Hunters of the East

Discussion and development of scenarios and campaigns for the game.

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skeptical_troll
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by skeptical_troll »

taptap wrote: Would it be possible to let Harilur move directly after the player not after the undead?
Yeah, I think it is a good idea. I uploaded the new version with that changed. Just out of curiosity, how much gold does Harilur have in your case? In my previous tests, he was always able to spam enough units to block the southern ford, although without making great progresses. Part of the armies of that lich were busy fighting me on a northern front as well.

One thing I'd like to improve is also the recruit list of the enemies, at the moment is a bit a mess for my taste.

EDIT: Just made few minor modifications to the main scenario: more convenient village positioning so that you can support more unit at the beginning; moved the western refugee leader few tiles east; placed a recruitment site more on the way between the initial keep and the western refugees.
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taptap
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by taptap »

skeptical_troll wrote:
taptap wrote: Would it be possible to let Harilur move directly after the player not after the undead?
Yeah, I think it is a good idea. I uploaded the new version with that changed. Just out of curiosity, how much gold does Harilur have in your case? In my previous tests, he was always able to spam enough units to block the southern ford, although without making great progresses. Part of the armies of that lich were busy fighting me on a northern front as well.

One thing I'd like to improve is also the recruit list of the enemies, at the moment is a bit a mess for my taste.

EDIT: Just made few minor modifications to the main scenario: more convenient village positioning so that you can support more unit at the beginning; moved the western refugee leader few tiles east; placed a recruitment site more on the way between the initial keep and the western refugees.
He has 216 gold, I have about 370... so enough for him to put a crowd into the water for a time, but undead walk over them within a few turns, unless you send some serious support. I had several attempts and it really is a steep step up from your usual difficulty. Not the defeating per se, but all the "allies" to protect. Harilur interaction is better with the new move order, but I still find it difficult to handle (how much support so they don't break?) unless I deal with the first leader directly - however I had trouble to deal with the center in time when I go for the first leader. In my last attempt I managed the top fine, center defeated, but for a trickle of new units, just in time arrived and shielded the second top leader with living mud gaining a little time, but Harilur died passively to a Bone Archer in meantime. (This is all me trying to not go too negative on upkeep so I can start recruiting L0s once I captured a few villages and before your latest edits.)
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skeptical_troll
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by skeptical_troll »

I personally rarely support Harilur from his side, at most with one unit. I send a task force of ~4-5 strong units (typically a drake, lvl 3 armored archer, Rorth, a Highwayman and a lower level unit, better if almost levelled) from the north to the western lich to keep his army busy. everybody else (other 4-5 + mud ruler) just run west to save the refugees, especially wolves. Obviously, here it is a big advantage to have many high-level loyal survivors or flying units.

Unfortunately, at the moment the safest strategy is to massively recruit at the beginning and run to shield the allies, then counterattack. In this way however you don't have money to recruit mud once you got there. In my idea, there should be the 'elegant' solution to this scenario, i.e. carefully managing gold and forces in the different fronts as you are trying to do, recruiting with the wolf and Swethorvast only once you arrive in position. If that succeeds, you'd have a very useful carryover to face the last scenario (second last shouldn't be a problem). Now it seems to me that it is too risky or too hard (in my last attempt on 'hard' Barth died despite being shielded by 1 lvl 3 and 1 lvl2 wolves + some heroic mud, just a turn before Swethorvast & C. could get there), which is why I did those last modifications.

I do not know if they are sufficient, things to do here otherwise could be:
-even more villages near the player's keep
-western enemy farther away or refugees moved to the east (or slower terrain for the undeads, although ghosts fly)
-less gold to the eastern lich, so that Harilur is safer.
-Give bodyguards to Harilur.
-any suggestions?

I'll test it once more later and see what I shall do.

EDIT: I played it on difficult now and managed to finish it without too much troubles. Only thing I noticed, Harilur has about ~100 gold more than your case, so he's never seriously threatened. I increased his minimum gold, now this should help, if I understood correctly how gold is carried over for allies.
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taptap
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by taptap »

I finally played Legend of Swethorvast (current version). Now that I finally figured out a good distribution of units it went smoothly, finished turn 20 with tons of carryover (start Drybridge with 468 gold). 2 trees, the elves (Nirydia, an enchantress, a sorceress, two druids), grey paw and an outlaw went south. Everyone else + one quick druid north. Northern group tried not to engage Black units much (and was reinforced with a few recalls, mud and ruffians later). Southern group handled Black without big problems and proceeded to violet leader afterwards.

Some thoughts:

1) Carryover for multiple factions is broken - you basically earn double gold for the turns you finish early when you have two friendly factions with carryover. This is a huge problem for Northern Rebirth as well.
2) Depends very much on the units with armour that can form a solid line on flat ground that holds even at night.
3) Main fight finished turn 13 or 14 when the green forces were spent, but took until turn 20 to reach green.
4) Allies are pretty useless, but did at least distract enemies sufficiently.
4a) The refugees could profit from some of the standard AI on more timid settings, where they form larger groups instead of rushing individually. (It happens against the player at times, so it is possible.)
4b) The elves are pretty useless still, but at least don't block all the tiles anymore. If e.g. 61,40 were deep water this would do pretty much nothing to stop the undead, but would reduce the amount of elves rushing into the water even further.
4c) The top-left refugee leader always moves to the left most tile of his keep to give way to the player, any other tile on his keep would be safer for the purpose. Did not really matter in my playthrough, but he would look much more intelligent if he would go east while giving way.
5) I love mud.
6) Introduction would have less awkward zooming back and forth if you let the Black lich talk the lines. It does not really matter which lich you talk with if you change the names accordingly.
7) Whole dialog does not mention the settlement Swethorvast and Co. set up in the forest. Yes, the elves fled, but afair the last information about them was they are still save on the island and the trolls battle undead. Yet since joining with the refugees from the Duke's town they don't seem to exist anymore. The whole attachment to the land while not caring for the people of the villages sitting in the forest feels odd. "Liberating" the village when they were fully evacuated and already settled elsewhere (and these people do not return!) does not sit right with me.
8) "Undead survivors" write remnants of the undead host or whatever, undead survivors is confusing.
9) Character development of Swethorvast tries to break tropes, but is not really convincing me. (I may write more about the dialog later once I have played all of the campaign.) Too little revenge.
10) One difficulty is the amount of important units you have to protect (everyone with dialog later?), very easy to leave e.g. Rorth exposed.
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skeptical_troll
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by skeptical_troll »

Hi Taptap, thanks for your comments as always. woa, now you have huge carryover, I'm finding this scenario a nightmare to balance :doh: Still I couldn't say that it is not deserved, as you tried it several times and come up with an optimal strategy to spare upkeep and time.

1) I will just ignore any carryover for the allies, I think, and set their gold to a fix amount in all scenarios.
2) I think this is not a bad thing, it is more or less the role I thought for armored units and adds a (non trivial, I hope) strategic element
3) Ok, I actually hate this kind of scenario endings, so I will need to reinforce somehow the green, either with guardians or more income. Happy to hear your opinion about this.
4a) & 4b) sounds like good ideas, will change that in the next release.
4c) I actually don't now how it is coded, but I think that when a leader shares the keep, he tries not to occupy castle tiles (so you have no limits to recruit). Not sure how to change this, easiest thing is to put next to the keep a terrain with better defense for him.
5) I love it too! :eng:
6) I think I put it in the middle because I think of him as the leader. I can simply deactivate the scrolling after the first time, but that may look strange as well.
7) Undeads did not manage to penetrate the forest (it is easier to defend), only the plains, as it will be explained later. So refugees and elves are still there. But I agree that in the dialogues nobody wonder about their safety, hearing of the invasion, and that's kind of weird. Didn't think of that, I'll add some lines. As for 'liberating', don't you say 'to liberate a town' even if the population fled? I guess the refugees would like to return there at some point. Is there a more appropriate verb?
8 ) ok, will change it.
9) I'd be really glad to hear any suggestion about this. Swethorvast's transition is the thing I'm struggling the most in depicting. I wanted to write some dialogue when the head of the undeads in scenario 14 dies, but I still haven't had the inspiration to avoid canned or stereotypical lines.
10) The only characters not fundamental for the story are the drakes, but I think they are too fundamental for the game play. I may require only one drake to survive, but having both make quite a difference in the last scenario, so I'm reluctant in doing that.
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taptap
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by taptap »

Not sure that giving more to green in the end helps much, even serious amounts of gold are not going to do much at this point. I would have preferred the third fleeing, but this may not make sense storywise. I saw inky ended killing violet and green about the same time, so maybe this isn't the same for everyone.

I wish I had the loyal thief still alive or levelled any other thief to L2. Skirmish ability would be such a huge help in Return to Home, but thieves never looked important in the campaign (and they have the tendency to die when they are about to level).
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taptap
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by taptap »

Ok, played Back home as a frontal assault and finished turn 11. Did reasonably fine with about the same gold for the final as inky had + three L2 trees. The survivor could have names, I levelled one, even if I am unlikely to recall him in the final.

The final itself is disappointing. I actually lost the first attempt because I could not protect Harilur and the second as well. All the energy went into the dialogue it seems, the map looks really bleak. And within the dialogue into breaking tropes. The main heroes are all traitors, leaving just before battle, and assassinating a crucial unit in the process. (Rorth did a lot of work leading L0 units in the last big battle.) I mean, Athorvast, formerly ageing peasant now Royal Guard in splendid armour, is still alive, he should be able to talk a little sense into his son. :roll: Or in short, the dialogue does not convince me. Exclusively bad decisions and on top of it treason. Swethorvast trying to carry on with a brokenspirit trait and falling into his sword with a broken heart after the battle or seeking death by lich would make more sense to me.

The elves are more than useless. The flat map guarantees they are moved onto open ground and killed in one turn. They are also much weaker now (start with 150 instead the 3xx Inky had) than they used to be. (You removed the buggy carryover without any recompensation, right? And I have myself to blame.) Bonus frustration due to the killed elves being my own veterans and the task of babysitting of what should have been a powerful ally and probably still is on easier difficulties. A hostile split between forces and elves leaving me only with a few loyalists among them (e.g. 50 gold but player control over blue) or even abandoning me completely would be easier to play than what I have here. I hope I can win this in future, but it will be by moving left immediately and babysitting my ally. The Legend of Swethorvast was an interesting take on babysitting allies, as it was supposed to be protecting civilians, but here...
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skeptical_troll
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by skeptical_troll »

Hi, sorry I had little time to check on this in the last weeks. Thanks again for your feedback!
Spoiler:
taptap wrote:You removed the buggy carryover without any recompensation, right?
You are right, I overlooked that, this at least is fixed now. I understand how it could be frustrating with elves so low on gold.
On the other hand some story-driven sense of frustration (well, rather of tragedy and collapse, at least in my intentions) was meant to be there. The bleak and desolated map, the splitted allies, the missing heroes, all were supposed to go in that direction of building the 'dark' feeling I wanted to imprint to this ending . I also wanted to offer a different challenge by removing key units from the army and presenting only little repair, so that the player had to rethink strategies (like using trees), but of course babysitting elves should not be the main focus.
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by taptap »

Recently tried this again. Did not see any changes to the elves in the final, or do I have to repeat previous scenarios? For me the final overdid the bleak and dark feeling into utter frustration, loss of 3 key units for the final, protagonists falling into madness right before battle, ally suiciding units I carefully levelled earlier and when I try to babysit he does not even give room for additional recruitment as allied leaders did in previous scenarios. I pretty much lost appetite for this scenario despite liking the rest of the campaign. What I will try locally is removing recruitment for the elves, reducing money for them, but giving myself control over them: representing the elves departing after their queen apart from a few veterans who fought alongside our forces earlier.
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skeptical_troll
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by skeptical_troll »

taptap wrote:Recently tried this again. Did not see any changes to the elves in the final,
you are right, for some reason there was the older version in the server. Just uploaded the corrected one. Beside more Gold, Harilur should now be very careful in battle, and I had added few small features to the map in the barren plains.

My problem in giving control of the elves is the amount of healers that the player will get, changing completely the gameplay. I'd test it when I have time and see if it makes sense. I may consider keeping Rorth instead, that would be a significant but not crucial change in the plot, and may reduce frustration. I had thought of creating a 'branched' final, but the possibilities I came up with didn't make a lot of sense.
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Re: Hunters of the East

Post by white_haired_uncle »

Early on I got something that would grant marksman. I wanted to give it to my rogue to eventually have an assassin with marksman/poison, but marksman replaced backstab. I thought this was odd.

The objectives for one of the last scenarios is to harm, but not kill, the enemy leader. Of course I forgot and killed him which ended in victory.
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