[mainline] Changing the Dunefolk's(Khalifate's) race name

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What should the Dunefolk's racename be?

Poll ended at January 8th, 2018, 9:57 am

Human (Dunefolk)
15
45%
Dunefolk
14
42%
Xalidi
0
No votes
Jinn
0
No votes
Sandfolk
0
No votes
Human
4
12%
 
Total votes : 33

[mainline] Changing the Dunefolk's(Khalifate's) race name

Postby Pentarctagon » December 31st, 2017, 6:14 pm

The previous thread discussing the faction name, among a variety of other things, is here. This thread is meant solely for discussing what the Dunefolk's race name should now be displayed as, mostly for use in categorizing the units in the in-game help.

RACE NAME

Humans
It is simpler to think that they are human but a culture separate from the Loyalist Monarchy. We avoid the complication of having to design a separate race and origin, while at the same time keeping the world and lore simple and consistent. This is the prevalent opinion.

Different Race
This could strengthen the identity of this faction and give Wesnoth more variety in races. Constructing a new race may be an endeavor, but would increase the richness of existing Wesnoth lore.

Race Name
Current suggestions are:

  • Dunefolk/Dunefolk Human/Human (Dunefolk)
  • Xalid/Xalidi
  • Sandfolk
  • Jinn
  • Human
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Re: [mainline] Changing the Dunefolk's(Khalifate's) race nam

Postby Celtic_Minstrel » December 31st, 2017, 6:33 pm

I vote for keeping them human. Definitely don't make them jinn.
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Re: [mainline] Changing the Dunefolk's(Khalifate's) race nam

Postby DeFender1031 » December 31st, 2017, 6:50 pm

Yeah, I'd just stick with "Human (Dunefolk)" as well.
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Re: [mainline] Changing the Dunefolk's(Khalifate's) race nam

Postby Vyncyn » December 31st, 2017, 11:32 pm

I think "Human(Dunefolk)" is the best option. "Dunefolk" is my second favorite.

Xalid just seems strange as race name. Might have worked for faction name, but wasn't even the best option there.
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Re: [mainline] Changing the Dunefolk's(Khalifate's) race nam

Postby Deciton_Reven » January 1st, 2018, 1:48 am

It's very possible to have the "race name" be whatever they call themselves as long as it was made clear in the actual racial description they were still humans. Though for ease of access I'd have to go for some variation of "human (dune/xalid/etc)" so that the human part is immediately identifiable. That said I like using a word that is uniquely them, much in the same way the elves, orcs, and dwarves have their own names and aren't whatever the great isle humans ascribed to them. I can't really imagine a real group of people calling themselves "dunelanders".
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Re: [mainline] Changing the Dunefolk's(Khalifate's) race nam

Postby Cold Steel » January 1st, 2018, 7:35 am

As they are now the dunefolk do not fit wesnoth. They are a purely human, magic less, historically themed faction inserted into a fantasy setting.

The core problem is their being made up entirely of an already thoroughly used race (humans) and it is such an issue for the following reasons:


1. Wesnoth's world is biologically diverse.

Steppes are home to humans, forests are home to woses, mountains are home to dwarves, caves are home to trolls, swamps are home to saurians, tundras are home to orcs, sandy archipelagos are home to drakes, seas are home to mermish, rivers are home to naga, etc.

In this world, each race is profoundly physically adapted to its environment and way of life. Their appearances and origins are strikingly different. Not just some cultural differences, fully alien. Adding another entire faction's worth of humans not only does not fit this overarching theme but dilutes it.


2. Dunefolk already have a non-human move type and defense type.

Dunefolk have a move type and defenses just as different from normal humans as dwarves, woses, saurians and the rest. These are radical in game physical differences that are in all other cases represented by what is essentially another species. But suddenly with dunefolk it can all be explained by cultural differences alone. (I suppose the fluked tails of mermish are only decorative, their ability to swim across an ocean comes merely from their love of water sports?)


3. Dunefolk are the only faction where one race uses multiple alignments.

Other factions that use multiple alignments spread them out over several races with naturally different appearances. In addition to adding flavor, this eases recognition of which units should attack at day or at night (for example, it is hard to mix up drakes and saurians).


4. The help menu already overflows with human units.

There is no elegant solution to this. Trying to split hairs between members of the same race with extra prefixes or parenthesis like "Dunefolk Human" or "Human (Dunefolk)" is more of an eyesore that is done no where else but this once. There are not more than one type of dwarf race and other more culturally extreme humans like necromancers do not receive their own sub category. It is a confusing special exception made only for "human" dunefolk.


5. Half of dunefolk units could pass for loyalists in terms of appearance.

Loyalists already take up the slot of the primarily human faction with a (medieval) historical leaning, though they balance this with mages and mermish that gives them a fitting fantasy flavor still. Dunefolk only double down on the historical theme already occupied by the loyalist faction and several of their units look they could just as easily be loyalists as a result.


6. A one race faction means fewer reasonable balancing options.

Dunefolk are wildly imbalanced in many factional matches. Putting constraints on them, such as that they must be all human and no magic, limits what kinds of traits can be applied to them to level matches with other specific factions. They cannot easily be allowed to have a powerful flyer or a dedicated water unit if need be, nor magic or arcane attack wielding units, for examples.


7. Missed opportunity to be fully creative for likely final mainline multiplayer faction.

Balancing multiplayer factions gets dramatically more difficult each new faction you add. That has been the explanation given by developers for years past as to why there has not been a seventh faction. Whatever faction in whatever form becomes the seventh will probably be the last for this same reason. There just is not "room" for another in default era, especially by its high standards for balance. It is a real shame if this slot gets taken up by a faction that (in its current form) seems more strongly thematically defined by what it lacks (races, magic, fantasy elements in general) than what it has.
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Re: [mainline] Changing the Dunefolk's(Khalifate's) race nam

Postby Pentarctagon » January 1st, 2018, 8:14 am

@Cold Steel
You do raise some good points, however, this is not the place to get into most of them - for better or worse, the faction formerly known as the Khalifate are in mainline, and are in their current state. I do absolutely believe that there's a lot more work that can be done to improve the Dunefolk, but for now the goal is only to settle on the faction's race name and unit prefix+names and have them updated prior to 1.14 being released. Overhauling the faction's concept, lore, sprites, and balance is a much larger effort, and unless 1.14 takes much longer than expected to be released, would not be ready in time.

So once the current round of work and discussion is done, we can continue on to other topics, but I don't want to try to fix everything all at once.
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Re: [mainline] Changing the Dunefolk's(Khalifate's) race nam

Postby Xalzar » January 1st, 2018, 9:48 am

Human (Dunefolk).

I don't know why I always hear that Dunefolk is the last mainline faction to be added. I know balance will be increasingly difficult, but balance in Wesnoth is naturally a work in progress; we strive for the perfect balance and we move forward to it by small steps, without ever reaching it but coming nearer and nearer. :eng:
I think that with patience and slow pace, two more factions could be added over time, so to have 9 factions for the 9 mainline colors (and side spots). Perfect! :mrgreen:
Obviously, oooooover time. :eng:

Apart from this, another Human faction lets us avoid the stereotype of having Humans be culturally homogeneous, and of European inspiration.
Different movetypes mean that Dunefolk are more accustomed to fighting on sand, not that their feet are different. People from Wesnoth clearly have not so much sand available to practice desert warfare. Try to take battle a Bedouin on his turf.
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Re: [mainline] Changing the Dunefolk's(Khalifate's) race nam

Postby BTIsaac » January 1st, 2018, 11:42 am

I'd like to stick to using Dunefolk as a race name, and having them be technically human but either a different subspecies (similar to how Neanderthals or Cro-magnon were in real life. I might be wrong, but i haven't really seen the whole "what if other human sub-species didn't go extinct" scenario explored all that often), or so culturally distinct and far removed from Wesnoth, that the two groups simply don't share a common collective human identity. Or perhaps both.
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Re: [mainline] Changing the Dunefolk's(Khalifate's) race nam

Postby Caladbolg » January 1st, 2018, 1:15 pm

+1 for Human (Dunefolk).

Though I wouldn't mind it if it was just 'Dunefolk' and if the details remained ambiguous. I think it might be interesting if they were human but considered themselves a distinct species like elves, or vice versa, if everyone considered them different species but they believed that they're humans. Not going into the details of their species would leave such possibilities open.
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Re: [mainline] Changing the Dunefolk's(Khalifate's) race nam

Postby Whiskeyjack » January 1st, 2018, 3:02 pm

Cold Steel, I'm really not sure, if I should admire your dedication or be annoyed by your singlemindedness :D

Cold Steel wrote:1. Wesnoth's world is biologically diverse.

2. Dunefolk already have a non-human move type and defense type.

3. Dunefolk are the only faction where one race uses multiple alignments.

4. The help menu already overflows with human units.

5. Half of dunefolk units could pass for loyalists in terms of appearance.

6. A one race faction means fewer reasonable balancing options.

7. Missed opportunity to be fully creative for likely final mainline multiplayer faction.


1. You conveniently ignore, that some races (orcs and humans) are found in very different terrains, that others share terrain (naga & merman in the seas, dwarves and trolls in caves, undead and saurians in swamps, etc.) and even elves have settlements that are not primarily forest (see, e.g., HttT Scenario 19a Snow Plains). You severely simplify the matter to fit your needs.

2. As was multiple times pointed out - and, again, ignored by you - there is a strong example of this in Quenoth Elves vs. normal Elves, although, granted, in most other cases of minor deviations, like the Orcish Assassin, the trend is to move away from that. The factor of time and adaption is of no impact to this argument, as we can place Wesnoth humans and Dunefolk as far from each other in time and development (branching) as we want.

3. This point, in itself, is a valid one for discussion of the faction, however, you mix different things here: In an argument for race it is utterly repelled by Outlaws vs. Loyalists as both are human and in most cases even both of Wesnoth!

4. I think this is a very subjective point severely biased by your personal dislike of a human + no magic faction. In my opinion Human (Dunefolk) is an elegant solution to the cluttering problem. As others, I'd be fine with Dunefolk as well, as long as it's made clear in the race description that they are humans.

5. This point is just so wrong and an even stronger example of what seems to me to be bias distortion. Culturally the Dunefolk is the most diverse and different faction between a wide array of european-medieval-tolkienesque factions. The only thing that is even remotely similar to the Loyalist faction is the fact that they are humans, which is your actual problem (which I can understand, even if I don't share the sentiment, but please, drop this [censored] of "they could as easily be Loyalists" only because both are humans and you don't want a second human faction. This is beneath you and you are more intelligent than that...)

6. As Pentarctagon said, wrong place for this valid argument. I'd actually support adding mythological creatures to the faction if they fit a unit style that can help the balance problems of the Dunefolk, I'm simply against supplanting units just because "human faction". But this belongs in a balance thread.

7. This is an argument to be considered. I do think, however, that in the course of the last thread a lot of cool and creative ideas to disprove this came up. Perhaps you can't see them because you are so fixated and limited by the idea that everything not a new fantasy race is "uncreative"? But, again, this has (almost) no impact on the race discussion and is better placed in an attempt to finally flesh out a full background cannon for the faction. Which belongs more into the realms of campaigns and world building and lower in priority for a multiplayer faction.

I hope nothing of this comes off as a personal offense, because that is certainly not my intent. I think you are a strong voice of dissent that should be addressed, which is why I tackled your arguments even if some of them (point five) seem ridiculous to me.

Edit: To expand on point 5: Of course, some races are not one-to-one Tolkien stuff (Naga, Mermen, Undead), but they fit quite nicely into the stereotypes of a tolkienesque world. While I think this goes for the Dunefolk as well (Easterlings + Haradrim), it is the only faction not fitting into the stereotype created by the movies. They are actually something new! This makes them feel strange at the start, but I don't see why they actually would be unfitting for the Wesnoth setting. We already have different human cultures way before Wesnoth -> Wesfolk vs. Green Islanders. Up to now, Wesnoth was simply the only one around on the map.
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Re: [mainline] Changing the Dunefolk's(Khalifate's) race nam

Postby Celtic_Minstrel » January 1st, 2018, 3:46 pm

Wrapping my replies to Cold Steel in spoiler tag so it doesn't take up too much space.

Spoiler:
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Re: [mainline] Changing the Dunefolk's(Khalifate's) race nam

Postby Cold Steel » January 1st, 2018, 6:35 pm

Pentarctagon wrote:I do absolutely believe that there's a lot more work that can be done to improve the Dunefolk, but for now the goal is only to settle on the faction's race name and unit prefix+names and have them updated prior to 1.14 being released.


Oh, I did not realize this was only for 1.14. The topic post reads a lot like choosing the race(s) for the faction was being decided here and now, perhaps on a fairly permanent basis with a final round of polls, so I rushed to quickly summarize everything that had come up on this point over the previous thread.

Xalzar wrote:I don't know why I always hear that Dunefolk is the last mainline faction to be added.


Well if nothing else you can look to wesnoth project history. All six mainline factions existed prior to v1.0 back in 2005 or 2006. Wesnoth itself only goes back to 2003. So after about 3 years of rapidly mainlining and balancing factions, it has taken 12 years to half balance just this one more. And even the smallest suggested balance change with the intent to improve one particular faction-vs-faction match up, can easily end up being controversial due to its unintended effect on another match up or two (or three).

Whiskeyjack wrote:Cold Steel, I'm really not sure, if I should admire your dedication or be annoyed by your singlemindedness :D


Well to be honest I do not know the etiquette for democratic decision making in wesnoth, because I have not seen it before. There seems to be a big shift in the project from the cathedral to the bazaar development model. Which could prove vital to its long term health. But for me, there is a bit of a learning curve for how to best make a case to 50+ voters.

My response to your finer points ran quite long so I will put into a folding tag for brevity:

Spoiler:
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Re: [mainline] Changing the Dunefolk's(Khalifate's) race nam

Postby Pentarctagon » January 1st, 2018, 7:18 pm

Cold Steel wrote:
Pentarctagon wrote:I do absolutely believe that there's a lot more work that can be done to improve the Dunefolk, but for now the goal is only to settle on the faction's race name and unit prefix+names and have them updated prior to 1.14 being released.


Oh, I did not realize this was only for 1.14. The topic post reads a lot like choosing the race(s) for the faction was being decided here and now, perhaps on a fairly permanent basis with a final round of polls, so I rushed to quickly summarize everything that had come up on this point over the previous thread.


Yeah, and maybe that's something I can clarify in the opening post - unless the racename is used extensively elsewhere that I'm forgetting about, what's being discussed in this thread is mostly limited to how to now categorize the Dunefolk units in the in-game help.
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