Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Stardock meant to do that !

I've previously confessed my amusement with Fallen Enchantress' tamed animals. As the beastlord leader of the Feral Assembly, I've often neglected other facets of my empire's growth just so I can run around to the ends of the world chasing down as many beasties as I can find. How many do I gotta catch? The answer is 'em all, of course.

Unfortunately, since a couple of months ago, Stardock has refused to fix a particular bug which is somewhat problematic for anyone playing the beastlord trait. Many tamed creatures (distinguished by faded portraits as two of the four in the image below) disappear whenever ordered to station in a city. Faded portraits are also used by the game to denote units which have been immobilized.
After a little bit of forum-combing, it becomes apparent that it's related to the provenance of said beasties. If you caught them roaming the wilds, they work normally, but those captured at their own dens will seem to disappear. Another poster states they don't disappear completely, but simply make themselves at home, permanently joining a city's garrison instead of being slotted in the "stationed units" window. Presumably these mobs' AI treats the first city they're stationed in as their den, and resumes their "immobilized" behavior.

Now, given this popped up out of nowhere with no explanation during a patch and there's no way to limit or undo its effects, we're safe calling it a bug. Stardock's fanboys have of course been attempting to pass it off as a feature dreamt up by the all-knowing dev team, meant to curb beasts' power as free units, but in truth this bug is a double-edged sword. Instead of temporarily stationing up to nine beasts as free defenders in a city, it is now presumably possible to increase one city's permanent garrison... infinitely. And while you can't use den-beasts to capture a city because they'd instantly join the garrison if you win (not a situation in which you'd risk your valuable pets anyway- sieges are for cannon fodder) there's nothing stopping you from amassing these "faded" den-beasts in an open field and using them as a harasser force. If this were a feature, it would suffer from an asinine, half-baked implementation.

No, this is a bug, plain and simple, and the dev team's predictably dragging its feet swatting it because, well... screw you, you already paid for the product, what's this "support" thing you're babbling about? Two months is nothing. Already got your money, dude.

But look a couple of paragraphs up, see how many strategic options this opens up. Maybe we do want to be able to add beasts to a city's permanent garrison. Maybe instead of swatting the bug, you trap it in a glass jar and brag about it. I'm wondering now whether in another couple of months, Legendary Heroes' next paid update will include more beast/city functionality. Kennels? Indestructible spawning dens? A spell to poison the kibble of garrisoned beasts?

See, this is the sort of opportunity that opportunistic companies like Blizzard Entertainment or CCP always latch on to. Instead of admitting something is ridiculously broken, you roll with the punches, tweak the bug a bit et voila: feature!
It's all in the marketing spin. The beasts aren't faded. They're beasts *plus*. They're beasts "classic." They're ultra-beasts. They're premium beasts, platinum beasts, foil-embossed beasts... you can even charge extra for them.

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