[ACE] Pre-Release 0.9.3.3 - The Quality Update!

Another issue: the existing potions are rarely used; they are useful but i rarely need it, except for healing tonics/bandages. Below, some suggestions for new potions (better explained), that require specific & very potent herbs. Obviously, they all have tough requirements and cooldown.

Example 1: potion of eagle eyes. Reveals the entire map.

Example 2: potion of visions. Reveals the location of an epic equipment. (Note that I mean something really incredible, like a +70 damage or +50 armor). This could also start a new quest. Note that epic equipment for other professions also fit here - like an epic hammer for a blacksmith that diminishes by a lot time to craft stuff, or an epic hammer that unlocks recipes for epic weapons. Only once per map.

Example 3: potion of regenaration. Heals a lost member/permanent effect; this would require the inclusion of scars, missing fingers, fear of death, missing ears, scar in the head from a huge ogre mace, every time the hearthling HP drops below 10%.

Example 4: potion of dreams. Reveals (spawns) an (previously chosen type) big ore mine nearby your banner.

Example 5: potion of summoning. Gives the ability to summon creatures to fight by your side.

Example 6: potion of heroic might. +50 defense and +50 damage to one character, supresses hunger and sleepiness for 36 hours. Only twice per map.

Example 7: potion of plenty. Did you accidentaly run out of food as Northern Alliance? Use this to gain +300 wheat.

Example 8: potion of greater mind/body/spirit. +1/+2 in one stat, permanent!

Example 9: potion of destiny. Calls divine help/blessing to the hearthling s side, life changing events happen to the heartling. Removes a negative trait from a hearthling; this starts a quest and at the end a new positive trait is added. The quest should allow free open ended, multiple roleplaying from the part of the player, it shouldn`t specify exactly what happened in details - it is up to the player to create the stories he want to his character. This will help players who like to roleplay by giving some reality to the stories they create to specific characters, so that it is not only inside their heads. Additionaly, this potion sets to 3 whatever trait that is lower than that - so the player can imagine/roleplay the hearthling became more compassionate, learned to think more, learned to value spiritual things, became stronger, and so on, whatever the reason he decided. This potion effects obviously should take a long time to take effect (30 days at least). Example: imagine a guy who wanted to become a Knight but has terrible stats (1/2/1), and the player “roleplays” in the past he was known as week, dumb and coward, was humiliated. The player decided he will make this hearthling a good hearthed & inteligent, almighty Titan Slayer, so the player makes this hearthling drink this potion. Soon a quest starts explaining what this potion does (calls for divine help) and that soon your hearthling should start facing life changing events; one month later, the quest continues stating that after a long time, your hearthling seems changed - for better, but without stating what happened, instead asking “what happened? No one knows”.

Example 10: potion of the rushing worker. Gives all workers +15 carry capacity and +500% speed outside roads, supresses hunger and sleepiness for 36 hours. Do you know those far away mines but are afraid because of enemies that might appear suddenly? This potion is the answer.

Example 11: potion of teletransport. Transports a fighting party across the map. Only twice per map.

Example 12: medicine. This could be used inside quests, for example, to gain a trade connection with a city from a different faction - and all their goods.

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Only herbalist and cleric applies medicine

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Am I missing something? My Herbalist is always the one to use potions on injured hearthlings.

There are better ways to make the herbalist useful than giving him godlike power potions. Best not to get carried away.

(edit: Thanks Bruno was beginning to think it was another feature I was confused about lol)

I like the idea of the Herbalist being the one to grow and take care of herbs.

We could definitely use some sort of disaster system introducing diseases or natural disasters like Townsmen. This could give several classes a bit more utility.

I realize some of them would be hard to incorporate like burning buildings down. Maybe instead of damaging the building it applies a burning particle effect to player structures that tank appeal, have a chance to cause nearby hearthlings to make a spirit check or flee in fear, and/or cause a burning DoT to any hearthling that gets close. Either require workers to repair the building or haul water to the fire from wells to decrease its health until the fire dies. Hearthlings suffering from burn damage could have a debuff until an herbalist applies a poultice.

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I can swear I have seen a worker applying potions, either in Stonehearth 1.1 or ACE.

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There are indeed, but the question that remains is what solutions can be adopted that are at the same time: compatible with the light hearthed feeling of the game (Team Radiant s vision), don t introduce micromanagement and complexity, compatible with what ACE Team already created (fire damaging structures will ruin all the time & effort spent to create a building with high quality ingredients), compatible with the limited ammount of people ACE Team has, and finally compatible with the desires of all players. Introducing diceases and disasters, or any kind of life threatening situation, if not very well planned, might conflict with the light hearthed feeling of the game.

One thing that could be done, that Dani mentioned somewhere i don t remember, is introducing non permanent negative effects that can only be healed by a herbalist; i go one step further and suggest that while that hearthling is being treated, both the “sick” and the herbalist have a animation that suggests that (example the sick hearthling stays in a bed inside the herbalist workplace and the herbalist remains in that workplace doing something). It could be few simple general debuffs like sick and feeling pain.

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Ummm maybe I wasn’t clear, the fire wouldn’t actually be damaging or ruining the structures. It would be more of a visual effect with debuffs attached to simulate a fire since an actual fire that destroyed structures would cause all sorts of issues (not to mention the nightmare of creating the system).

A disease being introduced wouldn’t be any more complicated than the Candledark mod (an officially recognized mod) turning your hearthlings into zombies that can only accomplish basic tasks until they’re cured by an herbalist.

They can be well planned and there are instances of both disasters and diseases already being acknowledged by Team Radiant when they were running the ship. The final encounter requiring you to tear up the terrain to reach seeds or else your hearthlings suffer when they’re near and Candledark are examples of this.

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Well, returning to the original questions (sorry Dani).

Q: Do you think the way herbs currently work are good enough?
A: Yes, but only if no additional potions/items are added.

Q: Would you like - as a player - to have an actual reason to perhaps grow different herbs?
Or to have the herbalist recipes be a bit more interesting?
A: Yes, but only for (new) potent potion recipes requiring specific (new) potent herbs, or other new cool stuff/recipes. Otherwise, no way. Why complicate stuff or increase micromanagement without a good reason?

In all honest, with the current available potion recipes/items there is no need to have so many herbs, personally I would simplify that list - if nothing is added; note that I am speaking about flowers as herbs, as decoration they are useful.

I forgot to mention before: perhaps the herbalist can shine as gardener/decorator for natural stuff, being able to create live fences and with knowledge to deal with a lot of plants/flowers for decoration purposes - in opposition to a potter/mason/carpenter which deal with decoration for “built” areas. In my last gameplay as Rayya Children, it was nice to see a desert transformed into an oasis full of plants, fruits and flowers, very rewarding. This is the only time I found satisfying to have so many herbs, because i used them as decoration.

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Q: Do you think the way herbs currently work are good enough?
A: Kind of, but not really. I mean they do their intended job, so if you’re not looking to add depth or complexity the current system is okay. Personally value the herbalist more for their ability to turn starting supplies into seeds allowing the player to feed their settlement if no trapper or farmer is present.

Q: Would you like - as a player - to have an actual reason to perhaps grow different herbs? Or to have the herbalist recipes be a bit more interesting?
A: Having an actual reason would be cool, whether it be for new decorations or because herbs have specific qualities. Honestly though, in every game I play I try to have a small patch of every harvestable herb there is.

Q: And how simple/complex would you appreciate such a change to be?
A: I actually love @Pawel_Malecki ideas. It sounds somewhat similar to Dani’s Trapper+ mod. This adds depth without making the game even more unbalanced by giving hearthlings unreasonable power. That kind of stuff should be reserved for workshop mods and not official sources.

I agree with @Slashkoln that the herbalist can shine as a gardener/decorator. Settlement Decor adds a Gardener class along with some well made decorations including plants. Gardens of Hearth adds even more decorative plants, beautifully sculpted by Amnaa, cultivated by the herbalist themself.

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I also like his ideas. Perhaps, you could also rename the herb group to “flowers” or “plants for decoration”, because that is what they are truly useful for right now - for most of the time - and create a “generic herb” resource that is cultivated inside the gathering zone Pawel_Malecki mentioned; graphically that generic herb resource would seem like many types of different herbs and plants.

About giving hearthlings unreasonable power, unfortunately the player already has through debug tools a very easy (to acess and to use) AND oficial way to make himself extremely powerful; besides, the hearthlings are already godlike in the sense that nothing affects their health/physical integrity (except death through combat) and only very powerful enemies can make the player feel threatened - it is not uncommon to hear players say that they feel threatened only by the Titan Quest.

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Lightning strikes, sandstorms, cold weather, and starvation also affect their health/physical integrity. Pretty sure the devs tried to at least be mindful of making hearthlings unreasonably powerful and dev tools aren’t really an excuse since they kind of had to be shipped given the state of the game at release.

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So, one way to join all ideas presented until now (i copied some stuff):

  • Change the existing “herbs” category to “flowers”.

  • Create colorful new tags to be used on “flowers” (an icon on pictures), for example: edible herb (to be used on cooking), toxic/unique/catalyst/etc herb, therapeutical herb (healing, incense, vapours, anything relaxing), etc. That way not all flowers are useful herbs, some will be used strictly for decoration, while other flowers can be tagged multipurpose. Obviously, this will require creation of new categories to match the new tags.

  • Move cultivation of most existing herbs to the Herbalist and leave to the farmer only the most important ones (multipurpose, starting herbs).

  • Create new gathering/harvesting (automatic) zones for the herbalist, example: one for fungi, one for herbs.

  • Give the herbalist gardening abilities, for example uproot a fully-grown crop so it can be placed as a standalone plant later, trim a small/medium tree so it doesn’t grow further, ability to create live fences, and so on.

  • Add whole lot more flowers and plants for decoration that only the herbalist is capable of dealing with.

  • Increase decorator habilities (for natural stuff). Add new drying table. Perhaps a new crafting table for new recipes (as an craftsman for natural stuff), similar to what was done to the Golden Gourd mega crop. New Incense/vapours recipes, with varied effects.

  • Update some more powerful recipes and make them basically 1 herb type + 1 “catalyst”, OR, high quantities from a multipurpose herb. This way, the player is free to choose how he wants to play.

  • New potent herbs and new potent potion recipes.

  • These changes could include some kind of progression, for example by requiring higher level ingredients for higher level recipes.

  • Introducing non permanent negative effects that can only be healed by a herbalist, as well as new animations.

  • Perhaps there is room to make the herbalist as a master of alternative/exotic resources, similar to marblesprout for marble; these could be used on herbalist recipes. Example: alternative resource to fur for leather bolts (as it already happens with winter moss/cotton). Perhaps the herbalist could be used to automate some tasks (edible nuts/seeds/exotic fruits).

To the ACE Team: sorry for the long posts. I wish you guys the best.

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  • Create a new “sent into the wild mechanics”, where the herbalist would vanish for a while (sent into the wild) similar to what happens in some Clan Amberstone quests, and when he comes back he will bring resources collected during that time. Edible nuts, edible seeds, exotic/wild fruits or vegetables are some possibilities, even alternative animal food is; you could even create a new general resource (on the floor it would seem like a closed brown bag) to be used by the herbalist in his recipes as a craftsman of “natural stuff” (example: mushroom lantern), similar to what wood is to a carpenter. This new mechanic would pave the way for modders to include a lot of new stuff without necessarily creating an entire new plant model, but only what matters. So now if i want to include banana or pineapple, i don`t have to deal with the complicated plant model, the plant covered by snow, its growing stages, tables for growing modifiers, etc, but only with the fruit itself - its visuals on the floor and on menus. Perhaps some very potent herbs could be acquired only through quests because they only grow in the wild, this would help limiting the (honest) player s power.
  • Edible nuts, seeds and exotic fruits could be acquired by a herbalist that stands in front of the plant, without destroying it, using existing animations. So, for example, you wouldn t necessarily need to chop down trees if you are only interested on edible nuts. This would give Nothern Alliance more food alternatives, specially during winter or in the beggining. The idea is that you specify in the herbalist s menu how much of each stuff you want him to collect.
  • About using the herbalist as a master of alternative/exotic resources, when i played as Northern Alliance i missed an renewable alternative to ball clay and I had to mine a lot to get few shale clay. How about adding something to solve that? Obviously only small quantities will be produced.
  • About Ace chain focused philosophy: you could change potions requirements by introducing intermediaries - essences (active principle) - and those different types of essences would each require either few of a specific herb OR a high quantity from a multipurpose/starting herb. For example, a theurapeutical essence would be required by healing potions and bandages; the higher the level of the potion/bandage, the more therapeutical essences would be required. At a high level the herbalist could gain the hability to refine/obtain more essences from fewer multipurpose herbs - similar to what happens with the blacksmith in relation to wood/charcoal. Or, alternatively, for example a potent potion would require a “unique essence”, which can be crafted from two options: a recipe using few specific potent herb available at low level OR by a recipe only available at the highest herbalist level using a TON of multipurpose herbs, giving progression and freedom of choice to the player - so now the player can choose between being micromanagement free (though less eficient) towards potions, or cultivating all potent herbs possible, or only a handfull few because he is only interested in having high quantities of a specific potion while mantaining acess to all potions. All these, of course, only makes sense if new potions/items/scrolls/whatever are introduced. As a last note, for a very very powerful potion you could make as a requirement: “few of a specific very powerful herb” + “unique essence”.
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Well, since no one else mentioned, I would like to add some perspective. What I have written below is neither complaint nor request, just really clarification from someone who has lived nearby a person with knowledge about plants.
As Stonehearth players, sometimes we get the feeling that a farmer can raise plants and herbs just as well as an herbalist, and that a worker can do many things a herbalist can. Well, there is a reason for that.
In Stonehearth, unless it is a farmer crop, you can plant a seed anywhere and it will grow well, strong and produce well - and that makes many plants seem to behave as if they are farmable, requirements wise. In real life, however, each plant has very different specific requirements and if they are not met, the plant might not even produce anything, grow ugly or weak, perhaps not even grow at all, or rot/die - many times, that is knowledge only an herbalist has, thus only he should be capable of growing many plants (non crop, non farmable) properly. For example, there are plants that require shadows during part of the day, there are plants that rot if you pour too many water on it, there are plants that grow weak if the soil is not proper, and so on - thus not all plants are suitable to be planted in any wide open field. Obviously, putting all this realism inside a light hearthed game is not desirable/feasible, and could easily get annoying or boring - imagine hail or snow destroying plants you have inside gardens (you created). Currently, in this regard, the only action that is exclusive to a herbalist is separating flowers/fruits from seeds; it is a very simple mechanic, but it works.
Second, in real life, a worker can do many things a herbalist can provided there is guidance/explanations (in this case, herbalist = brain , workers = muscles); but this is not coded inside Stonehearth, an probably the cost/benefit of implementing it is low.
Third, if you have someone nearby with knowledge about the natural world, you will notice that this person can often see valuable stuff where you can only see, say, useless weed in the wild; often medicine, resources to make simple tools/decoration, or food stuff; some are exotic (at least for me) like pumpkin seed or powder made from egg shell.
Fourth, it might seem simple to make a potted plant as those available to a mason/carpenter/potter, but it actually requires steps and often a lot of care/knowledge, for example some plants require being in a greenhouse while young. It is actually more realistic to have only the herbalist producing potted plants.
Fifth, I don`t know about other countries but here where I live (tropical) we have a huge variety of plants for decorations: some are flowerless, some are really tall, some seem like a bush, etc. Is there a reason why most plants for decoration in Stonehearth are somewhat short and almost always have a flower?

I do think from this logic that gardens are a good idea, provided it is a well designed feature.

The reason plants can survive in the wild without a herbalist is that they make many offspring so that luck may replace the skills of the herbalist. This, coupled with the fact that the plant species adapt to its environment, but that is just as much a cause of the specialized needs as it is a solution This would tell you that as soon as you root up a plant and bring it to your town, it needs the right environment to grow in. One could require such plants be put in a garden tended after by the herbalist, but what we currently have is quite simple gameplay wise, and this might be a little to harsh.

Another feature that would make sense from this perspective is to keep being able to plant wild plants everywhere, but that they grow stronger/more potent/better in a carefully maintained place. After all, since mother nature relies on luck, there is a good chance any wild plant does not live in perfect conditions and thus its growth could be improved by a herbalist.

I think this would be a better than the idea above my first idea, since you can still uproot plants, get them somewhere else and have it work, but you could level up your cultivation by having a garden (player creating a part of their world) and having a herbalist actively looking after it (giving the herbalist a meaningful job). In a sense, most of stonehearths progression is leveling up societal systems so your town gets better at surviving and thriving, and this fits in that line of progression.

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At first some people might think that what is being requested is complicated/harsh/nonsense mechanics, but in reality what is being requested is a better gameplay experience regarding the herbalist class, a greater sense of acomplishment/fulfillment/joy coming from this class works.

It is easy to verify all other classes contributions during late game: carperter works all around an Ascendancy Town, Mason works all around a Northern Alliance Town, lots of defensive devices crafted by the engineer - even the trapper, no one dares say he is useless even though he only sets traps and catch animals, because he is never idle working hard to feed all population. It feels good to look back (during end game) and check how much you have achieved: all structures you built, all hearthlings well fed and very happy, all security you conquered, all food variety you now enjoy, all hearthlings with their own stuff, all decoration (furniture and plants) making an previously ugly place into a beautiful/great place, and all other small things that contribute to banish once and for all any sense of hopelessness - be it because of hunger, darkness, too much snow, lack of nearby water etc. So all other classes contribute to that end game sense of acomplishment, of achievement, of joy, whatever the objetives you set for your own town.

But this does rarely happen with the herbalist class.

And the very reason that makes plants so easy to deal with - drop seed mechanics, very fast growth up to adult stage and regrowth “in the wild”, no need for an herbalist to care for a plant so that it produces/grows better or faster - is the very reason why one might feel this class has such a limited usefulness towards plants. In other words: currently biomes offer no difficulties in relation to plants, and so the rewards are also missing ; there are no obstacles to be overcome by this class. And let us not forget that farmers can cultivate most herbs an herbalist can.

These four steps: addition of a variety of plant types for decoration (flowerless plants, bushes, medium sized or tall plants, aquatic plants, etc) that only the herbalist has acess to, plants in the wild growing/regrowing much slower than they currently do (7+ days), gardening zones inside which an herbalist mantains plants that outperform other plants in the wild, and herbalists being responsible from seed to a grown stage, would make a tremendous difference for this class. It would feel usefull even without a healer role, possibly more satisfaying. Obviously, i am not talking about banishing seed mechanics, specially for trees.

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Let us make the discussion go back to its origin, specifically about herbs.

1 - useful as decoration
2 - useful as a cooking ingredient and sometimes indirectly as a money generator (ex: sausages)
3 - useful for golems (thus for the geomancer)
4 - One of the least important uses is for potions, because by the time i am able to produce many of the available potions, my first military party is already complete and thus strong enough to not need them.
5 - It is indeed much faster to produce/hoard herbs through the herbalist than through a farmer, but that comes with more micromanagement - which for many players is undiserable.
6 - Herbalist potions are somewhat restricted to military use.

just chiming in here:

the Energy potions are great for keeping your workers working, and actually can boost the game’s performance when you have a lot of hearthlings (less sleeping = less looking for beds; and with hearthlings moving faster they get things stored/built/placed more quickly so tasks don’t hang around in the to-do list as long, meaning you don’t get as much build-up of them waiting to be completed.) Sadly, they’re a PITA to use repeatedly; even with that mod which gives you reminders/trackers for timers like how long your potions will last since you still have to manually activate a potion each time one runs out.

That’s the impetus behind my suggestion of incense/totems/some similar AoE potion effect aura. Even if it “burns out” over time, it can be set up to be replaced automatically so that players can set-and-forget it… as long as they keep up production, they can have that buff applied permanently. Making it affect a specific area rather than the whole town is intended as a concession to “balance”; but of course there’s no reason not to just cover your town in these AoEs lol.

Courage potions are interesting, because they’re arguably more use to civilians during an attack than they are to the soldiers. Most soldiers will be getting a bunch of courage buffs anyway, so even those with a low Spirit can hold out for a while before breaking/fleeing. Civvies, on the other hand, will often flee from Kobold wolves or more dangerous enemies within moments of seeing them; even if they’re not the one being attacked. I’ve had more instances where I can count where I’ve lost or nearly lost a downed hearthling because the hearthlings who go to rescue them panic when they come across an Ogre or something along the way, even if that Ogre is engaged with a fully party and completely ignoring them. So I find Courage potions exceedingly useful in the latter stages of a big combat or siege.

I would love to see a couple more worker/crafter-focussed potions though, as stated earlier. One to boost creativity for when you’re trying to make fine items to sell, one to boost experience gain, one that promotes health regen (potentially very useful during winter, not just for hearthlings but also livestock and pets; especially since ACE lets them get out of the cold so you wouldn’t be constantly spending regen potions on them)… I’m sure there are other ideas which we threw around earlier in the thread.

Going back to the original point about herbs and how they’re used, though… if we were to have new potions like these added then I think the best way to handle them is to have generic “classes” of herbs (healing, catalyst, toxic etc.) and have the low-level potions require only those generic ingredients + maybe common ingredients (ore, stone, bone, clay… things you can easily get in any biome) while the higher-level/more powerful potions require specific herbs from one category + generic category herbs for the other categories. This way, high-level potions require some investment/infrastructure, but each biome has a certain high-level potion available by default (one probably linked to that biome e.g. the Desert gets the energy potion so that hearthlings can take advantage of the night-time’s more hospitable conditions to do a little more work; the Highlands biome gets the creativity potion to help your Dwarves be the master artisans they should be, etc.)

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If you’re talking about my Obligations/Timer Tracker mod, you should be able to simply enable auto-use of the energy potion (and make sure your herbalist is set to maintain X of them so they’re always available).

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oh, that’s awesome! I’m adding that mod to my must-use list now…

Do you know guys, what would be cool and fun? Having the herbalist craft an “Toxic Essence” (discussed above) from herbs within “Toxic group”, and then have the engineer craft an placeable/“one time use” item similar to the Coconut bomb available in Archipelago/fisher mod, WITH ALL SORTS OF FUNNY EFFECTS. Activated at player s will from afar (not by enemy touch), with an area of effect. Examples: exploding throwing enemies very far away making their heads buried in the ground, making enemies rotate like ballet dancer, making enemies daydream showing love signs towards another enemy …
I mean, why not? SH already has a turnip shooter … :joy:
By the way, perhaps we could create a “canon” type of defensive device that throws mega crops, and upon hitting enemies creating a very big “bump on the head” (imagine a giant pumpkin :joy: ) . In those lines, we could give the herbalist a way to 100% create megacrops.
This definitely would not make the herbalist very useful, but would give him very cool purposes :joy:

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