Only 4 resources. Good or bad?

The new Heroes games produced by Ubisoft. Please specify which game you are referring to in your post.

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OliverFA
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Only 4 resources. Good or bad?

Postby OliverFA » Aug 18 2010, 9:47

It seems that HOMM6 will have only 4 types of resources. Gold, wood, ore and crystals.

Aparently developers say that "it is more strategic because all factions will compete for the same resource types". I disagree with that affirmation.

In my opinion, the idea of having all the factions fighting for a rare scarce resource is interesting from the strategic point of view. The idea of reducing the number of resource types, and making this "rare" resource one of 4 is not so good.

With only 4 resources (3 if we don't count gold) I think it will be a lot easier to get the resources you need. In a decently sized map players will end with several mines of this "rare" resource. Just because 4 types don't provide enough variety for having a truly "rare" resource.

In my opinion, a much better idea would be to introduce a new resource. The original 7 resources would continue like it has been up to the date. Gold would be common but needed in high quantities. Wood and ore would also be common. Sulfur, gems, crystals and mecury would be the uncommon resources. Some factions would be demanding more of those rare resources than others.

And then, it would be the 8th rare and scarce resource. Each faction would need that resource to build their high level buildings. It would not appear in silos. It could be exchanged in markets at a prohibitibe rate. (25000 gold, 100 wood/ore, 50 gems/sulfur/crystal/mercury). let's say, 1st level mague guild need 1 of this new scarce resource, 2nd level needs 2 and 5th level needs 5 units of this very rare resource. Upgraded dwellings need 1 of this rare resource each. And 7th level dwellings maybe need 5 (all this numbers are just ilustrative). If you want to make it even more rare, mines could create one of this resource each week instead of each day.

Having 7 other resources, developers could really make this 8th resource scarce in maps. with 4 resources total, it won't be possible. Simply because there is not enough variety. Then, each faction will fight for one uncommon resource (sulfur/crystal/gem/mercury) and the same rare resouce (the new one). This new resource will have very few mines in the map, will be able to be obtained at markets but at very high rates, and will be needed for the key buildings.

Just my 2 cents.

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Postby arturchix » Aug 18 2010, 10:24

I'd say we still don't have enough information to draw conclusions. It would be surprising if merging all rare resources into one would be met by a "yay" from the community - there's probably more stuff going on.

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Postby Spin » Aug 18 2010, 11:59

4 resources is probably too little for my liking, but i think that the 7 resource system was very wasteful in previous heroes games, especially Heroes IV, where sometimes you only needed 4 resources to build a town (also gold). For me 5 resources would be great, one semi-rare resource and one super-rare resource.

It all depends about how the build the game around it i guess, i don't think we'll find too many loose resources just scattered around the map like in Heroes 3.

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Postby MattII » Aug 18 2010, 12:00

Cutting it down to 4 resources is a pile of cr*p, we've had the 7 resource setup since 2 (at least), even Nival didn't screw us over this much.

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Postby Pitsu » Aug 18 2010, 12:05

All races have always been competing for gold, wood and ore. So this dimension has there always been. Do not know how much an additional common resource would increase the strategy here. Rather find more uses for wood and ore in late game.

With multitude of rare resources you always have to ask do i need this mine, can i screw my opponent by taking this mine (haunt spell of hoMM2 anyone?), what chances are that the random resource in windmill is useful for me? Would these questions all get an easy answer now?
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Postby OliverFA » Aug 18 2010, 12:36

Pitsu wrote:All races have always been competing for gold, wood and ore. So this dimension has there always been. Do not know how much an additional common resource would increase the strategy here. Rather find more uses for wood and ore in late game.


There is no real need for an 8th resource. But what I am saying is, if developers want to change the resource system, then better to add an 8th resource than cut them down to only 4.

The difference between gold, ore and wood on one side, and the new resource on the other side would be that gold, wood and ore are common, and the new resource would be rare. There is no real competition for those common resources. You only need to grab a small piece of land to have them.

The problem with the late game is that there is no upkeep. You have tons of resources. You can't spend them building your cities because they are fully built. Your armies are already massive and you don't really need to buy even more soldiers. So, what to do with resources? Just stack them. A small upkeep would add an strategic dimension and force the player to care about resources also in the late game.

Pitsu wrote:With multitude of rare resources you always have to ask do i need this mine, can i screw my opponent by taking this mine (haunt spell of hoMM2 anyone?), what chances are that the random resource in windmill is useful for me? Would these questions all get an easy answer now?

Just my thoughts on this one.

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Postby Pitsu » Aug 18 2010, 13:03

@OliverFA. I had the Ubi "4 in 1" resource in mind that has a danger to become just an additional common resource. The 8th resource proposed by you associated in my brain with mithril in WoG. No problem having something THAT special and rare.

Regarding the economy i wonder how much will they learn from MM:heroes kingdoms? It has a decent economy setup and although it cannot be directly copied due to different game principles, it is a place to learn from.
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Postby Mirez » Aug 18 2010, 14:09

I like the fewer resources, it always took so much time getting all those mines since you need them anyways

this whole strategic thing is exaggerated since when I'm in enemy territory I'll steal all his mines, not just the ones that he really needs
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Postby Pitsu » Aug 18 2010, 14:24

Mirez wrote:this whole strategic thing is exaggerated since when I'm in enemy territory I'll steal all his mines, not just the ones that he really needs


Against unskilled opponent or bad AI indeed the whole strategy thing is exaggerated.
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Postby OliverFA » Aug 18 2010, 17:22

Pitsu wrote:Against unskilled opponent or bad AI indeed the whole strategy thing is exaggerated.


LOL! That's a good point.

In fact, against an skilles oponent, having many resources has all the point. Maybe you are not strong enough to take enemy castle, but you can raid to its vital mine and capture the vital mine to ruin his economy. You could even sabotage that mine so it does not produce for a week or several weeks.

There are many things that can be done to the resource system! But cuting them to down to 4 is not one of them...

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Postby LongDarkBlues » Aug 18 2010, 18:33

I think it's a great decision - barring gold mines, there was hardly ever actual conflict over resources - it will force players to interact in a much more persistent manner, as having more crystals needed for high level units and dwellings will tip the balance of power so directly to whoever controls the mine.

I know change is scary, but there's no reason to assume that the developers are going to screw this up just for their own twisted amusement. Decisions like this are made because the developers think it's a good idea. Dropping the town screen is fine, too - really, after the first few games did anyone actually even rotate around the 3D H5 city to recruit and build, or did you just use the buttons? I love the huge on-map cities - reminds me of the excellent Age of Wonders. Even more so with the ability to migrate the town population type. Here's hoping they use some of that game's map-altering abilities, too.

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Postby OliverFA » Aug 18 2010, 20:13

LongDarkBlues wrote:I think it's a great decision - barring gold mines, there was hardly ever actual conflict over resources - it will force players to interact in a much more persistent manner, as having more crystals needed for high level units and dwellings will tip the balance of power so directly to whoever controls the mine.


There won't be any conflict over the resources in this version. Because having so few resource types, it will be very difficult not to have at least a small income in each resource.

LongDarkBlues wrote:I know change is scary, but there's no reason to assume that the developers are going to screw this up just for their own twisted amusement. Decisions like this are made because the developers think it's a good idea.

Yes. The key here is to know. What purpose are they pursuing with this change? For example, are they trying to get attractive to a "more wide player colective"? Because if that is the case, then it would be a bad choice.

Or maybe they are going for something really good and innovative, but I doubt it. I hope I am wrong, but at first sight looks like a game simplification to make it "easier" for "bigger audiences". There is no way in which less resources could be more strategic.

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Postby vicheron » Aug 18 2010, 20:32

OliverFA wrote:The problem with the late game is that there is no upkeep. You have tons of resources. You can't spend them building your cities because they are fully built. Your armies are already massive and you don't really need to buy even more soldiers. So, what to do with resources? Just stack them. A small upkeep would add an strategic dimension and force the player to care about resources also in the late game.


How can you be that far into the game and not be buying out all your creatures? Your opponents are certainly fielding bigger armies. If you don't continually buy all your creatures at that stage of the game, you'll get crushed by opponents with bigger armies.

As for having only four resources, it's not a good idea because Heroes is not a game where you can have a lot of competition over resources due to the fact that maps are too big. With the exception of the smaller maps, you don't even get into your opponent's territory until the third week. This is not a RTS game where it takes you two minutes to gather and send a small force to harass the opponent's resource gatherers. In Heroes, it takes several turns for a hero to get from your castle to the opponent's territory and what's more is that the opponent can see you coming unless they bring back persistent fog of war like in Heroes 4 and last time I checked, no one liked that feature. Even when you do take over an opponent's rare resource mine, they're probably not going to desperately need that resource since they've already had the mine for two weeks. They can also just spend more effort looking for loose resources on the adventure map and if they really need it, they can use the trading post.

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Postby LongDarkBlues » Aug 18 2010, 22:24

OliverFA wrote:There won't be any conflict over the resources in this version. Because having so few resource types, it will be very difficult not to have at least a small income in each resource.

... I hope I am wrong, but at first sight looks like a game simplification to make it "easier" for "bigger audiences". There is no way in which less resources could be more strategic.


I can't imagine they are so foolish as to assume there is a mainstream audience for fantasy empire-building turn-based strategy games, so I'm going to assume they are making it for us, which I think is likely and reasonable.

I suppose it's speculation until we have it in our hands, but obviously it depends on how the resources are used in the map. If there's only 3 crystal mines on the map between 2 players, and top level units and mage guilds require a lot of it, the person who controls 2/3 of the crystal controls the game. You'd HAVE to fight over it. I think it's a much better idea than sitting around at the end of the game with hundreds of unused sulfur from mines that don't matter much.

vicheron wrote:As for having only four resources, it's not a good idea because Heroes is not a game where you can have a lot of competition over resources due to the fact that maps are too big. With the exception of the smaller maps, you don't even get into your opponent's territory until the third week. ... Even when you do take over an opponent's rare resource mine, they're probably not going to desperately need that resource since they've already had the mine for two weeks. They can also just spend more effort looking for loose resources on the adventure map and if they really need it, they can use the trading post.


Again, that depends on how many mines there are - I think assuming they work like old Heroes games is unreliable - clearly the system has to be reworked to accommodate the change. If there's a big map, I'd argue that increases the need to budget defenders to leave at the mine. And if the need for crystals is high enough, stockpiling for 2 weeks shouldn't matter as much - all the numbers, in general, seem higher from the screenshots - no reason to assume that a 4th level magic guild won't take 40 crystal or something.

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Postby vicheron » Aug 19 2010, 0:25

LongDarkBlues wrote:
vicheron wrote:As for having only four resources, it's not a good idea because Heroes is not a game where you can have a lot of competition over resources due to the fact that maps are too big. With the exception of the smaller maps, you don't even get into your opponent's territory until the third week. ... Even when you do take over an opponent's rare resource mine, they're probably not going to desperately need that resource since they've already had the mine for two weeks. They can also just spend more effort looking for loose resources on the adventure map and if they really need it, they can use the trading post.


Again, that depends on how many mines there are - I think assuming they work like old Heroes games is unreliable - clearly the system has to be reworked to accommodate the change. If there's a big map, I'd argue that increases the need to budget defenders to leave at the mine. And if the need for crystals is high enough, stockpiling for 2 weeks shouldn't matter as much - all the numbers, in general, seem higher from the screenshots - no reason to assume that a 4th level magic guild won't take 40 crystal or something.


But big maps take way too long to traverse for economy harassment. It would take several turns for a secondary hero to get from your castle into your opponent's territory and flag their mines. And since fog of war goes away when you explore it, your opponent's going to see your hero coming a long way off and send an army of their own to deal with it.

If resource demands are high then they would either need to have a lot more mines or increase the production of each mine, or it would take too long to build up your towns. Both those changes would allow for stockpiling of resources.

If they want to increase competition over resources, they would need to either make maps smaller or increase hero movement. They would also need to bring back persistent fog of war. The only other option is to have a contested area in each map that's full of resources and equal distance from each player and victory would depend on controlling the area. The problem with that is the centralized nature of armies in Heroes. It's not like other strategy games where you can easily split your forces. The biggest army can just steamroll over everything.

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Postby LongDarkBlues » Aug 19 2010, 1:02

vicheron wrote:It would take several turns for a secondary hero to get from your castle into your opponent's territory and flag their mines. And since fog of war goes away when you explore it, your opponent's going to see your hero coming a long way off and send an army of their own to deal with it.
That sounds like increased competition over resources to me.
vicheron wrote:It's not like other strategy games where you can easily split your forces. The biggest army can just steamroll over everything.
And this seems like a purposeful change to balance that out.

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Postby Banedon » Aug 19 2010, 1:56

I'm unsure about this change.

As a practical matter, what is there to having 7 resources instead of (say) 6?

1. You would have one less mine to worry about. One less mine = one less neutral stack to fight, generally. Which is a bad thing, because playing with high speed reaps fewer rewards now (not to mention you have lower-level heroes overall). Can still be avoided though if the mapmaker places enough neutrals around the map.
2. There'd be fewer resources you can trade for gold when you need it. Right now you can expect to accumulate a stockpile of random resources you can convert into gold when you need it, but with fewer resources there'd be fewer emergency gold as well. Weakens trading, which I think is a bad change.
3. A neutral stack too strong to fight but guarding a valuable mine now has serious consequences. I don't know if this is good or bad.

Game mechanics can certainly change enough to make this work however. Perhaps a sawmill would give 3 wood / turn instead of 2, or there might now be 3 sawmills a player. It's too early to say for sure.
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Postby vicheron » Aug 19 2010, 3:40

LongDarkBlues wrote:
vicheron wrote:It would take several turns for a secondary hero to get from your castle into your opponent's territory and flag their mines. And since fog of war goes away when you explore it, your opponent's going to see your hero coming a long way off and send an army of their own to deal with it.
That sounds like increased competition over resources to me.


How does that sound like increasing competition when that's exactly the way it was in every Heroes game except for 4?

vicheron wrote:It's not like other strategy games where you can easily split your forces. The biggest army can just steamroll over everything.
And this seems like a purposeful change to balance that out.


Except that it can't be balanced out since it's much harder to recover from a loss in Heroes games. In other strategy games, you can still pull off a victory if you lose a significant portion of your army. In Heroes, losing your main hero/army loses the game.

The problem is that in Heroes your troops are limited. In other strategy games, if you send in a harassment force to attack your opponent's economy and they get destroyed, you can simply rebuild them. In Heroes, if you lose a harassing force, you have to wait a week before you can replenish your forces. Having money but no troops to purchase ends up being worse than having troops in the dwellings but no money to purchase them since you can always get an economic boost by gathering more treasure chests and attacking resource vaults but having extra money doesn't make your dwellings generate troops faster.

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Postby LongDarkBlues » Aug 19 2010, 4:47

vicheron wrote:How does that sound like increasing competition when that's exactly the way it was in every Heroes game except for 4?

But wait, you said
vicheron wrote:Heroes is not a game where you can have a lot of competition over resources due to the fact that maps are too big.

Which is totally contradictory. Do other Heroes games have resource competition or not? Making the resources equally valuable HAS to create more competition because you need it as much as they do - it's not like how the Haven barely needs sulphur so you only take the mine if it's convenient - with one resource it's become equally essential. Unless the maps are designed by idiots, they will have to take advantage of that.

vicheron wrote:The problem is that in Heroes your troops are limited. In other strategy games, if you send in a harassment force to attack your opponent's economy and they get destroyed, you can simply rebuild them. In Heroes, if you lose a harassing force, you have to wait a week before you can replenish your forces.
Right, which makes them more valuable, which makes for harder decision-making in defending resources, which makes for a deeper strategy game.

I cannot fathom why people just want things to always stay the same, or simply close their eyes and ears and refuse to consider the idea that there are other ways of doing something that can be just as excellent. I could be wrong and this could be a huge blunder, but, much more likely, it will work fine and make for different strategies than other Heroes games, which is the entire point of a sequel.

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Postby klaymen » Aug 19 2010, 6:48

LongDarkBlues wrote:I cannot fathom why people just want things to always stay the same, or simply close their eyes and ears and refuse to consider the idea that there are other ways of doing something that can be just as excellent. I could be wrong and this could be a huge blunder, but, much more likely, it will work fine and make for different strategies than other Heroes games, which is the entire point of a sequel.


It worked for so many years, so why change it now?
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