Staredit Network > Forums > SC1 Map Production > Topic: Demon Lore
Demon Lore
May 10 2014, 4:21 pm
By: sethmachine  

May 10 2014, 4:21 pm sethmachine Post #1



The source script has been released! Browse it here: Demon Lore Source Script.

Demon Lore
A unique competitive cooperative experience
by sethmachine


The world of Demon Lore.


Quote
Introduction

Specifications
Tileset: Jungle
Dimensions: 256 x 256
Recommended players: 4-6
Required players: 2
Genre: Diplomacy / RPG

Features
Napoleon Total War style expo
Castle Fight / Desert Strike style spawning system
12 unique, re-matchable bosses
Hero with 4 stats and 4 spells
Two separate areas: Hell and Earth
Unique portal system to move between Earth and Hell
Aggressive computer foe to contend with
Randomized item drops and spawns from computers
Point based score system
No player elimination

Demon Lore is a competitive cooperative game that draws in elements from genres as disparate as RPG to Diplomacy. Each player controls a hero (Aldaris), called a Magister, and one of six kingdoms, randomly assigned each game. Players conquer and battle each other in order to secure points for the end game. Unlike most Diplomacy maps (or RPGS), players are never eliminated, and the end of the game is not determined by total domination, but rather a specific set of end game conditions. Once these are met, each player is given a score based on several criteria. The player with the most points then wins that game. I recommend making points cumulative between games if played with the same group of people.

At the same time, the environment of Demon Lore acts as additional competitor to the players. Thus, while there is usually only one victor in terms of highest points (except in cases of tie), if the players are overcome by the environment, then nobody receives any points, except if the player is the traitor, a unique role where the goal is to help the environment win. Thus, it will often be in the best interests of the competing players to work together to keep the environment in check.

The gameplay of Demon Lore is divided into two areas. The first is protecting the player's own lands and capturing others (neutral or other players'). This involves the familiar elements associated with Diplomacy games (expanding, defending, negotiating, betraying, etc.). The player must also contend with the environment that slowly builds up if left unchecked. The second part of the game is developing the most powerful hero. Various items can be found which permanently increase the hero's stats, making him a powerful asset once leveled enough, and most likely necessary to any absolute victory. The player is thus tasked with managing their kingdom and hero, and ending the game when it is most opportune for them, but not their opponents.

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions´┐Ż

Quote
The Hero

Each player controls the Magister (Aldaris High Templar unit), a weak but promising spellcaster. The Magister has four unique individual stats, each of which can be improved permanently many times.

Quote
Stats

There are four items the hero can pick up to increase his stats, each corresponding to exactly one. An item cannot be picked up until all enemy and allied units are not touching it. There is no rolling system for drops, making them hotly contested. Items can be found both on Earth, guarded by the environment, or, as random drops from bosses in Hell.

Quote
Items

The hero also has four spells, mostly defensive, that are essential to his survival (and your victory). Spells are managed at a Protoss Gateway in the top left corner of the map. Each unit corresponds to a particular spell. I recommend hotkeying this building immediately.

Quote
Spells

Quote
The Army

Like in regular Starcraft, the player must construct buildings in order to get units. However, unlike vanilla Starcraft, the player only makes the structures, but never the units themselves. This is managed indirectly by the map's spawn system.

For every (and I mean every) spawn building a player controls, they will receive a certain number of units created at each spawn building periodically. Each building type has a different timer (shorter times for cheap units and longer times for more efficient ones) and also an upkeep cost. For each building spawning, the player must pay the upkeep associated with fielding those additional troops. While there is no limit to the number of spawn buildings a player may construct, the ones which will actually function is limited by the player's own finances. Thus players must invest smartly--massing spawn buildings will lead to bankruptcy, followed swiftly by defeat.

A unique aspect of this army building system is that each building spawns units directly at it. Thus if a player controlled three Terran Barracks, they would spawn three Fenix Zealots at each individual Terran Barracks periodically. This gives the freedom of deciding where units will spawn, whether safely inside a city, or at the edge of the border as a forward guard.

There is a total of 7 unique spawn buildings, each with a different role.

Quote
Spawn buildings

Quote
The Kingdoms

Each player begins with a modest kingdom consisting of a single Protoss Nexus (city) and 6 Terran Supply Depots (Holdings). These buildings serve two functions: (1) income, and (2) defense.

Income is given out every 90 seconds based on the following criteria for Protoss Nexuses and Terran Supply Depots.

Quote
Income

The map has a total of 6 Protoss Nexuses and 60 Supply Depots placed in the map. In a six player game, this leaves exactly 36 unclaimed Terran Supply Depots (exactly 6 for each player) and no available Protoss Nexuses.

In addition to providing minerals each turn for upkeep, defenses, upgrades, and producing new structures, Terran Supply Depots and Protoss Nexuses also have defensive value. They are indestructible and cannot be built, but instead must be captured from other players in a Napoleon Total War fashion. When enemy units approach a Terran Supply Depot or Protoss Nexus, a garrison of units is automatically spawned for the player controlling the building. To capture the building, the enemy must clear all opposing units away from it, which includes killing the garrison and any other reinforcing units. If the enemy retreats and does not capture the building, the surviving garrison units are removed and the player retains control of the building. Because Terran Supply Depots often are located at important crossings or geographical features, they serve as excellent, cost free defenses. Protoss Nexuses are also placed in harder to access locations (e.g. in valleys, on islands, behind temple walls, etc.), serving as ideal safe havens.

Quote
Garrisons



Demonic Invasion


Quote
Bosses

Quote
Tier 1
Quote
Kantus Elite (Hunter Killer Hydra)
The Kantus Elite lead the religious caste of the demons in Hell. They speak in shrills and shrieks, often serving as lieutenants in demonic armies. Their unholy religion is not well understood and all attempts to converse with them end in extreme violence. The Kantus Elite has two spells:
  • Summon Kantus: The Kantus Elite shrieks and calls forth a Kantus Warrior from below the abyssal plains. Spawns 1 elite Hydralisk
  • Dark Renewal: The Kantus Elite chants in an unknown tongue and is engulfed in dark healing energies. Fully heals the user

Quote
Vagary (Protoss Dragoon)
The Vagary is a grotesque creature with the face of a woman and the body of a spider. It is believed that her kind are not completely controlled by the demons, as they have never been seen outside of Hell or fighting in demon armies. Spells:
  • Spawn Spiderlings: Two of the Vagary's eggs hatch into young ready to feed. Spawns 2 elite Abyssal Leeches (Zerg Broodlings)
  • Steel Webs: The Vagary spins up silk as strong as steel to reinforce her defenses. Fully restores the user's shields

Quote
Mancubus (Zerg Ultralisk)
The Mancubus is said to be the offspring of a Succubus and Incubus. They are massive, obese creatures with a single minded purpose of butchering every living thing not a demon. Spells:
  • Call Demon: The Mancubus calls for a lesser demon to aid it. Spawns 1 elite Hellmite (Zerg Zergling)
  • Rampage: The Mancubus goes on a rampage, ignoring all damage. Invincibility for a few seconds

Hell


The Traitor


Scoring


Attachments:
Demon_Lore_Beta1.scx
Hits: 5 Size: 705.83kb

Post has been edited 14 time(s), last time on Nov 28 2018, 7:37 am by sethmachine.



None.

May 16 2014, 5:47 am sigsaucy Post #2



i think i saw this being hosted today, looks pretty unique, ill give it a try this weekend




May 17 2014, 1:02 am sigsaucy Post #3



hosted game with full house. ran tutorial, everyone dropped when we got the point when we were looking at our civs in the dirt/creep square.

also, dl took a longgggg time with fullhouse, is this just sound? if so, maybe its better to edit out sounds and put them back in after the maps been sufficiently tested.




May 17 2014, 1:41 am sethmachine Post #4



Hi sgisaucy, apologies for your game dropping. I compressed the map, but it does have three sound files which might add to the load time.

That version is really old and I'll remove it with a new one. Thank you for letting me know, and I guess it does make sense to prepare a version without sounds until it's been fully tested.

The drop situation I believe was caused by a memory condition that caused a desynch, but I believe it's taken care of.



None.

May 17 2014, 4:58 am rayNimagi Post #5



Looks interesting! I would try it out if I had a computer that could run Brood War.



Win by luck, lose by skill.

Aug 17 2014, 10:22 pm sethmachine Post #6



Thanks for your interest!

By the way I've released the source script of map. It's a bit unorganized and also includes some Python scripts I used to ease trigger generation, but nevertheless I hope it can helpful to someone.

The source script is under a google code project. You can browse it here: Demon Lore Source Script.

Enjoy, and feel free to write comments/criticisms/etc.

Post has been edited 1 time(s), last time on Aug 18 2014, 12:41 am by sethmachine.



None.

Jul 22 2018, 1:43 am sethmachine Post #7



Hi guys,

I revisited this map and reworked a few things. I've been hosting it on US West the last week, and have gotten some good feedback.

I've changed the name to Demonic Invasion Diplomacy.

Please come US West to check it out! I have and others have found parts of the map enjoyable!




Aug 12 2018, 3:30 am Voyager7456 Post #8

Responsible for my own happiness? I can't even be responsible for my own breakfast

This map was pretty nice.



all i am is a contrary canary
but i'm crazy for you
i watched you cradling a tissue box
sneezing and sniffling, you were still a fox


Modding Resources: The Necromodicon [WIP] | Mod Night
My Projects: SCFC | ARAI | Excision [WIP] | SCFC2 [BETA] | Robots vs. Humans | Leviathan Wakes [BETA]


Aug 12 2018, 3:31 am Dem0n Post #9

ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

I just played this with five others for just under two hours. It was actually pretty fun and innovative!

One thing to consider is that the base for player 5 is pretty much impenetrable without doing a 2v1 against them. The bridges around the base are really hard to bring units across when there are cannons there. You may want to open up one or two of the entrances so that units can flow more easily.



Memes gather, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the memer on the walls. I am the shield that guards the realms of memes. I pledge my life and honor to the Meme's Watch, for this meme and all the memes to come.

Aug 12 2018, 1:49 pm Wormer Post #10



Where I can download the last version?



Some.

Aug 12 2018, 5:37 pm jjf28 Post #11

Cartography Artisan

Not necessarily latest, but we played this vers.

Attachments:
Demonic_Invasion_Beta17.scx
Hits: 2 Size: 719.81kb



Rs_yes-im4real - Clan Aura - jjf28.net84.net

Reached the top of StarCraft theory crafting 2:12 AM CST, August 2nd, 2014.

Aug 20 2018, 2:05 am Moose Post #12



Quote from Dem0n
One thing to consider is that the base for player 5 is pretty much impenetrable without doing a 2v1 against them. The bridges around the base are really hard to bring units across when there are cannons there. You may want to open up one or two of the entrances so that units can flow more easily.
None of the bases are really pleasant to attack. I'm sure the difficulty of taking cities is by design.

Some general comments and areas for improvements:
- The terrain and placement generally isn't balanced. I'm not sure what to specifically suggest.
- This map either doesn't have hyper triggers or has wait blocks, fixing that would be an improvement. A lot of the income/spawning triggers take a long time because they only go one building at a time. It's also pretty easy to run off with garrisons.
- The tutorial doesn't work. The map starts off saying it's waiting for player one to choose to activate the tutorial, but I have seen no such choice.
- Is there some sort of unwritten limit on units and spawning? It feels like late game half the spawns aren't working. You end up sitting on a ton of minerals (in this case, gas is the bottleneck for upgrades) and you could make more buildings, but you know they won't do anything.
- The placement of hell's units is generally lopsided towards the middle and right side due to the nature of the spawn system. Replacing it with something more sophisticated would benefit the map. (There are EUD actions to set locations top/bottom left/right by pixel, and by extension by tile, so you can actually randomly select areas on the map. This map inspired me to start work on a PvC map with a similar style, I've actually already implemented location randomization)
- Garrisons need to not be triggered by Observers. (JYD observers isn't really a good system, though, see above.)
- "Protoss Beacon". Not sure what it is, but it doesn't seem implemented.
- Not lifting buildings is fine, but at least give a refund or something.
- The point system for victory adds a layer of complexity that I'm not sure is necessary. Why not just have the player who makes the 4 pylons in the tower win? (exception for the traitor, since he could ally hell and just walk in there, I guess, but not even sure that would apply since he'd still have to kill pylons and cannons to build anyway.) Anyone who was building the pylons without knowing they were going to win could just cancel them. If they're able to get those pylons up, there's a good chance they've secured the map and neutralized the other players anyway.

All in all it was an interesting map with some refreshing (and inspiring) new ideas.




Sep 16 2018, 2:34 pm Moose Post #13



Played another round with most of us having more knowledge of the map. Additional comments:

- The map still needs hyper triggers very badly.
- The unit caps are still odd.
- The game-ending mechanic (4 pylons in Hell Tower) is still awkward.
- The "bad RNG" for spawning hell via JYD Observers is still a poor implementation which results in very little spawns on the left side of the map.
- Hell could ramp up more quickly. To be threatening after the first hour, it needs to be largely ignored and we were aggressive at containing it. It gets more threatening after the second hour, but our game was over by then. The pacing of game could overall use an increase and hell could be a good mechanism for driving the game forward.
- Since the thread lists "No player elimination" as a feature, that's absolutely untrue. There's "hard elimination", where your city is conquered and your production eliminated. This is difficult to pull off. There's also "soft elimination", where you lose enough to be set behind enough that you probably won't win. In our game, I spent on tech and upgrades too early and lost a few holdings because of it. That set me back to the point where I never really recovered. It's my fault for going upgrades and tech too early and I lasted about an hour, but after 20 minutes it felt like all of my fights were uphill and my odds at winning were shot. To be honest, it felt worse than just getting killed off. (At an hour in, I ended up just giving away all my land so I could just observe.)
- It seems like the hero becoming more important in the late-game is the intended design, but it doesn't really play out. You need a lot of powerups and upgrades to make it there. Most of the time the hero is just there for Storm and Hallucination. The Protoss upgrades take a long time and the powerups are in short supply until you can start killing bosses quickly. At that point, your army is pretty strong anyway. The RPG elements in the map are overall a bit underwhelming.




Oct 22 2018, 3:28 pm sethmachine Post #14



Hi everyone,

I just want to say, thank you all for trying out my map and providing feedback! I know the map is far from perfect or fully developed but I am really glad you guys were able to get some 1-2 hour games on it! Unfortunately, I have sort of have "quit" video games for the foreseeable future. I will be interested to see what kind of game Moose develops
Quote
This map inspired me to start work on a PvC map with a similar style
and I'm glad to have demonstrated some
Quote
refreshing (and inspiring) new ideas

Quote from Mini Moose 2707
Quote from Dem0n
One thing to consider is that the base for player 5 is pretty much impenetrable without doing a 2v1 against them.
None of the bases are really pleasant to attack. I'm sure the difficulty of taking cities is by design.

The bases are actually randomized each game, so a slot does not correspond to a specific base. The design, as Moose said, is indeed to make it very difficult to capture cities. The cost in resources and units to take a city is meant to be too high for anyone in the earlier parts of the game and discourage explicit player elimination.

Quote
- The terrain and placement generally isn't balanced. I'm not sure what to specifically suggest.

Quote
- This map either doesn't have hyper triggers or has wait blocks, fixing that would be an improvement. A lot of the income/spawning triggers take a long time because they only go one building at a time. It's also pretty easy to run off with garrisons.
I used death counters for all the timers. I believe all the "race" conditions are handled--the trickiest part was handling when a player left in the middle of their spawn or income counter. I think hyper triggers would work immediately, I just would need to scale all the death counters because these are based on trigger cycle speeds.

Quote
- The tutorial doesn't work. The map starts off saying it's waiting for player one to choose to activate the tutorial, but I have seen no such choice.
I removed the tutorial option because people would complain it was too slow or boring, and I decided it was better to develop the actual map before making an in game tutorial. The triggers exist, I just moved the location into the water.

Quote
- Is there some sort of unwritten limit on units and spawning? It feels like late game half the spawns aren't working. You end up sitting on a ton of minerals (in this case, gas is the bottleneck for upgrades) and you could make more buildings, but you know they won't do anything.

Yes, it is not explicit but each unit type has a limit, e.g. I think there's a max of 12 Ballista (Siege Tank). There is also an overall limit of 175 units total. Finally, all spawns have an upkeep, so if you lack the minerals they won't spawn. There definitely needs to be unit maxes for units like Ballista. I could put the limit per unit on the spawn building name, and also provide a warning message when the player has reached the limit for a certain unit. Another thing could be to add a mechanic where you can "buy" additional army size, e.g. max units of 200 instead of 175.

Quote
- The placement of hell's units is generally lopsided towards the middle and right side due to the nature of the spawn system. Replacing it with something more sophisticated would benefit the map. (There are EUD actions to set locations top/bottom left/right by pixel, and by extension by tile, so you can actually randomly select areas on the map. This map inspired me to start work on a PvC map with a similar style, I've actually already implemented location randomization)

I believe in 2014 the Junk Yard Dog was the only "viable" solution I could think of. I'm glad to learn that there is now a way to use EUD actions to move locations to random areas, and that would really improve this randomized element of the Computer building up. I'm excited to learn how your map turns out, and I am glad it inspired you! I would switch this to your location randomization system if I were to get back into SC and video games.

Quote
- Garrisons need to not be triggered by Observers. (JYD observers isn't really a good system, though, see above.)

I think I just need to add a check for Observers. I did want flying units to trigger garrisons, however.

- "Protoss Beacon". Not sure what it is, but it doesn't seem implemented.

Quote
- Not lifting buildings is fine, but at least give a refund or something.

Yes, I agree. I think I'd do a partial refund but not full refund.

Quote
- The point system for victory adds a layer of complexity that I'm not sure is necessary. Why not just have the player who makes the 4 pylons in the tower win? (exception for the traitor, since he could ally hell and just walk in there, I guess, but not even sure that would apply since he'd still have to kill pylons and cannons to build anyway.) Anyone who was building the pylons without knowing they were going to win could just cancel them. If they're able to get those pylons up, there's a good chance they've secured the map and neutralized the other players anyway.

Agree. The victory mechanic was kind of rushed. I just wanted it to involve capturing the Hell Tower in a way that built drama and suspense. Kind of like in the SC Map The Dragon Throne, where everyone is plotting to betray the current Emperor and take over the Imperial Capital. The suspense would also be while everyone has moved their forces into Hell, on Earth the invasion begins to get out of control. I have played games where it played out this way, I just need to more reliably create this end game scenario.

Quote
All in all it was an interesting map with some refreshing (and inspiring) new ideas.
Thank you!

Quote
- The game-ending mechanic (4 pylons in Hell Tower) is still awkward.

Agreed.
Quote
- The "bad RNG" for spawning hell via JYD Observers is still a poor implementation which results in very little spawns on the left side of the map.

I'd switch to a location randomization EUD actions most definitely!

Quote
- Hell could ramp up more quickly. To be threatening after the first hour, it needs to be largely ignored and we were aggressive at containing it. It gets more threatening after the second hour, but our game was over by then. The pacing of game could overall use an increase and hell could be a good mechanism for driving the game forward.

Agreed. I would want to make the game faster paced. I have a death counter that gets incremented which corresponds to the current "difficulty" of Hell. It could be as simple as making the counter increment faster. A difficulty option before the game start could be used to modify this, e.g. "Normal Hard Insane", each corresponding to how much the counter will increment per time unit.

Quote
- Since the thread lists "No player elimination" as a feature, that's absolutely untrue. There's "hard elimination", where your city is conquered and your production eliminated. This is difficult to pull off. There's also "soft elimination", where you lose enough to be set behind enough that you probably won't win. In our game, I spent on tech and upgrades too early and lost a few holdings because of it. That set me back to the point where I never really recovered. It's my fault for going upgrades and tech too early and I lasted about an hour, but after 20 minutes it felt like all of my fights were uphill and my odds at winning were shot. To be honest, it felt worse than just getting killed off. (At an hour in, I ended up just giving away all my land so I could just observe.)

I most certainly did mean "hard elimination." The invasion mechanic (if done correctly) is meant to help balance out a single player dominating, because eventually their holdings will be under attack by the CPU. And while they are fighting CPU, it opens them up for attack on other fronts, e.g. the players they took land from. Of course, if everyone else is letting another person bully you, there's not a lot to do about that.

What should also be true is that if you invest in taking over holdings on Earth, you'll be behind someone who decided to go after power ups in Hell. In the most recent versions, the powers also provide significant one-time mineral and gas bonuses each time you pick one up. This means you can still get more money without having lots of land on Earth.

Quote
- It seems like the hero becoming more important in the late-game is the intended design, but it doesn't really play out. You need a lot of powerups and upgrades to make it there. Most of the time the hero is just there for Storm and Hallucination. The Protoss upgrades take a long time and the powerups are in short supply until you can start killing bosses quickly. At that point, your army is pretty strong anyway. The RPG elements in the map are overall a bit underwhelming.

In addition to having the powerups provide mineral bonuses, I'd probably make them more powerful so the hero can get stronger. Though he is meant to be a necessary component for killing the bosses once he has a few attack upgrades due to their armor. I guess a fairer description might be "borrow from RPG elements" as the map itself is definitely not an RPG.

I also was thinking of having the powerups increase the quality of the army units. For example, the item that increases max hero health would also increase the base health of the Zealot units, etc. This might further balance out a strategy to go for powerups as opposed to a pure military strategy of taking over Earth.

Post has been edited 1 time(s), last time on Oct 22 2018, 3:33 pm by sethmachine.




Oct 22 2018, 5:24 pm Dem0n Post #15

ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

Quote from sethmachine
I used death counters for all the timers. I believe all the "race" conditions are handled--the trickiest part was handling when a player left in the middle of their spawn or income counter. I think hyper triggers would work immediately, I just would need to scale all the death counters because these are based on trigger cycle speeds.
You actually need hyper triggers for death counters to work correctly. Without them, the counters don't actually run at the correct speed.

EDIT: Correction, death counters do work without hypers, but the common 12 DC = 1 second ratio won't work. Regardless, you probably want hypers.

Post has been edited 1 time(s), last time on Oct 22 2018, 10:27 pm by Dem0n.



Memes gather, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the memer on the walls. I am the shield that guards the realms of memes. I pledge my life and honor to the Meme's Watch, for this meme and all the memes to come.

Oct 24 2018, 11:06 pm Moose Post #16



Quote from sethmachine
I used death counters for all the timers. I believe all the "race" conditions are handled--the trickiest part was handling when a player left in the middle of their spawn or income counter. I think hyper triggers would work immediately, I just would need to scale all the death counters because these are based on trigger cycle speeds.
It would be well worth it. Things moving faster would make it much less likely that these "race" conditions are true.


Quote
- The tutorial doesn't work. The map starts off saying it's waiting for player one to choose to activate the tutorial, but I have seen no such choice.
I removed the tutorial option because people would complain it was too slow or boring, and I decided it was better to develop the actual map before making an in game tutorial. The triggers exist, I just moved the location into the water.

Quote from sethmachine
Quote from Mini Moose 2707
- Is there some sort of unwritten limit on units and spawning? It feels like late game half the spawns aren't working. You end up sitting on a ton of minerals (in this case, gas is the bottleneck for upgrades) and you could make more buildings, but you know they won't do anything.

Yes, it is not explicit but each unit type has a limit, e.g. I think there's a max of 12 Ballista (Siege Tank). There is also an overall limit of 175 units total. Finally, all spawns have an upkeep, so if you lack the minerals they won't spawn. There definitely needs to be unit maxes for units like Ballista. I could put the limit per unit on the spawn building name, and also provide a warning message when the player has reached the limit for a certain unit. Another thing could be to add a mechanic where you can "buy" additional army size, e.g. max units of 200 instead of 175.
It would be nice to have these mechanics communicated to the players. It's frustrating to build a bunch of production buildings but be stuck wondering which of the three reasons (army cap, unit type cap, upkeep cost) that the map doesn't tell you about is blocking your production.

Quote from sethmachine
Agreed. I would want to make the game faster paced. I have a death counter that gets incremented which corresponds to the current "difficulty" of Hell. It could be as simple as making the counter increment faster. A difficulty option before the game start could be used to modify this, e.g. "Normal Hard Insane", each corresponding to how much the counter will increment per time unit.
Yes, please.

I'd also think about decreasing building costs/times and/or upkeep and/or making faster income/production cycles. I'm not sure if that will be enough, but it feels like there's a lot of nothing happening in the mid-game.

Quote from sethmachine
What should also be true is that if you invest in taking over holdings on Earth, you'll be behind someone who decided to go after power ups in Hell. In the most recent versions, the powers also provide significant one-time mineral and gas bonuses each time you pick one up. This means you can still get more money without having lots of land on Earth.
I've noticed this is sort of true. A bunch of upgrades on the Magister, especially HP can make him pretty effective. (maybe shields, but those don't show up too often) (not so much the spells, their real use is upgrades since most of the spells besides healing are not really useful in combat unless you can build up 30 tanks)

I'd like to see more the recent versions that do that. If the unplacable error on powerups for boss drops is fixed, that would be great, too. The minerals and gas aren't in the version I have, and it's even worse when the powerups don't even place after a boss fight.




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