[new faction] The Great Steppe Era (1.16 add-on server)

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ForestDragon
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[new faction] The Great Steppe Era (1.16 add-on server)

Post by ForestDragon »

The Great Steppe is an era about the far-eastern lands of Irdia. There, on plains surrounded by forest from the north and desert from the south, burn the flames of a new war. Burned villages, captured prisoners, slave trade, betrayal - the era will demonstrate the brutal steppe wars in all their glory.

At the moment there are 5 factions available (and more planned): the Bull Tumen, the Serpent Kaganate, the Dead Field Coven, the Northern Knyaz Triumvirate and Ogre Kingdom
poster.png
The Bull Tumen is a faction of ogre nomads who worship the terrible Bull God. Playing as this faction, you will control a horde of barbarians of the steppe, burn villages, capture prisoners, run over the enemy with giant chariots and summon the bloodthirsty spawn of the Bull God. The faction is very aggressive and strong at the beginning of the game, but loses its strength as the match drags on.
screenshot_ogres_all.png
The Serpent Kaganate is the southern faction of serpentheads and their subordinate peoples. Playing as this faction, you will command a diverse and flexible army consisting of members of different races; to win, you will have to keep the slaves and deserters under control, enslave the will of the enemy fighters and skillfully combine lawful and chaotic units. The faction is usually best at the middle stage of a match.
screenshot_khaganate_all.png
The Dead Field Coven is a faction gathered by the fugitive witch-queen in the eastern lands of the Great Steppe. Playing as this faction, you will control a sinister army of fugitive witches, demons, half-blood kanavars and the ancient horrors of the steppe in the form of primitive beasts possessed by the spirits, ghost wolves woven from fear, and skeletal nomads. You have to support and breed the new race of nomad half-demons and gradually accumulate your power. The faction is weak at the initial stage of the game, but strong in a long game, when it is possible to gather several generations of kanavars and sweep away the enemy army with a horde of half-breeds led by the demons themselves.
coven_all.png
The Northern Knyaz Triumvirate is a faction of the people of the north. The three knyazdoms entered into an alliance to fight back the evil that is approaching from the steppe. Playing as the triumvirate, you will command a diverse and flexible army. Your units will be able to build fortifications, improve armor and inspire allies to battle. Use the creative potential of the northerners to defeat the nomad armies!
slavs_all.png
Features of the era:

- Unique art drawn by Mechanical. No default sprites or franken-sprites from other eras!
- Sophisticated faction lore: all units and races have descriptions that reveal the world of the Great Steppe. (However, not everything has been translated from Russian into English yet)
- Unique playstyle for each faction. The factions in Great Steppe have a very specific playstyle that you wouldn't see in other eras.
- Many new features for weapons and units. Some of them (for example, pillage, enslave, finish off, or capture) have no analogues in other eras.
- Custom AI features, making the AI able to utilize the era's abilities reasonably well (WARNING: AI might freeze if you are using a version older than 1.14.17)

The Ogre Kingdom is a formidable feudal power in the mountains west of the Steppe. Choose vassals, keep your mercenaries paid and preach your religion to turn the motley godless army into an army of powerful and righteous warriors of the Light! Ogres need time to gather and organize their forces, which is why the faction is best in the middle of the game.
kingdom_all.png
Write your feedback here or in the discord server so we can make it better!

Discord link to our server: https://discord.gg/GnD2HAMZt5
Last edited by ForestDragon on November 19th, 2021, 5:09 pm, edited 22 times in total.
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Re: [Alpha] The Great Steppe Era (1.14 add-on server)

Post by The_Gnat »

Looking fantastic! I can't wait to try it out! :D
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Re: [Alpha] The Great Steppe Era (1.14 add-on server)

Post by Mechanical »

The_Gnat wrote: February 13th, 2021, 9:57 pm Looking fantastic! I can't wait to try it out! :D
You can try the era at any time! It is already available on the wesnoth addon server 1.14.
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If you like my art, try The Great Steppe Era!
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Re: [Alpha] The Great Steppe Era (1.14 add-on server)

Post by The_Gnat »

Hi just tried it out!! Really loving the new units!

Just quick notes/thoughts:

- Love the banners and theme behind the factions
- When I took a village with the pillage ability the burning animation for the village was visible through the fog (see attached image) and over top/above the leader (so it looked like he was on fire)
- On that point as well I really like the new abilities! Night form, pillage, slave, (crush will! 8) 8) )
- I also really like the artwork and advancements, the factions feel very full and interesting

Also out of curiosity (I dont quite understand the slave ability), if I attack a slave with a Gnoll or Serpentine (standing far away from any allies) will he join me?

(also note that I played it on 1.15 and it worked without any issues :) excellent era)
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Re: [Alpha] The Great Steppe Era (1.14 add-on server)

Post by ForestDragon »

The_Gnat wrote: February 14th, 2021, 12:02 am - When I took a village with the pillage ability the burning animation for the village was visible through the fog (see attached image) and over top/above the leader (so it looked like he was on fire)
Unfortunately wesnoth doesn't really support animated non-halo images on tiles, so had to work with what I had.
The_Gnat wrote: February 14th, 2021, 12:02 am Also out of curiosity (I dont quite understand the slave ability), if I attack a slave with a Gnoll or Serpentine (standing far away from any allies) will he join me?
As of now, no. Slaves won't be freed when attacked by an enemy khaganate units (after all, they wouldn't get freedom either way, so it makes little sense for them to desert to the khaganate).
The_Gnat wrote: February 14th, 2021, 12:02 am (also note that I played it on 1.15 and it worked without any issues :) excellent era)
Glad to hear that :)
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Re: [Alpha] The Great Steppe Era (1.14 add-on server)

Post by inferno8 »

Hi, I played the add-on this morning and I like it :) It offers a slightly different gameplay in comparison to traditional BfW due to unique mechanics for both factions. I think these mechanics put strong emphasis on map control and formations.

The ogres' faction is strictly assault-oriented, plundering and destroying villages - this presents players with a brand new tactical opportunities. Ogres need to push forward at all costs to acquire gold necessary to recruit new units. But they also utilize the capturing mechanics directly on a battlefield which is a great idea. :D Btw, I am not sure if the implementation of this is correct - the description says I should receive gold when a trapped unit is in cage for at least 2 turns, but I am not sure I did. I guess I'll have to take a closer look. :hmm:

The opposing faction consists of undead and their slaves, which is an interesting mix, but I feel they have a problem with disloyal units and aforementioned slaves trying to escape whenever an opportunity arises. This requires a very careful planning as well as correct unit positioning and often doesn't pay off, especially when facing an opponent with capture abilities. The Twilight Warrior as a leader is quite powerful, especially at night, which is good. I had to use more than 5 units to take him down, but I don't think he's OP. In fact I think this faction should be more though. The slaves are the weakest point of that faction. Maybe they should stay with 1hp, so they are not that useful as they are now, once they switch sides (in fact they are free additional assets for the enemy).

Nevertheless I have a positive impression. The era offers a new tactical challenge, which in my opinion should be more balanced in the future. The abilities are very unique and entertaining. Playing them right can be tricky at times but all of this forces one to think ahead which is essential for a strategy game. And the graphics are gorgeous! :D These ogres should be part of default Wesnoth (in case the devs are planning to expand the universe in the future) - they all look very classic yet outstanding! Mechanical should be proud of them. Good job! :)
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Re: [Alpha] The Great Steppe Era (1.14 add-on server)

Post by ForestDragon »

inferno8 wrote: February 14th, 2021, 5:05 pm Hi, I played the add-on this morning and I like it :) It offers a slightly different gameplay in comparison to traditional BfW due to unique mechanics for both factions. I think these mechanics put strong emphasis on map control and formations.
Glad you like it.
inferno8 wrote: February 14th, 2021, 5:05 pmBtw, I am not sure if the implementation of this is correct - the description says I should receive gold when a trapped unit is in cage for at least 2 turns, but I am not sure I did. I guess I'll have to take a closer look. :hmm:
The gold should be given when the unit is removed from the map. If the unit is still on the map, you won't get any gold. From your wording, it's hard to make any definitive conclusions :hmm:
inferno8 wrote: February 14th, 2021, 5:05 pmThe opposing faction consists of undead and their slaves, which is an interesting mix, but I feel they have a problem with disloyal units and aforementioned slaves trying to escape whenever an opportunity arises. This requires a very careful planning as well as correct unit positioning and often doesn't pay off, especially when facing an opponent with capture abilities. The Twilight Warrior as a leader is quite powerful, especially at night, which is good. I had to use more than 5 units to take him down, but I don't think he's OP. In fact I think this faction should be more though. The slaves are the weakest point of that faction. Maybe they should stay with 1hp, so they are not that useful as they are now, once they switch sides (in fact they are free additional assets for the enemy).
Hmmmmm, the khaganate being underpowered does seem to common among feedback for the era. We'll consider some balance changes for the next patch.
inferno8 wrote: February 14th, 2021, 5:05 pmNevertheless I have a positive impression. The era offers a new tactical challenge, which in my opinion should be more balanced in the future. The abilities are very unique and entertaining. Playing them right can be tricky at times but all of this forces one to think ahead which is essential for a strategy game. And the graphics are gorgeous! :D These ogres should be part of default Wesnoth (in case the devs are planning to expand the universe in the future) - they all look very classic yet outstanding! Mechanical should be proud of them. Good job! :)
Thanks! ^_^
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Re: [Alpha] The Great Steppe Era (1.14 add-on server)

Post by Hejnewar »

Bull Tumen:
Spoiler:
Serpent Khaganate:
Spoiler:
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Re: [Alpha] The Great Steppe Era (1.14 add-on server)

Post by Lord-Knightmare »

Hi, ForestDragon and Mechanical!
I have tried out your era in 1.15.x and I must say, the experience has been enthralling.

I like the new units and world building you guys have done for the Eastern Great Continent of Irdya. I have played two matches against the AI, one as the Bull Tumen and the Serpent Khaganate. It's been fun and I will probably play a few more to get a hang of these units.

I think I have already mentioned this but I will say it again, I am amazed by the Grayblade's nightform/transform ability. It's pretty dope.
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Re: [Alpha] The Great Steppe Era (1.14 add-on server)

Post by Atreides »

I had no interest in getting this when I saw it as alpha but after reading the posts I decided to try it anyways. Very interesting! Non static battlefield and non static sides. Seems to be perfectly playable and not at all alpha. I'd call it beta.
Played the serpent side on Ruined Passage map and just dove in without much study. Lost many slaves to being freed and it took a while before it sank in that villages were being permanently destroyed by the other side. After that I took care to garrison them. Was being driven back badly but after the serpenthead units started rolling out I started to rally and started to take over their units! In the end the computer ran out of gold it seems.
Definitely merits a longer game on a bigger map like the Dominus or Innanna map packs. They're 4p and 6p so I guess there'll be several mirror factions. Could they be played versus Default factions or were those excluded for a reason?
Last edited by Atreides on August 6th, 2021, 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [Alpha] The Great Steppe Era (1.14 add-on server)

Post by The_Gnat »

ForestDragon wrote: February 14th, 2021, 6:36 am As of now, no. Slaves won't be freed when attacked by an enemy khaganate units (after all, they wouldn't get freedom either way, so it makes little sense for them to desert to the khaganate).
That makes sense. :)
Atreides wrote: February 15th, 2021, 2:05 am Could they be played versus Default factions or were those excluded for a reason?
They can be played against default factions with a quick modification to the era.cfg file in the "My Games\Wesnoth1.15\data\add-ons\1The_Great_Steppe_Era". Add {ERA_DEFAULT} following a line that reads {~add-ons/{ADDONPATH}/factions/khaganate.cfg} (i believe line 81).

However, I tried against a few default factions and would say they are not even slightly balanced. I crushed the Elves just now in a 2p combat Den of Onis with 150g playing as the Bull Tumen. I ended with 152g and lost not a single unit. :lol:
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Re: [Alpha] The Great Steppe Era (1.14 add-on server)

Post by Atreides »

Atreides wrote: February 15th, 2021, 2:05 am Could they be played versus Default factions or were those excluded for a reason?
However, I tried against a few default factions and would say they are not even slightly balanced. I crushed the Elves just now in a 2p combat Den of Onis with 150g playing as the Bull Tumen. I ended with 152g and lost not a single unit. :lol:

Unbalanced, thanks, that's what I suspected. :) Hugely OP eh? I wonder then if they will be rebalanced or as was hinted will instead form the nucleus of a new era balanced for itself only.

I've started a second game as the other side (The Bulls) and noticed an interesting feature. They're much more different to play with the pillaging. It makes me wonder if they've used any ai directives as the computer will not normally be able to restrain itself from pillaging (which is worthwhile if you gain some rebel slaves, they can start a rebel economy). I suspect this side won't play well except under human supervision. From playing vs them I think I detected a recruit pattern in use to get extra healers. I suppose I ought to look under the hood soon rather than speculating :)
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Re: [Alpha] The Great Steppe Era (1.14 add-on server)

Post by ForestDragon »

Hejnewar wrote: February 14th, 2021, 8:54 pm Bull Tumen:
From strongest to weakes in my opinion:
Tarbynn - No upkeep + easy enough to mitigate downside, if its doing nothing it doesnt eat your upkeep and doesnt lose any hp, if its doing something then its most likely draining (with magic attack at that) too, very good resistances and dodge make it pretty hard to kill.
Ogre Apprentice - healing (healing in this faction is at premium), finishing off, tanky enough.
Bull - great for achieving local superiority of levels, no upkeep, very tanky with self healing (again premium in this faction) , (also what does slaves think when bunch of cows is freeing them?).
Ogre Chariot - good fun unit.
1 - Here is average default era unit strength, Ogre Hunter - I prefer Hunter over Grunt because he doesnt receive as much retail damage.
Ogre Grunt - just nice unit.

Out of ranking:
Ogre Mancatcher - bad body but good ability, getting even 1 off makes him worth it, good candidate for top power spot as support unit, but Im still not sure how well will he perform.
Will keep that in mind, However, it seems you didn't put the ogre hunter on the ranking for some reason
Hejnewar wrote: February 14th, 2021, 8:54 pmPillage - I would honestly recommend to balance units first and then just adjust strength of pillage. It should be easier for you guys to balance this era this way because units alone would rank this faction somewhere in top 10% of best balanced add-on factions (both in comparison to default and just considering internal consistency).
Hmmmmm... I'd like to ask you to elaborate on the point a bit more, as with your current wording it's a bit difficult to understand what sort of specific changes would you advise to do :hmm:
Hejnewar wrote: February 14th, 2021, 8:54 pm Serpent Khaganate:
Spoiler:
Hmmmmmmm... now that I think about it, the disloyal ability in its current state is not exactly ideal. Might consider changing it to something less RNG-heavy. Will fix the spelling error.
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Re: [Alpha] The Great Steppe Era (1.14 add-on server)

Post by ForestDragon »

Atreides wrote: February 15th, 2021, 7:24 am
Atreides wrote: February 15th, 2021, 2:05 am Could they be played versus Default factions or were those excluded for a reason?
However, I tried against a few default factions and would say they are not even slightly balanced. I crushed the Elves just now in a 2p combat Den of Onis with 150g playing as the Bull Tumen. I ended with 152g and lost not a single unit. :lol:

Unbalanced, thanks, that's what I suspected. :) Hugely OP eh? I wonder then if they will be rebalanced or as was hinted will instead form the nucleus of a new era balanced for itself only.
I think most likely we'll only really go for internal balance, as balancing against the default factions with our fancy abilities would be nearly impossible.
Atreides wrote: February 15th, 2021, 7:24 am I've started a second game as the other side (The Bulls) and noticed an interesting feature. They're much more different to play with the pillaging. It makes me wonder if they've used any ai directives as the computer will not normally be able to restrain itself from pillaging (which is worthwhile if you gain some rebel slaves, they can start a rebel economy). I suspect this side won't play well except under human supervision. From playing vs them I think I detected a recruit pattern in use to get extra healers. I suppose I ought to look under the hood soon rather than speculating :)
I did add some ai directives so the ai doesn't play too awfully (for example, it won't kill off its prisoners), but the era is definitely at its best in multiplayer.
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Re: [Alpha] The Great Steppe Era (1.14 add-on server)

Post by Hejnewar »

ForestDragon wrote: February 15th, 2021, 8:04 am Will keep that in mind, However, it seems you didn't put the ogre hunter on the ranking for some reason
Ogre Hunter is on the ranking exactly at 1. ;)
Hmmmmm... I'd like to ask you to elaborate on the point a bit more, as with your current wording it's a bit difficult to understand what sort of specific changes would you advise to do :hmm:
I was just advising to balance this fraction as if without this ability and then add it on top of already balanced faction, then you can just adjust this ability but I completely forgot that doing that this way is easy for me but may not be for everyone else. :doh: Of course i can propose some more concrete changes to units or pillage ability if you want.
Hmmmmmmm... now that I think about it, the disloyal ability in its current state is not exactly ideal. Might consider changing it to something less RNG-heavy. Will fix the spelling error.
Thanks! I was also thinking about enslavement "break will" attack of Tarhan as a unit that is already strong maybe just adding some kind of drawback would be enough, I was thinking about making him unable to attack and move for one turn after successfully using this ability. No idea how would that feel in game tho.
I think most likely we'll only really go for internal balance, as balancing against the default factions with our fancy abilities would be nearly impossible.
In my opinion its not that hard, of course Im not talking about perfect balance but good one? Should be possible. Playing vs ai is bad example because Khagnate is easier to beat than any default faction while playing as Tumen. :P
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