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Dark Elf Faction Mechanics

RedbuttonRedbutton Registered Users Posts: 10
The Dark Elves entire culture rests on the concept of naval power, slavery, and raiding.

-NAVAL COMBAT. Likely the game so far will need an overhaul here. Without a playable alternative to naval engagements Dark Elf players MIGHT just let it go considering most of the action will likely be taking place on land. The Rome Total Wars were able to skate by just fine. However a part of Dark Elf fame rests with the floating fortresses/cities known as Black Arks. No player wants a siege involving a floating mobile city to be auto-resolved out of sight. And if effort is put into making those battles just as exciting as a standard siege the players are immediately going to wonder why general naval fights haven't been given attention.
Again, obviously an overhaul, seeing as with their addition every faction already introduced is going to have to be given naval options. How extensive it all will be will likely be based on what options the developers want for the Dark Ark sieges.

-ECONOMY. If there was a Trade option in Naggaroth it would probably be taking bribes and tribute in exchange for not attacking one faction's territory... or possibly in being paid to attack. Altering their diplomacy options to allow coordinated military actions even with hostile factions would handle that angle.

Slavery handles just about all of the actual labor within Dark Elf society, meaning without it nothing happens within cities or settlements. The Horde Growth mechanic could be used to handle this. I am NOT suggesting they should be a horde faction; they have cities. Successfully defeating an enemy settlement could come with the following options; Raid, Enslave, Raze. The enslave option leaves the village standing (like raiding would) and adds "slave points." A higher slave total means more income per settlement/city that the player owns. Low or no slave points will put settlement incomes solidly in the red. But the player must spend that same slave resource for building and improving existing buildings. The larger the settlement/higher level the buildings, the quicker their slave points drop per-turn to reflect them being worked harder.
Slave points could also be used later on to recruit high-tier units to portray enticing elite warriors to your service... or as food for beast units.
Raiding would be to boost the treasury and help pay for standing armies; enslaving would be what grows the player's faction.
Research could conceivably require both money and slaves too.

A supply line mechanic for the slaves and loot heading back to Naggaroth would be neat but it might be too much.

DIPLOMACY. Don't get along with others. Alliances possible, but likely somewhere on the same likeability rating as the Vampire Counts. Internally have constant power struggles. An assassination hero would be possibly just as common a tool as the diplomacy menu. With the Dark Elves being a self-serving people by nature reintroducing the Rome Total War mechanic of bribing an army to disband might be called for. For a right price or right number of slaves it could be possible to even recruit enemy units right out of your opponents army. This would add a hint of desperation in Dark Elf factions when one becomes more successful.

LANDS/SUB-FACTIONS. Assuming we're not talking End Times; It might work to just have the main six (seven?) cities, the handful of forts along the northern border with the chaos wastes, and few, if any, villages.
Seeing as how there will likely be reprisals from angry victims, Chaos raids from (suggestion) 2-3 northern tribes, and fearful High Elves, the Dark Elves will need to worry about attack possibly even more so than their neighbors. With their light armor in early-game their troop's worth as city defenders would likely be depressing. I possible solution to this would be to have the garrison force for each include at least a handful of higher-tier units. This would avoid early steam-rolling.

I do not think the player should play as Malekith - He's a Major Power and Lore-wise could red-mist-ify any but the most magically adept opponent or destroy an entire city... all by himself. Player should start as one of 3-4 Dark Elf sub-factions within Naggaroth.

MILITARY. All elf factions look like they'll best be served as glass-cannon shock troops; low armor, high damage, relying on quick victories and dreading protracted combat. I think currently there are enough factions with a stealth-move-option so I would instead suggest better campaign map movement, better campaign map line-of-sight, and better average ambush chances.
Borrowing from what I've seen of the Wood Elves; I think the Dark Elves should only be allowed to occupy High Elf territories. Wood Elves I'm not too sure. I also think High Elf cities and settlements should not suffer the slave income penalties that Dark Elf territories do even if a Dark Elf faction controls them (though slave labor for improvements would still be needed). This would focus the player on the faction-appropriate envy of Ulthuan's lands.

CONQUEST. If the player isn't able to occupy any but High Elf locations this doesn't leave a lot of room for replacing losses or recruiting farther South and West. I would suggest adding another Chaos Horde: the Encampment option, with a very slow troop rebuild rate.
And/Or, for those that hate the idea, there could be an "encamp" option when defeating a settlement - like occupying but with some differences. The Encampment does not bring income (in fact it costs to maintain), it does not have buildings so cannot be upgraded and cannot be recruited from (possible exception base-line units - useful in early game), and does not come with a garrison. It only serves as a location for your armies to heal and resupply.
A mechanic like this would be necessary not only for a deeper inland raid but also to keep the player from becoming horribly frustrated if they decide they want to destroy every faction in the world. A support for this would be the...

-BLACK ARKS. Would not think the player should get one of these to begin with, or even have one present early game at all. Given as a gift by Malekith, perhaps somewhere on the scale of a special accomplishment like getting a Waaagh army or a Brayherd (Possibility of a Renown meter of some kind), but much harder to achieve. Lore-wise it doesn't make much sense to have them built. I'm not sure how many Black Arks there are but I don't see it being practical to have more than three in any game? If they're mobile cities that always spawn whenever some meter is full it could get out of hand in late game when the player is (presumably) racking up the wins.

I would picture each behaving just like any other city, with building improvement chains and allowing recruitment of any units with the necessary prerequisites. With them being mobile they would give the player the flexibility mid/late game to park off enemy coasts and supply a higher heal rate than encampments as well as recruit fresh units instead of shipping them from the extreme North-East.
This would make it a treasure to have and a real blow to lose. Movement speed is open to argument though I think it shouldn't be able to outrun generic fleets.

All in all I'm excited by the Total Warhammer franchise. I'm eager to see what they do with so many different play style possibilities.
Post edited by CA_Will#2514 on

Comments

  • daelin4#9896daelin4#9896 Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 16,520
    I'd prefer instead of implementing naval battles just because of Black Arks, the game just spawns Black Arks as temporary cities at the coastline. This would be a quasi-related feature of Horde mode- you can replenish, build, upgrade and etc. with these Black Arks, whereas the Dark Elf armies are more dependent on pillaging and so forth for sustenance.

    Dark Elves can just put a greater focus on pillaging rather than trade; for example their armies' normal stance is Raiding combined with regular features like Ambush. Just by having a Dark Elf army in a region, does the Dark Elf player benefit financially. Of course, pillaging the actual settlement will be much more lucrative.
    I personally do not like the idea of making up entirely new mechanics just so the faction feels a little different when played. In the game, they already just change the income name from money to dark magic to Chaos favour, so for Dark Elves they can just easily name it Slaves or Plunder.

    Corrected action is the most sincere form of apology.
  • RedbuttonRedbutton Registered Users Posts: 10
    daelin4 said:

    I'd prefer instead of implementing naval battles just because of Black Arks, the game just spawns Black Arks as temporary cities at the coastline. This would be a quasi-related feature of Horde mode- you can replenish, build, upgrade and etc. with these Black Arks, whereas the Dark Elf armies are more dependent on pillaging and so forth for sustenance.

    I think your idea here is much more practical.
    The aspect that would need more looking in to is in late game; how to keep the player from becoming very frustrated campaigning far away from Home Base. With no way to influence Black Arks at all it could really get bad waiting for a random spawn where they need/want it.
    This is a factor only if Dark Elves can't occupy non-Elf locations.

    I like you're thoughts on a passive raiding stance as well.
    daelin4 said:

    I personally do not like the idea of making up entirely new mechanics just so the faction feels a little different when played. In the game, they already just change the income name from money to dark magic to Chaos favour, so for Dark Elves they can just easily name it Slaves or Plunder.

    I kind of disagree here. Every strategic/rts game out there makes their factions different using only different skins and stats for units and buildings. Cosmetic differences like the ones you mentioned. Total War made obvious play-style differences with some factions to keep that feeling going on the campaign map (where the player spends most of their time). I would agree that most factions don't need much more than a tweak or two. But some do and I think the Dark Elves are one of them.
    Besides, without the mechanic differences they won't distinguish themselves all that much from some Total War mods that are out there.
  • steam_164511531915TqL1vw0steam_164511531915TqL1vw0 Registered Users Posts: 760
    edited December 2016
    I have a good idea. :) Arcks can be like settlements that travel in the sea map but when it comes to land you can make horde like armies to cover attrition and replenishment. Arks will have you main buildings and armies will have buildings like replenish pillage staff. How is that sounds? You prepare your armies in arks and you unleash troops in land. That is the state of dark elves. This way make them unique and lore friendly. Im still missing what will be done with naval battles and ark sieges but this makes em a bit fun already like a 2 face siege. First face will be naval fleets pass the defence of the arks and then armies land on arks. This will be awesome. Also missing the arks vs arks battles if we have sub factions but this makes it also so intresting to see building deffences on arks or siege equipments to battle enemy arks. Like 2 arks collide and armys pass from narrow roads and siege equipment from arks fire hell upon enemy armies.
    Post edited by steam_164511531915TqL1vw0 on
  • daelin4#9896daelin4#9896 Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 16,520
    Redbutton said:

    Every strategic/rts game out there makes their factions different using only different skins and stats for units and buildings. Cosmetic differences like the ones you mentioned. Total War made obvious play-style differences with some factions to keep that feeling going on the campaign map (where the player spends most of their time). I would agree that most factions don't need much more than a tweak or two. But some do and I think the Dark Elves are one of them.
    Besides, without the mechanic differences they won't distinguish themselves all that much from some Total War mods that are out there.

    You are incorrect in saying that every strategy/ RTS game out there make trivial and superficial differences. Starcraft and Company of Heroes, and Command and Conquer games do not work like this. If anything it is Total War that does this to the largest degree. When you design a game that starts to value breadth over depth, you will cut corners in designing specific parts like unique factions. Empire and Rome2, and to lesser extent Shogun2 and Fall of the Samurai, are all evidence of this.

    My example of changing income names is an example of cosmetic, though also insignificant variations; I'm sure most people even realize that the Money is called differently between races.
    I am not opposed to tweaking existing mechanics to develop unique factions. My point is that you don't need to re-invent the wheel, or to be more specific installing square wheels or having human powered carts, to make new unique factions. Just by combining and tweaking army stances, have resulted in a very different playstyle for the factions in this game: Greenskins' Raiding stance combines both Raiding and Encampment, whereas Beastmen's default stance is basically normal, but adds Ambush if attacking.

    Being a race that focuses very much on raiding, plunder and producing mayhem, it would be difficult for CA do make a faction that's neither Beastmen nor Chaos. I suppose just being the Chaos equivalent of Wood Elves would suffice. But even the Wood Elves' Amber mechanic is really just an economy mechanic that works just like money, only you get it by occupying settlements.

    Corrected action is the most sincere form of apology.
  • RedbuttonRedbutton Registered Users Posts: 10
    daelin4 said:

    You are incorrect in saying that every strategy/ RTS game out there make trivial and superficial differences. Starcraft and Company of Heroes, and Command and Conquer games do not work like this. If anything it is Total War that does this to the largest degree. When you design a game that starts to value breadth over depth, you will cut corners in designing specific parts like unique factions. Empire and Rome2, and to lesser extent Shogun2 and Fall of the Samurai, are all evidence of this.

    You're right, and I made an unfair generalization.
    I get very excited when it comes to the realm of "possibilities" and like to think of all that could be done.
    Tweaking already existing mechanics in small ways would change gameplay in many ways. I just hope they do not settle for tweaking and have real surprises in store. They definitely have the Breadth already supplied but with a very large existing fan-base (AKA: faction-invested fans) they're going to have to pile on the Depth.

  • daelin4#9896daelin4#9896 Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 16,520
    There are certain constraints like engine design and hardcoiding that present limitations to what developers can do. Mind you they can be quite inventive, like in Fallout 4, but like in that game, dated or otherwise unsuitable engines can only go so far in providing "brand new" mechanics. The design of the game engine itself plays a factor.
    I generally view game development in this regard with a conservative perspective- I favour small refinements over major overhauls, simply because the latter pretty much throws away the tried and true for something new. Both Empire and Rome2 to me prove that this approach doesn't work, not unless you got loads more money and time to make the product work. Way easier to tweak existing features into something new in of itself, and really, there are still some interesting things that can be done with them to make, say, Dark Elves a unique faction.

    Corrected action is the most sincere form of apology.
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