I meant studios do sometimes take steps backwards when releasing sequels.
I wasn’t countering @BrianRubin, as I in fact agree with him that I think Triumph here took a very long and in depth look at what worked well, and less well, and I remember a series of surveys a couple of years ago which went quite in depth and spawned some very interesting discussions.
It is interesting though, if you chart the changes across the games in the series, how some things could be argued to have gone backwards.
This is all very much YMMV territory, but let’s take the example of T3 and t4 units, because we were talking about them earlier.
In the 1st game you had fixed cities, you could never found a new city, only rebuild a razed one.
Those cities were of a fixed size, which determined what lvl unit they could produce. 1 hex cities meant only tier one units etc.
There was no random map generator either.
One most maps, there were very few 4 hex or even 3 hex cities. The demo map that got me into the game is called First Conflict and has Haflings, Goblins, Orcs and Elves as playable races, and Humans as a neutral race in the middle.
Only Humans have size 3 cities and no one has size 4 cities on the map.
The result was gating of higher tier units more so than even in Planetfall.
Unfortunately the balance between tiers was not so good (you basically always wanted the highest you could get, as most units were trash) and ditto the balance between races (a race with dragons as t4, or the lightning lady elves had, were your best bet as they were totally imbalanced!)
You ended up with some very tense fights over the handful of big cities.
Anyway the core idea here is tying units available to the level of city development, and tying that to the map itself.
With the introduction of random.maps in aow2 onwards, any city could end up producing any unit.
In AoW3 this also happened, although TS did add extra building via patches so the pace of city development was reduced a bit.
In Planetfall you need to research the units, and the economic system is designed to favour lower tier units, and from.what we have seen so far, t3 and t4 units aren’t nearly the powerhouses they used to be. Well t4 units especially.
An example is the Celestian T4 units which requires influence iirc, and quite a bit. I think the number I saw somewhere was 100 influence, and there’s a cap on how much influence you can have, which I think is 200. Basically, much harder to mass this unit.
So, you could say how cities and higher tier units has evolved, but you could also say it has gone backwards, if you so chose.
AoW3 saw 6 unit stacks, no true flying, class system taking precedence over race, 6 races down from 15.
Which some people most definitely so as going backwards.
PF has 6 races and classes, but both seem.much more fleshed out than previous games.
True flying is back, but so too is chance to hit, and some people are already saying it’s a step backwards.
It’s a difficult thing to create a sequel it seems, putting it mildly.
Ther are some people who literally want just AoW1 with new models and textures.
also, city development and management.
First game had fixed cities.
2nd game had cities on the map and options to start with a settler only, no settler etc.
AoW3 had the same options.
PF it seems has no options: you always start with the planetfall, and a small city. There isn’t a way to have no settlers.
So.one could argue that’s a step back.
I dont think it is because the central thesis of the game is shattered empire, people living in ruins, complete collapse of civilisation, so having gleaming cities existing might not fit that so well.