Age of Mythology - Why?

The problem with TA: Kingdoms was that the resource model was TOO simple. TA, as always, had it right the first time. Energy and metal, both based on fixed resource gathering buildings (solar panels, wind machines, fusion plants, and large/small/super metal mines, etc). You could also convert energy to metal or vice versa… this opened the possibility of different strategies, such as fusion plant only… eg, if you had a surplus of one resource, you could have a mere trickle of the other.

I don’t agree that the villagers are hands-off. Examples. Your gold mine will run out, they will harvest all the trees in an area, or they’ll kill all the hunted-type animals in an area. In all three cases they must be retasked by hand (why can’t they just hunt the entire map by themselves? why do they stop harvesting wood when another wood patch is nearby?). Plus, in the case of the Greeks and the Egyptians you need your villagers to build stuff, too. More retasking. And there are so goddamn many of them! 5 on gold, 5 on wood, 5 on prayer (greek), 5 on food…

Now that I think about it, I prefer the fixed resource gathering buildings + mobile builder units approach.

In the end, it doesn’t matter if your resource gatherers are mobile, because the resource spots certainly aren’t. You end up fighting over the same patch of resource “turf” either way. Having mobile resource gatherers doesn’t buy you much, if anything.

“They vills are key to your economy. You must protect them from harm. They aren’t there to watch, they’re there to work. If you’re watching them, you’re dead.”

They mana nodes are key to your economy. You must protect them from harm. Good news is, you don’t really need to watch them because they’re never idle, never need to be reassigned to a new task, etc.

“I’d much rather have a mobile group of resource harvesters than some building that once it’s dead, the game is effectively over. That doesn’t work for gameplay purposes and it’s exactly the reason people hated TA:Kingdoms. Once your places of mana generation were one less than your opponents, it was game over.”

AoM must suck because god knows if you lose your townhall (or whatever), it’s game over! It’s sucky! The game should have mini-townhall-ettes that can run into caves and hide when attacked!

Actually, that’s not true in Kingdoms about losing a mana node. You could turtle quite effectively and get along for some time after losing a single mana node. The only real difference between Kingdoms and TA is that the resource locations are fixed in Kingdoms but infinite in TA. What I liked about Kingdoms was just that there was more reason to fight over control of a patch of ground.

I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. I like having to worry about resources in these games, but I don’t like having to create a small army of workers to harvest them. It’s that simple. I think there’s a more elegant and less time-consuming way of handling this, and it’s already been done. I am still every bit as interested in all the other aspects of managing my RTS gameplay, and having a building planted on a resource node in no way turns the game into something like Myth, no matter how many times you say it. The game is still all about harvesting resources (which in this example means grabbing them and defending them and is something you don’t do in Myth), building addional buildings and towns (something you don’t do in Myth), building an army (something you don’t do in Myth), and fighting – which, sing Hosannas, is something you do in Myth.

I guess you’re right. Without peons, it’s exactly like Myth!

“The problem with TA: Kingdoms was that the resource model was TOO simple. TA, as always, had it right the first time. Energy and metal, both based on fixed resource gathering buildings (solar panels, wind machines, fusion plants, and large/small/super metal mines, etc). You could also convert energy to metal or vice versa… this opened the possibility of different strategies, such as fusion plant only… eg, if you had a surplus of one resource, you could have a mere trickle of the other.”

I just didn’t like the infinite resource model in TA. As long as you weren’t confined to sliver of land, you could continually increase your energy and metal harvesting.

I wouldn’t change TA because it’s unique in that aspect (as well as many others), but I prefer fixed resource locations. To me it adds a strategic element I enjoy in RTS games.

What’s really amazing about TA is how well it’s held up. It still looks decent and the gameplay of course is still rock solid. Is it like five years old now?

It’s just a different game dynamic. Personally I prefer it to “plonk a auto-gatherer building down” styles of RTS, because I get more control at my end, and get more satisfaction when causing destruction at the other end. The latter point, for me, is of particular significance, because there’s little more satisfying in an RTS game than raiding an enemy base and seeing his villagers run for their lives, and get trampled under my mighty horde. Running in and bashing at his auto-gathering spot would not compare.

The only real difference between Kingdoms and TA is that the resource locations are fixed in Kingdoms but infinite in TA. What I liked about Kingdoms was just that there was more reason to fight over control of a patch of ground.

Well, you’re referring to “metal maps” where the entire ground is metal and therefore a metal mine can be placed anywhere. Most serious players didn’t play these maps… they are a little ridiculous, little more than building contests. The competitive maps were, as you state, maps with fixed metal resource locations…

Taking advantage of metal early in a TA game was important and depended heavily on aggressive expansion… but you’re reight that turtling is easier in TA.

Still the thing missing from most new rts games (that TA and TAK had) was combined army tactics. Most new rts games rarely have good artillery/air/sea depth to them. TA you could literally sustain a whole economy based underwater! A whole army in TA can win on air (harder on artillerty)! Cant do stuff like that in new games!

etc

TA’s only real flaw was that, no matter the skill of the players, it inevitably degenerated into a building contest. TA needed a unit cap so bad. I swear to god, if someone went back in and coded in WC3-style population limits and upkeep costs, it really would be the perfect RTS game.

Here’s a corollary to Dave Long’s crazy “unless it has building, it’s Myth” rule: unless it has strict unit caps, every RTS will devolve into a “who can build the most stuff the fastest” contest.

A whole army in TA can win on air (harder on artillerty)! Cant do stuff like that in new games!

No, I’ve played WC3 games where players went all-air and absolutely creamed us. It’s really hard to stop if you don’t spot it early enough.

One 2vs2 game in particular is a good example of this… one of the enemy guys dropped early on, which usually means you have a good chance of winning (it’s effectively 2vs1 at that point). However, this guy did something crazy-- he went all air for BOTH bases, his own base plus the guy who dropped that he now controlled. Of course he built a shitload of towers to protect himself, and by the time we got our forces marshalled and realized what he was up to… he had 8-10 chims and 8-10 hippogryph riders.

(note to Tom Chick-- that’s two selection groups in Warcraft 3.)

Anyway, he cleaned our clocks. We had mostly ground with a sprinkle of anti-air capable units, which wasn’t nearly enough. I played random and I drew Orc that time (eg, the crappy anti-air race) and I had to shift strategies radically, my ally helped a lot more as he could build hippogryphs sans riders which are pure anti-air. We held on heroically but it was effectively over from that first battle.

Note to self: keep scouting the enemy so you can react to what they are building.

That’s a good point. There’s more emotional satisfaction in killing peons than in killing a building.

Maybe in the next Age game the peons can be programmed to beg for mercy before being slaughtered? That would be cool. Ok, I’m kidding, but it would still be cool.

I’d like to note that taking an RTS and removing the resource gathering and peons does not automatically turn it into myth. The lack of resources was only one decision that amkes myth greatly different from our RTS case, Age of Mythology and myth. Myth is what i like to call a Real time Tactical simulator. I’d like to note that i think myth has a great amount of micromanagement, just as much as Age of mytholgoy and in some ways more. in myth it is important to know what direction your units are facing, the spacing between troops types, troop formations, no automatic abilites for unit powers, experience of each unit, ground variations, unit speed, and a host of other things. I have played both games(myth a great deal more than AOM), and i think it takes away from myth to simply say its a RTS with no resources. There were several missions in Starcraft that you had to “win” with no resource management, but in no way shape or form did they resemble myth.
FWIW, speaking of resource management, i really dig the farms in AOM and i think they closely resemble what Mark is talking about in his resource management ideas. I also think you should chill out Dave. :) i criticize martial arts all the time, it doesn’t mean that i don’t enjoy doing them. on the contrary, i do more now than i ever have, but i think i enjoy it SO much that i am constantly on the lookout to think of ways to improve what i like. Talk to any car modder and he/she will talk alot more about how their car is insufficient and how they are going to supe it up rather than constantly praising how fast their car is already.
Huong

You remember AOE? It had a fairly low unit cap initially. I remember that the players howled in protest and Ensemble eventually caved.

I think unit caps are a good thing too. I also like the pace to be slower, like it was in the original C&C. Alas, the players have voted with their wallets and like speedy RTS games and the ability to build big armies. I still remember how disappointed I was with Red Alert when it was apparent that the build times and unit speeds were more like Warcraft II than C&C.

That’s an excellent point,and since you mentioned it,a significant reason that I like(or liked…) C&C more than most of the RTS games that have been released since.About the only way I think I could stomach playing a RTS multiplayer online nowadays is if it had a more leisurely pacing than the current crop.

Yes, Mark, I would enjoy that too lol.

Man, Warlords Battlecry 2 sure does rock.

What’s the resource collection scheme for that game? I’ve forgotten.

Oh, I just read about WBC II. It’s a lot like Myth:

“Once your hero successfully lays claim to the mines, resources slowly trickle into your general pool. The rate of return for each individual mine can often be increased by sending some of your grunt units to work inside it. The grunts you send into mines cannot be retrieved, however.”

http://www.avault.com/reviews/review_temp.asp?game=warbc2

So you convert a mine, which takes some time (probably about as much time as it would take to build a manastone on a mana lode) and then the resource collecting ensues. It just happens! No peons!

But you can increase the production rate by adding peons. Strange thing is, they disappear never to be seen again. No peons running back and forth! WBC II must be really boring! Let me quote:

“I’d much rather have a mobile group of resource harvesters than some building that once it’s dead, the game is effectively over. That doesn’t work for gameplay purposes and it’s exactly the reason people hated TA:Kingdoms. Once your places of mana generation were one less than your opponents, it was game over.”

Sounds like someone is describing WBC II.

Some interesting points all round. I admit that I am more sympathetic to Marks views. Dave ‘Action Man’ Long makes some good points which eventually come down to him beating his chest and saying that
a) If a game suits his play style (ie fast and aggressive), it must be good.
and
b) If you don’t use the same play style as him you suck and should not play games.

I’m not really meaning to piss on Dave’s Views here, but I would like to think that a strategy game should not be based on one optimum strategy: constant aggression in order to disrupt the opponents economy. Maybe I haven’t investigated AoM thoroughly, but are there any other effective strategies?
My personal tilt is towards grand strategic Europa Universalis type games which have a range of built in checks and balances that prevent one strategy from being optimal. I would also prefer an epic Lan game than a quick internet game so I guess my preferences go against the grain in terms of liking games which are more than quick build order contests.
Like Mark, I would like to spend more time managing or even just watching the game than be like Dave and regard time as another resource which is allocated between guns and butter actions.
Kohan made great gains for people who didn’t want to micromanage some aspects: preconfigurable armies and resource gathering based on city’s zone of control. Both elegant features which require decision making and some maintenance but don’t require constant work. Obviously this concept of simplification could be taken to extremes and you could have a game that plays itself, but really, should I need to tell each peasant what to do? Couldn’t I just give all of the peasants/villages a priority and have them go about matching it?
I suppose it comes down to ‘what is the game part of this game?’. Dave obviously believes that keeping a sharp eye on resources and flicking back to control villagers adds to the tension of the game. I would rather work on a plan and see it come to fruition without busywork interruption. (And also, I think that watching battles is a fun part of the game. Why have the eye candy if you don’t hang around to watch it?)
Maybe we should just have tags which let others know what sort of gamer you are: action Vs leisurely. Oh wait, I guess there is another way to differentiate the two- the action guys will be at the top of the listings.

a) If a game suits his play style (ie fast and aggressive), it must be good.
and
b) If you don’t use the same play style as him you suck and should not play games.

Isn’t that the Cliffs Notes version of every Dave Long post? ;)

I think unit caps are a good thing too. I also like the pace to be slower, like it was in the original C&C. Alas, the players have voted with their wallets and like speedy RTS games and the ability to build big armies. I still remember how disappointed I was with Red Alert when it was apparent that the build times and unit speeds were more like Warcraft II than C&C.

I wish there was a way RTS games could slow down a bit during combat, but speed up when there’s no combat going on. The problem with global speed sliders is that you spend too much time doing the relatively tedious building, exploring, and upgrading… the last thing you want is to slow that down.

A frequent complaint I hear from non-RTS gaming friends of mine is that they spend 20 minutes building a bunch of crap, only to lose the game 5 minutes later. It’s a valid point; one of the things WC3 does to alleviate this is make the early game interactive-- with the hero levelling up and clearing creeps on the map. It sure beats the hell out of sitting there, watching your town build itself, even if Mark Asher can’t deal with it.

Okay, maybe I’m too new to this forum to understand, but is wumpus’s job to just hang around and be an asshole to the two guys kind enough to run this site?

You seems to have some good points, but I don’t understand why you can’t disagree without someone without being such a jerk about it. When you’re a guest in someone’s house, do you just go over and bag on their furniture and call them morons?