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Hegemony Gold: Wars of Ancient Greece

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Level 13 Extraplanar Programmer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: Toronto
Posted on September 21, 2010 at 4:34 am

Just cross-posting this here in case anybody missed it: we're announcing Hegemony Gold: Wars of Ancient Greece, a major upgrade to Hegemony, which also happens to be free for people who already purchased Hegemony, and you can try the alpha now! Check the link for more details.

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on September 21, 2010 at 12:25 pm

It seems to be really exciting! I'm downloading it ;)

Level 8 Human .
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on September 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Hopefully this is a good place to leave some feedback on the current Alpha.

I've only been playing Hegemony for the last week or so now, barely started the campaign in the original release and noted the alpha/expansion plans almost straight away - good timing on my part :D

That said, I have the following comments on the changes based on my experience with the early game:

Firstly, while I really like the city-based population rewrite, it would be nice to have some sort of quick-glance way to see which cities have got "spare" population since there is no longer any easy way to tell how many more troops you can support without going from city to city and checking.

Secondly, I feel the Home Ground bonus needs to be toned down slightly. I really like the idea of it, but it really shouldn't allow ALL units to fight to the death regardless since this dramatically diminishes the significance of cutting off a cities food supply for any length of time unless you completely reduce the city supply to zero - at which point the garrison in the city can take to the field and despite having no food will still not break in the face of overwhelming odds.

I think that making the Home Ground bonus into a significant morale increase (akin to a shrine) would be a better way to balance the home advantage since the defenders already have significant advantages even without city walls in regards to replacements and supply. If you manage to overcome the defender's advantages, having to kill them to the last man doesn't feel appropriate - especially as it means you can't capture slaves even in a well fought victory around an enemy settlement.

Thirdly, while I'm sure you're aware of this, it's unclear how some of the changes impact old rules.
Does the population cost still exist at all, or does the recruitment system completely replace it? Does a city's supply impact recruit replacement at all? How quickly does the recruitment pool replenish? Can we make it faster/slower or hinder the enemies ability to replenish it's units (e.g. can we cut off supply to a city to stop it generating fresh recruits?)

Love the game guys, and so far I'm loving the alpha changes too :) looking forward to seeing more of this (and raving to my friends that this is like total war but good :D )

The time-scale is pretty much perfect for this kind of game, I'm hugely impressed. Just quick enough to allow long term and short term decisions to both make sense in the scale of play. Kudos to everyone on the team!

Level 16 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on September 22, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Thanks a lot for the feedback.

Getting a quick idea of how many recruits you have left has also been a concern of ours and there are currently two ideas to aid with that. First off, i do plan to add it as a third bar when you hover the mouse over a city and I do plan to add numbers to the rollovers so you can get more specific information than just how full they are.

Secondly I'm considering adding back an old feature we tried early on in development where we had multiple stacks of much smaller chips around cities on the strategy map to indicate how much food was in the city. With the new recruit system I was thinking of putting 2 sets of stacks one for food and the other for recruits (they'd be coloured differently). Theoretically it would give you a fairly instantaneous way of seeing what cities were better stocked. The downside (and i think it was why we dropped it in the first place) was that it could clutter up the strategy map too much.

Regarding the 'Close to Home' bonus: we have actually just dropped this in our internal build of the game and replaced it with a defensive fortification buff that units receive when fighting within supply range of a friendly walled city or fort. This gives more purpose to forts and as it affects damage done to a unit rather than morale so it maintains the importance of flanking.

On your third point, admittedly the documentation is quite vague right now as we didn't want to spend too much time on it while things are in flux. Right now the rate at which a city regenerates recruits is solely based on it's size so that larger cities will regenerate recruits faster. I do like the idea of adjusting that based on supply levels.

We should hopefully have an update to the alpha out next week that includes a few more adjustments as well as more scenarios. Some of the things we actively adjusting include the cost of diplomacy, what happens to recruits when you disband them and increasing the usefulness of flanking. Our current build also awards you extra recruits when you capture an enemy city to help with the long term attrition.

Level 8 Human Vault Technician
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Posted on September 22, 2010 at 5:59 pm

So I gave the new alpha version a really brief try tonight, despite being so short on time right now, I was just too anxious to see it...

First impressions:

Started playing a sandbox mode game with the Arcadian League and to crash test the new features, I decided to attempt a bold incursion into Sparta.
I was totally over-confident from my original Hegemony experience with them, approaching the matter with the traditional Macedonian carelessness of "I'll just wrestle them down with endless waves of cheap, expendable hoplites and peltasts until they surrender to my superior Borg tactics".

Needless to say, it was a total disaster... and how wonderful a disaster that was! After my initial attack failed, my recruitment pools were still nearly empty. This is madness! - I thought. This is Sparta! - they said. So I was forced to conclude that, for the time being, I have exhausted my resources. Once I realized this, I immediately felt a million times more excited about every battle I fought afterwards, knowing I have to play it clever now and actually pay attention to my losses - winning the field now makes a difference! When my other neighbours attacked me, it also didn't feel like a vain treadmilling anymore, beating them back was fun as it made them suffer!

I also love the way my victories increase the intimidation factor on the diplomatic screen, making diplomatic actions much cheaper. These changes are beyond fantastic, I can't just kick the strongest Greek faction off the Peloponnessos with my eyes closed now, I finally need to be careful and tactical and I love that! It feels like a real war now, as far as manpower managament goes!

Although I didn't make any conquests yet, I tried the road upgrading system and it seemed extremely useful, knowing what a pain it was to get some of my cities supplied while others were sitting on huge stockpiles of food back in the day. Great job!

Tried setting up camps to gather food too, but that didn't seem to work so I guess that's not activated yet. Looking forward to it though!

As for bugs, I know this is just an alpha so I expect there to be plenty, but I haven't come across anything gamebreaking so far.
For instance there's a minor one with the stockpiling of food, it doesn't let you increase the limit, as it automatically reverts back to the default whenever you change it. But this is a pretty obvious one so it may well be just a temporary restriction you put in, I wouldn't know. ;)

I also agree with GaGrin's post, especially with improving the accessibility of some crucial info and the concern on the home ground bonus. Glad to hear you're addressing both!

I do have a question though: You mentioned toning down the effectiveness of sieging without catapults. How will that work out for the scenarios or the sandbox mode where we're playing factions which don't have access to catapults? On one hand, if the city's defenders have been defeated outside the city, with the new recruitment system they can't recrew the garrison so fast which should make sieges easier, but won't we still suffer heavy losses ourselves without catapults?

Anyhow, I'll keep testing and post my results, but I'm mighty impressed with all the major changes so far, outstanding job taking an already awesome game to new heights of greatness!