Concerns with Gongs

Let me start off by saying I love the direction that the Radiant team has taken combat. The fact that players actually need to incorporate strategy into defending their town is something I really hoped we would see in later development, and now that it’s actually being put into the game I am very excited.

Something that I was not entirely excited about however was the introduction of gongs.

For those of you who haven’t seen the May 3rd Desktop Tuesday, a slew of new enemy classes are being introduced. These changes are all fantastic and I can’t wait for them to be released in the next Alpha. However, one of the changes deals with the “GameMaster” and how enemies are dispersed.

Certain types of Kobold enemies will drop decorative hats, which will allow for the creation and construction of scouting “Gongs”. Placing a Gong into your city will signal to the “GameMaster” that your town is ready to take on harder enemies.

Now, if we remember back to the early days of the kick-starter campaign; Tom and Tony proposed a completely different mechanic that would decide how enemies and challenges were dispersed. The original concept was that the “GameMaster” would be able to detect how many military defenses you town had, and would then deploy enemies that would match your towns defensive ability.

So for example, if you built up a ton of knights and had them heavily armed, your town would then be a larger target for raids and harder enemies would be thrown your way. Whereas if you had a town full of farmers and only one or two footmen, you would only be occasionally raided - still enough to challenge you, but not enough to completely overrun you.

This whole concept of adding in “Gongs” really irks me because it is removing a sense of automated gameplay flow. It makes the game happen less naturally and forces you to manually tell the game how to work.

An example of how this may be a bad mechanic would be another city building game - Sim City. In Sim City there are randomly dispersed natural disasters that can occur. If Maxis was to introduce a similar Gong mechanic to Sim City, the player would have to signal to the “GameMaster” that he was ready to take on natural disasters.

This sort of thing completely removes fluidity and challenge from the game. It makes things much easier on the player and that is something I really don’t like. This essentially removes an entire competent of challenge from the game. It’s like playing in peaceful mode on Minecraft.

I am 100% in support of a Game Master that detects how a player is playing the game, and delivers an experience that would best suit that play style.

I am not however in support of a Game Master that has to be told when the player is ready to actually play the game.

The only way I would be partially satisfied with this Gong concept is if there was some sort of significant incentive (something that the game has been missing for a while now in many departments) that would give players a reason to activate a gong, rather than just an additional challenge and possibly nicer loot drops from enemies.

So perhaps (in addition to allowing for harder enemies) a gong might allow a player to support increased population - or maybe activating a gong will boost morale for all citizens. Maybe even gongs could improve the trade deals from traders that stop by. Anything that gives the player extra incentive to activate a gong than just additional challenge.

Thank you for reading my wall of text, and please remember that this is all just my opinion - whatever that is worth.


I get what you’re saying but I don’t mind the gong for now because it seems like it’s limited to one campaign arc – the Orc invasion campaign.

Hopefully, once the game gets fully developed, there will be a lot more potential storylines and content and that stuff will be assigned more dynamically (via “gamemaster” or however).

In an ideal scenario, doesn’t this game has an automated dev feedback feature? Hopefully they include the gongs in that feedback measure and use them to gather data on when players feel ready / are ready for various challenges, and that in turn helps them build and tweak the “gamemaster.”


@OP, did you even try the changrs? To me it sounds like you dislike the mechanik without havin used it. Trust me, the game DOES still get harder without sounding gongs, they are just a way for players to have some control over story progression and especially difficult raids.

I don’t think you read or understood my post in its entirety. I have played the game with these changes on the unstable version and it has not affected my stance.

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I did read it in it’s entirety and still, most i read referred not to experience, but to things the devs said or a more arbitrary dislike of the concept than actual in-game issues. I see where you’re coming from, you don’t want the game to be too simple and also seem to get a feeling of being cheated by the devs who promised you glorious ai and gave you a gong. If it was this simple, i’d be with you, but i think the game still has the gamemaster to a degree, just the bonus challenges are initiated by the player, which does no harm imho.

I don’t think you should be rewarded for neglecting to build up your military. Investing in soldiers at the expense of farming shouldn’t be shooting yourself in the foot.

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You still get attacked by groups of two trolls + Kobolds without using a gong. How can you neglect military then? (This is of course in hard mode, I haven’t played normal with the patch)

I wouldnt look at it as the devs neglecting their ai, but rather acknowledging that they must set the difficulty at a certain level, and the gongs are a way for those who want more of a challenge, to get that.

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Different problem with Gongs:

The hats you need for them never drop and the kobolds who drop them have an incredibly annoying tendency to POOF away before you can kill them.


Ive been playing for hours trying to get a hat

its been awhile since I was on the discourse (real active early on) and I love your pic.


I see your issue. Call me a optimist but right now gongs are limited to the red kiln campaign (and note I havent gotten to that campaign yet since it was just added) so hopefully they will still improve the gamemaster further.


The gongs are a way to tell the GameMaster that the player wants more of a chalange, not that they want to activate some sort of feature that is otherwise locked or inactive.

Say the difficulty progresses in a 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3, 3… Ect
Than makeing a gong will make it move like this 1, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2(gong), 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4…

That isn’t an accurate way to explain it, but you get the gist,

Even if it didn’t exist, the player wouldn’t survive with only 1or 2 footman forever, the game will get difficult anyways, and the gongs are just a way to accelerate it

Hi there!

First of all, thank you for the feedback! We’re always happy to take suggestions about combat, and we are working hard to make it a fun and challenging experience.

The intention behind the gongs was not to in any way undermine the game master’s monster spawning mechanics. We have two types of monster encounters (raids and ambient mobs), each meant to give the player a different experience. Ambient mobs can be engaged with whenever the combat units wish to, and also provide a danger to the environment (ex. it can be dangerous for trappers to set up their traps too far away from town, since they may encounter monsters in the forest and not have footmen to help). Raids encourage you to keep your town’s defenses up, invest in building up a strong army, and stay alert for increasingly challenging threats.

This was a way of giving players an additional option, and get a bonus challenge if that is the type of experience they are looking for. As an example, in rpgs, you can often run to an open area to kill monsters that spawn at a regular and level up your character, but you have much less control over the combat you encounter in Stonehearth. Gongs give you a way get extra raids and have some control over the difficulty of those extra raids. That being said, the gongs do not give you control of raids in general and were not added only as a means to add more raids. They are entirely a part of the Orc Campaign and play a big role in the story progression of that campaign. They behave on top of the current game master raids and can be ignored if one does not want the extra raids.

We will continue to tweak combat gameplay and this is certainly food for thought. I hope my explanation makes at least some sense as to where we are coming from in regards to the gong.



I was going to say this. If you watched the video, they specifically explain that the GameMaster will still be sending you raids automatically whether you use gongs or not. They are more of a raid storyline than an actual combat mechanic.

I like the gong mechanic as I see it as a means to ask the player “how do they want to play Stonehearth?”

  • Do you just want to build an awesome city with a few random fights?
    – Don’t use gongs and enjoy ambient threats or random encounters.
  • Do you want to build while fighting back a growing horde?
    – Bang that gong and bring em on!
  • Don’t want the gong mechanic?
    – Mod it out!

Linda wrapped an amusing story around the gongs with the Red Kiln which I thought was very clever. The gong’s are a great mechanic that allows us choice in how we progress. The Red Kiln are crazy warriors that only want to fight equals, and the only way our hearthlings can prove their strength is to build a gong that proves we’ve defeated their warriors of a certain caliber. That’s great story for our colorful world right?

I’m sure a good number of us are hunting down those dirty kobolds to make gongs and we’ll just build them as soon as we can so we aren’t delaying progression outside of the RNG on the drop. It’s along the same lines as getting pendants from certain dungeons to save the princess from Ganon, collecting certain items to open whatever door. path or portal the game has guarding the boss, advancing a tech tree or social ladder to win the scenario or even drop a guide doll into a pit of lava.

We could see the gongs as a luck mechanic that many Diablo players love - how many scouts did you have to kill? oh man only 2? Lucky! I had to kill 40! right?! ugh. I know I was quite happy when I got my first hat to build my first gong, that was great!

Oh and I recall one version of SimCity that did have something similar to the gong specifically for natural disasters as we could trigger them when we wanted. I think it was SimCity 2000. Good way to see if you built your zones well or not. :wink:

I have to say I think it would be good to have nonstory based rewards come from the gongs. Maybe they attract more merchants or something. Possibly since the hats are worn because of the wealth godess, they could give better trading.
Also, its nice to see an old map gamer back @untrustedlife