A few short months after Endless Legend was released and we’ve already seen two patches for it in the form of “add-ons”. The first, titled “Shades of Alteration”, brought about some minor bug fixes, some extra quests (including a somewhat Halloween-themed one) and most importantly to some, modding support. The second, titled “Visions of the Unseen” brought about some significant AI improvements, including a reinforcement of the AI’s behavior in combat and war in general, a new “combat odds” system that displays the odds of hitting your opponent and the possible damage inflicted, new quests, new quest weapons (with pretty glowing effects), and a new minor faction. It also adds something I’ve been campaigning for since I first bought in to Early Access back in April, diplomacy flavor text.
So how have these patches affected the game? To put it conservatively, they have done quite a bit in just over two months to significantly improve the experience of the base game. The AI is smarter now and exhibits better thought patterns in regards to tactical battle strategy. It also uses the support units better, too. I have seen it garrison troops in its cities often and I haven’t personally seen much of that before this patch. It also seems more willing to pull units back from exploring to defend its cities.
The AI has notoriously created armies with poor unit composition, but that changed to some degree with the recent patch. I saw armies like the one below from time to time, but I was still seeing armies made of 4 or 5 of the same unit type, usually a minor faction unit. However, it was good to see that the units had all been upgraded and were actually well-built units. This bodes well for the future of the game, as most players rely on the AI to provide them a challenge.
These are definitely positive changes, but it still could use some work. I’ve still seen some strange behavior when it comes to diplomacy and it doesn’t seem willing to accept peace, especially in situations where it is beneficial for the AI’s survival and there is a few other niggling issues that I’m sure will be addressed. The AI is better, for sure. It can, and hopefully will, continue to get better.
The added quests are well written, as always, and the items gained from their completion are quite pretty. I haven’t seen many in my roughly six hours with the new patch, but what I have seen are definitely fresh and welcome. I would love to see more variety in quest objectives in the future, however. There is already a decent variety through eliminating enemies, obtaining regions, conquering cities or locating relics, but increased variety is always welcome.
The new minor faction, the Eyeless Ones, were voted on by the Games2Gether community and it was one I voted for, so I’m particularly happy to see them. They’re mysterious enough to warrant a bit of interest and their assimilation bonus (+5% approval), which was also voted for, is helpful and sought after. It’s another great addition to the game made even better because it’s free.
The modding support is welcome and should add much more longevity to the game. I haven’t seen anything particularly noteworthy yet, but I’m sure as time goes on and the more fans that Endless Legend acquires, the more likely we’ll start seeing some useful mods. If I’ve missed a good one, let us know in the comments!
The attack odds panel is also welcome and can help you determine a better tactical strategy. I don’t think I was necessarily missing it before, but the addition of information during combat is surely appreciated. I, for one, am a giant fan of the Endless Legend’s simple-ruled, yet surprisingly deep combat. The only thing I’d like to see added in the future is added flanking or backstabbing bonuses to encourage more placement strategy, but only if the AI can keep up. I’d also love to see more terrain variety and to see how combat would be affected by varying battleground terrain. A little more depth in that regard would be something I’d love to see.
Lastly, the diplomatic flavor text is most welcome, though I still have issues with the fact that there is not a variety of phrases that are pulled from, but rather one line for each different interaction. The Roving Clans will always say their one line about war each and every time you go to war with them, and if there is more than one player playing as the Roving Clans, they will all say the same thing about war. The exact same sentence or two. The added text is generally well written and adds a great deal to the immersion of the game and they speak to you in a way that you would expect each of them to, making for an easier time imagining yourself as the leader of a faction on Auriga. It’s just a bit shallow in depth and after you’ve seen the various lines of dialogue once, seeing them repeat themselves starts to get frustrating.
In general, I’d like to see a lot more depth in diplomacy in general. It’s easily one of the weakest aspects of the Amplitude games, which is sad considering how much else they get right.
All in all, the patches have improved an already great game. My concerns for Endless Legend, now after more play time since the review, are for its end-game, which is an issue with most 4X games (and one that I’m currently writing an eXposition about), and its rather shallow hero customization. I’d also like to see more variety in combat terrain, like the forests and higher elevations that are currently in there. Added modifiers like hills, swamps, tundra all having an effect on combat rolls could be very interesting. Not to mention the diplomacy issues I’ve mentioned above. These are issues that can be addressed in their planned eXpansion, though, so I have very few concerns for the game’s future. With these free improvements, Endless Legend is quickly approaching ‘Classic’ status and I am willing to bet that when Amplitude is ready to move on from it in a year or so, it will be considered one of the finest 4X entries of all time.
Mark my words!
If you haven’t bought it yet and you consider yourself a fantasy 4x fan – or even just a 4X fan at all – then you’re doing yourself a disservice. Endless Legend is the freshest take on the genre in some time. With the free additions that keep coming, it’s only getting better and an eXemplary game that has only become better is still:
DevilDog played for 85 hours in single player, with an additional 15 or so hours since release, mostly on an Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5 GHz with 8 GB of DDR5 RAM and a GTX 770 on Windows 8.1 64-Bit.