I have made a thread about this in Warhammer 2 but, since we are now on an entirely new game I think it would make sense to bring up the topic again with all the new mechanics and what not. I'll describe the problem first and offer two general solutions(which were reccommended from other users on my previous post in Warhammer 2), then I'll make my own suggestions on a possible design philosophy to keep in mind.
Immortal Empires is turning out the be bloody amazing(for me anyways) but, it has a quirk that has not been adressed.
The lack of choice when it comes to mounts. Multiplayer has solved this from the start since it is valuable to save some gold.
If the opponent is likely to bring a lot of infantry do you really need a Lord on a dragon? The chariot will work just fine and is cheaper. Money is not much of a factor for single player and limiting gold per army probably requires some work on the AI.
So a multiplayer solution will not work for singleplayer.
We used to have the problem of limited skillpoints but, that is no longer the case. We auto-unlock the mounts and now the max level is 50. Experience is also gained at an increased rate. Players probably use all mounts but, for a very short time. Once you get to the "dragon", meaning the max level mount, the rule of thumb is that you stick with that mount. It is simply better than all the rest.
That is the lack of choice problem. Putting your Lord on a horse is simply handicapping yourself. For races that have flying mounts, you don't even change mounts for sieges. An actual dragon mount will do everything you need, it can even land on walls. To solve the problem for the campaign side I see two solutions.
One is you need more skills to choose a speciality for mounts. Empire already had this in Warhammer 1 & 2 and also 3. You can specialize into the Pegasus Mount for Empire Captains with extra skill points for more speed and charge bonus.
Two is that you can use money to upgrade your mounts. Instead of paying increased upkeep for a dragon you can lay down a flat ammount to give your Lord/Hero traits, upgrades, items etc. The point is to make them stronger on a specific mount, or unmounted. This could be locked behind a building requirement like the stables.
I would first like to say that none of the bonuses should make any other mount as strong as the top tier mount. That is simply because they should not take anything away from the top. What they can do however is provide utility. A horse will never breathe fire but, could provide more ammunition for ranged Heroes & Lords.Infantry Lords & Heroes:
Wood elves have already showed how this could be done with skills. You can upgrade certain units and gain access to dances while on foot. Here is some of my own suggestions if you choose to specialize in an infantry Lord/Hero
* Spellcasters: Gain access to major barrier for more survivability. Possibly more bound spells and increased Winds of Magic recharge rate and reserve. Increased range on spells. Could also gain a ranged attack like Khatep. Just a couple of artillery shots to make them intimidating. Could also add abilities for 90% spell resistance for X seconds. A way to counter spellcasters.
* Ranged: Increased ranged and a little more ammunition also HP. Arrow of Kurnous and abilities of the sort could be granted. Could also decrease missile block chance. Could also be granted double ammunition types like Sisters of Twilight.
* Melee: Increased duration on Stand Your Ground and increased leadership aura. Increased HP. Expert charge defense and the ability to grant other units the same. The focus should be to either turn the Lord/Hero to a better dualist or support unit. Ironhammer and Grimgor has abilities to achieve these ends. Vigour, leadership, melee stats, immune to psychology, melee reflection you name it. Nothing wrong with having a strong support role.Horse Lords & Heroes:
Depending on the horse type(barded and unarmoured) the focus should lie between shock and hit and run.
Chariot Lords & Heroes:
- Spellcasters: Grant minor barrier for harrassment such as getting close enough for Spirit Leech, lining up shots with Amber Spear. Minor increase to recharge rate & reserve.
- Ranged: Increase ammunition and firing speed. Vanguard deployment(lightly armoured version) and minor HP increase.
- Melee: Increased HP and vanguard deployment. Explosion abilities like Repanse de Lyonesse that varies on the type of horse mount, barded or light armour. Barded gets the ability to decrease stats and break braced status and the lightly armoured on is for escaping. The emphesis should still be on support abilities such as increased charge bonus, like Alberic de Bordelaux. Could also grant root abilities for spellcasters or characters in general.
Flying Lords & Heroes:
- Spellcasters: Minor barrier to negate damage from infantry and increased charge speed and acceleration. Just make it a better chariot really.
- Ranged: Pretty much the same without barrier. Snotling Pump Wagons have interesting abilities that could be copied here. Also strider. Missile attacks could be granted bonus vs large and minor increase to ammunition.
- Melee: Increased HP and strider. Also some tools to help escape getting surrounded. Vigour resistance, though that might end up as pointless.
Once you get to flying you are rapidly entering the strongest mount available so there becomes less and less need for additional upgrades however, I will just look at some few examples, ignoring spellcasters, ranged and melee.
- Eagle: I really hope it is possible to add an ability to force flying monsters into landing with eagles. They should also be able to dive attack infantry units without landing. It shouldn't be incredibly strong and you could also place it under a cooldown but, in my opinion eagles need something to make them stand out in campaign. Both as a mount and as a unit. If neither is possible then a simple ability to grant blind on attack, bleed or other status effects.
- Manticores: Better than eagles but, still suffers a little. Exalted Heroes used to grant them poison attacks so perhaps a stronger version of poison would do. Try to avoid poison stacking though.
I could go on for longer but, it's not these specific changes that I hope for. The point of this is just to set the focus on the other mounts aswell as being unmounted. Personally it becomes boring to face the same Lords over and over. There simply is no diversity in the game in this area and hopefully this would encourage players (and the AI) to make different Lords and Heroes.
I would like to make a final point however in regards of utility and that is about Rakarth. He was granted the ability to turn off terror and fear for enemy monsters. That was amazing and felt awesome to use. Problem is he was the only one with it. The other Dark Elf Beastmasters should be able to use it too. I understand the need to make Legendary Lords unique but, they are also the minority of the Lords. Surely there is a middle-ground here that increases diveristy among regular Lords & Heroes aswell as keeping Legendary Lords unique?
Edit: I accidently hit SAVE and posted this before it was ready. Sorry about that.