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Topic Subject:The drop-off site thread
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Midgard Eagle
Skirmisher
posted 04-19-05 03:48 PM EDT (US)         
Since I couldn't find a thread dedicated to only the drop-off point debate, I post this.

Basically, it appears to be a given that there will be no drop-off points in Age of Empires III. This means that when citizens are carrying their maximal amount of resources, they automatically transfer them to your stock piles and keep gathering. I am personally opposed to the idea, for the following reasons:

  • This is probably my weakest argument, but it is still valid: Age of Empires and its sequel had drop-off points and it created no problems whatsoever.

  • Micro-management: Yes, you had to build drop-off points, but citizens automatically moved to the closest resource point after that and started gathering. Then it was automated. Hardly a hassle at all.

  • Expansion: Expansion is now a lot easier and a lot harder to halt. You do not need to set up a gathering facility to harvest resources from a site: Just move your citizens there with an escort and you're cooking. Earlier, expansion could be slowed to a degree by destroying drop-off facilities, but now you need to hunt down all the citizens gathering at a certain site to halt their process. Raiding now makes less of a difference.

  • Realism suffers: Age of Empires II felt real. It had a powerful atmosphere, which is a large part of what made it such a classic. Most of that atmosphere was watching your villagers gather resources, carry them back to drop-off points, and then repeat. Watching a group of miners chop away at a gold mine indefinetly ruins part of that realistic feeling.

  • Tactics and strategy suffer: Something as small as sound placement of a gathering point made a big difference in Age of Empires II. Now you just place your citizens at the resources and that's that.

    This thread is for everyone to add their views for or against. Ensemble Studios developers are of course welcome to share their opinions, too!

    Related: Eulogy to drop-off sites.

    Middie


    Woad Creations veteran, WiC junkie

    [This message has been edited by Midgard Eagle (edited 04-26-2005 @ 08:02 AM).]

  • AuthorReplies:
    schildpad
    Skirmisher
    posted 04-19-05 03:55 PM EDT (US)     1 / 152       
    i dont think its a problem, it wasnt in AOT.

    i think i read somewhere that resourses should be brought to one large drop-off and that there are special units thatt travel between drop off and villies, but i am not sure

    Spacemonk
    Skirmisher
    posted 04-19-05 03:59 PM EDT (US)     2 / 152       
    First of all I think they'll just generate resources, so you don't have to wait till they are 'full'.

    Second, you forgot that it's also a lot easier to spread out your villies, cause now you don't have to build a new drop-off site wich costs something.

    Third, there is no more mircoing your villies to drop off their food a bit earlier so you can get/upgrade something or go to the next age.

    Anyway I don't like it... I really don't see anything that would be better about not having drop off-sites... plus I want the game to be realistic, so no drop of sites are just ridicilously stupid IMHO. (ES please just add them to the game again )

    Indum
    Banned
    posted 04-19-05 04:01 PM EDT (US)     3 / 152       
    Hmmm..I'm not sure about the idea. But 2 things:

    1.People could get carried away expanding and leave their villagers open to attack

    2.perhaps schildpad is right-maybe resources will all go to the nearest trading post, then are shipped to your base by trade. But if the trade is held up and destroyed, you lose the resources. Seems like an interesting idea.

    Mokon
    Skirmisher
    posted 04-19-05 04:25 PM EDT (US)     4 / 152       
    I really dont like the idea of not having a drop of point... IMHO that is a fundemtal aspect to the game(RTS Genre that is) that makes it so good. Without these many experts will be alienated and i hope es puts them in. They add strategy and skill, without them you are just making the game more automated and less skillful

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  • schildpad
    Skirmisher
    posted 04-19-05 04:26 PM EDT (US)     5 / 152       

    Quote:

    They add strategy and skill

    with drop-offs you only should make sure its not too far away from recourses. but is that much strategy and skill?

    Shusky
    Skirmisher
    (id: Silver Husky)
    posted 04-19-05 04:30 PM EDT (US)     6 / 152       
    In raiding the drop-off points, for example. Destroying one drop-off point made the enemy lose many seconds, while with none of them, he may safely retreat his villies with little harm during a rush.
    Theris264
    Skirmisher
    posted 04-19-05 04:36 PM EDT (US)     7 / 152       
    *sigh*
    The ES guys (and girls?) have stated several times that they wanted Rocket to be a game you had to win with strategy, not by clicking the mouse fastest.
    That, and because the fact you have enough things to take care of, was, according to the ES personell, the reason they eliminated some of those heavy mouse-clicking and little strategy involving thingies like drop-off points.
    And stop whining. There won´t be drop-off points. Period.

    Theris264
    former Age of Mythology Heaven and Age of Empires III Heaven forumer||former member of Ambition Designs
    "An eye for an eye, and the whole world goes blind" -Gandhi
    Indum
    Banned
    posted 04-19-05 04:38 PM EDT (US)     8 / 152       
    'Rocket'?
    Theris264
    Skirmisher
    posted 04-19-05 05:02 PM EDT (US)     9 / 152       
    The internal code name at ES for Age3.

    Theris264
    former Age of Mythology Heaven and Age of Empires III Heaven forumer||former member of Ambition Designs
    "An eye for an eye, and the whole world goes blind" -Gandhi
    Mokon
    Skirmisher
    posted 04-19-05 05:26 PM EDT (US)     10 / 152       

    Quote:

    In raiding the drop-off points, for example. Destroying one drop-off point made the enemy lose many seconds, while with none of them, he may safely retreat his villies with little harm during a rush.

    Yup, and thats just scrating the surface

    Quote:

    *sigh*
    The ES guys (and girls?) have stated several times that they wanted Rocket to be a game you had to win with strategy, not by clicking the mouse fastest.
    That, and because the fact you have enough things to take care of, was, according to the ES personell, the reason they eliminated some of those heavy mouse-clicking and little strategy involving thingies like drop-off points.
    And stop whining. There won´t be drop-off points. Period.

    Drop of points add a lot of strat, so plz dont say they do. And if ES did elimnate them that would be a big mistake, it will affect the long term success of their game... AOT did the same type of thing with AQ and look where it went

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  • Midgard Eagle
    Skirmisher
    posted 04-19-05 05:53 PM EDT (US)     11 / 152       
    Theris264:

    Quote:

    *Sigh*


    Deregatory. What you're coming across as is "OMG these people are sooooo stopid, why can't they just go away?! Geeeeeeez!!!!!111". Which is not very mature of you. But on to your post itself.

    Quote:

    The ES guys (and girls?) have stated several times that they wanted Rocket to be a game you had to win with strategy, not by clicking the mouse fastest.

    That, and because the fact you have enough things to take care of, was, according to the ES personell, the reason they eliminated some of those heavy mouse-clicking and little strategy involving thingies like drop-off points.


    Ordering your villagers to construct buildings is hardly an exercise of "heavy mouse clicking". Indeed, I consider planning a city layout and constructing its buildings one of the basic elements of Age of Empires III, no matter what their purpose might be. I define "heavy mouse clicking" as giving a scout 10 way points or adding 15 knights to my production queues, and not even those things are necessarily bad for the game.

    Not to mention that you are contradicting yourself: You say that you want players to win trough strategy, but placement and planning of drop-off points is strategy (as you even acknowledge yourself to a limited degree), which means the total strategic depth of the game is effectively reduced by Ensemble Studios' well-intended removal of the game's drop-off points.

    And as a minor side note, Rocket is the game's engine, not the game itself.

    Quote:

    And stop whining.


    Please define "whining". If "whining" is making a one-page long post politely listing why I dislike the removal of drop-off points, what do I need to do to qualify as mature in your eyes? Write a 2 pages long post? A 4-pages long post and translate it into 3 different languages with their accompanying dialects? Stop complaining about Age of Empires III altogether?

    If my post was "whining", please link to a "mature" post.

    Quote:

    There won´t be drop-off points. Period.


    This thread is for discussing if having drop-off points is better than not having them. In fact, my original post states that "basically, it appears to be a given that there will be no drop-off points in Age of Empires III". I'm aware that there won't be drop-off points, thank you infinetly much, and this was never intended to be a petition for their re-inclusion into Age of Empires III.

    Quote:

    In raiding the drop-off points, for example. Destroying one drop-off point made the enemy lose many seconds, while with none of them, he may safely retreat his villies with little harm during a rush.


    I already said that.
    And as we well know from experience, you could lose far more than just a few seconds, even if the facility was only damaged, not destroyed.

    Midgard Eagle,
    Woad Creations.


    Woad Creations veteran, WiC junkie

    [This message has been edited by Midgard Eagle (edited 04-19-2005 @ 05:54 PM).]

    Theris264
    Skirmisher
    posted 04-19-05 06:21 PM EDT (US)     12 / 152       

    Quoted from Midgard Eagle:

    Deregatory. What you're coming across as is "OMG these people are sooooo stopid, why can't they just go away?! Geeeeeeez!!!!!111". Which is not very mature of you. But on to your post itself.


    Quoted from Midgard Eagle:

    Please define "whining". If "whining" is making a one-page long post politely listing why I dislike the removal of drop-off points, what do I need to do to qualify as mature in your eyes? Write a 2 pages long post? A 4-pages long post and translate it into 3 different languages with their accompanying dialects? Stop complaining about Age of Empires III altogether?


    You are right and I apologize. Just got a bit annoyed by the fact that people are discussing something that won't ever reach the game. But that's no excuse, since you are free to post anything AoE3 related here, so I should just shut up.

    Quoted from Midgard Eagle:

    Ordering your villagers to construct buildings is hardly an exercise of "heavy mouse clicking". Indeed, I consider planning a city layout and constructing its buildings one of the basic elements of Age of Empires III, no matter what their purpose might be. I define "heavy mouse clicking" as giving a scout 10 way points or adding 15 knights to my production queues, and not even those things are necessarily bad for the game.
    Not to mention that you are contradicting yourself: You say that you want players to win trough strategy, but placement and planning of drop-off points is strategy (as you even acknowledge yourself to a limited degree), which means the total strategic depth of the game is effectively reduced by Ensemble Studios' well-intended removal of the game's drop-off points.


    You define strategy as planning out your city. In AoK/AoM you didn't really plan drop-off points, you just built them as close to you berry bushes/gold mines/whatever as possible. The planning of the actually city (town center, barracks, armory, and so on) involves -a limited degree of- strategy yes, I agree.

    Quoted from Midgard Eagle:

    And as a minor side note, Rocket is the game's engine, not the game itself.


    As far as I know, Rocket was the internal code-name for Age3. We don't know the name of the engine yet (a heavily modified Bang! engine)

    Quoted from yours truly:

    That, and because the fact you have enough things to take care of, was, (...), the reason they eliminated (...) thingies like drop-off points.


    You didn't argue against that, so I think we both agree AoD has enough things to let the player take care of without drop-off points.

    Again, I apologise for my immature behaviour.


    Theris264
    former Age of Mythology Heaven and Age of Empires III Heaven forumer||former member of Ambition Designs
    "An eye for an eye, and the whole world goes blind" -Gandhi
    Steel_Cat
    Skirmisher
    posted 04-19-05 06:29 PM EDT (US)     13 / 152       

    Quoted from Midgard Eagle:

    Raiding now makes less of a difference.

    I wouldn't be so sure...send in a couple of men to rough-up the villies and you've got a successful raid. Raiding was never a way to STOP gathering, just a way to slow it down.


    "Its never the things that happen to us that upset us, its our view of them." -Epictetus
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    Lord_Morningstar
    Skirmisher
    posted 04-19-05 06:41 PM EDT (US)     14 / 152       
    Keep in mind also that battles are going to require a lot more micro in AoEIII.
    CaptainPoncho
    Skirmisher
    posted 04-19-05 06:42 PM EDT (US)     15 / 152       
    I personally think taking out drop-off points is a horrible option. ES doesn't want fastest clicking to win, but how long does it take to make a resorce center? 2 seconds?

    The biggest problem I have with it is that there will be no strategy in expansion whatsoever. Instead of making a new base, if this is implemented how it sounds you will just walk some villagers over and get them working. Very, VERY poor economic model right there. If in real life they wanted to get gold back in the day they didn't just walk to the mines and start teleporting resources.

    Here's the key in the economic part of dropoff points:

    Investment.

    There will no longer be any investment. The choice in AoC was "should I risk going over there and building up a base to farm and getting the resources at the risk of losing it?" It required thought. You're putting an investment in a location, just like expansion in real life. Without dropoff points, it is 100% gone. The risk vs reward scale is tipped. There is no risk now, only reward.

    One of the most serious drawbacks with this is that expansion realism and fun is destroyed. There is no erason to expand anymore. Expanding used to be something you do to improve your economy, but now all you need to do is send troops and villagers? Stupid, horrible idea. I can see this being starcraft one main base style now. What's the motivation to expand now? You certainly won't get more resorces building more around the map.

    Another drawback is that it eliminates structure in cities. There's something alluring about you building into your environment, structuring your city around the resources that are availible to you. Like that? It's gone now.

    I hope ES seriously reconsiders the dropoff points. It is the only serious concept that's a problem to me. I can not grasp why they chose to sacrifice all the great strategical things dropoff points do for saving an insignificant amount of micro time, since you only have to make one per spot.

    Bottom line: Taking away 15 seconds a game of micromanagement isn't worth sacrificing economic strategy, realism, and structure.

    Here's how I can see the future Age of Empires III online being with this system:

    -People only have one cluster of the buildings they use and don't expand because there is no reason to, since the entire reason for expanding was to improve your economy.

    -Raiding people's resources will consist of killing their troops surrounding their miners and then killing the miners instead of raiding a resource base.

    -If you raid someone's base and destroy all their buildings they will gather at the same rate since they can send their villagers somewhere else and teleport resources to the invisible stockpile.

    -There will be no point in taking over someone's area since they can relocate in less than 1 minute because they don't need to rebuild dropoffs.

    -There's no longer a feeling of "home", nothing to fight for, because villagers can gather at the same rate in the time it takes them to walk to it.

    Worth the very little time saved in micro?

    [This message has been edited by CaptainPoncho (edited 04-19-2005 @ 06:58 PM).]

    OldGrex
    Skirmisher
    posted 04-19-05 06:46 PM EDT (US)     16 / 152       
    While I personally enjoyed the drop-off point approach, as long as we have some way to disrupt enemy economic growth in addition to killing villies and denying him control of the "trade sockets," I guess I'm not too concerned. I wonder if there is another way? I wonder if some ships (besides fishing boats) have an economic function? I wonder if we can wipe out the enemy's native trading partners? Surely ES will let us us kill enemy traders & destroy enemy trade ships/wagons/trains, won't they?

    Strive For Ataraxia

    [This message has been edited by OldGrex (edited 04-19-2005 @ 07:17 PM).]

    lachlan
    Skirmisher
    posted 04-19-05 09:34 PM EDT (US)     17 / 152       
    I place both the removal of the drop points and forcing you to build your trade centers on pre-determined spots, ala settlements, on pre-determined routes, in the detrimental to game strategy category. Anytime the computer tells you where to build things it’s a bad thing and I feel there are ways to force players to take chances with routes that don't require telling you where to build.

    It’s a little unclear to me what exactly the drop off system is in AoE3. I guess your villagers harvest and at a spot close by these resources collect automatically without your villager physically carrying them to that spot. Here's where I get murky. I don't think said resources are available at this point. They still have to be transported by wagon to either your town center or a special building before they can be used. I wonder if all resources are under this system. To me it sounds like ES trying to hit middle ground between inexperienced and hardcore players by removing some micro but not going so far as to make it automatic. Given the popularity of AoK and the malaise that surrounds the RTS genre currently, I'm not sure it’s a necessary step

    Hal4
    Skirmisher
    posted 04-19-05 09:51 PM EDT (US)     18 / 152       
    I fail to see how tedious micromanagement is more "hardcore." And that's why I like the removal of dropsites. You all say there was a strategy involved, but it was a rote, droll strategy- don't put the mine too close to the stone or your villies run into each other. Keep the lumbercamp close to the trees. ES could have the screen go blank and an annoying "CLICK ON THE FAMOUS PERSON AND WIN AN IPOD" banner ad pop up, and there'd be the same amount of "strategy."

    Now, if you're upset that villies will now be free to roam the map collecting resources willy-nilly, I think you can hardly comment on whether that's true or not. Firstly, the lack of drop-off points doesn't mean there aren't restrictions on resource gathering- just that you don't have villies streaming back and forth from a building. Secondly, without having played the game, it's impossible to know whether or not it's viable to run your villies around like that- perhaps it's inviting slaughter. And in any case, it certainly gives an advantage to hardcore players who are more clever at microing their villies across the map, as compared to newer players who'd keep their villies bunched together and easy to raid.

    I hate being a mindless ES fanatic, but at the same time, it's silly to comment on one change in the game without measuring it against the whole. I agree AoM (never bought Titans) would be worse without drop-offs, but this isn't AoM.


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    WhoAskedU
    Skirmisher
    posted 04-19-05 11:22 PM EDT (US)     19 / 152       
    How is this for one AGAINST adding drop offs:

    The amount of unnecessary path finding required for so many villagers going from one drop off to the resources requires too much system memory that could be used for better, "cooler" things like rag doll physics and awesome water affects.


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    lommeuld
    Skirmisher
    posted 04-19-05 11:54 PM EDT (US)     20 / 152       
    I'm partial to the drop-off sites. They have feelings too you know, and they're not exactly happy with not being in the game.
    CaptainPoncho
    Skirmisher
    posted 04-20-05 00:23 AM EDT (US)     21 / 152       

    Quote:

    I fail to see how tedious micromanagement is more "hardcore."

    How is making resource dropoffs tedious micromanagement? It's like the easiest thing possible, and takes nearly no time whatsoever.

    Quote:

    And that's why I like the removal of dropsites. You all say there was a strategy involved, but it was a rote, droll strategy- don't put the mine too close to the stone or your villies run into each other.

    Here's what you all fail to understand. The strategy isn't in where to put it, the strategy is the economic structure the dropoffs provide and that they represent an investment to get more resources. The reason people expand buildings across the map is to spur economic growth, if you can just send villagers somewhere with some troops then what's the point? Bad economic model, there has to be something that stops villagers from going and teleporting resources back to base.

    Quote:

    ES could have the screen go blank and an annoying "CLICK ON THE FAMOUS PERSON AND WIN AN IPOD" banner ad pop up, and there'd be the same amount of "strategy."

    Once again, you don't understand. The strategy isn't in clicking it and placing it. If you don't understand that then I can't help you.

    Quote:

    Now, if you're upset that villies will now be free to roam the map collecting resources willy-nilly, I think you can hardly comment on whether that's true or not. Firstly, the lack of drop-off points doesn't mean there aren't restrictions on resource gathering- just that you don't have villies streaming back and forth from a building. Secondly, without having played the game, it's impossible to know whether or not it's viable to run your villies around like that- perhaps it's inviting slaughter.

    I agree with this - I'm against there being no restrictions, which for all we know there none. I really, really hope there is something to stop people from streaming villagers to a remote spot and just letting them work with no investment in a settlement or some kind of building. I'm just going on what we know.

    Quote:

    And in any case, it certainly gives an advantage to hardcore players who are more clever at microing their villies across the map, as compared to newer players who'd keep their villies bunched together and easy to raid.

    Huh? How would setting villagers on a resource and letting them bring in the income be microing? More like click and forget.

    Quote:

    I hate being a mindless ES fanatic, but at the same time, it's silly to comment on one change in the game without measuring it against the whole.

    But we don't know the whole, all we can do is speculate. If there are no restrictions, and resources teleport from anywhere back to base then I will be really dissapointed. Hopefully ES won't be this dumb, and I have faith in them as the best RTS makers I know. But why fix something that isn't broken?

    barley_n_oats
    Skirmisher
    posted 04-20-05 00:27 AM EDT (US)     22 / 152       
    holy crap. I couldn't even find my thread.

    Anyways, I really wouldn't mind the exclusion of drop-off sites. ES cited a good reason to drop them and I agree. In AoK, it was stupid when suddenly your wood gather rate slowed, simply because your drop off site was further by a bit and had to rebuild it to a strategic position.

    Also in AoM, I thought it was stupid to position a Norse ox cart in such a way so that the long side ran along the gold mine to maximize gather rates.

    =====

    What Econ micro should be about risks (defend a faraway gold mine, or take the smaller closer mine? more villies on wood on this forest, or find another forest to split your workforce?) and maintaining the economy (moving villies when resources depleted, etc.)

    There are only 2 problems I see with no drop off sites and they are:

    1) reduced effectiveness of raids. The need to rebuild mines took up time, energy, resources. This time could be used by an enemy to take advantage of weakened economy (i.e. lack of gold = no units)

    2) Resource depletion. Huge part of the game was searching for resources and protecting them. In RoN, there were no drop off sites and resources never disappeared. unrealistic, but worked for that game. I don't want to see it in Age. Having the feeling of destroying entire forests and devastating landscapes is wonderful. Screw you environmentalists!!!!


    ESO: oats
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    ES_DeathShrimp
    VIP
    posted 04-20-05 10:36 AM EDT (US)     23 / 152       
    This topic obviously comes up a lot, even within our offices. All I can say is we did a recent poll of the company, and most folks thought they had plenty to manage already without building dropsites and adding dropsites to the game would take things from being exciting and frenetic to overwhelming and not fun.

    Remember, with the Home City and Trading Posts, there is a lot more to do even in the early game than in AOK or AOM.

    Darth_Vader1_4
    Skirmisher
    posted 04-20-05 11:54 AM EDT (US)     24 / 152       
    All those being said it still doesn't seam realistic to not have drop of points. It seams like they just gather up resources and in an almost magical way those resources pop up in the stockpile, it is just ridiculous. One way to help if drop sites were actualy a bit hard to manage is to make the cheeper and faster to build so they don't get in the way and make the game hard.
    Elpea
    Hal
    (id: lp_usa)
    posted 04-20-05 11:57 AM EDT (US)     25 / 152       
    It doesn't seem realistic to build buildings in 20 seconds either, but realism is a secondary factor to gameplay in games.

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