First a small aside;
What really drew me to this game was its similarity to dwarf fortress. I love games where you can designate work that needs to be done, and then just sit back and watch the denizens of your town go to work building and enjoying all you’ve set out for them. That being said, I’m also a sucker for pure RTS games (though I’m admittedly worse at them than I’d like to be), selecting units, gathering resources, and building up an army based on research trees in matches that span 1-2 hours appeals to me as well.
However, when mixed together, this can lead to dangerously clunky situations. That’s what I think of the initial combat pass of Stonehearth. Fun, but frustratingly clunky. It takes the RTS approach to commanding troops, which is fine in an RTS game, but Stonehearth must integrate these troops with the “set it and forget it” method the game currently employs for all other job management.
As a result I’ve had troops try to run and sleep when fighting, causing them to back-stagger and take more hits than necessary. Whenever I try to move a unit out of the way of danger, they’ll simply run full speed back to their deaths. Whenever I set a unit to “guard”, they’ll promptly abandon their post and sprint at the nearest enemy despite their current health.
Personally I feel like the method of military control is disconnected from the style and feel of the rest of the game. I’d much prefer a much broader approach to military, the ability to say “group A, fight here.”, pray I’m prepared enough, and watch have the troops respond somewhat intelligently (run away when low health, gang up on dangerous enemies, etc). In my opinion this feels much more in line with the goal oriented style of the game as it currently lies. Trying to control individual units that just end up doing whatever they’re behaviors are set to is frustrating, especially when high level military units die. I’d prefer to watch combat happen as I might watch the Hearthlings building a building, instead of losing a fight because I stopped paying attention to my archer for 2-3 seconds as he runs face-first into a group of kobold wolves.
What are some other thoughts? Do some agree? Some disagree? I’d love to hear what others think on this subject.