We have many ‘Negative’ Lists...Let’s Start a Rollicking Roll Call of what you guys Enjoy in Elemental
Published on October 25, 2010 By ScottTykoski In Elemental Dev Journals

One of the things people like about our office is the hallway-long whiteboard wall that the games team uses for a variety of purposes. Right now there are several to-do lists for 1.1 and beyond, a rundown of sales for our various titles, and a HUGE ‘wish list’ of Elemental features/tweaks players and press have requested. In fact, we’ve switched from writing the suggestions down and now simply print out feedback lists and tape them to the wall.

My request today is in a similar vein, but with focus turned on the parts of Elemental that you LIKE. With Derek and Toby joining the team to be our ‘eyes in the sky’, various areas of the design are going to be heavily scrutinized, and I want to make sure we focus on the real problem areas and simply polish any features that you guys are already enjoying. I foresee several spots where the baby could easily be thrown out with the bathwater, and to combat this I’d like to print a healthy list of ‘what you like’.

So, if you could make a note of any feature/gameplay situation/etc that you truly enjoy, along with one suggestion on how to polish that up, we’d be most grateful!

And here’s a sassy, preemtive ‘zerbert’ emoticon for anyone that wants to post “I like nothing about the game redo it ALLLLL!1!!1!!”

Thanks! The floor is yours! 


Comments (Page 2)
on Oct 25, 2010

I like the look of the land and the fact that it can turn into a full screen cloth map in a split second (but certain forests are hard to recognize when playing in the 3D map)

I like the sovreign customization

I like the fact that there are random monsters, which forces the player to keep units inside his cities (Actually this is the best feature in term of gameplay and something that makes this game truly unique, since having more or less random monsters would really change the game experience I would suggest a to add a initial setting to determine how many mosters are there none, few, several, many)

I like the idea of children (although they are a bit too powerful)

I like the fact of being able to create the look and equipment of our armies

I like the idea of different tech trees which would in different ways personalize a faction. It needs tweaking for balance but ideally that offers different style of playing each one with its own distinct advantages and equal chances to be the winning strategy.  

I like the concept of an evil side and a good side (empire-kingdom) each one with its own techs and spells (personally I would stress that with a different looking UI based on color and alignement)

I like the combination between RPG, wargame and city development: truly three games in one! (which IMO partially justifies the many bugs)

I like the passion of the developers and the fact that they participate to the forum and listen to suggestions.

on Oct 25, 2010

I like the cloth map. It provides a good view from high up and lets you see a lot, quickly. (In some ways it's actually easier to find stuff on it then on the 3d map.)

 

I like zooming in on a city and seeing the little people walking around.

 

I like taking champions to the item shop and walking out with a bunch of new gear.

on Oct 25, 2010

Heavenfall
I love how environment spreads out and reinvigorates the land. It can create cool-looking borders between nations as well.

I would love to see more variations of these used in-game. Right now there's only Kingdom and Empire, but you could easily extend it to have some nations spread an arctic environment, or a desert.

Another improvement to this would be that environment doesn't spread quite so fast within your influence. Right now, it spreads within a turn or so. If it would "fade over" within a couple of turns, that would be pretty cool-looking, I think. Theoretically, this could affect the bonus/debuff that you get from walking on the environment as well - the more "completely turned" the environment is, the stronger the effect is.

ok...this blew my mind.  its genius really.  the idea that certain factions would create specific terrains.  like one faction being a northern wintry type like some sort of barbarian tribe, and have them get movement bonuses based on that terrain is exactly what this game needs to reinvigorate it.  the problem alot of people are having is how long it takes to get somewhere without killing game balance.  this would solve it.  you could create nodes or something that spread out your influence across the lands.  this would give you great movement speed.  AND if you happen to have a road running through it, that would make it even better.  i love it!

on Oct 25, 2010

One of my favorite parts is the cloth map mode (since I have to play the game in that mode for my computer to run it).  I think that needs a lot of love, to be honest.  Part of it is that it is hard to tell around mountains and shoreline where the terrain is passable or not.  Also it is pretty colorless.  

One thing I thought would be helpful would be to see a grid of available squares for movement.  It is in a lot of strategy games, but something like in fire emblem, for example.  You select a unit on the map and up pops their range of movement.  You could even add a turn counter on moving units somehow so you can easily see how many turns it would take for a unit to get from one place to another.

on Oct 25, 2010

The Cloth map is beautiful.

I like it that character creation is not simply a list of +/- numerical values.

Custom unit creation is nice and could benefit from more choices, like different special abilities for items. A tower shield could give a large bonus against missiles but a penalty to attack. A medium shield would have a slightly smaller defense value, small bonus against missiles, but no penalties.

Different tech trees for Kingdom and Empire is nice. Even more differentiation would be better.

Quests are excellent in idea. Need some expanding.

Dynasties are an excellent idea. Expanding on the idea of kids as heirs could be interesting. Quests involving children might be interesting. Quest to increase family prestige, quest to obtain a teacher for your kids, etc. Differentiate them a bit from normal champions. Crusader Kings is a nice source for ideas.

City construction on the main map rocks.

on Oct 25, 2010

I like the passion of the developers and the fact that they participate to the forum and listen to suggestions.
I like this one - even if it is Black-Knight just smooth talking his way to getting a pet feature pushed through.

All in all very insightful...keep em coming

on Oct 25, 2010

This is a hard question because Elemental is a better-that-the-sum-of-its-parts kind of game, but...

*I like the artistic style, both the character models and landscape look and feel.

*I like the idea of city building and linking them together into a network to create a "Sim" fantasy kingdom.  While I spend most of the game zoomed out in the cloth map, once in awhile I like to zoom in, tilt the camera angle to nearly horizontal, and fondly regard my creation.  Which reminds me: is it possible for mountain-tops to be spikey instead of round?

*I like the idea of restoring the land with influence and wish that had a bigger role. 

*I like that it is not just another elves/orcs/dwarves/zombies game.  I've played enough games that the only thing that excites me anymore is innovation, so I like all elements of Elemental which are new and haven't been seen before.

*In that I can put up with the music for an hour or two, I guess I have to list that as a positive.  But for a game that lasts hours and hours per match, if we had something softer that fades better into the background, I might never have to turn it off.  Just give it some thought.

*I like how the RPG elements fit into the strategy game.  Adventuring can really benefit your economy.  I like the little slot-machine style reward system you get from goodie huts.  It's always fun to get random stuff.  More magic gear would make it even better.

*I like how wandering monsters present a separate threat you have to deal with.  I'd like more of that.  I'd like to see this possibly used as a weapon, where adventuring techs can increase monster spawn throughout the world that your enemies have to deal with, rather than just you.

*Though I haven't used it as much as I probably should, I like the ability of using magic to change the landscape, to open passageways and create things like defensive bottlenecks.

*I like getting married and spawning my own heroes.  That's a nice touch, and some have become pretty potent heroes in the late game.  I like being diplomatic with the AI too, to influence them toward my interests and goals, rather than just fighting them.  Even with a conquest victory which is 4 games out of 5, diplomacy still has its uses.

*I really like using diplomacy to recruit "intelligent" monsters.  Niiiice.

*I like the mods, and Elemental's welcoming attitude toward mods.  Any mod-manager tool would be great, and more modding tools.

on Oct 25, 2010

Heavenfall
I love how environment spreads out and reinvigorates the land. It can create cool-looking borders between nations as well.

I would love to see more variations of these used in-game. Right now there's only Kingdom and Empire, but you could easily extend it to have some nations spread an arctic environment, or a desert.

Another improvement to this would be that environment doesn't spread quite so fast within your influence. Right now, it spreads within a turn or so. If it would "fade over" within a couple of turns, that would be pretty cool-looking, I think. Theoretically, this could affect the bonus/debuff that you get from walking on the environment as well - the more "completely turned" the environment is, the stronger the effect is.

Expanding upon this; I would like to see Life/Death variants of Deserts, Swamps and Tundras so that the world doesn't just turn green - erasing any deserts etc. Death swamps could be darker, while the life variant could have more flora and such.

on Oct 25, 2010

I like the idea of Champions, or especially Children, but I wish there were ways to customize them more.  Rather than just stat increases, I want to choose awesome Feats and Abilities every so often.  Leap Attack, Double Strike, First Strike, Poisoned Weapons, Teleport, Stone Form, Parry, there's all kinds of ideas.  Right now I don't think Champs are differentiated enough between each other, and I think this would go a long way to giving them more personality.

I like tactical battles, but wish there were more tactical considerations.  I'd love city walls with catapults on them, fortifications you had to bash down before you could get to missile troops.  I'm not talking anything ridiculous like Total War, but even something like Age of Wonders Lite would go a long way to making them more fun/interesting.

This is maybe going to be more of me pleading than listing something I like and want to see polished, but I really really really really really want to play this game multiplayer with my friends, but it's just not really feasible right now.  No tactical combat, only tiny/small maps, etc... that's not what we want.  We've been waiting for a couple months now to really get into this game, but the main thing holding us back is the inability to play the full game in Multiplayer.  Also, PLEASE allow multiplayer on local LAN, with custom servers.  It's important, the Host really needs to be able to set the game rules (Tactical Battles on/off, what threshold, whether it's a full "Epic" game like you have in MP or a smaller, more streamlined MP mode, etc).

The last issue is the biggest one for me.  There are a lot of people I could really convince to take the plunge on Elemental, but they all backed off when they heard about the lack of MP features.

on Oct 25, 2010

I think the RPG part of Elemental is great and should be improved in version 1.1:

STR and DEX are very good balanced

CON should increase the base HP and a character should get CON / 5 HP per level after the first

INT should change the damage of spells (base damage x INT x 0.1)

WIS should change the spell resistance (base spell resistance x WIS x 0.1)

CHA should change the damage of standard units that fight with the character (base damage x CHA x 0.1)

on Oct 25, 2010

Interesting that so many people like the art style and the desolate landscape... That stuff is a major turnoff for me.

But, you said positive. Right.

Unit design is really cool. It is not very useful at the moment as the best unit to design is so obvious there's no point in producing other units, but with some more interesting choices this could be the feature that keeps me playing. If you add fire/ice/earth/etc damage, you could for example be able to design weapons with those damage types or armors/shields that protects from those damage types. Thus making it possible to design a specific unit for a specific enemy.

on Oct 25, 2010

Right now there is practically nothing that I could list as "positive without any need of improvement". However, I'll try hard not to create another wishlist post. =P

alphonse101elric
One of my favorite parts is the cloth map mode (since I have to play the game in that mode for my computer to run it).  I think that needs a lot of love, to be honest.  Part of it is that it is hard to tell around mountains and shoreline where the terrain is passable or not.  Also it is pretty colorless.  

One thing I thought would be helpful would be to see a grid of available squares for movement.  It is in a lot of strategy games, but something like in fire emblem, for example.  You select a unit on the map and up pops their range of movement.  You could even add a turn counter on moving units somehow so you can easily see how many turns it would take for a unit to get from one place to another.

The cloth map is probably the most "finished" feature of the game - with the above restrictions. I always prefer it over the 3D map.

Some of the above problems can be fixed rather easily. See here.

The coastline / beach issue requires an implementation. Right now there is none. Instead it uses seemingly random graphics without any useful visual indication.
(they are actually derived from the 3D tiles but that's simply not helpful on the cloth map...)

on Oct 25, 2010

I like the dynasty idea, but i also support the proposal of it having more influence. I liked the idea that if the sovereign dies, the next in line takes over. Another idea would be to have more option during the development of your kids, like special buildings that increase one or the other ability or increase the probability of getting a speciality. That would result also different kids being of different use for you or the other nations for diplomacy.

i also like almost every RPG feature of the game, hope there will be a lot of extra content added in 1.1

on Oct 25, 2010

i simple hope the game would have more spells like 200  more skills

 

and the most importand part for me right now is the dynasty i hope it will get improved in the expansion packs

so you can marry a champion or something like that

on Oct 25, 2010

A.  I like the cloth map -- needs polish (1. some objects are still hard to see like quest locations in yellow, arcane temple graphic looks like a pile a of coins, 2. would like to be able to add my own notes to it)

 

B.  I like the idea of dynasties -- needs polish (this is a very unique and cool aspect of this game, but you've probably seen the countless threads on how this can be better such as throne inheritance when a sovereign dies, more flexibility around marriage, divorce, and betrothals, etc..

 

C.  I like the way we can build our cities out in any direction -- needs polish (lots of threads on this too such as control city spam, better mechanics to promote city specialization, level-ups to be applied at any time gamer wants instead of forcing immediate level-up choice to be made, etc.)

 

D.  I like the way you can customize your own units -- needs polish (use of uncommon/rare/unique item sets, more balanced basic weapon/armor sets, ability to color hair and clothing of units like you can during sovereign creation, ability to turn off unit auto-design, etc.)

 

 

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