Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Warhammer Warhammer 40,000: Sanctus Reach - 3D turn-based strategy from Slitherine

Discussion in 'Strategy Gaming' started by LESS T_T, Aug 2, 2016.

  1. DramaticPopcorngender: ⚧ Guest

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    Click here and disable ads!
    Ehhhhhhhhhhhh
     
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  2. rashiakasgender: ⚧ Savant

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    at least they didn't waste much money on a trailer.
     
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  3. Galdredgender: ⚧ Generalist Patron

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    If that is true, it would be awesome.
    I'd love to eventually have a version of Final Liberation where Space Marines and tanks don't die to paper cuts.
     
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  4. Galdredgender: ⚧ Generalist Patron

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    Some internal interview that showed up on SLitherine forum:
     
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  5. DramaticPopcorngender: ⚧ Guest

    DramaticPopcorn
    That was exactly what I felt when I saw it. Poor man's Chaos Gate.
     
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  6. Galdredgender: ⚧ Generalist Patron

    Galdred
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    Actually, it looks a lot more like another Final Liberation:
    Chaos Gate was very X-Comy, while this game (and FL) are squad and vehicle based.
     
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  7. Galdredgender: ⚧ Generalist Patron

    Galdred
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    The game will be out tomorrow, so I should also be allowed to talk about it at this time.
     
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  8. Make America Great Again vonAchdorfgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    vonAchdorf
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    Only $28 for a Slitherine game? That's cheaper than Armageddon - does this mean not much content?
     
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  9. Galdredgender: ⚧ Generalist Patron

    Galdred
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    So basically, as you have guessed, it is more or less Final Liberation mk2, with procedural battles mixed with scripted ones (3 procedural for 1 scripted). I am not sure the terrain is really procedural. It is possible only the deployment sides and units available are.
    It is zoomed out Final Liberation (The squads go from 1 character to 5 gretchins or ork Boyz). Tactical Marines are in squads of 3.
    Unlike Armageddon, it is not a big problem as they don't get unlimited counter attacks, and units have a maximum number of figures that can hit in melee (usually 3, so it doesn't look like Space Marines got the rules of warfare compltely wrong there).

    It is based on the Battle Academy 2 engine(aka Archon), by the new Straylight Studio,
    I have not played the release build, but overall, so the comments are based on whatever build I played during the beta:

    So how does it compare to Final Liberation?

    Graphics: Sanctus Reach is much prettier than its ancestor. Animations are better too, and 3D instead of sprites makes it more likely we'll get some added units to play with.

    Rules: Flib was rather abstracted, and was based on Space Marines (aka precursor to epic 40K), so anything could kill a MBT easily (in epic, bolter infantry can destroy a Land Raider, but it is OK, as the heavy weapons were abstracted in the unit profile). Sanctus Reach, for some reason, feels less abstract, maybe because it goes out of its way to represent units with their loadout (ie it makes a difference between lascannon and missile launcher where Final Liberation lumped them together into the support squad). But then, it makes it harder to accept some strange results (like big shootas being the ultimate anti tank weapon), even though it was pretty similar in Final Liberation (I was very stressed every time a squad of bad moonz opened fire on one of my Leman Russ).
    One exemple is melee combat: in Final Liberation, each unit had a melee rating, that could represent short range weapons, grenades, chainswords, whatever made sense. In SR, only the units with dedicated close combat weapons can attack and retaliate in melee. So a squad of boyz will hit a squad of Tactical Marines without retaliation (and if the tactical Marines open fire at point blank range, the boyz won't be able to retaliate as it does not count as a melee attack). I think some abstraction could have helped, there, especially since non melee units are forced to flee when attacked in melee (good luck keeping an objective with Tactical Marines!).

    Unlike in Final Liberation, most unit can shoot twice, and reaction fire once (some units have one extra action, and other have no reaction), regardless of their move, so you can move all your movement allowance, and fire with all your weapon, and you will still get reaction fire. I don't really have a problem with it (it was more or less the case in Epic: the only advantage of staying in position was that you would open fire earlier. and I think epic Armageddon removed the first fire phase anyway). It makes units less static than in Flib, but I wish it didn't apply to heavy weapons, because it feels cheesy to have your lascannon team run and gun.

    Note that buildings are not garrisonable there, unlike in Battle Academy 2 unless they don't have a roof(wtf happened?). Infantry is not handled as in BA 2 either (where it would be undetectable by tanks if static until they are at range 1, but I can understand that it would not really go well with either the Space Marines or the Orks).

    Morale is mostly based on the shots taken by the unit: each weapon has a suppression factor (ie suppression caused by a shot) and losing people or hitpoints make units more suppressed. It works overall, but units don't seem to care much about their neighbours.

    What I like over Final Liberation is that we don't have square ranges anymore: diagonals cost more then going straight, which makes all weapon and movement ranges less cheesy.

    Unlike Final Liberation, every unit has HitPoints (but also 2 armor values, one for ballistic and one for AT weapons, but the current damage formula is a bit weird).

    Scale: Final Liberation: 5 men squad allowed larger armies on the field, and multi tile units allowed us to play with Titans, Gargants and superheavies, which are missing there. The scale there would be "half final Liberation": Squads of 3 marines, no titans with Land Raiders and Knights being the largest units. At least, it makes one balance problem less (because Titans in FLib were much stronger than their points in anything else, except possibly deathstrike missiles). It is also a consequence of the lack of multi tile units (Titans in Flib took 4 tiles iirc).
    One of the benefits of the smaller scale is that you get to melee much more often than you used to in Final Liberation (and you had Imperial Guard, so melee was not really something you wanted to do against orks, while there, Assault Terminators are one of your strongest units).
    The problem with melee is that most units have a single attack, so it will take your dreadnought quite a long time to get rid of a squad of Gretchins (I think it could be modded, given that there is a script to give one extra attack against cornered opponents).

    Unit variety: Final Liberation: FLib had mostly Imperial Guard with supporting space Marine units. There was less variety in Space Marines roster, but having lots of guard units made up for it. Here, we have around 30 units per side, which seems less than in Final Liberation, but the Orks are definitely more playable.

    Campaign structure: Actually, it is closer from the campaign structure of Chaos Gate, with scripted set missions that alternate with random skirmishes (about 3 random skirmished for 1 scripted mission). So no real "strategic" level where you would choose which territory to attack.

    Mission structure: Reinforcements and some scripted stuff like drop pods breeze some fresh air in SR missions. I wish there were much more opportunities do drop pod units and use orbital strikes. It is a pity that there are not more missions like the one where you escort rhinos out. More varied objectives (like killing unit X) also would really help make the game stand out.
    Objectives that unlock awesome stuff, like wargear after the mission, or the drop pod of the dreadnought should be more common. But the scripting system is pretty flexible, so it could very well happen either in mods, patches or expansions.

    Customization: Sanctus Reach has an underdeveloped progression system, where units get random benefits on level up. It is not much, but definitely better than Final Liberation, as it makes sure your force will be unique.
    Balance: As I hinted in the rule part, balance is the Achilles heels of Sanctus Reach. Some units are way undercosted (if playing MP, make sure to take as many Gorkanaut, flash gitz and to a lesser extent, warbikes and supa nobz as you can. If playing Space Wolves, take as many dreadnoughts and hammer termies as you can find in your random unit selection, and add as many tanks as possible. The Knight is OK, but nowhere as good as its Orkish counterpart. Oh, and take as much artillery as you can). It is not a big problem in the campaign (even though I really hate seeing my dreadnoughts die to Big Shootas = machine guns, that adds some challenge). The worst offender is artillery, that can inflict lots of damage and morale damage without LoS very quickly for a bargain price.
    But I am confident all of this can be fixed, either by the devs, or by modders.

    UI and polish: Sanctus Reach has bad camera problems, but I hope it will be patched. It also has some weird LoS bugs. I also wish animation speed could be changed at times (ie when facing hordes of greenskin).
    It is a near criminal offense that we don't have a page to review our core troops: there are 2 carryover campaigns, but it is impossible to know which units are throw away, and which ones are core units.
    We alson don't know what happens when an unit dies: is it gone for good? Do its XP reset ? (well it might be possible to track it, but it does not make it easy at all).

    Multiplayer: Sanctus Reach uses Slitherine PBEM. It is pretty convenient, as you don't really have to setup games on a forum, so it works almost like a lobby (ie you look for a game that suits you, or create your own).

    Modding: I have tinkered with the game files, and it is pretty easy to mod actually: all the unit stats (except the number of shots/attacks) can be changed in a single csv file. You can also change most scripts : in 2 days, I was able to change the damage model so that low penetration weapon would be unable to damage heavily armored targets, make it so vehicles ignore Zone of Control when moving, add an option to drop pod marines on some missions, and tweak the value of most units (including the number of marines in a squad). It is definitely easier to modify than Final Liberation, but it is impossible to add new models :(

    Lifetime: There are 2 campaigns. Skirmish missions are pretty quick, but scripted campaign missions can take quite long. I haven't finished either campaign during my time in the beta (I spent about 40 hours playing, but a good part was playing skirmishes or multiplayer or trying my own modifications).

    TLDR: I am really torn over this one: It has potential, and its high modability might help it get there, but it lacks polish and balancing, so it is not there yet.
    If you want more of Final Liberation, it has the potential to be a good successor, even though it is more flawed than Final Liberation was at the beginning, I think the underlying systems and the ease of use might make it better if it gets good support from Slitherine and/or a modding community.
    The team was reactive during the beta so I am cautiously optimistic it will get there.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2017
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  10. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ I post news Patron

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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2017/01/20/warhammer-40k-sanctus-reach-review/

     
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  11. Galdredgender: ⚧ Generalist Patron

    Galdred
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    Some mission variety would have been great, but I don't think holding objectives is really a problem by itself:
    All Final Liberation battles had 2 objectives you had to hold too, and it was also the case in Steel Panthers, and in countless other wargames.
    Of all the issues, I find it weird that RPS focuses on this one(it is relevant indeed, but I don't think it is the main issue).
    The AI is a problem indeed (mostly when it seems to hesitate to go in melee, and when it chooses to fire HE missiles at tanks, or use the Gorkanaut flamer instead of its minigun), and it is a pity that they have not chosen a more ranged opponent (Imperial Guard AI would have been much easier to code: dig in, and bombard the crap out of the player).
    But overall, the review conveys more or less the same criticism: they have laid the foundations for a great game, but the content itself is barebones (not in term of actual hours, but in how they did not leverage the possibilities of their engine).
     
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  12. Galdredgender: ⚧ Generalist Patron

    Galdred
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    btw, they have a nice wiki documentation:
    http://archonwiki.slitherine.com/index.php/Main_Page
    This game is definitely worth it as a 40K campaign construction kit (it only features Orks and Space Wolves, but it should be remedied soon. I don't know why they would want to include Demons next, as it is one of the least interesting factions in 40K, but they also talk about IG).
     
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  13. ssergender: ⚧ Arcane Cuck

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  14. Galdredgender: ⚧ Generalist Patron

    Galdred
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    I don't know the specifics but I would not be surprised by hearing they had to release at a set date because of a deal with GW, but I am pretty sure they realized more work would was needed to release the game.
    And most of the bareboness can be fixed by modders, as the system is really open (but said modders would need to use a ton of scripts, though, so it would not be easy).
    They will surely sell lots of DLC, but showcasing the power of their engine with a strong campaign would have been much easier than with the frankenstein campaigns they delivered (some weird hybrid between linear campaign with set troops and open campaign with unit carryover).
    Selling DLC with new faction (aka paintjob for the marines) is easy, but selling DLC with "QoL features you expected in the campaign" is not.
     
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  15. Make America Great Again vonAchdorfgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Most Slitherine games come with several DLC, and iirc Armageddon wasn't very polished on release either.
     
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  16. *-*/\--/\~gender: ⚧ Learned

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    After completing one of the campaigns, two main things stand out for me:

    1) They managed to capture the tabletop experience quite well, it has a lot of potential. I can imagine going through a few more campaign if new races are added. It's turn based warhammer after all.
    2) It desperately needs more polish. Rhinos get stuck in melee. Wolf priest runs around without a weapon. Units sometimes appear with negative experience or lose levels. Like they released it a month earlier than they should have.
     
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  17. 34scellgender: ⚧ Learned

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    I can't remember necrons and tau ever appearing in a turn based game, they should do them next.
     
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  18. Galdredgender: ⚧ Generalist Patron

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  19. Galdredgender: ⚧ Generalist Patron

    Galdred
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    Here is a review from Game Debate where the reviewer more or less feels the way I did (he gave it 7/10):

     
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  20. *-*/\--/\~gender: ⚧ Learned

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    For all their professed love of the franchise, they could stay at least somewhat faithful to it... instead of having land raiders with the same rear armour as rhinos and dreadnoughts that stink at melee and die to big shootas.

    Also, they tried so hard to have nordic sounding names that it sometimes looks like someone let a cat on the keyboard... with names like Hlkk and Kljuf. :D

    Still, I kind of like it, will soon finish the second campaign.
     
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  21. Galdredgender: ⚧ Generalist Patron

    Galdred
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    Land Raiders exploded to Bolter Fire in Final Liberation (you had like 2/6 chance of hitting the track, which had a very high chance of destroying the tank, even with a squad of bolter infantry), so the rear armour of the Rhino is a step in the right direction!
     
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  22. Galdredgender: ⚧ Generalist Patron

    Galdred
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    btw, here is the checklist for my mod:
    - extra drop pod options (Blood blaws, Tacs with melta gun, Wolf Guard Terminators) : done
    - vehicles no longer tied in melee: done
    - characters and walkers get extra attacks in melee: done
    - melee squads have a chance to use Krak grenades in melee : done
    - Ranged units don't flee melee combat anymore. Only broken units do (regardless of their melee capabilities): done
    - Reworked armor model: Heavy Armor either completely deflect a shot, or graze it, or is penetrated. It is no longer a DR thing. The chance to penetrate depends on Heavy Armor - Penetration. It is roughly 50% when Heavy Armor = Penetration. It drops to 0 for Heavy Armor > Penetration + 40 : 50% done
    - Firing a heavy weapons (AT weapons or artillery) ends the action: Planned.
    - Larger squads and reworked stats: 50% done
    - Scenario rebalance: Planned
    - Some extra advantages, like orbital bombardment: planned
    - Ork rokkits become AT weapons (no AoE): planned

    What do you think I should consider adding?
     
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  23. *-*/\--/\~gender: ⚧ Learned

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    How about giving squads some small bonus to stats on level up? And possibly the ability to pick the levelup perk instead of randomly giving you something useless? :D
     
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  24. Galdredgender: ⚧ Generalist Patron

    Galdred
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    Stats on level up sounds good, but I will have to see wheter it is possible (or whether stats are always read from the squads.csv file, in which case, I would have to add some extra abilities for that).
    I could also check the squad level to add a level bonus to aim, melee or ballistic defense (I turned ballistic defense is now the ability to duck for cover, so it is very low for vehicles, and very high for infantry), but I would also have to make it appear in the UI.
    I would love the ability to pick skills on level up (or pick among skill), but I hate doing UI stuff, so I probably will have to let them do it first :)
    That said, I saw a skeleton of unit roster panel in their script files, so maybe there will be something to salvage there.

    I will try to release the first version shortly during the winter holidays in 2-3 weeks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2017
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  25. Galdredgender: ⚧ Generalist Patron

    Galdred
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    The level up, unit carry over and map generator would really make things a lot better (and the AI too, but it is a bit vague...).
     
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