Category Archives: General
So a couple of days ago Firaxis announced that Civ 6 is getting its 2nd expansion in February. They’re calling it “Gathering Storm” as they’re adding in random geologic and weather events. Floodplains can actually flood, volcanoes can erupt, tornadoes can sweep the plains, dust storms in and around deserts, droughts will apparently be triggered if you cut too many forests, etc. They’re also adding in an overall “world climate” section that you’ll have to manage, and revamp of how strategic resources work.
Here’s the announcement video. It opens with a short intro from Sid Meier, but the volume is very low so he’s hard to hear, then it goes in to the 3 minute trailer, then finally cuts to the developers talking about it. I didn’t watch the full hour, as by the half-hour mark I knew I didn’t care about this expansion at all.
As I watched the video, I kept thinking to myself “Hoo boy, just that much more to micromanage.” Nothing really excited me about any of what they’re proposing at all. And considering that in my “1st impressions” post about the “Rise and Fall” expansion I said that I felt it made the game worse and thus I had buyer’s remorse…
I can’t say that I’m looking forward to this expansion at all.
PoE2 released this week. Yay!
I bought and installed it last night, but haven’t done much more than dip a toe in. I loaded it up and went through the initial scene where it recaps the 1st game and leads in to character creation without trying to remember anything I’d done in the 1st game, so it was a simple start. Character creation and stats appeared to be identical to the 1st game, though with some UI changes so now one can see the skill trees instead of having to look up what skills lead to where and at what levels. The actual character model has been improved also, so that’s nice, if a bit unnecessary since it’s an isometric view so it’s not like you ever really can get in to see your face in the course of typical play. And there are now weapon proficiencies you can pick that give an optional bonus/tradeoff when you use certain weapons. Like a wand proficiency that adds a CC effect to wand attack, but makes the attack do less damage, or the sword attack that does additional penetration at the cost of accuracy. Stuff like that. But yeah, it appears that it’s close enough to PoE1 that the old build guides and videos for that game are still valid for this one too.
Anyway, I finished the tutorial map and cave, then found that on the world map instead of just clicking on the next icon over and being told “ok, that passed 12 hours of time” you actually click and move around in there until you get to the next area. I assume there’s a chance of random encounters by doing this, but I didn’t see any.
This time your companion in the tutorial area doesn’t get killed, so you have your 1st party member right from the get-go. The 2nd one is found in the 1st town almost immediately. 1st is Eder, the fighter from the 1st game, though you can choose to make him a rogue or a fighter/rogue dual-class if you want. The 2nd one was named Xoti, IIRC, and is a priest. I was winding down then, so I just kinda clicked through her stuff, so I don’t recall her multi-class option, just that she had one.
And that was last night. This morning I did as I typically do and woke up well before my alarm went off, so I had about 45 minutes to kill. Since I’d gotten my feet wet last night, this time I chose to import my PoE1 saved game instead.
It really didn’t mean anything, just that in the dialog just before character creation that I had a couple of different dialog options, however, I was still back at level 1 and could make myself any race/background and class I wanted. I was somewhat annoyed that while I could skip past the opening dialog stuff, I still had to walk the long ribbon of light to get to the initial scene before character creation, then do the slow walk out of character creation to the actual start point and couldn’t hit F for fast mode or anything during that.
I see why they did it as a reminder for if you haven’t played the 1st game in a while (which I haven’t), but while it was kinda cool the 1st time, on the 2nd time really just wanted to make a character and start, not have to go through the 5-10 minutes of pre-start stuff. As an aside, even before character creation you have an option to simply say “Eh, no thanks” and the game then ends and the credits roll, so it can be “beat” in less than 10 minutes…
Anyway, I recall that in my prior game I was a Pale Elf wizard and loved it, so I went with that again. I think I even vaguely remember the min/max stats to use — max Might, Intellect, and Perception. Keep Dex and Con close to average, and dump Resolve. I hope that was right….
I didn’t have enough time to finish the tutorial cave this morning, though, so I’ll finish that tonight and then grab the priest again, then start exploring for real. So far so good!
Happy gaming out there!
Is it good? Sure.
Does it have moments of greatness? Yes.
Will I see it again? Probably not.
Why not? Becuz I’ve already seen “The Empire Strikes Back” more times than I can remember, and this is really just a remake of that one. The order of the scenes is a little scrambled, and there are a couple of little differences, but overall….. same overarching theme. Desperate evacuation, walkers assault base, Luke meets Yoda, I mean Rey meets Luke. Dark Side force cave. Force ghosts. Leaving before ready to confront the big bad due to a vision, except it’s a trap. Stop me if you’ve heard this before…..
So my overall verdict is: See it for the spectacle and becuz it’s Star Wars and it’s a fun 2.5 hours, but don’t expect to be blown away by anything original either.
I mentioned briefly in my last post that I’d bought Stellaris. I’ve played rather a lot of it this past month and finally feel like I’m getting a handle on it. It’s VERY overwhelming at 1st, even with all the Master of Orion, MoO2, and Civ series 4X games I’ve played.
Some things I’ve found that are different than any other game I’ve played:
It is a pause-able real-time game, not turn-based. You can pause any time, though, and things queue up when paused, so you can turn it kinda pseudo-turn-based. 1 second real time = 1 day in game. All months are 30 days, so it’s a 360 day year, meaning that 10 years is 3600 seconds — 1 hour. This is on normal speed. Fastest speed feels like it’s 1 second = 2 days. And quite frankly, so little happens at any given time that since you can pause (and there are auto-pause options for events that you can set too) I really don’t know why anyone ever turns it slower, with the possible exception of watching a space battle play out. Even on fastest speed with getting 20 years to an hour, I can’t really imagine a win in less than about 150 years (and I think that would be REALLY fast — you can see in my screenshots that these are all 250-276 years along…..), so that’s a minimum 7.5 hours for a game on fastest speed, assuming you never paused it. Which of course you paused it, so…. yeah. Games are really long. Be ready for that.
The technology tree is indeed a tree, but what you can research next isn’t only dictated by its position on the tree, but also a random system that will only show you a default of 3 available options, so you can’t necessarily determine an optimum research path and then blow through that in each game — you can only pick from what you’re given. You can take traits and get event rewards that let you see more than the default 3, but those are semi-rare and you can’t be sure you’ll get those in the course of a game either. The options shown are weighted — prerequisites seem to show almost all the time, so you can generally be sure you’ll see one of them, at least.
The race appearances are completely cosmetic. It’s the governing civics and traits that actually matter. And boy do they matter…. Interestingly enough, since you’re the player you aren’t necessarily as governed by the traits as the NPC players are — you can take the Xenophobe trait for the increased border range but then play as a Xenophile, while the NPC player would stay true to the ethic. But that said…. playing as a Fanatical Pacifist Xenophobe who expands quickly while closing his borders to all others and refusing all trade requests is an interesting RP experience.
Combat is generally “put it all in 1 fleet and whoever has the bigger number is gonna win.” If you keep your “doomstack” as big or bigger than the NPC nations they tend to not attack since they know they can’t win (the diplomacy screen tells you relative strengths of navies), so try to keep your ship count at or near the cap at all times. And here’s something a little surprising — your cap goes DOWN by 20% if you join a federation, since part of your fleet is considered to be contributed to the federal navy, so be careful when joining or creating one as it can mess with the upkeep costs and screw your economy.
The game saves the custom races you make and you can use them as NPC players in your games too, so it’s possible to make a bunch of pacifist races and then see who can build up the fastest. Or a bunch of militaristic xenophobes dedicated to conquering the galaxy and purging all other races….. or anything in between.
Megastructures — the Sentry Array’s ability to see all ships in the galaxy is a huge benefit. The Ringworld is simply amazing. The Dyson Sphere seems awesome, but ends up being a bit underwhelming, as does the Science Nexus. Habitats seem underwhelming at 1st, but since you can build so many of them, they actually easily are better in the aggregate than the Dyson or the Science station. And if you can find some of those rare systems with 9-10 planets in them, well … 9 habitats in a system is actually better than a Ringworld. Or a decent sized planet and 7-8 habitats too. Here’s the math on that: Habitat = 12 slots, so 8 planets = 96, 9 = 108. Ringworld is 4 sections x 25 slots per section = 100. Size 16 planet + 7 habitats = 100, so that’s pretty much the cutoff there.
For energy, using base numbers (not the bonused ones you get as you research more tech and have higher happiness) — 12 slots. Capital gives 5 energy and then the other 11 slots give 8 for a total of 93 energy per habitat. 4 habitats thus equals 372 energy. Cost to build: 400 influence and 20,000 minerals, plus some niggling amount of minerals for the 11 power stations. And of course the time cost of actually filling the 12 slots with pops. You can build 4 habitats simultaneously in 5 years (2.5 years if you have the Master Builders ascension perk). Serially, then it’s 20 years or 10 with the perk. If you have more than 4 planets in a system you can build that much more energy too. And when you add in happiness bonuses and whatnot…. well, in my current game I’m getting about 130 energy per focused habitat, so 3 = 390 energy, and 4 is 520.
Compare this to a Dyson Sphere which is the only structure you can build in a system and can’t be built in an inhabited system. Cost is 300 influence and 210,000 minerals, with a 55 year build time (27.5 with Master Builder perk). And you get 400 energy out of it. Period. This doesn’t change. Flat 400. Habitats are cheaper and build faster. But you can build a Dyson Sphere without it counting toward your inhabited system total and/or in a sector also, so there are cases where you’d still want to build them. But not before you can’t build any more habitats, IMO.
Science Nexus is similarly underpowered/overpriced. Habitats can do 33 science unbonused, so 3 habitats is 99 science, vs 90 for the Nexus. Same 300 influence cost. And 15K minerals for the habitats with a 2.5-15 year build time depending on your builder perk and 3 simultaneous vs serial builds vs the Nexus’s 25 year (12.5) build time and 70K mineral cost. And this represents an 80% buff to the nexus from initial implementation. It originally gave 50 science when complete, but is now buffed to the 90. And you can only build 1 Nexus per system, while habitats are 1 per planet, s you can get up to 10 (5-6 is much more normal, but even 6 is more than double a Nexus’s output. Or 3 power plants and 3 science to effectively have both a Nexus *and* a Dyson Sphere in the same system…). And to boot — I’m getting closer to 50 science per habitat in my current game, so 2 habs = better than a Nexus for me.
Sentry Array – Brings the entire galaxy into your sensor range. Nothing else is like it, so this rocks and you should definitely build one. 300 influence, 70K minerals, 25 (12.5) years.
TL;DR on megastructures:
- Ringworld – Usually the best thing you can build in a system.
- Habitats – Your workhorse megastructure. It does count as a planet against the penalty to your Research and Unity costs for next, so plan around that when dropping them.
- Dyson Sphere – Focused Habitats are generally better to build. Only build once you can’t build more habitats. Or maybe in an extremely crappy system that can’t have at least 3 habitats.
- Science Nexus – Focused Habitats are generally better to build. Only build once you can’t build more habitats. Or maybe in an extremely crappy system that can’t have at least 2 habitats.
- Scanning Array – Awesome! Nothing else like it!
So anyway… yeah, it’s a lot of fun. I’m very glad I picked it up in the pre-Stormblood lull from FFXIV.
Happy gaming out there!
This past weekend, I realized that I was in a bit of a rut in Endless Legend and playing the Broken Lords faction repeatedly since they’ve become my favorite so I decided to try something a bit different and play with the Cultist faction instead. I’ve read a little about them and I’ve played them once before, but it’s been quite a while so I didn’t really remember much about them at 1st. This time I paid attention and… they’ll always have the glaring weakness that they only are able to have 1 city so they’re very vulnerable to being attacked, and they seem to start a little slower than the other factions, but by the end of the game, well…. let me show you the screenshot of my city:
Assuming you don’t already know, you can open it full-size by right-clicking it, selecting “Open in New Tab” and then editing the “?w=(somenumber)” off the end of the URL for it. The really relevant stuff is in the top on the right — 53 population +103 workers from converted cities, 6353 food production, 1891 manufacturing, 5170 science, 2752 gold, and 7607 influence per turn, with all my workers being under the influence section. That’s insane! That’s a complete empire’s worth of output from my single-city. You can also see down in the lower right that I’ve got 9 armies out in the field. I should have a garrison in the city also, but I’d just emptied it and was about to build a new army again. Yeah, maxed out Era 6 army in Palladium Gear + accessories and it would take 5 turns to build 8 units. Any other Empire would need 4 to 7 turns per unit with all their population devoted to manufacturing. Insane!
So how is this possible? Well…. the way the Cultists work is this:
- They can only have the 1 city, but they can upgrade its districts to level 3 which gives them a very large bonus to production.
- After a minor faction village is pacified then they can spend influence to “convert” it to the cult. Doing so gives you a worker in the capital and also allows you to extract the resources of the region in which the village it located.
- You can convert villages in any unclaimed region, and at a greater cost you can also convert villages inside the borders of other factions, though it ticks them off if you do, and they tend to attack them and then use them for themselves again
- You need to keep a lot of armies in the field to prevent other factions from attacking your converted villages — they can do so without declaring war on you, so you must be constantly vigilant.
- The villages themselves spawn units, but they’re the “bog standard” unit of the village, not like an upgraded one that you can build if you assimilate a minor faction, so they’re weak in your armies, and not really that big a roadblock for opposing factions to attack.
Something that also really helps is that early on in their faction quest they get an item that gives them +35% to attack, defense, and initiative (at least I think those are the 3 stats) and it also gives you the skill Regeneration 2 which means your units self-heal each turn in combat and much faster out of combat. Your 1st unit is “support” so it’s also a healer, so if you have that trinket equipped your armies are *very* hard to kill. I find I like to get to the size 6 army asap and then use 1 Preacher (support/ranged/healer), 3 Fanatics (cavalry/tanks), and 2 Nameless Guards (ranged) along with a Cultist hero (tank) for a nice balance.
If the market doesn’t have any Cultist heroes available, the Broken Lords heroes work pretty well too, they just don’t get the awesome bonus from the faction trinket.
Also very helpful is to unlock the marketplace as soon as you can and buy one of the Necrophage heroes that has the Slavery skill. What this does is give you a large bonus to Food and Manufacturing for every worker you have in your city due to conversion of the minor faction villages, and that’s why the numbers for my city in the screenshot up top there are so insane.
So anyway…… there you have it. Convert lots of villages, field lots of armies, get a city hero with Slavery hero to take even more advantage of the converted villages, and then just kill everyone else becuz you know… they’ve got it coming 😉
Happy gaming out there!