When fixes become features…

Week 33 is over. While the idea behind last week’s fixes was to, well, fix whatever’s left, some of the more wishlisty items became a reality and changed the gameplay in somewhat important ways.

Let’s see what’s new.

New and Updated Spells

Since we lost Build Village, Declare Town and Metropolis from Erol spell list, Erol felt severely depreciated. Fear not, Erol is back in business with a nice counter-list:

  • Ungrow Monolith – this is a cheap spell that will destroy own monoliths. It’s trivial to cast and works only on own monoliths.
  • Thorned Bog – a debuff spell, cast on mono/throne and creates a Mental-Lapseish field that slows down all enemy avatars.
  • Blend with the Forest – the “ward” spell often asked for, this one will hide army numbers from enemies (and potentially even DP, with sufficient vehemence).
  • Clean Slate – the ultimate in debuffs, this one strips an avatar (friendly or not) of everything (spells, artifacts, PURSUERS), except the army itself. Pricey but insidious. Or life-saving, depending on the target.

Blast Monolith has been retooled to work exclusively as a bomb spell – it now has no vehemence, can target any monolith, and its price is based solely upon that monoliths’ worth. For cheap monoliths, Blast price is more that monolith cost to encourage sending avatars, but for expensive ones, it may be worth it to spend a few dozen K for a pretty explosion.

Finally, Great Escape can no longer be cast while being banished. It was a trivial method to escape the ultimate punishment.

Client Updates

Graphics for pathing were updated a bit:

And the really-important update is the little circle next to avatars indicating number of avatars on that hex. No more second guessing and manual clicking through stacks to count the avatars or caravans.

Another “what took you so long” fix is the letters write form:

Recipient elders are now searchable and sorted alphabetically.

Also, settlement influences are now sorted according to influence and no longer some random order.

General Fixes

In the general category we have a we minor items:

  1. Thrones will no longer generate units when an enemy avatar is in the ROP. If he’s in the ROP that means the battle was already lost and generating units would just cause another battle every tick (in case enemy avatar was parked 1 hex off Throne).
  2. Of great help to me, and not you, Dominance server can now generate new topologies on the fly, without a server restart.

Battle Changes

Most interesting changes are in Battle() department.

  1. While we check and update dead units after every phase, morale breaks happen only on two occasions: after assassins strike, and on a round end. We need the post-assassin break so demoralized armies would flee and allow for an assassin-only army to win. However, it’s now possible for armies to draw into negative morale and not flee, at least until the entire round has ended.
  2. Battles that lasted 5 full rounds and had noone flee are now classified as draws. When a draw happens, all armies in the stalemate retreat (same as loss), but they are not subject to attain and are awarded win XP – full XP amount of 3 XP per unit killed. They also do not suffer desertion losses.
  3. Throne is the exception to the rule. Armies defending the throne WILL NEVER flee. Even at high negative morale troops will stick around and fight to the last man, unless panicked by terror. However, negative morale is still an issue, and if an army goes into negative numbers the attack power of all units is halved. This means that thrones are now the ultimate defense positions and one can not begin occupation unless all defenders are slain.

It is important to note that previously, a large army could park next to the throne or on top of it, and 50 battles could occur in the single tick – until the defender was zeroed. This felt wrong. Now the likely scenario for an non-overwhelming attacking force is the draw  – the attacker will be shoved off and will have to re-engage, or bring more forces.

But what of the assassins in throne fights? Well, they have nowhere to retreat to. They will stick around, doing no damage after the first round, but can still contribute with mindbending or similar.

This is all for the last week. This wee I’m focusing on finishing the battle() changes, and the remaining mantis items – we’re under 15/200 open issues!