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Map Design, My No.1 Concern of the Game in its Current State

YANGXuYANGXu Posts: 15Registered Users
edited June 21 in General Discussion
After playing several campaigns on very hard and legendary difficulties, I found the game in its current state is quite decent but apparently not without some big problems. My major issue with the game is the map design, which makes the grand campaign really not that grand. I think that this, either on its own or when associated with other factors, could cause a number of problems such as the lacking of replayability.

I think there are two major problems with the map design.
1. There are just too few factions on the map and the majority of the settlements are either occupied by the Han Empire or abandoned. I usually find myself very quickly in short of opponents. It happens in many Total War games or, really, any strategy game that after a certain point the player could just steamroll the entire map. It just feels like that in this game that point came too early and too easy. Minor factions cannot even raise a full stack whereas the major factions could rarely maintain more than 2 full stacks. (I normally claim the Kingship by turn 60 or so)

2. The distribution of settlements and factions is also questionable. The map is huge, but most factions are located in the middle and the north but at the same time only occupy half of the map, practically leaving the other half empty (which btw gives Sun Jian free access to a huge chunk of China and makes him the most 'delegatable' faction even on legendary).

My suggestion for solving the problems would be coming back to the historical facts. The following is an administrative map of the Eastern Han.


Even if one cannot read Chinese it is not difficult to see that the majority of the commanderies are located in the middle and the north. In fact, out of 105 commanderies, 73 belonged to the 9 provinces in the north and only 32 to the four southern provinces. However, the distribution of settlements in the game is pretty much half and half. Of course, the game cannot include all 105 commanderies, but obviously, the middle and northern region is very poorly represented. Therefore, I would suggest increasing the number of settlements in the north and reducing that in the south. In addition, put more factions into the game. It does not matter if they are playable or not, just put more factions into the game.

Lastly, I must say that I am very unsure of the 'chapter DLCs'. The map could only be more consolidated as time went by. You will have even fewer factions to play as, and Cao Cao would certainly be the Boss of almost every later chapters. More importantly, Cao Wei was not like the WRE in Attila. It basically dominated the country by occupying the most developed and populated territories. You could say that unifying China is just an issue of time for that faction. (In history, it was its political successor who achieved it.) So, how to make Cao Wei a challenging faction? And how to make the experience interesting if the players were tasked with fighting the same boss in every chapter?
Post edited by YANGXu on

Comments

  • mitthrawnuruodomitthrawnuruodo Junior Member Posts: 1,646Registered Users
    edited June 21
    I have similar concerns with chapter packs set in the later three kingdoms period.

    I am hoping CA can get creative, and allow players to play as internal factions - e.g. Cao Zhang, Cao Pi, Cao Zhi and Sima Yi are all treated as individual factions, while holding rank in the Kingdom of Wei, each controlling individual officers, provinces and armies that are under their influence. There can be new political features for increasing influence and shifting allegiances without outright war. At some point based on balance of power, succession war can break out.

    In the same scenario Meng Huo and others can be added to the south with distinct faction flavor (like the Yellow Turbans) with completely new roster and tech, with elephants and such.Then of course we can have Korea and nomadic factions. Whatever chapter packs they make, I hope they all contribute to the main campaign as well.
  • BoombastekBoombastek Posts: 1,992Registered Users
    edited June 21
    Idk first dlc introduce new race.

    So for true game had 2 race, one locked by dlc. Play for other race very high increase replay ability of game.

    Idk what gonna be with this "chapters", but for now it sounds ****.

    Cos as i got you will be had less number factions, but they are will be present as huge "dukedom" or "kingdoms". And you just start with other preset, like big Cao Cao, Lu Bu faction (rebel), Liu bei and few more.

    That kills sandbox that I want as some small faction Tao Can start with borders with Liu Bei, Sun Jian. That would be better than "chapters".

    Plus good dlc seems would be new races like northern Mongols, Southern Pirats, maybe South West Vietnam. Yellow turban alredy had negative diplomacy due to other "culture", so maybe we see another country intervention. Plus religion. Religion wars was in all time.

    That IMO would be good.
  • BreadboxBreadbox Posts: 780Registered Users
    Absolutely no interest in the majority of the later chapter packs for this reason.
    But I’m sure important characters and factions will be tied to these packs to make people buy them regardless.
  • Warlord_Lu_BuWarlord_Lu_Bu Posts: 1,972Registered Users
    Agreed... chapters packs do seem odd... though the only one I'd look forward to, is the one where Wang Yun dies to Guo Si and Li Jue, then Lu Bu makes his way to Liu Bei's territory and they both work on defending each other from Cao Cao and Yuan Shu.

    The "Rise of Warlords" scenario from the RoTK was a nice scenario with the most amount of factions and warlords available... though I'm interested to see what we'll get in these chapter packs.
    "I am the punishment of Tengri, if you had not sinned, he would not have sent me against you." - Chenghis Khan Temujin
  • QiangLordQiangLord Posts: 26Registered Users

    I have similar concerns with chapter packs set in the later three kingdoms period.

    I am hoping CA can get creative, and allow players to play as internal factions - e.g. Cao Zhang, Cao Pi, Cao Zhi and Sima Yi are all treated as individual factions, while holding rank in the Kingdom of Wei, each controlling individual officers, provinces and armies that are under their influence.

    There's already precendent for this, albeit with the vassalage system. In theory, Liu Biao, Huang Zu, and Cai Mao (for example) should be a single faction, but they're split out into separate factions for the sake of political gameplay. So a "Three Kingdoms" scenario actually split down further into spheres of influence could make some sense.

    On a side note, I know Koei has also done this before with their DW:Empires games.
  • kweassa1kweassa1 Posts: 663Registered Users
    QiangLord said:

    There's already precendent for this, albeit with the vassalage system. In theory, Liu Biao, Huang Zu, and Cai Mao (for example) should be a single faction, but they're split out into separate factions for the sake of political gameplay. So a "Three Kingdoms" scenario actually split down further into spheres of influence could make some sense.

    On a side note, I know Koei has also done this before with their DW:Empires games.

    ...because the reality of the situation is actually more closer to how this game depicts it, contrary to popular belief.

    Liu Biao's initial political standing within Jing province was extremely weak, and he spent many years solidifying his control of the province, by taking a wife from the powerful Cai family, and then taking in their military strength to subdue other regional lords. Before Liu Biao managed to do this, the previous governor of Jing was assassinated and the region's nobles retreated into their own turf, protecting themselves with their private soldiers and formed semi-independent groups -- which both Cai Mao and Huang Zu were.

    So, they never were "the same faction" in the beginning. They became consolidated under Liu Biao in the latter years... and when did Liu Biao first become the governor of Jing?

    190 CE .... Surprise, surprise.

    ...so, to paraphrase a famous comic book, the beginning of this game for Liu Biao is literally, "Liu Biao: Year One." :D

    Perhaps future scenarios starting at a latter date would depict Jing as a single faction. But as it is, CA's got it correct. Which, was one of the reasons why I'm particularly impressed with the amount of research they did.
  • SecuterSecuter Senior Member Denmark, Aarhus.Posts: 2,319Registered Users
    I think you can expect the map to be filled more as the time goes on. For instance free factions which probably will have some AI factions in its proximity. But yeah, the south part of the map is a bit.. barren.
  • coolscools Posts: 31Registered Users
    edited June 21
    Agree. Also another problem I find with the map design is the absence of defensible natural barriers - aka the mountain passes(Guans). The passes are a integral part of RoTK story (think about the Battle of Hulao Pass) and crucial to historical chinese warfare, but can be found nowhere in the game.
    An example of how that affected gameplay in TW3K: The plain Chang'an located on is called Guanzhong, "area between the mountain passes", because it is literally sealed off by easily defensible mountain passes from all direction: Tong Pass and Hangu Pass in the east, Wu Pass in the south, San Pass in the west, and Xiao Pass in the north. That made Chang'an an extremely secure city, the exact reason Dong Zhuo abandoned Luoyang and withdrew to Chang'an. Well in the game due to the absence of the passes, everyone can rush their stacks up the yellow river into Chang'an.
    Also the absence of moutain passes, combined with another design flaw - the lack of penalty for forced march mode - made chasing AI armies an awful experience: they are always force marching inside your territory, nothing can act as obstacle, and when you finally reach them they would just retreat.
    I would imagine the moutain passes as special citis on the map that dont provide income, with abitlity to block off the entire zone from enemy passage.
  • iriyasiriyas Posts: 59Registered Users
    what happened to river crossing and bridge battles?
  • coolscools Posts: 31Registered Users
    One more thing about map desgin: The simplification of city names into "city", "toolmaker", "farmland"etc is really the single greatest step back in the series. Think about Rome 2, but with no familiar placenames like Rome and Capua, but only "Latium City" and "Latium Port". There are plenty placenames in records of Eastern Han to fill up the map, and it would be immediately much more immersive to east asian players.
  • CrotouCrotou Junior Member Posts: 52Registered Users
    YANGXu said:

    I agree it would be great to increase settlement density in the north and to decrease it in the south.

    For Cao Wei being too powerful in the later stages of the Three Kingdoms history, I think there are some means to balance it.

    Just after Chi Bi, Liu Bei and Sun Quand are allied and Cao Cao has still to conquer the west (Ma Chao, Han Sui, Zhang Lu, etc.).

    And after that, Cao Wei/Jin has seen many rebellions, sometimes big, sometimes small.
  • kweassa1kweassa1 Posts: 663Registered Users
    undefined
    Secuter said:

    I think you can expect the map to be filled more as the time goes on. For instance free factions which probably will have some AI factions in its proximity. But yeah, the south part of the map is a bit.. barren.

    well... because it actually was barren during those times.

  • QiangLordQiangLord Posts: 26Registered Users
    ...because the reality of the situation is actually more closer to how this game depicts it, contrary to popular belief.

    Liu Biao's initial political standing within Jing province was extremely weak, and he spent many years solidifying his control of the province, by taking a wife from the powerful Cai family, and then taking in their military strength to subdue other regional lords. Before Liu Biao managed to do this, the previous governor of Jing was assassinated and the region's nobles retreated into their own turf, protecting themselves with their private soldiers and formed semi-independent groups -- which both Cai Mao and Huang Zu were.

    So, they never were "the same faction" in the beginning. They became consolidated under Liu Biao in the latter years... and when did Liu Biao first become the governor of Jing?

    190 CE .... Surprise, surprise.

    ...so, to paraphrase a famous comic book, the beginning of this game for Liu Biao is literally, "Liu Biao: Year One."


    Er, we seem to just be agreeing that this system can be used to show more nuance within a single faction. While Jing may have been fragmented before Liu Biao came along, its various officers were still nominally subordinate to Liu Biao the moment he was made governor of Jing. The vassal system can simulate de facto situations like, in this case, the Cai clan being semi-independent from the central authority of the Jing governor, in the same way the game's factions in general simulate the de facto independence of the various warlords from the central Han authority.
  • TeargrantsTeargrants Posts: 37Registered Users
    edited June 21
    kweassa1 said:

    undefined

    Secuter said:

    I think you can expect the map to be filled more as the time goes on. For instance free factions which probably will have some AI factions in its proximity. But yeah, the south part of the map is a bit.. barren.

    well... because it actually was barren during those times.

    Except it wasn’t. Yes huge swaths of the south were completely outside of Chinese control, but it’s not like there was any kind of political vacuum or that they were uninhabited. The native tribes are something that should be represented in 3K as actual factions.

    Many of the tribal groups are recorded in the histories under umbrella names like Shanyue & Nanman; though they would each be best represented as multiple factions with a shared culture group. Kinda like the Gaulic tribes in Rome.
  • JerroserJerroser Posts: 219Registered Users
    edited June 22

    kweassa1 said:

    undefined

    Secuter said:

    I think you can expect the map to be filled more as the time goes on. For instance free factions which probably will have some AI factions in its proximity. But yeah, the south part of the map is a bit.. barren.

    well... because it actually was barren during those times.

    Except it wasn’t. Yes huge swaths of the south were completely outside of Chinese control, but it’s not like there was any kind of political vacuum or that they were uninhabited. The native tribes are something that should be represented in 3K as actual factions.

    Many of the tribal groups are recorded in the histories under umbrella names like Shanyue & Nanman; though they would each be best represented as multiple factions with a shared culture group. Kinda like the Gaulic tribes in Rome.
    Probably a better way to describe it is that it was no where near as densely populated as the north so holding the territories the same geographical size as those the north would be far less powerful.

    But going back to the OPs idea, splitting the Han up in to a larger number of smaller factions is something I have considered before and agree that it might work a bit better than the current system. Perhaps creating some kind of non-playable governor factions that won't expand that much but are better at defending their territories.
    Post edited by Jerroser on
  • TeargrantsTeargrants Posts: 37Registered Users
    edited June 21
    Yeah, I would like to see all the ‘Han Empire’ territory replaced with separate factions for each commandary, within some kind of ‘loyalty to Han’ mechanic or some such. We have records of the governors’ names for pretty much every commandary, so that shouldn’t be an issue.

    And then control of the emperor would instead give an option in diplomacy to add “issue as an imperial decree” when making diplomatic proposals (along with some relevant faction opinion buff/debuffs).

    This way we could recreate the history more closely, such as Cao Cao using the puppet court to ‘appoint’ an Inspector of Yang province to try and undermine Sun Ce’s Legitimacy.

    It would certainly make more sense than having the Han empire as your “vassal” and then having everyone declare war on you because they want some city on the other side of China - AND then instead sending their armies across the entire map to attack you because ‘logic’.
  • kweassa1kweassa1 Posts: 663Registered Users

    Except it wasn’t. Yes huge swaths of the south were completely outside of Chinese control, but it’s not like there was any kind of political vacuum or that they were uninhabited. The native tribes are something that should be represented in 3K as actual factions.

    The entirety of the south of the Yangtze barring specific regions that belonged to the old kingdom of Chu, was a political vacuum without any kind of consolidated, or integrated political power to be even represented as a faction.

    Many of the tribal groups are recorded in the histories under umbrella names like Shanyue & Nanman; though they would each be best represented as multiple factions with a shared culture group. Kinda like the Gaulic tribes in Rome.

    The Gauls are recorded in history with enough consolidation in political power and military force, with specific names of tribes and their leaders, and caused actual large-scale incursions that posed actual existential threats to the Romans -- which is more than enough to go on to depict as a separate faction. However, none of the Yue tribes were of any political significance to that level ever since the ancient kingdom fell.

    The most appropriate way of representing the reality of the south in the game would be a debuff causing lower public order than other regions, forcing factions to build more pub.order buildings, which means lower income and frequent rebellions with tribal warriors popping up instead of the YT.
  • Whiskeyjack_5691Whiskeyjack_5691 Posts: 2,388Registered Users
    edited June 22
    I like this thread, some good ideas floating around.

    I definitely agree with YANGXu, Jerroser, and Teargrants. The Han Empire should first be broken up into a handful of smaller factions (named "Imperial Provinces"), with each faction holding control over several commanderies, to represent the actual historic administrative provinces of the period.
    Personally, I'd like 5; one in the North, South, East, West, and Center, each led by a legendary-level faction leader (Called a "Governor") of a different class. A Sentinel in the mountainous North, a Champion in the jungles of the South, a Vanguard in the open plains of the West, a Strategist on the Eastern coast, and a Commander in the center. I think that would be pretty thematic.

    I also agree with Mitthrawnuruodo and YANGXU about the Chapter Packs. I've never been a big fan of Campaign Packs that were mostly just two enormous powerhouse factions slugging away at each, and I'm a little concerned that the Chapter Packs may just be more of the same. They really need to add something new.
    Post edited by Whiskeyjack_5691 on
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