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[Dom4] What makes a nation simple to play?

 
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angelfromanotherpin
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Joined: 07 Mar 2008
Posts: 7455

PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2017 8:21 pm    Post subject: [Dom4] What makes a nation simple to play? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

So I've been trying to get more people into Dom4, and of course the barrier to entry is pretty high. As I've also done a bunch of nation modding, I'm considering doing up a bunch of specifically 'for beginners' nations to help ease people in. (Yes, I know MA Man is a thing, but only one person per game can play that.) The question, of course, is what makes a nation simple. Here are my thoughts.

0. Guides
It's still Dom4, nothing is really pick-up-and-play, every nation should come with some basic how-to text.

1. Low Caster Diversity
This doesn't necessarily mean low magic diversity, but just a small number of distinct path profiles. Experienced players are excited by having a lot of different path combinations, but newbies find it paralyzing. I think probably a little randomness in the paths is desirable to help ease people into the idea, but probably from like two paths instead of four.

2. Solid National Troops
Kind of speaks for itself. Most nations have solid troops, but a few don't and some have particular holes in them. A beginner nation needs solid expansion troops, and also decent options for dealing with more specialized opposition like knights and tramplers et al.

3. Limited Pretender Selection
Again, options are great when you have a firm grasp of what's going on, but otherwise it's a morass of trap option paralysis NPE. The list should be at most five things, and the guide can give you some build advice on each one.

4. Limited Shenanigans Required
Things like blood hunting and communions are pretty labor-intensive, and so is bootstrapping fringe path access. A simple nation should have to manage at most one and ideally zero of those things.

Thoughts, comments, criticism?
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"Now that we've determined that up to π angels can dance on the head of a pin, how do we determine the specific number (or fraction) of angels dancing?"
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Ikeren
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Joined: 08 Jan 2011
Posts: 839

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

1. Low Caster Diversity is huge.

MA Ulm is stupidly easy to play. You have one mage to recruit, who you can script (and win) games (and fights) with using 3-4 copy paste scripts and big blobs of buffed soldiers...which also speaks to #2.

MA Ashdod is also stupidly easy to play, if harder to play well. Deep mages with no crosspaths (Mass recruit F2/E2/S2, capital F3/E3/S3, and the Death mage which is the one complex random dude), good troops, etc.

I think you're pretty bang on.

Minimal numbers of mages, and making it obvious what you're going to do with them. E2 is obvious. E2 + FWASD random1 is less obvious. E2 you're going to summon earth power and throw down Curse of Stones, Legions of Steel, Strength of Giants, Iron Bane, Blade Winds, Earth Melds and Maws of the Earth.

EA Arco is a great example. Instead of just getting to pick an E2 mage, a F2 mage, an A2 mage, a S2 mage and a W2 mage and scripting them up (which would be simple as fuck), you get the same thing on bizarre crosspaths that add options and limitations, but lots of them you'd be well set to ignore as a new player. Okay, which one is w/f to mix in acid spells, okay, w/e mixes in earth, okay, this one doesn't have w so it's pure earth, okay wait does E/A do anything like holy fuck fuck off.

If you're going to give nation with even a selection of randoms, just 1 mage with randoms (the big cap one) and the rest without. Depth in path >>> cross path.
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GreatGreyShrike
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Joined: 18 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I agree with that, and also would like to add that a simple and small set of effective spells out of the low-diversity mage is huge. LA Man has a very small path access and their mages are *mostly* functionally identical with their short list of guaranteed paths, but they have Air, Earth, and Astral on everyone, with a little bonus fire, all with crosspaths and communion access on every mage, so you can realistically cast like almost half the combat spells in the game out of their mages. It's not at all obvious what you should be doing with their mages at any given time - should you be making maws of the earth? How about destruction+bladewinds? mass flight and earthquake? summoning precision-buffed meteors? dropping some Magma eruptions? Rain of Stones? Storm + thunderstrike spam? You will probably want to deploy every one of these at one point or another. And you have to understand communions to do basically anything with their mages.

Compare that to LA C'tis. You can cast Hordes of Skeletons and Banefires out of every single caster, and those two spells can deal with most problems on the battlefield. You can get fancy and add in other spells, but seriously you can just have a lot of banefires happen all the time and be happy with your life choices. You can turn your fire gems into lanterns and fire elementals, and most of your death gems into national undead reanimating priests, and that seriously sorts out most of your gem use. Add in the scripting of skeleton summoning for your D1 assassins, and you're pretty much done. A LA C'tis can dominate games using a total of number of different spells in their entire nation that fits on one hand.


Last edited by GreatGreyShrike on Mon Jun 05, 2017 1:44 am; edited 1 time in total
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Red_Rob
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Joined: 17 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2017 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The reason MA Ulm is touted as a good beginner nation is they have good infantry and mages that can cast big aoe buffs and big aoe damage spells. That is pretty simple for a newbie to grasp, and you can do well just by forming your infantry into a block and having mages cast Strength of Giants, Legions of Steel and then spamming magma.

If you want a good beginner nation it needs to have decent troops so a newb doesn't autolose by not buying enough mages, and a straightforward plan in battle. MA C'tis without the disease dominion would be a good newb nation I think - the troops are decent, and the magic is pretty straightforwardly synergistic (All troops have Poison resist + cast Foul Vapours, all troops have swamp survival + cast Quagmire, recruit anywhere D2 mages leads to skelespam as a default tactic). LA Atlantis could be another good model, it's troops are well armored and have magic weapons, plus inbuilt combos involving Grip of Winter & cold resist troops.

If you want a nation to "teach" about a certain tactic such as communions or undead reanimation that should be the theme of the nation - having recruitable communicants and a fairly simple X1Y1S1 mage for example to get a player to try communions for better battle magic.
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angelfromanotherpin
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Joined: 07 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Red_Rob wrote:
If you want a nation to "teach" about a certain tactic such as communions or undead reanimation that should be the theme of the nation - having recruitable communicants and a fairly simple X1Y1S1 mage for example to get a player to try communions for better battle magic.

I think it would be ideal if each of the simple nations was an intro to an actual nation, so I'll try for that.

So assuming the communion teaching nation is simpleArco and the base caster is a Mystic stand-in... what should X and Y be? I guess one should be Earth to enable the matrices, and the other should be fire or water because those are the Mystic's deal. I'd go with fire because it has such exciting high-level effects, except that Magma Bolts is 1E1F, and that would be real easy for them to get to and just run with. So E1W1S1 for them, unless there's something I've missed.

edit: Arco's Heart Companions are still a total trap option, right? I can just disable them and add 'do not bless' to the guide.
_________________
"Now that we've determined that up to π angels can dance on the head of a pin, how do we determine the specific number (or fraction) of angels dancing?"
"What if angels from another pin engage them in melee combat?"


Last edited by angelfromanotherpin on Sat Jun 10, 2017 1:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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