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A few questions...

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Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Posted on May 14, 2010 at 9:57 am

I love the concept of the game but I'm encountering a few problems that prevent me from enjoying it once the initial impression wears off.

1) Is there any point to defeating a unit (as opposed to routing and letting them escape), aside from generating slaves? Assuming the AI is under the same restrictions I get my executed units back and even if they lost theirs, it would just mean they could immediately rebuild them in roughly the same exact time.

2a) This is a two parter because if I can solve one, my entire issue would go away. With regards to army management there is a slight delay in selecting a units regardless of how I attempt it (selecting a control group, left-clicking, etc...). The problem is that when you start managing large groups, or units spread out all over the place, the delay adds up to be significant enough to cause me heartburn. I don't get any sort of hit anywhere else (FPS slow downs, processing hicups, etc...) so it appears to be a in-game function. I almost think it wouldn't be too bad if it wasn't also hard to break up groups. I like that selecting a formed group selects everyone, but because of issue 2b I have break up groups constantly, and that involves multiple selections and orders, which just make this worse.

Also there is a delay in giving a command, but since I can pause and/or avoid the delay by left-clicking and dragging a target after I've given it its easier to live with.

2b) Large groups of units, three or four plus, are impossible to control as a group. If I micromanage I end up bouncing all over the place causing the 2a item to get worse. If I don't micromanage I end up (usually) losing or taking far more losses than I should reasonably take. For example, archery units (not peltists and javelin units) have to get almost as close to fire as the short range units and nearly immediately flee as soon as engaged, but while the AI units will run from a charge, they won't. If I put more than one unit in a line, and they're attacked (or they attack) a unit which only hit one section of the line, the rest of the line won't move to support.

These are more minor annoyances that I'm hoping there might be a better way to manage:

3) Is it possible to have a unit attempt to run down another unit it routs if no one else is around? All my units immediately stop fighting anyone who routs, which is nice when I'm in a larger engagement, but doesn't make any sense when I'm not.

4) Do non-Macedonian units level up over time, either yours or your opponents. My opponents troops seem to slowly grow in strength, although maybe its in my imagination, and my mercenary forces doesn't seem to level up although I don't use many of them (except for garrison duty).

I do want to stress that aside from items 1 & 2 (actually mostly 2a) I do love this game and want to commend you on making it. Its rare to see a thorough yet simple and effective game design these days, especially from a small group.

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: Good
Posted on May 14, 2010 at 10:41 am

I think that capturing/killing defeated enemies means that the unit will take a bit longer to reform, but other than that it doesn't make much of a difference (apart from getting slaves, obviously).

I agree that it would be really nice if there was a toggle for basic ai, for the player units, like ranged units retreating if the enemy gets too close, or melee units automatically engaging ranged units if attacked by them.

As for selecting and moving units, I tend to avoid using large formations, not so much because of the delay when selecting the units, although I get that too, but rather because they just move incredibly slowly. Having a large formation traversing a narrow pass takes forever, in my experience, and it's much faster to move each unit individually.

Mercenaries don't level up. I don't know if enemy units level up, though, but I think they do.

Level 13 Extraplanar Programmer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: Toronto
Posted on May 14, 2010 at 2:01 pm

1) If they manage to rout back to their city, then the survivors are added to the recovering brigade, which makes them recover faster. So if the units are coming from a city that you're trying to take down, it's definitely better to kill them off before they get back to the city.

2a) The delay is half a second, because it's waiting to see if you'll double-click. You can reduce the double-click timer by editing the 'msecDoubleClick' value in the controls.xml file, which can be found in the directory where you installed the game. I personally prefer 250 instead of 500. Today I'm going to add a config setting for this on the controls page. Hopefully we'll get a 1.0.1 beta built for Monday, so if you've bought the full version you can wait for that.

2b) It's generally best to make judicious use of the pause button (spacebar) and issue all of your commands that way. In fact, if you hover over the three lights under the compass at the top of the screen, you can make it so that the game auto-pauses when you come under attack.

3) It's often a good idea to keep a cavalry unit nearby, since they're fast enough to chase down fleeing units.

4) Nope, non-Macedonian troops never level up. Units that you encounter later in the game are a bit tougher, but they don't level up. You'll probably also find that as you take more land from a faction, they'll send larger forces to respond.

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Posted on May 16, 2010 at 10:37 am

Setting that value to 250 resolved just about all my concerns related to the delay selecting troops, much appreciated for the advice. I ran across a few more questions/concerns while playing most of yesterday though:

1) Migrants. Maybe I took too long to expand, but I've got 4 Migrants I can't do anything with. Every single city I have or I conquer is already filled to max.

2) Sea combat. I I'm stuck unable to get ahead against the Athenians because of their enormous numbers and a lack of understanding on how sea battles play out. As far as I can tell ships engage one on one, even if I have more than they do, and somewhere around 1/2 of the time my ships win. The problem with this system comes out that I reached a point where they've consolidated enough that one on front I've got at least 7 ships in the cities adjacent to me, and in another I've got at least 12. I've stripped down my forces to try and deal with the sea threat and at most I've managed to scrounge up the resources for 11 total and I can't make any headway. I can't even concentrate my entire fleet and stop Athenian raids with how the combat system works, let alone actually fight back at this point. Is my only recourse to just keep advancing on the ground and go back to keeping large garrisons ready to respond to coastal raids?

3) So far I've got the Western Frontier to the edge Amphripolis in the East, and Stropsko to just outside Thermopylae and I'm almost at the point where I'm forcing myself to continue. I get attacked via six different vectors (not counting sea raids, which adds at least two if I respond by sea, and at least four if I let them land, which they usually do regardless of what my fleet does) and so far three of those I have to constantly watch/manage or they'll overrun me (or destroy my food supplies to those front, causing roughly the same effect). In addition to that, I get raided often enough that I haven't had a moment of rest to relax and focus on forward planning in over an hour of game time, there is always a fight going on somewhere. I can still push forward even despite the constant fighting, but that just feels like a chore. I think my major problem here goes back to Peltasts and Javelin troops. If I'm paying attention then engaging them isn't challenging or particular difficult, just extremely frustrating because the difference between them being wiped off he face of the earth and my troops being routed is whether I'm there to tell them what to do. I suspect if I could use cavalry to deal with them, it wouldn't be so bad, but all my frontier cities are at choke points, and Cavalry units are too wide to maneuver, they end up getting caught by the troops my infantry are fighting when trying to maneuver around to hit the ranged units.

I probably need to hold off playing for a bit, because just starting up the game and THINKING about what I've got ahead of me this morning causes me heartburn. Yet on the other hand, I've loved the game up until now, can imagine having even more fun, and want to play more. Its just when I go from "want to play" to "here's what I'm going to do", it all falls apart.

4) City connections. I've long since given up connecting everything to my cities, which I suspect is a design decision, but its still proving to be more problematic than seems right. My current focus is to have all my farms and cities linked up, and any extra room goes to mines. I've still got a few Villa's connected, but I'm slowly getting rid of those as they just aren't worth it now that I've got mines sitting unused. However any of my forward cities where I have to station troops never get enough food supplies to last them through winter because my directly connected cities can't pump enough food forward to keep them supplied and build up a reserve for winter. I could used sheep, I know, but while working with sheep is at least interesting when managing offensive operations, it is just plain tedious keeping track of all my current cities and seeing if they need a sheep or not, running out to capture a new one and planning well enough in advance to ensure they get there in time.

As I was writing this up, something occurred to me that I could probably test in game but... (see item #3) If I connect a forward city to a city far away, does that affect the total amount of supplies per week that can travel along the path?