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RPGWatch Forums » Games » General Non-RPG » Dominion 3 The Awakening

Default Dominion 3 The Awakening

June 8th, 2013, 06:48
I haven't found any comment about this game, but the forum's search is rude to use. I was wondering if I want buy it or not because it's Sweedish weekend at Gamersgate and that's one of the rare Mac game in the list.

It's mainly a turn based strategy game so it's perhaps normal that there's no comment here despite its heavy amount of Fantasy lore and numerous RPG elements.

The fights are automatic, you can view them or/and consult the results through some numbers. The core is to manage in the world map, it's a bit like games as Hearts of Iron or Imperial Glory, but without diplomacy in single player and if economic incomes seem important, the management and complexity seems war oriented.

There's three keys for this game, the amount of possibilities, the amount of lore, the multiple RPG elements:
  • Quantity: There are more than 60 different nations, 1500 different units, 600 spells and 300 magic items in the game. More over there's many synergy elements making the game even more complicate to master.
  • Lore: The manual is more than 300 pages with a lot of lore information and there's also many lore information in game. And the various race/faction have many different sources, from Greek legends to Lovecraft, and many more.
  • RPG: You avatar is a God with special characteristics, there's heroes that level up and can equip items, each unit is recruited, they can't equip items, but each unit grow old, can get ill, can catch diseases, can lose limbs, can gain traits. You can met sort of NPC, for example a mage who can help you in magic research. And there's events, random or perhaps location based.

Let see, character and party management, exploration, and a story you can easily build yourself based on the ton of lore information and events, yeah it's a CRPG… if an admin could move the post to RPG section that would be cool.

Search reviews of the game brings many results, to get an idea, even if it's from a pure strategy context (Total War Center), that review is both clear and detailed:
http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showt…-The-Awakening
The dev site list also few reviews that are interesting to check.

To complete the list of positive elements listed before, a list of negative:
  • Bad graphics and in some contexts you need select a unit to know its type, not only each unit can have distinct attributes but also multiple unit types will share a similar graphic.
  • The interface design seems weak, but I haven't seen the explanation of this weakness.
  • The game seems rather heavy in micro management, I still wonder why, a guess is it's because even if fights are automatic you need organize your army precisely and each unit is different.
  • The amount of elements generates a high complexity level that will probably discourage many players, even more because the AI seems beat hard newbie players.
  • It's a… 2006 game, and sit down before to read further, it's a 50% sale, cool but it's still more than 11€ with the sale. The game was sold only on dev site during a long time and at a very high price (probably box only version). Until not so long ago when the price was quite lowered but it's not cheap for a rather old and pure indie game.

So the question : I was wondering if anybody here tried it and how they feel it in single player.
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June 8th, 2013, 13:33
Originally Posted by Ihaterpg View Post
To complete the list of positive elements listed before, a list of negative:
  • Bad graphics and in some contexts you need select a unit to know its type, not only each unit can have distinct attributes but also multiple unit types will share a similar graphic.
  • The interface design seems weak, but I haven't seen the explanation of this weakness.
  • The game seems rather heavy in micro management, I still wonder why, a guess is it's because even if fights are automatic you need organize your army precisely and each unit is different.
  • The amount of elements generates a high complexity level that will probably discourage many players, even more because the AI seems beat hard newbie players.
  • It's a… 2006 game, and sit down before to read further, it's a 50% sale, cool but it's still more than 11€ with the sale. The game was sold only on dev site during a long time and at a very high price (probably box only version). Until not so long ago when the price was quite lowered but it's not cheap for a rather old and pure indie game.

So the question : I was wondering if anybody here tried it and how they feel it in single player.
The graphics is not really bad. Hardly AAA standards, but for an indie game, I find it to be more than acceptable.

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.

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.
The second part is army management, which looks like this:

Here you need to assign each individual solider to a commander (you can assign multiple soldiers at once), then you need to pick where on the battlefield they will start, and what their orders will be. As you can see troops are divided into groups, and you give orders to each group. For spellcasters you can pick a couple of spells that they will cast early on in the battle. Setting up an army in an efficient way can be a bit fiddly.

I could beat an easy AI on my first attempt, so it is not that hard on newbies. The game is somewhat complex though, but its complexity won't really shine through at the early parts of the game.

The game was solid through Matrix games & Shrapnel games earlier. Hence why it used to have such a high price. It is packed with content though, so while the game might look expensive for such an old game, it is still well worth the price.

This is by the way a game that is fun to play in singleplayer but it really shines when you play PBEM games.


Originally Posted by Ihaterpg View Post
[*]Quantity: There are more than 60 different nations, 1500 different units, 600 spells and 300 magic items in the game. More over there's many synergy elements making the game even more complicate to master.
Actually, that is a bit outdated. there are currently 2106 units in the game, 68 nations, more spells than I want to count (wiki does not list amount of spells, but take a look here) & 314 magic items.
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June 8th, 2013, 17:36
Thank you, some points are more clear now.

A point: you are saying single player is in fact easy but there's no difficulty setup? If it's easy at first attempt and there's no difficulty setup it will be hardly fun single player.

I can roughly imagine how tedious it is to select each unit and positioning it in various groups and have to do it each time you recruit or reorganize armies. But at least it seems building groups and then only setup groups is possible, that's better than what I vaguely imagined. For the rituals and recruiting if there's no thinking and it must be done every turn that is very boring, but if there's decisions and thinking it's not a problem.

I recently played a lot Endless Space and when the number of system and planet rise that makes each turn very long. But any action you do during the turn is a decision or decision change, that's the core of the game and where the fun is. During first games when learning a lot of elements and having many decisions changes I had many turns that last easily one hour each.

I discovered I had already Conquest of Elysum 3, from the same dev. It seems like an attempt to streamline a bit. Perhaps they pushed it a little far, there' no army positioning, 18 "races" well that's not so small but still a lot less, units seem not have anymore special traits, wounds and stuff. First quick attempt was a bit weird. But there's the spell/sacrifice for each turn and each commander, moving each army, and eventually transferring units.

They probably took care in that streamlined approach to have each unit type has a unique graphic, also it seems the map graphics are well detailed and diversified. And there's many difficulty levels for each AI.

Those first quick tries was like trying a game a bit casual but it's also because I hadn't took care about the spells at each turn. It's still strange to not have any town management at all, beside checking what bring resources or not for later decisions.

My temporary conclusion is I should better really play that streamlined version before to any attempt to buy Dominion 3. I'm not at all an extreme fan of tedious non interesting or repetitive micro management and there's a high chance I won't like the army units positioning. Frankly that Conquest of Elysum 3 is rather cold for now and I haven't enter yet in the lore that doesn't seem that much developed, but by digging it more and better it will perhaps change, also I should give a look to the manual.
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June 9th, 2013, 10:12
Originally Posted by Ihaterpg View Post
A point: you are saying single player is in fact easy but there's no difficulty setup? If it's easy at first attempt and there's no difficulty setup it will be hardly fun single player.
There are difficulty levels, but I found it to be quite easy on easy (which is the difficulty level that I would recommend a first-time player to play)



Originally Posted by Ihaterpg View Post
I can roughly imagine how tedious it is to select each unit and positioning it in various groups and have to do it each time you recruit or reorganize armies. But at least it seems building groups and then only setup groups is possible, that's better than what I vaguely imagined. For the rituals and recruiting if there's no thinking and it must be done every turn that is very boring, but if there's decisions and thinking it's not a problem.
Luckily you still have relatively limited resources, so unless you have a huge empire, you'll still not recruit a whole lot of troops each turn. I've never attempted an entire playthrough on a really huge custom map, but I would imagine that it could turn rater tedious. In my current PBEM game though, we are playing on a large map and I hold about 1/3 of the world, and I only recruit units from 2-3 provinces each turn, though on some turns I have to give orders to about 7-8 mages. In comparison I found Master of Orion 2 to be far more tedious than Dominions 3, though Dominions 3 still lacks some of the modern features that you would expect to see in a game released on this side of 2005.
Also, armies stay the way they are until you give new orders to them. It is when you design a brand new army, or split/merge armies that it can take a bit of time. I'm not good enough at the game to make the "perfect" army though, so I don't know exactly how time consuming it would actually be if I tried to do that.

Conquest of Elysium 3 is quite different from Dominions 3. They are still in the same basic genre, but comparing the two would be like comparing King's Bounty to Age of Wonders. I found CoE 3 to be good, but not outstanding (good enough for a few playthroughs), while after playing Dominions 3 in PBEM, I've been trying to get everyone I know who enjoy that kind of games to buy the game
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June 11th, 2013, 12:10
Thanks for the answers, I found Conquest of Elysium 3 so fun that I had to try Dominion 3. Yes two very different games but I don't regret.

Efter to have finished a first win with Conquest of Elysium I started a game of Dominion 3. I haven't seen any difficulty level but there's pre made maps with various possible dominions and there's the list of those more easy to play, those less easy and those more difficult. For my first game I picked the only map with a yellow asterisk, and a dominion among those more easy.

After 2/3 turns I wondered some details as why my research was at zero so I pickup the manual and gone through its tutorial. It's difficult to follow because you have to read the tutorial in the manual and play the game tutorial in parallel. But it's well done and provide many key elements from interface to gameplay.

I have played for now about 12/15 turns, control 9 area/towns, and I'm still in a sort of first phase of first exploration and first expansion. Perhaps the map choose and the dominion choose change this phase but I don't think so, it's the phase where you still haven't met another dominion, still scout further places, still setup a solid foundation to your kingdom.

As first feeling (first version had many details but for a first feeling I'll try simplify:
- The micro management isn't that awful that some review could let think, for armies it's clear that it's mainly per groups like you mentioned and it should be fun through micro decisions to prepare battles, if not you better give up the game.
- The (F1) kingdom overview save a lot of micromanagement issues making them more easy and light. But it's far to be as complete and useful than for example the empire view in Endless Space.

All in all, the micromanagement is at a good level with actions mostly only related to micro decisions/macro decisions so fun, instead of repetitive tedious micromanagement. But there's few big holes that are probably the reason why that point is exaggerated in reviews/comments:
- There's multiple holes and weak points in the interface design that doesn't help manage a global kingdom. I'd say there's missing in their team a king of interface design as there's obviously one in Endless Space.
- The scouting needs a big rethinking, for example it's much better done and much more fun in CoE3.
- The armies movement are missing an ability of one order for multiple turns.
- Apart some interface design weakness the army management is fun but burdened a lot by too many units that look a lot too much the same (in both tutorial and my game). It's a real trouble and increase the lack of fluidity in recruiting, organizing and setup armies. When units are almost identical it's not really important (but also those very minor differences are really fake and look a lot like fillers so they can argue so many number of different units!) but even for rather different units their look is distinct but it's too difficult to notice, at least when discovering those units (but for now it's still a burden).
- The kingdom overview is a good help but needs be improved.

That was only about the micromanagement but for 4X games it's a key element. For other points:
- As many of the deepest 4X I tried they failed work as well on the depth than on the mood and charm. It's very very far to have the adventure and Fantasy mood of Conquest of Elysium 3. I won't enter in details despite there's a lot to say, but I really hope a day they'll make their grand oeuvre by a design merging the best of the two series. One example, the first phase more exploration is a bit repetitive and lack of charm, but it helps me discover the game. And for replay I suppose you can play it faster than I do.
- It is missing a bit more comprehensive feedback or perhaps key hints. For example I still wonder why I work that high on faith level. I do it because it's a point focused in tutorial but I still wonder what it brings. Or I dream of complex tactics when setting up armies and when I check battles movies and results to get a fair feedback. But I still wonder if really this or that involves that much on battle results. I mean some points obviously does help, but fine tactics I'm less sure.
- The inability to save and reload (unlike in CoE3) is really pointless in the single player point of view, a burden coming from multiplayer.

Overall point of view, I still need discover more Dominion 3 and play more both Conquest of Elysium 3 and Dominion 3. But I'm very happy to have discover those games.

I agree they are totally different games, in fact the most original and unique is the more casual one ie Conquest of Elysium 3, but clearly Dominion 3 is at another level, overall the 4X sub genre of heroes of might & magic series, but they succeed find a different approach not related to the most know, king bounties, hom&m, king bounties the legend, civilization.

For now Endless Space (you should try it if you hadn't) did impress me more but it's more through important but also secondary elements, mood and lore, and interface design. Two elements where Dominion 3 is flawed. But Endless Space is clearly on the path of civilization and just succeed totally change it but still the same road. When Dominion 3 is building another road, I could not have played enough kings bounty original but remove it its big tactical fights and gives it automatic fights and it's a crap unlike Dominion 3 and Conquest of Elysium 3.

For Conquest of Elysium 3 it's just something in another area than all those 4X games. It's casual 4X with a relative depth and an excellent achievement (for casual) of giving a strong adventure mood to 4X. Something attempted and failed last editions of hom&m series, somethings very far to have reach as well the king's bounty original and the legend series. The only one I know that succeed partially well too is Endless Space thanks to the lore and events. But ES doesn't reach the same level of exploration fun than in CoE3.

Edit:
About the army positions setup I wrote there was missing an option to see in position map only armies groups attacking a town. But it's here, you select the town attacked and type y and you get the army setup panel with only those attacking town and those already inside the town (sneakers). Good point but there's no interface element to suggest it and few other major points are like that.

That team still has a lot to learn about interface design. It's not a detail, interface is a major point in game. A bad interface can make pointlessly more difficult the discovering of a game, or even a replay after a long time. Even more important is that a bad interface can burden a lot the gameplay by involving frequent tedious manipulations. And for complex game it's highly important for both points. And no, nobody read the manual, at best some players will check the options to change the controls to get a list of possible commands, but that's a poor game design solution.
Last edited by Ihaterpg; June 11th, 2013 at 14:35.
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June 12th, 2013, 09:10
Originally Posted by Fnord View Post

I could beat an easy AI on my first attempt, so it is not that hard on newbies.
Well I didn't noticed the AI setup and keep the default and it was a game with two AI, one seems have vanished soon but the other is crushing me.

The AI really made me suffer with archer when I had none. Gave me the feeling of unballance in fact, reminds me Baldur's Gate 1 with overpowerfull archer. :-) It seems like an eternity to rush through the arrows rain and the orders are rather stupid with armies fighting against 3 units instead of going to archer. Ha well. :-) On other hand giving order to attack archers seems not work well at all.

Originally Posted by Fnord View Post

The game is somewhat complex though, but its complexity won't really shine through at the early parts of the game.
Yeah for this first game the beginning was discovery so it was ok but it seems pale and I feel I didn't choose a right race (it was advised as one of the easy for the map) ie Oceania. The problem is the water is limited (10 provinces), it gives a good base but to get out of water it's a total pain, units are very weak and it's very hard to find the right provinces allowing a good recruiting of strong units.

There's two points I still wonder, Magic research, and Dominion. The AI was crap in that two area but just kicking my ass with income/provinces and armies. The tutorial let feel that's two major points but for me they seems very secondary. Or if the AI was such a crap to manage them perhaps I had the lowest AI setup? ;-)

I'd better drop this current game and understand well that two points. Perhaps you could explain me a bit?


EDIT: Well I read the chapter about Dominion and seems a lot like designers would like that it was important, but it's a lot of fake. I quote the few benefit but with my pretendant stuck in water it's weird and the prophet is just one unit and for other units it's a detail. The only way to spread it but for very few races is military so the conclusion concentrate on military and build temples just if you really want recruit a unit requiring it otherwise it's lost of gold so lost of time.

I should read about Magic research but I bet that appart if you want build items or use a lot the pretendant (but it's pointless with Oceania) it will be also pointless.

No wonder why the AI was crushing me, such lost of time and effort in two points. Well for magic research it didn't used that much resources but it was so pointless. At first I believed it was useful for all units then I realized it wasn't and started wonder.

Well seems like some design points need some improvements, but just mainly ignore that points will be fine.
Last edited by Ihaterpg; June 12th, 2013 at 09:36.
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June 12th, 2013, 14:01
I'm waiting for a good sale for Endless Space, then I might pick it up. I still have a few 4X games in my backlog, but it would be nice to support one of the more recent ones

Originally Posted by Ihaterpg View Post
Well I didn't noticed the AI setup and keep the default and it was a game with two AI, one seems have vanished soon but the other is crushing me.

The AI really made me suffer with archer when I had none. Gave me the feeling of unballance in fact, reminds me Baldur's Gate 1 with overpowerfull archer. :-) It seems like an eternity to rush through the arrows rain and the orders are rather stupid with armies fighting against 3 units instead of going to archer. Ha well. :-) On other hand giving order to attack archers seems not work well at all.
Archers are really good against lightly armoured troops, so if you have access to more heavily armoured ones, place a group of them in front of your more lightly armoured ones (if you don't have any, consider summoning things like drakes and other heavily armoured units, protection is the stat that you want). And remember that archers can hit your own units (precision determines the chance of, and how much, the arrows will scatter from their intended target square, so units with incredibly low precision will see their arrows scatter over a huge area, same holds true for spells). So rushing in with heavy cavalry is a viable strategy, as this means that the archers will end up hitting their (most likely) squishier friends as well as your heavily armoured cavalry.
If you don't have access to more heavily armoured units, then it either means that you'll have to be reliant on spells or recruit units from provinces that you've conquered. If you look around a bit, you'll probably find that you can get some heavy cavalry, trolls or something in some provinces. It might be worth building a fort there to give yourself some decent production.


Originally Posted by Ihaterpg View Post
There's two points I still wonder, Magic research, and Dominion. The AI was crap in that two area but just kicking my ass with income/provinces and armies. The tutorial let feel that's two major points but for me they seems very secondary. Or if the AI was such a crap to manage them perhaps I had the lowest AI setup? ;-)

I'd better drop this current game and understand well that two points. Perhaps you could explain me a bit?
Magic depends a lot on your race. Some races have access to really good mages, and need to focus on magic ASAP, while other races can get away with not focusing a whole lot on it. Many races also have their own race specific spells.
Take a look at what commanders you can recruit, and you'll see what schools of magic you have access to. If anyone has 3 in any school of magic, then you are in luck, as that will give you access to some pretty nice spells. 1 is alright, 2 is good, 3 is great. But no matter what race you play, you'll want to start researching magic from at least turn 2. Recruit commanders that have good research stats and give them the task of researching (short command shift-R). Also, look at what spells you think look good for you under the research tab (F5) and start to research those. Remember that the further into any school you get, the more research points you'll need, so don't just look at the ones at the bottom and decide that you want to get there, look at the ones you can get relatively soon. If you don't have access to heavily armoured troops, then getting to level 2 conjuration early is a good idea (there you have the drakes (fire, earth & water only)).
Mages will automatically cast whatever spells they think are appropriate in combat, unless you give them order to cast specific spells. They usually make at least alright decisions, so unless you have something special in mind, you can just tell them to "cast spells". You'll also need gems for the more powerful spells & for any rituals you want to cast. For this you need to "search for magic site" under the command menu (for spellcasters only, they will search for sites up to their level in that particular school of magic. There are also rituals that allows you to search provinces for magical sites, although these will come later in the game, and you'll need gems to cast them (you don't need to be in the province to use them though).
Also, don't be impatient about magic. It is a long-term investment. The early spells are useful, but it won't be until you get access to the later ones that you'll fully appreciate how powerful magic can be.


Dominion is one of those things that I'm a bit unsure on exactly how important it is. It has a few effects on the game, but most importantly, it you don't have any dominion, you've lost. If you make a prophet, it will be stronger in provinces with your dominion (the more dominion in that province, the better), but weaker in enemy provinces. It also increases your troop morale and allows you to recruit more sacred troops each turn (the ones that costs "holy" when you recruit them. Not all races have those). Temples will spread your dominion, and it might be a good idea to place temples at your borders to prevent enemy dominion from spreading into your land.


I've never played an underwater nation, but they seem to be a bit trickier to play then regular above water ones.


I would also recommend taking a look at the strategy & tactics section over here and at least take a quick look at the different races available, to see which ones would suit you well.
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June 12th, 2013, 21:20
Cool that's a lot of information thank you. Yes it's so few investment that not researching at all magic seems weird. For temple I build them everywhere, that was pointless, the tutorial was so insisting on temple building that I got wrong conclusions.

But I sill haven't understood the effect of magic research. It setup the max possible in any magic specialization for any unit? And the unit magic level setup another max and it's the min of both that is possible? Well I'll try check this section in the doc but that's a bit tedious. :-)

Just to see I tried quickly the race I'm fighting (Sauromatia) omg the nice units. The AI bastard used almost only those and I have to collect junk there and there or use crap amphibian. But I think I won't give up the current "lost" game but will apply a guerrilla tactic from water. It gives a sort of center position so I'll retreat in water and will harass on one side and conquer on opposite side of the AI center, at least the bastard won't be able to use that easily so many of its own units.

Also AI tactic is rather weird, conquer fast, build nothing, not let any protection. From water center position I should be able make this approach a crap I think. I'll have use a lot amphibian units but I think it could be efficient.

Go on let go back humiliate some AI. :-)
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June 13th, 2013, 00:06
Have always wanted to get this game WITH a printed manual but the cost has always been to high for what it is ($50-$60?). A digital version without a printed manual does not appeal to me for the reason you've demonstrated - a complicated ruleset best understood by perusing a printed rulebook. I love doing that FWIW, BTW.
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June 13th, 2013, 07:34
I found the easiest way to learn this game was using LA Ermor. The best troops you can get require using magic and the default cannon fodder is so numerous, and free, you can really dig in and learn how the searching/researching/spell casting mechanics work.

Also highly recommend bookmarking this if you haven't:

http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showthread.php?t=38122
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June 13th, 2013, 23:00
I don't think the ruleset is that complicated. I mean if you play competitions of pvp and win is major then perhaps. But if you want play it as a normal single player game it's ok.

I continued the game I mentioned above where the AI was crushing me. Changed quite a lot my strategy (but been crushed in first approach forced it because of characteristic of the map and AI behavior).

And now in same game (I don't mean reload back) I'm close to crush the AI. According stats I have about two time more armies size, income, provinces, and one of the AI is enclosed in a corner and its main city doesn't even has a dominion level. The other is still mysteriously absent and underdeveloped.

During that game I just discovered many elements through the game, this thread and for now I have only read in the manual the section about Dominion, and a bit quickly.

It's just by playing the game that I saw, without to have seen it in manual, stuff like:
Spoiler – Some minor spoilers, stuff few players would prefer discover themselve


Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Have always wanted to get this game WITH a printed manual but the cost has always been to high for what it is ($50-$60?). A digital version without a printed manual does not appeal to me for the reason you've demonstrated - a complicated ruleset best understood by perusing a printed rulebook. I love doing that FWIW, BTW.
Ok I think that it's required to follow a bit the tutorial in the manual, not to master the complexity of the game, but to learn some major interface elements hidden through some shortcuts or sometimes through some commands panels of commands panel which can be replaced by one shortcut command. Also the manual informs you of the main elements you could need bother during a turn, like scouting, moving armies, look details in battles, manage dominion, make magic research, recruit, make armies, setup armies, and some more.

But I'd say just remind few points as an abstract of the manual that you won't discover easily through the interface and clicking where there's obvious buttons:
Spoiler – Abstract in few lines of the tutorial


You'll learn the rest as in all other games, overall the interface is enough well done and there's many in game informations, click where you feel you want click and don't forget experiment with right click,

For sure it's more easy for this short tutorial (5/6 turns max) to have a manual book (not for me because of vision) but on my 30" and 28" or better eyes than mine would be fine with smaller monitor, I could have both the manual and the game in window on screen and with characters big enough.

I was fan of homm genre, then was a fan of Kings Bounty the legend, but now I couldn't find anymore a homm I enjoy play and I suspect that replay now homm3 wouldn't work that well than it did, also I can't play with fun follow up of kings bounty the legend because it's too much the same. But :
  • Conquest of Elysium 3, that I'll definitely play more, is very fun, original, with a lot of mood. It's a sort of "homm like" casual/light in an approach rather different if not unique.
  • Dominion 3 seems be a gem, a classic like the standard classics, with few flaws and an interface with some weakness but fine overall once you know the main shortcuts. And seriously, a digital manual isn't a reason to not play it.

Infinity Space impressed me as much in fact, and if it's more considered as a follow up of Master of Orion because of the theme and some key elements like spaceship blueprints, it is in fact a lot more in the line of Civilization series with some Master of Orion elements. After about 150 hours or 200 in it, I consider Infinity Space could benefit of more work on AI, more work on difficulty and difficulty levels, and more work on the various ways to win the game. So not yet a full classic, but the 2 will be… if the team continue, doesn't disband and succeed improve.

Ok after have play Dominion 3 during 100 hours or a bit more, I'll have a better clue of how well Dominion 3 is a classic but that (40, 50 hours?) first approach is a big clue it is.

Now the multiplayer aspect is another element, but it's an optional plus, not a requirement to enjoy this game. In single player it's fine and fun, and for sure because of AI it can't has the same depth that pvp, but seriously, not play some homm or kbtl because there's no multiplayer? Because of previous distribution mode and previous price, it seems like the game is a bit obscured by its multiplayer aspect and unknown when it should be a lot better known.
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June 13th, 2013, 23:29
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
…for the reason you've demonstrated - a complicated ruleset…
Well as I already mentioned, in the same game for which I was whining, I got without reload a huge lead against the AI, but I won't swear I have a win already.

In first learning of a game, I do that relatively often, list bad points or whine about a game on some points that I don't understand (yet). Firstly, some forum help can do huge change, for example I think it totally changed my opinion on Eschalon Book 1 thanks to few key hints from forums.

But secondly and mainly, put in words some irritation against a game I don't "master" yet and causing some problems, helps take distance, think about the problems I have in the game, and some forum comments can help even more in the same direction. That doesn't mean the game is what I write it is when I whine about it, still discovering and still playing it. It would be a crap or really too complicate for me (tactic/strategy/gaming action skills) I wouldn't continue play it.

EDIT: Its complexity is probably exaggerated by the multiplayer gaming, and the importance multiplayer got for the game. The amount of possibilities is enough to make it complicated, fight this Dominion setup is a lot different than fight this other Dominion or even map setup.

But from a single player point of view, it's just better replay value, the time to discover the game is potentially very long because of the amount of stuff not because of the complexity, you'll be constantly in the learning and discovering phase which is the most fun phase and why you finish get bored by some amazing game, no more learning and discovering. The complexity "problem" of this game is a multiplayer point of view, it's just single player replay value.
Last edited by Ihaterpg; June 13th, 2013 at 23:44.
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June 14th, 2013, 00:06
Originally Posted by Ihaterpg View Post
you'll be constantly in the learning and discovering phase which is the most fun phase and why you finish get bored by some amazing game, no more learning and discovering.
Yep, the learning part ifs the fun part for me, too. How does this game compare to AoW 1?
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June 14th, 2013, 21:57
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Yep, the learning part ifs the fun part for me, too. How does this game compare to AoW 1?
I can't say. :-) But I wonder why compare to it, is it because the 3 is going to be released?

I wouldn't compare Dom3 to homm3 or kbtl. There is no point to compare them, if my memory serve me well (for homm3) the three are very worthy to be played.

Dom3 isn't about tactical fights, unlike homm or kb&kbtl. A battle in Dom3 is zero time, it's only when you decide check one that it takes some time, but there's no need to bother with all of them. In series like homm or kb&kbtl, even a small battle takes time, it means that the strategy level is hardly at same dimension than it is in Dom3.

One turn in Dom3 is long not because there's a lot of micro management, but because there's a lot "moves" to do during one turn, and each one are part of a local strategy decision and a part of a global strategy decision. There's also many tactical decisions but they don't lie in the battles. In battles it's about commanders and units you use, how you position them and what orders you give to each. You do all of that before the battle, but the battle can only be watched to observe the result of your decisions. Often, even during that intense learning phase, I don't watch many battles.

It can't be compared to homm, nor kb, nor civ, nor to Elven Legacy, nor to Warlords, and probably not to AoW (the 3 video seems a lot like recents homm and the 1 seems a lot RPG).

The only interrogation point I would have about Dom3 is if the AI is enough or not, good, diversified, adaptable to your current skill. Otherwise it's not only a gem, it seems to me really a classic.

EDIT: But you should give a try too to Endless Space, there's a demo if I remember well. At least if you are quite fan of civ series you should really try it.

EDIT2: Cool it seems the porteam made a good OSX wrapper for Age of Wonder 1 and for the Gog version, I'll perhaps could try it sooner that I believed.
Last edited by Ihaterpg; June 14th, 2013 at 22:08.
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June 14th, 2013, 23:41
Ah you can only watch the results of your battle? AOW battles play out turn based, where the player makes movement and attacks decisions for each unit each turn.
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June 15th, 2013, 01:20
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Ah you can only watch the results of your battle? AOW battles play out turn based, where the player makes movement and attacks decisions for each unit each turn.
Ha ha yeah, but really it's where the game shines, ok you won't get your nice tactical battles, but seriously is it match the depth of tactical battles of King's Bounty The Legend?

The point is elsewhere in Dom3 it's all about planning, more a strategy mood. What follow is certainly pointless so sorry. But here a snapshot of my current turn in my current game (it's big so requires click on it to see it bigger, and there's a second zoom level through an icon command at bottom):


In this snapshot the world is zoom out to show a global view but usually I play closer to see better the informations. Also the names of provinces are shown but can be hidden. There's in fact multiple filters about what is shown or not on the map.

The interface elements are for the province selected (this is my home) :
  • To left the commanders in the selected province (my dominion home, Oceania), each can have an army of one or more groups. Bellow their icons their current action that I can change, 4 research magic, 1 is casting a spell, cast a winter on a province, I choose the home of main enemy AI.
  • To the top left, the general informations about the province.
  • To the top right, the general information about the kingdom.
  • To right, three sections, general commands, commands about army managements, special places or building build in the province.

On the map:
  • You see provinces identified by scouting or dominion spreading. Green blue flags are mine, Brown green flags are main enemy AI, the second AI isn't even yet discovered on the map. White flags are independents
  • Sort of big gray towers are forts, white 'castles' are temples.
  • Units packs represent evaluations or armies at the location but it's an estimate, there's a part of imprecision.
  • Grey arrows are scout/sneak movements planned, red arrows are normal armies movements, if there's an enemy army on destination there will be a battle.

So for example during this turn:
  • I move an assassin from Pythiar Swamp to main AI Home (bottom center a bit to left, Sauromatia). It's a mercenary I recruited during previous turn.
  • I distributed to some commanders some items crafted in previous turn.
  • My dominion is casting a spell generating a winter on home enemy province. I got the ability for this spell at this turn because magic research during previous turn allowed me reach another magic level providing me this spell, yes it was planned and research done just for it.
  • I also changed this research to increase magic level in a mafic allowing craft items so I can craft next level of more powerful items.
  • At Pythiar Swamp it's a fort I took and destroyed (already tried previously use this as a strong base and it's been a disaster. Most armies already left Pythiar Swamp, last leave and a mercenary that will leave at end of turn is destroying a Laboratory I don't want use there and don't want let the enemy use it. It's a very minor risk, because anyway the mercenary will leave. The have a rude life with me, some leave with one leg or one arm lost, some lost all their armies and continue try be recruiting with one man at their order, and even one with none… :-)
  • A bit north to Sauromatia I recruited more armies at Turtle Watch and Ermon River, I'll get them at next turn. They will bring reinforcement to battles around enemy home.
  • The scouting (gray arrows) is trying get an overview of enemy dominion because without enemy it will be beaten. It's in fact in provinces I already sneak in past but it's information lost when the scout and left and there's no province controlled at border. So I need refresh the information.
  • To the left of map, it's just harassment of enemy. At The Defile he build a fort I already siege it, and bring more army to safely assault it. Then will just destroy it because it's not a province with a good enough supply to make comfortable to use it as a strict controlled position. But I could try first build a temple to see the effect.
  • To the right of map, it's just an army coming back for a little campaign to control all provinces the enemy AI had took and let almost without defense.
  • To south left, it's few armies also making harassment, the turn before I was in fact feeling an enemy army i felt a bit too large but trying continue the harassment. My prophet is there and I don't want lost it. But if I don't see anymore this enemy army it's most probably because it is in Falterwood. But there's a (small risk) all elements including all troops could move 2 squares on the map and is on Falterwood where it could attack the destination of my army with my prophet. I'll take the risk because I noticed previously that many elements was fast units. So if it happens this will probably be an army quite lower, if the scouting (automatic) wasn't too wrong.
  • Another more risked decision choice is about the movement from "Something Home" to Something Marshes". The current army at marshes is ok te beat safely. But just at south my scout has seen an enemy army. If that army moves to marshes then the battle will be rougher. Moreover it's at border to enemy home that most probably can recruit a lot of units at each turn so there's a good chance that the number of armies I see at Sauromatia is wrong and under evaluated, despite it's just been scouted. If some of those armies go to the Marhses then the battle there will be rude. But that could be an interesting sacrifice option in an idea of constant harassment and because I took a large lead in income and ability to recruit. There's other options, stay at "Something Home" but suffer of starvation because the province hasn't enough resources. Attack the fort just north east to destroy the temple it protects. Retreat to Turtle watch to delay the decision.
  • I recruit armies at Turtlewatch and Ermon River for replacing future lost in battles around enemy home and maintain a stream pressure on AI (the bastard did that very well some time before so it's my turn).
  • I also recruit a Lion Tribe Witch Doctor at Ermon River. And the arrows of two squares movement from Pythiar Swamp to Ermon River is bringing there a second Witch Doctor. Both will use to build coastal forts in hope to get the resource boost I noticed before allowing recruit more either local mounted horse troops either amphibian not that strong but good for harassment. Also one of them will move south to build at some key points one or two temple to put another dominion pressure around enemy home from this side.

The game is relatively dynamic so despite the enemy is just an AI and that it seems I have a string grip on the whole map, I don't consider yet that it's easy win done. I could be wrong because of my lack of experience. But also the style is important, and all those decisions are fun, it's to conclude in beauty a total reversal of situation after a series of lost and a terrible lost at Pythiar Swamp that I was persisting to try keep. Imagine all my current provinces not in water was to AI enemy but Turtlewatch and Ermon River plus to east The Defile, Sandy Waste and The Steppes which was where where I started invade out of water provinces.

EDIT: Updated the linkto the snapshot because Photobucket shrink it estimating the original picture was too big (that's right). So I put another one forcing keep original size and you need zoom two time to get it full. First is standard zoom second in at bottom another zoom command.
Last edited by Ihaterpg; June 15th, 2013 at 01:44.
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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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June 18th, 2013, 14:04
It's on sale at GamersGate until tomorrow at 75% off ($7.49).

http://www.gamersgate.com/DD-DOM3A/d…-the-awakening

I had never even heard of this series until reading this thread. Has anyone played the first two games? Were they any good?

Also, is the single-player campaign hand-made or procedurally generated?
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June 18th, 2013, 14:14
A correction of previous post about three important points relative to the interface:
  • It's possible to make groups of commanders.
  • There's a command to select next commander without an order ie in Defend/Hide/Siege modes.
  • There's a command to repeat a Ritual Spell each month/turn (none for crafting items each month or recruiting without paying in advance, and so on).
Still missing many commands staking options, but those 3 abilities could change a lot the game playability when you control ton of provinces and armies. I'd say the only very important missing are now stacking recruit without paying in advance (seems they could easily add it), stacking movements orders (but that one is a big design step), check next province with troubles (unrest, take care of game turn messages to follow that point)

About commanders group:
The game allows create groups of commander:
  • Shift-click to select a range.
  • Ctrl-click to selec/deselect a commander in the current group selected.

Then when you select a commander in the group, all commanders in the group are highlighted. That group commands aren't in the manual and not even in wiki: http://dom3.servegame.com/wiki/Hotkey

One detail is a nasty trap, when you move the group, if a commander can't move that far it is put in defend mode. Very bad choice to make players do errors. The good design would have been that none should move if one in the group can't. As it's made you need check state of all commanders to be sure all are moving. It's still a huge improvement in comparison to not have any group.

About selecting next commander without order:
Command 'n' allows select next commander without an order ie in Defend/Hide/Siege mode. That one is in the manual. :-)

That's a huge help, I made many mistakes in my previous game because of not knowing that and the troubles with the command for moving commanders that should have been right click (and left click to select a province). The typical error generated by this bad interface is try select another commander and click just beside will make current selected commander try move in a position he can't reach so it will be put back in defend mode, awful.

About repeating a Ritual Spell each turn:
Shift-m allows choose a ritual spell that will be repeated each month byt the selected commander. I don't know what happen if there's no more gems to cast it.

More generally about commands/shortcuts:
At last page of manual there's a list of shortcuts, seems the groups commands not here, but most are here. There's also the wiki page with shortkeys: http://dom3.servegame.com/wiki/Hotkey

In my opinion the most important shortcuts for a "click fan" player, either available only through the shortcut, either rather frequent and to avoid 2/3 clicks:
  • n: Select next commander without an order (ie in Defend/Hide/Siege mode)
  • F1: Kingdom overview.
  • m: Messages (from turn just achieved)
  • Mousewheel or Pageup/Pagedown: Zoom in/out the map view.
  • y: Army view for all armies moving to the selected province (good for planning attack).
  • Shift-click: To select a range of commanders in a group.
  • Ctrl-click: Add/remove the commander in the group selected.
  • Shift-click: To recruit 10 units instead of one.
  • Shift-click: To select a range of units.
  • Double-click: To select all units of same type.
  • Enter: Deselect commanders or units selected.
  • w-click : Select all afflicted units (seems work with a little delay).
  • e-click : Select all units with 2 experience levels of more (seems work with a little delay).
  • h: Shows/hide right side menu (handy if you wonder why it disappeared!)
  • A final note: It seems that many of the shortcuts for commander actions has bugs and allow actions otherwise not possible. So to not cheat, use the interface to select an action other than those listed above (shortcut required for spell ritual repeated each month). Click on a commander action bellow his icon to select an action for this commander.

I'm quite sure it's elsewhere and perhaps with some other key commands not in the manual, but I search and didn't found any list highlighting commands useful for a player generally using the mouse and clicks and none with the groups commands.

And few more for newbies discovering the game:
  • Check the tutorial in manual is advised.
  • For the first game use the map with a yellow asterisk is advised.
  • Right click to select a province on the map.
  • Left click to select almost anything.
  • Left click to move a selected commander/group of commanders.
  • Right click to get information panel of many things, like a commander, or a unit type.
  • Click on a commander action bellow his icon: Shows the list of actions available for the commander, depend of the commander type and context.
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June 18th, 2013, 14:44
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
It's on sale at GamersGate until tomorrow at 75% off ($7.49).

http://www.gamersgate.com/DD-DOM3A/d…-the-awakening

I had never even heard of this series until reading this thread. Has anyone played the first two games? Were they any good?

Also, is the single-player campaign hand-made or procedurally generated?
Like civilization there's no campaign, one game can be very long in fact, but there are hand crafted maps designed for a series of dominions/races.

I"m playing my second game, second map. I doubt a mid size map like the suggested map to begin with (map with a yellow asterisk) could be done bellow 50 hours, myself I made more 100 hours but analyzing a lot.

The first play in the game is a little weird, you need check the tutorial in the manual first. Also starting a new race is troubles because for many races, many units of the race look rather the same. But after some hours I got used to identify them quickly, and after 10/20 hours it's even natural.

The genre isn't homm or king's bounty, it's Civilization with a focus on war and Fantasy. In a way the closer I know would be the WW2 mods of Civ IV but it's also very different.

It's definitely not as oriented to management of economy and happiness as the 4X or even 4X sub genre of Civ like. it's more Civ Fantasy with a shift to a wargame strategy oriented. It's also different than any type of wargame I tried in past, definitely more like Civilization evolving to Fantasy and a bit to wargame.

Still the parallel to 4X including Civ can be done, for example:
  • Research tree in Dom 3 is a simplified tree with 7 separate branches of 9 levels. But each magic levels offers potentially many spells.
  • Buildings in Dom3 is just 3 possible buildings without any upgrade. But it's also "building" the items, buildings the units and commanders, search magic sites.
  • Spaceships blueprints in Dom3 are more with a sort of meta Transformers approach, with transformers that can change and merge pieces of each for constant blueprint changes. The Dom3 blueprints are the groups of commander+units armies, plus position each group and commander on the battlefield, plus gives 0 to 2 orders to each group, plus gives 0 to 6 orders to each commander, plus gives items to each commander, plus gives gems to each commander to allow them cast some special spells during battle. It's very free and would perhaps gain a bit less freedom for a more fixed blueprint approach, but it's the blueprints replacement in Dom3.
  • For diplomacy, apart in Multiplayer, there's none in Dom3.
  • There's definitely the exploration element, and quite complicated by a scouting system a bit nasty with its deliberate imprecision. Search of magic sites is another element replacing planets scanning but more complicated.
  • Happiness in Dominion 3 is Unrest and its management is more simple than in Civilization, particularly when activating auto taxes. You still need care with patrols managements.

The fights are automatic, like in civilization, Endless Space and more. But unlike all their playing is very detailed and comprehensive. So check some battles to understand what happened or see the consequences of your choices is rather interesting to do for some selected battles.

There's a general vision of the game to spice the single player gameplay with some random, it's mainly events, but also battles could generate rather diverse wounds and penalties, curses and diseases can be long term nasty states and lead a unit to death, and more. But for events, a game option allows low down them, and when you setup you Dominion at beginning of the game, an element is to control Order which lower even more the random events.

My second game with it, and again first steps with a race is a bit rude, because o the time to get used to icons but also to discover the special stuff. For example that new races has mammoth units, but they are very special to manage and it took me multiple battles before to find so good setup. And worse at my second battle, a small pack of mammoth panicked and stapled and killed all commanders in battle but one (win the battle anyway).

Great game, civilization Fantasy and more war oriented, in middle of great classics and top indie games, close to the great classics.

I paid it 50% and wonder why I didn't paid the full price, for 75% it's not a bargain but a gift you do to yourself.
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