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Creature Unions (Creature Mechanic)

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vin

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#1
In a quick summary, my idea is that when a enough creatures of the same type are together in your dungeon, you gain a benefit unique to that species of creature.

For example, 5 Cultists in your dungeon at once, form a cult. (no suprise there) This cult allows you an extra ability to curse your enemy with (I hesistate to call it a spell, perhaps a ritual? Not sure if it would draw from the blood pool), or perhaps something as simple as increasing research speed in the archive.

To prevent people rushing this sort of thing (more for it was spells and curses, then a standard production boost), this could either require a level limit for participating creatures (only level 4 cultists or above allowed!), or research in the veins of evil. (specialised unions, with creatures and benefits that match the tree)

Personally I prefer the idea of gaining this ability through the veins of evil (middle to late game) but either way it would allow you to potentially give Underlords even more scope to personalise the way they manage their dungeon, especially if you limit the number of Unions per Underlord to 2 of the 3, or lower. (would have to make them all equally viable, bit challenging)

For example, a follower of the path of sloth could gain Unions for Gargoyles, Augres and Oculus'.
The Oculus Union (a Sight?) could give you the ability to cast a curse over an area in your dungeon (following the defensive theme) that mimics the Oculus ability to render an opponent unit a drooling mess, essentially halting a good portion of an attack.
The Augre Union (A Shop? (as in workshop)) could use their knowledge of metallurgy to create improved traps (or cheaper traps from their scrap, or a new trap).
The Gargoyles Union (a Watch?) could gain a turtle shell when inside your area of influence to better defend themselves and the dungeon against attacks. (a slight joke)

There would no doubt need to be some balancing, but I think it would be an interesting mechanic. The abilities gained from these could be restricted either through requiring blood or from requiring all the units of the Union to be gathered in an area (perhaps when a union forms, each unit of the union can call its fellow members to gather to it?) and the ability to be off a cooldown. (spamming the mass drool ability would be rather annoying for enemy players if repeated in a short period, but if balanced would still encourage them to be a bit more tactical than RUSH THE FRONT WITH EVERYTHING)

However, if you do not wish to implement it like this, you could also keep it as a small "hidden" mechanic, that simply occurs when certain units are abundant, you gain a slight boost in productivity in the room they are most alligned towards (or to the regen of blood, collection of treasure, regen of the dungeon heart) and they could meet to discuss todays agenda and changes to their health plan they would like. On their own time, of course.

Bit of a read I realise and I thank you for your time. Whaddaya think?

Note 1: As Lordofriva said, this may encourage getting too many of specific types of units leading to rather boring dungeons (if you like em diverse) so the number to create a union should probably be closer to 3 then 5 (possibly also with a level limit) and in each vein it might be an idea that one of the unions would be for a creature not usually mentioned or thought of for that particular vein, to allow for a more diverse, multicultural dungeon. As long as the ability you gain from it fits the vein, it seems like a good idea.

Note 2: Xander pitched the idea of an additional union type, in which similar species in certain combinations could form a special union. These would require later game creatures and therefore be more of a late game feature. Every creature would have a basic union with a fairly average boost, but these combo unions would be powerful. Think of them like the specific sacrifices needed for a Horned Reaper in DK1 (ideally you wanted all three, high level, something to just throw the reaper at and a temple). Rare, but possibly gamebreaking if done right. This would be opposed to the unlockable unions via veins. But, another way to implement it, could be equally good. But may be too dependant on luck to be fair unless the possibly combinations are numerous.
 
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Lord of Riva

The Lord
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#2
if you have to unlock it in the veins ... why make it even harder to get by making it dependent on the creatures you (randomly?!) get?
so if i am Unlucky i cant use it right? meh...

and actually this would lead to using less different creatures since you want more of the same type, and i like to have many different creatures ;)

Last point for me in this is that it makes the game (like many very interesting ideas) way more complicated as it needs to be...
sorry to say this but i dont really like it ;)
 
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vin

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#3
if you have to unlock it in the veins ... why make it even harder to get by making it dependent on the creatures you (randomly?!) get?
so if i am Unlucky i cant use it right? meh...

and actually this would lead to using less different creatures since you want more of the same type, and i like to have many different creatures ;)

Last point for me in this is that it makes the game (like many very interesting ideas) way more complicated as it needs to be...
sorry to say this but i dont really like it ;)
It sounds complicated but in reality, it's a simple as the summary at the top. Most of what I wrote was just examples and on balancing.

You may want more of the same type to get this ability, but that doesn't neccessarily mean a large amount, I simply put 5 as an example. 3 could be a more realitic number, its a decent number while still being useful and to be honest aren't most dungeons going to lean towards certain creatures anyway? You can only unlock certain creatures (or the rooms to do so) with certain veins anyway and creatures like Augre's are useful in the factory which is key in the sloth path as is. If it works like in DK you would likely attract more of a certain kind of creature when you build bigger/ better versions of their rooms, so dungeons are naturally going to attract a few more of their paths kinds anyway.

To avoid stagnation like you say, you could always have the creatures (or at least one of the creatures) for the unlocked Unions the ones NOT generally buffed/encouraged by the path. So for the path of sloth which I assume encourage the use of creatures like Augres (for traps), Gargoryles (defense) and Oculus' (for support) you could have the unlocked unions be for creatures like the Cultist, Gnarling or Succubus. This would allow them to be a noticable asset to your dungeon even if they don't fit the 'theme' as it were. Would probably be better this way IMO.

Plus if you limit the number of unions to one or two with a size of 3 monsters, the average dungeon in DK was about 20 in mid to late game as I remember, so 6/20 isn't a massive number thats going cause noticable stagnation in the dungeon. But the number of creatures could vary with the rarity of said creature, to allow for a more diverse approach, 3-5 is an average, not a must.

But in the end, this is just an idea, how or if it is implemented wouldn't be up to me so your feedback helps make it more viable.

Thank you for your feedback.
 
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Jan 3, 2013
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#5
AFAIK Gnarling will have this system.

It may work, but I think developers will give this to certain characters only.
 
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vin

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#6
Creature Unions eh? I can imagine their being strikes when they don't get their own way. :p
I can imagine that being said in the narrators voice, bit like the "Your creatures are developing a strange accent." And stuff like that ^^
 
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vin

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#7
AFAIK Gnarling will have this system.

It may work, but I think developers will give this to certain characters only.
I think that depends on how it is implemented (if by characters you meant creatures?) if the benefits are minor and more of a cosemetic thing, then it would be more of a hidden mechanic for fun and it would be kinda cool for each creature to have a little benefit (talking pretty minor, for a higher amount (comparatively to the veins) and maybe a level limit) and a few unique actions when a few gathered. But if it was a bit more serious, research through the vein of evil type of thing, I wouldn't do a benefit for every creature, just like 3 (or so, not sure how many creatures are gonna be in the final) per tree (not neccessarily a different one in each, but a different benefit).
 
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#8
Gnarling, in theory will become more effective if there are more gnarlings with him in combat.

Some creatures, maybe heroes will probably have the same effect.
 
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vin

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#9
Well, cool. If this is expanded to include a variety of the heroes/creatures and the benfits are not purely combat boosts then I am much in favor of this. Making it a feature allows a wider variety of tactics (and counters) to be possible and would cause underlords to better understand/make use of his units.
 
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Kelphy

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#10
Hmm it's simple, and isn't a game breaker... But, would it really make a great difference? So I get a new skill for having more of the same creatures, so what? I mean I'm not saying it's a bad idea, because it's actually quite good. It's just not very exciting at all. perhaps that's just my opinion though.
 

vin

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#11
Hmm it's simple, and isn't a game breaker... But, would it really make a great difference? So I get a new skill for having more of the same creatures, so what? I mean I'm not saying it's a bad idea, because it's actually quite good. It's just not very exciting at all. perhaps that's just my opinion though.
It's more just to give you more options and tactics to use and cause your opponent to have to rethink their approach. Take the example of the Oculus group from the sloth vein, it creates an AOE spell that can essentially stun a group on enemies in your dungeon. Hit your enemy with that and you can quickly launch a counter attack, this would force your enemy to have to be more tactical with his forces and either split his force or send in a feint first or allow you the chance to spring a trap and turn the tide. It is simply an extension of the veins, allowing you to adjust your play style to suit your enemies approach, while still sticking to the theme of the vein.

Alternatively, if it was just a minor thing for every species, I think it would just be a cool little behaviour to see is all. Bit like the creatures that hated each other in DK1 and how angry creatures would start wrecking your dungeon. Seeing the cultists gather and do some cool little animation every so often, like one of them pulling a goat out from under their robe and them sacrificing it and then going about their daily business would be kinda cool I think.
 
Dec 14, 2012
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#12
The creature levels is a much better limitation than having the player unlock an unlock until they unlock the unlock whilst playing a match, if you wanted to incorporate both then I suppose each creature could have different types of benefits. If the default for Cultists was a cult and you need five level 4 Cultists for them to start a cult then that's cool, but what if you want something different? Perhaps you could unlock a Demon Bible club at the vein which replaces the cult with a 'Demon Bible club' which requires ten level 2 cultists or four level 6 Cultists, DBC has a greater benefit than the cult but requires much more effort in order to get it.
 

vin

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#13
The creature levels is a much better limitation than having the player unlock an unlock until they unlock the unlock whilst playing a match, if you wanted to incorporate both then I suppose each creature could have different types of benefits. If the default for Cultists was a cult and you need five level 4 Cultists for them to start a cult then that's cool, but what if you want something different? Perhaps you could unlock a Demon Bible club at the vein which replaces the cult with a 'Demon Bible club' which requires ten level 2 cultists or four level 6 Cultists, DBC has a greater benefit than the cult but requires much more effort in order to get it.
So a standard union and an unlockable union via each vein? Would that be for every creature? Or would you limit the unlockables to certain creatures? The problem is if every creature had an unlockable benefit and 3 seperate ones, to make them all unique and viable, some would always be underpowered and ignored and that's what I was trying to avoid by make it unlockable for 3 different creatures (give or take, depending on the final number of species) per vein. But yeah, having a few others with ones that come as standard isn't a bad idea, might add a note at the top.
 
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#14
So a standard union and an unlockable union via each vein? Would that be for every creature? Or would you limit the unlockables to certain creatures? The problem is if every creature had an unlockable benefit and 3 seperate ones, to make them all unique and viable, some would always be underpowered and ignored and that's what I was trying to avoid by make it unlockable for 3 different creatures (give or take, depending on the final number of species) per vein. But yeah, having a few others with ones that come as standard isn't a bad idea, might add a note at the top.
Maybe not three unlockables as that would be difficult to balance. It'd be more fitting to only have creature unions for the weaker types of minions too in my opinion enabling a further use out of them later on into a game as well as a reason to keep them and more fitting as most high-tier creatures seem to be high in value already.

I'd see this working similar to a hand in Poker, if you forgive my analogy for just a moment.
Lets say Cultists is a 4 and we put a Cyclops as a King, two king's beat two 4's, but if there are three 4's in play then you have yourself a triple and a triple beats a pair regardless of that pair's value making the triple more valuable as a collective. There's a higher probability of getting triple 4's than triple King's similar. Now to applying this analogy, its easier to get six Cultists than six Cyclops' and with balance in mind you'd want your six Cultists to stand a better chance against three Cyclops' otherwise why else would you want to keep the Cultists after they've fulfilled their use in the library? If these Unions are in-effect then those six Cultists are going to be much more effective against three Cyclops' unless of course they're against six Cyclops' then you may want to reconsider your hand. But the chances of having triple Kings against triple 4's is unlikely.

Expand this further to all low-tier minions only and you have yourself a lot of room for strategy, high-tier minions becoming your bargaining chips for victory instead of your massmurdering champion machines for any player unlucky enough to have kept a majority of their low-tier minions, alternatively if the opposing underlord has taken all the high-tier minions you'll still have a good chance of being the victory because you chose to make your low-tier minions more valuable. This makes the overall minion pool easier to balance because of the unions. (As opposed to the game becoming unbalanced because all minions has unions)

Going back to the card analogy you could have a collective of different creatures that would allow you a union, pick three high-in-intellect minions, your tier 1, 2 and 3's. Two tier 1's, Two tier 2's and One tier 3 grants you a five of the same type (i.e. High Intellect) and five of the same type means you have yourself a flush, which beats a triple of Kings whereas alone they wouldn't stand a chance, meaning that regardless of the enemy underlord hording 6 Cyclops', your five minions as a collective have a much higher chance of victory than having six Cultists and it wouldn't be as difficult to get 6 Cyclops' yourself as you're only needing one tier 3, two tier 2's and two tier 1's.

I apologize if I may have gone into a bit too much depth but this idea seems like it could be brilliant in a Strategy such as WFTO.

I'll put up some examples later if need be.
 

vin

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#15
So, give the weaker units unions to allow them more utility throughout the game and leave them out of strong ones to balance early game and late game creatures. Could you explain this part though:

Going back to the card analogy you could have a collective of different creatures that would allow you a union, pick three high-in-intellect minions, your tier 1, 2 and 3's. Two tier 1's, Two tier 2's and One tier 3 grants you a five of the same type (i.e. High Intellect) and five of the same type means you have yourself a flush, which beats a triple of Kings whereas alone they wouldn't stand a chance, meaning that regardless of the enemy underlord hording 6 Cyclops', your five minions as a collective have a much higher chance of victory than having six Cultists and it wouldn't be as difficult to get 6 Cyclops' yourself as you're only needing one tier 3, two tier 2's and two tier 1's.

I apologize if I may have gone into a bit too much depth but this idea seems like it could be brilliant in a Strategy such as WFTO.

I'll put up some examples later if need be.
Having trouble working it out, or is this just an indepth example?
 
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#16
So, give the weaker units unions to allow them more utility throughout the game and leave them out of strong ones to balance early game and late game creatures. Could you explain this part though:



Having trouble working it out, or is this just an indepth example?
The part you quoted about the flush is taking the idea to a more in-depth level. Think of it like this: Take your idea here and take the recipe idea from DKI(For the Temple) and then apply logic.
Example:
2x(Tier 1)Cultist + 2x(Tier 2)Plague Doctor + 1x(Tier 3)Ascendant = Flush/Union; each of them are high-intelligence minions for their Tier, similar to a game of cards where five of the same suit (or type in this case) is a flush.

To compare; One Ascendant against 6 cyclops' wouldn't do any good as its weakness is melee, the same goes for the 2 Cultists and the 2 Plague Doctors. These five minions together (without a union) wouldn't fair so well against 6 high-in-attack-strength Cyclops'. But what if there is a union for that recipe above? For Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 minions of the same type? Perhaps a flush-based union would supply a player with more defensive/offensive benefits than your pair-based unions encouraging players to use the full arsenal of the creature pool instead of hording the top tier-3 minions later into a game.

I'll lay out two examples to compare:
Pair-Based Union
5x(Tier 1) Cultists = Union; Cult; Your Cultists have been hard at work converging with one another to discover a way to enhance the power of your spells Underlord. Note: What this actually means; summoned Imps spawn with an extra level, lightening does more damage, disease lasts longer; and all with no extra-cost to you etc.)

Flush-Based Union
2x(Tier 1)Cultists + 2x(Tier 2)Plague Doctor + 1x(Tier 3)Ascendant = Union; Demon Book Club; With the unification of these minions' intelligence they have accessed a mystical cataclysm within their spirit; networking their abilities to an new-found enrichment of power. Note: What this actually means; all spells cast by Cultists, Plague Doctor's and Ascendant's ignore resistances of every type apart from X Resistance. But beware underlord, should you lose any of your prime minions this unification will break apart immediately.)

Your Pair-based Union is handy early/late game, but your Flush-based Union may win you a battle or two or save you from a tier-3 zerg rush.
 

vin

Spirit
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#17
I gettcha. Basic unions consisting of same species early game and then more specific late game unions with creatures of similar ability but increasing power/rareness depending. How many different flush unions would you say there should be? (theoretically, as with this whole discussion) The exact combinations could make it seem a bit like blind luck whether you get one or not and then proceed to stomp balls, may be unpopular due to the random element.

Unless you literally classed it like "Any 3 tier one units, any 2 tier 2 units and any 1 tier 3 unit", but they had to share a similar job/type. Then the problem is how to decide the buff for the different combinations, because that opens up a huge number of possible unions... Or I suppose you could just have multiple ways to reach the same 3 (or so) unions. There could be a Strength flush, Agility flush and Intelligence flush and any combination as long as it matched the criteria would give the bonus. Possibly a choice of benefits? but once you pick it, they are locked to that benefit, maybe add a level requirement as well to prevent people sacrificing creatures to change benefits quickly.
 

vin

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#18
Hah, turns out a similar idea is being used in a new game of similar themes.
http://www.pcgamer.com/previews/impire-hands-on-preview/
"One of the more interesting elements in Impire is that certain combinations of units will give the whole squad a synergy bonus. Creative Producer Yves Bordeleau told me that in the later levels, it will be “almost impossible” to win without making use of these"

Totally unaware until now. But the way it says it will be impossibly to win without using these? Definitely not what i'm aiming for, step too far methinks, even if they are easily accomplished in the game it shouldn't be forced upon the player. The game should be open in how the player goes about winning, not dependant on a single feature.
 
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#19
The idea itself has been passed through games for ages and I haven't been following Impire at all making the similarities completely coincidental. Keep in mind 'flush' is just terminology as reference for a union of different minions and nothing else, nit-picking at your "strength flush, agility flush" above. :D

In this case it would require a certain amount of each type and levels would be a factor and the combinations would require some logic otherwise some unions would make no sense, the benefits aren't overpowering they're just enabling a 1Up against others and it most certainly wouldn't be a case of "Do or Die" as that's just unfair towards the player forcing them to use a feature that isn't entirely necessary to begin with. Even small things can have depth even if they aren't totally necessary.

But some of these flush-unions would require unlocking from the blood vein, no trees for them as it would be up to the player to create their own unique combination.

The combinations themselves should be specific and not the easiest things to obtain by 'accident', especially the flush-unions. The one thing to keep in mind at all times with this is that the player is gaining some leverage for victory and not assured victory.
 

vin

Spirit
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#20
But some of these flush-unions would require unlocking from the blood vein, no trees for them as it would be up to the player to create their own unique combination.
Unlocking from the blood vein? Huh? I thought there were 3 veins, greed, sloth and wrath?

I'm calling them flushes because its not really the same as union in what I mean and I can't be assed to think of a new term.

I agree people shouldn't be able to luck out on the major flushes, so having it either as an unlockable, or having specific level requirements could prevent people from just lucking into it except in very late game.

But seriously, trying to balance this in my head, knowing so little about the game as of yet, really hurts my brain.
 
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