Fallen Enchantress

Scott Tortorice

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Same for me. That is why I am really curious to see how FE will turn out. Based on the stuff I read over the last year, it appears SD addressed 75% of the major complaints, with 25% being taken out of the game and postponed for the next expansion. So, we'll see. If the tactical combat turns out to be improved, and more in line with Battle for Wesnoth or Elvin Legacy - which is seems it will be - that will go a long way in making the game more interesting.
 

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I'm tried of seeing the Tolkien spin-offs of two giants stone statues of some forgotten kings on either side of some valley/river. I would rather see two voluptuous nude women reclining and giving everyone a full view of their bodies, not some old dead guy.
 

Scott Tortorice

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Another update:

http://forums.elementalgame.com/415163

This is very good:
Faction Traits
Each factions has two traits, one always grants them access to a tech so the factions have different starting techs (and therefor different starting improvements, etc) and the other trait affects the faction as a whole. Gilden's trait halves the production cost of weapons and armor, Yithril's improvements the Strength and Constitution of their units, etc.

Players can create their own factions and pick from a large number of faction traits and add an additional trait if they select a faction weakness.
One of the big complaints about EWoM was that the factions were carbon-copies of each other - literally, as the evil factions even looked gray. :D SD has listened and made them distinct from each other in FE. :) I hope this now includes suitably "evil" techs for the Fallen.

I am glad to see that choosing a faction weakness may make sense now. In EWoM it never did, you were just better off taking all bonuses. I like the idea that you can get an additional bonus for a tragic flaw.

The factions are definitely closer to what we had in GalCiv 2 now.

Also:

Unique Units
Each faction has ten pre-designed unit types. These units automatically upgrade as new weapons become available. There is, for example, one archer unit. But that archer unit will use the best bow the player has. Units that are already created can upgrade their weapons armor, though it isn't cheap.

Each faction has three unique pre-designed units. Tarth has the Clan of the Crow instead of archers. These unique units always have different equipment or traits and are usually better versions of that sort of unit, though they may take longer to train.

These unique units are our favorites for each of the factions, but you can create your own. If you want a unit like Capitar's Silver Swordsmen for Yithril then you can create a Yithril unit with the same traits. Or you can create a new mix of traits for your units.
Again, another big complaint has been addressed.

Other new chrome:

But with the city defensive bonuses even their unguarded cities can't be easily taken (in Fallen Enchantress every city gets some free defenders, how many depends on the city level and improvements in that city).

...

And when they raze cities half of that city's population is transferred to their capital.
 

Scott Tortorice

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Another new screenie:

View attachment 35225

I find this one really interesting as it has a player-controlled sov fighting in an arena against a monster. There was no explanation given, but I would think this fight was triggered by a quest. If that is so, it suggests that FE's quests are going to be much more interesting and more inline with what we expected from WoM. Or it could be from the campaign game - which also would be good and an improvement.

I was annoyed - to say the least - by WoM, but I am hoping that FE makes up for it. The idea of a 4X fantasy strategy game / RPG is one that still has a lot of appeal for me and FE, while not as grandiose as what was initially promised by WoM, still packs a lot of potential. And I am encouraged that SD seems far more open to the comments of the beta community this time around: "The fate of the game is in your hands in the most literal sense."

Here's hoping.
 

Scott Tortorice

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So the beta was released today....

Of course, today was also the day that I discovered that a waste water pipe was leaking into the garage, so I didn't get much time to try FE when all was said and done. :mad: However, I did get to try the new tutorial....

Quick impressions:


  • The game is much more polished. EWoM was drab and rudimentary. FE, on the other hand, seems much closer to a AAA title than did WoM. The colors, UI, art direction all seem to pop out at you in a way a professionally developed game should. It is definitely a big improvement.
  • The new tutorial is quite nice and I believe will serve as an example of how a game tutorial should work. It leads you step by step through the basic stuff (just the basics so far but more is expected to be added), and even includes a nice video presentation for each step that shows you just how to do X. Very nice.
  • Having said that, this is still very much a real beta and not one of those big studio, hype demos that pretend to be a beta, something Mr. Wardell warned us to expect. So there are bugs, crashes, glitches, grammatical errors, game mechanics in flux, balancing, etc. So if you aren't entitled to FE free of charge, now is not the time to fork over your money. FE is is much better shape than WoM's final beta, but it still is a beta that needs another few months of work (I am guesstimating an April release at the earliest).
  • My only real complaint so far is that I discovered a pet annoyance from WoM has been carried over to FE. Remember how you could clear a forest in WoM without cost or benefit? Well, it still is in FE. :mad: Sure, a minor thing, but I have always found it to be one of those undercooked gameplay mechanics that were a real immersion breaker. I posted a [suggestion] about it and hope to see it fixed before release.
More as I discover it.
 

Scott Tortorice

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Beta 2 is about to begin:

http://forums.elementalgame.com/417915

Again, curious to see the next batch of changes. Beta 1 showed some incremental improvement over WoM...but just incremental. I am hoping Beta 2 has more bang for the buck and kicks things up a notch because I still don't find FE to be that interesting (even without magic and monsters, I am finding Crusader Kings 2 to be far more engaging).
 

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Status update from Frogboy:

http://forums.elementalgame.com/426797

"Greetings! It’s been awhile since we’ve put up an update on where things stand. So without further delay, here are some answers to questions we’ve received recently:

When will Beta 4 come out? The best I can say is “This Summer”. It definitely won’t be out in June but might make it in time for July.

What will be in Beta 4? Beta 4 focuses a great deal on the civilization aspect of the game. Specifically, the way cities are constructed. A third prime resource, essence, will be introduced (grain, materials, and now essence) which will help encourage greater specialization in cities. The graphics and user interface will also see a significant series of improvements for Beta 4 as well.
Will there be a Beta 5? Probably. Depends on how we’re feeling about Beta 4.
Will Fallen Enchantress require Steam? No. We plan to make Fallen Enchantress available to purchase on Steam. But it won’t require Steam to play.
What is the status of multiplayer? It is our intention to add multiplayer after release but it won’t be available on day 0.
What is the status of modding? We would like to open up modding officially during the Beta 4 phase. No promises though.
Will there be more spells? Yes. We add more spells as we go along.
When will the final game be released? We don’t have a release date yet. But we are hoping sometime this Fall. We want to make sure we have all the time we need to make Elemental: Fallen Enchantress as good as we can make it."

Like I wrote elsewhere, Beta 3 was the first beta to really impress me. I finally found myself getting swept up in a game of FE. The only thing that clearly needed more work was the boring city building choices, something that will be the focus of Beta 4 according to the above. If SD can make city development truly distinctive (i.e., forcing the player to make building decisions that serve to make each city unique in primary function - sort of like starbases in GalCiv II), and manage to work in some sort of city siege mechanic (supposedly they are working on something that might finally give us a proper medieval siege for cities), I will be very happy. With Beta 3, things are definitely looking up for FE, so I am eager to get my hands on Beta 4!
 

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Derek Paxton posted a new dev diary about FE a few days ago:

http://forums.elementalgame.com/427621

There is a lot of good stuff coming in beta 4. I particularly like:

Step 4: City Specialization

All cities start as villages. When the city gets to city level 2 you pick a specialization for that city. It can be either be a Fort, a Conclave or a Town.

Fort- Units trained in forts start at a level higher. Forts are the only cities that can build walls as well as having access to improvements that improve defenders and improve trained units.

Conclave- Conclaves generate more research than other city types and have access to special magic and research improvements. They gain additional bonuses from Essence (more about that later).

Town- Towns are the heart of your empire and are the source of your food, growth and money. They also have a larger ZoC than other city types. Towns have access to a series of improvements that improve the food production for all cities in your empire and they are cumulative with each other. So Forts and Conclaves will never be able to reach the highest city levels on their own, they will need towns to support them.
Yes! That is they type of specialization the game needed!

And this:
Step 6: Essence
The final step is the addition of a new tile yield, Essence. Essence appears much like Grain and Materials and is more prevelant around mana shards. Only about half of the city locations have any essence nearby, and only about half of those have spots with 2 Essence. 3 Essence tiles are extremely rare.

There are chains of improvements that require essence before they become available. The Cleric/Shrine/Sacrificial Altar chain I mentioned above is only available in cities with Essence. Conclaves have access to Alchemy Labs and other improvements that give bonuses based on the amount of Essence in that city. The Guardian Idol improvement requires Essence and is 1 per faction (it starts as a monument, upgraded to a Guardian Statue and then to a Guardian Idol), it is a powerful city defender that can cast any spell your sovereign can cast.

There are two improvements that can increase the amount of Essence in a city. One is a level up option in Conclave cities. The other is only available to Pariden.

The biggest advantage of Essence is that a cities Essence determines how many enchantments it can have. City enchantments no longer have a maintenance cost and there are more of them and they are more powerful than before. If you found a city on a place with essence the first thing you should do is get some enchantments on it. Inspiration and Enchanted Hammers are good early ones that exist in Beta 3 (though in Beta4 the amount of their bonus depends on the amount of essence in the city). Additional City Enchantments like Set in Stone (+100% production but no research), Blood Sigil (Withers all attackers, Berserks all Defenders) and Sovereign's Call (+1 Growth per Essence) allow you an additional decision on how to specialize your cities. Trust in Glyph of Life to protect your Conclave from attackers, use Pit of Madness to speed the research in your Town.

Essence effectively becomes the most flexible tile yield, doing nothing on its own, but allowing you to reach in and play with the cities configuration. Maybe you want it focused on gold and growth but dispel those enchantments and switch it into battle mode when enemies come near (enchantment maintenance is gone, but these spells still cost mana to cast so "respecting" your city isn't something you should do lightly).
Like I wrote above, Beta 3 impressed me with its combat changes and other tweaks. If these city development changes are implemented as well as they sound, then we might finally have a game worth writing home about! Let's hope!
 

Scott Tortorice

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Looking good:

[video=youtube;-aSrXEkisx0]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aSrXEkisx0[/video]

Can't wait to try it next Thursday!
 

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Looking good:

[video=youtube;-aSrXEkisx0]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aSrXEkisx0[/video]

Can't wait to try it next Thursday!
Babe Heroes???? Works for me! ;)

But seriously, I was scared away from Elemental when I read a couple of luke-warm reviews. Having said that, I'm encouraged by your positive comments and the screen shots and vids you've posted. Hopefully Stardock has addressed whatever issues there were with the original game. Who knows? Fallen Enchantress might be the Age of Wonders killer I've been waiting for the past few years??? :)

BTW, I just checked and I see that Fallen Enchantress is not offered on Steam or Gamestop's download service, though they both have SINS and Gamestop has Elemental. I guess the only place you can get it is directly from Stardock. Hope this is not a bad sign.
 
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Scott Tortorice

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But seriously, I was scared away from Elemental when I read a couple of luke-warm reviews.
Luke warm? That is being generous! It was a disaster. The game never developed past the point of feeling like it was designed by a team that had never played a 4X game in their life.

Having said that, I'm encouraged by your positive comments and the screen shots and vids you've posted. Hopefully Stardock has addressed whatever issues there were with the original game. Who knows? Fallen Enchantress might be the Age of Wonders killer I've been waiting for the past few years??? :)
We'll see. Like I wrote above, Beta 3 was the first time I said to myself "yeah, I could see myself getting involved with this game for the long haul". Beta 4 contains some much needed changes to the city-building portion, and there will be a Beta 5, too. So I am encouraged for the first time with this series.

BTW, I just checked and I see that Fallen Enchantress is not offered on Steam or Gamestop's download service, though they both have SINS and Gamestop has Elemental. I guess the only place you can get it is directly from Stardock. Hope this is not a bad sign.
Wardell has said that Fallen Enchantress will be available on Steam. I guess it isn't listed yet because there is no set release date and Stardock won't have one until sometime during beta 5...whenever that is (September? October?).
 

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Scott, I must have misunderstood. I thought you said it was slated for release this coming Thursday? FYI, the pre-order is available now (with Beta download) from Stardock, though after the miscalculation I made with Endless Space, I think I'm going to hold off for the reviews and demo.

FYI, if memory serves the one or two reviews of Elemental I read gave it a middling score (4-6), definitely enough to scare me away.

I still say that there has not been a good turn-based sword and sorcery game since Age of Wonders 2. I recently tried the HOMM6 demo, but absolutely hated the attrition-based combat system, totally inappropriate for that kind of game. When I think of attrition I think of WW1, not JRR. ;)
 
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Scott Tortorice

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Scott, I must have misunderstood. I thought you said it was slated for release this coming Thursday? FYI, the pre-order is available now (with Beta download) from Stardock, though after the miscalculation I made with Endless Space, I think I'm going to hold off for the reviews and demo.
Sorry for the confusion. I mean that Beta 4 is being released this Thursday, not the full game. The full game won't be released until "it is done" as they say, sometime after beta 5 (probably late fall). Those who purchased Elemental War of Magic (like me), or those who pre-order, get in on the beta. And yeah, I wouldn't pre-order this just yet. I still need to see more improvements before I would be confident recommending a pre-order to anyone. Not only that, but there WILL be a demo when the final game is released, so pre-ordering isn't really worth it unless you consider it a must have.

FYI, if memory serves the one or two reviews of Elemental I read gave it a middling score (4-6), definitely enough to scare me away.
Four is about right for the initial release - even after all the patching I would have only given it a 6 myself.

I still say that there has not been a good turn-based sword and sorcery game since Age of Wonders 2. I recently tried the HOMM6 demo, but absolutely hated the attrition-based combat system, totally inappropriate for that kind of game. When I think of attrition I think of WW1, not JRR. ;)
Yeah, I hear you on that. Guess you didn't care for Warlock either, then?
 

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Oops, you are right Scott, I did forget about Warlock. I would give that game a 7. The thing is, although I mostly enjoyed it for the couple of weeks I was playing it, for some reason I've not felt any motivation to go back to it, not like Civ5 or Age of Wonders 2 - Shadow Magic which I regularly return to every couple months.

When I think about it, what really appealed to me about Age of Wonders was that it was a very engaging and personal gaming experience, especially regarding your heroes. I get the feeling that Enchantress might be the same kind of game, which has me at least a little excited about it. Warlock, on the other hand, though mostly fun, is a bit more generic. It's like a fantasy and combat-heavy version of Civ5 minus the intricate diplomacy, building queues, and tech tree. And the lack of diverse and interesting heroes like AoW hurts Warlock a little as well. At the end of the day then Warlock in my book is one of those games that is fun for a while, but I'm not sure it has a lot of staying power. I would say though that I love the world of Aradania the Russian developers have created and have already used in a number of games and hope they continue to do games based on that fantasy milieu.

BTW, speaking of Sword and Sorcery games, for about the fifth time in two months I'm yet again thinking seriously of Dragon Age: Origins. Steam has it with all the DLC's for $30.
 
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Scott Tortorice

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Brad Wardell has put a 40 min(!) preview vid of Elemental: Fallen Enchantress beta 4:

[video=youtube;65rtyTNRrjQ]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65rtyTNRrjQ[/video]

Can't wait to give it a try tomorrow!
 

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Gosh Scott, you're a Wardell/Stardock proselyte in the same way that an old coworker of mine used to think that Chris Taylor (Total Annihilation, Dungeon Siege, Supreme Commander) could do no wrong. ;) But seriously, I would be curious to try it as I am definitely looking for the successor to my beloved Age of Wonders series. The trouble is, the $40 price tag for the pre-order/beta is a bit steep. For another, if the game is any good, I would hate to burn myself out on it before the full enchilada is released.

On a plus note, I skimmed through the vid and the game does look promising. I gather then that the Beta 4 gives you a complete sandbox campaign (like the sandbox campaign mode in AoW), and the only (major) thing left for full release would be the story-driven campaign? If so then it might actually be worth the bread. I do love a good single player story-driven campaign, but I agree that a good sandbox mode is where a game gets its longevity, which is why I keep going back to Civ5 and AoW/Shadow Magic. Having said that, my main question then is what exactly you get with Beta 4. A complete (or mostly complete) sandbox mode with different map types and sizes and all factions available and playable, or at least enough factions to make things interesting?

Update: I've been watching the lengthy video in its entirety, and wow! The game does seem a lot like an updated Age of Wonders 2. This is by no means a bad thing though, as AoW2 is a great game. The big thing from AoW is managing the tactical battles, which can be a lot of fun. Also, it was definitely an AoW moment when one of the AI's made a run on his capital, and he had to scramble back with his main army to defend it. The negotiation animations and tech tree remind me a lot of Civ5, but again, this is all good. Further, the high level view with units on pedestals like chess pieces is visually appealing and was used by Longbow in their Hegemony game. One thing new I've seen in the vid that I really like is being able to create your own custom units. Anyway, I may have to spring for FE.Beta4 this evening, as long as there is enough content in the Beta to make it worthwhile.
 
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