Oriental Empires 4X

I have been part of the beta program and up until now under a NDA.

We are now allowed to “free to publish videos, articles or stream the game between the 1st to 12th of August! You can cover the game as you please but please do not call it a Preview, Review or give it any rating.” Thus I should be able to provide some thoughts without giving it a review/preview or a score. Someone else said that:

[quote]It is pretty. It has a nice UI.

However, the game lacks any excitement to the exploration phase, the research tree is awfully boring and consists mainly of incremental bonuses to various stats that are hard to understand, and overall, the game lacks a one more turn feeling in so many ways that I will likely never return to it.

So, yeah, temper your enthusiasm.[/quote]

I can not find fault with the above statement.

Didn’t participate in the beta, but I’ve been patiently waiting on this one, sad to hear it might not turn out to be all that, I’ll hold off purchasing till I hear more.

I didn’t make it into the beta either although I would have liked to. Disappointing to say the least.

So this drops into Early Access tomorrow. I’d love to hear from others who have played it. Right now my 4X fix is coming from Civ IV Colonization with the TAC mod, and it’s got it’s hooks into me big time.

there are several gameplays in youtube from the beta “jackie fish” if we don’t have any feedback here :-)

I just visited the Steam page to see if there were any comments and also check on the price. I found this still up on the front page:

Boldface mine:

"The closed beta program will enable a fixed-sized and fully controllable testing environment, where feedback is manageable and easy to digest for the relatively small indie team. The beta program will consist of several different phases/waves, introducing a fixed number of new players to the beta program at different development points. Once the closed beta program for Oriental Empires is complete, the title will be launched as a solid and finished product

I realize things change and a later decision to go into Early Access may have been made. That’s no excuse for this statement to still be on the front page.

Do the developers not understand the meaning of Early Access?

Watching a friend play this last night, in addition to the fact that the single-player campaign is complete (Early Access is only so multi-player can be finished, according to the developers) convinced me to buy it today. It’s still a little rough around the edges, but the sale price of $24 is not unreasonable.

One thing I can’t figure out is why the treasuries/incomes of cities add up to considerably less than the total shown for the player’s faction.

Just picked this up too. I wanted to like it because it checks a lot of my boxes. So far I’m a little underwhelmed. In some ways it reminds me of the dev’s (R.T. Smith’s) earlier game Armada 2526 in that, though I can’t point to any disastrous flaws and though it has a few cool design touches, it just doesn’t excite me. The UI has some nice features (some copped from Endless Legend as well as Civ 5, of course), but it’s strangely unintuitive and hard to track some very important things (i.e. what particular cities are building.) Also, as the review in the OP’s post said, the tech tree feels obscure and diffused and based in a lot of abstractions that don’t mean anything tangible. The combat is perplexing because, when you zoom in, you see they’ve put some effort into rendering the battles, but because you can’t intervene or affect the fighting, and because nothing notable ever happens (just dudes lining up and walloping each other), there’s no real reason to watch.

I’m hoping the dev tackles some of these problems before the game leaves EA. I’ll probably keep playing because again I’m a sucker for the playstyle / setting, etc. But a bit of a let down.

I’m curious about any other early reactions. Am I missing something? Does late game awesomeness redeem the early slog?

Regarding production in cities - The cities list on the left-hand side has a little icon next to the names of any cities that are building something. Hovering over it with the cursor will tell you exactly what.

Thanks. Just noticed that after I posted. Duh.

I’ve been playing more and more of this, and really like it quite a bit. On the surface it’s another Civ/TW wannabe, but once you get into the nuts and bolts there are some very significant differences that force you to approach the game with a completely different mindset.

  1. Recruitment - Depending on the development level of a settlement, there’s a limit to how many units you can recruit from the peasantry (mostly militia variations) and the nobility (better trained and equipped professionals). Maintenance is very high, and a couple of garrisoned decent armies can bankrupt you pretty quickly. To balance this units recruited appear in the same turn and can be deployed (I learned this last by accident - it’s not mentioned anywhere in the help screens) either in the garrison or at any of the four gates leading into your city. This means that during peacetime you can get away with not having a standing army, and unless you’ve built close to the edge of the FOW, should have a couple of turns to prepare for any threats.

  2. Resources and trade - While there are some sources of natural resources (you can mine copper in some of the mountains, for instance), you don’t need a source of a material to trade it. That copper mine will earn income, but even without it you can build a Copperworks, and once a trade route is established it will start generating $. Trade routes can be over land (by building and upgrading a Bazaar) or river (building Quays). For a land route you only need one Bazaar, but there have to be Quays on either end of a river route. Land routes are automatically set by the AI to the nearest city in a 12-hex radius.Putting in a second Bazaar will give you a two-way trade, effectively doubling what you make form the route.

  3. Expansion & Exploitation - Besides cash flow, the most important factor to keep an eye on is Rebellion. Nobles and Peasants are both tracked, and both are affected by how you grow your empire. Every empire has a rating for Authority, and this determines how many cities you can have (not counting your capitol). When your city count if higher than your Authority rating, Noble Rebellion increase for each point (I think it goes up by 10 but there may be other factors). There are buildings that will reduce it of course, and several techs add Authority. The level of development of a city limits how many buildings it can hold, and like armies, building upkeep can put a stranglehold on your economy. More importantly, everything you build is built by the Peasantry, and if you work them too hard or two often, they become rebellious. So unlike the Civ model, where as soon as something is finished you immediately start on the next project, every so often you have to take a break for a few turns and give your people a chance to catch their breath.

Anyway, it has it’s rough edges, and could use some QOL improvements here and there, but so far at least it’s been a solid title.

Thanks. Some great tips here that aren’t immediately obvious (especially the trade stuff and the need to rest your peasants). Yeah, I’m also coming to appreciate the depths of the game as I play on. I’m only just realizing all the possibilities with large army formations. I’m hoping the devs can find ways to make some of this interesting stuff a little more visible and intuitive from the start.

You’re right about the expense of garrisons and standing armies. I might add though that military size does seem (I think) to factor heavily into the AI’s assessment of relative strength for diplomatic and war purposes. For example, I’ve noticed that civs seem less likely to accept nonaggression or other agreements when I have a smaller military than them. They also seem much more likely to become aggressive. (Makes sense). I’m thinking that there’s probably some sweet spot, a standing army that’s large enough to provide a deterrent but not so large that it breaks the bank. I’m going to keep experimenting.

By the way, I’m finding the AI pretty capable good so far. Other civs seem to know how to play the game and to employ the various tools at their disposal. I’ve encountered a few screwy things, but not many. (eg. my larger and more powerful southern neighbor who declared on me then surrendered without a fight and begged to become my vassal).

I haven’t tried it yet, but what if you recruited an army just long enough to get that non-aggression pact, and then disbanded it a turn or two later. Would the AI notice?

The combat is really weird. So, when units fight they run around on the map during the execution phase ignoring the hex grid, which makes it really hard to see what orders lead to what. Outflank, for example, in sieges leads the units on outflank to run around in circles rather than finding other breaches like I want them to.

The rest of the game is really clever but I almost wish they went to a tactical map for execution like Spartan or Dominions because it doesn’t really work the way they have it right now.

One thing that’s really starting to bug me about the combat is the way a stack will chase after an enemy stack that’s been routed when there are other targets nearby. I can’t find a way to prevent it, and with no combat control there’s no way to stop it. Hell, you can’t even find out who it is that’s running off the battle field.

Also I suspect the difficulty levels aren’t working. On most of my play sessions as the Shang on Normal difficulty my biggest headaches in the first 25 turns came from bandits and keeping rebellion under control. I started a game on “Easy” as the Shang, just to see what it was like, and had war declared by both the White Di and Dong Yi around turn 10… By turn 15 I had lost 2 of my 3 cities and both of my leaders were dead.

That can’t be WAD, can it?

First major patch is live:

Cities don’t fall until all defenders destroyed or an undefended breach is attacked
Fixed issue with destroyed units fleeing
Fixed bug with units retreating to settlements
Can’t pillage if lost a battle
Attackers won’t assault city until any sallying units are engaged
Improved pathfinding around settlements
Fixed routing from siege battles
Fixed bug that sometimes let an unwalled settlement be captured by attackers ignoring sallying defenders
Settlement will not be attacked, unless a specific attack on the settlement was ordered.
Improved behavior of archers in sieges.
Improved behavior of missile chariots and cavalry

Trade routes follow roads. Roads give a trade bonus
Trade routes updates when forest cleared.
Fixed removal of trade routes when war declared
Fixed various issues with trade routes when a settlement changes owner, a trade building is destroyed or peace is made
All hexes count as one hex for trade route distance
Reduced basic trade income to compensate for road bonus
Increased shrine upkeep costs
Made military unit suppression dependent on city population
Fixed growth button not opening details panel. Changed growth display to percentage
Bumper harvest doesn’t increase population to more than 1 over sustainable level
Granaries store food faster when there is a surplus.
Enhanced tooltips on potential settlement hexes
Reduced effect of drought
Limited how much event effect can stack up depending on difficulty level
Increased rate that labor unrest is forgotten.
Fixed Legalist school tax bonus

Forced unit selection sound to mono.
Fix invisible armies
Fixed floating city tab problem
Fixed stack and leader display staying open on loading screen
Fixed lock up in execution phase
Stopped players disbanding a new leader by dragging in the recruitment panel
Tool tips on map items don’t disappear as soon as mouse moved. Also appear faster.
NB Noble Cavalry now marked as cavalry.
Fixed issue with crash on load caused by stack with no units having a formation
No bandits due to unrest in first 50 turns on easy. Further reduced early game bandits on easy
Moved Advice file location. Hopefully fixes problem of advice restarting each session.
Added disable grass check box. Should help with stuttering.
Fixed upkeep of trained heavy spear unit. Adjusted upkeep of some other trained units
Changed militia unit names to peasants to help people understand why they revolt
Amended some text for historical reasons
Added advice to help players find in game manual.
Reduced cost of some edicts that recruit characters
Reduced income from Well Field System and Equal Field System edicts[/quote]

Some good things in that update. Best one for me is reduced cost to get leaders through edicts. Leaders make things better in this game

Still no way to turn off autofarm for cities individually, which makes farm powers suck. I like playing herders a lot more because of the reduced micromanagement but they are significantly worse than farmers past the early game.

Has anyone been playing this game? Going off of Steam reviews, I’m not expecting a classic or anything, but I want to know if anyone thinks it might be worth the sale price ($17.99 or something like that).

I am all for supporting games of this type and I’m not looking for a flawless gem, just want to make sure it doesn’t have horribly broken mechanics, etc.

Nothing horribly broken, but some frustrating lack of control during battles. I enjoy the turn-based strategy game a great deal. However, I do get frustrated trying to figure out how to get my troops to behave themselves during battle.

Zoomed out, your armies are represented as a whole. During battle, the map zooms in and your army is broken down to the squads of men that you hire. They run around in a manner somewhat dictated by the orders you’ve given them prior to battle. With experience, you get better at placing them in better formations and giving them better orders. However, they can still really frustrate you when they don’t seem to act on the orders you gave them.

For less than $20, I think you will enjoy learning the game and even if you grow frustrated with the battles by the end of your learning process, I think you will still have gotten a lot of pleasure from experiencing the game up to that point.

I have 53 hours in the game, and would consider taking it for another run at some point.