Hello there Celeste players! We are back with another Roman reveal blog.
As we develop the Romans, each week we will be revealing the Romans to you building by building, unit by unit, and technology by technology. We are not just showing you what the Romans will be, but showing you how we are building them, who is building them, and also why we are building them the way that we are.
This week, we are revealing the Decurion, who is a Roman Officer. Since he is the last unit we have revealed who first appears in Age 2, we will recap that moment in the civ, as well. Then we will return again to our Capital City to show you the Embassy.
Decurion and Age 2 AnalysisOne feature of the Romans is that they train Officer units, which are an entirely unique type of unit and have their own dedicated Building, the Praetorium. Though we inherited the concept of Officers from the original Developers, their specific details were murky and unfinished. We uncovered a number of different versions of the Romans, and the Officer units kept changing. All told, there were at least five different Officers in consideration and the Praetorium was going to train either three or four of them, depending on the version we found.
Meanwhile, it appeared to be totally unsettled on which Age they would appear and we had almost no information about their powers or stats. So we had to make a lot of decisions and our fingerprints are all over these guys.
Officer units still adhere to the traditional classes of units (Infantry, Cavalry, etc.), but they each share several important characteristics compared to regular units: Officers are more powerful, more expensive, and more pop efficient. They are also subject to build limits. We also presently intend to give them each a bonus against Priests, though this is subject to balancing. Finally, some will have unique powers, as well.
On the heels of last week’s discussion of the Gallic Horseman, we are excited to show you more Roman Cavalry, and no better place to begin than with the Decurion. Whereas the Gallic Horseman does not take the field until Age 4, the Decurion will be with you almost the entire game. Training from the Praetorium in Age 2, he is both the Romans’ first available Cavalry unit and their first available Officer.
Historically, Decurions led small groups of Cavalry into battle. Whereas Centurion translates to “Leader of 100,” Decurion means “Leader of 10.” That does not appear to be an accurate ratio, but it’s reasonable for Decurions to be lower on the chain of command than Centurions.
From a civ design perspective, before choosing the Decurion, we needed to first consider a constellation of factors, many of which we have discussed in our Unit Design blog. Essentially, we must build the civ from Age 1 forward, making sure that at every moment of the game, there are enough of the right kinds of units training in the right places.
One unbending design rule in AoEO is that every civ in Age 2 must have some combination of units that can defend against the three standard unit types: Infantry, Ranged, and Cavalry. Similarly, the customary unit roster for a civ in Age 2 has two Infantry, one Ranged, and one Cavalry, however this rule can be bent. We’ve so far seen two exceptions: The Babylonians have an additional Ranged unit, and the Celts have no Cav but instead have a Druid, who is an offensive, buffing Priest. Along similar lines, most civs have exactly four Age 2 military units. The only exceptions are those with five – the Egyptians (Priestess of Ra), Babylonians (that second Ranged unit), and the Norse (War Dogs). The Romans will adhere to the customary Age 2 unit roster of four military units comprising two Infantry, one Ranged, and one Cav, but should do so in a way that feels unique and very Roman.
For a refresher on the Romans in Age 2, you may want to read our Week 10 blog where we discussed why we eliminated the Veles in favor of some others. After much hand wringing, we arrived at the Age 2 Castellum training the anti-Cav Spearman (who is available in Age 1) and the anti-Infantry Legionary. The Auxilia Camp trains the anti-ranged Balearic Slinger.
Those three military units counter the three standard unit types and cover almost all of the Romans’ Age 2 needs. But they are still the Romans and they are lacking an Age 2 Cavalry unit and an Officer to train out of the Praetorium in Age 2. And with just one unit spot available, our decision was made for us. There really weren't any other units that fit that description, so fortune favored the Decurion. At this point in development, we cannot tell you exactly how powerful or expensive he will be. But we know he will be both of those things. We also do not yet know how many Decurions you can have at once or whether that number will increase in later ages.
But we do know he will be quite tanky, and we do not expect him to have a special power. Frankly, at least in our informal playtesting, his very existence is powerful enough, particularly in Age 2. He is an absolute beast, and when he takes the field early in the game, everybody is immediately aware of it. It shouldn’t take a lot of Decurions to get you safely into Age 3, and if we gave him a superpower, the game would probably be over before you even bothered aging up. If you feel like every Officer needs a special power, then tell yourself that his special power is that he is an Age 4 unit who woke up in Age 2. This is why you will only be able to make a few of them and only then at a significant expense.
Meanwhile,the Romans will have other Cavalry units in Ages 3 and 4, and we need every unit to play a role and earn a spot on the field. We can’t make the Age 2 Decurions overshadow the other Cav. It is unacceptable for us to design a civ with even one useless unit. So the Decurion will leave room for other cavalry in later ages, such as the Age 4 anti-Cav Gallic Horseman.
But it makes some sense for the Age 2 Officer to ride on a horse above everybody else. He’s in charge at least until the Centurion and the other Age 3 Officer arrive. And we think having a very powerful, limited number of tanky Cav in Age 2 makes a lot of sense for the Romans from a gameplay perspective. The Romans will rely on Legionaries as their backbone, but the unspammable Decurions will also command your attention (and the Spearmen and Balearic Slingers will prove indispensable in their roles, as well). Again, we need the Romans to both stand on their own while also feeling like a natural fit for the game. Keeping their Age 2 unit roster in the same shape and number as players are accustomed but loaded with classic Roman units like the Legionary and Decurion should hopefully thread that needle.
With the Decurion finally announced, we have now shown you every unit who first appears in Age 2. Though we have not yet revealed every unit who first appears in Age 1, you now have a complete image of the Roman military’s early game. That unannounced unit from Age 1 will certainly impact the Romans in Age 2, but not from a strictly military standpoint.
Every civ has an Embassy in their Capital City, which is where players send and receive mail. We had concept art for this Building, and it was one of the very first Capital City Buildings our 3d team worked on. Other than some recent touch-up work, it’s been ready on the shelf since March. We think it is just fantastic. Nothing too fancy but gets the job done. That’s kind of the point of a post office, no?
Looking back, it is a good reminder how important it has been for us to have accomplished so much in the first few months. We didn’t know the challenges we would face later on, and now that we are facing them, it is such a relief to be standing on a foundation of so many completed Buildings and Units. We can see the outline of Rome up ahead, but we have some long miles to go.
Here you can see the Roman Embassy next to other civilizations' Embassies:
Along similar lines, we continue to get pulled in different directions. On the one hand, we are excited to announce that the Halloween Event is on track and much bigger than last year’s. But on the other hand, in order for that to happen, we need to set the Romans down for a bit while we carve pumpkins and hang decorations. Last year, we launched the Halloween Event on October 23, and we expect to keep about the same schedule this year. There are two Saturdays between now and then, so please be patient. There should still be plenty of spooky announcements and frightful happenings to keep you distracted, so we will see you all back here soon enough in three weeks.
Thank you so much for your support,
Project Celeste Development Team
What do you think about this week's blog? What would you like to see next? Let us know in the comments below!
Missed the Roman Civilization's announcement? Find out about it HERE.
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By PF2K on Oct 5, 2019 at 11:48 AM
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