I finished my first game of Fallen Enchantress last night; it was rather fun - climatic, nail bitingly close fight for the Sceptre of Dominion ended in my victory.
So, I've got a few things I felt as of this first game.
The exploring feels much better than WoM; the Elemental Lords and their regions are really cool. I only played on normal to begin with, as I'm not that good at 4x games, and I wasn't sure how much had changed, and I've only met Vetrar so far - but his lack of movement made him easy to avoid and I was able to easily explore his domain. Maybe due to their colossal size they could be immune to being slowed by forests? That would definitely make them muich more threatening to exploration; or maybe have deep snow tiles harder to move through and Vetrar immune to that? Or maybe both.
- Additional though: seasonal/weather effects on unit speed and things would be really cool, such as snow or fog. It would make the world feel more alive too, especially as it could create climates in the world.
It takes a lot of time to get a diverse army equipped, especially if trying to research magic and society as well. Basic weapons should be usable much faster. Also, I've heard murmurings of a crafting system, if it is in the game though I was unable to find it; but it would be a really cool addition, and make magic items less random. i.e. Maul Sword compared to Poison Resist Chalice. Though that I hear we'll be able to choose quests rewards soon will help a lot in this department.
- Some of the items area really really good. Maul (ability, as a posed to the also nice weapon) might want a cap on how many times it can trigger, as Vetrar actually met his end to a hero who just Mauled him down from practically full health (certainly more than 10 hits from that one attack).
I like the revamped levelling system for heroes. I always found myself picking rare powers whenever they came up, even if I didn't want them then as I would want them later on, and wasn't sure if I would see them again. On this maybe a "booster pack" approach could be broached? Such as each level up gives you a choice of 5 common abilities, 3 uncommon abilities and 1 rare ability? People would feel safe that they'll see the rarer ones - tempered by the fact that they'd only get 1/level rather than the 3 I've had on occasion - yet would be more willing to take the common ones if the rarer ones don't match their vision for the hero.
Some more hero personality would also go a long way to making them, and the world feel really alive; as after they joined my forces - and I do love their backstory conversations when they join - their personal history seems fairly non-existent. I saw someone here post about giving them a personal ability, such as a weapon focus or the like, which would help - especially if it excluded other weapon/whatever master traits or they were unavailable to gain at higher levels, or maybe came from repeated use of a weapon type, so starting with one gave them a nice boost that would not be easily replicable - much like those amazing Skath mounts some high level heroes have (spent awhile messing about in menus not being able to trade that away to my other dudes).
- It'd be cool if we had the choice to recruit heroes of the other race, as I'm sure they're not all a homogeneous bunch and heroes are by definition notable. if some heroes were willing to talk to factions of the other race, and be recruited by both sides - even if it 3 times the cost - would be cool. As would being able to have the choice to kill unaligned heroes of your race.
- The hero inventory/shop/trade screens are a bit irritating; and the main inventory screen has little reason to exist as everything you can do in it (at least that I found) is doable along with much more - including easily swapping between shop and trade screens (which is really nifty) - on the two pseudo-inventory screens. I get the feeling that heroes and their menus need some further UI work.
- Hero invincibility, is something I'm torn on - maybe if a hero takes more wounds than 2*level they die for reals? maybe just count wounds that matter? Maybe have the severity of a wound depend on how overkilled they are? Though that makes trivial fights even more trivial...
- I miss the marriage/dynasty/children system of WoM - I loved that part of the game and would be more than overjoyed to see it return in FE somehow. Especially if we can pair up Heroes with each other/Sovereigns. Though then you do get the break in believability that a lack of ageing once they reach adulthood brings...
- Also it would be really really amazingly good if there was a chance that when regular troops got to a high level, they could take damage equal to a member to create a champion. Not as an everytime, or even common occurrence, but for a regular guy to see enough experience to ascend into the realm of notable individuals would be a really flavourful and cool way for new champions to come into being.
Quests are nice, and feel much more fulfilling than they did in WoM, though a little buggy in places (which I'll go report somewhere once this post is done, and hopefully before I forget too many of the details). Champions having opinions on our quest choices might be a bit much to ask for, but would blow my mind if it did manage to be doable. There does seem to be some, though occasional, huge deviation in the level of a quest and how hard the monsters are - especially earlier on.
Battles are far far better than I remembered from WoM (but again I've a couple of bugs to report), but I would like an undo move button, or maybe even the ability to move->attack->move; though that would make high movement even stronger than it already is, and it already wins otherwise impossible battles. i'm tempted to suggest some sort of action point based combat system and mounts give some bonus movement only points... probably too far into development for that to be implemented though, and it might differ too much from the developer view too but throwing it out there all the same.
- Movement, the AI seems to undervalue it and it costs them dearly; though earlier bows could certainly offset this, that wouldn't help most monsters.
- The AI also seems to fixate on certain units, giving other units free reign to attack with impunity.
- Flying units seemed to be affects by the mud spell which I would've thought they could fly over, at least the Dragonlord and his dragons were affected I didn't try it on any air elementals and don't recall meeting any other flying enemies.
- Spell/Ability UI needs improvement. Might be better at lower resolutions, but some of those icons are fairly similar, and when you have a lot it runs along the screen. Some tiered menu system might be better, even if just separating Physical/Fire/Water/Earth/Air/Life/Death abilities out from each other.
- Also wasn't until I tried casting fireball that I realised how counterspell worked. I'd just been dropping it on spellcasters each turn while other people in the group swarmed the enemy caster. The tooltips for the spells would also be improved if they showed that casters damage output, rather than the spell's base.
To end, thank you for working on this game as hard as you all are. I've enjoyed my first game thoroughly, and am tempted to put off some primary source analysis to start another game going. Keep up the great work, you are all amazing folks doing amazing things for an amazing company and amazing game.
I hope this feedback has been in some way useful, I feel I may have focused more on what I would change/add than what I loved - which is a shame, but how people seem to work. But know that I am loving Fallen Enchantress, and look forwards to following its development.
Additional - could we see the races' base stats on the race/sovereign creation screen please.
Additional additional - I really like the event art screeny-cutscence things. They're great.
Also, outposts seem to be fairly ignored by monsters: there was a gold mine and some horses miles from any civilisation, with a pack of spiders and a group of Ophidians near it. I was able to build an outpost there, half way across the map from my settlements, leave it undefended and have it ignored by monsters the whole game. Pariden smashed the stables when I was at war with them, but that was it. Maybe an extreme distance penalty on those resource tiles could be added if the distance is seen as an issue.
+++ - Could we please have a way to identify improvements to cities other than using the demolish tool to click on them at random to try to find one?