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About Martothir

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  1. Total Warhammer

    A few hours into a dwarven campaign. Really mixed feelings. On the one hand, they have everything really streamlined and tightly balanced. Battles feel fantastic. Optimization is (for a Total War game) incredible. City management is, as mentioned, well balanced. And everything on the campaign map pushes you towards the battles the series is so well known for. CA is really capitalizing on their strengths while mitigating their weaknesses. On the other hand, city management is pretty damn boring. Sure, it's tight and balanced, but there's nothing to it. Few buildings. Cookie cutter provinces, with few exceptions. In fact, the map layer is almost too well balanced and cohesive. To the point where I kind of wonder what the point of even having it is. I'm glad that they're forcing the issue with battles. If you aren't going to play the battles, why play Total War at all? There are better options out there than this series for strategic level gameplay. But I don't know that dumbing down and making the map/tech tree incidental are really the best way to solve the issue. The map design has sure helped force encounters. I think the current settlement and tech system is overkill. That aside, though, the battles are bitchin.
  2. Civilisation 6

    This was my fear as soon as I saw it. I hope it's just a weird and unexpected art direction. I know some people have liked it/compared it to CivRev... I personally thought CivRev was horridly ugly as well. It's not a good thing to me, I think, and at least a portion of the playerbase. All that said, if the gameplay is good and at least somewhat fresh... I can download a couple of shader mods no problem.
  3. Civilisation 6

    How do y'all feel about the graphics/art direction? It seems to be controversial to say the least. Personally, I'm not a fan of the cartoony, ridiculous saturation.While ultimately mechanics matter most to me, graphics absolutely set the tone for the game I'm playing and having graphics like this in something like civ feels... disjointed to me to say the least.
  4. Episode 337: 2015 Wrap-up

    I assume you're speaking towards me, since I'm the primary one bringing up Total War in this thread. Yes, graphics and sound are absolutely important to me in the Total War series. But I think comparing Total War to a wargame is completely off base and missing mark. Total war games are not true wargames/grand strategy games, nor have they tried to be up to this point. At the end of the day they are about the set piece battles in which, yes, the graphics, music, and atmosphere are all very important. The campaign map and any strategy layers upon it have, in single player mode, largely been there to support the progression of those battles in a (hopefully) logical way, providing a typically empire building context for those battles giving each battle meaning. The campaign map has largely been a means to an end. Now, the series often misses this mark in one or more ways, but trying to push Total War into a niche into which it not only doesn't fit, but further doesn't even try to be a part of, is silly. They do stress increasingly cinematic graphics. And up until the last couple of entries into the series, the music has been, while probably not amazing, very memorable and tone setting. These are important elements to the series, and divorcing the series from them is silly. Truly, I'm not sure what genre I would call total war, as it somewhat stands alone in gameplay. I can think of a few other examples: "King Arthur - The Roleplaying Wargame," "Imperial Glory," and "The Kings' Crusade" come to mind. All three entries fairly deeply flawed, but similar in concept. Interestingly, Arthur and Kings' both try to solve the campaign contextual and set piece battle balance issues by providing a fairly linear story experience. This did help alleviate the severe imbalance problems you often have in Total War campaigns, but at the same time drastically reduce replayability since the progression would be essentially the same time to time, something Attila encroaches on with it's scripted events, though not anywhere near to the same degree. I, for the longest time, resisted EUIV and CK2, because I had a hard time imagining playing a game where all I did was stare at a map. I had been a long time Total War fan, and the battles were 90% of the game to me, so I couldn't imagine a game where the battles came down to abstracted numbers being any fun. While bored and lacking new releases one summer I eventually took the plunge and found that I greatly enjoyed both. Now, 844 hours into EUIV and 199 into CK2, I can say I really enjoy both games, though I've begin falling out of EUIV for reasons not relevant here. But that said, what I want from Total War is completely different from what I want from those games. The graphics in those games is largely not relevant because it comes down to strategy. Total War is largely about tactics, and I think it's fair to say most Total War fans want that cinematic experience... but it's not unreasonable to want the experience enriched over time, rather taking away some of those core elements from previous titles. - Short note on Matrix Games: I don't believe I've played any games developed by them. The closest I can see looking at their website is Alea Jacta Est, which seems to have just been published by them. Hardly fair to give any comparison to them regarding this one game. But, if it's in any way similar to their developed offerings, I found it more akin to a grand strategy like a paradox game than anything resembling what I want out of Total War. And I found that the games UI got in the way of gameplay. Pared down graphics doesn't excuse bad UI, and Alea's was obtuse to say the least. However, they have such a large product catalog that this one anecdotal example is, I'm sure, not the best representation of what they have to offer. I might try to find another title to give a shot in the future when I have the time on a rain day. Any suggestions?
  5. Episode 337: 2015 Wrap-up

    I've played quite a bit of CK2, but never played the original CK. Would you mind describing a bit of how the original handled revolts/internal struggles?
  6. Episode 337: 2015 Wrap-up

    I apologize if I came across a little hot. I should have toned down the language. I did acknowledge that you defended it. It did not go unnoticed. I guess at the end of the day, I don't really think Attila is only marginally better than Rome II. It had a better launch, by and large. And it certainly made strides towards improving the campaign side of the gameplay, but still felt pretty flat to me. The event chains are limited and repetitive if you play multple campaigns. The family tree doesn't add that much given the limited time span of the game... you barely advance through one generation of your family. The political system, while adding depth the campaign gameplay, came across as tedious "put this guy in this slot" repeatedly, with the occasional assasination, what have you, to keep a general in line. Battles are horribly balanced. Cavalry wins against pretty much everything. It's severely hurt the multiplayer gameplay, and you often see almost three times more people in the RII battle lobby because of it. I don't know if y'all are much for multiplayer battles. I don't remember y'all really mentioning it, but I could be forgetting. But for those into multiplayer battles it's a pretty significant system that they've not really addressed in favor of launching DLC's, which is where some of the DLC hatred comes from - why should we buy DLC factions when you can't even balance the factions already in the game? Don't get me wrong, I like Charlemagne, and I even enjoyed The Last Roman, though I felt like they were both somewhat low effort campaigns like Wrath of Sparta. I'm just not sure I 'see' what is being seen in it, and I'm trying to figure out what that it is. It's been further disconcerting the lack of optimization and balance passes given to the game, issues well known in the community and expressed to CA. It feels like CA is very much being pressed to move onto the next project by SEGA, which probably explains the state Rome II was released in. Certainly not good for future iterations in the franchise if this push to release is going to become the new norm. Hopefully the increased funding and development staff can offset that. Anyway, I'm sorry I was a bit hotheaded. I should have sat down and read my reply and not posted some of that. I really do enjoy the show and all of y'all contributions. I have a hard time imaging what I did before I listened to the idlethumbs network podcasts. And thank you Fraser for graciously engaging with me.
  7. Episode 337: 2015 Wrap-up

    I have to agree with this sentiment. I've been a very avid Total War fan since Rome I, and I don't think Attila is all it's cracked up to be. It has some severe bugginess and the optimization for this game is shit. And while the optimization for Rome II at launch was also shit, the difference is with Rome II they patched the hell out of it and now it runs wonderfully. Attila is still an absolute slog on my machine (gtx 970, 4790k, 16g ram) and they don't seem overly concerned with improving performance as it seems like, with the release of Charlemagne, their focus is now on Warhammer. The AI improvements to the grand campaign have been mediocre at best. When the game launched it was, by the end, a desolate wasteland of razed cities. Now, by the end, it's half a desolate wasteland of razed cities. Alliances are more stable than they used to be, but still leave a lot to be desired. Further, provinces tend to be pretty cookie cutter, a checklist of 'build these things in every province, ok, now what do I do with these couple of free slots?' as anything else would be disadvantageous to your gameplay. Balance is pretty atrocious, with the game coming down to 'he who has more cavalry wins' and not much else. Well, unless you wall up in a city center, in which case you win. I do agree that CA has found success with their current DLC model - the DLCs have been by and large worthwhile, far from a nickel and dime, every one has been fairly game changing. But, I think much of Rome II's DLC was in the same vein, culture packs aside. The Rome II DLC campaigns were very solid. I don't think Attila is a bad game, but I don't get the love is has from the 3ma crew. To me, and I think many Total War fans, it was two steps forward one step back in many ways from Rome II. ~ Further, I have to agree with Fraser Brown (sp?) that the Emperor edition of Rome II, while not perfect by a long stretch, is a pretty damn good Total War game, and I don't feel like any of the hosts other than him have played the Emperor edition, or if they have, they didn't do it with an open mind. Sort of a, "Fine, ok, I'll try this shit... see, still too many Romans, shitty." Some of the systems are still shit. There is not family tree. Internal politics are still bad. Civil Wars are still somewhat obfuscated, although now draw on your actual forces like a civil war should, thus becoming way more logical. Artillery are still op and way too easy to obtain. But some systems were way overhauled, and are now fantastic. The entire economy/building setup was overhauled. Trade goods have important strategic value now, each providing a significant bonus/gameplay feature if you have them. Further, the building diversity was upped and improved to make differentiating provinces worthwhile. Battles have been drastically rebalanced and are some of the best in the series. Optimization, a nightmare at launch, is now fantastic. Mod support has been way better than Attila. (Though still not great... CA doesn't want you modding things too much or it might infringe on their market.) I seem to remember when Rome II was first covered one of the hosts (don't remember who) panning the intro movie at the games launch that had Egyptian chariot archers, talking about how ahistorical the game was because Egypt would have had Greek phalanx armies. If any of the hosts had actually bothered to play as Egypt, they'd see that it does rely 90% on Greek style units and warfare. But the anti Rome II circle jerk was too strong to bother actually playing Egypt - clearly the intro movie was enough. Is it absolutely shameful that CA released Rome II in the state they did? Yes. Is it ridiculous that it took a year of patching and updating to make it a solid Total War title? Also yes. But they supported it, in fact a hell of a lot more than they've been supporting optimizing Attila. At the end of the day, Rome II does feel a bit hollow to me. It doesn't have the heart of some of the other Total War titles. But to continue to talk about it like it never improved after launch is ill-informed at best, disingenuous at worst. A glance at Steam player stats would show that people by and large prefer Rome II to Attila, precisely because of post launch support and the fact that it turned out to be a very solid title. Look, I understand there are only so many hours in the day to play games, and you have to pick and choose, but Rome II is simply not the same game as it was at launch. Some of the problems were too big to iron out in patches, and unfortunately will be with the game forever, but it still ended in damn decent condition. A solid B game at the end of the day. Sorry my butt hurt is so strong. But it's only as strong as the circle jerk I keep hearing on the cast. Which I love and appreciate by the way. I love having such a fantastic strategy podcast on the air. Don't let my vent/bitching discourage you guys, it serious is great. I just needed to let it all out.