Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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TBS The Fall From Heaven Thread [Civ 4 mod] - 2016 Edition™

Discussion in 'Strategy Gaming' started by Eyestabber, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. Make America Great Again Eyestabbergender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

    Eyestabber
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    Intro

    Sup bros.

    So I've been away from RPGs for the last couple of months because I went back to my addiction of more than 1500 hours: Civilization 4. I thought about making a Civ 4 mods (I tried a lot of them) thread, but the stuff I wanted to talk about in the FfH section is simply too much and deserves its own thread. Anyway, let's get to it!

    Mini-guide to this thread:

    "I don't even know what this thread is about" -> read on
    "LOL, everyone knows about FfH, you're like six years too late. Fucking newfags..." -> skip the first post, start HERE
    "Yeah I remember FfH. Good times. I wonder if they ever fixed the AI..." -> this thread is for you! HERE
    "I wanted to see the FfH universe being expanded. How is RifE doing anyway?" -> good question. Read HERE
    "Master of Mana is the tits!" -> HERE

    WTF IS "FALL FROM HEAVEN" AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?

    Simply put FfH is the answer to the "what if we had a total conversion mod to turn this game into medieval fantasy with RPG elements™ while keeping the core of Civilization 4 gameplay?" question.

    [​IMG]
    Dwarves? Check! Magic? Check! Dark Elves? Check! Stack of Doom? CHECK!!!

    So all your favorite medieval fantasy tropes are there, don't worry. What makes the game great isn't its "rich lore™" but rather the mechanical implementation of the whole medieval fantasy thing. While most Civilization mods try their best to keep the same "feel" as the original game (and if that's what you're looking for then I suggest you install Realism Invictus ASAP) Fall From Heaven tried something new and, IMO succeeded.

    If you think this is just a reskin of military units to look like medieval fantasy stuff then, well, you're wrong. FfH brings a lot of new CORE concepts that work alongside regular Civ 4 mechanics like culture, production, research etc. The main thing about the FfH universe is the implementation of magic and Armageddon mechanics. As you can see on the screenshot, there is a number on the top left corner of the minimap area. It starts at 0 and rises all the way up to 100 (Armageddon) according to what is happening in the world. Demon is brought into the world? Armageddon rises. City full of innocents gets razed? Armageddon rises. The Celestial civilization is brought into the world? Armageddon lowers. Big bad fallen angel is slain? Armageddon lowers. And so on.

    The Armageddon counter puts a sense of urgency into the late game, thus countering classical Civ4 late game stagnancy/boredom. Late game is usually when the BIG wars between good and evil actually happen. Being "good" in FfH isn't about being a "nice" and faggy, but rather it's about avoiding the almost inevitable DOOM. In fact, good leaders like Capria are among the biggest warmongers. Good and evil are directly related to Armageddon.

    And how does Armageddon affects the gameplay? Heavily. There are several scripted events that will always fire at certain thresholds. The Blight, the Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the spread of hell terrain are just some of the many nasty things that will happen to the world as you get closer to The End. Armageddon mechanics also influence rituals, the strength of demons and Marked units, the arrival of Avatar heroes and several other things. It's hard to explain (since it's a ton of stuff), but easy to understand once you get into the game.

    [​IMG]
    Yes, Horsemen of the Apocalypse. There is a bit of hell terrain on the right corner, for extra effect.

    Another cool mechanic is, obviously, magic. Mana works similarly to how strategic resources work in vanilla Civ 4. In order to be able to cast spells of a particular sphere you need at least one source of mana. So just as a single source of Iron allows you to make an entire army of Iron armed troops, one source of Fire Mana is enough to fuel every single one of your mages all the way up to Summon Fire Elemental.

    [​IMG]
    And if we're talking about "magic", we're talking about the Amurites. Featuring in the screenshot is Govannon, an Archmage willing to teach every single one of your units how to cast magic. Sweet!

    Magic is treated via "promotions". So in order to cast fireball your unit needs the "channeling II" promotion and the "fire II" promotion. Magic users come in 3 tiers: adepts -> mages -> archmages. There is a fun little twist: only adepts can be trained in your cities. You need to upgrade a 4th level adept in order to have a mage and your mage must reach level 6 before becoming an archmage. If they get assassinated before that, well...tough luck.

    Mana also provides some passive (and cumulative!) benefits to your empire, according to their type. Law mana reduces your maintenance costs, Life Mana gives you extra health in your cities, Mind Mana increases your Great Person Points and so on. Another advantage to hoarding mana of the same type is that new adepts will be created with FREE promotions if you have surplus mana. Some summons also have "affinity" to a certain type of mana, meaning they become stronger the more mana of that type you acquire. Hold 3 death nodes and watch as your summoned specters stop being cannon fodder and become actual tools of DOOM.

    Heroes are another fun mechanic that FfH brings. Every civilization has one or more heroes and every religion brings at least one hero. Civilization heroes are "guaranteed" while religious heroes belong to whoever recruit them first. So you're always competing with your "brothers and sisters of the faith" for the heroes said faith attracts. If they die in battle they are gone. Civ heroes can be revived if you have someone capable of casting Life III, but they will come back with ZERO xp. Religious Heroes will always abandon your cause if you change your religion, but they are not "dead". They can be recruited again by another player who still worships your original religion.

    Religion mechanics are also very nice. There are seven religions in the game, each providing unique mechanics, unique civics and even changing your leader's original alignment. So if you start as a good/neutral leader but later decides that converting to the Ashen Veil religion is a good idea, well...

    [​IMG]
    ...here is your new friend. Don't worry, he's got your back, bro!

    But Religion in FfH is not just a "moral" choice. As stated above, religions have associated heroes, they bring unique units and they allow you to use unique civics. All these things are GONE if you convert away from your chosen religion. Abandoning the Runes of Kilmorph, for instance, means you won't be able to use the Arete civic and you'll lose your dwarven heroes. Paramanders won't abandon you, tho. Oh, and speaking of unique civics:

    [​IMG]
    Finally we have a civic option worthy of RPG Codex :salute:


    Every civilization has a couple of unique mechanics. The Clan of Embers can bring barbarian cities to the fold without bloodshed. Every city the Kuriotates build has a radius of workable tiles of 3 instead of the usual 2. The Illians have a ton of unique rituals to bring the world to an ICY end instead of a fiery one. The Khazad (Dwarves) have a vault mechanic (top right corner of the first screenshot) that increases happiness as you hoard gold and causes unhappiness if your vaults ever become empty. There is still adventuring, Over/Undercouncil, magical items...I could go on forever about FfH mechanics, but I hope I convinced you by now to try the game.

    FINE YOU CONVINCED ME! HOLY SHIT! THERE IS SO MUCH STUFF!!!!1111 WHERE DO I EVEN START!?!?

    First of all, you need the base game MOD. Don't install Blue Marble!!! LINK
    Then you need Extramodmod. Read the second post if you don't know why the base game isn't enough. DOWNLOAD THREAD

    Now that you're all set, pick the Bannor civilization and Monarch or Prince difficulty and start a new game. Trust me, Bannor is by far the go-to "noob civilization".

    [​IMG]
    Ready to smite some evil doers! And some good-doers who happen to have easily conquerable and rich lands...

    Now, as you probably already know, there are two types of economy in Civ 4: cottage based and specialist based. The Bannor leans heavily towards a cottage based economy due to their World Spell. Rally (the Bannor World Spell) gives you a free Demagog (mid-high power melee unit) for every town improvement and every city you own. You don't want to use Rally during your first or second expansion war since World Spells can only be used once per game. You want to save your Rally for that ONE war against your biggest rival. Crusade + rally = certain victory (assuming you haven't been sucking too much balls).

    So back to economic strategy, you want to be doing cottage based horizontal growth which also synergizes with the Order religion and the Overcouncil. Playing with a cottage focused Civ first is a good thing because cottage based economies in FfH are almost identical to Vanilla, while specialist based economies are very different and rely on a bit of meta-game knowledge. Cottages are unlocked via the "Education" tech.

    You have two objectives, technology-wise: founding the Order religion and reaching Fanaticism ASAP. The Order has great synergy with the Bannor, but you can easily replace it with Runes of Kilmorph for extra production instead of happy faces and reduced maintenance. Fanaticism OTOH is non-negotiable since it is THE biggest power spike for a Bannor player, giving you the ability to recruit Donal Lugh (your national Hero), the ability to recruit (or upgrade to) Paladins AND your unique civic Crusade.

    "Crusade" is insanely good. War weariness becomes a non-issue, great generals emerge all the time, your cities train units 25% faster and everyone is happier (as long as they follow the State Religion, that is). What else do you need to conquer the world!? Well, there is one drawback (two, actually): no diplomacy with enemies and you can't create non military stuff during a Crusade. Before changing civics to Crusade, make sure you're willing to go all the way. And scream "DEUS VULT!" before declaring war, since that improves your battle RNG drastically.

    Don't neglect your religion! Confessors can Bless your troops, giving everyone an additional strength point and they can also remove pesky diseases that might otherwise screw an entire stack. They also bring the Medic promotion, which is always nice. Sphener (Order hero) and Priors have the OP spell "Unyielding Order" which instantly removes all unhappiness from a city and stays that way while the unit remains inside the city. This spell can be used for insta-pacification of newly conquered cities!!! Everything about the Bannor screams "Conquest Victory".

    Even if the Bannor isn't a very magic focused civ they sure as hell have no qualms about using it and magic is ALWAYS useful in FfH. The short version is this: you want to have at least one guy with Enchantment I and Body I. "Enchanted blade" gives every unit in the stack an additional 20% Strength. 'Nuff said. Other magic spheres with a big "bang for your buck" include Shadow (immunity to First Strikes and the ability to ignore building defenses at Shadow II), Body (Haste = 1 extra movement for the entire stack), Chaos (1 Extra First Strike for the entire stack) and Metamagic (summons a magical eye to scout the map, just like airplanes in vanilla civ).


    tl; dr: pick Bannor, choose Monarch/Prince difficulty, found the Order (and recruit its heroes), play it cool until Fanaticism, build a reasonable army and start your conquering spree. Use Crusade when you're confident that you can DESTROY an enemy completely. Use Rally to win the game (by crushing your main rival). Don't forget about mages and priests, they are very useful.


    Well guise, I hope this was useful/entertaining. I'm gonna need a bit more time to write the other three posts, but I'll get there eventually. Feel free to PM me with any Civ 4 related stuff OR typos/wrong information/broken links ITT. :)

    persianronin Irenaeus III JarlFrank
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2016
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  2. Make America Great Again Eyestabbergender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

    Eyestabber
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    Fall From Heaven is Dead. Long live Fall From Heaven's modmods!

    As you guys probably know, Kael stopped developing Fall from Heaven in December 2008. Because the Mod was insanely popular, several modders attempted to continue its development. The modder community had to answer a simple question: HOW would they continue the development? As I stated in the OP, I'm going to review three modmods ITT: Extramodmod, Ashes of Erebus and Master of Mana. Each one of these modmods answered the aforementioned question differently.

    AoE's answer is "well, FfH had civilizations and magic and alignments and stuff and was awesome. So let's add more civilizations, more alignments, more units and more magic and the game will become awesomer!". AoE is definitely not about "less is more", it is clearly about "more is more". The amount of new content is absolutely daunting even for FfH veterans. But more on that later.

    Master of Mana's answer is "FfH was a great start. But when it comes to implementing medieval fantasy mechanics in Civ4 we could do so much more!". Notice that by "more" I actually mean "deeper" rather than "more units, religions, civics etc". Wildmana/Master of Mana boasts a superior magic system and stronger RPG elements. The Xtended version by esvath also features BEAUTIFUL new unit models. The difference between AoE and MoM is that AoE makes the game BIGGER, but it's more of the same while MoM created something almost entirely new.

    But what about EMM? What are EMM's design goals? In my opinion, EMM is the realistic take on continuing FfH's development. Kael is a gentleman and a bro and he gave us one of the best mods in the history of mods, but one thing is obvious to anyone who ever played the final version of FfH2 for a decent amount of hours: that is NOT a finished game. It simply isn't. Three glaring issues remained: the AI doesn't know how to play the game, the numbers look really weird and the game lacks general polishing. More Naval AI addresses the AI issues while Erebus in the Balance addresses the balance and polishing issues. EMM combines both in a neat little package.

    More Naval AI & Erebus in the Balance

    More Naval AI is relatively well known among FfH veterans. Its development started in early 2010 and it continues to this day. Tholal (MNAI's modder) is still very active in the civfanatics forum and the latest version of his mod was released in October 2015. MNAI also brought additional polishing to the game and the additional features of B.U.G.

    It owes its name to the fact that its initial goal was quite modest: make the AI use ships properly. It's been six years since MNAI started development and the mod expanded way beyond ships, with numerous AI improvements in other areas, UI improvements, tweaks and bug fixes. Sadly, I can't give you guys a full changelog, it's way too much stuff. You can look the changes up HERE. From my experience consisting of 6-7 games with EMM and god knows how many games with vanilla FfH2 I can safely state that the AI improvements are very much noticeable. To name a few:

    • AI no longer spams priests. One per stack and no more.
    • AI makes effective use of city buffing spells like Inspiration, Growth and Hope
    • If you're allied with an AI faction with the Order religion (but you're not Order yourself), your AI ally will make sure every single one of your Stacks of Doom gets blessed. Nice of them :)
    • Create a custom game and make sure the AI controls several leaders with the "Raider" trait. Trust me, it's going to be awesome!
    [​IMG]
    Fun fact: those Nyxkin killing my adepts and capturing my workers were well inside Svartalfar territory when the turn began. 4 moves + commando = the AI will make sure you remember that cultural borders WON'T protect you.

    Bottom line? MNAI was an awesome mod back in the day, it's still being developed and it's half (or more than half) the reason why you should install EMM. If you don't give a fuck about the balance changes EitB brings, you can skip EMM and install this mod instead. Latest stable version is HERE.

    Erebus in the Balance was developed with multiplayer in mind. It's not a secret that vanilla FfH2 has god awful balance, not only on a faction vs faction sense but also when you look at the numbers and realize some units and buildings are a complete and utter waste of turns. Also, Pyre Zombies, LOL. Nevah4get! So the mod atempts to address this issue by bringing proper PLAYTESTED numbers to the table. Apparently EitB has its own community outside Civfanatics. EitB is also about polishing and bugfixing. If your intention is to play FfH multiplayer, installing EitB instead of EMM might be a good idea, since the EitB community seems to be larger. If you like the balance changes but want to play single player you're better off with EMM, since I haven't heard of AI improvements in EitB. In any case, HERE.

    Extramodmod - the excuse you need to reinstall Fall From Heaven

    Finally we get to EMM aka "the main reason why I bothered making an entire thread about a several years old mod for a decade old game in 2016". EMM is a mod that merges both MNAI and EitB and makes sure everything works together nicely. It also brings a bit of Terkhen's own contributions and works by other people Terkhen considered good enough to add to the project. As people ITT have been finding out, EMM gives a much more polished "feel" to FfH2.

    I consider EMM to be the legitimate "heir to the FfH2 throne". I don't see EMM as an actual "modmod" because it doesn't really CHANGES FfH2, it IMPROVES FfH2. If FfH was a game, EMM would be its community patch. Kinda like WESP's patch to Bloodlines or the community patch to Fallout 2. Actually, skip the "kinda" part because EMM actually does install like a patch to vanilla FfH2. That's what I've been REALLY looking for all these years I've been playing RifE (and raging at some really dumb changes and derpy additions). And that's the excuse you need to reinstall Fall From Heaven 2. And before I forget: YES, EMM's modder is still very much active. Reposting the download link HERE.

    [​IMG]
    If you want a cool playthrough idea try RoK powered Clan of Embers. 216 turns in (Immortal difficulty) and I already crushed three civilizations, with Civ #4 (Bannor) being almost dead.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2016
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  3. Make America Great Again Eyestabbergender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

    Eyestabber
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  4. Harpsichordgender: ⚧ Arcane

    Harpsichord
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    You're more like seven years too late.
     
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  5. Make America Great Again Eyestabbergender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

    Eyestabber
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    You're way too eager to shitpost. Check EMM out first, comment later ;)

    http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=486227

    Hint: it started in 2013.

    There are also news in the MoM and RifE/AoE department which I'll share once I get around to writing posts 3 and 4.
     
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  6. Tigranesgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
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    Serpent in the Staglands Torment: Tides of Numenera
  7. Make America Great Again Eyestabbergender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

    Eyestabber
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    Civ4 built in screenshot system at 1920X1080/everything maxed out. Got a better alternative?
     
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  8. Tigranesgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
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    Serpent in the Staglands Torment: Tides of Numenera
    No, those sound good, I recommend linking them instead of the thumbnails
     
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  9. Make America Great Again Turisasgender: ⚧ Arch Devil Patron

    Turisas
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    Normal game speed :decline:
     
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  10. Matalaratagender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

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  11. Make America Great Again The Brazilian Slaughtergender: ⚧ Arcane

    The Brazilian Slaughter
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    Curse you Eyestabber, I have no pc but I must game!

    Enviado de meu SM-G3502T usando Tapatalk
     
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  12. spectregender: ⚧ Arcane

    spectre
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    Thanks for that writeup Eystabber, and hoping for more. I've meant to revisit all these Civ4 mods... eventually.

    Are you going to cover Conflict on Chiron as well? I heard it got an update in February.
     
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  13. MadMaxHellfiregender: ⚧ Magister

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    i like master of mana + wildmana better, maybe because it's even more different to civ4 than ffh.
     
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  14. Zero Credibilitygender: ⚧ Arcane

    Zero Credibility
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    An awesome mod, Civ4 was worth it for it alone if nothing else. Is there anything even remotely as good for CiV by now?

    And if you are going to cover other mods, do Dune Wars. I really hope someone updated that one, the version I played the last time was still a bit rough.
     
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  15. InD_ImaginEgender: ⚧ Savant

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    Well, the posts are still worked on, but if I reconsider to visit this mod again, what is the best version?
     
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  16. MadMaxHellfiregender: ⚧ Magister

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    it's never been updated further, sadly.
     
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  17. Make America Great Again Eyestabbergender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

    Eyestabber
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    Yes. esvath and (later) CarnivalBizarre. Sadly, they chose the RifE/AoE route of updates instead of the EMM route aka they decided to add more stuff instead of improving and fixing existing stuff. The result is a mixed bag I will talk about at lenght in post #4.

    At some point, probably. But not ITT, since this thread is about FfH and its modmods. I plan to do a general Civ4 mods thread to talk about Realism Invictus, Caveman to Cosmos, Rise of the Overlords, Final Frontier Plus, among others.

    Yeah, Master of Mana would've been even bigger than FfH IF they ever managed to get the AI actually understand the game. Read my post #4 when it's ready, you're going to like it.

    Yes. Realism Invictus is amazing. Link in the OP.

    Yes, when I make a new Civ4 mods thread. First I gotta finish FfH and I don't have a spotless track record when it comes to finish everything I start...

    Extramodmod. Hands down. While everyone else decided to add their own ideas into the game, EMM decided to stick to the CORE and improve it. EMM has the same civilizations as the base game and adds very little but it POLISHES FfH to the point of turning it into an actually finished project. It's that amazing. Bugs got squashed, useless stuff got buffed and AI IMPROVEMENTS EVERYWHERE.

    The AI in EMM actually knows how to play the game! Install EMM and enjoy raging in sheer frustration while 5 movement commando Hippus Horsemen capture all your workers, the Elhoim beats you to the punch on every "first to research gets X benefit", the AI actually bothers to counter your mage spam with assassins, the Bannor crusades the entire world...and then comes for you! :incline:

    I recommend Emperor or higher difficulty. Check the OP for a link.

    Shit, can't find your post on an old FfH thread where you said something like "anything less than the biggest world size and the slowest speed is for casuals". Brofisted for consistency!

    I'm gonna try using something else to capture screenshots when I get home. The "Sacrifice the Weak" ss is barely readable. It seems like Civ4 in-game SS feature being crap is a known issue I was not aware of (http://forums.civfanatics.com/archive/index.php/t-143243.html). Gonna try FRAPS instead. Also, there are no thumbnails on Civ4 SS folder. No need to be edgy...
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
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  18. Make America Great Again mastroegogender: ⚧ Arcane

    mastroego
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    Holy heavens, what are you doing without a PC.

    I'm also interested in more info about these mods, keep 'em coming!
     
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  19. InD_ImaginEgender: ⚧ Savant

    InD_ImaginE
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    Well, going to check it out this weekend then.

    I used to think like this. Then AI turns takes nearly 10 minutes and my game crashed. It was then that I see the error of my way.

    EDIT:
    How about MagisterModmod 2012? I remember playing the game with it some years ago. And it was one of the still actively developed FFH variant I reckon?
     
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  20. Make America Great Again Eyestabbergender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

    Eyestabber
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    Same, tho AI turns are pretty fast on my new computer. :cool:

    It's p. fun, but the development is dead and they never gave a flying fuck about balance. Adding tons of OP stuff into the game without teaching the AI how to use said OP stuff = easier game, which is a dealbreaker for me, personally. If you want more stuff, you might wanna check out Ashes of Erebus. It's improved a lot from RifE.
     
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  21. Matalaratagender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

    Matalarata
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    This and...

    Show Spoiler

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Oh, holy cleavage of victory, how have I missed thee...
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
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  22. Make America Great Again copx.gender: ⚧ Arcane

    copx.
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    My favorite variant is: Master of Mana 1.42g Xtended

    You can download it from my archive of FFH modmods: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=547859

    Note that using the right map script is important with FFH. I almost always play Erebus Continent.
     
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  23. InD_ImaginEgender: ⚧ Savant

    InD_ImaginE
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    For all the new things the modmod adds, does the AI works better now? I remember Master of Mana being one of the more fleshed out modmod when I was playing it, but there are some bugs and the AI was not the best in using the new features either. Heck, in some really harsh world setting I've come out with the AI being wiped by roaming neutrals.
     
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  24. Monkeyfingergender: ⚧ Augur

    Monkeyfinger
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    More Naval AI is the original + bugfixes, faster turn times and some slight AI improvement. I'd always say to a new FFH player, start with that and skip vanilla.
     
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