How I'd Design Majesty 3

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Alfryd

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I think Stronghold had more of an emphasis on direct control of military units. More of an Citybuilder/RTS hybrid than a Citybuilder/Sim hybrid?
 

Alfryd

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I get that Spidey, but I was just referring to (in)direct control of citizens as the main distinction here. Given the discussion in this thread about how that was key to Majesty's appeal, given it's comparative absence from Stronghold variants, and given the apparently poor reviews of the title you cited, why do you feel it would be a useful template? Aside from having dragons?
 

Spiderman

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My response was more to Nerdfish's post directly before it:

Nerdfish said:
Stronghold with heroes and monster would be perfect.

However, I haven't played it either so I can't comment on the actual gameplay and/or mechanics, all I was saying was that given Nerdfish's comment, such a game might already exist.
 

Slavicist

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Which bits specifically?

I'd like to be able to command the guard, like in the traditional City-building games (Zeus, for instance). I'd also like the introduction of walls and borders, as well as foreign AI (the Majesty series had been orientated just on the monsters; the multiplayer maps are unplayable in single-player mode). I know that the fortifications might end up slowing the game or changing its concept, but it could be done by making the monsters from within more dangerous (i.e. the establishment of "Rouge Hideouts" just like the Sewer Entrances and Pipes, which generate thieves - or, spawning "brigand hideouts" occasionally among trade routes, where trade caravans pass), as well as add the incentive of defending parts which are, truly, under siege.

And now that I've mentioned Rogues, I'd like them to actually occasionally steal from the Blacksmith, Marketplace and other guilds. One might argue that this would make them overpowered; well not so much if we add them clashing with others, including the possibility of getting killed / killing your guardsmen and others (to an extreme level of the hatred between Elves and Dwarves). This makes hiring Rogues a particularly questionable thing, as you'd only have it along if you're preferred to face the faults as well. Having a Rogue's guild and no rogues at all would still not be a safe choice, as it may spawn renegade thieves on its own.

As for the RPG system, I meant in specific:
1) Artifacts. M1 had those, at least to a limited scale. I'd want the new Majesty map full of treasure chests and Monster droppings with a number of items, including items that cannot be crafted back at home, rings with various additions etc. I'd also like to see HoMM-style (or, King of Dragon's Pass-style) artifacts which are brought back home, into the Royal Palace or other building for various bonuses, or for building a specific "Wonder" structure that gives major improvements.
2) Healing herbs. Again, something from M1, I'd like to see it back. The Rangers collecting herbs and brewing their own potions on their own is quite awesome. I'd also like to see (just like Gazebos) heroes-made Campsites, which basically serve as a low-level inn where heroes can rest, discuss, heal and brew potions. The difference would be the campfires are outside of the player's control. It'd be awesome if we had a system of different herbs; e.g. 4 or 5.
3) Personality and Traits. I'd like Heroes to have a varied number of traits, which augment their behavior and give them various benefits and faults. For instance, a hero that defeats a boss monster or brings home a legendary artifact would get the "Legendary" trait, which gives him a major bonus on all stats, makes him glow on the map, but also heavily narcissistic - meaning he won't accept flags for less than a 1,000 Gold Crowns and while monster ravage your outposts, he distracts other heroes by gathering them to tell various tales of his legends. The only way to appease these heroes would be to erect a "Statue to XXXX", just like the King's Statue is built, to raise their loyalty and make them feel appreciated. I felt the M1 heroes had had more personality and that M2 downplayed this.
Having said that, I want all heroes to have both sexes, as well as have more interaction between them (with the ultimate possibility of occasionally even establishing relationships, which would of course augment their behavior).
4) New Class: the Bards. Definitely add Bards into the game.
5) Skill System: I know that this is in essence not an FRP-game, so it's impossible to have what games of major levels like the Witcher or even Diablo-style dungeon-crawlers do. However, I'd like a Skill Tree at least of some scale, which goes up as heroes level, instead of merely researching those skills available "for purchase" (regardless of level in most cases!) in their respective guilds. What path they'd chose would be based upon their personality, quests they're sent on and past experiences.
6) Questing. A more complex quest system, instead of just putting four types of flags. In specific, I want Rogues to be able to steal a key off a sleeping Ogre in order to unlock a prison in which a fair maiden is hiding waiting to be eaten for lunch. Which inevitably brings me to the next issue:
7) Actual dungeon crawling. The ability to send your heroes into dungeons, caves, etc. I'd make a large number of these lairs impossible to destroy, just like the "home obstacles". Instead, we would send heroes into these dungeons with specific missions - for instance, successfully clearing out an ancient graveyard makes skeletons stop appearing from it for about 15-20 minutes or so. Or "clearing out the sewers" would stop rats from emerging for a time. I'm a little divided on this; whether this would be just some off-map action, or whether you could see the actual dungeon crawling in a small window, akin to the M1 reminder windows i.e. the minimap. If so, it should not be as detailed as the real world and in full-3D but retro, either completely textual, or something similar to the Darkest Dungeon video game.

I also didn't very much like the ability to resurrect heroes so easily from your graveyard. Resurrect should possibly be easier than in M1, but still not this easy. It should require e.g. a lvl 3 Clerics' Guild with a very expensive research (and perhaps be more expensive overall - not for the high-level heroes naturally, but for the lower ones). Instead, Guild would not actually "train" heroes but attract them, meaning all heroes are there for hire. This means that, if you successfully play so far, some greater heroes open up; 10th and 15th level ones. If you play the game unsuccessfully, with a lot of people dying, then...heroes would not gather very much.
This includes filling the map with NPC heroes, who would also be an important part of your town for trade and income purposes, as well as a cause of mischief.

Oh, and how about also A Prison, where you could lock people up (as well as arrest and ransom others)?
And get the Gnomes back...and, possibly, open up all professions to all four races (meaning, of course, that Elves are the best Archers, Gnomes are the best Rogues, etc...).
 
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Alfryd

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There's a lot to comment on here, but I'd just mention that having rogues steal from buildings wouldn't make them any more or less 'overpowered' from the player's perspective- you might get a stronger hero for your buck, but you also get less in taxes from the venues they rob. *shrugs*

At any rate, they did this in Maj1. (They'd also, by default, respond to attack flags on your own heroes, so yeah, kinda a two-edged sword.) And this was good.

6) Questing. A more complex quest system, instead of just putting four types of flags. In specific, I want Rogues to be able to steal a key off a sleeping Ogre in order to unlock a prison in which a fair maiden is hiding waiting to be eaten for lunch....
I agree with most of your suggestions, but I'd love to see this working in particular.

There were quite a few quests in Maj1 that probably made more sense as traditional RPG scavenger hunts than base-building exercises, but yeah, the question of how to implement a control-scheme would loom large. I'd almost prefer something like Gratuitous Space Battles (or Deadlock), where you set up the mission parameters in great detail and then watch the battle unfold remotely. Maybe you'd have the option to intervene using sovereign spells, or send the king on the mission directly?
 

Alfryd

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I'd like to be able to command the guard, like in the traditional City-building games (Zeus, for instance). I'd also like the introduction of walls and borders, as well as foreign AI (the Majesty series had been orientated just on the monsters; the multiplayer maps are unplayable in single-player mode). I know that the fortifications might end up slowing the game or changing its concept, but it could be done by making the monsters from within more dangerous (i.e. the establishment of "Rouge Hideouts" just like the Sewer Entrances and Pipes, which generate thieves - or, spawning "brigand hideouts" occasionally among trade routes, where trade caravans pass), as well as add the incentive of defending parts which are, truly, under siege.

I'd just mention that part of the reason why walls/fortifications might be attractive is that it gives you a bit of a breathing space during the early game, allowing the player to set up their starting economy and choice of guilds without having to worry about being attacked. And depending on just how deep the sim/citybuilder elements were, just fiddling with the internals of the town might be sufficient to keep the player occupied.

(Nerdfish mentioned in another thread that regular interludes of peace would be needed in order to showcase heroes' hobbies, so if you want to see rangers brewing potions and the like, I don't think constant monster attacks are either needed or entirely desirable. I do love ratmen and graveyards, mind, but for different reasons.)


Direct control of troops opens it's own can of worms, though. Would you agree with Galle's conception, or have you a different take on the idea?

.
 

Nerdfish

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My take on the constant monster attacks is that Majesty II tried to hard to be a "hard game."
Majesty legends was going in the right direction, by putting walls around your settlement,
monster attack stop being a constant existential threat to your entire enterprise and
there is actually point to doing stuff that doesn't contribute to your military strength.
The point of majesty has never been psychopathic difficulty or fighting off solid walls of monster at all times.
It's all about being a sovereign, it's all there in the title, and it doesn't feel like a king when the game constantly force you to do specific things.

On the quest system I completely agree, you should be able to issue most quest seen in MMO games, including "collect X bear asses" type.
Also maybe a tick-box on a quest that auto renew it when applicable. like "dogpile everything entering this circle until I take this flag down."

I'd like to see a skill tree and traits as well, anything add variability to heroes within a class would be good.
Alternative to skill trees, perhaps multiclass system would also work. Each level of classes grant a trait (or a couple level)
and heroes would take different classes depending on what they actually did.
(A ranger constantly tanking bears might end up with more warrior levels than ranger levels)
 

Spiderman

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The point of majesty has never been psychopathic difficulty or fighting off solid walls of monster at all times.

I disagree, mostly. Certainly you don't fight a "solid wall", but except for the beginner quests, every scenario has wandering monsters which, by definition, head for your settlement once they appear. More "intelligent" monsters (like Goblins) also form "war parties" and head for your settlement once enough gather around their lairs. The point of Majesty is that it's almost like Warhammer Fantasy, where your settlement is constantly besieged by monsters and you, as sovereign, need to hire whatever heros to try to fight them off without controlling them directly, thus needing to appeal to whatever "base desires" as their decision tree dictates.

Obviously in Freestyle, you can design a scenario to whatever you want, but since the given quests/scenarios were designed by the devs/Cyberlore, I think they're a pretty good indication of what the game is meant to be. And yes, some quests may be pretty hard in that you don't ever want to replay them again, but that's subjective - there are probably players who like that kind of thing and wonder why the rest of the quests are "so easy".
 

Nerdfish

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Most quests were not actually all that hard, I have recently played through the HD edition and only a handful were really bad, dragon king, reckoning, vigil, reckoning. That's it.
Quests like black forests are "Expert" but you really get to relax and build a nice town for a change.
In original Majesty, Monsters for most party wander around once they spawn, only in M2 do they head straight for the town like they have a death wish.
 

Alfryd

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I think Spiderman is partly correct, in that Maj1 did involve a good deal of cannon-fodder monsters besieging your settlement, but given Legends was the brainchild of the same developers I'm not certain how far that represents their intentions.

NF is also partly right, in that Maj2 made monster opposition much more pronounced, but I'd suggest the bigger difference was the lack of... punctuation, so to speak. Maj1's monsters, when in force, tended to come at you in sporadic waves, which made the battles feel a little more dramatic and gave you time to lick your wounds afterward. Maj2's monsters (at least in my experience) arrived more as a continuous stream. It's not so much the amount of difficulty as it is the type of challenge- continuous enemy assaults made combat-related activities from the heroes the only defensible response, which either narrowed their behavioural repertoire or made their decisions look pretty schizo. (It also probably introduced a number of changes to, e.g, DPS and spell use, but that's another topic.)

I'm not averse to intense combat in a Fantasy Kingdom Sim, but I am averse to the idea that should be all of it.
 

Spiderman

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Sorry, I thought Nerdfish was just referring to Majesty 1 when he made that comment that I quoted. I wouldn't lump Maj1 and Maj2 together since they were made by different companies and thus each's intentions were (probably) different, but if you say in Maj2 there's a continuous stream coming at you, yeah, I'd say that's intentional. That may be the change to make Maj2 more RTS-like though, so maybe Ino-Co figured it all fit.

I'm also hesitant to ascribe any intentions Cyberlore might have had when they were designing Legends just because walls were shown in some previews. For instance, there could have been a new "Siege"-like unit (along the lines of Ratapult, perhaps) that would do extra damage versus buildings, so walls were created to counter them. And who knows what the "requirements" for such a wall might be... level 2 Palace? In which case you still get the early "rush"... I'm just throwing out other possible reasons for walls aside from simply letting you build up your settlement. Of course, if Cyberlore specifically stated that was the reason, then I'm obviously wrong :)

Nerdfish said:
In original Majesty, Monsters for most party wander around once they spawn...

Yeah, that's why I said "wandering monsters", they go straight for your settlement.
 

Alfryd

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Sorry, I thought Nerdfish was just referring to Majesty 1 when he made that comment that I quoted. I wouldn't lump Maj1 and Maj2 together since they were made by different companies and thus each's intentions were (probably) different, but if you say in Maj2 there's a continuous stream coming at you, yeah, I'd say that's intentional. That may be the change to make Maj2 more RTS-like though, so maybe Ino-Co figured it all fit.
I'm sure they figured it, but I don't think Maj2 offered any great advantage over the direct-control system of a traditional RTS (in theory the flag system reduced the need for direct micro, but the lacklustre AI meant more babysitting was required, which cancels out.)

I think NF *was* referring to Maj1, but I just wanted to stress that both the original and sequel having monsters (even if the quantities were identical, which they weren't) doesn't necessarily make them about the same thing.
I'm also hesitant to ascribe any intentions Cyberlore might have had when they were designing Legends just because walls were shown in some previews. For instance, there could have been a new "Siege"-like unit (along the lines of Ratapult, perhaps) that would do extra damage versus buildings, so walls were created to counter them. And who knows what the "requirements" for such a wall might be... level 2 Palace? In which case you still get the early "rush"... I'm just throwing out other possible reasons for walls aside from simply letting you build up your settlement. Of course, if Cyberlore specifically stated that was the reason, then I'm obviously wrong :)
I do remember an interview where Jay Adan specifically mentions walls as an early-game mechanism to allow players to build at their own pace (plus a number of other features I rather liked the sound of.)

Of course, it's not the designer's intent that matters so much as the audience reaction- which we can't assess for an unpublished game- but I think at least some experiment in that direction is long overdue.
 

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Alfryd said:
I don't think Maj2 offered any great advantage over the direct-control system of a traditional RTS...

It sounds like they tried tipping more towards the RTS while still trying to keep some semblance of Majesty via the flags and kinda "failed" at both (or at least, didn't integrate them well enough). Again though, I only played maybe the first two missions when it first came out, so my memory is rusty; these are observations/conclusions drawn from reading others experiences.

Alfryd said:
I do remember an interview ...

Ha! So I am wrong :) Thanks for that, it did sound intriguing, I like the idea of "capture flag for experimentation" as an alternative to just fighting to kill. And not sure if I knew it before (it seemed to ring some sort of memory when reading it), but interesting that Jay also acknowledges the RTS/sim hybrid in the original.
 

Nerdfish

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Majesty still can be a good game even the player is never attacked or required to attack.
People even ant-farmed their heroes level several hundred.
This aspect was sorely missing from M2. Perhaps the developer didn't have the time or budget for involved AI.