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Morale[message #321131] Wed, 29 May 2013 18:36 Go to next message
Hyrax

 
Messages:17
Registered:May 2013
Location: Harjumaa
I don't know on what scale the discussion topics should be, but I think this topic is quite large and has a lot discussion room.

In JA series the mercs have morale and I would like to see it again in JA:F. However, in the JA series there was no enemy morale. It occurred to me that this would be important mechanic that would benefit the game.

The mechanic could work:

By comparing the soldiers on both sides of the conflict (taking account the experience level of soldiers).

Recent events (if one of the player loses 7 men in a row it is bad for morale, the same was in the merc mechanics in previous JA titles)

Map (defending a position should give a morale boost, you are in base and enemy numbers should not have so big effect)

Morale affects:

Low morale may affect enemy movement, they will fall back or entirely retreat off the map.

Low morale may cause surrendering. Not sure if all the troops should surrender at the same time or this would be dependent on the situation (All the troops surrendering at the same time would be easier to implement)

Optional: High morale results in the enemy to push forward more and may cause the enemy to storm your positions.

These are my thoughts on the subject. What do you think?

[Updated on: Wed, 29 May 2013 18:43] by Moderator

Re: Moral[message #321133] Wed, 29 May 2013 18:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
gdalf

 
Messages:89
Registered:May 2013
Just a nitpick : it's morale, not moral

I don't have strong feelings about this other than it shouldn't be too greatly impacted by frivolous stuff like who-hates-who - deaths, failed engagements and pay should be the biggest influences since these are professionals after all
Re: Moral[message #321137] Wed, 29 May 2013 18:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Hyrax

 
Messages:17
Registered:May 2013
Location: Harjumaa
gdalf
Just a nitpick : it's morale, not moral

I don't have strong feelings about this other than it shouldn't be too greatly impacted by frivolous stuff like who-hates-who - deaths, failed engagements and pay should be the biggest influences since these are professionals after all


Thanks, I edited and I think this thread is in the wrong subforum also. Sorry about that.

Are you referring to the merc morale features? I feel that they were quite good in the other titles. It never seemed to bother me much, but the enemies that would never give up and never retreat was weird. In JA2 the enemy attacks with 20 soldiers and when they lose over half of them while you lose 1-3 militia, they should retreat.
Re: Moral[message #321165] Thu, 30 May 2013 02:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Flugente

 
Messages:3294
Registered:April 2009
Location: Germany
There has always been enemy morale in the game. It's the reason they can flee when critical for example.

Morale penalty do the enemy depending on the enemy side are a bad point gamewise. While it may be 'realistic' that the enemy side has low morale after the player crushes them again and again, this would make the lategame easier than the midgame. A game shouldn't get easier later on needlessly.


Re: Moral[message #321166] Thu, 30 May 2013 02:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Mauser

 
Messages:781
Registered:August 2006
Location: Bavaria - Germany
I think we must differentiate between tactical morale and strategical morale.

Tactical morale is, when enemy soldiers see their squadmates getting slaughtered by the dozens and decide to flee for their lives or simply surrender against overwhelming opposition or due to crippling injury that makes it pointless for them to fight on.

Strategic morale is, when the enemy AI becomes more careful and defensive after too many failed assaults on the player and the overall combat effectiveness and cohesion of its troops, especially the lower tiers, suffers in general. Maybe even having the overall reputation of the player affect how enemies behave in both strategic and tactical regards.

The first thing would be a nice and sensible feature to have, opening up the possibility to conquer a sector by merely making the enemy force panicking, by eliminating their leaders/officers, applying overwhelming firepower and surprise or compromising their defensive positions by flanking, forcing them to retreat instead of getting slaughtered to the last man, but also risking that the enemy could regroup in an adjacent sector and come back in greater force.

It would help to make the AI feel more "alive" if enemies could be forced to surrender or retreat, instead of having to hunt down and slaughter every last one of them like mindless robots.

This would also help to differentiate JA:F from other games and genres, where slaughtering enemies down to the last one is basically mandatory and standard behavior, which is not in actual war, giving it a more realistic vibe and also enhance the roleplaying aspect, by giving the player the choice to take prisoners for interrogation and maybe even converting them to aid you or simply slaughtering everyone, adding dread to your reputation as a merciless and ruthless mercenary, probably also affecting who is actually willing to join your cause.

Complex moral choices affecting the gameplay profoundly is what makes the Witcher games such special and deep RPGs. Giving JA:F some of that depth and complexity would surely help to set it apart and make it stand out even further.
But that would definitely be an advanced bonus feature and not something mandatory for the base game.

☆★GL★☆
Re: Moral[message #321172] Thu, 30 May 2013 04:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
grim

 
Messages:306
Registered:July 2006
Location: France
Flugente
There has always been enemy morale in the game. It's the reason they can flee when critical for example.

The problem in JA2 now is when someone is hurt, even more when critical, he can't do anything valuable, and will probably die in a turn of two, so this morale impact isn't shown. I don't know/remember if vanilla JA2 did more about enemy morale in tactical. However, it was improved somehow by suppression fire and your (marvellous) surrender system. It just lacks some efficient global system.
I thereby support Mauser's view and hope JAF will implement a deep morale system, for both friend and foe.

Flugente
Morale penalty do the enemy depending on the enemy side are a bad point gamewise. While it may be 'realistic' that the enemy side has low morale after the player crushes them again and again, this would make the lategame easier than the midgame. A game shouldn't get easier later on needlessly.

In JA2, Deidranna was a scenaristic counterforce to it. Soldiers were forced to fight, their family would die otherwise.
I agree late game shouldn't be too easy, but enemy morale may be considered in other ways as Mauser explains. The strategic AI can change its stance, the soldiers can retreat from some spots or disband, the scenario and the cutscenes can play a role too, like Deidrann's in JA2...
Re: Moral[message #321190] Thu, 30 May 2013 12:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Hyrax

 
Messages:17
Registered:May 2013
Location: Harjumaa
Flugente
There has always been enemy morale in the game. It's the reason they can flee when critical for example.

Morale penalty do the enemy depending on the enemy side are a bad point gamewise. While it may be 'realistic' that the enemy side has low morale after the player crushes them again and again, this would make the lategame easier than the midgame. A game shouldn't get easier later on needlessly.


I was thinking of enemy morale in terms of one battle. If the battle is not going well, the enemy should retreat or fallback. Yes I have seen that a critically wounded enemy flees, but I want to see that in a situation where 18 vs 5 the enemy flees because most of their team was slaughtered before.

Overall enemy morale of the campaign - I would not support this because it would be hard to balance right and agree with you on this one.

@Mauser - I have played close combat which is a fairly old game, but has this type of mechanics implemented. I think morale based on one battle would not be that complex and I see this as an important feature. But I am aware that we have limited resources, so it wouldn't be a deal-breaker.

[Updated on: Thu, 30 May 2013 12:06] by Moderator

Re: Moral[message #321341] Mon, 03 June 2013 22:05 Go to previous message
The_Bob

 
Messages:384
Registered:May 2009
Location: Behind you.
Low "tactical" morale might result in soldiers refusing to carry out orders or simply fall back to some solid cover and refuse to move/change stance. Kinda like suppression now works, which results in getting pinned down. Although I think I'm getting fear and morale mixed up at this point. A soldier that's about to panic may be unable to take aimed shots, fire uncontrolled bursts and lob grenades at any sign of danger, even at empty ground. Getting increasingly twitchy, eventually either going berserk or curling up into a little ball of useless. This would basically require a separate "panic AI" which might also take over player's mercs if they get into a situation they can't handle.

This would definitely add some depth to the little morale bar, making it harder to push mercs to the limit. OTOH, this would likely end up just annoying players, with silly low level mercs getting scared too easily and refusing to lay down covering fire because they saw 10 enemy soldiers coming their way.

But for making enemy soldiers become unpredictable once they're near defeat, this might be interesting. Overall morale might affect how susceptible soldiers are to these panic attacks, later on having less effect due to higher level enemy troops.

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