This week, lots of tweaks and adjustments. Scouting, Towns and Turrets all received changes. Some Human units received balance changes.
I’ve wondered for some time whether the scouting system is worthwhile. One, it adds complexity. Two, the investment to use scouting missions was way too high. You needed a Scout, Construction Crew and Spy Agency, on top of delaying a building while the mission is active. Some changes have been made to make Espionage more worthwhile, not just “now I can finally use missions because I built all the buildings I need already”.
Basic Missions: Spying and Sabotage are the basic missions. They only require a Scout; the Spy Agency is not a prerequisite. Spying lets you see what the enemy is doing at the moment. Usually, you get to see 2 out of 3 of research, training and construction. Having better Espionage than the enemy gives you a chance to see all three; if the enemy’s is higher, you might only see one.
Sabotage works as before. It’s like a weak Spy plus delaying the enemy build.
Since the basic missions don’t require a building, the buildings tab will activate if Scout is trained.
Spying actually feels useful early on. The computer won’t train a Scout very early, so you’re almost guaranteed to get all possible information with an early Spying mission. This could be useful as an Eggish player; for example, I might not want to invest in Ecobottle if the enemy’s not going air.
Advanced Missions: Assassination and Recruitment are the advanced missions and require the Spy Agency. Assassination works as before, killing one enemy non-combat unit. Recruitment attempts to bribe the enemy’s non-combat units into joining you. Up to two units will switch sides, although there’s a possibility of failure. Having better Espionage than your opponent increases your chances, but there is an element of luck as well. Recruitment takes much longer than any other mission.
UI: The scouting missions are still in the buildings tab, but grouped together by themselves on the right.
Spy Agency: Gives a bonus to Espionage as well as allowing advanced missions.
Counterspy strengthened: Scouts are captured faster when they are on missions or on “infiltrate” stance.
The AI does not understand Espionage very well. This will need to be addressed.
Compared with the Eggish tier 2, the Humans are boring and don’t encourage enough aggressiveness. Eggish sieges are more fun since there are more decisions and unit compositions which can deal serious damage to walls.
The Human tier 2 units are very defensive and their siege capability is abysmal. Mostly, it’s watching Grandmas slowly fling meatballs at enemy walls. The following changes are intended to give Humans more options for attacking cities.
Cheese Graters: Its upgrade allows it to attack walls (but not units). This gives the Humans a badly needed threat in sieges.
The healing ability is intended to allow front line units to survive far longer than expected. These changes will make them more useful:
1. Time it takes to throw the healing item is shorter.
2. Cooking Techniques increases the healing amount much more.
3. They can no longer target mechanical units. This was a bug, as they cannot heal mechanical units. Now they won’t waste shots trying to heal Cheese Graters.
Lastly, a social change. Doctors throw french fries instead of fried chicken. In the U.S., black person + fried chicken = disparaging racial stereotype. This was unintended, and I don’t need that sort of issue if more people start looking at this.
Couch Potatoes: Training time decreased. The Obesity upgrade is improved. Couch Potatoes didn’t feel useful enough after nerfs.
Roller Bladers: Training time increased. There was no advantage to training Couch Potatoes early instead of Roller Bladers. This change allows a Human player to make a logical decision to stay on the defensive and get non-combat units out faster in the early game.
Turret upgrades deal less damage and have less range. Highly upgraded turrets discouraged attacks too much. Turrets are intended to provide a slight advantage to the defender in an otherwise even fight, not allow a ton of free damage for sitting back and doing nothing. If a Town is undefended, tier-appropriate units should be able to destroy the walls without taking much damage.
As a game design philosophy, siege offense needs to be stronger than defenses, or the game will become too stagnant.
The maximum amount of Town upgrades is limited by your Fort level.
A Town with more population and independence requires more influence. But the amount of extra influence required felt too punitive, and has been decreased. It’s not fun to have a Town under your control FOREVER but still not available.
Units no longer have to cross the entire Town to gain influence; simply being inside the walls is good enough. It didn’t make sense to have your whole army inside a Town, but not affect it. Also, this prevents problems with long ranged units. For example, in the Whack Lumberjacks map, Swedish Cuisineres were unable to help control the more distant Town. Due to its long attack range, the Cuisiniere would be in range of the enemy Fort before it could cross the Town.
I think I want to add more Town information on the UI. Population and hostility. I don’t think naming the Towns is useful…too much clutter and it would be purely decorative.
The Fort and Town walls now have some new graphics, although they are still rough (especially the Fort walls). Level 2 walls are now made of adobe and level 3 walls are stone.
Instead of overlapping town walls and turrets, units are positioned either behind or in front as it makes sense. (This still needs tweaking as well).
Higher level turrets also need an upgrade graphic.
A projectile’s target location is updated when the projectile is launched rather than at the start of the unit animation. Projectiles from slow firing units will look more sensible, and dodging projectiles requires slightly more precision.
(the ones I remember)
If the computer built a Town to a max level and then you conquered it, the Town buttons were still marked as fully maxed and unable to be selected. Now, the buttons will be enabled.
Destroying a wall will only eliminate one level of turret and economy. It was possible for multiple levels to be removed if multiple units did fatal damage to the wall in the same frame.
Bugs to fix
The turret and fort upgrade buttons don’t display the correct status. When a fort is fully upgraded, it should turn gold. The turret upgrade button doesn’t turn gold or disabled when necessary.
The text position on the town buttons is not consistent (sometimes starts centered, then jumps to right-aligned).
The Bacon Knight may be too strong in the Egg vs Egg matchup. If I built 10 Knights, what’s a strong counter? Of course, Hot Air Balloons can hit them with impunity, but it’s not hard to train a few Eggasi as replacements. And if Knights and Balloons base race, the Knights should be better (they last much longer and their DPS is close enough to the Balloons’). Lots of Cannon Fodder with Eggsplosion might work OK (making the Egg Carton a possibility). Will need testing.
Cool, accidental stuff
With both units fully upgraded, a Roller Baller beats a Yoga Freak one-on-one in the Cavern. It’s an interesting side effect that adds a specific reason to get the Roller Baller upgrade.