Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
A walk through Fallen Enchantress
Published on February 22, 2012 By Draginol In Elemental Dev Journals

Greetings!

This is a play through of version 0.85 of the upcoming PC strategy game, Elemental: Fallen Enchantress.  For Fallen Enchantress, Stardock reunited the Galactic Civilizations II team and brought in the Fall from Heaven creator, Kael to design a new strategy game that exists in the Elemental game universe.  The game’s campaign is designed by Jon Shafer, the lead designer of Civilization V.

Tomorrow, February 23, beta 2 of Fallen Enchantress will be unleashed on the unsuspecting public.  Anyone who has pre-ordered Fallen Enchantress will have access to it as well as anyone who purchased War of Magic back in 2010.

Fallen Enchantress is about you. Or more specifically, the world’s most powerful sorcerer who is played by you. It’s about the kingdom you build and the challenges you face.

Once upon a time…

I created a custom sovereign and allied him with one of the included factions, Altar.  Altar is the faction made up by men who fear the rise of the Empires of old who would enslave and ruin the world if they have their way.

My character, DL, is a scholar. He gets an extra 2 research per turn. The large, randomly generated map I’m playing on has 10 others players on it.

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Now, immediately I have a few challenges to face.

There’s a Mite infestation. And I don’t mean the good kind of mites….ok, there are no good mites but still. They’re small, they have sharp teeth and they’re mean. 

I also have an unusually good start position. (pro tip: you can press Ctrl-N to have it regenerate the map until you get a random world you like). I have metal and crystal.  Metal is good for making good mundane weapons (swords, armor, etc.). Crystal is good for making arcane items. It’s rare to see both near a starting location.

There’s an exiled Wilding Warrior hanging around an abandoned caravan (no doubt, he being the source of said abandonment).  There’s also a champion I can recruit near by – Ralle.

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Ralle has 5 useful abilities (and eventually we plan to have even more specific abilities for champions).

When I try to sneak by the Wilding to get to that caravan, he attacks…

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This goes poorly for me. Lesson learned, don’t get too close to the nasties. No problem though, my sovereign is practically unkillable and returns to Athica, capital of Altar to rest and heal.

Act I: Explore

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While DL recovers, my first set of pioneers have been trained and sent out.  Pioneers are great as they allow you to construct new cities and outposts.

Outposts are kind of a new concept in 4X as far as I can tell.  Basically, rather than having to have lots of cities, you can construct outposts who capture nearby resources who then feed into your cities.  There’s a shard of power relatively nearby that I am going to have them go get so that I can start accumulating mana.

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and then…

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Not only is there a shard near by but there is a scenic view.

Scenic views are special places in the world that once had a great deal of prestige in the old Empire. Controlling these allow you to accumulate diplomatic capital which allow players to buy favors from other players as well as recruit various kind of mercenaries from the world. 

If metal is the path to traditional soldiers and crystal is the path to arcane minions, then diplomatic capital is the path to recruiting monsters to be your armies.

In this pleasant example, I have all three which will give me a lot of flexibility.

The first meeting

On turn 21, I encounter the first emissaries of Yithril.

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Yithril is home of the Trogs.  It’s not just the killing they do. It’s the eating that really gives them a bad reputation.

It is…unfortunate that they are so close to me.

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What’s really unpleasant is that he’s quite powerful already. He’s level 2 (I’m only level 1). He’s upgraded his armor.  Verga isn’t terribly bright but he makes up for it with brute force.

The Trogs are very often the worst foes a Kingdom will face.

Act II: Expansion

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Just as there are champions I can recruit, there are champions who are allied with the Empires.  I consider it important, especially with an Empire (the Trogs) near by, to eliminate as many imperial champions as possible, early on.

Narthyssa is particularly unpleasant because she is a berserker and will cast wither. I just know it.

Let’s see a video of what happens: http://screencast.com/t/OUWjphkZ1US

No Wither but 2 vs 1 isn’t really fair. Life isn’t fair either.

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Now my next set of pioneers is giong to head over to claim some resources in this area.

The path ensures that they won’t come too close to that troll.

Athica grows

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Athica has become a level 2 city. When a city levels up, it can choose a special improvement to be built.

The next faction

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We’ll see how that goes…

Meanwhile, after fighting off a wolf scourge, DL has finally made it to level 2 where he can choose a new trait to add.

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I was torn between strength and fast.  Fast is an uncommon trait to show up in the options here so I went with that.  Strength increases the damage melee weapons do. 

Technology

Fallen Enchantress has 3 technology paths:

Civilization – good for building up your economy, knowledge, and diplomatic abilities.

Warfare – good for building up your mundane warfare capabilities

Magic – good for building up your arcane related abilities.

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The First War

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I could avoid this war but realistically, the Trogs are never going to be friendly. They’re the Mongols of Elemental.  Better to deal with them now than later.

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Wars, however, are expensive.  Soldiers have to be paid and so my normal rate rate will have to go up.  Increasing taxes will increase my unrest which will decrease how much research I do as well as decrease my production some.

I do have some advantages – magic.

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I control 3 Elemental shards which generate mana. This in turn allows me to “buff” my army considerably.

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Let’s watch the battle…

http://screencast.com/t/gD3bhMqqEXcX

My Pet Dragon

Well technically my pet Drake.

Yithril had a secret weapon they were working on.  They had captured a Drake nest and were in the process of training a drake. Which…I now own.

No wonder they declared war on me. If they had gotten this thing hatched before I arrived it would have been bad.

Now it’s good. For me.

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DL and “Mazy” the Drake.

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Time to have some fun..

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They have a lot or soldiers.

I have Mazy.

Let’s watch…

http://screencast.com/t/Ng1g2gdKJ3h

(heh, I just showed this to Derek, he says it’s a bug that that lair was supposed to be guarded, sorry guys)

A better person wouldn’t use the drake for the rest of this example.

I’m not a better person.

I bet Verga wishes he hadn’t threatened me.

http://screencast.com/t/G7BnqD7nCQD

And so goes Yithril.

Into a dark place

One of my favorite features of the Master of Orion games revolved around Orion. That is, a super powerful planet that, if you conquered, it gave you a big advantage. Of course, conquering it was very tough.

In Fallen Enchantress, we have the Wild Lands. A part of the map so horrific that few survive that enter.

Those people…the un-surviving (yea, I made that up) didn’t have Mazy.

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And so into the deep desert I go.

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This is definitely a bad place.

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Ut oh, will Mazy live?

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Oh wait. That’s right, Mazy’s a Drake. Fire and all that.

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And she can sweep her tail.

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Now for the show down.  Torax. The living mountain tolerates no unwelcome guests.

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Rotax seemed…more reasonably sized on the strategic map.  Now, when put to scale, this is looking…less promising.

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This may come in handy. I hope.

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Maaaazzzzzyyyyy!!!!

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Hello…Mr. um. Mountain…guy.

Heh. You know, no hard feelings right?

And I’m down in 1 hit.

Fair weather friends

My diplomatic relations WITH Mazy

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and soon after Mazy’s passing…

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Bums.

Act III: Exploitation

After a couple hours of play, here is the known world…

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And this is the world total:

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So I’ve barely scratched the surface.

Thus far, I’ve founded a Kingdom, recruited a champion to my side, conquered an Empire and took their Drake hatchling and turned it into a formidable weapon…who then died when I ventured too deeply into the endless desert and came face with Torax.

It is now I have to decide what is the best path to victory.  Conquer them all? If so, how? I have good relations, perhaps I should try a diplomatic victory.  I don’t think I can get the Epic Quest victory here because I haven’t encountered the location of any parts of it. It’s a big world.  I could probably go for the Spell of Mastery. I have a lot of mana. But could I survive long enough to cast it?

…To be continued…


Comments (Page 1)
on Feb 22, 2012

In Civilization III there is a similar concept to outposts -- colonies:

"Resources must be 'connected' to a civilization's infrastructure (via a road or railroad) and must be within that civilization's cultural border to be utilized; a resource outside of the cultural border can still be utilized by connecting a road to it and building a colony (colonies are easily destroyed and are targeted by barbarians, so they must be defended)." (wikipedia)

on Feb 22, 2012

One suggestion: most of these protips should be things that are in the loading screen help.  Also, some loading screens are relics from War of Magic, such as neutral settlements, and as of right now don't exist in FE.

 

One question: can you actually conquer the wildlands in .85?  I never could place the monument to conquer them in .77, even when I defeated the guardian.

 

 

on Feb 22, 2012

Damn I will be in Chicago until Saturday. Well at least I will have time to play Saturday night! Thanks for the update, always enjoy reading them!

on Feb 22, 2012


Thanks for posting this.  Good stuff. 

I look forward to finally getting in Beta 2 tomorrow (pre-order).

on Feb 22, 2012

Game looks awesome. I'm enjoying the mini-AAR's.

Alstein

One question: can you actually conquer the wildlands in .85?  I never could place the monument to conquer them in .77, even when I defeated the guardian. 

I hope it is in. I was very disappointed when I beat the serpent in the giant canyon and couldn't take full advantage of his demise.

Also, do things like drakes and other recruitable creatures count as champions for purposes of experience? In other words, would experience be split between DL and Mazy when they fought in the same battle?

on Feb 22, 2012

I could avoid this war but realistically, the Trogs are never going to be friendly. They’re the Mongols of Elemental. Better to deal with them now than later.

 

Sure, you know this because this game has been your life for the last few months (years?).  Not everyone is going to spend their every waking hour learning the intricacies of the various races and factions.

 

It would be nice to have a little adviser whispering in my ear (or beneath the flavor text) stuff a King would probably need to know when dealing with one of the myriad tribes of Elemental.

It doesn't have to be every bit of detail, and it definitely shouldn't be telling me what to do.  But would it kill you to have something to remind the player who the hell this random person who just popped up a dialog on the screen is?

on Feb 23, 2012

I've been checking stardock.com store for the 0.85 update but haven't seen it yet... is it not coming out on the 22nd like the OP says?

on Feb 23, 2012
23rd*
on Feb 23, 2012

It is the 23rd now! Lol

on Feb 23, 2012

Why does Verga have all those traits? Is the system changed in this version?

on Feb 23, 2012

Taxes at normal are producing 1,1 gildar per turn and cost 40% unrest for production and research.

How's that working for ya?

Let's put it differently: if an ability allowed you to increase tech research and production by 30% by paying 1,1 gildar per turn, would you use it?

For the beginning of the game, setting taxes to 'none' seems to be a good choice. And selling magical items you've found can net you tens, if not hundreds of turns worth of taxes in gildar. Maybe a balance pass there would be appropriate?

on Feb 23, 2012

Out of the 50 or so games that I've played so far I have never encountered a Wild Land. But then I can never get the game past turn 150 before it crashes and that save bug will not let me load games that are after turn 150 or so.

on Feb 23, 2012

sweatyboatman

I could avoid this war but realistically, the Trogs are never going to be friendly. They’re the Mongols of Elemental. Better to deal with them now than later.


 

Sure, you know this because this game has been your life for the last few months (years?).  Not everyone is going to spend their every waking hour learning the intricacies of the various races and factions.

 

It would be nice to have a little adviser whispering in my ear (or beneath the flavor text) stuff a King would probably need to know when dealing with one of the myriad tribes of Elemental.

It doesn't have to be every bit of detail, and it definitely shouldn't be telling me what to do.  But would it kill you to have something to remind the player who the hell this random person who just popped up a dialog on the screen is?

Just make this an option so that we can turn off if we don't want it. I for one like to be suprised

on Feb 23, 2012

EviliroN
I've been checking stardock.com store for the 0.85 update but haven't seen it yet... is it not coming out on the 22nd like the OP says?

 

OP said it is coming out the 23rd not 22nd.  And it will prabley be in the afternoon.

on Feb 23, 2012

RIP Mazy.

Looking forward to the update. It'll be a good opportunity to play FE on my other, less awful, PC for the first time. 

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