Hey there, all. I posted a few suggestions I had come up with after playing Alpha 11 unstable build in this thread right here, but reiteration is required! After all, a hefty combat system is what I want out of final release, so what better way to ensure it then to make sure a few good suggestions are addressed.
Essentially, the issue right now with the combat system for Stonehearth is unbalanced item bonus scaling, and the uselessness of the various weapons and armor you can make because of the improper scaling and homogeneity of all of the melee weapons.
To Start, lets Discuss the Armor Scaling Issues.
When you set a Hearthling to the footman job class, he immediately dons a military uniform, just from picking up a wooden sword. This grants him +5 defense. But wait a minute…
The item padded vest, which takes your crafter’s time and your fiber resources to make is a full 2 points lower than base footman uniform stats?
Thick leather is exactly equal with base defensive stats…
As is a bronze breastplate. With these stats, it seems like a waste of time to have your crafters do any of that, when there is no reward save for the EXP, and potential sale of the redundant armor.
How can we fix this?
Easy. Scale the item’s bonuses to be in line with their resources required and time necessary to create them. a Bronze Breastplate should never be ‘just as strong’ as leather armor, the difference being one is made of metal, and the other some strange amalgamation of rabbit and squirrel hides. Military uniform defensive bonus should be the starting baseline defensive bonus, not the standard for 2/5ths of the craft-able armor (3/5ths if you included padded vests being WORSE than base).
Weapons and Other Issues
As you may have noticed out of all the pictures of equipped footmen in this post, all of mine have Giant bone maces. That’s because they are the best weapon until your blacksmith hits level 4, and the rugged survivalist who sells it stops by maybe once every 2-3 days. but nevermind the weapon that kills skeletons, zombies and most goblins in two hits for now, lets look at some of the items the blacksmith can make and their bonuses.
As you can see, the two best weapons amongst this group are the Iron mace, which takes only two iron ingots to make, and the two-handed sword. which takes 6 steel ingots.
The two handed sword is the best weapon you can craft, but requires a level 4 blacksmith. All the other weapons? They’re hardly worthwhile. The Iron pike, bronze sword, short sword, bronze mace and long sword, I never craft, simply because of their cost-to-bonus ratio; The longsword for instance costs 4 steel ingots where-as I can get a two better iron maces without having to use any of my coal.
But the thing is, there’s no point to waste my iron ore in the first place when you can simply get a bone mace for 104 gold, that grants +24 attack bonus. See the issue here?
How can we fix this?
Similar to the armor, weapon scaling is the main issue but even with scaling, some items just wont be worth crafting. As I mentioned in my other post, there should be reasons why we would want Hearthlings to have certain weapons, and benefits to having Hearthlings who know how to handle those weapons and armor that you have provided for them.
Hearthling Tool and Weapon Proficiencies
My ideas for additions to the combat mechanics actually tie in with most of the new updates to attributes, and as an expansion of the character sheet Job Abilities section. Other ideas include individual weapon-type EXP bars, levels and related special abilities, (akin to the power-strike but for specific weapon types only) and Hearthlings randomly favoring certain weapon and armor types based off of their attribute make-up.
Weapon Proficiencies Explained
Essentially weapon proficiencies are individual EXP bars and levels for over-arching weapon types, within all Hearthling character sheets. As they level their proficiencies within different weapon types, they will unlock bonuses to damage, blocking chance and special abilities for use in combat, similar to job levels as they stand now.
The three easiest choices for weapon types would be as follows:
Polearms (spears, pikes, halberds, staves etc.)
Clubs (maces, flails, hammers, warhammers etc.)
Blades. (swords, axes, knives etc.)
The individual weapon types could be divided further (Say small weapons like a knife compared to big weapons like a two-handed sword for instance), but while we want a robust system, we also want a simple, easy to use system.
Weapon Type Special Abilities
I have a few ideas for what each weapon type would or should bring to the table, as well as how it should synergize with the rest of the weapon types if you were to have a party with all the different weapon types. All weapon types should provide a passive bonus even at level 0 against certain enemies, and negative attack modifiers against others, as described below.
Polearms: Attack Bonus against Mounted Enemies, Large Enemies, and Unarmored/Light Armored Enemies. Weak against Heavily Armored Enemies
At Bay!- When fighting an enemy with no weapon or a weapon with less reach, your Hearthling gains additional defensive bonuses. Further levels may even have a crowd control effect where aggressive monsters are pushed back from your Hearthling and potentially stunned for a few brief moments.
Brace for Impact- When defending a position, your Hearthling gains a bonus to attack against charging or oncoming enemies, as well as increased passive bonuses against mounted enemies in all instances.
Mount Up! - Whilst mounted on a friendly creature, your Hearthling’s attack speed and defensive bonus is enhanced. Included is a passive effect for non-mounted Hearthlings (Seeing as mounts aren’t in the game just yet) which grants the potential chance of a double-strike effect.
Defensive Strike!- After a successful hit, Your Hearthling has the chance to increase the blocking chance of all allied Hearthlings currently fighting alongside him or her.
Clubs: Attack Bonus against Skeletal Undead, Heavily Armored Enemies, Weak against Zombified Undead, Large Enemies, Mounted Enemies
Wallop!- Successful damaging attacks have a chance to stun the enemy that was hit for a time.
Diminishing Blows- Successful attacks have a chance of damaging the enemies’ armor, reducing their defensive bonuses.
Crushing Strike!- After a successful hit, Your Hearthling has the chance to cause all enemies to run in fear after witnessing such a demoralizing attack against one of their kin.
Crushing Swing- Grants a slow charge-up attack that attacks multiple enemies in front of your Hearthling. Can apply Wallop, Diminishing Blows and Crushing Strike.
Blades: Attack Bonus against Unarmored and Medium Armored Enemies, Zombified Undead, Weak against Skeletal Undead, Heavily Armored Enemies, Large Enemies, Mounted Enemies.
Balanced Stance- Your Hearthling gains a passive defensive bonus, and an added chance to block incoming attacks.
Deep Cuts- Your Hearthling’s attacks have a chance to cause damage over time. Gains an additional passive Attack bonus against unarmored Enemies.
Blade Arc- Your Hearthling has a spinning attack which hurts all enemies that are surrounding him or her. This attack has the chance to apply Deep Cuts and Rallying Strike.
Rallying Strike!- After a successful hit, Your Hearthling has the chance to increase the attack speed of all allied Hearthlings currently fighting alongside him or her.
How Things Will Play Out
Obviously the Footman job class (and it’s eventual upgrades into various other types) would benefit the most out of leveling their weapon proficiencies; they fight the most and their weapon proficiency level would raise alongside their overall level as they train.
In fact, I don’t believe any other jobs should benefit from the combat abilities granted by the weapon proficiency levels. However, if tools used by workers and crafters were categorized into the three weapon types, it would mean certain workers and crafters that see a lot of action when you activate town defense mode are also raising their individual proficiencies in those categories for later on.
Tool Proficiency and Weapon Proficiency Combined
For instance, while a woodcutting axe and carpenters saw aren’t the best melee weapons, they are still technically Bladed weapons, and you may find when it’s time to conscript your workers into apprentice footmen to fight a dreaded Titan, or a legion of Goblins on wolf-back that your carpenter and your workers know how to handle certain weapons from everyday tool use.
Pickaxes, Hammers, Blacksmith Hammers, Mason Hammer and Chisel and the Cook’s stone spoon would all fit into Clubs. Trappers Knife, Carpenter’s saw and woodcutting axes would fit into Blades. The shepherd’s crook and the farmer’s hoe would fit into Polearms, as would any other stave.
If you guys really wanted to, you could also make the related weapon proficiencies give workers and other crafters bonuses if they know how to use their respective tools, like increased production speed, construction speed, better yields from catching game, etc.
Hearthling Favored Weapons and Armor
Another good idea for making attributes matter is how they affect your Hearthling’s choices in arms and armament. Not everyone will be happy to don uniform weapons to fight a threat to your town, and some Hearthlings could have special attunements to certain types of weapons and armor that grant them special bonuses while using them.
Favored Weapon Bonuses:
-Additional passive attack bonus gained per level of favored weapon proficiency
-Increased attack speed
-Increased overall chance of chance-based occurrences for weapon abilities
-Increased EXP gained for related weapon’s proficiency.
Favored Armor Bonuses:
Light Armor- Increased Movement Speed, Increased Dodge Chance.
Medium Armor- Increased Defensive Bonus, Increased Block Chance or Dodge chance
Heavy Armor- Increased Defensive Bonus, Increased Block Chance
If the Hearthling’s favored weapons and armor choices aren’t just completely random, they should be based off of their attribute array.
For instance, a low Body, High Mind character may want to use Polearms and light armor, whereas a High Body, High Faith character would prefer Blades and heavy armor. A Low Mind High Body character would probably go towards medium-heavy armor and Clubs.
This Favored gear System could be modular as to allow things like magic use and ranged weapons to be favored rather than melee weapons as well; a High Mind High Faith Low Body individual may very well be more inclined to study the arcane arts and a High Mind High Body individual could lean towards bows and arrows, rather than both bothering to pick up a swords if they have the choice.
An added suggestion I had in my previous post was in regards to another random character aspect, an Elemental, or magical Affinity.
Essentially, how it would help make the game better is give all Hearthlings a randomly assigned Element they find themselves to work best with. The element then adds bonuses to element-related tasks.
When magic eventually gets inputted into the game in the form of Geomancers and other wizards, the type of element used in their magic could be enhanced by their affinity.
Say your level 1 farmer has an Earth Affinity- that should make him or her automatically better than any other level 1 farmer, save for if another level 1 farmer had 6’s in all stats, and an Earth Affinity. He should be able to work faster and produce more, simply by innate magical understanding of the earth.
When the time comes for you to select a Geomancer to shape the country side to your village’s whims, the Earth-aspected farmer would be a prime choice. Similarly, a fire affinity Hearthling would make a great Blacksmith, or fire wizard.
Affinities other than Earth and fire could include Water, Air, Light, Dark, Bestial and Nature.
Light and Dark could very well lead themselves into passive bonuses during night and day, maybe even holy-related magic for Light and Sneaking, subtlety magic for Dark.
Air may make ranged attacks simply better, where-as Water could make a Hearthling harder to hit. The possibilities are pretty easy to see.
Likewise, the opposite affinity-related tasks of a Hearthling’s affinity would probably take negative modifiers to it; a water affinity Hearthling working as a blacksmith may just be really unhappy.
I don’t rightly know what you guys plan to do with magic other than Geomancers, but I think the idea is cool enough to warrant me writing all this.
In Conclusion (tl;dr)
There’s a lot that needs doing for combat to be balanced, and I think giving the Hearthlings individual weapon and tool porficiency levels, favored weapons and armor, and elemental affinities would go a long way in setting the the game up for a very robust combat system and more individuality amongst Hearthlings. These suggestions would also make different weapon and armor types not only viable, but also sought after, so your blacksmiths and weavers will always have a necessary spot on your town roster.
Elemental/Magic stuff is cool to theorize about, even if it is something that will take a while to see appear in-game. Hearthlings predilections towards certain elements could mean micro-managing your worker’s jobs leads to better output of goods and a happier town.
Feel free to critique these suggestions and ideas! Tell me what you think, or if things could be improved on even farther. After all, It’s all for the good of the game.