attack bonus
4 to 1 : 20% attack bonus
5 to 1 : 30% attack bonus
(I wouldn't go higher than 30% bonus)
These ratios are pretty hard to get, which is good, since we don't want this to modify the attack for many units - only ones with very high XP. If we need another balancing factor, we could decide that a unit can only get this attack bonus when it fights alone (i.e. there are no adjacent friendly units): these heroes always want to show off, and they get in trouble...

b) A second way to do it, which maybe would better represent fear, would be to say that the frightened unit sometimes hesitates to retaliate (it might be tempted to run away instead). So, based on the same XP calculation as above, there could be a growing chance that the defending unit with less XP loses an attack - something like this:
2 to 1 XP ratio: 20% chance of frightened defender losing an attack
3 to 1 : 30%
4 to 1 : 40%
and so on.
This would be a kind of localised slow effect, and unless you give lots and lots of XP to that unit ( and therefore you're not leveling up other units), it won't happen very often. It should be just enough to give flavor, especially if it is sometimes accompanied by dialogs from the frightened unit or the hero.
Also note that I'm restricting that ability to when the high-level unit attacks: this ensures that low-level units can still gang-up on a high-level one to finish him off.

I'd appreciate if you read this whole post, even though it might be long, before replying. This will keep this topic relevant and easily-read.
I'm ready for your criticism and ideas! :)
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turin
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Post by turin »

I did read entire post before replying. :)

#1: Permanent "boni" can currently be given, search for "AMLA" for more on discussions about that. Its a bad topic to bring back up.
Impermanent "boni", however, I have never thought about before... it might be an interesting idea, but IMHO it would often be wasted. the best use would be to have it just level into itself, which would effectively restore all HP, but that is currently used as a kind of special ability for the necrophage.
I don't think varying the special given is a good idea, though. It would be impossible to predict what the unit would get unless you'd seen it before, so you might charge into battle thinking "he's going to get extra life when he gets 5 more XP", and then he instead gets an attack bonus, and then, suddenly, he's dead.


#2 (referring to both proposals): Too complex, IMHO, and makes fighting higher level units harder than it already is.

#2a: The better of the two, but IMHO overpowered. It should give at most a 20% bonus, and go up in 5% increments... so +5 for 3:1, +10 for 4:1, +15 for 5:1, +20 for 6:1. (which is actually a pretty easy ratio to get.Any lvl 3 unit has at least 100 XP, and so it fighting a lvl 1 unit with <17 XP would give it this bonus).
Also, any unit fighting someone with 0 XP, or any low XP amount, would get a much too high bonus. So I think you should add 20 to the base amount.

#2b: To be blunt, its a horrible idea. You need to be able to at least predict how many strokes your unit will get in, and the chance they have to hit, to be able to form any coherent strategy.
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Post by Elvish_Pillager »

I did read the whole post, even though I'm only replying to 2A:

AAAAARARFFGGGH! 21-4 fireballs! 23-4 flaming swords! Killing L3s in one attack is FUUUN! :o
Or to add to my super-souped-up Strong Grand Knight led by a Grand Marshal with Holy Water in the Daytime against an Ancient Lich in the Daytime, he has tons of XP and does 130 damage PER HIT.
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Post by Rhuvaen »

Can I add some more?

Extend their ZOC range by one hex per extra 50xp (Muahaha!) :roll: Now that would be an effect to symbolise fear! :lol:

No, seriously now, anything that leads to improving the max-level unit would just encourage it being used again and again, leading to even more xp, posing the question what other useful bonuses the unit should gain... a vicious cycle IMO!

Maybe something akin to drain would be more useful: the unit would get 1 extra temporary hp per level of unit killed if it's XP were maxed out. Nothing you can stack too much (like permanent hp), and simple enough to understand. Just fighting battles and defending would not give any benefits.

Whatever. Maybe there should just be a score after completing a scenario, where all your units' xp in the recall list (and maybe the most xp any one unit had) and your finishing gold are somehow summed up. And that's it - no more effects other than pure prestige!
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Post by Simons Mith »

... so it looks like any benefit provided from this feature needs to be tiny to avoid game balance issues. Increase the unit's hit points by one for every extra multiple of its experience threshhold. Any more than that is probably too powerful.
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Post by Pythagoras »

Simons Mith wrote:... so it looks like any benefit provided from this feature needs to be tiny to avoid game balance issues. Increase the unit's hit points by one for every extra multiple of its experience threshhold. Any more than that is probably too powerful.
Or simply have the difference between level 3 and level 4 be much less than the difference between 3 and 2 in terms of power. Do not allow a choice between two level 4's, only one level 4 which is auto promoted. Make the unit a "Super <Level_3_unitname>". Addi a few points in hp or maybe a movement point, whatever makes sense for that particular unit. Continue to make granular improvements after level 4 to level 5 etc... but the xp required for each level change is increasing, allowing balance to be maintained. Also, killing > than a level 3 unit is the same as killing any level 3.
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Post by rogue »

I would say that free healing and adding 1 or 2 to the max HP would be plenty. Keep the unit's level the same.
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Post by Invisible Philosopher »

rogue wrote:I would say that free healing and adding 1 or 2 to the max HP would be plenty. Keep the unit's level the same.
Yes, certainly keep its level the same or else the upkeep/enemy XP would be more of a disadvantage than what it gains.
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Post by Simons Mith »

Just a free heal is a juicy bonus. Close the the end of HttT I have a Delfador who is - can't remember, but possibly as much as 800 points past 5th level. How many extra boosts would he have gained?


Thinking more about it, two bonus hit points and a free heal is a disirable package. Two HP is a worthwhile boost for the less combat oriented types, and the free heal is definitely handy for high-level tanks. Yes, I'd like that implementation.

It has another nice side-effect, in that the Intelligent trait, which otherwise becomes useless once a unit has reached its peak, still conveys a small benefit.
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Post by Elvish_Pillager »

Simons Mith wrote:It has another nice side-effect, in that the Intelligent trait, which otherwise becomes useless once a unit has reached its peak, still conveys a small benefit.
Now that sure is nice.

Another side effect: With this implementation, even your level 3s can be walking cavewalls!! Muahahah!! :twisted:
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Post by Disto »

Now i can't think of anything wrong with that.
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Post by Gafgarion »

Simons Mith wrote:It has another nice side-effect, in that the Intelligent trait, which otherwise becomes useless once a unit has reached its peak, still conveys a small benefit.
I actually had not thought of that... Good point.
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Post by dtw »

certainly some merit there - a free heal is hardly a big deal is it!
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Post by Disto »

Oh yes it is, there have been so many times when i have had a lv 2 who has nearly full xp nearly die but then someone injure someone next to him and him gain a level to mash everyone around him.
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Post by Simons Mith »

A free heal is a pretty big deal, but despite that this idea seems popular enough to submit a change request. There don't seem to have been any howls of protest, yet.

The only question is, how many XPs does a 3rd (or higher) level unit need to qualify? "The same XP as need to reach 3rd" is going to be too low for some units. An intelligent 3rd level troll could mash three second level units, get a free heal, then repeat. Ouchie. OTOH if you made the XP requirement twice the cost of advancing to third level, there's not much point implementing this feature for mages; they'll probably only see it kick in once!

I am not sufficiently familiar with the range of advancement costs of units to know how to pitch this at the right level.

Possibilities I have thought of include:

XP needed=Same as 3rd level XP: No, too generous for e.g. trolls.

XP needed=Twice third level XP: No, too stingy for mages.

XP needed=2xcurrent max HP: No, because trolls suddenly slow to mage-advancement speeds, while mages speed up significantly. Does have the benefit that advancement slows as the unit accrues extra HP.


The best option I thought of was XP needed=3rd level+a flat rate, say 50XP.

Thus a 3rd level troll needs about 100XP for each boost, while a third level mage needs about 200.

This part of the matter needs more attention. Thoughts. please?
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