Before we start, I’d like to note that I do realize that the balance of the new banners/hearths/shrines is not final yet. What comes next is just some general feedback and suggestion concerning the balance of this new stuff and the restrictions they come with.
So, where do we start?
In A24.2, the progression of towns has been rewamped. That’s great! Now, from the very beginning of the game, the player is provided with a bunch of choices.
The first thing I’d point out is that the beginning of the game is now riddled with choices…
- First we choose hearthlings
- Then right after, we pick a starting point
- Then we have to pick our starting items
- And now, we also pick a banner just moments into the game
The first three gets us through three different screens, while the fourth happens in-game. Now, this is just a minor gripe, but all of this could have been integrated into just one screen where we pick the map, the hearthlings, the items, AND the starting bonuses.
I understand that the goal here is to establish a sense of progression from the very beginning, but holy cow, let us breathe for a moment!
Pick a thing out of three, and stick with it forever
Oh, Glorious Candy Corn, why! Oh, why!
Personally, I am not a fan of the concept. It is very limiting gameplay-wise, and usually boils down to one must-have choice against two mediocre choices. Plus, it feels like a cheap solution to an issue which did not exist.
Why do I say it is limiting?
Well, obviously because if you happen to change your mind about it, you must start all over. That sucks. I would much prefer if the choice was about something you start with, but throughout the game you can acquire the other two. If that’s a no-go, then at least grant us the choice to change our minds without having to start over.
The choice which comes too early?
Do I want a mining town? Or do I want a vast farmland? Hmm.
Normally, when I start a new game, I have zero idea where am I going to go with it. Usually it takes some in game days before things finally start to take shape. Before that, I’m just messing around chopping some woods and moving all the plants from the map to near my camp. That worked out since I play the game, because, honestly, never was I in a hurry.
But now a silly bird storms in, and demands I make a choice!
The choice itself and balance concerns
The banners come with the following bonuses:
– 25% faster plant growth (trees and regular plants)
– 25% more wood from trees
– 2x plant appeal
Banner of Strength:
– 50% more ore, clay, and stone from mining
– Negated cramped environment thought
– 3x road speed bonous
– 50% item sell value
– 2x stock and gold for merchants
Vitality seems an okayish choice, but in the end you don’t really need all that much wood and faster plant growth just means your farmer will not be able to keep up with plants. But whom do we make all that food for? Are we waiting guests?
Strength seems rather weak. Considering we can just hide the mining zone directly under our town, that 50% more yield doesn’t save us all that much time.
Cunning is super overpowered when compared to the other two. The faster roads boost the efficiency of our town a LOT! Higher efficiency means a lot more goods produced for sale. Not only do we have more goods, they all sell for 50% more! On top of all that, any merchant who passes by can afford twice the things we make. Since any merchant who brings stone or wood or ores now has 2x the normal amount, and now we have ample gold to buy, we really are never going to miss the bonus of vitality or strength.
The second choice
It was stated this is a WIP thing now, and that the bonuses are super weak. Yes, they are super weak.
I only got to test the Hearth of Glory so far. I chose this because the other two seemed super boring (of the Makers) or super super weak AND super boring (of cheer).
Hearth of Glory summons a bunch of undead monsters, which seemed hella fun at first, then got old quickly, since after some point the difficulty stopped increasing and the thing just kept spawning a bunch of giant punching bags which barely scratched my knight. Plus they all dropped iron maces, which resulted in the world’s most extensive iron mace collection. Obviously this will be balanced in the future, so this isn’t the issue.
The thing which worries me here is that with three choices there’s one fun choice which involves good ol’ monster bashing, whereas the other choices are rather boring passive things.
Again, I know this is still WIP, just wanted to make a point here that if you give us choices, make sure all of them are fun in their own way. Like the Hearth of Cheer could spawn a feast and visitors would come, and Hearth of the Makers would make crafters work a bit faster or something.
The final choice
I haven’t got this far in game, plus the legendary weapons aren’t even in yet and the quest is still the same as before. So all I can do is be a good’ ol’ smartass here.
Shrine of Fortune gives random townwide buffs. I didn’t see it yet (as stated above) but I am going to assume it works the same way as buff tonics, where we manually activate them. If so, I might suggest an option to automate it, because going back to a thing every now and then to click a button isn’t fun.
Shrine of Valor unlocks recipes for legendary weapons (which aren’t in yet). I sure hope these are just SOME legendary weapons and not ALL legendary weapons. It would be a real shame if every legendary weapon would be limited to this one choice.
Shrine of Masterwork unlocks a new, better quality (masterwork) for crafted items. As much as it hurts my heart to miss out on a better appeal level for items, to me this isn’t very appealing. Sorry, I am more of a legendary-weapon-person. (Just another reason why I am going to hate if the bonuses are to remain choice-exclusive throughout each playthrough.)
More gripes against choice-exclusive content, suggestions
So as I made it obvious throughout my writing, I am very against locking the bonuses to a choice. Up until this update, every major thing was open for the player to mess about with without having to start a new game, and so a new game was only really necessary if we wanted to play a different kingdom.
Choices so far mostly involved minor things, such as befriending the goblins, or whether or not to defeat Ogo in battle to get his “Bonker” and his standard.
The consequences of the new choices, however, are massive and irreversible. Besides, the message the birb brings says we should pick a banner about what our settlement represents; we look at that and decide our people are more of a nature folk… and then we see the bonuses. This sort of ruins it: we aren’t picking what the town represents, we are picking arbitrary bonuses.
Why are the bonuses even tied to the banner? That doesn’t make sense… The hearthlings supposedly carried that blue banner all the way from whereever they started, and now after we read a message, it suddenly becomes magical and trees nearby decide to grow faster. Really?
Was it always magical? If so, and we got to decide what kind of magic it makes after reading the message, why can’t we change it at will?
And in the end, do we even need a bonus? We seemed to be doing fine before without them.
A couple of suggestions:
Separate bonus from banner symbol, and let us change both at will independently.
– Alternatively, let us acquire all three banners through extra effort.
– If the bonus is separate from the banner, then why not add more choices? These could be changed at will through a button on the banner’s unit frame.
Provide an optional quest to build the other 2 hearth styles after picking our first. After this is done, we would have to pick which one is active, and the other two would “go to sleep”
– Alternatively, provide an optional quest to replace our current hearth with any of the other two.
Since the bonuses of the shrines are quite big (unlocked items and appeal tier), I would like to suggest a series of quests which is increasingly difficult and through it we could acquire all three shrines in preferred order. Considering that before this update we could build all three fountains, this shouldn’t be too big to ask for.
I think all this seems too harsh. I apologize for that, I didn’t intend to be this negative. It’s just that when it comes to feedback, usually the bad stuff gets pointed at quicker.
The new way of progression is very welcome, and is quite a nice touch. The execution just has some issues, that’s it. And even then, this could be just the opinion of me alone, while everyone else loves choice-locked content or whatnot. The new hearths are lovely!
Whew, this got a bit long.
Now is the time to invite everyone to provide their own feedback, opinions, and suggestions about the stuff of A24.2. So let’s roll!