Seeing as the personality system becomes more complex, I’d like to theorize how the current questing system can be improved. While I understand the team is currently occupied with other tasks no less important and interesting (namely, builder rewriting and water system), and these changes won’t see light in the nearest future (or at all), I feel it’s the perfect time to get comfy and dream a bit about them.
There are two ways I see the current system may be improved.
- Make the quest system (including “campaigns”) more “politic”- and “economic”-oriented.
I would like to see something probably in Civilization’s direction, but better and more interesting. For example, currently when we deal with goblin raids, we have only two options: paying the “tribute” (often imbalanced) or military resistance (with possible counter-offensive to defeat the chieftain and progress on the campaign further). With current relationship systems, however, we may have something much more complex. For example, we may try to “scare” goblins away by threatening them (which may or may not work depending on different factors - including some randomly generated goblin chieftain’s “stats” checked against our own). Or when we try to “buy our peace”, they might actually become more friendly and lessen the burden, maybe even “coexist”, protecting us from other dangers (especially if our town has good “political” stats - for example, good diplomats), or on the contrary, more aggressive and demand more next time (depending on our previous encounters and the “personality” of the chieftain we’re dealing with).
The same with trade - currently the prices and stock are more or less “fixed”, while it would be good to have some variation based on offer and demand (or its imitation) depending on the biome we live in and resources we have at our disposal - something like in SimCity where we can use the environment to our advantage and produce more energy to export it, or import garbage and recycle it, etc. Thus we may, say, find a good “farming” spot and create a (mostly) “farming town” to export food and import ore. Or harness the power of the river and specialize in mechanized processing (smelting, making flour, etc).
Some “natural” bonuses to landscape (like in Endless Legend) may actually make this even more interesting. Say, we have a plot of soil that is suddenly much more fertile that the rest. We discover it, we put some effort in actually researching this natural anomaly, then we try to use it to our advantage and change our trading patterns accordingly.
- Make randomly generated quests more interesting/natural. Also, moar of them.
Something that impresses me and repulses me at the same time is Bethesda’s (in)famous “Radiant AI”. Currently traders’ quests in Stonehearth resemble it as well as randomly generated quests from Starbound. I would definitely like more of it, and the new personality system can add a whole new touch to it, making it even more interesting than these examples. For example, in Starbound NPCs can “link” quests together, making a chain of “find X to do Y to get Z to finally achieve A and get an awesome reward”, only in Stonehearth hearthlings can actually remember we found their lost rabbit/saved their friend kidnapped by goblins/helped them create a party cake - this can dynamically influence their personality and further interactions.
And that’s only one example.