Legends of Eisenwald is an original mix of RPG and strategy, with tactical turn based battles and a simple economic model. Rich possibilities of gameplay mechanics allow a player to feel being a hero of different stories ranging from treasure hunt to fighting for the throne.
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In this update we want to demonstrate you how the gameplay looks between battles in Legends of Eisenwald.
As you know, the story in our game is divided into scenarios. A scenario is most of all a place of action and this is how it looks.
It looks like a satellite image, doesn’t it?
Of course, a scenario is not just a map. It’s also NPCs that roam in that territory and events that happen to your hero in different places, or the story.
We want to show you how the game process looks like on an example of one of the additional scenarios. It’s called Snake’s Nest.
First we decide which hero we are going to select: Knight, Baroness or Mystic.
Depending on your selection of a hero the story can be partially different. For example, when a knight receives a cursed item, he would probably throw it away or even refuse to touch it. But a mystic can decide to keep it to later look at the nature of this item.
When a scenario starts, there is a brief introduction. Dialogs in Legends of Eisenwald are given the same way like in King’s Bounty or Disciples 3 – in a form of text without voice acting. Here is a short summary :
From your father you inherited only debts and ruined estates. Your main creditor – baron Spinnel – doesn’t want to give you a day of respite. But the situation is not hopeless: a very wealthy traveller Boganyi who stopped by offered you 3000 pounds of gold (which is really A LOT) for an old castle Slagenhall. This castle has been abandoned for a long time and it’s located in a swamp with a lot of snakes around. This place is called Snake’s Nest for a reason.
It seems like a good offer but something is bothering you. First of all, your deceased father didn’t even want to think about selling Slagenhall and he was ready to die protecting it. He couldn’t explain the reasons of his behavior because of his premature death… from a snake’s bite. And the price is suspiciously high.
This mysterious traveler promised to come back for an answer in a month. Until that time you have to ascertain the situation and make your decision.
So, it’s clear with the beginning. Let’s look at the adventure map.
A small figure in the center of the screen is the party of our hero. To remind you Legends of Eisenwald is RPG with elements of strategy and not vice versa so we can only command ONE party of ONE hero. A camera can be positioned differently – closer or farther – but it follows our hero: we cannot see what is going on the other side of the map. The gameplay on the adventure map is in real time and you can speed up or slow down the passage of time or put it on pause. We have hot keys and of course HUD (heads-up display).
As you can see, it’s very simple. There are only two buttons leading to other screens – Quest Journal and your party. This is what will be there when you press on Quest Journal.
Quest Journal is combined with a map which is very useful here since the map is easier to read when your quests are marked there.
Now let’s take a look what happens when you press on Your Party. This screen is rather complex so let’s look at its parts.
So, we figured out the interface. Now it’s time to play! For a start, we enter our own castle – Brangburg.
Tabs on the top let you choose functions of a building. In our castle we can hire reinforcements. We can hire two more units.
Buildings play an important role. Here you can hire troops, heal your wounded troops (not for free of course), buy equipment and goods, receive quests and even conduct some rituals (order a prayer in a church for example).
What is next? Here it is a description how the gameplay will look in this scenario.
We go to Snake’s Nest and the road there is dangerous. Our party is attacked by rogues who are equipped too good for simple bandits. How battles work, you already know. And you receive important news: Slagenhall is conquered by baron Spinnel who is your creditor. It seems that he found out about the offer and now wants also 3000 pounds of gold. There is nothing left out but to conquer back our castle and it’s necessary to do before Boganyi comes back for an answer – in a month of game’s time.
And it’s not easy to do since Slagenhall defense that was left by Spinnel is a hard battle for our inexperienced and small party.
To become stronger we need three things: gold, castles and experience (some alliances wouldn’t hurt either but it’s a separate topic). Where do we get all these things? Maybe, take away from Spinnel? Great idea! Then we have to start a feudal war with our greedy neighbor. His party is much stronger than ours at the moment so it’s better to avoid them. Instead, we can conquer one of his castles. Conquering a castle is harder than a regular battle so we had to hire several additional units.
Please note: we are right now over the limit of allowed units and we have to pay for the “extra” units. But soon we will have one more castle.
Assaulting a castle is very symbolic! There are walls to overcome and the gate where our troops have to enter. In Legends of Eisenwald castle assault is done in two stages: in the first one your infantry units with a ram are breaking the gate while the enemy is shooting from the walls and throws stones at them. Then battle moves into the inner yard where your survived units fight the enemy. Sounds wonderful? This is one of the ideas that for now we are not going to do because of lack of funding. Right now the battle would be done according to the same rules as a regular battle but defending side receives a significant defense bonus.
And we won, the castle is conquered! Now we can sustain more units.
We have now less units – some of them perished during the assault. This is inevitable, unfortunately. The important thing is not to lose those units that already received some experience because wars are not won with just numbers. When a unit receives enough experience, he upgrades to the next level changing his appearance. For example, a simple village hunter can become an archer and even a sharpshooter who then continues to improve his mastery in bow shooting or he can chose a crossbow as his weapon. But remember: to upgrade a unit it’s not enough to train him in battles, you also have to pay a certain amount of gold.
Main hero upgrades differently. You don’t pay for his upgrades and he doesn’t change appearance but each new level he can select one of special skills. For example, your knight can become a master of tournaments and any enemy won’t be able to stay on horse in combat with him. Or, he can learn to counter attack or he can become a sound landowner who can collect more tribute from the villages under his control.
We continue our war with Spinnel. We take his castles and protect ours which is not easy to do with just one party. Leaving defenseless castles is not a good idea because they would be conquered right away by the enemy. On the other hand, you can only hire units of the first level who won’t be a problem for a strong enemy party. A good decision in this case is to leave one of your experienced units. But leaving just one such unit, your party becomes weaker. So, leaving defense in castles we have to solve rather complex tasks.
Of course, the scenario is not just war. In the city, in taverns or when you visit neutral neighbors you can receive additional quests. How about finding and bringing to justice a wanted bandit? We will not only receive gold but also support of the city magistrate. And if we help one of the knights in a complicated personal story then he can become our friend and also an ally. Allies have their own parties and act independently from our hero but sometimes they provide significant help.
To get a party who will roam a map killing everyone on their way in Eisenwald is hard, and almost impossible. This is done by units balance. Example: you can win without losses against an enemy party that consists of four infantry men and two archers. But against similar enemy party with three infantry men and three archers you won’t be able to win without losses because enemy archers will kill one of the weakly defended units from the second row. If we take into consideration our setting, resurrection of a killed unit is rather complicated. So, it makes more sense to prepare for this battle ahead – maybe leave your weak unit in a castle. Enemy party will be a riddle that needs to be solved not only during a battle but also beforehand.
… We continue on our scenario. Sooner or later you meet a mystery astrologer who is working for Spinnel. To believe him or not is your choice but he gives you an interesting information about Snake’s Nest and the buyer. It turns out that Slagenhall is not… But wait, why are we telling you this? It wouldn’t be fun to play. For now it’s enough to know that things don’t look the way they seemed in the beginning. Now we can be allies with Spinnel when we realize that we have common goals. Or we can continue our fight and destroy him because his castles and lands will be better for us and we can get rid of our creditor. Anyway, the biggest surprise is waiting for us at the entrance to the Snake’s Nest…
Here we finish. You probably have questions. Some of them we anticipate, so we answer them here.
Why are you telling us this instead of letting us play?
The game is not 100% finished. Parts of the interface are not programmed yet and none of the scenarios is programmed either (Snake’s Nest is just a concept at this moment). Finishing the interface and scenario infrastructure could take significant amount of time. So, you might be able to play only in a couple of months. We really know how the gameplay works since we already made a similar game.
What is the main difference of this game from other similar games?
As you can see, main difference in Legends of Eisenwald is a fine mixture of RPG and strategy that might not exist in any other game. You solve a strategic task but with RPG methods.
In other words: HoMM and Disciples are strategies with role elements. In these games you are a king who is busy with getting resources, transform them into troops, building a kingdom etc. But Legends of Eisenwald is a RPG with elements of strategy. You are not a king but a knight-errant who is ready to dive into a most audacious adventure. You are not a person without an identity who is building in one corner of the map and moving troops in another but you are a specific game character with your qualities, equipment and party. But still you can conquer castles to become stronger and you have to sustain your troops.
Do you have any economy system?
Currently the economy system is very simple. Castles help you sustain units. For each unit over the limit you have to pay a certain amount every day. You can collect tribute from the villages on your land, sometimes with gold, often with goods.
There will be a possibility to place into a castle special non-combat units that bring some economic benefits. For example, a blacksmith would produce armor and weapons, a medicine woman would make potions etc.
How does diplomacy work?
Diplomacy exists only within a story. There is no “diplomacy window” where you can see how factions relate and change it. There are actions that a player can do to make enemies or friends with someone.
You said about death and resurrection of units. Can you explain in more detail?
Our setting can be defined as quasi-historian and resurrection of dead is not fitting really well into it. On the other hand, not to be able to resurrect a fallen cohort is too tough. At the present moment we came to this solution: a fallen unit is not dead in most cases but heavily wounded (with exception of hardcore difficulty level where death is irreversible). Healing of heavy wounded unit is more expensive and if you don’t heal him in proper time, he would die.
The story you described – is it the main story?
No, it’s just a story of one of additional scenarios. We are not going to give away the main company intrigue just yet.
Are dialogs done by text, no voice acting?
Yes, no voice acting.