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  #1  
Old June 6th, 2008, 04:17 PM

TheMenacer TheMenacer is offline
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Default The (not really) Official Endgame Summon Thread!

Thousands of years ago/shortly before the latest patch, there was a discussion thread regarding the nature of shattered soul for our good endgame friends, the tartarians. Inspired by the end of the thread, which became a discussion of summons to rival their use in the endgame. I think then, that it's only right that we should have a thread about exactly that. Let's talk about what would be super awesome to see as summons, national or otherwise, to, if not replace, then at least stand up to the venerable tartarian and give every nation a leg up in the end game instead of the astral/blood/death nations.

I suppose I should go first with the national summon I suggested in the original thread, an Awakened Rimtursar giant for the Neifelheim nation line. Although they don't really need any help as far as SCs go, it'd be nicely thematic to have them considering that they have the Illwinter global to herald the return of the Rimtursar, but no actual way to get their mitts on one of the giants themselves. I think it'd also be nicely thematic to give them sort of sub par stats, like possibly below human-level in all the numbers effected by cold power, but with a cold power of like 7 or 8 so that anyone wanted to use them effectively would need to have Illwinter up to keep those temperatures nice and low. Of course, with cold power like that, as long as they were in a cold-3 province, their stats would be completely insane and they'd have to have an enormous cold aura, so they'd kick all kinds of ***, making their use a careful temperature-related balancing act.

For Agartha, at least EA Agartha, I'd like to see a death summon to open up that seal that everyone's guarding and see what's back there. Considering all the umbrals hanging out around the seal, I'd imagine some kind of mega-umbral, but who knows. It'd be sort of nice if it was implied that it was casting this summon to weaken the seal and let loose whatever's back there that ultimately lead to the decline of the Pale Ones considering that the seal isn't mentioned in the descriptions of any unit of the later ages aside from the umbrals themselves. Also I think for LA Agartha a zombie Ageless Olm could make an exceptionally awesome summon.

Also, before anyone makes the brilliant point that anything here can easily be modded in, yes, that is very true, and any modder willing to take up the cause would be a hero to children everywhere.
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  #2  
Old June 6th, 2008, 04:42 PM
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JimMorrison JimMorrison is offline
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Default Re: The (not really) Official Endgame Summon Threa

For EA Agartha, I think it would be cool if it were something like the Balrog from LOTR. That would be an incredibly cool summons to see, if not for them, than for Abysia perhaps.

Personally, I think there should be some powerful endgame summons available for every path, if not for every nation. Currently only a few nations are blessed with an abundance of potentially useful summons, leading to the S/D/B paradigm that we see today. It's true that there are -some- decent summons in other paths, but many are considered inferior, and too many are unique, which means they'll never be competitive against even 5-6 Tarts, let alone a dozen or more (even with Shattered Soul, sheer numbers tip the scales).

The only problem that I see, is that if a mod is developed, it's likely that it won't be widely adopted, even if it makes great strides in making more playstyles viable. Take CBM for example, I have tried it, and most of the changes are pretty awesome, as far as widening strategic viability. Yet, most games do not use it, so getting used to those options has no value in MP. In fact it could be argued that while content mods are great for making SP more fun, that they are detrimental to anyone who enjoys MP, as they teach you a different game.

The flip side of that, is that there is the remote chance, that if the summons were thought out well enough, and received widespread acceptance, IW might, MIGHT be persuaded to include them in the game, and that would be priceless indeed.


To be perfectly honest, I think IW could easily fill in the gaps by taking the pretenders as they exist, adding a couple magic paths (to most of them, not all), changing the descrip, and then making them available in the appropriate paths. Removing the conceptual and graphical phases of the creation, should relatively simplify the design of the spell/creature, and there is nothing implicitly unique about any of them really, the pretender is just a very ambitious individual.
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Old June 6th, 2008, 05:02 PM

MaxWilson MaxWilson is offline
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Default Re: The (not really) Official Endgame Summon Threa

Gandalf Parker advocated the notion that learning to play the game well included learning how to adapt to changes on the fly. He used to run randomized games where certain unit stats were given random values (maybe archers have Prot 18) and you don't discover this until you encounter some. I don't do this myself but that's partly because I'm still learning the basic game.

Some people like games which force you to make decisions under risk (i.e. you don't know whether you'll succeed but you know the probabilities), others like games where you make decisions under uncertainty (where you don't even know the probabilities). I find the latter category fun but nerve-wracking. It's like the first time you try out a new magic item or spell--will it be worthwhile and win you the battle or will it just get you killed? I've been surprised in both directions.

Note that intel-gathering on capabilities becomes much more important in Gandalf's chaos-style games. In that respect it resembles real life.

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Old June 6th, 2008, 05:27 PM

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Default Re: The (not really) Official Endgame Summon Threa

Dragons in world mythology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...y_and_folklore (interesting uniques like Zirnitra, Fafnir, Ryujin, etc)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragons_in_Greek_mythology
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_dragon
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_dragon

There's plenty of potential beyond the overpriced 1map move non-commander Tarrasque.
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Old June 6th, 2008, 05:29 PM
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Default Re: The (not really) Official Endgame Summon Threa

Well adding more random or dynamic factors I'm sure could keep things interesting and add new challenge for hardcore veteran addicts.

But for those of us who haven't been playing since release, and don't have these algorithms plugged into our brain to allow us to accurately evaluate completely new units and capabilities on the fly, it would seem to just inspire confusion.....

Dominions is like some kind of crazy Rock < Paper < Scissors < Hammer < Burlap Sack < Machete < Wrecking Ball < Body Bag < Chainsaw..... kind of progression, and constantly adding or removing steps in that can ultimately lead to a newer player discovering more of the innate truths of the game, but it'll do nothing for helping them develop consistent results from a predetermined set of capabilities.

My point being, that it seems most people consider it very risky, (bordering on suicidal) to play in MP without S/D/B access, so getting used to a mod that allows you to play most nations competitively without strong investment into those paths (and their associated schools), would make a less experienced player much weaker in vanilla MP games. Currently it's not so viable to really focus on the 1-2 paths that most nations start with very strong access to.


God I could just keep typing. What I mean to say is, I want to see more late game summons as viable alternatives to what is already available. I want them to be so compelling and strategically interesting, that they are included in all MP games. I also want a pony for Xmas.
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Old June 6th, 2008, 05:43 PM

TheMenacer TheMenacer is offline
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Default Re: The (not really) Official Endgame Summon Threa

That's pretty much what this is all about. Having the only viable endgame options be A: Wishing for Seraphs, B: GoR-ing Tartarians, or C: Being Mictlan isn't much of an endgame in my opinion. Having this be fixed up via mod wouldn't exactly be ideal for exactly those reasons that JimMorrison said, someone gets used to playing with everything being viable and then strolls into an MP game wanting to play a nature-heavy nation and expects his thematic-high-nature-magic pretender to actually do something is going to get his head handed to him. The only reason I brought up modding this in is because it seems more likely that someone here would take the reigns on this than to actually get official support for such a thing. And who knows, maybe if the thread takes off and gets some cool ideas going on in it, we'll see some of the content show up in a later patch. Also ponies.

Incidentally, I'm really really surprised there isn't a Chinese dragon summon for Tien Chi. That could do a pretty fair job as an endgame summon for them, especially since Chinese dragons were supposed to have all kinds of wacky magical powers over stuff like the weather, which suggests air and water magic, two pretty solid paths for self-buffing.
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Old June 6th, 2008, 06:04 PM

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Default Re: The (not really) Official Endgame Summon Threa

Dragons could be good I think. Pretenders dragons could be renamed Ancient Dragons, Dragons Kings or things like that to note their godlike status.

The same thing could be used for the cyclops with a cyclop king pretender and normal cyclops as summons.

The Roc and the Thunderbird could be nice Air themed summons.
Also the Lammasu (though I do not know the difference between a lammasu and a shedu).

What about karkadann from persian mythology ?
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Old June 6th, 2008, 06:07 PM

llamabeast llamabeast is offline
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Default Re: The (not really) Official Endgame Summon Threa

Ah, great! I had meant to start exactly this thread up, maybe even today!

It would indeed be awesome if there were more late-game summons in the game. I think people have been aware of this for a while, but somehow only recently has it been vocalised.

If we do end up producing something awesome, I reckon it will find its way into MP games. I mean, I (or anyone else) can always start a game and say "this game will use this mod". Mostly you can still fill the game up. The early mod nation games filled up slowly, but more recent games including mod nations filled up just fine.

I think this idea of including pretenders as late-game summons is genius, since they are a ready-made source of powerful creatures, complete with graphics and a mythological backstory. On the other hand they are mainly big human-shaped things, so it would be interesting to have some more variety (for example in the other thread I know someone was talking about treemen - I would feel like a treeman summon was more thematic than a Lord of the Wild or other nature pretender).

We don't actually need very many to make a very big difference I think.
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Old June 6th, 2008, 06:17 PM

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Default Re: The (not really) Official Endgame Summon Threa

Quote:
JimMorrison said:
But for those of us who haven't been playing since release, and don't have these algorithms plugged into our brain to allow us to accurately evaluate completely new units and capabilities on the fly, it would seem to just inspire confusion.....

Actually, it is a trap to think in this way. Dominions has such a huge number of units and spells that its really not possible to learn them all. Sure, you need to build a base of experience in a static environment. But the skills you should be building are unit evaluation, rather than rote memorization. If you do that, then it doesnt matter what mods your game has.
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Old June 6th, 2008, 06:35 PM

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Default Re: The (not really) Official Endgame Summon Threa

Okay, I have been looking at pretenders. Here is a list of pretenders which I think might be reasonable, to a greater or lesser extent, to use as a summon:

Wyrm
Lord of the Desert Sun/Summer Plague
Titan/Titaness
Asynja
Divine Serpent
Lady of Springs
Manticore
Cyclops
Dragons
Dracolich
Nataraja/Destroyer of Worlds
Scorpion King
Son of the Sea
Ancient Kraken
Old Man of the Sea
Lord of the Waves
Nerid
Lord of the Sky/Son of the Heavens
Ageless Olm

Some will need some changes to their descriptions and so on, but none of these are truly unique (most of the human ones are described like "The so-and-so is a demigod born from a river" which I would think there could be several of). So I think all of these are at least possibles. Some, though, feel somehow wrong. To me a Wyrm is very much a pretender, and shouldn't be summonable. Can't say why I feel that more about a Wyrm than a dragon though.

I'm still really interested in any new ideas people have for late game monsters though. Personally I'm drawing a creative blank right now. I may be able to do graphics if I can find time, for a small number of original ideas at least.
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