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Why Stardock Is Still Working on Fallen Enchantress

| 12 Feb 2013 22:00
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Greg Tito: What kinds of spells or abilities are being added to the game?

Derek Paxton: One thing players requested is to add more depth to Tactical Battles. Fallen Enchantress has different damage types on different weapons. Hammers are blunt weapons, spears are pierce weapons, etc. Some armor protected better against different types, some monsters are more or less defended against different types. From a statistical standpoint there was some variety, it matters that you use your spearmen against the guys in plate mail and your warhammer against the guys in chain mail. But it wasn't visceral enough, players didn't feel the difference so most played without considering the statistical difference and therefor it was as if they didn't exist.

For LH all weapons have special functions in combat. Rather than a spear doing more damage against plate armor it has an impale ability, which strikes an enemy and whoever is behind him. All factions have a special ability in tactical combat as well, so the player always has a few options to choose from (outside of just moving and attacking) in tactical combat. Wraiths can drain life from nearby enemies, Trogs can go berserk, which takes them out of the players control as they attack enemies as quickly and brutally as possible.

As for new spells, we have plenty of those too. Lightning bolts strike all enemies in a straight line from the caster, necromancers can summon hordes of undead into battle and casters can use Gust of Wind to knock back nearby enemies. A lot of the new spells play with the swarm mechanic that has been introduced in LH which gives bonuses when you attack enemies that are surrounded by your allies. Now controlling the battlefield and exactly what tile you are standing in becomes more important.

Greg Tito: Will there be more equipment? I found after playing about 20 hours of FE that I found the same stuff very often.

Derek Paxton: There are currently 13 new items to be found in LH like a ring that increases the amount of healing your healing spells do and an enchanted crossbow that fires through multiple enemies. But I expect that to grow between now and release.

Does Legendary Heroes update the implied setting? What happened on Elemental story wise to make these changes make sense?

Derek Paxton: In Fallen Enchantress Relias traveled to the East and encountered tragedy. I don't want to spoil the storyline of the Fallen Enchantress scenario, but because of those events the dead have risen across the world of Elemental. The world has changed, and players that enjoy reading the background on the heroes and creatures will find new information about the events of the past game.

Greg Tito: I didn't find any naval units in my play time with FE. Is that something you want to add?

Derek Paxton: We include some ships in custom maps and in the scenarios, but no real naval game. Naval combat is good in a game about a nation, with advanced armies. But, in my opinion, it doesn't work as well in a game with such a strong RPG component. It doesn't work as nicely if your champions are on that ship that sinks, or you would like to transport an army that has an Earth Elemental in it.

In my opinion the best thing about the naval game in other TBS games is the potential to discover a new continent halfway through the game that may have a new advanced or primitive faction for you to deal with. In LH we have added this by increasing the max world size beyond anything that we attempted with Fallen Enchantress. Making players unlikely to encounter those remote corners into well into the game. And of course we provide a variety of game creation options for adjusting the player count, frequency of monsters or dangerous wildland areas.

Greg Tito: Are new factions being introduced? Why or why not?

Derek Paxton: No new factions. Instead we focused on putting more detail into the existing factions. For example each faction has a unique ability that they can perform in tactical combat. So even your lowly spearman Altar gets the Rush ability that allows them to bypass their attack to get an additional action. All factions have a special ability in tactical combat as well, so the player always has a few options to choose from (outside of just moving and attacking) in tactical combat. Wraiths can drain life from nearby enemies, Trogs can go berserk, which takes them out of the players control as they attack enemies as quickly and brutally as possible.

There are also new sovereign and faction abilities for players that would like to create custom sovereigns and factions and these will be used by the AI when the player creates new games so if a player would like 10 new factions and sovereigns, he has only to create them in game and start playing.

Greg Tito: I'm confused by the pricing. As an expansion to FE: Legendary Heroes will cost $20, but as a standalone it will be $40. Does the standalone include everything in FE too? Are you worried $20 is too much to charge for an expansion pack?

Derek Paxton: Players who already own Fallen Enchantress can get Legendary Heroes for $20. If you don't own Fallen Enchantress then it costs $40 because it includes the Fallen Enchantress content as well.

Developers previously offered deals like this for expansions that weren't standalone (they installed on top of the main game) because in a retail world it was the way to enforce that you had to have the main game to buy the cheaper expansion. For example, if Civ 5 costs $50 and the expansion costs $30, they don't want to charge people $80 for the expansion if they already have the main game. And they don't want to let people have the full Civ 5 game for $30. So the expansion that installs on top of the main game model was born. But in a digital only world we already know if you own the main game or not. So we can give you the correct pricing for your expansion without having to deal with games installed on top of each other. That is easier for us (we can patch them separately from each other and don't have compatibility issues) and for players, which can install them and play them separately.

For us, we didn't set a price point and then base our scope on that. Instead we came up with the scope we wanted, and then priced according to that value and cost.

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