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June 16th, 2013, 16:34
Originally Posted by Fnord View Post
The graphics is not really bad. Hardly AAA standards, but for an indie game, I find it to be more than acceptable.
I wrote bad graphics but I used a wrong word, my meaning wasn't aesthetic but that the graphic designs where wrong because too many units was looking the same. After 10/20 hours playing with Oceania it's ok. But it was the same problem with the tutorial. And again when trying a new game with another race, it hurts how too visually similar are the various units of many races. After many hours you learn detect the little details but it's still a burden during many hours the first time you play a race.

Moreover the game can generate variations of a same unit through different equipments. Some will show a distinctive icon change through the equipment, but for many it's not clear at all.

For the graphic style, it really looks a lot like pre 3D and pre Baldur's Gate era but with graphics made for a bigger screen. Not at all indie overall, except the numerous too similar graphics which is indie stuff.

Originally Posted by Fnord View Post
The interface is not amazing, sometimes some things that feel like they should be easy to do might take one or two clicks more than expected.
I agree on that, the left click to move units despite left click is almost anywhere about selecting is a very wrong idea and a pointless minor trouble during first hours of play. Perhaps they did it with the idea of selecting a province is get the detail panel of the province but it doesn't feel like that and it's not that.

Otherwise it's roughly good but with many missing little details. Know few shortcuts mostly solve this problem but doesn't help the discovering of the game.

Originally Posted by Fnord View Post
There are two things that might require a bit too much in the way of micro-management at the later stages of the game. The first is army recruiting & rituals (non-combat spells), which needs to be done by hand. When you need to recruit soldiers in 7 different provinces and also order 5 different mages to cast their rituals, every turn, it can feel like a bit too much….
All those points are rather valid and it's a general problem of roughly similar games as the empire/kingdom grows in size. In case of Dominion 3 I noticed multiple errors really increasing the micromanagement when it wasn't useful:
  • No way to group/ungroup commanders as a single army.
  • No reminder of units/armies not managed.
  • There's no commands stacking at all (movements, research, recruit, …).
  • No command to get the army information of one commander.
  • Scouting current level of an area is not enough clear visually (yep that's interface design).
  • Multiples arrows movements seen as one.

Spoiler – Explanations and details of the points above, for the curious (hidden to avoid a huge post)

That long list seems depict an interface design disaster. Well it's not exact:
  • The number of commanders will depend of the map size and at what part of the game it is.
  • There's some commanders that will use actions that you won't change often, like magic research or patrol for using an army to guard an area.
  • Managing and playing the turn is where the fun is. It's where you need think, plan, realize and manage unpredictable details. So many actions during a turn are decisions which makes them fun. The design weaknesses occur when there's a too high difference between your decisions and your actions. For example stacking multiple movements on multiple turns is one decision and the game breaks it into multiple actions.

I keep my feeling that Dom3 is a big classic, and quite unique by merging homm/civ series with a more wargame approach and more strategy oriented. But units too similar visually and a non good design thinking about what is a fun micromanagement or not, makes it a big indie classic, not a true classic.

It's a bit sad that this big post, will probably discourage play Dom3 because of this long list of flaws, but it's definitely a quite great game. It would be difficult to explain why, but take care that it's not at all a wargame (I'm not fan of classical wargames except very few quite simplified), and that it's not the tactical fights of homm/kb/other. But it can be really fun anyway, and you can't know it yet because there's no other game like that (as far I know).

I notice that Endless Space is almost similar on the aspect of battles, and perhaps get influenced by this dominion series. Endless Space battles simulations are very far to have the same quality and they even added a pointless micro action during battles, later they allowed just plan this micro action. So automatic fights are fine but unlike in Dom3 watch the battles doesn't brings much information and is unclear. Just look the results is fine in Endless Space. In Dominion 3 watch a battle can brings a lot of information and what happen is very clear. It's really a strong point of the game.
Last edited by Ihaterpg; June 16th, 2013 at 16:52.
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