Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Published on July 30, 2010 By Draginol In Elemental Dev Journals

As we move towards release many of the assets in the beta make their exit. We shall miss them (well, maybe not).

The finished quests start to get put into place, the finalized notable locations begin to be inserted and the unreleased spell books and special abilities start to get implemented.

The beta program has largely been about testing out systems and mechanics. Some mechanics, like the per city level building limiter, didn’t survive. Others, like influence based resource control, replaced them.

Memory Problems

The area we need the most help on right now has to do with out of memory issues. This is something we’re very concerned about because it’s not easily repeatable (but very easy for those who run into it).  So we’ll be asking users who run out of memory to get us their debug.err and their saved games so we can look at it. It could be as simple as some building in the game taking up some crazy amount.  It shouldn’t be hard to track down something that eats up over 100 megabytes per turn (or so you’d think anyway).

The other area we’d like to hear from you are all your ideas, suggestions and wish lists.  We want to make sure Elemental is something really special on day 1 as well as set the game on the path to evolving over time.

New Quests

One of the types of quests that I’m enjoying are the ones where you have to collect various items and bring them back to someone to get them made into a special item.  I’m looking at adding the ability to trade these items between players so if the AI players have found Midnight Stones (for instance) and you need one more to get the boots of eternal dodging then you can trade with them for that midnight stone (and vice versa if they need something the AI can come to you and try to trade for it).

Special Abilities

Here’s a sampling of some of the special abilities we’re putting in:

Poison Shot
Tangled Web
Deadly Bite
Rain of Stone
Flame Strike
Savage Strike
Drowning Strike
Crushing Blow
Searing Attack
Agonizing Fear

But if you have your own special abilities you’d like to see, go ahead and post them and explain what they do. Keep in mind, the more convoluted they are, the less likely they are to go in (e.g. Moonlit Dance – if full moon, target unit has a chance of doing a special dance that causes adjacent units to mimic dance draining them of their will to live if they have an intelligence less than 8 but greater than 4).

Anyway, we’re pleased with how the game is turning out. The only thing we’re sweating right now really is the out of memory issue.

Comments (Page 6)
on Jul 31, 2010

Appetite: Instantly kill (eat) a creature with X hitpoints or fewer. You gain half those hit points.

Ambusher: Stationary and invisible in one tile. When an enemy unit enters the tile, they reveal themselves and attack. More suited towards "antlion" type enemies rather than thieves.

Awe: Intelligent opponents cannot initiate attacks against a creature with Awe. They may only counterattack. There can be plenty of variations effecting different enemies.

Animal Awe: As Awe, except only effect animals rather than intelligent creatures.

Charm: Give a Charm attack. %Int x 5 chance of resisting. Allows you to command a unit for one turn.

Displacer: Doubles the apparent unit size. Every attack has a %50 chance of hitting a doppelganger, which evaporates on hit.

Lash: Lash out at all enemies in one tile. They lose only 1 hit point each but take a morale penalty. Does not effect champions.

Lifespreader: Creates a 1 tile forest on the battleground. This can entangle opponents.

Suggestion: Implants a suggestion in an enemy unit that has a %Int x 2.5 of resisting. This allow you to move a unit a square in any direction, but not attack a friendly unit.

on Jul 31, 2010

Not a special ability, and maybe not the right place either, but i feel consumed by the intense "i want to name something cool that everyone will use ingame"-feeling.. 


I want a profession more suited towards using magic.. all that are now seems very focused on practical things, but there should at least be a Wizard class for bonus in essence. Maybe also include some special item for the profession, like a sword for warrior, scout cloak for ranger etc.. 

So.. A wizard.. or sorcerer, trickster, children entertainer. is all good 

on Jul 31, 2010

Not a special ability, and maybe not the right place either, but i feel consumed by the intense "i want to name something cool that everyone will use ingame"-feeling.. 

I want a profession more suited towards using magic.. all that are now seems very focused on practical things, but there should at least be a Wizard class for bonus in essence. Maybe also include some special item for the profession, like a sword for warrior, scout cloak for ranger etc.. 

So.. A wizard.. or sorcerer, trickster, children entertainer. is all good 

Adept - Class(like royal or warrior) - spells cost less and do more damage. Like 1-3 less mana and 10% more damage.

You know...

Why don't we have 'Historical background' be the current picks. I.E. Huntsman, Miner, Royal.  Then when your Sovereign hits Level 2 they get a class, Like Healer, Adept, Rogue, Warrior.  And then again at 6 they could have another split for super specialist roles.

on Jul 31, 2010


Wow, you missed all the fun ! If it's about exploring for free stuff I mean lots of games out there about that. I don't give a damn about that so, good thing they are gone tbh

I didn't miss any fun. I played the game to completion many times. More often than not, I played partway and abandoned the game. I just found the endgame boring and dull. All sense of discovery had gone out of it.

Just because I enjoy games differently than you do doesn't mean what I enjoy is less valid. Thank you.

on Jul 31, 2010

No idea is truly new. But some ideas are more new than others  

on Jul 31, 2010

Suggestion: Implants a suggestion in an enemy unit that has a %Int x 2.5 of resisting. This allow you to move a unit a square in any direction, but not attack a friendly unit.

Change the name to "Inception" and it's perfect

on Aug 01, 2010

Several abilities I think might be cool to have would be:

Shield Wall - Reduce movement by 50%, decrease piercing damage by 75% or something to that effect.

First Aid - heal targeted adjacent unit X. This could be based on the user's wisdom.

Leap Attack - With superhuman strength the unit leaps into the air coming down onto their target dealing 1.5 their normal damage. This maybe consumes the energy of two normal attacks but is less likely to miss.


Class ideas:

Pirate - After each battle that this hero wins they receive twice the amount of gold normally alotted.

Sail Master - All ships in this character's navy gain +1 movement points.

Master Shipwright - All ships built in a city with this character in it are produced 25% faster.

Explorer - +1 sight, reduced penalty for traveling through rough terrain.

Master Healer - Units in the same tile as this hero regain 2 health as long as they haven't moved the turn before.

Champion of the Meek - Hero gets a bonus to armor and health if stationed in a city.


I think this is all that I have so far. Amazing game guys!! I can't wait for the release of the final game and I am especially excited for the sea expansion! 

on Aug 01, 2010

Undead creatures - a must (Empire powered)

Siphon life - Unit's attack drain health from enemy and restores lost health

Raise undeath - Units who die from a "siphon life" attack would rise up as undead under the command of the opposing side until the end of the battle

Freezing touch - slows enemy by 35% speed

Weakening touch - reduces enemy attack by x%

Plague strike - each delivered attack can infect enemy with death disease (only works on living creatures)

Holy smite - each attack adds a holy (life) damage (only works on undead creatures)

Paralyzing touch - attacked unit must resist or cannot move for x turns

Draining aura - all enemy units in melee range suffers x damage (unless resisted) each turn they remain in range

on Aug 01, 2010

A few more ideas  that would be cool if they make it into the game.


Master of Body: Unit is a martial arts master, every level they gain +2 attack but cannot use any weapon other than a staff or fist weapons.



Aurablast: Unit channels their spirit into a powerful energy attack on any foe directly in front of them. Deals additional to any foe that is undead.

Chi Strike: The hero strikes with such force that his opponent is knocked back 1 space.

Harden skin: For a turn the unit has increased resistance to arrows. 75% damage reduction against piercing attacks.


If I think of more, I will be back!

on Aug 01, 2010





  • Vampirism:
  • Champions gain 1XP/turn
  • Increases Strength, Agility, and Combat Speed by 2.
  • Increases Max Health by 5.
  • Increases Resistance to Death Magic by 10%
  • Decreases Resistance to Life Magic AND Fire Magic by 50%.
  • On attack: heal self for 10% of damage dealt.
  • Can sacrifice City population to heal fully.
  • Can be spread to friendly units.
  • Decreases Kingdom prestige by 10% (This could either be a one-time 10%, or a stacking debuff to global kingdom prestige for each vampire, possibly up to a threshold of 50%)
  • First Strike:
    • Unit always hits first in combat. Canceled out if both attacker and defender have First Strike.
  • Swift Attack:
    • Unit can attack without fear of retaliation. Canceled out if both attacker and defender have Swift Attack.
  • Cleave:
    • Unit attacks all enemies in a frontal cone (3 squares in front, range of 1)
  • Whirlwind:
    • Unit attacks all adjacent enemies (range of 1)
  • Heal:
    • Heals friendly unit by 20% (or 5 health)
  • Charm:
    • Unit attempts to charm hostile unit (Charisma vs. Intelligence)
    • 1st turn success: hostile unit stunned
    • 2nd turn success (consecutive): hostile until becomes friendly (significantly harder to succeed)
  • Bombard (for catapults, giants (throw boulder), etc. - should be limited amount):
    • Launch a massive boulder at your enemies.
    • Main target takes 75% damage and is stunned for 2 turns.
    • All adjacent targets are stunned for 1 turn.
    • Walls take 50% damage.
  • Immortality:
    • Upon death, unit loses 10% XP and is resurrected in the capital (or closest city with a Graveyard)
  • Conduit:
    • Unit can act as a magical conduit for the Channeler/Sovereign and cast 1 spell per combat turn. This ability requires 100% of the units action points.
    • Should only be available to Champions (optional different mechanic for essence)
  • Life Drain:
    • On attack: heal self for 10% of damage dealt
    • Can sacrifice 100% of action points to sap the will of all adjacent living units, possibly stunning them (Intelligence vs. Intelligence) and healing self by 10%.
  • Shred
    • Lacerate enemy, dealing 150% damage, and causing a bleeding effect (10% of damage dealt per turn, for 3 turns)
    • Costs 50% of units action points.



  • Priests
    • Start with the 'Heal' ability
    • Start with the 'Charm' ability
    • Increased Resistance to Life Magic and Death Magic 50%
  • Catapults
    • Start with the "Bombard' ability
    • Decreased Resistance to Fire Magic 50%
  • Ghosts (require Graveyard):
    • Start with 'Life Drain' ability
    • Increased Resistance to Physical Damage 75%
    • Increased Resistance to Death Magic 75%
    • Decreased Resistance to Life Magic 75%
    • Decreased Physical Damage (dealt) by 50%
  • Angels (require Cathedral)
    • Start with 'Immortality'
    • Start with 'Whirlwind' (the wings, like in the horrible movie Legion)
    • Start with 'Life Drain'
  • Werewolf
    • Starts with 'Immortality'
    • Starts with 'Shred'
    • Starts with 'Cleave'


User Interface:

  • Character Screen
    • Character Doll (dressable - if thats a word)
    • Stats Screen
    • Derived Stats Screen
    • Bag window (holds all the loot)
    • Detail window (gives detail information on selected item or unit, see below)
    • Army window (displays units in Champions Army, determines position of units in Tactical Combat)
    • Drag'n'Drop interface for items and units between armies
  • A possible Character screen (minus the drag'n'drop interface) is below:

Magic System

  • Essence
    • Should be a global stat (like food) instead of a unit stat.
    • Increases based on:
      • Total land under Sovereigns Influence,
      • Controlled Shrines
      • Special buildings (Wizard Towers, Cathedrals, Graveyards, etc.)
      • World Wonders (Tower of Making, Horden's Library, etc.)
      • Special magical units (Archangel Gabriel, Count Dracula, what have you - really really strong champions give some)
    • Decreases based on:
      • Tiles turned into Fertile Land, Old Forests, etc.
      • Number of cities under Sovereigns control (to make land habitable)
      • Champions turned into 'Conduits' (see Abilities)
      • Number of magical creatures summoned
      • Number and strength of magical equipment created
    • Essence that is used will be regained once the tile, city, champion, magical creature, and/or magical equipment is lost or destroyed (Think Huts and Food).
  • Mana
    • Depends on Wisdom stat (not essence stat)
      • Wisdom in all units affects magical resistance, and resistance to special effects (such as 'Charm', se above)
      • Wisdom in basic caster units (such as 'Priests', see above) affects # of spells per turn/per Tactical Combat. E.g. a priest with Wisdom of 10 can cast 'Heal twice per Tactical Combat, a Priest with Wisdom if 15 could cast it three times.
      • Wisdom in Sovereign affects total Mana (and Sovereigns/Channelers are the only units that use mana)
        • Mana can be used to cast any spell that is researched (as opposed to basic units, which can only use spells they have as special abilities)
        • Mana is used when 'Conduits' use their ability to let the Sovereign cast a spell during Tactical Combat or on the Strategic map.
        • Mana is based on Wisdom and increases with each level. E.g.: Sovereign has 15 Wisdom - at level 1 his Mana is 15. At level 2 his mana increases by his Wisdom -> his max mana is now 30. At each level thereafter his max mana once again increases by his wisdom (max mana could be retroactively affected by increasing the wisdom stat)
        • Mana regeneration should be 10% of max mana per turn. This could be further increased by special buildings or World Wonders.



  • Should either be more like in GC2 and have a screen, with a certain amount of available tiles to build on shown on the inside. This would let us display a nice, organized town on the strategic map, that could grow in size based on level.
  • Alternatively, you could remove the tile limit, and add an improvement with a 0 turn build time, that lets us customize the looks of our cities, like in this picture:

  • Those dirt patches used as spacer would turn into cobblestone upon the city hitting level 3 btw.




on Aug 02, 2010

Wow Malloreon, that's quite a wishlist you have there!

Quick question for you, have you successfully created a dirt patch which works as intended? I'd certainly love to get some filler and it'd help with planning.

on Aug 02, 2010

but ya have to admit a good one ... only thing I don't like is 2 ring limit.. I more like one ring of type limit with 10 ring max.. but i can deal what ever way it goes.. none the less great idea's and nice presentation Malloreon ...

on Aug 02, 2010

@Folick009: the dirt tile works so far, however, I was not able to make them be built instantaneously, they still take one turn to build each. And currently Cities have a max amount of buildable tiles (though I could have sworn Frogboy said that it was unlimited now), so you will run into trouble after building a few of these. Also: under the current system I had to mod actual game-files to get this working, unless I am mistaken there is no file structure in our /My Games/Elemental folder for it yet.

@Twohawks: Thanks! Yeah, I don't necessarily advocate a two ring limit, however I do think we need some kind of limit. In a previous game I kept on getting 'Ring of Might' as a quest reward - the amount of damage my Champion was able to dish out was insane. I simply displayed a two ring limit because it fit into the screen nice and easy

on Aug 02, 2010

I note the Mallorean and Belgarion references...


The main problem with dirt patches etc is that you could make super large cities for strategic purposes.

on Aug 02, 2010

All kinds of auras. Auras affect the character with the aura and every adjacent ally. Multiple auras that overlap stack in range and have an overlapping stack of effect. I realize this is a "convoluted" mechanic, but since it can be applied to a wide array of skills once coded, it may be worth it.

Let me paint a picture of what I mean with "stack in range" and "overlapping stack of effect".

Single aura: Red is a character, blue is range of aura(s), yellow are areas in which the effective power ("stack of effect") overlap and increase.

Single character with auras, no overlapping:

Two characters with auras, some distance away from eachother:

As they stand adjacent to eachother, the powers of their auras will start to overlap, increasing both in range and power relative to the number of squares that are originally covered. Notice that the strength of the auras stack in the yellow areas, and how the collective aura (blue) is now bigger than before. Also notice that despite not being in the overlapping areas, all the aura-giving characters are receiving the benefit of stacking auras :

A second example, showing three aura characters with overlapping auras:

And in formation:

In this latter case, anyone in the middle, aswell as all characters contributing to the aura, would have four times the regular effect.

Auras could be anything. There are many classic auras, such as Thorns (enemies take damage when hitting anyone in the aura), Healing (everyone in the aura is healed every turn), Speed (everyone in the aura moves faster), Strength (everyone in the aura hits harder), Precision (increased chance to hit or score critical damage), Damage (every enemy in the aura takes damage every turn).

I like auras.

We should have auras.