[Alpha 11 Unstable and Beyond] Suggestions for Combat Balance and Eventual Combat System Enhancements

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.

Unbalanced Combat
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.

Weapon Types
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

Attribute Make-up
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.

Elemental Affinity
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. :blush:


I love it all!

I don’t know if combat would need to be as complicated as you make out, something simpler like some weapons having more regular, weaker attacks, two handed or heavy weapons having slower attacks for more damage or armor defeating. I like the idea of polearms pushing the enemy back, and having a bigger attack reach.

Would be great to see enemies targeting doors and ground level windows. If we’re never going to see wall busting enemies, then at least having them trying to bust through doors and windows would be a great compromise, as well as the hearthlings attacking through the windows!

Also, given how slow and hard it is to get new Hearthlings, having them fall unconcious would be better than dying. Then the enemy would attack the next hearthling, only to start killing them when all nearby hearthlings were defeated. Or giving the fallen hearthlings a timer in which they could be rescued.

That way the player could have some lightly armoured soldiers get to the fray quickly, without all being killed, whilst the slower, heavily armed guys come over. I think that would be a great, dynamic sense of battle.

Excellent post, great reference for future updates once all the core system is in and the devs can focus refining combat system. Having even a small bonus like stun, bleed, chance to ignore def can provide benefit to different weapon type. And having a separate line of weapon upgrade per weapon type is vital to this idea too.

Ah, yeah it is a bit complicated, with the individual weapon levels and all that, but I like having the ability to level certain Hearthlings and having a few that are my Ultra-Hearthlings so to speak, god-tier 6 stat individuals and so on. I feel like giving them more things to level will make me more attached to them :kissing_smiling_eyes:

Yeah, that’s another major thing enemies need in their AI; the ability to destroy barricades and walls. A picket fence can keep out fully armed goblins! Hearthlings using buildings as barricades would be rad too.

That’s also a good point. Maybe when we get the Physician, that’ll be one of their abilities?
I hope that eventually Hearthlings can marry and make children so not everyone is a random new face coming into town due to immigration; it’d be cool to see your town founder’s children helping to aid the town when they’ve grown up. Now you can name your Hearthlings that you start with, but you can’t name Immigrants…

[quote=“Houten, post:3, topic:14510”]
Having even a small bonus like stun, bleed, chance to ignore def can provide benefit to different weapon type. And having a separate line of weapon upgrade per weapon type is vital to this idea too.
[/quote] Yeah, there would need to be more variety in the weapons. As it stands there’s only one polearm as of now, the pike, and it’s Iron ingot only. There definitely should be bronze, iron and steel versions of all weapons, as well as new weapons of each category if this were implemented.

Another big thing to add would be Fine (or Masterwork) weapons and armor. Special weapons and armor made with extra care and more resources that have unexpected qualities to them.

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Hello Kav, thank you for the detailed insight into what-is and what-could-be. Due to the current approach, the emphasis of the game is on city building with a little conflict simulation. Which is what many people like about this game. I am with MajorFordson when he says

“I don’t know if combat would need to be as complicated as you make out…”

and I am with you that a little more depth (and more important: balance!) is needed.

However, I think we are not going to see any major changes in the combat system until archers arrive, as they might give the whole defense thing a completely new spin.

I am still looking forward to one or two of your ideas being implemented.

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I don’t remember if the devs have said anything specific about it, but I think its safe to say that the reason the Footman can equip any armor or weapon right now is for testing purposes. With more diverse fighting classes, they’ll doubtless restrict what items a Footman will equip. Since his default armor is 5 and all the armor that is 5 or weaker is tagged “light armor” in the mod, it is pretty certain he’ll only go after heavy armor in future. No doubt archers will use only light armor.


Nice Topic and I am with you in almost everything since I like RPG.
You should include bows (I think that there is no need for special arrows) and magic (I hope that will be implemented too, since a few screenshots showed a wizard/magician).

But maybe your approach could be too complicated too.

I personal really like it but maybe this is too much.
Why not break it down to, one handed and two handed weapons with tier/level system.

On each tier/level the two handed weapon makes more damage than the one handed but you can equipt a shield with a one handed weapon.
Now you only have to choose, two handed for more damage or one handed for more defense.

Still, there will be room for elemental damage.


This is really good! Although the balancing is the only thing we can really apply to stonehearth at the moment, I totally agree that we have some balancing issues going on here.

How about having a bonus for a complete set of weapons, a fully equipped soldier should have an additional courage advantage providing him to be a much more fierce fighter than a partially equipped one.

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That sounds good! Like, if I were a goblin, and I saw a hearthling decked out in full steel armor with a steel longsword/ two handed sword, I’d be pretty scared!

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I kind of agree with the other poster on how I don’t think I want combat/fighting to be too complex as it loses the focus of the game (this isn’t Mount & Blade).

As it is now, if you have a major city (like in my Pinewood post), the system begins to chug big time as the AI has trouble getting to anything worthwhile in your village. With some intuitive construction, you can create underground storerooms and treasure chambers and completely fudge the AI.

For example, in my town I created multi-story storehouses with storage plots. The enemy AI has a terrible time figuring out how to get to them. Several times daylight comes before the undead are able to figure out how to get to my valuables.

One thing that I would like the ability to have is to be able to assign what equipment a hearthling gets. I use parties to manage most of my town. I end up having to demote the town guard so that the soldiers get the weapons/armor I want them to have. Once they grab the improved weapons, I then re-assign the other hearthlings to the same job.

Well, actually in the original concept combat was supposed to count as an entire playstyle…(part of the reaso I bought it, since it seemed unique to mix the two) the stonehearth/stonehearth page has mysteriously disappeared though -_-

So now I am worried, because I want to be able to Send my units into dungeons, destroy villages. As was originally part of the idea for the game.

, so I think combat should be a bit complex as in more stuff. To OP, interesting ideas and a good thing to read an ponder, also I like the way you formatted your post.And the differences between the weapon types was genius.

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And that hasn’t changed. Perhaps how we thought it would be implemented may be different, but other than that it’s all there now.

You’re going to have POI’s just like the goblin war camp. Eventually the whole map will be opened up (currently only 1/4th of the generated map is used).

On this entire map you’ll have Places of Interest (POI for short). Church ruins with undead that spawn at it and an undead liche boss, Dungeons on the side of cliffs, additional goblin camps, and so on.

You then form parties using the current system and place a rally point at one of these POIs. I know it’s not very fancy, but that seems to be the direction it’s all going.

The only thing they need now is the ability to pic what equipment a specific hearthling gets. If you’re forming these parties you’re going to want to make sure that the right hearthling (with the right skills, level, and stats) has the right gear to be able to be sent to these.

I think the real issue with choosing what each hearthling gets is that it can get very micro-managey. Also, I don’t think that a church is the kind of place where you’d find undead, abandoned or not, seeing as it’s all holy and junk.

It was just an example, not to be taking literally, just examples of points of interest.
Undead church I meant like this:

I suppose I meant a crypt not a church perse. But ruins of an old church to Cid, now overrun by undead would be cool. You’d send some of your heroes there to defeat the undead liche priest that’s making it his home (and sending undead minions every night to your village).

That’s the sort of thing I was aiming for :smiley:

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i beg to differ,

in a lot of fantasy/medieval styled games/books/movies the churches graveyard is full of undead, and generally have to be cleared out to make the church “cleansed/holy” again.

or that seems to be the case a lot of times.