06 The Sovereigns & Factions

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Letter From The Designer
The heart of Fallen Enchantress is having a lot of things you want to do, and choosing between them. Picking which direction into the darkness you are going explore, which spell you are going to cast, which trait you will select when your champion earns a level and which enemy city you will attack. For me, the best moments of the game are when the mouse and keyboard aren’t being used, when the player is sitting and considering. After 2 years designing Fallen Enchantress I know every monster, every quest, every risk and reward. But still I sit looking at that monster in his lair, knowing I probably can’t beat him, but really wanting his treasure. I check my mana and consider the spells I could use, I look around to see if I might be able to sneak a level by killing something else first, I wonder what sort of treasure I would get if I won.
That’s Fallen Enchantress tome. A game where you don’t know what is over the next hill, where you may find a huge battlefield full of broken golems fighting an ancient war, or open a pit and unleash a horde of giant spiders across the land. Where a man locked in a tower prison may reward you for setting him free, or may turnout to be a demon lord that you would have been better off leaving locked up.
There were bumps along the way. For most of the internal builds champions were underpowered. Just before the first public beta we made champions respawn like your sovereign because, no matter how tough we made champions, players wouldn’t use them. You didn’t care about leveling them or getting them equipment if one bad battle meant they were gone forever. Then in the public beta I was surprised to see that champions were so good (since they couldn’t die) that players rarely did anything but invest in them. The rebalance took awhile, champion injuries were introduced, champion loot was tweaked and retweaked and we came to a good balance.
Through all of this the communities feedback was invaluable. They were the ones who identified the focus of our last two betas. They reported bugs and were an endless source of ideas and recommendations for the game. Since anyone who purchased War of Magic ingot Fallen Enchantress for free we had a community that was ready to go from the start. The amount of impact they had on the game was huge, especially frequent posters like Heavenfall, Seanw3, Cervo, FatNonFree and many more.
JackArbiter even went through and provided detailed corrections fora wide range of typos and grammar issues in the game.
The game never would have existed without Brad Wardell’s help and support. He was the executive producer of the game, he funded it, gave extensions to the time and budget to make sure we had the time we needed, and was involved in every step of creation. Brad worked with me on design, figuring out better solutions for difficult problems, he wrote the AI, fixed bugs, added content, and pushed everyone to make the game better. At a personal level, the parts of the project that I enjoyed the most were sitting and talking about design with Brad. That’s the best part about working at Stardock.
We had a whole team that was dedicated to producing the best game possible. Everyone worked hard to get their assignments done on time, and then went back to make it better. We had artists who weren’t satisfied with the terrain, icons and monsters textures in the game and who either asked for the time to fix them, or improved them on their own time. Developers showed the same dedication and got the code shared at home so they could fix minor issues that weren’t on the schedule or improve their implementation in their own time.
Everyone at Stardock is on the design team. Some of my favorite ideas came from non-designers. We held a design meeting on faction differentiation and Pariden’s Arcane Monolith spell, Tarth’s bonuses when in small armies, Pariden’s spell books,
Resoln’s spiders and Krax’s fortify ability all came from non-designer team members. The concept of upgrading improvement path’s came from our Art Director. It’s an incredible team to work with.
We love this game. It is quirky, daunting and overwhelming. There area lot of mechanics. But my hope is that your first play through is full of wonder and leaves you wanting to play again. That you are learning throughout and even after your 10th,
20th or 30th game you are still discovering new things and having fun exploring the world of Elemental.
Thank you,
Derek Paxton Lead Designer

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