Age of Trials v0.3.2 (3 February 2012)

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Atz
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Age of Trials v0.3.2 (3 February 2012)

Post by Atz » July 13th, 2010, 4:51 am

0.3.2 is now available on the 1.10 server.

This is the official thread for the Age of Trials, a multiplayer era, created by me, with some graphics and stuff borrowed from various other places (mostly mainline, Era of Myths, and Extended Era) thanks to the wonders of GPL. This is of course also released under GPL, so feel free to borrow anything you like the look of.

Anyway, moving along!

Features:

- Six new factions. Almost all the units are new, but I've borrowed some Nagas and Saurians.
- Fully complete gameplay, with new abilities and weapon specials and everything!
- A reasonable attempt at balance, though it still needs playtesting. (That's where you come in!)
- New race (gnomes).
- Basic graphics.

Era goals:

To enjoy yourself! I'm mostly aiming for an era which is fun to play, balanced, with factions which are distinct, and some new mechanics to mix things up a bit. I'm not aiming for super-spectacular special effects, but I would like to get the graphics up to a reasonable level eventually (close to the current mainline graphics in quality, basically).

Dev history / philosophy
Spoiler:
Version history:
Spoiler:
Some notes for players:

First up, arcane damage is a little different from mainline. Most of the factions are human, so instead of just about everyone having 20% resistance to arcane, which complicates damage calculations, I thought it would be easier to give everything 0% arcane resist. The exceptions are magical units (like djinni and wisps), which are weak to magic; arcane-using magi and saurians, who are strong against it; and mechanical units, which are resistant to magic.

Few factions have a universal alignment - most have some off-alignment units, which can be used to defend during your unfavourable time. And the Council are all over the shop. So look at your unit alignments, don't just assume they're all the same.

Also, promotion symbols. I've got art for all the L1s, but not all the L2 and 3 units, so I've used placeholders. Generally they will have the same base frame as the previous unit, but with an icon floating above their head. The type of icon indicates the branch of the unit, and the colour (gold or silver) the level. Silver for L2s and gold for L3s, obviously. These will eventually be removed once I get art for everything, but in the meantime hopefully they'll let you tell units apart without too much trouble.

Development/balance concerns:
Spoiler:

In any event, thanks for playing (and reading my giant post, if you managed to get through it all). Comments, suggestions or contributions are welcome.

tl:dr;
I have released an MP era on the 1.10 server. It has 6 new factions and is fully functional, including new abilities and weapon specials. It is a WIP and balance and graphics will hopefully improve with time. Go. Download. Play. Enjoy. Suggestions welcome.
Last edited by Atz on February 3rd, 2012, 4:00 am, edited 21 times in total.

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Maramros
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Re: Age of Trials v0.0.1 - Initial release!

Post by Maramros » July 16th, 2010, 3:54 am

First time playing, I've opened up Crusader's Field so I can play all factions at once. I'll add comments to this post as I go.

Free Lizards:
First thing, I notice a somewhat serious problem. This faction, while it definitely has units for water control, has no scout. Its fastest land unit is the skirmisher or augur, with six moves each. I'd suggest maybe making the Tamer ride the beast it's taming, and give it 7 or 8 moves.
Relatedly, 4 out of this faction's seven recruitable units are nagas. This means that, if i want any variety at all, especially since the tamer caps at lvl 2, the skirmisher caps at lvl 3, and the augur, which caps at lvl 2, is the only one to have any branches at all. I would suggest, for variety's sake, also adding a lvl 0 saurian, possibly the Trainee from EoS, that could level into any of the three classes of saurian.
While this faction kicks ass in difficult terrain, to to superb water control and speedy saurians, it doesn't do so well in a map that is largely flat, as most MP maps are.
Nitpickiness: I find it odd that the tamer's frozen defense is 0. Most saurians, though they take four mp, like the tamer, have 30%, which is doom enough for a frail race that depends on speed and evasion.

Imperials:
Light Cav line: sure, it gains skirmisher, but heavy cav's just as fast, and more powerful. And the light cav lvl3, the Charger, does exactly as much damage as a lancer, has two less mp, skirmisher, and 12 more hp. Not enough, I feel, for a level three. I tend to consider charge somewhat like berserk: it can deal a lot of damage, but it's also hard to keep those units alive. I'd suggest adding one more mp to that line, either at lvl 2 or three. or, conversely, remove one mp from the heavy cav line, which would make sense.
Also, this faction has no water control.

Kadori:
No water control, either. No further comments right now.

Gnomes:
Pretty good. Has a scout, and a flier. We'll have to see what my next comments will be.

Rebellion:
No water control.
Sudners are confusing: they have similar hp to a red mage, and deal either decent or slightly high damage for a level one, but they're level two. So, compared to level ones, they have good to slightly high hp, normal to slightly higher than normal, or even slightly lower, damage, and normal-ish mp. Their movetype is slightly better that the average loyalist, but they are insanely expensive - the Reaver does similar damage to a spearman, and has four more hp, an extra level, and costs 10 extra gold to recruit. They seem overpriced for their abilities, especially since you recruit level twos that can only advance to level threes.

Mages:
Why's the guardian not as resistant to pierce as it is blade or impact? I can understand that impact might dent the armor that it is, but what's with pierce? the problem with piercing weapons is that they go through chainmail; this is nothing but floating platemail. Also, it's the magi's only unit that's not bad in water, and it's slow.
I like the wisps. FLAVOR NOTE: in the description for the Shadow, it says they leech substance and form from the surrounding world. Maybe give it drains, and lower its cold defense a bit at this point? Both could be thematically explained.
Lifegiver path gains cures and heals +8, but loses regen. Why?
Summer mages could benefit from a melee weapon at higher levels: look at how DA gains a weak staff attack upon becoming a Dark Sorcerer/Sorceress.
Why isn't the winter mage good on snow?

Miscellaneous:
I like the cautious trait! I've always liked more traits: the more, the better, I've always thought.

Era is very interesting, but definitely still needs work. I look forward to seeing updates!
(Please excuse me, I'm tired, so I may not make much sense)
Last edited by Maramros on August 27th, 2010, 2:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
Please remember, my opinion is my opinion. Please listen, but my opinion is only, and will never be more than, my opinion. It is not yours. You do not have to act on it. I'm not telling you what to do.

Atz
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Re: Age of Trials v0.0.1 - Initial release!

Post by Atz » July 16th, 2010, 2:33 pm

Thanks for the feedback!

Regarding Lizards: It may be a the maps I was testing on, but a lot of the 2v2 and 1v1 maps seem to have rivers running right through them, which is enough for the naga to be useful. Also, unlike merfolk, naga are only somewhat hopeless on land. Still, I can see where this could be a problem. I'll think of how to fix it. I'll almost certainly make a L3 Tamer, but I was already considering a Saurian Slinger or Spear-Thrower or something like that, because they don't really have an archer aside from the Augur.

I don't want to make the Tamer a scout because at present it is serving as the only saurian unit which actually has a decent number of HP. I was concerned that magical/marksman could be very difficult for to counter otherwise, especially with the weakness to cold/fire. Oh, and the 0% defence on frozen thing is a bug; it was supposed to be 30% like the rest of the saurians (which I've just fixed).

Imperials: Hmm. I was worried about the combination of charge + skirmisher, which makes it rather difficult to protect your units. Also, I originally gave the heavy cavalry less move, but decided to change it due to RIPLUIB - the light cavalry loses its sword attack, so unless I make a third branch, the heavy cavalry shouldn't lose move. For now I will increase the LC's HP by four, and give the charger 1 extra MP, which should make the line as a whole more attractive. I am unsure what do to about the lack of water units; I may leave it as is and have bad water control be one of this faction's quirks, if that's not too unbalancing. Don't really want to just tack mermen on or something like that.

Kadori: I have changed the Djinn's shallow water/reef defence to 50%, so they have something to use on water.

Rebellion: The Sudners are deliberately designed to be inefficient. Flavourwise, they're expensive mercenaries. From a gameplay perspective, I wanted the mainstay of rebel forces to be hordes of L0s (no upkeep offsets the high upkeep of the Sudner, incidentally) with the occasional mercenary to act as a meat shield, especially during the day. If they're too inefficient, my preference would be to bump up their health a little and maybe bring the price down a bit. However, this has been a fiddly faction to try to balance, so I'd like to wait and see what other people say or what you think from more extended play first.

Magi: Guardian is weaker to pierce to give the saurians some way to remove them in less than three years, mostly. The Augur has cold damage, which is ineffective, while other factions have fire or arcane. I gave them the naga mage mainly so they had something to use against Guardian spam, but as you mentioned the naga don't work so well unless there's water. That said, with the way rounding works, bumping it up to 80% - equal with impact - probably wouldn't have a huge effect. I will do that for now, may change it again later after working on saurians. Will consider fiddling with other resistances.

Winter Magi aren't good on snow because they're just magi who happen to use cold spells. I did consider giving all the magi theme terrain, but thought it would be a bit complicated and prone to imbalance. Maps tend to either have practically no frozen terrain or have huge swathes of it, for instance. On the Lifegiver: it has cures and loses regeneration to differentiate it more from the other line, and because something which heals itself and everything else might be a bit too irritating. Flavourwise, I was going to say they focused their ability outwards rather than inwards, offering of themselves to help others, etc. Actually giving life, rather than hording it for themselves, if you will.


Expect an update once I've had a look at what can be done with the Reptiles. Also, I have upgraded the graphics on one line of the Kadori Warrior's advancements, and want to do the other, because it would look rather odd otherwise. So the next update will be after I've done that.

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Maramros
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Re: Age of Trials v0.0.1 - Initial release!

Post by Maramros » July 16th, 2010, 3:32 pm

Cool. I'll admit, I didn't play for long, I mainly just put all the factions on a map, entered debug, and looked at all the units. I played a few rounds, but I was tired...

Feedback on the feedback (which i believe was about feedback)

Regarding Nagas:
*True, many mp maps, especially mainline ones, have rivers running through, but limitedly. Take Crusader's Field, for example. It is divided into six parts, divided by rivers. In the middle, there is an island with some villages. However, the only water is the dividing lines. So Nagas have very limited use, especially if you want them to get anywhere fast, since they have to take roundabout routes that can easily be complicated with just one or two units to block and slow them down. While I agree that they don't suck as much as mermen, they do at level one, and most of your new nagas don't have the increased dodge on flat at higher levels like the Warrior and Myrmidon do.
*If you choose to make a saurian spearthrower or archer, I'd suggest making them peltasts. I think that, given the description of the saurians and their flavor, it would make far more sense to have them throw spears than use bows (If you need a definition of a peltast: http://www.google.com/search?q=define%3Apeltast). I'd suggest making them slightly faster than the average saurian, maybe with a base of 7 mp.
*A note of warning, regarding caves: Though cave is largely not a terrain that is over-used, it could be risky for this faction, in terms of balance. Nagas do as well as loyalists or orcs in caves, and saurians have better defense than dwarves, and are faster overall. Therefore, this faction has a huge advantage in caves, which could be imbalancing, though not necessarily.
*EDIT: I just noticed, to my horror, that the recluse has only 50% def in shallow water. Why the decrease from the rest of the nagas?

Imperials:
*I think that you'd still be following RIPLIB. They're given the option of a faster skirmisher/scout, or a slower, more damaging tank/scout. It's somewhat like how knight can either level to Grand Knight, which is slower and beefier, or paladin, wich retains that same speed, but isn't quite as deadly.
*I also think that not giving them water control, while it may be fine on most maps, could allow them to be totally raped on some maps. (Hornshark Island, Possibly Island of the Horatii; they can't do snow well either, Lagoon, all have sizable amounts of water, that could nicely allow sneak-attacks, especially since, if they have no water control, units could lurk right out of sight until they can ambush in force.) But that's my opinion.

Rebellion:
I get what you're saying. I personally tend to prefer to split units up and run around than stay in mobs, so I guess it's not the right faction for me. However, If you want the Sudners to be meatshields, which I totally understand, I'd suggest upping their HP quite a bit.

Magi:
*Saurians have Naga Guardians and Recluses. I'd suggest possibly bumping impact down to 10%, since dents in armor can be serious, and maybe give the Tamer a tail impact attack as well.
*Got it. Special Terrain could indeed be unbalanced, but I don't think they necessarily have to. Look at the drake faction: every single unit has sand as one of its best terrains. Sand is a terrain that is used much like snow: little or a lot. However, this isn't unbalanced, mainly because they have other weaknesses and strengths that factor in. And the Spring Mage makes sense, now that I think about it.

As always, feel free to ignore anything you like in what I've said. It's your project, after all. I'm bad at coding and art, and not too great at balance testing, but I can give suggestions regarding flavor, and do some of the writing, if you want. This seems like an interesting era, with nice promise, so if there's any way you want me to help, I'd be willing to. I'll also probably do dumb things like spam certain units and see if it's effective, etc. Cheers!

~Maramros

EDIT: also, I'd like to ask if you have some sort of Roadmap, for where you want things to be at certain versions. If you'll notice, on the addon server, your era is version 0.0.1, with base, placeholder graphics, all abilities working, etc., while TSI's battle for Meridia is 0.1.2, and has only base graphics - abilities missing, and 'highly unbalanced'. Not that I am criticizing TSI, just wondering, since yours seems to be in a similar stage, and yet the version # is so much lower, if you have a roadmap?
Please remember, my opinion is my opinion. Please listen, but my opinion is only, and will never be more than, my opinion. It is not yours. You do not have to act on it. I'm not telling you what to do.

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Re: Age of Trials v0.0.1 - Initial release!

Post by Atz » July 17th, 2010, 3:37 am

Maramros wrote:*I think that you'd still be following RIPLIB [by decreasing Heavy Cavalry move]. They're given the option of a faster skirmisher/scout, or a slower, more damaging tank/scout. It's somewhat like how knight can either level to Grand Knight, which is slower and beefier, or paladin, wich retains that same speed, but isn't quite as deadly.
No, it's not comparable. The Paladin is better than the Knight in every regard. It has the same attacks with slightly increased damage, more health, and the same move. RIPLIB requires that at least one branch of a level-up loses nothing (in the case of the Knight, that branch is the Paladin). If the heavy cavalry lost MP, then both branches would lose something - non-charge attacks in the case of light cavalry, and movement in the case of heavy cavalry.
Maramros wrote:*EDIT: I just noticed, to my horror, that the recluse has only 50% def in shallow water. Why the decrease from the rest of the nagas?
Similar to the reason the Saurian Augur has slightly lower defence than the skirmishers. I may change it, though, because I was just playing with the Reptiles to see what I can slot in, and Recluses seem to be so fragile that having drain is almost pointless.
Maramros wrote:also, I'd like to ask if you have some sort of Roadmap, for where you want things to be at certain versions. If you'll notice, on the addon server, your era is version 0.0.1, with base, placeholder graphics, all abilities working, etc., while TSI's battle for Meridia is 0.1.2, and has only base graphics - abilities missing, and 'highly unbalanced'. Not that I am criticizing TSI, just wondering, since yours seems to be in a similar stage, and yet the version # is so much lower, if you have a roadmap?
I noticed that, too. But, Eras in general tend to be all over the place when it comes to versions - Myths is at 0.5 even though it just seems to have graphics adjustments and some descriptions remaining, while Magic is at 0.9 and still adding new units. I don't really have a detailed plan at this point, but in the near future, I will probably finish the base frames for the Kadori Ravager line and upload that as 0.0.2, then add units to the Reptiles and possibly Dynasty, and make that 0.1.0. Exactly what happens after that will depend on what other adjustments are necessary, but some of my initial goals are replacing all the placeholder graphics with proper base frames, and getting descriptions up for every race and all L1 units.

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Re: Age of Trials v0.0.1 - Initial release!

Post by Atz » July 19th, 2010, 1:55 am

Update is up! This v0.0.2.

- Updated graphics for Imperial Judge line, Kadori Warrior lines
- Fixed incorrect defence on snow for Saurian Tamer.
- Increased HP of Imperial Light Cavalry, move of Charger
- Increased defence of Djinni on water
- Changed Guardian pierce res to 80%
- Changed Naga Recluse movetype to same as other naga
- Decreased Saurian Tamer movement, defence in caves.

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Re: Age of Trials v0.1.1 (20 Jul 2010)

Post by Atz » July 20th, 2010, 12:38 pm

0.1.1 is up. Yes, I didn't get around to uploading 0.1.0, my internet connection was being stupid.

Anyway! This is a fairly major update. The Reptile recruit list has been altered fairly drastically - have removed the Naga Recluse and added two new saurians, a scout with a ranged attack, and a melee unit with drain and arcane damage. I have also added some units to the other factions to enable them to fight in water... somewhat. Also some other minor changes here and there. See the changelog for full info.

EDIT: So naturally I spot a typo immediately after I upload it. 0.1.2 now up.

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Re: Age of Trials v0.1.2 (20 Jul 2010)

Post by Atz » July 31st, 2010, 4:41 am

0.1.3 is up.

I noticed that the Kadori had fewer units than the other factions, so I've given them another one. Also removed the AI recruit patterns, which means it will just choose what it thinks is "best" for the situation - this seems to have made AI recruiting marginally more effective in general, hopefully there are no nasty side effects.

Also, I redrew the Dynasty's Infantryman, Guard and Imperial Guard from scratch, and am attaching the IG here in a shameless bid for attention.
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Re: Age of Trials v0.2.1 (27 Aug 2010)

Post by Atz » August 27th, 2010, 2:28 am

0.2.1 is up. Despite my internet connection dying for like two weeks. Very unhelpful when I am trying to code new specials!

This is a major-ish update, so I've bumped the version up to 0.2. It also met one of my goals, which was adding descriptions/history for all the races.

Anyway, in other updates, a few new unit advancements, including one with a new special, a few unit descriptions, and one or two bug fixes. Full change log in the first post, of course.

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Maramros
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Re: Age of Trials v0.2.1 (27 Aug 2010)

Post by Maramros » August 27th, 2010, 3:08 pm

Awesome! Madness seems nifty, it'll be interesting to see how it plays.
Once again, I've opened up a standard 6p map, and am playing the factions through. This time, the map is Waterloo Sunset.

Reptiles:
*I like the Warlock line, from what I've seen. It makes a good addition to the faction, and is especially helpful against Guardians.

Kadori:
*One slightly confusing thing in one of the descriptions: in the Kadori Warrior description, it says the horse makes them much more mobile than the average infantryman, but they only have 6mp, and basically the horse movetype.
*Proper use of Djinn can make villages something to be avoided, rather than sought, near the Kadori base. Nice!

Magi:
*Typo: Spring Mage descriptions talk about Autumn Magi a bit where it's supposed to be Spring.
*Also, a Lifegiver surrounded by Guardians can last for a long time, which, while it's not a technique that allows them to win, prolongs the game, possibly even taking it to a time limit, at which point it could be called a draw.

Gnomes:
*I like them! Rangers, however, seem overly powerful, especially at level 2. At that point, on attack, they're basically a Dwarvish Dragonguard with Marksman. I know they're 19 gold, but if Gnomes start steamrolling, this'll be pretty much all the enemy sees, at least if I'm playing the Gnomes. They're fun little buggers.
*Snipers+Seekers is an unparalleled assassination combo.

Imperials:
*Shoreguard seems really good, especially against the Mob, especially if he can stay in a river.
*Scout Cavalry comparison with default Loyalist Horseman: same hp, 2 less xp, same mp, 5 gp cheaper, charge deals 2 less damage normally, and SC has a 6-3 sword attack. Scout cavalry has higher survivability, and cheaper, for slightly less damage, but more control over the damage range.

Mob:
*I'm spamming mostly units with mob, with the occasional Sudner or scout-type unit. On 70% exp, most Malcontents only need 16 xp to level up - those with intelligent need even less. Given their relative cheapness compared to pretty much every other unit in the era (I think they might be the cheapest, correct me if I'm wrong), they can easily swarm a unit, and slay it with rocks doing 7 or so damage a throw. Because of this, at least for a while, they can maintain a 1 for 1 death ratio, and, if they're lucky, they can even level a few up. The trade off, though, is that any competent force that attacks, rather than taking the defensive, can quickly destroy the members one by one, hugely weakening the group. All in all, it seems pretty balanced to me. However, if they receive just a little ally help, they can quickly decimate any foes. Barrier is the one effective defense, which merely prolongs the inevitable.
*Deaths are high in this faction, but lives are cheap. They're even more exaggeratedly so than with orcs. An effective mob can have 3 or 4 level zeroes attacking a single unit, all of the mob members doing 6-3 or 7-3 damage. They level up quickly, allowing them to do even more damage.

Overall, this is a really fun era to play. Keep up the good work.
Please remember, my opinion is my opinion. Please listen, but my opinion is only, and will never be more than, my opinion. It is not yours. You do not have to act on it. I'm not telling you what to do.

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Re: Age of Trials v0.2.1 (27 Aug 2010)

Post by Atz » August 28th, 2010, 3:18 am

Thanks! On a few points:

- Argh, Rangers. I was worried about them. I've been steadily making them weaker and more expensive since I first tested them. If I recall correctly, their average damage on attack is about the same as most units with magical, but their fast movement and 1-shot attack make them better assassins. I'll increase their price again.

- I'm surprised that you found Shoreguards effective against the Mob, because they have a 30% weakness to impact and 20% to pierce. I suppose they're a bit faster, so you can go poke holes in the Malcontents before they get a chance to do anything. Speaking of which, I'm glad to see the Mob is functioning more-or-less as intended. Which is to say, a total glass cannon (and yes, Malcontents are the cheapest units in the era).

- Lifegiver/Guardian combo doesn't seem like a problem to me. I just tried it with the People's Front vs. the Council, on the basis that the PF has the least efficient source of non-physical damage (Spearbearer, 23 gold for 8-2 fire). I was a bit lucky, but I didn't have too much trouble taking them out with one Spearbearer, two horse thieves, and some Malcontents. It's an okay defensive formation, but it's a long way from indestructible, especially considering it requires a L2.

- On scout cavalry: Firstly, factions are balanced, not units - in Default, I believe the Loyalists have two mounted units, one with a sword and one with charge, while the Dynasty has only one. Also, that -2 damage on the charge is a bigger penalty than it looks. Charge is generally used when you can kill the opponent before it retaliates for big damage; lower damage per strike means the target has to be weaker before charge is viable. And of course the double damage thing means it's effectively -4 damage. I'll try some horse spam and bump the price up a little if it's too effective...

EDIT: Okay, so after some testing I've decided cavalry are a bit too good against non-melee units for their price. Raising it to 20.

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Re: Age of Trials v0.2.1 (27 Aug 2010)

Post by Maramros » August 29th, 2010, 2:37 am

I agree with what you said about the Scout Cavalry, I'm not quite sure what I was trying to say in the first place.

Regarding Shoreguards: They can deal pretty decent damage, but they also can't take much. However, their mobility is amazing. They have human movetype, but better def and move in sand, water, reef. The only terrain where they have less than 40% def is snow.

I played a game of Empire vs Mob, originally trying to prove the superiority of Shoreguards. However, by the end I was basically spamming Cavalry, leading me to think that their price is too low. (playing with 18g cost... I don't know if you've uploaded the revision or not.) One of the points of horsemen (the default unit) is that their only attack is charge. With the Scout Cavs, they can choose whether to be somewhat suicidal, and charge, or be more conservative and deal less damage, with a sword. They're basically a combination of the best of Cavalry with the best of Horseman. I'd say they're even too good against melee units, or at least mixed fighters. Not against those with firststrike, or high pierce melees, but otherwise...

Make of my post what you will.
-Maramros
Please remember, my opinion is my opinion. Please listen, but my opinion is only, and will never be more than, my opinion. It is not yours. You do not have to act on it. I'm not telling you what to do.

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Re: Age of Trials v0.2.2 (29 Aug 2010)

Post by Atz » August 29th, 2010, 5:20 am

Okay, update is up now. I've increased the price of cavalry to 20, which hopefully makes spamming them a bit less viable.

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Re: Age of Trials v0.2.3 (1 Sep 2010)

Post by Atz » September 1st, 2010, 5:42 am

New update. Added L3 versions of the Saurian Oracle and Soothsayer, with graphics. Also fixed a typo, fiddled with resistances a bit, and increased the price of Scout Cavalry again.

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Re: Age of Trials v0.2.4 (24 Sep 2010)

Post by Atz » September 24th, 2010, 1:06 am

Bugfix update! I discovered that units which A. have the 'cautious' trait and B. can't normally move on deep water (ie. any gnome which isn't a Diver) would gain 100% defence when standing on a bridge over deep water. I have now fixed this. I recommend everyone download this update because the bug is kind of problematic if it pops up in the middle of a match.

Also added some new graphics for the gnomes and saurians.

EDIT: Bug the second. Just noticed that salamanders had 0% defence on frozen terrain when they're supposed to have 20%. Fixed version uploaded.

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