So I have pretty much played each of the releases to date to a point where the game is maxed out from a “what to do” perspective and have thought the following for about the last 4 releases… All of these I think add some more attainment objectives - once you get the camp/village self sustained (somewhere around 24 hearthlings in my view depending on army comp) you need more to do that is not just defending against increasing numbers of baddies… to some degree, a few of these can be “acheived” but deft tinkering of the filters in the current container systems but this is really “not-fun” and avoiding “not-fun” is a major area of game design.
this really came to the forefront with the advancement of the village quest. Adding “townships” to the game. This creates an “area” where all the hearthlings in that area belong to that township. This will allow you to create separate townships or resource camps around the map to take advantage of the resources in that area, set up trade between them and provide a different playing filed that needs to be defended. See additional points below that might add even greater complexity to such a system. This area could be available with a new class called “Mayor” who’s job it is to unlock town level functionality at it levels up. Ex… more township areas, better inter-village/camp long-distance roads that allow for faster travel times of hearthlings travelling on them (ie cart tracks to gravel roads to stone roads, watchtowers to place along the roads that provide early warning of baddies, etc…
resource management between stockpiles/containers. Add a new container that functions as both a holding element as well as a node for “transport” hearthlings to move between nodes. This will move us away from the necessity to have centralized mass storage that ALL have to cluster around to locales of activity - if point 1s. “townships” come into play this will allow for a agricultural hub, forestry hub, mining hub, fishing and trade hubs (these are new…see below). This will also require the creation of a new class, lets call them “vendors” for now. This Vendor will use a cart (there will be upgrades to the card and the vendors abilities) which is created and holds the items being transported. This vendor can move stuff around within a camp/viallage ore between them if #1 comes about. this will also require a mechanism to set a level/count of items to maintain (either as a min or max) that will drive the vendor to collect and reallocate resources around the map.
fishing craft. New class that extract fish from water bodies. The larger the body of water, the more frequent the spawn rate of fish that can be extracted. Tool for fisher starts as a fishing rod, but progresses up to nets. this adds a primary source of food … heck having a diversity of food types can even be a factor in town advancement and/or happiness.
trade, In its simplest form, trade between market stalls that you set up can generate a low yield of gold every day. Can have new class if wanted in the form of a “Merchant” or “Trader”, who operates one of these market stalls. Not only should there be inner village and inter-village trade on the game map, but also trade to the Capital where the Princess lives. This can be done via purpose build roads that go to the edge of the map for a "first order of trade to immediate neighbors, but also via trade ports on bodies of water that are attached to the edge of the map that allow second order trade to a larger world. Trade will auto trade x units of defined goods in the Trade Warehouse every day for a small to modest gold/day - not too much but enough. Trade out of the map is a big thing as it will set up supply chains from all levels of production to keep certain goods being produced. As it stands now, most of my early game specialists are not used in the late game as I have built all that I really need with only incremental things here and there. Heck we could implement layers of trade goods that require the cooperation of several specialists in concert to create the trade good and or simply allow the trade of basic goods that are already in the crafting menus.
Overhaul of tool. To keep the early specialists busy add a mechanism that degrades tools over time so that they have to be replaced. Enhance this with higher order tools that themselves might draw on multiple specializations to keep in stock. - ie wood hoe, stone hoe, metal hoe, stone plow, mule drawn plow (which adds mules to the game for the Sheppard to care for).
Re introduce things like paving stones, bricks, planks and such… just needing wood is ZZzzzZzzz to build a wood house, I want to have to have basic hovels and furniture that just stacks logs, second order houses and furniture that use crafted planks. Have basic horse track roads at first that can be upgraded with paving stones, etc… This will not only create a game play that has me increasing the capability of my skilled hearthlings and a production chain that they need to maintain, but will also have a game driver to take down and rebuild better looking structures as they come available via different mechanism. Right now, what I build is what stays and I have no current need for the new building templates provided by going to a Village.
New classes like the Mayor, Vendor and Merchant, etc, are all higher order specialist classes that necessitate a base level and self sustaining village to support them - more so than the existing specializations.
All of these in my mind create “interesting choices” and "things to “build towards” in how you build your beautiful little towns and create more and more complex supply chains for the hearthlings to keep humming… As it stands now, by the time i get to the camp advancement with one of the missions, I have a self sustaining village at about 22-26 hearthlings and nothing more to build for except perhaps aesthetics and that will only be fun for one or two play through before it gets tired.
Even if the Dev team decides that some of this too ambitious for their current plans, I think that most of these are relatively common game dynamics in the town-builder games of the last decade or more, so perhaps you could add the core coding early on in some way so that it does not require major overhaul once this game hits 1.0. I dont know what the long term strategy is for ongoing game development, if you intend to hit your 1.0 and that is it or if you see successive iterations of this game, but if the former, I really would like to see this game have more life through the mod community with some core mechanics built in.
Thank you for reading this wall-o-text.