A Multiplayer Dream of Mine

From the new(er) roadmap:
“But If you’re passionate about multiplayer, help us out by explaining why you’re interested in playing Stonehearth with other people.”


The real world is rotten and I hate it. It’s basically why I play video games - and there’s a decent chance you, the reader, have felt this way at least a few times in your life as well.

So, when I settle in for a multiplayer session, it’s a way to spend time with my friends without the mess, clutter, and insanity of the real world getting in the way. We’re sharing a space, we’re interacting. We can spend time together in a world that makes some kind of sense - where the problems are tangible, countable entities with achievable paths toward overcoming them.

Personally, I prefer constructive rather than destructive goals. I like cooperating to overcome challenges, and striving together for a goal we can both be excited about achieving. I like feeling as though my efforts have changed or shaped the world in some way - my intent translated into a palpable mark on the game.

PvP has its place too, but I am not much of a PvPer so I can’t really make a decent argument for or against it. I’ll leave that to the pros.

I imagine a Stonehearth multiplayer session where two (or more?) players start nearby one another, and “connecting” to one another becomes a goal on the “get settled in” list for starting a new game. Build a road, or assign some hearthlings as “traders” or something. Before long, I start seeing her hearthlings at my settlement, and mine at hers. If she is overwhelmed by an attack, I can send some guards.

If we’re really dedicated, we can just build together - one person handling the defense and the other the food and resources, maybe.

Anyway, that’s uh…that’s about it xD I think about multiplayer a lot. I’m glad the developers are focusing on gameplay polish! But…multiplayer has been on my radar since I picked up Early Access, so I figured I’d put this out into the aether for people to like or not.


I agree with this view of multiplayer 100%

I’ve played PvP in a lot of other games, particularly sandbox-y ones (Minecraft, Terraria, Rust, Unturned, other survival titles with building mechanics, Space Engineers, Robocraft…) and in most cases, the “battles” are extremely one-sided. It usually comes down to a question of who is better prepared – whether it’s because one player has taken the faster track to the best gear, or because one player has focussed on something other than PvP readiness, or simply bad luck with access to resources, I find it extremely rare to go into a PvP fight in any sandbox game with a sense that the playing field is level.

I can see PvP working in Stonehearth only if players basically agree upon the terms of conflict beforehand. Whether they stick close and constantly harass each others’ settlements, or settle far apart and both build up until there’s no room left, either of those could be an awesome story and experience. However, if one player just wants to build and the other player is constantly probing their town for weakpoints… yeah, that’s going to suck for the builder, and the aggressor is probably going to get bored quickly too.

A basic diplomacy system to mark groups as allies, neutral or enemies would suffice IMO. Allies could have options for things like shared line of sight, trade routes (e.g. your allies’ market stalls “for sale” list is visible in your own market stalls so you can buy from them and they from you), being able to walk through allies’ doors/gates/etc., whether allied healers and buffs affect your hearthlings, and so on; so there’s plenty of room for simple and intuitive co-op if all players simply form an alliance before embarking. I think there should be a diplomacy setting before embarkation, which can then be changed once the game begins, and that allows all the different variations of co-op and PvP with a minimum of fuss.


Yeah, exactly! Either the trading system could be something active, like old-school RTS’s with their caravans going between towns (creating roads?), or you could use the existing Trading Post schematic to enable resource trading. Both players would have to have a level 6 carpenter, which is the same as it is currently; only this time, when built, the person could choose a random NPC trader or a trader representing the other town. The trick would be to design that interface, as well as decide how the resources would appear and whether the player had any choice in what resources they wanted to trade in.

This has value in singleplayer too! It’s annoying how, in the forest biome, you either have to choose to build close to the mountains and away from the meadow to prioritize stone, furs, wood, and ore, or close to the meadow and away from the mountains to prioritize clay, herbs, a better-looking location, etc. With the ability to set up multiple towns, an active or passive system of “trading” could allow you to set up a mining “outpost” where the resources are funneled to your village instead of your hearthlings making massive trips back and forth. It would be an interesting thing to have to set up, of course. You would have to decide whether to design the trading/transporting system to transport the goods instantly or set one of your attack groups to defending a wagon passing between the two towns. But I feel that it would allow players to be able to expand their towns without worrying about setting up “basic needs” resources like food and clothing at every little town they establish.

It would also make sense from a realistic standpoint. It’s somewhat unrealistic to send your hearthlings on long journeys to get to their mining jobs, or unrealistic that hearthlings would journey to your meadow town just to get food, and more realistic that they would set up some sort of shelter near the mines. Not saying that setting all of this up would be easy, but I feel like it would improve the feeling of exploring and maintaining a larger, more expansive settlement.

Plus, it would be awesome to have one of your combat groups roaming between towns and possibly engaging in monsters on the way. And it would help players contribute forces for each other’s town. I dunno, it’s a lot of work and opens the door to all sorts of questions about how the system would function, how bed/food sharing would work between players, and the like. Still, though, it would be an interesting thing to get working.

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