Sooo, after playing for about 10 hours (two games), I have to say its an amazing game! For us, strategy players bored with classical 4X concept, this is really promising!
I have to honestly say that I principally like most of the features as they are, or I can´t judge them properly because of apparently missing content (the minors).
But there are two features that seem insufficient in principle and here just additional content won´t help. And in my point of view, these are so underwhelming that need really fundamental discussion.
I am talking about city building and crafting.
1) Comparing with FE (LH), citybuilding was greatly streamlined and this feels right. Getting rid of unrest, tile placement, taxes… cool! But the simplification went too far and as I predicted, leads ultimately to “build everything everywhere” approach.
Seriously, this is a fun killer and huge flaw.
Let´s give some example. In both my games, the pattern was totally different. In the first one, I was constantly under pressure and the decision what to build was really, really important. It was more of me getting blitzkrieged by the SK and firefighting where I can So the time pressure worked well against the building boredom.
But in my second game, I went after SK much more aggresivelly and soon got in control of big map chunk. It was more of a attrition war and I had much more time to decide about what to build. And here the lack of city options became quite obvious (note: I am aware some buildings are not revealed yet. But Brad said „no exclusive building“, which means the system will in principle remain.)
Mind you, in both cases, I was playing on small map and had 3 cities. How it will work on huge maps with tens of cities? ALL of them being the same, with the same buildings, units, lack of any specialization…brrrr. (And to add even worse, we lost qeue an don´t have any repeat button or rally points )
To sum it up: cities lack any specialization and if you are not under imminent pressure, the development options & decisions are really poor.
In my opinion, we need to have specialization options and face tought decision as of how to develop our cities. Border fortress or inland town? Or a supportive conclave? I think we need to revive city specialization paths from FE, but in much different (simplified) version. All of the cities would have some common base of buildings (workshop, watchtower, garden etc.). But additional to that three different, mutually exclusive building would be available, each with unique building options:
Keep – unlocks building with ZOC damage increase and higher mundane units tiers
Town hall – unlock buildings that provide higher logistics (barracks would be in the basic pool, however)
Conclave – unlocks recipes buildings and mage/mana buildings
For the whole structure, please see my attached picture.
Now with this system, the city build-up really starts to matter. Going any of these paths would be a huge strategic decision, but by implementing it this way, it would not burden the streamlined city management. City level up would remain the same (I like it!), no UI changes would be needed, the whole matter would not become any sort of cumbersome… Just think of Medieval II style.
So, what do you think about my proposal? And are you satisfied with city development, as it currently stands?
IMAGE LINK - CITY BUILDING: https://imageshack.com/f/iq1tqNaep