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  1. #1
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus pakoito's Avatar
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    Dominions 3 on Desura: THE 4x fantasy game since 2006 finally at a decent price

    http://www.desura.com/games/dominions-3-the-awakening

    I was hooked for months with even 4 games at the same time and it's quite engaging but it's easy to get burned out. Feels like a HoMM or Civ but with overwhelming possibilities: thousands of spells for both in-combat and outside of it, hundreds of units and items, lots of lore with races based off History, mythology and even fantasy literature or Lovecraft's mythos and crazy spell combos. Heavily recommended. Topples MoM and FFH2 every day of the week, and would be more renown if it wasn't for graphics and the publisher.

    It's been at 60€ or more since release because it was sold by a very thickminded publisher, so it's finally at a reasonable price. May buy when/if releases on Steam.

    THE review for this game by OutOfEight

    And the action reports by even noob players are just gorgeous: Here's one and other and this one or this one on the making and the explanation of why this game is so good at player storytelling.


    For more info and play by email matchmaking go to the Dom3Mods forums because the official ones at the old publisher's will probably be closed soon. There is probably a thread in every major gaming community and some minor wargame ones, starting with SomethingAwful that even has their own server. We also have had some in-forum games recently.

    DEAR RPS: PLEASE CHANGE THE FORUM THEME SO LINKS ARE BETTER HIGHLIGHTED.

    Mechanics spoiler:
    Player interaction required is just a handful of straightforward orders for outside/inside combat. All player turns are resolved simultaneously (but following a phase order) so it's a great play-by-email game.

    • First thing first: Your pretender god, which you design at the beginning of the match, influences several nation-wide values like extra income, research or decreased manacost but it only affects provinces which are aligned to you. He also has elemental mage levels. Your designer choice influences heavily your game. You can make him as a brute unit to conquest early game, or a blessing-bonus-bearing "statue", or maybe a highly skilled mage in one or several elements.
    • The map is divided in provinces, either fix, random or custom depending on game setup.
    • Economy is very understandable: gold comes from province taxes, which you can rise or lower individually and will increase unhappiness and death of population, which reduces total income over time. Spell gems (~mana) is given by provinces with magic places, which have to be discovered by a mage unit spending one turn searching in it, or using specific search spells in remote provinces. Pretender design can make provinces lose income slower, hence making you collect more taxes.
    • Magic (~techonology) is divided in several schools and elements. You can set your mages to research, and you have a nation-wide slider of how many of the research points is being used in each school. Your mages have levels only in certain elements, and can use spells of all schools for those elements. Some spells may even need several of them. High magic pretenders can be used to cast high level spells to create items to empower armies, or unbalance wars.
    • Units are grouped as armies, which need to have a general to be able to move between provinces. For unit grouping and combat convenience, one army can be split into up to seven regiments.
    • Recruitment is done in all map and requires gold. Every province has its own recruitment units and cap. It's not uncommon to have provinces with units you cannot recruit. You can only recruit one general per turn per province. Multiethnic armies are possible, in fact enforced.
    • All combat is resolved simultaneously at the end of the turn without player interaction and is based on a pre-plan, that is, for every regiment you choose starting position on the map and 7 actions (spell, hold, attack, flank left...) for the first 7 turns and afterwards the AI takes over.
    • Out of combat spells (rituals) are just a click action->spell->click the target unit/province.
    • Apart from that, there's just a couple more actions available, like collect extra taxes or raid the province, which are highly situational.
    • There's also the religion (dominion) system. Provinces have a religion affinity between 1 and 10 to a single player and -1 to -10 to all others. The more affinity provinces have, the more they will switch their stats towards your nation's, and your units and pretender will be stronger in them. To spread your dominion create temples and preachers or take your pretender god to them, and it will increase over time. Mobile pretenders with high dominion value spread your religion faster.
    • Last thing are blessings and sacred units, which are a special type. Your pretender god starts with some elemental magic levels, and if they are high enough your priest can bless (buff) your sacred units with your god's goodies. If a Faceless Void is scary, imagine a FV with double damage and 90% magic resistance.
    Faction spoiler:
    Early Era

    The presence of magery is very strong in this era. Magic sites are more common and heavy armor is rare. Some (most?) nations are still in Bronze Age technology. Several nations have very powerful, and very expensive, mages. Some nations of this era have some very powerful sacred beings.

    Abysia, Children of Flame
    Agartha, Pale Ones
    Arcoscephale, Golden Era
    Atlantis, Emergence of the Deep Ones
    Caelum, Eagle Kings
    C'tis, Lizard Kings
    Ermor, New Faith
    Fomoria, Cursed Ones
    Helheim, Dusk and Death
    Kailasa, Rise of the Ape Kings
    Lanka, Land of Demons
    Marverni
    Mictlan, Reign of Blood
    Niefelheim, Sons of Winter
    Oceania, Triton Kings
    Pangaea, Age of Revelry
    R'lyeh, Time of Aboleths
    Sauromatia, Amazon Queens
    T'ien Ch'i, Spring and Autumn
    Tir na n'Og, Land of the Ever Young
    Ulm, Enigma of Steel
    Vanheim, Age of Vanir
    Yomi, Oni Kings


    Middle Era

    Balanced era. The use of steel is now widespread, but magic and uncanny beings have started to fade from the world and it is more difficult to call them back.

    Abysia, Blood and Fire
    Agartha, Golem Cult
    Arcoscephale, The Old Kingdom
    Atlantis, Kings of the Deep
    Bandar Log, Land of the Apes
    Caelum, Reign of the Seraphim
    C'tis, Miasma
    Eriu, Last of the Tuatha
    Ermor, Broken Empire
    Jotunheim, Iron Woods
    Machaka, Reign of Sorcerors
    Man, Tower of Avalon
    Marignon, Fiery Justice
    Mictlan, Reign of the Lawgiver
    Oceania, Coming of the Capricorns
    Pangaea, Age of Bronze
    Pythium, Emerald Empire
    R'lyeh, Fallen Star
    Shinuyama, Land of the Bakemono
    T'ien Ch'i, Imperial Bureaucracy
    Ulm, Forges of Ulm
    Vanheim, Age of Men


    Late Era

    This era features an emphasis on more conventional warfare. Magic is rarer and harder to find than in previous eras, but higher technology like plate armor and crossbows are more widespread.

    Abysia, Blood of Humans
    Agartha, Ktonian Dead
    Arcoscephale, Sibylline Guidance
    Atlantis, Frozen Sea
    Bogarus, Age of Heroes
    Caelum, Return of the Raptors
    C'tis, Desert Tombs
    Ermor, Ashen Empire
    Jomon, Human Daimyos
    Man, Towers of Chelms
    Marignon, Conquerors of the Sea
    Mictlan, Blood and Rain
    Midgard, Age of Men
    Pangaea, New Era
    Patala, Reign of the Nagas
    Pythium, Serpent Cult
    R'lyeh, Dreamlands
    T'ien Ch'i, Barbarian Kings
    Ulm, Black Forest
    Utgard, Well of Urd
    Last edited by pakoito; 14-12-2012 at 04:17 PM.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    No no no. It was sold at stupid prices so that the developers could support a community of people who felt the game was worth such an obscene price :p

    In all seriousness though, I still suggest waiting for a bundle. CoE (another game by the same dev) was part of a bundle within two months of being added to Steam.
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  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus pakoito's Avatar
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    It's not yet in Steam, it may have to get Greenlight approval so...patience.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    I'm only really a $10 customer, I don't deserve this game yet.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
    http://playingitwrong.wordpress.com/

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    So, uh, I might be interested in this... but what's it like to play? Is it absurdly complex or deep but still relatively accessible like EU3/CK2? It looks pretty complex with a massive manual and I don't know if I have the patience to sit down and learn it if it isn't worth it.

  6. #6
    Lesser Hivemind Node lasikbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    So, uh, I might be interested in this... but what's it like to play? Is it absurdly complex or deep but still relatively accessible like EU3/CK2? It looks pretty complex with a massive manual and I don't know if I have the patience to sit down and learn it if it isn't worth it.
    There's a demo thats relatively representative, though it locks off some of the more fun spells. Easiest way to learn is probably read on of the LPs, most of them are very informative. This is one of the more informative ones: http://lparchive.org/Dominions-3/

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Squiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    I'm only really a $10 customer, I don't deserve this game yet.
    Ok. In this case I suggest waiting.

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus pakoito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    So, uh, I might be interested in this... but what's it like to play? Is it absurdly complex or deep but still relatively accessible like EU3/CK2? It looks pretty complex with a massive manual and I don't know if I have the patience to sit down and learn it if it isn't worth it.
    It's like those, yes. Player interaction required is just a handful of straightforward orders for outside/inside combat. All player turns are resolved simultaneously (but following a phase order) so it's a great play-by-email game.

    • First thing first: Your pretender god, which you design at the beginning of the match, influences several nation-wide values like extra income, research or decreased manacost but it only affects provinces which are aligned to you. He also has elemental mage levels. Your designer choice influences heavily your game. You can make him as a brute unit to conquest early game, or a blessing-bonus-bearing "statue", or maybe a highly skilled mage in one or several elements.
    • The map is divided in provinces, either fix, random or custom depending on game setup.
    • Economy is very understandable: gold comes from province taxes, which you can rise or lower individually and will increase unhappiness and death of population, which reduces total income over time. Spell gems (~mana) is given by provinces with magic places, which have to be discovered by a mage unit spending one turn searching in it, or using specific search spells in remote provinces. Pretender design can make provinces lose income slower, hence making you collect more taxes.
    • Magic (~techonology) is divided in several schools and elements. You can set your mages to research, and you have a nation-wide slider of how many of the research points is being used in each school. Your mages have levels only in certain elements, and can use spells of all schools for those elements. Some spells may even need several of them. High magic pretenders can be used to cast high level spells to create items to empower armies, or targeted ones to unbalance wars, shift your economy or even alter the climate.
    • Units are grouped as armies, which need to have a general to be able to move between provinces. For unit grouping and combat convenience, one army can be split into up to seven regiments.
    • Recruitment is done in all map and requires gold. Every province has its own recruitment units and cap. It's not uncommon to have provinces with units you cannot recruit. You can only recruit one general per turn per province. Multiethnic armies are possible, in fact enforced.
    • All combat is resolved simultaneously at the end of the turn without player interaction and is based on a pre-plan, that is, for every regiment you choose starting position on the map and 7 actions (spell, hold, attack, flank left...) for the first 7 turns and afterwards the AI takes over.
    • Out of combat spells (rituals) are just a click action->spell->click the target unit/province.
    • Apart from that, there's just a couple more actions available, like collect extra taxes or raid the province, which are highly situational.
    • There's also the religion (dominion) system. Provinces have a religion affinity between 1 and 10 to a single player and -1 to -10 to all others. The more affinity provinces have, the more they will switch their stats towards your nation's, and your units and pretender will be stronger in them. To spread your dominion create temples and preachers or take your pretender god to them, and it will increase over time. Mobile pretenders with high dominion value spread your religion faster.
    • Last thing are blessings and sacred units, which are a special type. Your pretender god starts with some elemental magic levels, and if they are high enough your priest can bless (buff) your sacred units with your god's goodies. If a Faceless Void is scary, imagine a FV with double damage and 90% magic resistance.



    The 300 pages come from describing all units, items and spells. You don't have to learn them all, there are databases and comprehensible guides with builds for each race, or you can just play them your own way with whatever you think it's cool. The math model behind actions in the game is well hidden from the player so no math crunch required.
    Last edited by pakoito; 14-12-2012 at 04:11 PM.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Whoa, thanks for the writeup pakoito. Might check it out then!

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus pakoito's Avatar
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    Edited for a couple mechanics I left out.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Unaco's Avatar
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    19?!? For a 6 year old game that's still a bit on the steep side. I'll wait for a 10 GOTY edition Steam sale, if it comes round. What's the single player like anyways?
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  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus pakoito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unaco View Post
    19?!? For a 6 year old game that's still a bit on the steep side. I'll wait for a 10 GOTY edition Steam sale, if it comes round. What's the single player like anyways?
    This is probably the most cost-efficient non-free game ever. And up until 2 months ago it was 60$. But yeah, I agree it's still a bit steep. Initially they said in their forums it was going to be 10€ :/

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pakoito View Post
    This is probably the most cost-efficient non-free game ever. And up until 2 months ago it was 60$. But yeah, I agree it's still a bit steep. Initially they said in their forums it was going to be 10€ :/
    Can't imagine what happened 2 months ago...

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/foru...l=1#post209301

    Oh yeah. CoE3 hit Steam at a reasonable price point (and a HILARIOUSLY bad blurb) and sold quite well. Then there was a bundle. And the sexiest man alive who isn't Young Nathan Fillion (before he got fat) called it :p
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  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus pakoito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    Can't imagine what happened 2 months ago...

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/foru...l=1#post209301

    Oh yeah. CoE3 hit Steam at a reasonable price point (and a HILARIOUSLY bad blurb) and sold quite well. Then there was a bundle. And the sexiest man alive who isn't Young Nathan Fillion (before he got fat) called it :p
    You are blaming the devs, but they only got a cutthroat deal with Shrapnel games, who set the prices so high for this years.

  15. #15
    Lesser Hivemind Node Nullkigan's Avatar
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    Stop the shitposting please. This is the third? thread you two have felt the need to jump into with it, despite there being no discussion on your bone of contention (whether or not the price was sensible). You got into an argument with an ur-grognard who has done that discussion a thousand times on the (old) official forums and got a stupid answer you don't like. He's NOT the devs or publisher (former or current!) and now you're piledriving it into the ground over the mere suggestion that someone might be willing to buy the game anyway. It's one thing to simply comment on the price vs your level of interest not coinciding before moving on, it's rather another to purposefully dog all discussion of the game with accusations of using purposefully insulting and offensive pricing to avoid letting a specific subset of the market play it.

    This has absolutely nothing to do with the game itself, which may or may not be everyone's cup of tea but is certainly unique.

    Invisible Werewolf Viking Stormcallers vs Cthulhu vs Undead Rome vs Swamp Byzanitum vs the Spanish Inquisition!

    I'd play in a second game if we got enough new people for it. The current one is slow because I'm stuck in a horrible position and not getting any communications from others... Also playing a management intensive nation fully of squishy things is terrifying.
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  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Deepest apologies? Would it make you less angry if I said "Oh yeah everyone, go spend full price when it will probably be cheaper, in a bundle, and on Steam within a few weeks (like the previous game)"? Well tough nuggets. Odds are both games will follow the same basic approach, so potential buyers should be informed.

    And it was interesting (to me at least) that it looks like the dev/publisher/"grognard" has seen the light and is shifting to a more modern sales model which BENEFITS EVERYONE.
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  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nullkigan View Post
    This has absolutely nothing to do with the game itself, which may or may not be everyone's cup of tea but is certainly unique.
    Neither does DRM, marketing, buy outs, studio closures, royalties or DLC, but we discuss these things because they matter to us. Telling people that their focus of interest on a game is not relevant or useful is insulting.

    This game has a stupid price, it also has "alright" AI, not awesome graphics and deep rich mechanics but to me, a terrible distribution platform, that last one just changed, the price is still too high.
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  18. #18
    Lesser Hivemind Node Kaira-'s Avatar
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    23€ ain't that bad if I'm going to get the same amount of enjoyment out of it I've gotten out of Solium Infernum, and I believe I will. But I'm hard pondering if I actually want it right now, having spent 40€ on GOG's christmas sales... but I'd be lying if I said this didn't tempt me, with immense depth and Linux-version and all that. And Pakoito's explanation about the mechanics isn't exactly helping me trying to say "you don't need this right now, maybe".

  19. #19
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    There's a demo available, so try the demo. If you like the demo, the game's worth the money. If you don't like the demo, it isn't.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  20. #20
    Lesser Hivemind Node Nullkigan's Avatar
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    There's discussing things and then there's screaming that the game jammed a two by four up your arse for being too poor to buy it, which is where you seem to want to go with it by bringing up the "I guess I don't deserve this game because I feel it's too expensive" thing constantly. Unlike DRM, Marketting, buy-outs etc that's not discussion that's repeating part of a stupid argument for no reason beyond feeling agrieved by it. An argument you had with another poster, not even with someone who could do anything about your issues with the price.

    Commenting on the shift is distribution a fine point for discussion but why would you ever try to open a discussion in that manner? I agree with the bundle thing and if there's a steam sale or something I'll be buying a bunch of copies for friends, but seriously is there any call for going beyond the serious parts of your posts?

    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    There's a demo available, so try the demo. If you like the demo, the game's worth the money. If you don't like the demo, it isn't.
    Also read the LPs. They do a much better job of explaining it than the manual and there's less fraught hand wringing about a potential backstab before you know whether or not you like the game itself.
    Last edited by Nullkigan; 14-12-2012 at 04:10 PM.
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