The Last Warlord--an indie ROTK strategy game

Discussion of other Three Kingdoms games (e.g. Destiny of an Emperor and Dynasty Tactics) and other games by Koei (e.g. Samurai Warriors).

The Last Warlord--an indie ROTK strategy game

Unread postby Gray Riders » Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:11 pm

I was wondering if anyone else has played this?
http://store.steampowered.com/app/57723 ... t_Warlord/

I've been following it for a while but only picked it up the other day after reading the main reason I hadn't bought it yet had been fixed. It's a turn based (mostly) game clearly inspired by the older Koei ROTK games, but with it's own ideas. It's got a semi-complete english version but a lot of things are still untranslated.

One of the more interesting ones is that officers have very large number of stats instead of four or five. Instead of just one "Leadership" stat officers have separate rankings for infantry, cavalry, bow, and naval units, as well as others that would be rolled into Lead (Defense, Siege, Patrol, Training, and so on) which has led to a game where just about every officer feels like they can do something of use.
Speaking of stats they're often pretty far from what you'd expect! Sun Jian isn't a great general, for instance--he's fairly good but not the powerhouse he is in Koei's games.

And there are a lot of officers--they say over 1300 in the final version. There's also supposedly going to be mod tools released later.

One issue is the game doesn't explain itself yet, so I'm hoping we get in-game help or an english manual (there's apparently a Chinese one already) fairly soon.
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Re: The Last Warlord--an indie ROTK strategy game

Unread postby LiuBeiwasGreat » Thu Dec 28, 2017 2:42 am

Looks interesting, I am debating on getting it now while it is on sale and then wait until the amount of English is increased or waiting until it is fully released with all of the features.

I do like how it looks, basically an updated version of older RTK games which looks interesting. I will probably wait a bit but thanks for bringing attention to it :D
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Re: The Last Warlord--an indie ROTK strategy game

Unread postby Gray Riders » Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:21 pm

LiuBeiwasGreat wrote:Looks interesting, I am debating on getting it now while it is on sale and then wait until the amount of English is increased or waiting until it is fully released with all of the features.

I do like how it looks, basically an updated version of older RTK games which looks interesting. I will probably wait a bit but thanks for bringing attention to it :D

It definitely reminds of me of older ROTKs, including the interface being a little slow when you want to give orders to other cities (they actually default to AI control--that was the thing that made me unsure, but a patch allowed the player to directly control over cities through the polcy screen).

A few other notes:
*There's a proper tech tree with economic benefits, unlocking new units, and so on. From what I've seen you actually want to stay put early and "Tech up" while building your army up, so you can get technologies to improve your defenses.
*Your officers do small, beneficial stuff on their own--get a little extra gold or food, slightly improve city stats, traing with each other, find items (which they give to you), etc.
*There's a manpower limit, which ROTK has done before, but from what I can tell it doesn't "build up" between seasons--if you get 3,000 recruitable men in a city and wait a whole year you'll only have a few more next January (probably from population increase), but if you recruited all of them you'd have a comparable number available at the start of next season.
*AI is pretty bad on the battlefield--an army loses if it's commander is routed and the AI doesn't seem to protect their commander at all. In fact when I attacked Bei Ping's walls the AI put all it's remaining cavalry out front, and since his best cavalry commander is Gongsun Zan (the ruler) the battle was pretty easy. They're planning to improve the AI, though.
*Free officers seem really hard to recruit if they're not compatible with your ruler, but there's a stat called "rapport" with them that goes up whenever you try. I'm guessing that makes them easier to hire so annoying them over and over will eventually work, like Zhuge Liang in the novel. :lol:
The odd part is it seems you can send one officer from each city to try, so when you have one city you only get one attempt to hire them a turn, but once you have four you can try four times (and build rapport more quickly).
*One major annoyance is the game doesn't give you revenue projections--it just tells you what was already gained from taxes, harvest, or other sources this turn, and gold comes every season so it's not always easy to tell if the books are balanced.
*Things seem more chaotic than expected. I'm playing as Sun Jian in 190 and Zhang Yan just took Luoyang from Dong Zhuo.
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Re: The Last Warlord--an indie ROTK strategy game

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:17 am

Interested but debating it because English reviews I have seen are mixed and since it is incomplete now I may hold out to see what comes of it and bite the bullet to pay full price (not really an issue since I rarely purchase games).

Battles being bad is the main kicker for me right now. I already get my bad battle fix from XIII, not sure I want another game with more of the same.

Now if they put in some oft-requested features like deep relationship activities and political intrigues, that might sell me on it.
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Re: The Last Warlord--an indie ROTK strategy game

Unread postby Gray Riders » Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:56 pm

Zyzyfer wrote:Interested but debating it because English reviews I have seen are mixed and since it is incomplete now I may hold out to see what comes of it and bite the bullet to pay full price (not really an issue since I rarely purchase games).

Battles being bad is the main kicker for me right now. I already get my bad battle fix from XIII, not sure I want another game with more of the same.

Now if they put in some oft-requested features like deep relationship activities and political intrigues, that might sell me on it.

I wouldn't say the battles are nearly as bad as ROTK XIII, myself, from the two I've fought so far. There's less "ludicrously OP abilities" since it works more like older games--there's a small number of skills and each officer can have several of them--rather then XIII's system of "each officer has one tactic and some are stupidly powerful". Battles are actually more balanced since evne a lot of the generics are very usable--Song Xian doesn't seem that much worse than Cheng Pu or Xiahou Dun, for instance, though this means a few big name officers are worse than you'd expect. Sun Jian and Sun Ce's highest unit skills are low to mid 80s, making them both much worse commanders than Gongsun Zan (who is actually very powerful with 90s cavalry skill), for instance.

If they fix the commander AI I think battles will be fine.
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Re: The Last Warlord--an indie ROTK strategy game

Unread postby Sakae Wu » Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:00 am

I can't seem to find any estimated date for the finished product. One reviewer said it's already been 7 months in early access, which seems a little long.
I'll be interested to see how the final version shapes up though. I like the looks of it so far, and it's pretty cheap.

I'm not sure what they mean by "300 official positions based on history" though. Is it like ranks in rotk?
20 unit classes sounds very interesting, and over 300 special abilities?!

Have you had any problems with it crashing Gray Riders? That seems to be the biggest complaint along with the Chinese only manual.


Zyzyfer wrote:Now if they put in some oft-requested features like deep relationship activities and political intrigues, that might sell me on it.


I wonder what kind of "activities" are being requested here. :shock:
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Re: The Last Warlord--an indie ROTK strategy game

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Sun Dec 31, 2017 4:31 am

Sakae Wu wrote:
Zyzyfer wrote:Now if they put in some oft-requested features like deep relationship activities and political intrigues, that might sell me on it.


I wonder what kind of "activities" are being requested here. :shock:


:oops:

I uh of course meant having a deeper platform for the RP aspects of the game, like more freedom with establishing various bonds (not just between your person and others), more potential consequences to not heeding close friends' advice, needing more careful appointment of officers to high positions due to personality traits, things like that.

That said, some options for the shippers out there might very well win some folks over. :shock:

I'm curious to hear more about how the battles play out. I'll go poke around on Steam but feel free to write something if you want, Gray. I mainly more meant that the battles in XIII are so mundane and the AI tends to be easy to manipulate. These are classic Koei ROTK tropes I know, so I am curious if this one shows promise.
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Re: The Last Warlord--an indie ROTK strategy game

Unread postby Gray Riders » Sun Dec 31, 2017 2:39 pm

Sakae Wu wrote:I can't seem to find any estimated date for the finished product. One reviewer said it's already been 7 months in early access, which seems a little long.

I've seen games linger in Early Access for years (Prison Architect was there for three or so, I think), so it's not really too odd, I think.

I'm not sure what they mean by "300 official positions based on history" though. Is it like ranks in rotk?
20 unit classes sounds very interesting, and over 300 special abilities?!

There are ranks, yes. I am not sure what they mean by the 300 special abilities--there are in-battle tactics but nowhere near 300. The special abilities might be the feature where officers gain stat bonuses and access to special units when they reach certain requirements (usually enough Deeds).

There are a lot more unit types than Koei typically does--it uses the "three types" with cavalry, infantry, and bows, but there's a very large variety of each type. A lot of them are special units only certain cities can recruit or certain officers can use, though there's a "seal" systme you can use to give access to special units to your other officers, but I'm a little unsure on how it works, as I haven't unlocked any yet.
Certain officers have access to special units once you meet the requirements--the White Riders for Gongsun Zan, Gao Shun has special elite infantry, I believe Cao Chun has the Tiger Cavalry, and so on. Even Cao Bao gets one (I believe I've read he led a unit that's semi-famous in China).

Have you had any problems with it crashing Gray Riders? That seems to be the biggest complaint along with the Chinese only manual.

I've read that but haven't had crashes myself. However, I read one person mention the crashes mostly seem to be after battles, and I've only fought two battles so far.

Zyzyfer wrote:I'm curious to hear more about how the battles play out. I'll go poke around on Steam but feel free to write something if you want, Gray. I mainly more meant that the battles in XIII are so mundane and the AI tends to be easy to manipulate. These are classic Koei ROTK tropes I know, so I am curious if this one shows promise.

The ones I had seems like they'll work well enough once the AI is improved a bit--kamikaze charges with their commander was the main issue I saw. It has the standard unit tactics (two per unit class) and a much larger set of strategies like setting ambush (I believe it's the type where you place a unit in ambush and it springs when the enemy walks into it rather than a strategy you aim at a specific unit like in XI) or other various tricks.
I've sometimes had units use "join" attacks--it might require they're on the enemy units front and rear and won't work from the sides. Ranged units always seem to lend supporting fire to other ranged units.

Duels are pretty bad, unfortunately, and this complaint seems to come up a bit on the reviews and forums. You set five attacks up ahead of time, both go, then the duel ends. I just tell the game to auto assign and see what happens since when you're playing a blind bluff choosing myself probably won't make a huge difference unless I figure out the AI has a preferred pattern.

One big issue is the game doesn't have a tutorial/help file yet, and the manual isn't available in english. There are a lot of stats I'm not sure exactly how they work--duelling has "Combat", "Valor", "Horsemanship", "Archery", and there's a stat called "Capture" I think is used there, too. I can guess how some of them work, but not others.

Edit: The big stat variety leads to really nice touches, though. In Koei's games Mi Fang has cruddy pol; here he's quite good at raising commerce (being from a merchant family) but still pretty bad at the other development tasks.

Some of the stats are very odd, though. Huang Zu's a better unit leader than Huang Zhong!
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Re: The Last Warlord--an indie ROTK strategy game

Unread postby Sakae Wu » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:08 am

Zyzyfer wrote:I uh of course meant having a deeper platform for the RP aspects of the game, like more freedom with establishing various bonds (not just between your person and others), more potential consequences to not heeding close friends' advice, needing more careful appointment of officers to high positions due to personality traits, things like that.


Yeah, I was just kidding. I figured that was what you meant, and all that would be nice to see added to future games.
More careful appointments especially.
One nice thing about Rotk X was having a little conference with your top officers if a rival diplomat came with a proposal. Even though the answer was usually obvious, I liked where they were going with that feature.

Gray Riders wrote:I've seen games linger in Early Access for years (Prison Architect was there for three or so, I think), so it's not really too odd, I think.


Good point, I suppose you're right. I haven't bought or followed early access games on steam so I wasn't really sure.
Thanks for sharing your info and insights, I'll keep tabs on this one and see what develops.
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Re: The Last Warlord--an indie ROTK strategy game

Unread postby Gray Riders » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:39 am

I'm considering starting a new game and play, describing things as I go as an "after action report"; it might give people a better idea of how the game works. What does everything think?
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