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Direct Link To This Post Topic: MAJOR RELEASE 22APR12
    Posted: 22 Apr 2012 at 03:13
MAJOR RELEASE - 22 APRIL 2012

Hi All,

A major release today, comprising many immediate parts, and many timed parts.

This is a long post, so please bear with us as you read it through.

Release notes follow below.

Regards,

SC


Edited by GM Stormcrow - 22 Apr 2012 at 03:21
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2012 at 03:15
THE WORLD

1. NPC ORGANIC BEHAVIOUR
"THAT ELUSIVE INGREDIENT.  THAT SPARK THAT IS THE BREATH OF LIFE..." 

We have remodelled the way NPC natural units work by modelling nature at a macro level, where animal populations breed and migrate, reacting to and being impacted by players’ actions, settlement patterns and other animal groups. 

We now have a world based on rules where visible animal behavior, such as migration routes, will emerge as a result of an organic system; where animal traits, such as preferences for certain biomes, terrain types, territoriality and so on feed back into the system. Player interactions can both encourage and suppress animal populations.

This is a major change from the previous version where animal populations were randomly seeded.  No longer will Elephants purely be found in the Savannah biome, or Tigers largely in the Zanpur region.  Sure, that's where these creatures *prefer* to be, and that's where they will thrive most comfortably when left alone - but they might well wander outside of their "comfort zones" as well.

The description of nature in this way (as a set of traits such as "Territoriality", "Aggression", "Fear", "Nesting/Wanderlust", "Procreation Rate" etc) is the first major step in the release of future Faction AI, with more complex traits and temperaments.  

We've never wanted Factions to be linear and predictable decision-makers, and in fact want the overall disposition of a Faction to be a sum of the actual decision-making outcomes of the factions' individual parts - right down to the Faction's military commanders.  

So this release of NPC Organic Behaviour is a real, true, visible milestone in the AI development path.

There are a few notes that go along with this.
  1. NPC Mercenary Units are no longer on the map.
    Treggars' Crows, Brotherhood of Kerala, Crimson Dawn, Bayne's Irregulars and the Marauding Skullsplitters have been temporarily removed from the world environment.  They will return with full Faction AI.

  2. Right nowNPC natural creatures will *not* attack players.
    At present we've set the "FearOfMan" parameter up to a Spinal-Tap-inspired "11" for all natural beasts so that it overrides their "Aggression", "Territorialism" and "Hunger" parameters.  They will therefore not act aggressively towards players, and will shy away from nature-initiated contact with player armies or caravans.   This will change in the fullness of time (and we will give advance notice before this change).  Please be aware that this does not apply to "un-natural" creatures, such as Corrupted units that the Melders might send your way.  You, yourself, can still attack animals as usual.

  3. Player-driven extinction-level events are not permitted.  
    You cannot kill every single animal of a particular type and, as stocks get too low of a particular creature type, small groups will respawn in their preferred environment.  This is not to say, however, that players cannot nurture or repress populations, or encourage natural migration movements in certain directions; you certainly can.  We're just not allowing you to kill off all my Mammoths, forever Wink

2. WORLD MAP SPEED AND DIRECTION INDICATORS
"HOW MANY ROADS MUST A MAN WALK DOWN, BEFORE YOU CAN CALL HIM A CORRUPTED UNIT?"

Units travelling on the world map now show their rough direction of travel as well as the rough speed at which they are travelling.  

The number of arrows on a moving unit indicates the rough speed, as follows:On Noes!
  • Stationary Unit = No arrows
  • 1 arrow = 1-7 squares per hour
  • 2 arrows = 8-16 squares per hour
  • 3 arrows = 17-25 squares per hour
  • 4 arrows = 26-41 squares per hour
  • 5 arrows = 41+ squares per hour

3. DIPLOMATIC FOG OF WAR
"I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW THE SIEGE HAS GONE"

Up until now, all diplomatic units have a fixed range of vision.  This changes with this release, and should be taken as an indication that "Fog Of War" and "Map Visibility" are progressing.

All military units are visible on the map at all times (ie nothing is changing here).

However, when military units are within the Vision Radius of a scout or spy, an indication of the number of units is now given as additional information when you mouseover the army, expressed in the following ranges:
  • "Few": Less than 4 units
  • "Handful": 5 to 8
  • "Several": 9 to 21
  • "Pack": 22 to 81
  • "Many": 82 to 128
  • "Gathering": 129 to 227
  • "Horde": 228 to 462
  • "Throng": 463 to 815
  • "Host": 816 to 2,500
  • "Legion": 2,501 to 9,999
  • "Myriad": 10,000 to 25,000
  • "Sea": 25,001 to 49,999
  • "Cornucopia": 50,000 or more
This additional information gives you some basic information on the size of the forces present on a square, without having to send scouts.

For the actual Vision Range changes for Diplomatic units, please see the Diplomatic Vision Ranges post further down.

Ultimately, we will be introducing Visibility as a second factor (think "Signature Radius" if you've ever played Eve Online).  Visibility will be a fluctuating number based on a number of conditions, but basically expresses the reality that ten thousand cavalry thundering across a desert are a lot more visible from a lot further away than 5 assassins creeping over a mountain range.

When we release Visibility, the intersecting plot of vision range (of the viewer) and visibility (of the target) will determine whether you see units on the map or not.


4. COASTAL FOOD
"AND IF YOU'VE COME THIS FAR, MAYBE YOU'RE WILLING TO COME A LITTLE FURTHER"

We have split the border between water and land out into new square types, generically called "Coastline".  These split into:
  • Bankside (Freshwater rivers and freshwater lakes)
  • Beach (Land bordering Tidal Salt Water)
  • Shallow Coastline (Land bordering Shallow Salt Water)
  • Coast (Land bordering Deep Salt Water)

These squares have been seeded randomly with food amounts.  Food is generally more prevalent on coastal squares than on most land squares.

The coastal food seeding was entirely random, and I won't be listening to any whinging from anyone about how they now "have to exodus their city again" to be near "better" food.  The Dungeon of the Random Number Generator Mistress is chock-full of painfully spiked integers.


5. ADVANCE CHANGE NOTICE - COASTLINE SOVEREIGNTY 
"TOOK HER FROM THE LAME, PUT HER ON THAT CONDO ON THE BEACH"

Players will soon be able to send armies to coastline squares and claim sovereignty on them.  

They will then be able to build a new structure "Fishing Hut" and claim additional food sovereign bonuses.  There will be new sovereign technologies for building Fishing Huts of various sovereign levels up to 5, and these will need to be researched before the structures can be built.

We will also be adding new NPC squares and unique NPC graphics onto Coastline squares.

Coastline remains unsettlable, and - whilst you can send armies to occupy coastline squares - we are going to continue to prohibit players from using coastline squares to Siege or Blockade a town.  Please be advised, however, that this will change in the future with semi-amphibious naval units.

We anticipate that we will be releasing the new technologies and allowing players to claim Coastline Sovereignty and get food bonuses from these squares within the week.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2012 at 03:15
DIPLOMACY & DIPLOMATIC UNITS

6. DIPLOMATIC UNIT VISION RANGE
"IS THIS A DAGGER I SEE BEFORE ME?"

Scout and Spy Diplomatic Units are getting specific vision ranges, which define how far they can see on the World Map.

Diplomatic units continue to only be visible once they are actually seen by either the target town's visibility radius or by one of your diplomatic units if they cross the vision range of that unit, although you will also now get an indication of the force size.

Vision range does not increase with the number of units that are viewing the location.  Where multiple scout and spy units of different types are present at a location, the furthest vision range is used.

Unit Vision Ranges:
  • HUMAN SCOUTS & SPIES
    • Scouts 1.9
    • Rangers 4.1
    • Agents 2.6
    • Spymasters 3.6

  • ELF SCOUTS & SPIES
    • Waysmen 1.6
    • Farseers 4.2
    • Trackers 1.6
    • Outriders 2.8

  • DWARF SCOUTS & SPIES
    • Sentries 1.7
    • Watchers 4.4
    • Observers 2.7
    • Keepers of Secrets 4.2

  • ORC SCOUTS & SPIES
    • Goblin Spies 2.9
    • Listeners In The Dark 3.0
    • Hunters 2.9
    • Stalkers 4.0

7. DIPLOMATIC REINFORCEMENTS
"I STAND IN FRONT OF YOU, I'LL TAKE THE FORCE OF THE BLOW"

A new Diplomatic technology called Diplomatic Contingent has been released. Details are:
  • Pre-requisitesFinesse and Consulate Level 8

  • Research Cost: 1,000 RP and 3 days to complete

  • Description: Defending your armies whilst they're abroad - and the armies of your friends - against hostile scouts, spies and assassins is truly invaluable.  This technology trains your diplomatic units to be able to function effectively within the military discipline of your armies so that they can defend your troops against hostile diplomatic missions.
Yes, that's right.  You can now attach (after researching this technology) diplomatic units to armies.

Diplomatic contingent units attached to an army will not take part in regular military combat, but will be slain if the army is destroyed.

And yes, this does mean that if your army contains diplomats in it and you reinforce a friendly players' city, your diplomatic contingent will help defend the city as well.

"That's great", I hear you say. "I've always wanted to diplomatically reinforce my friends' cities.  But why would I need to attach diplomatic contingents to my encamped armies?"

Well, may I firstly compliment you on the perspicacity of your question, and answer it by saying... "Well, apart from the extended vision range you'd get on your encampment, which is mighty fine indeed (see above), the main reason is in order to defend them from.... (see next item)"


8. ADVANCE CHANGE NOTICE - DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS AGAINST ENCAMPMENTS
"READY OR NOT, HERE I COME"

We are going to permit Diplomatic Missions to be sent against static, encamped armies.


For the avoidance of doubt, this is specifically armies that are occupying, sieging or blockading.

In the fullness of time, armies that are in motion will similarly be vulnerable to hostile Diplomatic Missions.

The only way to defend your army against Hostile Diplomatic missions is going to be to have Diplomatic units of your own (or those of your friends, occupying the same location under the "peace of the camp" rules) in the ranks of your armies.

Only Scouting, Spying and Assassination missions will be possible against encamped armies.  At present we do not see Saboteurs or Thieves playing a part in missions against encamped armies, but this may change in the future.

Attacking and Defending diplomats will fight, according to the new rules of Diplomatic combat.

"What new rules?" I hear you ask.  Well, "browse on", gentle reader, browse on...

9. ADVANCE CHANGE NOTICE - DIPLOMATIC COMBAT ALGORITHM
"WE'RE WRITING THINGS WE CAN NO LONGER READ... IT'S A KIND OF MANIFEST DESTINY."

We're changing the way the diplomatic combat resolution algorithm works.

This is a substantial change.

And - here's the real whammy - we're not spelling it out in advance - at least, not in any great detail.

To get a hint of what's changing, however, you need to read the following belief-statements:

  • It's silly that your diplomats either succeed (and survive) or fail, and all die.  

    We will be moving away from the “total success/total failure” situation as it currently is, and introduce the concept of Diplomatic Casualties, on both sides.

  • It’s unrealistic that 5,000 thieves can attack a town with a total population (civilians, military, diplomats, etc) of 100 people and “not be detected”. Sure, the population of 100 might not be able to stop the thieves, but they sure will notice them!  And sure, those townfolk are going to try to kill some of them.

  • We believe defensive diplomats being proficient in all roles (detection, damage control, apprehension and interrogation of captured diplomats) is incorrect, and that there is a role for new diplomatic units specializing in "police"-type activities (damage control and apprehension) as opposed to purely counter-espionage.

  • We believe that some diplomatic missions are, by default, easier than others. There isn’t an “equality of difficulty” in scouting an army as opposed to assassinating a commander.

  • We don’t want to nerf diplo attacks, but neither do we want them simply to be a "Send x thousand thieves at Y, job done" situation like they currently, mostly, are.

  • The current "critical failure" chance where all eleventy-thousand of your thieves die on a mission against an abandoned town is not simply unsatisfying, it's also silly.

  • Ditto the "critical success" chance.

  • We believe that towns should have an "alertness" level, which rises after each successful-but-hostile-mission they suffer, as well as obvious events like the triggering of a specific targetted rune leaving a bunch of thieves dead at the city gate.  This "alertness level" will spike after each successful diplomatic attack, and decay over time as everyone gets lazy and smug again.

  • We believe that there is a trade-off between the "detection and foiling" of a hostile mission, and the "apprehension and interrogation" of captured diplomats.

  • We believe that towns (and squares) that have a high population of units that don't "know" each other - ie friendly foreigners - should be more susceptible to diplomatic infiltration.  Similarly, towns (and squares) that only have people who know each other really well (ie are from the same town) should be less susceptible to diplomatic infiltration.
This advance notice is, sorry-to-say, quite non-specific.  Things might become clearer over the coming couple of weeks as various announcements, skills, units and buildings get released.  Then again, they might not.  What we're absolutely not going to do is release the specific algorithms or mechanics, and there'll be a certain level of trial and error that you'll all need to go through.


10. OTHER ALLIANCE CHANGES
"ANY OLD IRON. ANY, ANY, ANY OLD IRON."
  • ALLIANCE ROLES
    You can now delete empty roles.  Please note that you will need to move any existing players in a role you wish to delete into another role, before you can delete the role.

  • DEAD ALLIANCES
    Alliances are now marked as "dead" 24hrs after the last member leaves them, or is removed by the server for inactivity.

    All diplomacy is now terminated between active alliances and "dead" alliances, so no more "endless wars that you can't get rid of from an alliance that no longer exists".


Edited by GM Luna - 26 Aug 2012 at 15:25
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2012 at 03:16
TEXT, GRAPHICS & CONTENT

11. NEW FACTION SIGILS
"THE FACTION FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE LANNIGOLDS"

Factions now have Sigils which are displayed on their Faction description page, as well as in miniature on the Faction List page.
These sigils will become the basis of the "banners" which factions use to identify themselves when moving on the map.

The sample shown here are for the Circle Of Five, Apaxu and the Parlanese, respectively.

12. NEW MILITARY RESEARCH GRAPHICS
"MILITARY INTELLIGENCE IS NOT AN OXYMORON"

With customary flair, GM Cerberus has completed the graphics for the Military branch of the Research Tree, just in time for me to add half a dozen new technologies Wink

Some samples (Militia, Legion and Warhorse) below:

  

13. NEW BUILDING DESCRIPTIONS
"MOVE ALONG. MOVE ALONG. MOVE ALONG."

Our old (and blandly nondescript) "flavour" text for each building ingame has been rewritten, and is now not only more interesting to read, but also more descriptive about what each building actually does, and what benefits it might bring to your city.

14. CHAT EMOTICONS
"THE HORROR... THE HORROR..."

We have removed most of the Emoticons from chat and have de-animated them all, as they simply proved to be very highly annoying spam-magnets and I got tired of wiping all the blood out of my recently-gouged eyes.

The available remaining emoticons are as follows:
  • ;)  :D  :)  :|  :(  :P  :-q  :-b  :ar!  F==
These are shown in the race and gender of the speaker, eg:
  • Human Male: Human male winking, ;) Human male big grin, :D Human male smile, :) Human male straight face, :| Human male frown, :( Human male tongue, :P thumbs down, :-q thumbs up, :-b Human male pirate, :ar! Human flag, F==
  • Dwarf Female: Dwarf female winking, ;) Dwarf female big grin, :D Dwarf female smile, :) Dwarf female straight face, :| Dwarf female frown, :( Dwarf female tongue, :P etc

15. ADVANCE CHANGE NOTICE - AUDIO
"SOME KIND OF AUDIO-VIBRATORY-PHYSIO-MOLECULAR TRANSPORT DEVICE"

We're really gearing up to catapult Illy into the seventy-third dimension of awesome - on a catapult made of pure sound.  Or something.

We will shortly be a releasing many different sounds for notifications and events, such as "email received" or "combat occurred".  

Please note that all our audio will be a) optional, and b) disabled by default, as we think this is what people really want.  

Where it makes sense to do so, we will allow players to configure the audio notification sounds to their own preferences (such as "Do not repeat this sound if the same event occurs within X minutes").

We have most of the sounds already produced, and we're just living with them in the dev environment for a bit to see what, if anything, needs tweaking, and we expect a range of audio notifications to be ingame within the next 14 days.

As our (highly entertaining and virtually essential reading with your cornflakes next to the Financial Times, so read it, dammit) devblog has highlighted, there's a lot more we'll be doing with sound in the future.  

This is but the first boom on the sonic flightpath.

16. HERALD MILITARY STATISTICS FOR DEFENSE
"THEY'D BE YOUR PARTNER; THEY'D BE YOUR PARTNER..."

Due to popular demand (largely from those people who think they've got a shot at appearing on the "All Stars List", of course) the Herald has a Defensive Military Page, just like Military Attackers does.

This page is calculated in terms of XP damage inflicted by individual defending players' contribution to a battle outcome.

As there can be more than one player in defense, it is broken down a little differently to the attackers' table, and shows:
  • How much of the defenders total damage was done by a specific player in defense.
  • The total XP damage done by the specific player.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2012 at 03:16
OTHER STUFF

17. COMMANDER EXPERIENCE LEVELS
"HAVE YOU EVER BEEN EXPERIENCED? WELL, I HAVE."

  • Anyone with a commander at or over Level 74 will know a painful truth: we hate you.

    Or rather, we used to hate you.  But now we don't.  

    Now we love you, and we're smoothing your curves. As it were.

    Or, more specifically, we've smoothed the curve for commander experience requirements for levels above 74.  So, for any commander under L74 nothing has changed. 

    For any commander over L74, you might suddenly discover that you have a lot more levels you can apply to your commander's skills.

  • Pretty much everything in life is improved by the presence of a graph, so here's one to improve your version of the human condition.


See?  You're feeling better already.


18. DECEASED COMMANDERS
"HE'S DEAD, JIM"
  • Dead Commanders are now displayed on the Commanders page in the colour red, to make their "no longer living" status more immediately noticable to the casually uncaring player.  

    I mean...  [sniff]... they might only be bits and [sob]... bytes... to you... but he was like... a son to me... [server breaks down in inconsolable tears] 

19. NINETEEN
"N-N-N-N-NINETEEN. NINETEEN"
Because the number "19" isn't used enough, really.


20. PRESTIGE HISTORY
"I LIKED IT SO MUCH, I BOUGHT THE COMPANY!"
  • There's now a Prestige sub-page that lists the last 25 prestige activities - credits, debits etc so that you can now personally check whether you successfully claimed/purchased/spent prestige on something, before opening a Petition (although, strangely, we're quite quick at answering valid Petitions from people who want to give us money Wink).

  • The button to get to this History page is the hourglass satellite button, rightmost on the Prestige main navigation icon.

21. MILITARY TAB RENAMED ON HERALD
"NOTE TO SELF: BOOK TC IN FOR AN APPOINTMENT WITH MR SHAKESPEARE AND A COPY OF THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY"
  • Given that we now have a "Defense" tab and Defense data, the old "Military" tab has been renamed "Attack".  

    Please note that we generally spell "Defense" with an "c", not a "s" in Illy, as all right-thinking speakers of Her Glorious Brittanic Majesty's language (a language, need I remind you, called "English") do.   

    However, in this situation, ThunderCat has obviously had some sort of linguistic brain infarction and has sadly bowed to the overwhelming forces of AmericanizationAmericanisation in this instance.  On my part, I'm simply thankful that we haven't yet discovered either aluminium or petrol in the gameworld Tongue

22. CLIENT/SERVER UPGRADES
"I KNOW THAT YOU AND FRANK WERE PLANNING TO DISCONNECT ME, AND I'M AFRAID THAT'S SOMETHING I CANNOT ALLOW TO HAPPEN."
  • We have deployed some new OS and security patches during the downtime.

  • We have also upgraded all Javascript libraries for client-side processing to the latest versions.

23. NEW WORLD DATA XML LOOKUPS AND DATAFILE
"THE GEEK SHALL INHERIT THE EARTH"

In a desperate, and doubtless unsuccessful attempt to stop us spending time banning players for writing map-reading robots, we have published a couple of new XML feeds, and one large "datadump".

The new XML feeds are lookup tables for Terrain Type and Combat Terrain Type, and are available here:
Once you have these two, you should get a copy of the entire world map:
  • This is available here:
    http://elgea.illyriad.co.uk/data_downloads/datafile_worldmap.txt

  • Please be aware that this is quite a large file (4M rows, approximately 136MB)

  • It is in a txt flat-file format to save space.

  • The first row contains column headers.

  • It is column-delimited by a Vertical Bar, like this:  |

  • It is row-delimited by <CR><LF>

  • TerrainTypeID in the flat-file links to the terraintype id in the datafile_terrain.xml file

  • TerrainCombatTypeID in the flat-file links to the terraincombattype id  in the datafile_terrain_combat.xml file
These files will refresh every 24 hours.  The world map does change (as people settle, or move cities via Tenarils etc), so it's up to you how often you get the data file and swap out the changes, but not more than once a day please.

If none of what I have said above makes sense to you, then you should probably not be looking at this data and should move along to the next exciting item in the release notes, and not tarry here for fear of being tainted by the stench of geekdom.  At the worst, you might end up clicking on something that bluescreens your computer as IE6 tries to download and display a 135MB file.


24. VARIOUS BUG FIXES
"IS THIS A STAND UP FIGHT, OR JUST ANOTHER BUG HUNT?"
  • Undocking a 2nd chat window maintains currently undocked window’s position, so no more windows bouncing about the screen, except on your unchangable Windows 95 screen saver.

  • An occasional error on edit members Alliance page has been fixed.  What this error was, I have no idea.  But I am reliably informed that it's fixed.  So "well done us".  And especially me.  For whatever it was we did.  But I take credit.  So I mean "I" instead of "we", really.

  • An occasional error preventing a new player's account creation (omgwtfbbqpwnz0releventy-one-one1!!howingodsgoodnamecouldthishappenimeanreallythisisn'tacharityyouknow) has been fixed.

  • Military attacks no longer do a minimum of 1 damage, so feel free to prove your strategic might on those undefended inactive cities without any fear of your soldiers impaling themselves on their own weapons.
25. BONUS POINTS
"THOU SHALT NOT QUOTE ME HAPPY"

There are cosmic bonus points available to anyone who spends the server downtime correctly identifing each meme / trope / reference-source / cultural-hegemony for each of the sub-titled references under each release note. 

Please note that these cosmic bonus points are not-redeemable on Earth.

Also, please note that the correct attribution to quote #21 is "GM Stormcrow".
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2012 at 03:17
Hope you enjoy, and my (self-congratulatory, I know, but there we are) thanks to all the Illy team for making this happen.

Regards,

SC
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2012 at 03:18
Thank you very much dev team!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2012 at 03:23
Upgrade currently in progress...
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2012 at 03:32
W  O  A  H   (0.0)

Clap
"Side? I am on nobody's side because nobody is on my side" ~LoTR

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Apr 2012 at 03:32
Originally posted by GM Stormcrow GM Stormcrow wrote:

 
 


  • We believe that towns (and squares) that have a high population of units that don't "know" each other - ie friendly foreigners - should be more susceptible to diplomatic infiltration.  Similarly, towns (and squares) that only have people who know each other really well (ie are from the same town) should be less susceptible to diplomatic infiltration.


 
 
Stuff like this is why I love this game.
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