Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Squad Tactics Warbanners

Discussion in 'Strategy Gaming' started by Vlad_Konung, Feb 13, 2017.

  1. Trash Player Educated

    Trash Player
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    Click here and disable ads!
    I was feeling empty inside when I saw the beta over! caption the first time.:prosper:

    I find the attrition aspect very welcome, it is quite rare to find such a balance in risk and reward: troops are not too flimsy so initiative and reach advantage, which are always
    very powerful in a geometric turn-based system, become the dominant metric; they are not hp sponge either that casualty is only a remote concern. The relatively uniform hp
    range and low gaminess of the subsystems are rather refreshing, too.

    I played on Nightmare for about 4 times. The difficulty is just right but I realize it is hard for most players. I did play DoW though.
    The first three tutorials can be completed without reload and

    casualties reliably with the right setup.
    For the rest, it can still take 3 tries or so for each of them. I can usually find room to improve play, either placement or potions or whatnot.
     
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  2. Lagi Educated

    Lagi
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    :philosoraptor:eee... yeah


    Nightmare?! Sweet Jesus :shredder:. I play only standard.

    Just "discover" human companies in Drums of War :incloosive:.
    This time no acceleration potion at all. Damn I'm thrilled this game is much fun and mega addictive

    edit:
    its way more interesting, mostly due to better terrain, littered with trees, houses, boxes, rocks. There is almost no map with open area.

    it also harder, enemy always outnumber you. Many time I lost too much units and need to replay mission.

    I think I will lower difficulty and play without Healing potion also.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2017
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  3. Vlad_Konung Crasleen Games Developer

    Vlad_Konung
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    Hi!
    Thank you! Do not have time to answer [​IMG] . I think I will post a new part of the game at the end of the week. I made some corrections. Replaced the sprites of houses.
    Best regards,
    Vlad

    PS Made a gameplay video lasting 12 minutes. I tried to play fast, almost without thinking, so there are gross mistakes :)
     
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  4. LESS T_T Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    LESS T_T
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    Codex 2014
    Steam page:

     
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  5. Trash Player Educated

    Trash Player
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    The new missions are superb. I am happy with the pacing, players not taking loss are going to snowball at this rate though.
    Quick impression:
    Show Spoiler
    1. The early missions are toned down to a much more manageable level
    2. Love the branching mutually exclusive missions, keep it up
    3. Fighting against Catapult is hellish and delicious
    4. Dark Clouds is awesome, that mage is unlocked only after it makes it interesting for some
    5. Scapegoats and Pursuit are both rather awkward: rather easy missions that can be made even easier, breathing room episode I suppose
    6. Spiders are back!


    Crash:
    Show Spoiler
    On enemy Potion(not sure which) Use:
    ___________________________________________
    ############################################################################################
    FATAL ERROR in
    action number 1
    of Draw Event
    for object o_but_potion:

    Unable to find any instance for object index '102057' name '<undefined>'
    at gml_Object_o_but_potion_Draw_64
    ############################################################################################

    On Caravan mission complete:
    ___________________________________________
    ############################################################################################
    FATAL ERROR in
    action number 1
    of Other Event: Room End
    for object o_aura_com:

    Push :: Execution Error - Variable Get 620329.S_auracom(100873, -2147483648)
    at gml_Object_o_aura_com_Other_5
    ############################################################################################


    Text:
    Show Spoiler
    Red tower story text needs proofreading, not sure if there is more.
    I will check the tooltip some time.
     
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  6. Lagi Educated

    Lagi
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    With this point I disagree. The difficulty is much better set now. Mostly orc caravan ambush mission. Its enjoyable. If the difficult is set too high then new players will be discourage to play it.

    The hardcore gamers like you TrashPlayer, can always use the Ironmodes, nightmares etc or play without using some potions. Maybe the game can track that player statistic like "never use healing potion"? Its very fun. I would say what if the game show statistic of each unit use in game: how many unit kill, how many damage take, how many times die? I'm sure stats are GOLD in all forum lets play (like Ivar the boner LP).

    I played beta2 on standard and still lose archers. Mission with herbs medicine thugs, whip out my mercs (is this yours C&C? skip it or lose game, there is no choice at all). I dont have enough gold for the Assistants (all spend on potions), but its a good design, because later on I will have something to spend gold on. In Drums of War, when I notice I have too much gold, I go for increasing difficulty by limiting the use of potions => so unit start dying = I need to lose gold on resurrecting.

    I'm mostly happy with much more object on maps (barrels, box). The human campaign in Drums of War is better than orcs because of that every where are trees, houses, rocks... to hide behind, chop, set on fire.

    Also the graphic improve with more detail ! Its a big visual improvement. I love the green glowing line in cemetery mission.
    I would even said: better graphic is graphic with more details.

    Interesting thing: its seems better to spend your action on using potions and skills, than trying to attack target. Its a good thing.
     
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  7. Vlad_Konung Crasleen Games Developer

    Vlad_Konung
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    Thank you!

    About errors. These are rare errors, they are very hard to track. In the new build, I'll fix it.

    If you see typos - tell me which ones.

    The unit the player chooses is not well distinguished among others. How to fix it? To make the green frame under the unit brighter, add the effect of a lighthouse when selecting a unit, the light of its sprite, the radiation of some fireflies by the unit, the rotating animated thing under the unit ... something else ... What do you prefer?
     
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  8. Vlad_Konung Crasleen Games Developer

    Vlad_Konung
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    Active unit highlighting. Fine?
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Lagi Educated

    Lagi
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    I never have a problem with that.

    If your graphic is bored then he can create some frame of animations. To breathe some live into unit.
     
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  10. Willsama974 Barely Literate

    Willsama974
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    Colorblind here and having a tough time seing the front of units and who's turn it is sometimes.
    Would love a thicker front marker and also some kind of icon like you did on the pic right on top of my post.
     
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  11. Lampros Literate

    Lampros
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    I posted a closed beta impression on the Steam forum, because I thought that venue will generate more discussions. But I guess at least until release, this will be the go-to site. So I will repost it here:

    Okay, I played the latest closed beta for about 7-8 hours (8-10 missions?), and so far I am very impressed. Obviously, this is apparently a sliver of even the closed beta portion, but I thought it might be useful for me to put down a few, disconnected early impressions. I know there is a separate beta impression forum at the RPG Codex site, but I don't have an account there - and I suspect in time this will be a superior venue for such things, as Steam forums will inevitably attract more eyeballs:

    *Bugs/stability:

    I found the game relatively stable and bug-free. The game loads a bit slow (the blank white screen lingers for a bit), and I have a fairly fast computer with an SSD. The game crashed thrice in the 7-8 hours, but each time the crash involved loading a save or transitioning from one area to the next. Significantly, there were no crashes during the "active" part of the game - which is during the battles on the tactical map. I saw no other striking bugs.

    *Presentation/art/UI:

    I like the basic art. The fantasy figures that make up your mercenary company are characterful and reasonably detailed. The only thing I wish improved were the size of the figures. They seem a bit too small - both on the army customization screen and actual tactical combat map. In the latter, I suppose the "close-up" view should let us get a bit closer. (A game that does this well is the old Fantasy Wars series.)

    The overall tactical combat UI and presentation contain some issues, however. The tactical combat UI and map are both simultaneously a bit too cluttered and too threadbare. Let me explain what I mean. It is a bit too cluttered in the sense that there are so many flashing green or red hexes around every combatant - as well as so many numbers on the tiles - that you literally get lost. This is especially true in large-scale battles. In particular, I often have trouble finding even which character I am clicking on, because every character has a flashing green hex around them, and the one that is clicked has only faintly stronger flash to it. There has to be a way to disable the flashing hexes - except on the clicked character - or make the flashing hexes more distinct from one another so I know for sure which character is being clicked. The opposite threadbare issue has primarily to do with lack of information. At minimum, I'd like to see some form of a battle log - whether persistent or something that can be accessed only for those who want it. Little UI touches that should not take excessive resources - such as letting us know how many men we have left and how many enemies are likewise left, etc. - would also help. And, as I have already mentioned in the above section, we should be able to zoom in a bit more and focus on discrete section of the tactical combat map more than we are currently able.

    *Gameplay/balance:

    Tactical combat is extremely fun, intuitive, balanced - and challenging. In fact, the difficulty spike you get past the first few missions may be a bit much. I am a veteran turn-based tactical combat game player, and I found even the "normal" difficulty rather rough-going past the first few missions. And I think I lucked out in that I had 3 healers up (including the story healer you get around mission 5?) very quickly, so I was difficult to kill. I am not sure how you would do the mission where you escape from the castle, for instance, with only 1 healer (the story healer), for instance.

    In terms of unit balance, I would need to play a lot more to have a definitive grasp, but at first glance they appear extremely well-balanced. I love the fact that you did not make the "fantasy" races outright better than the regular humans. Instead, each unit is roughly comparably strong, with pluses and minuses, and hence usable. For instance, instead of making Dwarf infantry a flat-out upgrade from its human counterpart, you made it a "side" grade of sort - for a lack of better term. Yes, Dwarf infantry is sturdier than the human version; but it is also slow, and mobility is really important in this game. The only unit I have issues with is the Knight, which seems to be rather inefficient. The Loner malus is crippling in this game, because a lot of the map inevitably forces you into close quarters combat, where your force is compressed and you do not have the space to fight "alone." So in many fights the Loner malus turns into a permanent, rather than conditional, malus. The Loner malus does make sense in terms of realism, but I think you need to give the Knight something else to compensate, because a unit that is saddled with 50 percent or more accuracy or evasion malus in many circumstances ceases to be cost effective in many fights (and it is the second most expensive unit!). And its mobility advantage and conditional offensive advantage cannot compensate. The most logical compensation would be to give the Knight a bit more HP - or some other form of survivability - which is also realistic or intuitive, on the assumption that a man on a horseback is harder to kill since you have to either kill the horse first or at least un-horse the man on the horse.

    *Miscellaneous:

    One thought I had that does not fit into any above categories has to do with inventory management. More specifically, I wish you could have more than just one gear slot. I understand that this may cause balance problems. But one of the chief appeals of an RPG game or a s turn-based tactical combat game driven by squad progression is the thrill of watching your men become progressively more powerful. And even adding 1 more slot (so you have, say, weapon and armor slot) or, preferably 2 more slots (weapon, armor, and trinket) would vastly enhance this aspect of the game.

    Sorry for the wall-of-text. But I found the game very promising, and I really wish the devs have the opportunity to flesh out the game to its full potential. Turn-based tactical combat games are my favorite games, and promising ones do not come around often.
     
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  12. Lampros Literate

    Lampros
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    I consider myself a veteran min-max player of these type of games, and I do not see "snowball" effect you detect - at least at higher difficulties. I know a lot of folks disagree, but games ought to target the average player anyways.

    It is indeed absolutely brutal. I took 3 healers (including the story one), so I had no issue with healing. But I cannot imagine the hardships faced by those who took only 1 or even none (except the story one) to those fights.
     
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  13. Lampros Literate

    Lampros
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    Yes, for the record I also experienced difficulty figuring out which guy was selected on his turn.
     
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  14. Vlad_Konung Crasleen Games Developer

    Vlad_Konung
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    Thanks for the feedback!

    About problems when navigating between locations. I have an idea with what it is connected. In the new build I'll try to fix it.

    Using the mouse wheel, you can change the zoom in combat.

    About the GUI. This is a very controversial issue. IMHO, the semi-frames showing the direction of the look of the units are necessary. With the fact that the active unit is difficult to see, I agree.

    I test the game on the maximum difficulty, having 1 priest and healer (plot character).
    Knight. This is a mobile tank. It can be safely sent to the enemy's rear. It can be used as a human shield. IMHO, 1 knight in the army is very useful. The two are more complicated.
     
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  15. Make America Great Again Taka-Haradin puolipeikko Arcane

    Taka-Haradin puolipeikko
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Bubbles In Memoria
    Sieges!:incline:
    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Lagi Educated

    Lagi
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    No, 1 item is perfectly enough.
    I have the same feeling when I start playing DoW "oh how cool would be to dress each guy with more crap", then I realized that it would only break the game, and in long term player dont care - "forget" about what stuff each unit has. With 1 special item each unit has more identity. And there is no garbage, mundane items.
     
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  17. Vlad_Konung Crasleen Games Developer

    Vlad_Konung
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    We improve the transparency of trees:

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. zhuge Novice

    zhuge
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    First off, would like to thank Vlad Konung for making a very engaging turn based tactics experience. In many ways this feels like a labour of love and a game with a lot of heart, with well thought out mechanics and gripping battles.

    As a turn based offering, it checks a lot of boxes for me:
    Fantasy setting with a nicely drawn map
    Set campaign (I've always favored this relative to a free form, sand box approach ala Battle Brothers)
    Customizable units with different skills/stats
    Good battle mechanics:
    - best implementation of facing and flanking I've seen in turn based games, morale and stamina are also very nicely implemented
    - nicely thought out skills which encourage careful play and good positioning (Formation, Commander, etc )
    - light/dark bonuses/maluses, terrain/elevation bonuses, interactable battlefield objects reminiscent of Blackguards


    Here are my 1st impressions after going through the initial missions - 11 battles (last one was against Targun) on beta v0.9.0

    General observations:
    I had only 1 crash (due to an Out of Memory error) on my laptop (i5-4210U @1.7GHz, 8Gb RAM, GeForce 840M). Unfortunately it happened at the end of a long battle before I could save which was a little frustrating, but otherwise the game worked very smoothly, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience: gameplay (battles, upgrades, choices and all), graphics and music.

    I found the music to be tense and majestic and it built up the mood well. My favorite pieces of art here were the battlefield objects. Houses, graves, even large rocks and boulders were all very nicely detailed and shaded and I found myself glossing over them every now and then, something I rarely do for most turn based games. The unit icons on the mercenaries recruiting tab were all a little small and I'm admittedly not really too fond of the pointy hat look for all the wizardly types. IMHO, it would be nice if the mercenary icons were as expressive as the icons in the Assistants recruiting tab.

    I appreciate that the in-game tutorials and mouseover descriptions were concise and well written and if I had any doubt, the game's in-game manual provided further details. However perhaps it would be nice to have a little more detail on how XP is distributed after a battle, instead of just generally saying it is based on participation/contribution. If it is based on damage done or kills, it should be tailored in a way that harder difficulties don't get more XP than Normal, as they have more enemies to kill (I've tested this and it seems at least for the 1st battle, I received more XP in total on Normal even though there was an extra Boar Rider on Nightmare, so things are probably fine). I can understand though if the dev prefers to keep certain things hidden so that people don't feel that they need to game the system.


    Overall balance and battle design:
    I like that the combat is a little slower paced (as compared to Battle Brothers) without being too slow that it bogs down gameplay. When it takes more than a couple of hits to down an opponent, this reduces the element of randomness and makes sound positioning matter more. In general, I found that there was good flow in gameplay (starting with a small group and introducing new enemy and friendly units gradually) and refreshing variety in missions, including 2 very nicely set up sieges. Indeed I found myself always looking forward to the next battle and on access to more units/new units.

    In this playthrough, I went with the standard 4 swordsmen, 2 archer setup as I don't really like to dismiss units with experience, a odd quirk of mine I suppose. Added a priestess (an almost compulsory choice), a dancer (mostly for variety and I generally like rogue types for flexibility) and later on Delia joined.


    Spoilers on missions 1-11 and details of my playthrough follow:
    Show Spoiler

    Mission 1:
    A standard battle to set the mood and introduce the orcs as common antagonists. Felt a little bad that I couldn't quite save the 2 peasants. Was thinking I could perhaps control them in some way but they rushed forward and got mauled swiftly. Not much to say here, the first battle should be one that allows the player to experiment a little and have some leeway with tactics to get into grips with the system, without being too demanding and in this respect, the scenario is pretty well balanced.

    Mission 2:
    Liquid Fire is quite key here to turning the tables against the undead. The mission can be done without use of consumables, but the battle outcome would be more luck dependent, as most strikes would probably hover around 40-60% range. Ghouls are the main threat here, being slightly more difficult to hit and capable of dishing out considerable damage if left unchecked and it is fortunate that the ones at the back tend to activate a good bit later as they could overwhelm the party in numbers. Zombies on the other hand are slow to move, slow to strike and generally stupidly easy to kite (as they tend to move to just 2 hexes from the nearest foe), which allows the player to delay dealing with them, by just small shifts in position, giving way slowly. Nicely crafted introductory battle for the undead faction.

    Mission 3:
    As with many battles, taking out spellcasters before they can do too much damage is crucial. While skeletons are not terribly powerful, they are heavily resistant to ranged physical attacks and so the job of the archers is to focus on the necromancer. As hinted on in the tips, later on archers can serve as distraction and meatshields to enable swordsmen to flank more effectively. Good advice and a nice scenario introducing new units replete with different ablities and quirks.

    Mission 4 (Where the dead things are):
    2 necromancers and lots of undead here (skeletons and zombies). Only this time you have a priestess on your side and she really makes all the difference against the undead, providing illumination to alter close combat accuracy/evasion parameters, heals to shore up injured combatants and Bless improving damage, accuracy and defense. Provides a really stark contrast between having one and not having one in the previous 2 missions.

    Mission 5 (Trouble is brewing):
    Despite facing only 5 Singing Swords at the start, this is a rather tricky mission to attempt as the Singing Swords will all summon Treants, right at the start, and if not dealt with fast, will drink potions and summon even more of them. Treants have a ton of hps, massive damage, cause fear (lowering Morale continuously) and above all root any unit that they hit in place. It's obvious that if any unit gets hit by them, it's usually curtains for said unit, and so careful kiting and luring needs to be done. The 4 allied Dwarf Axe Throwers do help as both damage and disposable meatshields and if supported with Bless may manage to occasionally dodge a blow. A battle heavily dependent on positioning (including making use of the fallen logs as opponents tend to avoid standing on them) and on the speed by which one whittles down incoming Singing Swords, while distracting the Treants and keeping the allied Axe Throwers alive as long as possible. Also a scenario where Heroic Cry plays more of a role than it usually does to keep Morale tenable for frontline units.

    Mission 6:
    Looks threatening and you do start out surrounded by orcs here, but in actual play not difficult at all. Smashing one side fast and bottlenecking the pass with sturdy units will buy enough time that enemy forces need to circle around and while they are separated and divided, they are easy pickings for a compact force. Would not mind adding another orc unit or two here to make things a tad more challenging as I don't think orcs would attack with such a small advantage in numbers (9 vs 8).

    Mission 7 (Herbal Medicine):
    An optional battle you can get into if you confront the smugglers. The enemy outnumbers you considerably here, they have a mage and all are equipped with potions/consumables of some kind, which they will readily use once your units are within range. Some like Potion of Winter's Breath can be quite devastating, shutting down your archers outright and severely crippling frontliners. As with previous scenarios, taking out the spellcaster as soon as possible (the mage in this case) is imperative to reduce incoming damage. Not the easiest mission to attempt but you know you have victory in the bag, if the mage is down and enemy units have exhausted their consumables without casualties on your part.

    Mission 8 (An Orcish brand of siege):
    One of the tougher battles in the game. On my first try, I actually did not notice that the enemy starts out with a catapult and it is certainly a terrifying warmachine to face. An enemy catapult basically imposes an overhead of at least 12 points of damage (possibly more in bunched formations) per turn, done randomly to any unit, even those not within line of sight. A quick calculation will show that this situation is not sustainable in the long run, with just 1 priestess keeping up with the damage. To make things worse, you have 2 massive Trolls bashing at the front gates and 2 Orc Shamans which will deal considerable damage if left unattended, with a whole horde of regular orc troops (warriors, rippers, archers) trying to scale the walls with ladders and do damage. I played too conservatively the first time and had casualties. A more aggressive approach, killing the Trolls fast instead of tucking melee safely away worked much better; with an eye of course to advance across the field with a small force and jam the catapult while the majority of the orc forces were engaged at the walls. Tricky to execute in terms of timing on both the advance and on when to switch the archers to target the Orc Shamans.
    On hindsight, this mission could possibly be very much easier if the player had a catapult of their own via the assistant Reller as you can target their catapult at the very start and destroy it in 1 hit if you get lucky (it feels extremely cheesy to do so though :P). It also strikes me as being pretty odd that for a difficult mission such as this, you are awarded less XP than mission 6, which is essentially quite straightforward.

    Mission 9:
    This one looks deceptively easy as there are not too many threatening foes here compared with the last mission, but is quite a bit tougher than it looks on paper. The battle is fought on open ground against highly mobile Orc Boar Riders and the enemy has a Goblomant who can spam a rooting spell that immobilizes entire groups of units. Suffice it to say, if you're not careful in unit placement before engaged in melee, you may find vulnerable units exposed, flanked and charged. A good scenario that emphasizes sound defensive deployment.

    Mission 10 (Fort Langen):
    Another siege battle where you help defend the town against orc/goblin attacks. If you've arrived before the siege starts, this battle should be very easy as this time, it is your allies who have a catapult instead of your adversaries, and also a mage to boot. Orc shamans and Trolls, previously a major threat in mission 8 are conspicuously absent here. The main threat here are the 3 Goblomants which have low hps and are generally easy picking from the walls and once they are down, it is child's play to hold the walls against an ineffectual horde. Would not mind slightly more enemy combatants or less allied units. Taking away the allied catapult would not be overkill IMHO.

    Mission 11 (Dark Clouds):
    A brutal and epic battle, featuring the first enemy "boss" of the game: Targun, a L14 orc warlord that does AoE damage and can strike twice per turn, often for 10+ damage per unit. "War is chaos" and so it is here, displayed in brazenly powerful terms as NPC Knights, Swordsmen and their Paladin sweep into battle. Here a good tactician not only needs to find advantageous positions for their own forces but also roughly predict how allied forces will mobilize and if the outcome would be favorable. Definitely one of my favorite battles, despite the higher amount of unpredictability.
    Targun AI is a bit too skittish. It makes sense for units with good mobility like Orc Boar Riders to flank around to get a better position and target vulnerable units. On the other hand I envision Targun as a berzerker leading on the front lines, cleaving left and right with wild abandon and he certainly has the stats to carry that out. I've had an instance where instead of targetting a fairly well defended Swordsman, the AI opted to retreat to flank around without doing any strikes and was consequently struck down by archers and swordsmen without actually being a real threat.


    Details on my Nightmare playthrough for balancing purposes: xp for each unit, gold received, upgrades I took, purchases I made, etc:
    http://imgur.com/a/s9sVy



    Thoughts on units and consumables:
    In general, recruiting costs tend to be rather cheap and there is no upkeep per mission. Would not mind seeing recruiting costs raised across the board by about 50%, especially on higher difficulties. Or keep the current scheme but introduce upkeep and have units like Knights and Mages demand more for their services per mission. 2G per mission for the standard swordsman and archer seems reasonable. This would also serve to counterbalance stronger classes by introducing a continuous drain so that players don't simply spam what they feel is the strongest class.
    Consumables are also too cheap, for example, Rage potion is just 3G and lasts 5 turns? Would like to see these as valuable resources to be expended in crucial battles, not something the party can afford to spam multiple times every battle, to make up for bad tactical decisions. IMHO, a 4x increase in price for all consumables would not be seen as too drastic on Nightmare for veteran turn based players, and on Normal a 2x increase should not face resistance.

    Swordsmen
    The backbone of the party from the very first battle, these are standard trained armored infantry with added positioning benefits from Formation, bringing to mind well known tactics like locking shields to form a wall for improved defense. They start with 5 evasion, have 2 armor, and are generally sturdy enough to take a good bit of abuse, serving as an effective frontliner.

    Archers
    Excellent range and fair damage/accuracy makes this an indispensable unit for dealing with powerful threats like Orc Shamans and Trolls before they can do too much damage. Not too sure if I agree that being next to a fire automatically provides fire arrows but I suppose it is a neat mechanic and encourages good positioning

    Priestess
    A godsend in terms of buffing (Bless) and heals, the priestess is an essential core unit of the party without which survivability and effectiveness would be drastically curtailed. I wouldn't mind seeing a slight nerf in terms of the range and effectiveness for Mass Heal. In terms of hp restored/mana spent, Mass Heal is superior to Heal at 3 mobs.

    Dancer
    Rogue based character, emphasizing quick attacks, mobility, bleeds and enhanced positional advantages via Backstab to make up for her fragility (no armor at all and slightly less hps compared to standard swordsmen). Starts out rather weak, being hobbled with low Strength, but gradually gathers momentum on levelups and is really effective against unarmored foes. Potentially able to kite regular mobs indefinitely (hit for 2AP, move away). Also comes equipped with 'bandage spec' :P Nicely designed! Wouldn't mind her being a little more expensive to hire. Gold is not hard to come by, and rogues tend to drive hard bargains if you want their services.

    Knight
    A very mobile unit with great armor, also providing strong damage via charge. Loner is a somewhat odd passive ability, inflicting a 3 accuracy and 3 evasion penalty when the Knight is adjacent to any friendly unit. Not too sure if it makes good sense for Knights needing to be alone in battle. I understand that it was perhaps partially done for balance purposes but IMHO abilities need to be somewhat believable as well to provide good immersion. I would prefer to balance this unit by limiting the number of Knights you can have in the party (say max 2), increase the hiring cost to at least 200G (70G is really cheap) and add a crippling upkeep. Keep the Loner passive if you really insist, but reduce it to 1 accuracy/1 evasion penalty to make up for the above tweaks.
    While the AI usually plays NPC swordsmen and paladins decently, grouping them up in line whenever possible, it also appears to handle Knights pretty poorly. In the Dark Clouds mission, the 2 allied NPC Knights are almost invariably the first units to die as the AI doesn't bother placing them properly, frequently putting NPC Swordsmen next to them, thus crippling their accuracy and defenses. Even an Armor of 3 doesn't help much when their default behavior is to charge ahead and get showered by a barrage of ranged attacks. A turn later, they are frequently super low in stamina and are subsequently chewed up by a Troll or by Targun. Either improving the AI or reducing the malus would be a step in right direction.

    Delia (hero)
    Not too impressed here really to be honest. Unlike the priestess (regular non-hero unit), she doesn't have Mass Heal for healing efficiency nor Meditation for rapid mana recovery so once her mana is spent she is borderline deadweight, unless you wish to expend gold guzzling mana potions. Being as slow as a dwarf isn't great either and quite frequently results in needing an extra turn to position her properly. As typical of healing support characters, she is also very fragile (wears no armor, has bad evasion and quite a bit less hps) and if ever cornered because of low mobility is really going to take the hurt majorly.



    Thoughts on Assistants:
    Catapults are pure cheese (12 damage per turn to any unit on the field is an ungodly amount of damage). Please gate Reller behind more requirements (not available for hire until X mission is done, say halfway or two-thirds through the campaign) or at least triple his hiring cost.

    Brondrin. A bit conflicted on this assistant. On one hand I think the Dwarven units have a lot of character. Slightly higher strength, considerably better stamina and HPs. The lack of speed is crippling though, especially for meleers. 5 speed allows a unit to maneuver around an enemy for a better position to strike. It also allows an injured unit to strike and retreat, thus making it possible for another to take its place. For ranged attackers (Archer vs Axe Thrower), where hps and stamina are of secondary concern, the tradeoff is even less appealing as going for the Axe Thrower sacrifices better range (7 vs 5) for slightly better damage (5 vs 6).

    The Blacksmith on the other hand is a whole other story, and is basically a ridiculously overpowered unit (recruitable as early as after mission 2) which should be brutally nerfed. The unit is essentially a curious magic/melee hybrid (with no 'hybrid tax'), which is both overpowered in absolute terms: it has Str of 9 where other dwarves have 6 and humans have 5, is a melee champion with Stun and Knockback and Broad Swing, and has greater hps and stamina than even regular dwarves and on top of all that can also cast mage spells like Rain of Rocks and Impact (I'm not sure I understand the logic behind how a Dwarven 'Blacksmith' is able to cast mage spells). It is also overpowered relative to when it can be purchased in the campaign (powerful units like the Knight and Mages cannot be purchased until after mission 11, whereas the Blacksmith is effectively as strong as both if not stronger and can be hired after mission 2). If the unit is to be left as it is, it should probably be gated till the last third or last quarter of the campaign.


    Bugs:
    1)Throwing Knife skill for the Dancer uses 8 Stamina instead of 4 as specified on mouseover. Bandage works fine though. Skills for other units also work as intended. Would suggest changing the code to 4 Sta instead of changing the description.

    2)King Haldrig's Camp event/node remains accessible even after you've visited it, making it abusable

    3)Delia's introduction did not activate after the "An Orcish brand of siege" mission (I only know this from reading list of text to be translated). All of a sudden, I found that she had joined the party. I was also a little confused as to her "prophecy" after the battle, as she only mentions 'dark clouds' before the battle.


    Misc typos/odd grammar/odd text (up till battle 11):
    1)In two separate occasions in the text, the tracker Fasil mentions the necromancer being accompanied by at least a dozen skeletons. Even on Nightmare, mission 3 only has the party battling against 6 skeletons

    2)There was a significance to the ring, but it alluded him. Should be "eluded", not "alluded"


    Possible design improvements/suggestions:
    1)It is odd that after the battle with the smugglers (Mission 8), no mention of the herb was made, or a reference to get it back to Roderick's uncle or whomever should be the recipient of the herb. It is possible to just end with a battle and assume everything of value was destroyed then, but it just seems rather abrupt to not give an explanation and a resolution to this event. On the other hand, if one had accepted the smuggler's offer, the mission would have continued with more text with a trip back to Whitebridge so although not quite a bug, I'm strongly suspecting something amiss here.

    2)Would be nice to have a counter/kill record for each foe type for every unit, to better plan out kills to get the various "Hunter" perks (need 10 kills for perk). The player could manually record this, but it's a bit of a hassle to keep track of it. Other misc stats are welcome too (damage done, damage taken, % blows dodged, etc)

    3)For a game titled Warbanners, I think it would be nice to have an actual customizable banner for the party and have it shown somewhere. Could include further symbols/decoration via kills and deeds/achievements and have its look altered slightly throughout the campaign. If this is too much work, an in-game item in the form of a prominent banner would be nice too. Warhammer: Dark Omen had items like Banner of Wrath which could be carried by a regiment.

    4)Have triggerable map events where your party members comment on a decision (say prefer a direct approach charging ahead, prefer holding a defensive position or a stealthy nighttime ambush). Triggerable map events if you have a particular class or assistant (poisoning the enemy's supplies, spying/reconnoitering before a battle, cursing and burning mana for enemy spellcasters, etc)
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017 at 5:18 PM
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  19. Lagi Educated

    Lagi
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    Nice text wall,

    NOOOO

    2x potions cost increase on Standard difficulty?! Cost of potions is fine. I many times have not enough gold to buy potions for all my troops. F.ex. Archers and Priestess usually sucks, so i use them as potion artillery, which is 100% effective. zhuge You give advice to make the game harder in a bad way, by limiting the access to fun tactics => increase frustration of the 80% of potential customers.

    "make up for BAD TACTICAL DECISION" ?! you save-scum. You dont mention the unit resurrecting cost, so you probably repeat each mission till you gain perfect no-KIA score. Everybody has different view on what fun is. For me its keeping the game flow. You stumbled, suck it up and keep going. Save/loading same mission dozens of times - piss me off to infinity.


    agree, please provide
     
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  20. zhuge Novice

    zhuge
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    Lagi
    The campaign so far is quite doable on first try on careful play. I did have 2 casualties in mission 8 and I did repeat that mission as you say but it was because the game crashed on me right after the mission, as I mentioned early in the post. Also I don't think everyone plays turn based tactics in Ironman mode. It is certainly admirable to try to do so and to live with mistakes, but some prefer to experiment with what works best for them. I'm fine with leaving potion price as they are for people playing on Ironman Normal. I hope you can respect that others may have different preferences though.
     
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  21. Lampros Literate

    Lampros
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    Damn, I thought I would win the award for the longest wall-of-text! :(

    This is indeed a huge plus. But combat in Battle Brothers can also be suitably long, if you are facing Orc Warriors! ;)

    I will disagree vigorously here, my friend - with the proviso that you could be possibly right on higher difficulties. But for normal modes, you are trying to make the game too "hardcore" and possibly even inaccessible. I did not play at the highest difficulty, but at normal modes, I thought the game balance either right or a bit challenging. But to implement your changes would shift the odometer way in the other direction. Keep in mind that games are generally pitched to the average gamer, not tactical whizzes like you! ;)

    I agree most strongly on these two units: I have stressed the problem with the Loner malus in particular in my own review, too.

    On Assistants, the only one that I really disliked and thought grossly cheesy was the one that removes an enemy unit from the field.

    I strongly disagree on the Blacksmith - both from gameplay balance and realism/verisimilitude angle. First, gameplay-wise, I do not think the unit is over-powered at all. I think you are forgetting that the Blacksmith has a horrible Evasion score and is easy to hit. Nor is Broad Swing an unmitigated boon; in some constricted maps I have to even forgo swings. Second, there is nothing "curious" about such a melee/caster hybrid. In many Dwarven lore, blacksmiths in fact use magic to craft.

    I obviously agree, as I suggested something similar in my own review.

    Edit: I started a new campaign, so I don't remember precisely whether the Blacksmith's survivability issue had to do with low Evasion or Armor. But he was severely lacking in one of the two.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017 at 6:50 PM
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  22. zhuge Novice

    zhuge
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    Certainly, which is why facing them for the first time is a rude shock to the unprepared in Battle Brothers. I know it was for me.

    I still like the concept of some form of upkeep, if for nothing, for purposes of realism (mercenaries don't risk their necks for nothing) and continuous upkeep is something implemented/accepted in quite a few games (Battle Brothers, Mordheim, Masters of Magic, etc). I will grant that perhaps keeping consumable prices as they are on Normal is probably the more market friendly choice. I am strongly for games having a wider difficulty range to cater to a larger audience and it would be nice to have people new to the turn based tactics genre to be able to wet their feet here on easier difficulties.

    One criticism I had with Blackguards, apart from its lack of documentation (and otherwise a really good turn based tactics game) was that there was too little difference between difficulty levels. As some fights there could be pretty challenging, this tended to alienate players wanting a smoother experience. As noted earlier in my first post, the difference between Normal and Nightmare in Warbanners in the first battle is just 1 Orc Boar Rider and perhaps it could be a bit wider. My gripe here is generally with prices being lowish, not about battles being too easy (which I think they are in general tuned just about right).
    Finally in terms of tactical skill, I know where I stand and I get beaten in chess all the time. There are definitely players out there who can plan and calculate moves ahead a good deal better. For turn based tactics that feature challenging battles and necessitate judicious use of consumables I would suggest Age of Decadence and Dungeon Rats. I freely admit I do fail battles on those, sometimes due to RNG but more often due to choosing the wrong approach.

    As mentioned in our chats, Set-Shamar's value greatly depends on battle setups. He is really strong in battles having few but potent units (the one with the 5 Singing Swords come to mind) and not terribly scary in huge battles involving 30 enemy units such as Dark Clouds. I would prefer Set-Shamar to only be able to randomly kill a regular unit, as in not a boss (ie Targun), not a Huge unit (ie Troll) and not a caster (ie Orc Shaman) as that would simplify things a bit too much and encourage reloading for an initial "lucky" hit.

    You are right that he has no armor and in this way I suppose he takes after his human counterpart the Mage, or perhaps he usually works naked due to the sweltering heat from the furnace xD

    I don't think his armor is such an issue though. Obviously he is a caster first and foremost and will use Rain of Rocks/Impact/Lightning to soften/kill enemies before they even close in and one of my main objections is that he can be purchased a lot earlier than a standard Mage. Once enemies close in, a standard Mage would be helpless whereas the Blacksmith is stronger than even a regular melee combatant. Both actually cost the same to hire by the way.
    So while it is true that his low Evasion and non existent armor are both liabilities and 4 Speed makes positioning a bit of a hassle, with careful play and support from other units I think these can be mitigated. He also starts with a whopping 27HPs, more than a Knight, or an orc or regular dwarves, and is hardly a fragile unit.

    I stand by my original statement that he needs a nerf or to be available only quite a bit later in the course of the campaign.
     
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  23. Vlad_Konung Crasleen Games Developer

    Vlad_Konung
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    First of all, thank you very much for all the feedback and suggestions! I really appreciate it! Although I can not answer in detail. But I carefully read everything and write it down in a notebook. Thank you!

    zhuge - I express my respect! You are the first person who suggests making the game harder! I want it too, but people complain about the high difficulty...


    "1) Throwing Knife skill for the Dancer uses 8 Stamina instead of 4 as indicated on mouseover. Bandage works fine. Skills for other units. Do you want to change the code to 4?"

    All attacking skills spend 8 endurance instead of 4. I will correct. For a long time there was a feeling that something was wrong here, but only you noticed it! Thank you!


    I do not agree about the knight. I still consider him well balanced. It is a very strong and fast tank, but it is difficult to use effectively.

    Blacksmith is a complex unit. He is a good magician, a builder. Can hit hard. But very vulnerable. In my party, he dies often.


    "2) King Haldrig's Camp event / node remains available even after you've got it, it is abusable"

    Yes I know. I'll fix it.


    "3) For a game titled Warbanners, I think it would be nice to have an actual customizable banner for the party. Could include further symbols / decoration via kills and deeds / achievements and have its onion altered slightly throughout the campaign. If this is too much work, an in-game item in the form of a prominent banner would be nice too. Warhammer: Dark Omen had items like Banner of Wrath that could be carried by a regiment.
    4) Have triggerable maps events where your party members comment on a decision (say preferable a defensive position or a stealthy nighttime ambush). Triggerable map events if you have a particular class or assistant (poisoning the enemy's supplies, spying / reconnoitering before a battle, cursing and mana for enemy spellcasters, etc)"

    Ideas are good, but for the next game. Now it's too late to add it.
    Warhammer: Dark Omen - my favorite game.


    Set-Shamar can not kill Targun, troll, or particularly cool units. But ordinary mages can kill.


    Added information about the number of enemies killed by the unit:

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]
     
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  24. Trash Player Educated

    Trash Player
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    My thanks for liking the English tooltip, for whatever it is worth! :hero:
    I also feel the Blacksmith is too good and available too early. The statline is consistent with the rest of the game: he is tough even among dorfs, as likely to take hits as any backliner, outstanding MR for being both a dorf and a caster. 2-handers are sufficiently more powerful than 1-handers.

    Imho, you are not giving the human mage enough credits: he is 7 HPs and 1 MR lower for sure but 5 AP with 4 range(non-slow!) and equivalent stats to an archer makes for a completely different role. Not to mention starting with higher mana, Mana Regeneration and Battle Magic. i.e. A rookie can do 2 RoRs in succession.

    My take on the smith: he is too versatile and too similar to the Mage. I have the follow proposals, beside zhuge's suggestion to delay recruitment:
    1. 3 Potion slots -cutting to 2 or even 1 is ok.
    2. Construction -downgrade as a lv5 special, replacing Battle Magic.
    3. Heroic Cry -seriously, this guy invalidates Morale upgrades. Remove.
    4. Rework Spell lists -changes Lightning to Mana drain to both prevent early spamming from trivializing some maps and differentiate him from human counterpart. Impact has 5 range. Maybe Mage gets Lightning in place of impact?
    5. Stunned/RoR nerf -Stunned to -3 Acc/Eva and RoR deals 5 damage and 4 range. Spells do not inflict status effect if damage negated by MR, so RoR would be resisted by Units with 2 MR upgrade, a very likely scenario from mid-game onward. With 4 AP and 4 range, a human with a Stun Bomb isn't outclassed. Mage has more reasons to use Fireball.
    6. Stunning Attack -1 turn? As of now, stunlocking to death is very possible. Replace with Wearying?

    I had runs on Nightmare that spammed them and obliterated the enemies with direct damage spells. Surely Mages can do the same but enemies are more likely to have higher MR by then. Casters in player's hand are just unfair to the AI though, we should keep that in mind.
     
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  25. Trash Player Educated

    Trash Player
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    Spoiler you probably don't need: Both Mission 6 and 7 have an alternative version. The caravan would be still alive if you make haste and the guards can be attacked for the later. Agree wholeheartedly on Targun but I understand why: he can be suppressed if he moves too fast. Regular Berserks are sneaky to their detriment too.
    Melee troops will flank if they have bad trades only and an alternative route is open but sometimes the "alternative" is being pin-cushioned.
    Dorfs are great next mission but the next
    :brodex: for suggesting to make the game harder! I want that option badly too but I don't want Vlad
    to be bankrupt or discouraged. The first version of extended Demo was much harder than now and I like it better.
    I am aware it is not to be though. I wish Nightmare is its own difficulty instead of just Hard with permadeath.
    Oh well, a man can dream! Btw, do you know Chinese, seeing your nick is the great vizier?

    I do think a Snowball roadblock is good, like high level units start asking for ridiculous upkeep. Potions can use 2x price easily, Morale and Rage should be 3x up. Unit based upkeep is a downward spiral inducing mechanism, a no-no for normal players. In a fixed campaign game, that means dev need to put more breathing room missions in, which is a no-no for players like us. Higher recruitment costs mean less party diversity early on and little later, I would rather the mission much harder.

    Knight is a big debate. Loner is crippling and something AI doesn't grasp. He is also faster and marginally better than a lone Swordsman with 2 Abilities to boot.
    If he is too good, then Swordsman is obsoleted. He can use a CD reduction in Charge though. Note this: this also make enemies with this Ability more dangerous, which is good since they are often just as dangerous as their charge.

    I am not sure why Delia has 4 AP, giving her 5 would be a start. Invigorate is a great spell, just way too short-ranged. Curse being an AoE a huge deal for her, not that Toad is really that good but that as a lv5 special is just quite disappointing.

    Catapult trashing enemy's own catapults are gamebreaking alone but just aiming anything other than a caster isn't that much, considering it misses quite a bit and drains stamina. Still pretty broken. Perfect for Delia, her turns without Mana/potions aren't worth much.

    Smiths are talked above. Trivia: in the spiritual predecessor Drums of War, they are called Runesmith, made sense now eh? Not sure why Vlad changed it.
    Now the other dorfs are tricky, all you said are valid. Dwarfs have universal vision though and mass Construction is a thing. They can use some love but
    they also have a somewhat broken application.
    Clan Warrior- lv5 specials are Timber! and Construction.
    Axe Thrower- lv5 special is Dig. Universal makes for a 2-line unit and Wearying is good for suppression. Stamina drain strat ahoy!
    They would be even less likely to be picked if Brondrin is delayed though. May be smith has his own timing?
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017 at 4:05 PM
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