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Thread: [Official] Gameplay Survey

  1. #1

    Default [Official] Gameplay Survey

    Here are some questions aimed to help us understand how players play and like their campaigns and what expectations they have of them. Feel free to add anything you consider relevant to the topic, it will help us design an interesting and challenging campaign for DoM. The questions pertain to vanilla RTW, released FATW modules and any other TW mod you have played.






    Q1: Have you ever faced a significant setback in your campaign, where your faction became significantly weaker/smaller at some point than it was previously in the same campaign? If yes, how did it happen? Was it sudden or a gradual process? Did settlements revolt? Did you suffer military defeats? Did you abandon indefensible settlements? Some other reason?

    Q2: What reasons would you consider acceptable causes for campaign setbacks? Would, for example, an artificial revolt when your faction reaches a certain threshold be considered fair/enjoyable or a cheap trick? Would a weak faction leader negatively affecting all other characters be considered a fair cause?

    Q3: Do you enjoy suffering setbacks during a campaign or do you want to always make forward progress, either slowly or rapidly?

    ---

    Q4: Have you ever lost a campaign? If so, why did it happen? Did you face a much stronger/larger faction that was impossible to defeat? Did multiple factions gang up on you? Was the campaign set up in a way that it made victory impossible (eg starting you in huge debt next to strong enemies)? Did the AI receive very large bonuses? Did the AI outsmart you (j/k)? Did you fail to manage your economy properly? Did you make avoidable tactical/strategic errors?

    Q5: Would you accept that certain factions simply have little chances of victory due to their starting position or their maximum possible development level or would you expect every faction to have at least a moderate chance of victory? Would you consider the AI receiving significant financial/military bonuses fair or unbalancing?

    Q6: Do you enjoy there being a real chance of defeat in a campaign or do you prefer knowing you will eventually win, even if there are setbacks in the process?

    ---

    Q7: How many settlements/armies do you usually need to control in order to reach 'critical mass', ie the point in the game where it becomes impossible to lose without trying to?

    Q8: Do you actively try to slow down your own progress or otherwise handicap yourself (eg with house-rules) in order to give AI factions a chance to develop?

    Q9: Do you continue to play a campaign after you have reached 'critical mass'? if so, at which point do you stop playing?






    That's it atm, but if I come up with more questions, I'll update the thread. Feel free to comment on anything that in your opinion makes the campaign more interesting/challenging.
    Last edited by Aradan; August 02, 2013 at 07:58 AM.

  2. #2
    Thangaror's Avatar Senator
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    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    Q1: Have you ever faced a significant setback in your campaign, where your faction became significantly weaker/smaller at some point than it was previously in the same campaign? If yes, how did it happen? Was it sudden or a gradual process? Did settlements revolt? Did you suffer military defeats? Did you abandon indefensible settlements? Some other reason?

    It never occured "directly". The only reason this happens is the betrayal by the allied RK/Rohan, or the defeat of RK/Rohan and thus loosing the buffer between me and Harad/Dunland. This is also a result of caring too much for my allies, loosing troops in a desperate trial to save them. So, it's more of a gradual process, involving being overpowered by a superior military. And I do abandon indefensible settlements.

    Q2: What reasons would you consider acceptable causes for campaign setbacks? Would, for example, an artificial revolt when your faction reaches a certain threshold be considered fair/enjoyable or a cheap trick? Would a weak faction leader negatively affecting all other characters be considered a fair cause?

    Internal difficulties would be the most acceptable cause. Revolts, widely spread plagues, the loss of a (close) ally, natural catastrophes, the death of a great leader, confusion about the line of success.
    It shouldn't be obviously artificial of course, and also as unpredictable as possible.

    Q3: Do you enjoy suffering setbacks during a campaign or do you want to always make forward progress, either slowly or rapidly?

    I hate setbacks! But I enjoy challenges, if you get what I mean.

    No, seriously, the mid and late game phases soon become boring. I almost never finish campaigns.
    I prefer slow progress in any case.

    ---

    Q4: Have you ever lost a campaign? If so, why did it happen? Did you face a much stronger/larger faction that was impossible to defeat? Did multiple factions gang up on you? Was the campaign set up in a way that it made victory impossible (eg starting you in huge debt next to strong enemies)? Did the AI receive very large bonuses? Did the AI outsmart you (j/k)? Did you fail to manage your economy properly? Did you make avoidable tactical/strategic errors?

    I never actually lost (stopped playing before that happened), but yeah, I went down this road. AI stack spamming on H and VH is a huge problem. Most important reason is that sooner or later everyone fights the player. Sometimes the enemy's army is simply to powerful (Dunland vs RK). Strategical errors are, trying to help your ally and wasting money and men on this effort.
    Most difficult campaign though was Carthage in vanilla. Surrounded by enemies, stretched out provinces, weak units.

    Q5: Would you accept that certain factions simply have little chances of victory due to their starting position or their maximum possible development level or would you expect every faction to have at least a moderate chance of victory? Would you consider the AI receiving significant financial/military bonuses fair or unbalancing?

    Small factions should have no chance of victory, and should only be able to survive with the help of other factions.
    The morale bonuses the AI gets on H and VH are fine. The huge financial bonuses are ultimately useless and only lead to the nuisance of fighting five or more battles per turn.

    Q6: Do you enjoy there being a real chance of defeat in a campaign or do you prefer knowing you will eventually win, even if there are setbacks in the process?

    The possibility of defeat should be present.

    ---

    Q7: How many settlements/armies do you usually need to control in order to reach 'critical mass', ie the point in the game where it becomes impossible to lose without trying to?

    About one army for each front, plus the reinforcements (the units that travel between the training centres and the front to resupply the army with men). That is about 3.5 full stacks, of which 2.5 are fighting.
    For settlements this is difficult to say, it depends on their quality. RK needs Emyn Arnen or MI, Adn needs MT. Rohan can do quite ok with her starting territory, but gains the upper hand ones capturing the two closest Dunlending cities.

    Q8: Do you actively try to slow down your own progress or otherwise handicap yourself (eg with house-rules) in order to give AI factions a chance to develop?

    The AI can't develop. Period. The only way for the AI to "develop", is taking settlements from me, which in turn will make it impossible for me to win. Once the AI suffered a few major defeats, I usually try to agree on a ceasefire. Thus I can focus on another frontier and the AI can take a breath. Stupid AI of course declares war again the very next turn.
    As a matter of fact, there is no "balance of power", esp. on a pretty crowded map like FATW's. You either win, or you loose, the turning point is rather delicate. I tried to not steamroll Adunabar, after taking Emyn Arnen when playing RK, but
    the AI was simply unable to hold ground.

    Q9: Do you continue to play a campaign after you have reached 'critical mass'? if so, at which point do you stop playing?

    Once the major goal, defeat your most imminent adversary, is achieved and my position secured, I usually stop playing. I do certainly stop once the AI starts throwing dozens of full stacks of Harad Footmen at me. -.-
    I would rather have a memory that is fair but unfinished than one that goes on to a grievous end.

  3. #3

    Default

    Notice - although I started playing RTW a long time ago, I don't play games a lot so I only played a few campaigns, I think less then 15 in all mods combined. That's mostly because I don't like fighting a lot of battles, though I don't like autoresolve either. I also always play on medium, as I like to pretend I guide a real country with real enemies, not ones that have 10 times the numbers I have and hate me irrationally. So I don't think this will be that helpfull.

    Q1:
    Have you ever faced a significant setback in your campaign, where your faction became significantly weaker/smaller at some point than it was previously in the same campaign? If yes, how did it happen? Was it sudden or a gradual process? Did settlements revolt? Did you suffer military defeats? Did you abandon indefensible settlements? Some other reason?

    I once played as Dunland with AI recruitment, AI building and all autoresolve. It was really fun, especially as RK (always) and Rohan (mostly) crushed me whenever I was stupid enough to give them field battle with large forces. They pushed me back, I fought back, it went like that. I really liked it because it was extremely fast in progress (no led battles) and felt realistic (RK and Rohan should mostly wipe the floor with Dunland if they're one on one). I don't mind losing if I'm realisticly weaker.

    I was also pushed back in Chivalry:Total War with Byzantines, but that felt ridiculous because game practically forces it on you. I like to see games as history books, not games (though it sounds stupid). Needing 5 heroic victories every turn just to survive is ridiculous. Endless stacks are ok if you're facing Sauron, or some other powerfull empire, not if you're facing small AI nation that gets huge bonuses. I'd love TW game with EU3 diplomacy, not this crazy bloodlust for human players.
    Q2: What reasons would you consider acceptable causes for campaign setbacks? Would, for example, an artificial revolt when your faction reaches a certain threshold be considered fair/enjoyable or a cheap trick? Would a weak faction leader negatively affecting all other characters be considered a fair cause?

    Revolt dependant on size would feel gamey, but something based on rulers influence and popularity would be nice. Especially if it would work with shadow factions and mass uprising (several cities). Regular revolts are more annoying bugs to squash than real threats.

    Q3: Do you enjoy suffering setbacks during a campaign or do you want to always make forward progress, either slowly or rapidly?
    I like them if they're plausible. If game is artificially tough, they're really annoying.

    ---

    Q4: Have you ever lost a campaign? If so, why did it happen? Did you face a much stronger/larger faction that was impossible to defeat? Did multiple factions gang up on you? Was the campaign set up in a way that it made victory impossible (eg starting you in huge debt next to strong enemies)? Did the AI receive very large bonuses? Did the AI outsmart you (j/k)? Did you fail to manage your economy properly? Did you make avoidable tactical/strategic errors?


    No, I don't think so. As I said, I always play on medium, it's hard to lose that way if you aren't complete moron.

    Q5: Would you accept that certain factions simply have little chances of victory due to their starting position or their maximum possible development level or would you expect every faction to have at least a moderate chance of victory? Would you consider the AI receiving significant financial/military bonuses fair or unbalancing?

    Yes, I would love that. If I want challenge, I could then pick weaker nation, not play normal nation with high difficulty. When enemies conjure armies out of thin air that pretty much ruins plausability of campaign. In EU3 Granada and Byzantines always die when AI, so it's extra fun to play as them or help them. Ofcourse in RTW there's too much work put into factions so 100% death rate isn't good. But not all factions should be equal.

    Q6: Do you enjoy there being a real chance of defeat in a campaign or do you prefer knowing you will eventually win, even if there are setbacks in the process?

    Fear is good.

    Q7: How many settlements/armies do you usually need to control in order to reach 'critical mass', ie the point in the game where it becomes impossible to lose without trying to?
    Don't know really, depends on mod.

    Q8:
    Do you actively try to slow down your own progress or otherwise handicap yourself (eg with house-rules) in order to give AI factions a chance to develop?

    I role play. It's not very realistic for a faction to conquer entire map at once. So I give AI time to develop.
    Again, I would love EU style wars. War stars, it's fought mostly with starting forces, then peace is made with only a few provinces changing hands.

    Q9: Do you continue to play a campaign after you have reached 'critical mass'? if so, at which point do you stop playing?

    I have some borders or goals I want to achieve usually. For example, I played EB with seleucids until I reached some borders I found plausible and I garrisoned them. I actually like to see my empire in peace, all nice and tidy.
    Last edited by Aradan; August 02, 2013 at 05:20 PM.

  4. #4
    Stath's's Avatar Protector Domesticus
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    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    1) At EB, with Baktria, at the start i captured many Seleukid cities fast, but when the big armies of theirs came, i did not have the barracks to produce high quality soldiers.

    2) Both of them sound very good.

    3) I enjoy setbacks and disasters when you think you are all powerful.

    4) When I start with 1 settlement and 1 small army, it has happened to lose a battle and have my army destroyed, so i quit, considering the campaign lost.

    5) Ofc, i would accept that.

    6) Of course, the most important for a player is to be afraid of being defeated.

    7) 20-25 settlements, armies aren't that important even 1 or 2 can do the job.

    8) Rarely.

    9) When my own goals have been achieved and mostly when i start to have to fight 4 big battles at every turn.


  5. #5
    Feanaro Curufinwe's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    Q1: Have you ever faced a significant setback in your campaign, where your faction became significantly weaker/smaller at some point than it was previously in the same campaign? If yes, how did it happen? Was it sudden or a gradual process? Did settlements revolt? Did you suffer military defeats? Did you abandon indefensible settlements? Some other reason?

    No, not really. Not permanently anyway. I usually manage to bounce back from defeats.

    Q2: What reasons would you consider acceptable causes for campaign setbacks? Would, for example, an artificial revolt when your faction reaches a certain threshold be considered fair/enjoyable or a cheap trick? Would a weak faction leader negatively affecting all other characters be considered a fair cause?

    A weak faction leader negatively affecting your kingdom would be a very realistic feature. But an artificial revolt once a certain stage is reached would be most certainly a cheap trick, akin to ''The Alliance" of Daimyos CA used in Shogun 2.

    Q3: Do you enjoy suffering setbacks during a campaign or do you want to always make forward progress, either slowly or rapidly?

    Setbacks are rather annoying, but a challenge is (almost) always a good thing.

    Q4: Have you ever lost a campaign? If so, why did it happen? Did you face a much stronger/larger faction that was impossible to defeat? Did multiple factions gang up on you? Was the campaign set up in a way that it made victory impossible (eg starting you in huge debt next to strong enemies)? Did the AI receive very large bonuses? Did the AI outsmart you (j/k)? Did you fail to manage your economy properly? Did you make avoidable tactical/strategic errors?

    I never have. I came close to it a few times, but no.

    Q5: Would you accept that certain factions simply have little chances of victory due to their starting position or their maximum possible development level or would you expect every faction to have at least a moderate chance of victory? Would you consider the AI receiving significant financial/military bonuses fair or unbalancing?

    Giving the AI some bonuses would be good, in order to counteract its occasional ineptness, but not to ridiculous levels.

    Q6: Do you enjoy there being a real chance of defeat in a campaign or do you prefer knowing you will eventually win, even if there are setbacks in the process?

    I prefer having a real chance of defeat, and that is one of the reasons I love Fourth Age.

    Q7: How many settlements/armies do you usually need to control in order to reach 'critical mass', ie the point in the game where it becomes impossible to lose without trying to?

    No idea.

    Q8: Do you actively try to slow down your own progress or otherwise handicap yourself (eg with house-rules) in order to give AI factions a chance to develop?

    No, or at least not in Fourth Age, especially as the Reunited Kingdom needs to strike fast to have any chance.

    Q9: Do you continue to play a campaign after you have reached 'critical mass'? if so, at which point do you stop playing?

    I stop playing at the moment I achieve my campaign goals, namely those of the short campaigns because they're more reasonable.


    It is such a quiet thing, to fall. But far more terrible is to admit it.
    Proud supporter and fan of Fourth Age: Total War

  6. #6
    Basileos Predator's Avatar Campidoctor
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    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    Q1: Have you ever faced a significant setback in your campaign, where your faction became significantly weaker/smaller at some point than it was previously in the same campaign? If yes, how did it happen? Was it sudden or a gradual process? Did settlements revolt? Did you suffer military defeats? Did you abandon indefensible settlements? Some other reason?
    Q1: I usually recover from setbacks fast, and they do nothing more than increase the thrill of the game.

    Q2: What reasons would you consider acceptable causes for campaign setbacks? Would, for example, an artificial revolt when your faction reaches a certain threshold be considered fair/enjoyable or a cheap trick? Would a weak faction leader negatively affecting all other characters be considered a fair cause?
    Q2: Such revolts would be fun, and enjoyable-if they are a result of your own game play-; I do not think a weak faction leader affect negativly all other family members.There would be some who would opose him, and stick to their principles.

    Q3: Do you enjoy suffering setbacks during a campaign or do you want to always make forward progress, either slowly or rapidly?
    Q3: Setbacks are a important part of a campaign, that keeps you interested in the campaign for longer.

    Q4: Have you ever lost a campaign? If so, why did it happen? Did you face a much stronger/larger faction that was impossible to defeat? Did multiple factions gang up on you? Was the campaign set up in a way that it made victory impossible (eg starting you in huge debt next to strong enemies)? Did the AI receive very large bonuses? Did the AI outsmart you (j/k)? Did you fail to manage your economy properly? Did you make avoidable tactical/strategic errors?
    Q4: It happens sometimes.An example would be the late game military problems of weak unit factions.You'll be in trouble when the elite armies of your enemies attack your levy troops armies.

    Q5: Would you accept that certain factions simply have little chances of victory due to their starting position or their maximum possible development level or would you expect every faction to have at least a moderate chance of victory? Would you consider the AI receiving significant financial/military bonuses fair or unbalancing?
    Q5: For DoM, factions like the Elves, Dwarfs, Dunland, should have slim chances of victory(apart from when a player controls them of course).AI bonuses are quite fair in my opinion.

    Q6: Do you enjoy there being a real chance of defeat in a campaign or do you prefer knowing you will eventually win, even if there are setbacks in the process?
    Q6: I belive each campaign should be a mystery, not knowing weather you will have success in your endevours, or they'll backfire you.

    Q7: How many settlements/armies do you usually need to control in order to reach 'critical mass', ie the point in the game where it becomes impossible to lose without trying to?
    Q7: Depends on the faction .Usually (in TNS taking most of the settlements of Adunabar would make you fairly impervious to defeat) by the time you've doubled your starting teritories (again TNS as example) you are in a great position.

    Q8: Do you actively try to slow down your own progress or otherwise handicap yourself (eg with house-rules) in order to give AI factions a chance to develop?
    Q8: I sometimes stop my expansion to allow for my own and AI's development.I put an emphasis of defence and let them die at the feet of my border settlements.

    Q9: Do you continue to play a campaign after you have reached 'critical mass'? if so, at which point do you stop playing?
    Q9: Yes, critical mass is of no importance as long as you have fun.I usually stop playing a campaign when I lose interest in it and try to seek a greater chalenge.
    Last edited by Basileos Predator; August 03, 2013 at 07:36 AM.

  7. #7
    Blatta Optima Maxima's Avatar Vicarius Provinciae
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    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    Quote Originally Posted by Aradan View Post
    Q1: Have you ever faced a significant setback in your campaign, where your faction became significantly weaker/smaller at some point than it was previously in the same campaign? If yes, how did it happen? Was it sudden or a gradual process? Did settlements revolt? Did you suffer military defeats? Did you abandon indefensible settlements? Some other reason?
    Once very early on, as Adunabar - I totally disregarded expanding my army after pulling off a lightning conquest of Gondor due to how successful I'd been with just one full stack. Then I was hard pressed to beat off simultaneous attacks by Harad, Rhun and Rohan, due to how long it took for me to put more stacks in the field. I lost much territory that way. So being a noob in Total War.
    Q2: What reasons would you consider acceptable causes for campaign setbacks? Would, for example, an artificial revolt when your faction reaches a certain threshold be considered fair/enjoyable or a cheap trick? Would a weak faction leader negatively affecting all other characters be considered a fair cause?
    Depends on what triggers the revolt. If it's scripted to always happen when a certain threshold of territory is acquired, it feels like a cheap device and breaks immersion. But if you can come up with ways to vary it up and randomize it so that it makes sense in-universe, it would make for a great gameplay addition.
    Q3: Do you enjoy suffering setbacks during a campaign or do you want to always make forward progress, either slowly or rapidly?
    I hate losing, but Paradox games have somewhat tamed my tendency to ragequit when things aren't going all my way.
    Q4: Have you ever lost a campaign? If so, why did it happen? Did you face a much stronger/larger faction that was impossible to defeat? Did multiple factions gang up on you? Was the campaign set up in a way that it made victory impossible (eg starting you in huge debt next to strong enemies)? Did the AI receive very large bonuses? Did the AI outsmart you (j/k)? Did you fail to manage your economy properly? Did you make avoidable tactical/strategic errors?
    I usually set my own goals for campaigns, so it's a difficult question, but yes, I have failed - by losing my interest in a particular campaign. I'm not consistent in my gaming interests.
    Q5: Would you accept that certain factions simply have little chances of victory due to their starting position or their maximum possible development level or would you expect every faction to have at least a moderate chance of victory? Would you consider the AI receiving significant financial/military bonuses fair or unbalancing?
    Definitely would accept. Small factions getting overbuffed would probably ruin immersion.
    Q6: Do you enjoy there being a real chance of defeat in a campaign or do you prefer knowing you will eventually win, even if there are setbacks in the process?
    There must be at least a prospect of defeat, but I don't like AI cheating to make it unrealistically powerful. It should be about strategy and tactics, not tedious extermination of stack after stack of elite AI units.
    Q7: How many settlements/armies do you usually need to control in order to reach 'critical mass', ie the point in the game where it becomes impossible to lose without trying to?
    Depends entirely on the situation - how the AI factions are doing in that particular campaign.
    Q8: Do you actively try to slow down your own progress or otherwise handicap yourself (eg with house-rules) in order to give AI factions a chance to develop?
    I sometimes make house rules, but only as a means of roleplaying.
    Q9: Do you continue to play a campaign after you have reached 'critical mass'? if so, at which point do you stop playing?
    Often I play for my own goals, but when I play for victory conditions, indeed, I often stop when I see that I've won and all that's left is tedium.

  8. #8

    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    Q1: Have you ever faced a significant setback in your campaign, where your faction became significantly weaker/smaller at some point than it was previously in the same campaign? If yes, how did it happen? Was it sudden or a gradual process? Did settlements revolt? Did you suffer military defeats? Did you abandon indefensible settlements? Some other reason?

    I usually abandonned all campaigns where things got completely out of hand for me (everyone ganging up on me, or just me realising I did some major mistake earlier on, such as not attacking when I should have). I have suffered military defeats because of unexpectedly inferior units (Carthaginians in vanilla, easterlings in FATW), or because my horse-archers ran out of arrows.
    I have abandonned remote settlements that I had no chance of properly reinforcing. I never had important settlements revolt on me, since I take care to keep them properly garrisoned and governed. And when some other settlement revolts, it is quickly taken back.

    Q2: What reasons would you consider acceptable causes for campaign setbacks? Would, for example, an artificial revolt when your faction reaches a certain threshold be considered fair/enjoyable or a cheap trick? Would a weak faction leader negatively affecting all other characters be considered a fair cause?

    I would absolutely hate to see settlements revolt for some fixed, artificial reason. Characters being disgruntled because of some crowned idiot would be reasonable, but it shouldn't result in everything being fixed by sending the king on a leaking ship against a Haradrim fleet. A bad king should force you to make choices. Do I keep him and try to manage the unhappiness of my nobles (resulting in higher recruitment costs, lower lawfulness, etc) or find a new one and risk unhappy smallfolk (-trade, +unrest) and even more unhappiness by some nobles?

    Q3: Do you enjoy suffering setbacks during a campaign or do you want to always make forward progress, either slowly or rapidly?

    I usually stop playing if a campaign gets to tiresome.
    I like to take my time, and build up slowly but steadily.


    Q4: Have you ever lost a campaign? If so, why did it happen? Did you face a much stronger/larger faction that was impossible to defeat? Did multiple factions gang up on you? Was the campaign set up in a way that it made victory impossible (eg starting you in huge debt next to strong enemies)? Did the AI receive very large bonuses? Did the AI outsmart you (j/k)? Did you fail to manage your economy properly? Did you make avoidable tactical/strategic errors?

    I abandon campaigns I have no chance of winning (my first EB Aedui campaign comes to mind: celtic civil war, astronimic debt, weak units, weak economy, aggressive neighbours with scripted unlimited money). Another common reason for me to quit is because I didn't manage my family tree properly.

    Q5: Would you accept that certain factions simply have little chances of victory due to their starting position or their maximum possible development level or would you expect every faction to have at least a moderate chance of victory? Would you consider the AI receiving significant financial/military bonuses fair or unbalancing?

    Tharbad conquering the world would certainly make me raise an eyebrow... Leave the weak factions weak for those players who like that kind of challenges. It might be worth considering to protect them with alliances (woodsmen with elves or Dale, Tharbad with Gondor).
    Bonuses for the AI are fine if they are meant to help the faction act the way it should, and not obviously aimed to make life miserable for me.


    Q6: Do you enjoy there being a real chance of defeat in a campaign or do you prefer knowing you will eventually win, even if there are setbacks in the process?

    I'm not one who enjoys challenges. What's the point of a single-player computer game if I don't win in the end? Minor setbacks are ok if they are manageable.

    Q7: How many settlements/armies do you usually need to control in order to reach 'critical mass', ie the point in the game where it becomes impossible to lose without trying to?

    Can't say - depends too much on the quality of settlements and troops. My easterling campaigns are increadibly hard in the beginning due to lack of funds, but once you get the cattle breeders going, you're rolling in cash. Then all you have to worry about is Gondorian militia routing your Great Axes of Rhun...

    Q8: Do you actively try to slow down your own progress or otherwise handicap yourself (eg with house-rules) in order to give AI factions a chance to develop?

    I like slow but steady campaigns with developed, but not all-powerful factions. I have often used house-rules, such as never starting a war, keeping Carthage alive in vanilla, or maintaing an alliance with Macedon as the Greek Cities for as long as possible.

    Q9: Do you continue to play a campaign after you have reached 'critical mass'? if so, at which point do you stop playing?

    I stop playing when I realise that from now on, the campaign will become repetitive. That means there are only a few surviving super-factions who will spam stack after stack of the same units on always the same settlement I control.

  9. #9

    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    Q1: Have you ever faced a significant setback in your campaign, where your faction became significantly weaker/smaller at some point than it was previously in the same campaign? If yes, how did it happen? Was it sudden or a gradual process? Did settlements revolt? Did you suffer military defeats? Did you abandon indefensible settlements? Some other reason?

    I have not experienced this since learning how to play RTW initially. I have always been careful to cover all my fronts and establish good defensive lines

    Q2: What reasons would you consider acceptable causes for campaign setbacks? Would, for example, an artificial revolt when your faction reaches a certain threshold be considered fair/enjoyable or a cheap trick? Would a weak faction leader negatively affecting all other characters be considered a fair cause?

    I think leader caused empire-wide catastrophe would be more realistic, but I would like to see solutions to this problem aside from regicide, such as the corrective influence of a specific building, or ancillary. Maybe not a sure thing, or fast solution, but an option for those with scruples.

    Q3: Do you enjoy suffering setbacks during a campaign or do you want to always make forward progress, either slowly or rapidly?

    This would depend on the nature of the setback. If the setback is endless stacks of homogenous armies, this creates the problem of boredom. Boredom defeats far more players than anything else.

    Q4: Have you ever lost a campaign? If so, why did it happen? Did you face a much stronger/larger faction that was impossible to defeat? Did multiple factions gang up on you? Was the campaign set up in a way that it made victory impossible (eg starting you in huge debt next to strong enemies)? Did the AI receive very large bonuses? Did the AI outsmart you (j/k)? Did you fail to manage your economy properly? Did you make avoidable tactical/strategic errors?

    I have never met an AI that was impossible to defeat. Even Dunland can dominate the battlefield so long as you press your offencive to prevent your enemies gathering full stacks of superior units. Debt is probably the biggest early obstacle you can saddle a faction with, but the reverse side of that route is that the human makes his empire so lean and efficient as a result that he soon has too much income to know what to do with.

    Q5: Would you accept that certain factions simply have little chances of victory due to their starting position or their maximum possible development level or would you expect every faction to have at least a moderate chance of victory? Would you consider the AI receiving significant financial/military bonuses fair or unbalancing?

    This is often the case with the AI because it is notoriously bad at expanding its borders. I have yet to play a faction small and weak enough that it cannot come to dominate under good management.

    Q6: Do you enjoy there being a real chance of defeat in a campaign or do you prefer knowing you will eventually win, even if there are setbacks in the process?

    Setbacks make things interesting. I would like to see an AI which can truly threaten to defeat me. I have yet to see this in any mod.

    Q7: How many settlements/armies do you usually need to control in order to reach 'critical mass', ie the point in the game where it becomes impossible to lose without trying to?

    In most mods, maybe 20% of the map before you have a good army producing base. In TNS, once I have doubled my initial holdings I tend to have a decisive advantage.

    Q8: Do you actively try to slow down your own progress or otherwise handicap yourself (eg with house-rules) in order to give AI factions a chance to develop?

    I do not adopt the "if the AI cannot do it, I will not do it" attitude. In that case I may as well watch the AI play itself. Generally, if I am a "good" faction I will honor my alliances, refuse to be the first to declare war, and seek peace wherever possible so long as my kingdom remains whole; as a "bad" faction I act less scrupulously.

    Q9: Do you continue to play a campaign after you have reached 'critical mass'? if so, at which point do you stop playing?

    I like to control nearly the entire map before giving up on a campaign. I often approach games as a model builder. In RTW mods, my model is my empire, and my goal is to develop my empire to the greatest extent possible. Something frustrating about TNS is that it takes so long to develop some settlements; when I played Adunabar I had only a few provinces in the south-east left of the Harad empire to conquer, but most of the non-core provinces where still far from fully developed.

    I think one of the major problems with the AI challenge in TNS is the victory conditions. They tend to make the AI too predictable, and too irrational. I think a better way to set victory conditions might be to set the province condition as one to three provinces that are already in the control of the faction, plus control of a certain percentage of the total map; say 50%. This would motivate the AI to defend its core provinces, but allow the AI to chose paths of least resistance in growing its empire, rather than banging its head on the same wall every time.

    As for the problem of of monotonous stacks of homogenous units, the solution might be to prejudice the AI to produce its most advanced units, and to restrict the production of each of these advanced units to one or two cities. Perhaps this would force the AI to produce more mixed and interesting armies.
    Last edited by Wambat; August 04, 2013 at 07:44 AM.

  10. #10
    ExtremeBG's Avatar Decanus
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    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    Q1: I have never experienced any large setbacks since i learned how i should play RTW effectively .I have had campaigns where i loose up to 2 or 3 settlements,but that is mainly caused to me not defending properly my borders .I do manage to take them back quickly and easily.
    Q2: I like the idea of a bad leader affecting negatively all other characters , because i find it fair and plausible . I don't like however the revolts the Roman faction experiences in RS2 , as i consider them what you said "a cheap trick" .
    Q3: I cant't say i enjoy major setbacks in my campaigns ,though i accept minor or medium ones , that have in mind making the AI more competitive .I don't like it if there are some impossible scenarios trying to make the game too hard.
    Q4: I can't say i have lost a campaign ,though there are times when a campaign becomes boring and i just quit it . For example i had a campaign with Rohan in LOTR TW where i managed to beat Isengard and the Dunlanding tribes , only to find out the entire map was overrun by the "evil" factions and i had to fight many battles on all fronts against every other faction in the game that had survived . I just quit games like that.
    Q5: I consider all faction having a chance of winning ,some just have a higher chance than others and that is normal for me.I don't really fancy the idea of the AI getting bonuses ,but i accept it due to the AI being retarded most of the time.
    Q6: Again - i find major setbacks unbalancing and i don't really like them , yet knowing the AI has a chance of winning gives a certain trill to the campaign that an easy campaign where i steamroll just gets boring at some point.
    Q7: I believe controlling about 15-20 settlements is the point where,at least for me,there is no way i can lose . I don't consider having many armies a guarantee for success ,because i have had campaigns where i manage to win the game with just 3 or 2,and even only 1 armies (there are some replenishment forces ofc. ).
    Q8: I have never done that because i don't find it necessary .After all the game is about fun and constricting myself is not something i enjoy.
    Q9: I play a campaign as long as it is interesting to me - that may be just taking up to 10-15 cities and building up my borders and economy and just making a nice kingdom.Or there are campaign where i find it really fun just wiping out my enemies - such a game was a campaign i had with the Cimbri from RS2. I devastated and sacked all of Italy and continued to wipe out nations with my awesome barbarian armies until i was in control of all of Europe and Africa.So my type of fun campaign varies from mod to mod and faction to faction.


    Macedonia(FYROM) is Bulgarian. If you don't believe me, read a book.

  11. #11

    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    Q1: Have you ever faced a significant setback in your campaign, where your faction became significantly weaker/smaller at some point than it was previously in the same campaign? If yes, how did it happen? Was it sudden or a gradual process? Did settlements revolt? Did you suffer military defeats? Did you abandon indefensible settlements? Some other reason?

    Not that I can recall, though I have lost occasional settlements to the AI - usually because of inattention on my part or low funds.

    Q2: What reasons would you consider acceptable causes for campaign setbacks? Would, for example, an artificial revolt when your faction reaches a certain threshold be considered fair/enjoyable or a cheap trick? Would a weak faction leader negatively affecting all other characters be considered a fair cause?

    I rarely grow my factions large enough to reach the threshold where they suffer artificial revolts, but yes, that sort of thing would seem too 'gamey'. A weak faction leader affecting the entire realm (or much of it) would be preferable, though of course, how a faction leader becomes 'weak' may be random or largely unrelated to the size of the realm. I've always thought the death of a leader - weak or strong - ought to trigger a certain amount of unrest as factions vie for power.

    Q3: Do you enjoy suffering setbacks during a campaign or do you want to always make forward progress, either slowly or rapidly?

    I would enjoy setbacks as an opportunity to play defensively, provided I felt there was a possibility of (eventual) progress in the future - for example, if I defeated several enemy attacks and bought enough time to retrain troops and invade. A good example of a campaign like this would be the English in Norman Invasion or the WRE or ERE in BI - those factions are in a defensive posture initially, but it's not hopeless in the long run.

    Q4: Have you ever lost a campaign? If so, why did it happen? Did you face a much stronger/larger faction that was impossible to defeat? Did multiple factions gang up on you? Was the campaign set up in a way that it made victory impossible (eg starting you in huge debt next to strong enemies)? Did the AI receive very large bonuses? Did the AI outsmart you (j/k)? Did you fail to manage your economy properly? Did you make avoidable tactical/strategic errors?

    I'm pretty sure I've lost (actually gotten the You Have Lost video), but more often in the face of apparently insurmountable odds I would simply quit. In those cases where the campaign seemed hopeless, I was playing a faction like Numidia in vanilla RTW (weak troops, split territories, poor lands, strong enemies) or the Men of Alba in Viking Invasion 2 (thinking it would be fine to play on H/H and taking my sweet time in my poor homelands until I came face to face with an incredibly strong Wessex in control of all of England - no chance).

    Q5: Would you accept that certain factions simply have little chances of victory due to their starting position or their maximum possible development level or would you expect every faction to have at least a moderate chance of victory? Would you consider the AI receiving significant financial/military bonuses fair or unbalancing?

    Not every faction should have an equal chance of victory, but every faction should have *some* chance, even if it is a very small one. Significant financial/military bonuses for the AI can be ok if it's 'reasonable' (which is obviously subjective). Norman Invasion seemed like a good example of this, to keep smaller factions challenging to play as for the human, but boosted when in the AI's hands to make them a bit more effective against the human.

    Q6: Do you enjoy there being a real chance of defeat in a campaign or do you prefer knowing you will eventually win, even if there are setbacks in the process?

    I like a real chance of defeat. Though from a different game entirely, the Welsh in MTW's Viking Invasion were a good example of this sort of thing - you could get steamrolled, or you could win if you pulled off some good victories and had some good luck.

    Q7: How many settlements/armies do you usually need to control in order to reach 'critical mass', ie the point in the game where it becomes impossible to lose without trying to?

    It's hard to tell. With some factions the starting position is pretty much enough - in TNS, for example, the RK just has to take a couple settlements (MI, EA) and it's fairly easy sailing from there. It will be a slog fighting Harad and Rhun in their own lands, but there's no real threat that Gondor will be invaded. Adunabar has to clear out probably the eastern half of Gondor in order to get enough cash rolling to go on the offensive on all 3 fronts (E/W/S), IIRC. Much depends on position.

    Q8: Do you actively try to slow down your own progress or otherwise handicap yourself (eg with house-rules) in order to give AI factions a chance to develop?

    I like to 'turtle' with most factions - building up economically first, not starting any wars, maybe attacking rebels first. I also try to play my campaigns as the factions would, IMO, so Rhun would be more aggressive, Rohan would focus on Dunland but accept ceasefires, that sort of thing.

    Q9: Do you continue to play a campaign after you have reached 'critical mass'? if so, at which point do you stop playing?

    Sometimes. I remember Adunabar's interesting unit lineup kept me playing much later than I normally would. So I guess for me, when I have trained everything and built everything, the campaign begins to lose interest, especially if I'm steamrolling.
    One of the most sophisticated Total War modders ever developed...

  12. #12
    Thangaror's Avatar Senator
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    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    I think I would like to give some input instead of only feedback.

    Quote Originally Posted by CountMRVHS View Post
    I've always thought the death of a leader - weak or strong - ought to trigger a certain amount of unrest as factions vie for power.
    I agree with this point of view, but it should depend on the faction. Harad, Rhn, Dunland, the leader's death should cause some trouble; the different tribes and families will try to gain an advantage from the new leader's supposed weakness and will try to become the overlords themselves. This unrest of course shouldn't occur if the next faction leader is very determined, well-connected or simply really cruel.
    I have something similar to the German kingship in mind, because (at least for some time) the title King of the Germans wasn't hereditary, and the King was chosen by the prince-electors. For example the powerful duke Henry the Lion caused a lot of trouble for Emperor Frederick II. Barbarossa.

    The RK or Rohan should experience such a problem only under extreme circumstances, for example the heir going cultist or something. And this should probably never occur for the Dwarves.

    On the matter of revolt, I was thinking that maybe a major defeat should trigger a revolt in occupied territory.
    Similar to what the Wainriders experienced when they got defeated by Gondor, and when they returned home they found that the Rhovanions had risen against them and burned their homes, or Caesar's conquest of Gaul, in which he always had to face revolts once he turned towards the Germans or Britons.
    However, although the outcome of battles does affect traits afaik, I assume you cannot link it to unrest, revolts or rebel spawns without scripts.
    I would rather have a memory that is fair but unfinished than one that goes on to a grievous end.

  13. #13

    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    Quote Originally Posted by Thangaror View Post
    Harad, Rhn, Dunland, the leader's death should cause some trouble ... The RK or Rohan should experience such a problem only under extreme circumstances, for example the heir going cultist or something. And this should probably never occur for the Dwarves.
    I don't think the Elves should be left out of this discussion. The Elven kingdoms (or in this mod, kingdom) may seem the most stable, but this is more because of the lifespan of the elven rulers than because of the inherent stability of their dynasties. The Elven faction will be composed of tribes with very different histories and cultures, and different priorities. I think there should be dissent among the wood elves when the high elves are in charge and vice-verse, and a change in leadership from one to the other should be a crisis. This is particularly the case in the Fourth Age where the whole of Elven society is under threat by the accelerating exodus.

  14. #14
    Feanaro Curufinwe's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    There is no record of Elves behaving like that, except for the chaos following Finwe's death and that was under very special circumstances. In the Fourth Age, most of them would have similar priorities, or at least non-colliding ones. And also, their rulers can only die in battle, thus not leaving much room to change a ruler. And the fact should also be mentioned that there are essentially no High Elves other than those in the Grey Havens.

    For God's sake, they are Eldar not Westerosi. A ruler's death doesn't spark a huge civil war for leadership.
    It is such a quiet thing, to fall. But far more terrible is to admit it.
    Proud supporter and fan of Fourth Age: Total War

  15. #15
    Thangaror's Avatar Senator
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    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    Well, the Elven faction will be represented as the Elvellin, if Elves will actually lead the faction, so I left them out of the picture for now.
    I would rather have a memory that is fair but unfinished than one that goes on to a grievous end.

  16. #16
    Basileos Predator's Avatar Campidoctor
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    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    Too bad that characters can't be made immortal in RTW engine.It would have solved such facts for elven factions.

  17. #17
    Thangaror's Avatar Senator
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    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    Again I don't know how the whole Elvellin thing will be realized, but one possibility actually could be the Hermor-solution: The Elves are not really the faction leaders, they are the grey eminences represented as ancillaries with insane bonuses.
    I would rather have a memory that is fair but unfinished than one that goes on to a grievous end.

  18. #18

    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    The Elvellyn thing works like this: The population and available units in elven homelands are Elves. When Elves hold a non-elven province, the population there (that is loyal and available to them) is supposed to be Elvellyn (Men), and so are the units. All named characters are Elves.

  19. #19

    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    Quote Originally Posted by Aradan View Post
    Q1: Have you ever faced a significant setback in your campaign, where your faction became significantly weaker/smaller at some point than it was previously in the same campaign? If yes, how did it happen? Was it sudden or a gradual process? Did settlements revolt? Did you suffer military defeats? Did you abandon indefensible settlements? Some other reason?
    I've suffered several surprising military defeats in Rome:Total War (vanilla), often involving the unexpected death of my general in a very close battle and subsequent mass-rout of my weaker/ less dedicated troops. Though admittedly, about a third to half of these losses were due to pathfinding issues with the unit (i.e. I tell the general to fall back when I see he is in danger, but instead he charges *DEEPER* into enemy ranks), it still adds a nice spice every now and then to have my progress suddenly halted or even face several major sieges as a result of a significant loss like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aradan View Post
    Q2: What reasons would you consider acceptable causes for campaign setbacks? Would, for example, an artificial revolt when your faction reaches a certain threshold be considered fair/enjoyable or a cheap trick? Would a weak faction leader negatively affecting all other characters be considered a fair cause?
    An acceptable reason for a campaign-setback is usually my own mistakes. For instance, I have a tendency to try and expand at breakneck speed and take on a number of risky battles, since I can almost always win them (I have a very keen tactical sense- at one time, when I was at my prime, I was on a level with the best RTW players, and even helped a player re-write his popular strategy guide floating around somewhere on the internet...)

    My losses usually come from a slip-up on my part- and in that case I expect there to be consequences. The AI should be able to press the attack after I suffer the defeat.
    They should know how to pacify lands they take from me (rarely, if ever, happens- unless I'm playing a speed-game where I really don't care).

    I consider "artificial" and pre-programmed limits or setbacks to be absolutely unacceptable. If I'm a brilliant general and administrator (as I usually am), I don't expect my empire to simply fall apart once I reach a certain size (some setbacks when a great leader dies are acceptable- *IF* my new leader is young/inexperienced). Such ideas result from an overly-pessimistic view of history in my opinion: Rome wouldn't have fallen if its leaders had been wiser/smarter/more determined. Napoleon could have won if he had been more clever about how he took on Russia. Even the United States' current gradual decline is far from inevitable if its leaders would truly set forth on the world stage with a new determination, honesty, and vitality...


    Quote Originally Posted by Aradan View Post
    Q3: Do you enjoy suffering setbacks during a campaign or do you want to always make forward progress, either slowly or rapidly?
    See above. Setbacks should be realistic- based on my own shortcomings and not on some pessimistic view that "all empires shall soon fall" or "nobody can conquer the world" (both of those statements are simply not true). If I'm careful and wise, I should be able to make continuous (sometimes rapid) progress. If I take risks I'm not the equal of, I should usually suffer setbacks.

    ---

    Quote Originally Posted by Aradan View Post
    Q4: Have you ever lost a campaign? If so, why did it happen? Did you face a much stronger/larger faction that was impossible to defeat? Did multiple factions gang up on you? Was the campaign set up in a way that it made victory impossible (eg starting you in huge debt next to strong enemies)? Did the AI receive very large bonuses? Did the AI outsmart you (j/k)? Did you fail to manage your economy properly? Did you make avoidable tactical/strategic errors?
    I've never lost a campaign- though several times I've come *VERY MUCH* to the brink. My campaigns as the Western Roman Empire or the Seleucid Empire in BI/RTW come to mind in particular. There is, or rather should always be, a path to victory if you're clever enough. Sometimes this involves purposefully setting bigger rivals against each other so you can grow. Sometimes this involves abandoning settlements you can't afford or defend to rebels if you start in debt (my Western Roman Empire games forced me to utilize this strategy particularly). But the AI should never receive unrealistic advantages simply to make their victory certain (as a rule, I simply won't play a campaign if I feel the developers have gone too far down that dark road... I've never encountered this is a Total War game though- only in poorly-balanced board/card games...). And there's little point in making a faction playable if they truly (realistically) start out in a hopeless situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aradan View Post
    Q5: Would you accept that certain factions simply have little chances of victory due to their starting position or their maximum possible development level or would you expect every faction to have at least a moderate chance of victory? Would you consider the AI receiving significant financial/military bonuses fair or unbalancing?
    I am a strong believer that the AI should receive no "bonuses" or advantages that the player would not receive if they played as that same faction. If that makes the game too easy, then that's the fault of a poorly-programmed AI. Make the AI better (if possible), don't simply give them a ridiculous financial or development advantage...

    As for starting positions- bring on the challenge. So long as I would have the option of playing as the other side, and winning a crushing (and easy) victory just for kicks, I'm fine with seemingly-hopeless (NOT *truly* hopeless) starting positions... The starting position of the Western Roman Empire in the Barbarian Invasion game is about as far as I think this should go, however- the situation should *seem* futile, but there should always be a way for a clever player to pull off total victory...


    Quote Originally Posted by Aradan View Post
    Q6:
    Quote Originally Posted by Aradan View Post
    Do you enjoy there being a real chance of defeat in a campaign or do you prefer knowing you will eventually win, even if there are setbacks in the process?
    I don't see the point of this question. There's always a chance of defeat. If every battle the first volley of arrows fired killed my general (this happened a couple times in history...), or I engaged the enemy with noting but stacks of peasants, of course I'd lose. But if I play wisely and more intelligently than my opponents (human or AI), or course I'm probably going to win in the long run.

    I see no way to separate much better playing than your opponents from a high probability eventual victory in any (well-designed) game- and I don't think these two elements *should* be separated either (from a psychological perspective, there ought to be a reward for your ambition and brilliant choices).

    ---

    Quote Originally Posted by Aradan View Post
    Q7: How many settlements/armies do you usually need to control in order to reach 'critical mass', ie the point in the game where it becomes impossible to lose without trying to?
    I define invincibility rather cautiously, and it depends strongly on the quality of my armies and generals. For instance, 5 stacks of Orcs in TNS is obviously not the equivalent of 3 or 4 stacks of Gondorian infantry. Truly, you're never entirely invincible- even if your armies were indefeatable, if you failed to place them in the right places (i.e. you left them sitting in back-provinces) or your never replaced their losses, eventually you'd suffer defeat...

    So, I never really consider myself to reach critical mass- especially given my tendency to sometimes show my opponents "mercy" when I'm strongly ahead... (see below)


    Quote Originally Posted by Aradan View Post
    Q8: Do you actively try to slow down your own progress or otherwise handicap yourself (eg with house-rules) in order to give AI factions a chance to develop?
    I don't see this as handicapping myself- I see it as showing mercy upon my enemies or setting up the foundations for a long-term successful empire.

    Many times I will accept the AI's proposition of peace (or even offer it myself) if they are losing badly- especially if my people might be considered to have some sympathy for my enemy from a roleplaying perspective (i.e. I'm not going to do it for Mordor as Gondor in the trilogy timeline if I can somehow get that far ahead, but I *might* for Adunabar as the Reunited Kingdom in TNS...)

    I also tend to delay my conquest of an AI if their culture can build unique buildings that would benefit my empire in the long run- such as trade caravans for the Eastern cultures in RTW or BI, and the Harraddim in FATW: TNS... Even if (as is usually the case) I don't technically "need" these buildings for long-term victory, I usually take a certain joy in building the biggest, best, and most prosperous empire I possibly can in the long run... (why I usually play as the Romans or Greeks in RTW, or Eastern Empire or Sassanids in BI- and never as barbarians. I like to think I'm offering some kind of civilization and benefits to my conquered peoples...)


    Quote Originally Posted by Aradan View Post
    Q9: Do you continue to play a campaign after you have reached 'critical mass'? if so, at which point do you stop playing?
    Absolutely not. Sometimes the end-game is the most fun. As long as I don't get too tangled up in micro-management, sometimes there's a certain joy to seeing how prosperous and well-balanced of an empire I can found AFTER the major wars are over...

    On that note, anything that can be done to make the late-game more interesting (but doable and NOT artificially impossible) from a long-term stability and prosperity perspective is always appreciated...


    Regards,
    Northstar

  20. #20

    Default Re: [Official] Gameplay Survey

    P.S. For those of you curious what I meant when I talked about a game where long-term invincibility is theoretically possible, but much of the fun is in the late-game, and you are always gravely vulnerable to your own shortcomings and slip-ups; I highly recommend checking out the legendary, free game DWARF FORTRESS:

    http://dwarffortresswiki.org/index.php/Main_Page

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