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Some thoughts after finishing first vanilla game

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Level 8 Human Paladin
Alignment: Lawful good
Posted on February 15, 2011 at 8:54 pm

I just finished my first vanilla game, completing all of the objectives and conquering the entire map. I must say this is really fun game and I'm glad I bought it. I had never heard of the game prior to the sale on steam, when I picked this up. Now I'am really looking forward to the Gold release and will gladly pay the additional money to upgrade to Gold.

- Raids: I really liked how the Althenians were constantly raiding my shore every spring. It often made me long for winter so I could concentrate on my land campaign and not have to worry about pesky raiders. I wouldn't have minded it if every few years or so if they would've tried full scale invasions instead just raiding.

- Supply Nodes: I like the supply system and looking forward to the ability to be able to upgrade them in Gold. I would've like to have the ability to choose between a land or sea route when connecting cities that had both available, as a work around I would have to build all the sea nodes, then connect the land routes and then demolish the sea routes I didn't want.
One of the thing that didn't make sense to me was the number of supply nodes compared to number of resources in a given region. I understand the number is base on historical numbers of trade routes, but with that being the case I don't think mines and farms should be considered trade routes. In one of the Northern regions your given an objective to capture 8 mines in single region, yet the city for the region only has four trade nodes. With one node being used for a farm, that allows you to connect to 3 mines, leaving 5 mines not being used, provided you don't connect it to another city. Another example was a region that had four farms but only 2 trade nodes. In the game I just finished I always chose farms over mines and always choose to connect a city to at least to two other cities if possible. There were dozens of unconnected mines and half a dozen unconnected farms even though every city was using all its nodes.

Pathing: For the most part I didn't have really any trouble with pathing, once I figured out I could use the shift key for way points. Though sometimes connecting two cities together would give me a path not found even when they were close to each other. The one that baffled me the most is Tralles and Idris in the persian empire, both cities are right next to each other and both have enough supply nodes but when you try and link them you get no path found.

Forts: I found forts to be rather weak in terms of strength. I found they had small sphere of influence and I could easily capture a fort with a single unit without breaking a sweat. I actually ended up modding them to have a 1000 hp when garrisioned, bumped up their vision radius and doubled the number of missles they fire. If I knew where to find it, I would've increased their firing range as well. To my dismay I found very few of them with an actual garisson by the AI.

Invasions: I would like to have seen the different factions do full scall invasions, I found typically the factions would only siege my cities when they were trying to retake one of the cities that I had captured and usaully the force would all come from a single city. I'd like to see joint attacks from multiple cities and then have them continue to try and expand. Also never once did the AI bring catapults to siege my cities.

Watchtowers: I found they had a rather short view range for being watchtowers and ended up modding the range to these as well.

Combat: One thing I noticed is that all units are by default in hold ground stance. I'd like to be able to change a units stance to a guard stance so that when attacked by a ranged unit, my troops would engage them instead of standing still soaking up the arrows or Javelins. Being able to change stances would be very helpful when your managing units on mulitple fronts.

The Map: I found that my empire and Spartan colors on the map were very similar and hard to tell apart. Also some of the name of the seas near edges of the map couldn't be uncovered because they extended past the point where your ships could travel.

Bugs: In the object "Through the Sporades to the Rhodes: Cnidus" if you move "Agatharchide the Scholar" into Cnidus via a ship, he is not removed from the game when the objective completes.

When giving a grouped unit specific orders, the remainder of the grouped units would stop dead in their tracks, instead continuing with their current order.

Often when selecting units the help bar would show the units icon instead of their stats as if they were in a group, giving them an order would resolve the issue, I was unable to figure out the steps to reproduce but it happened alot during my game.


These are just my observations and I hope they are seen as constructive critisism as I had a really fun time playing through the campaign. Thanks for the excellent game.

Edit: One final thought, after you conquer all the cities in the game you should get a final quest to return to Pella. Upon finishing the quest a cutscene should play with a victory celebration or talking about Alexander's exploits. Then roll credits or return us to the main menu since there isn't anything left do, except start again. :)

Level 8 Human Hegemon
Alignment: Lawful good
Location: PA, USA
Posted on February 16, 2011 at 9:02 am

I'm well into my second game and have been compiling a list very similar to this and you've saved me the post - thank you. I strongly agree with most of your thoughts and suggestions, though not with the watchtower one, albeit it not being one of your major points.

Watch towers essentially give you perfect recon in real time, utterly ridiculous if you think about it. I feel the current view range, which is dozens of square miles, is fine as is. So, there are small gaps where Philip would not know everything that's happening all the time, esspecially in the more remote northern tribal regions. Thus unarmed parties (slaves) couldn't move carefree in the region. Realistic and adds to immersion imho.

All taken, great list and one I hope the dev's take note of when they've lifted their noses from the Gold grindstone.

Level 8 Human Sage
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: Great Britain
Posted on February 16, 2011 at 11:11 am

glad u enjoyed the game and welcome to the family

Combat: One thing I noticed is that all units are by default in hold ground stance. I'd like to be able to change a units stance to a guard stance so that when attacked by a ranged unit, my troops would engage them instead of standing still soaking up the arrows or Javelins. Being able to change stances would be very helpful when your managing units on mulitple fronts.

the "Guard" function is an excellent idea. would make a real difference to some of the more tedious aspects of the game.

also, i too believe the absence of AI catapults is a serious flaw in the game

Level 8 Human Human
Alignment: True neutral
Location: UK
Posted on February 16, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Speaking of catapults, they are really ballistae, aren't they?

Level 8 Human Hegemon
Alignment: Lawful good
Location: PA, USA
Posted on February 16, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Speaking of catapults, they are really ballistae, aren't they?

Yes, and I believe there's a mention of them being called 'Shield Piercers'. It was news to me that they were used at all, let alone effectively and in numbers, before the Romans - though judging by the amount of detailed research that clearly went into this game's objectives/story line, I'm not questioning it.

Level 8 Human Human
Alignment: True neutral
Location: UK
Posted on February 16, 2011 at 12:28 pm

As far as I know, they were invented by the Greeks, around 399BC and specifically (at first) for use in Syracuse. Wikipedia has some info here:

"...it was only under Philip II of Macedon and even more so under his son Alexander, that the ballista began to develop and gain recognition as both siege engine and field artillery."

So it does seem to have been used. I was just interested to see them called 'catapults' here, and not 'ballistae'.

Level 9 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on February 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm

My knowledge of this era in history is by no means proffessional, but I believe that regarding the development of the catapult it had existed before, but during Philips reign his engineers improved it greatly, and his foes did not use it against him, so this is correctly displayed in the game.
As for all the points raised by Meethos I agree completely, and the guard suggestion is brilliant!
I think additionally though perhaps the addition of a mercenary system would be nice, without having the need to conquer the cities to have access to their units.
However this is by far one of the greatest games ever, and the said suggestions are merely a personal element to what may better the game.

Level 8 Human Hegemon
Alignment: Lawful good
Location: PA, USA
Posted on February 16, 2011 at 1:09 pm

To sort of merge the siege engine and suggestion parts of this tread - During my game, some of the most heavily fortified cities I encountered were tribal population centers. Is this simply to represent the grueling aspects of a campaign into a remote region? Or represent the cumulation of sieging many tribal villages? Did the tribes around the Danube have fortifications more extensive than the Greek Poleis? There was no way I could bring the siege equipment there in a reasonable amount of time and thus had a long drawn out siege and so food control was the key to victory. This ended up creating a very fun and challenging campaign - I'm just wondering if there's a better way to show it.

Level 8 Human enforcer
Alignment: Lawful evil
Posted on February 16, 2011 at 4:13 pm

- Supply Nodes: [snip] I would've like to have the ability to choose between a land or sea route when connecting cities that had both available, as a work around I would have to build all the sea nodes, then connect the land routes and then demolish the sea routes I didn't want.

You may not have noticed that you have the ability to Shift-click when you are drawing a supply a route (useful when you do not want your carts to go by the beach where the Athenians land their boats each spring)

By using Shift-click, you can force a route to be water or land based.

Level 8 Human Sage
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: Great Britain
Posted on February 16, 2011 at 7:04 pm

yeah i meant to mention the trade route waypoints in my reply and forgot.

coming back to the catapults: if its historicaly accurate that only Philip used then then thats fair enough. but they do create an enormous imbalance in-game. lets home in the final release the AI has improved sufficiently. something as simple as the AI staying out of range of the cities defenses and attempting to starve the city out instead of suicidal lemming-type waves dieing against city walls would be nice.

Level 8 Human Paladin
Alignment: Lawful good
Posted on February 17, 2011 at 12:59 pm


You may not have noticed that you have the ability to Shift-click when you are drawing a supply a route (useful when you do not want your carts to go by the beach where the Athenians land their boats each spring)

By using Shift-click, you can force a route to be water or land based.


Actually I did not know I could do that, thank you. That will be very useful on my next playthrough and also resolves my pathing point as well.

Level 8 Human Paladin
Alignment: Lawful good
Posted on February 17, 2011 at 3:59 pm

In which regions were you having problems with farms?

Level 8 Human Perruptor
Alignment: Lawful
Posted on February 18, 2011 at 2:10 am

Congratulations on finishing. I could never find enough time - exacerbated by the fact that I kept starting over due to finding out the hard way how something works.

As for 'catapult', starting with my Webster's etymological dictionary and following that hit with a peek in the "Big Liddel", it's Latinized 'kata' + 'palton', "dart thrower", where 'palton', "bolt", is from from 'pallo' - "throw, hurl", rather than 'pelte', "light shield" (as in peltast).

There's a very similar word that meant "throw down", as in wrestling.

Wikipedia is apparently wrong to offer the "shield" etymology.

It's not obvious (to me) that they would be particularly useful against stone fortifications. Presumably they negated the range advantage of archers on the walls over archers on the ground, but their slow rate of fire shouldn't have much effect on defending archers during an actual assault.

Did the Macedonians ever adopt stone throwers, to actually break the walls?

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on February 25, 2011 at 6:57 pm

what files did you mod to increase garrisoned HP for forts and missle fire rates for forts/cities?

Level 8 Human Paladin
Alignment: Lawful good
Posted on February 25, 2011 at 9:10 pm

what files did you mod to increase garrisoned HP for forts and missle fire rates for forts/cities?

All the things I edited are in the Globals.xnt and can be found in the Resources\Data folder. All the code is from Vanilla, as I don't have Gold yet.

For the missile fire rate its under the <!-- siege --> heading:

<constfiringrateperfortgarrisonunit>0.25</constfiringrateperfortgarrisonunit>
<!-- max number of missiles per day (10sec) for each guy in the garrison -->
<constfiringratepercitygarrisonunit>0.10</constfiringratepercitygarrisonunit>
<!-- max number of missiles per day (10sec) for each guy in the garrison -->

I changed the values to 0.55 and 0.50 respectivly in my game.


I think I just found cities and forts attack ranges, though haven't tried it yet:
<constcitycatapultrange>4</constcitycatapultrange>
<constfortcatapultrange>6</constfortcatapultrange>

As for the HP its under <!-- building stats --> then <!-- forts -->:
<consthitpoints>200</consthitpoints> <!-- number of hitpoints, buildings with hitpoints must be sieged -->

I changed this value to 1000. There are two types of forts both coastal and regular forts so make sure you edit both values.

Other things I changed were the view distances for cities, forts and watchtowers, the number of days it takes for a city to rebel and length of time it takes to set fire to a farm. If you'd like the values and code for those let me know. I hope this helped.

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on February 25, 2011 at 11:37 pm

View distances for forts and fire to farms sound like good changes. Is there a thread with these modding resources?

Level 8 Human Paladin
Alignment: Lawful good
Posted on February 26, 2011 at 7:24 pm

View distances for forts and fire to farms sound like good changes. Is there a thread with these modding resources?

Again these files are found in the globals.xnt in the Resources/Data folder.

The view distance for forts is found under <!-- building stats --> and <!-- forts -->:
<constviewrange>16</constviewrange>

You can find the view range for farms, villas, mines and watchtowers all undert the <!-- building stats --> heading. Though if you want to change a city its under its own heading <!-- cities -->:
<constcityviewrange>25</constcityviewrange>

The fire stats are under <!-- supply -->:
<constfarmsetfirework>100</constfarmsetfirework>
<!-- number of man days of work to set a fire so it continues to burn a farm -->
<constfarmhealdays>240</constfarmhealdays>
<!-- number of days it takes for a farm damage to heal -->

For the spead at which cities rebel its found under <!-- city rebellion -->:
<constcityrebeldays>30</constcityrebeldays>

I changed it to 60 days for my game, though looking at the beta gold file, its been changed to 90. In the vinilla code there is a <constcityrebeldelay>30</constcityrebeldelay> which looks to have been removed in in Gold.

If your like me and hate waiting to seige a city because your sheep are taking to long to get to the front, you can find the sheeps travel speed under <!-- noncombatants --> then <brigadeconst brigadetype="sheep">:
<constwalkspeed>3</constwalkspeed>

And as for another thread with modding reference, this appears to be the only one. And there is nothing on wiki site yet.

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on March 1, 2011 at 2:27 am

Have you acquired Gold yet?

I was wondering if there was a way to enable diplomacy in the Phillip campaign (currently when you hover over "alliance" it says not "available in this scenario". They nerfed mercenaries significantly, and I'd like to get the "allied" unit bonuses for my Paeonian Tribal Cavalry and Archers! If not ill have to live with pansy (even more than before) archers and thalasslain cav :(

Level 9 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on March 1, 2011 at 10:41 am

Hugely enjoying the game. One minor point. I've noticed that when using the cursor on the edges of the screen to move around, the earlier beta versions - although not as smooth as I would have liked - were significantly better than the final release.

Level 8 Human Paladin
Alignment: Lawful good
Posted on March 1, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Have you acquired Gold yet?

No not yet, haven't decided if I want to wait for the steam version or not and until my tax returns come back I don't have room in the budget for the upgrade atm.

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