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About Leoreth

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  1. I noticed that too, but I am not sure if it is something that needs addressing. Sure, sometimes you need to look up external sources to get a general overview of what they are talking about, but then again I am capable of doing that. There is already enough content out there that walks me through the feature set in a comprehensive way (like all of conventional video games journalism). I'd prefer if 3MA takes their time to focus on the aspects they find interesting and worth talking about. In those cases they usually provide enough background to understand what they are getting at. I agree this particular episode might have been light on that, but then again we had a couple of Hegemony episodes already and as they said, little has changed. And I also had to laugh at Troy's comment on Veii. He really has great comedic timing.
  2. So if HoI is mostly marketed as a WW2 game, then it has to be a wargame, right? The problem is, is Paradox actually good at making wargames? At least built on something like the EU4 engine and its degree of scale? I have never played HoI, but personally I never found warfare in EU or its sibling series very interesting in itself. Being at war was still the most interesting playing experience in EU4 of course, but it was more about conserving your economic resources and getting most out of the war without wasting them. In other words, considerations that were extraneous to the war itself. Plus, war was fun because it was often the culmination (or collapse) of the diplomatic game you were playing for the rest of the game. As this thread has already concluded, HoI has to reduce the importance of all these aspects because it sets itself up as a WW2 game so there has to be WW2. And I think it's going to fall flat because warfare isn't particularly well designed in Paradox grand strategy games. The panel touched on this when talking about how nobody understands how the war rules work. This is the case for every Paradox game to different extents, but when the game is ABOUT war then that's kind of a problem. At the same time people like me who don't care about the military aspect of WW2, but are interested in the domestic politics and diplomacy of the era, are kind of left out. I think this is a problem because these people are usually also catered to by say EU, but HoI cannot do the same because the war has to happen no matter what.
  3. Episode 302: The 4X Genre

    I think part of the problem is the assumption that victory happens in the late game. This somehow relates to the idea that the game has to be "played through" before you can win so that you can play with everything before it's over. Which might be interesting the first time around, but in a genre that is all about replayability I wonder if it's a good idea to impose this principle on the player. Sure, good players can win in the Renaissance in Civ, but you can't really win the game in the classical era for example. Why do you even have to conquer the world or colonize Alpha Centauri to prove that you've built a great civilization? Neither of these things have happened in real life, but civs in history have accomplished actual great things. Why not make victory conditions about these things? This is a major reason why I like the Rhye's and Fall mod for Civ4 so much. With its historical victories, you could actually win the game before the late game with an appropriate civilization. Not only does this somehow feel more "right", you can get a lot of different game experiences that focus on different aspects and phases of the game. Or if that is too rigid of a system, how about the idea that you can "win an era" based on certain appropriate conditions, and you win the game after you've won three eras or something? Just throwing some ideas out there - I really think the concept that the game needs to be won in the late game should be questioned. I think 4X games have always been more abstract or "arcade-y" with the implied subtext that they are still mostly a game that is there to be won, not a sandbox/simulator. To make something like that interesting, the game mechanics will probably need to be changed to the point where you have a Paradoxian grand strategy game, which is the genre where this approach makes more sense. If the solution to the problems of 4X games is to essentially stop being 4X games then the genre is in even more trouble than I thought As an aside, I recently started playing MoO2 again, and noticed that it doesn't seem to have as much lategame slog as the Civ style 4X games. I'm not really sure why, really. Is it just my nostalgia and the fact that I haven't played it for so long that it's not repetitive yet? Is it the simpler 90s game design with less stuff in the game? Are node-based maps less susceptible to the problem than tile-based ones? I'd really like to find out.
  4. Episode 302: The 4X Genre

    Great episode, finally made me sign up here. As a Civ4 modder (moreso than player by now) it's a topic I am particularly invested in. I'm often frustrated with my own mod because I'm always running into the trappings of its own genre. I think the comparison with Paradoxian grand strategy games is a really good point. The strength of this type of game is that they are usually rooted in one specific (historical) setting and can focus all of its mechanics and modeling this setting in an engaging way. This is why EU4 is a great game for its era, but the downside is that it breaks down once you reach the Napoleonic era. 4X games are usually much bigger in scope. Civ is about all of human history, MoO is about the fate of an entire starfaring civilization and so on. I am happy that Troy brought up the "you start with one thing" characteristic, because I think that's what draws people to 4X games. You aren't just dumped into a historically inspired map, there's an entire map for you to explore and shape to your liking. Grand strategy games can't do that. That's probably what draws people to this type of game, and telling from some comments it's apparently the only aspect that some players like, with the following stages being kind of an annoying afterthought you have to get through to earn your victory screen. (As an aside, why is it that victory screens are always so unsatisfying? (I'm looking at you Endless Legend) It's almost as if even the developers don't care about finishing the game. Or they have realized that many people don't and don't want to sink development time into it.) From a game design perspective though, it means that this initial stage has to matter. This is where you get the snowball effect. The early stage is also interesting because you know that if you are doing well in the settlement stage, the game is basically set as a win. If you don't, it'll be hard to impossible to get out of the situation. I also feel that 4X games make this snowballing effect worse because of how they view territory and technology. The more territory, the better. The more technologically advanced, the better. This makes for a very one track minded game where you will always seek to maximize these, and everything else doesn't really matter. You basically have to snowball. If you fail, you might as well quit the game. If you succeed, it's a boring click through - or you just quit anyways, this time with the expectation of winning anyway. It's hard to design a compelling end game if you are up against this paradigm. On the other hand, grand strategy games are all about limiting your snowballing options. There's the whole idea of limited wars and negotiated territorial acquisition. If you try to blob, you have to be careful or there will be diplomatic push back. Wars are costly, in terms of money and manpower, and even if you are powerful you can run into situations where they become unaffordable. Technology is not tied to your empire size. This is why the game can stay compelling for much longer, and why you can play on even when there is a temporary setback. Because the setback doesn't stop the snowballing in its tracks. I don't see why 4X games cannot learn from grand strategy games more. Systems like limited wars and a more nuanced diplomacy with shifting alliances can certainly be appropriated in some way. But it means challenging some tropes associated with 4X games, and currently it doesn't seem as if anyone is really interested in doing that. Creative people with that mindset (too bad that you didn't get to have Soren Johnson on the show by the way!) seem to have abandoned the genre for greener pastures, probably just because it is so stale. To be honest, the genre is in kind of a weird state right now. On the one hand, I'm surprised how many of these games have come out in the last months for such a niche genre. On the other hand, it's kind of sad how uninspired they are. From a visual perspective alone it's kind of depressive how much Endless Legend or Pandora look like Civ5. I feel like these developers are more interested in fitting a setting on an existing game system than doing any substantial game design. I could probably continue on criticizing Civ5 and Endless Legend for how bland they really are, but this post has already rambled on for too long I think.