((absolutely skippable, just a rant just like the whole thing ))
The year 2013, craziness about thing called kickstart was happening and me and my friend were interested too, we are big into co-op/multiplayer games and we saw Stonehearth. Great looking, interesting game with promises of many things, including the most important ingredient, and no it is not the bonus dog/cat you get, it was multiplayer. Friend and me, still in highschool, gathered up $50 which is not small amount in Croatia to be honest. And we pledged to the game. The years have passed now the team has moved twice from home office to big office and from promises of game coming out in 2014 to it ending up still being in alpha in 2017, we have lost sadly much interest in the game.
But I look at the updates now and then, when I get them in mail, and I saw the updated roadmap, as any other person here I was very excited, I watched the video, looked at the roadmap, the future focus and everything, but something bothered me. I did not see any mention of multiplayer, of course I ctrl+F and typed multiplayer, and there it was on the bottom “Don’t worry…” after 4 years of waiting, it’s still in a phase of don’t worry and I guess it’s fine as long as the game keeps getting updated and moving towards the end goal of being awesome. But what rustled my jimmies is now a mindset of developers for not even taking multiplayer seriously.
It’s simple, the multiplayer was a core idea from the start, which got my friend and me and probably others into actually supporting and buying this game. What does sound better than having fun by yourself? Having fun with others. Which I believe can be achieved by this game if done properly. Things that could be done in multiplayer: building, defending, conquering. Same stuff you can do in singleplayer, but with friends.
I have seen a topic or two suggesting what to do, and I agree on one thing only, and that is having a hero/elder/mayor or however you wanna call a guy who can be a endgame for you as a player. Your hero should be strong through the game but not invincible, so he can fend off a few enemies at the beginning until you get your village set up properly and later on he can lead a group of valiant soldiers to whatever quest was given at the time.
- PvE aspect: or Co-op if you will. You as players start normally as in singleplayer, but lets say there is a AI kingdom, to which you have to pay tribute as you are it’s loyal subjects. This way it adds a difficulty factor to the game, tribute to the AI - difficulty. Now let’s not forget our common enemies, goblins and what have you not which will still attack you now and then AI might aid you or not. As the game progress the AI might get greedier, it might ignore your pleas for whatever problem you have, and the chances are you’d get sick of it, so sick that once you get a big enough army with your friend you attack your AI kingdom city and have it as a win condition?
Conclusion: Get bigger than AI, kill it, win
- PvP aspect: as I am not much into PvP it might be a standard RTS game where you spawn on random place, build, find others and kill eachother. This kind of game mode should not be long, with limited buildings, resources, objectives and only focusing on military part which is kinda foolish in a friendly base building game as Stonehearth but as I said it’s not my cup of tea. And of course the hero is still present in this game mode.
Conclusion: Get stronger army faster, capture valuable resources before, win
- Pure Stonehearth: Just the standard singleplayer, but with friends!
Now, I’ve seen some even say that you want to make a AI that continues playing for the players after they disconnect, but why? If you play multiplayer you want to play with your friends at all times, so I don’t see reason for any special AI controllable player villages or what have you not, if any of the players decide to stop playing the other of course should be able to continue the save but I guess he gets all the other villagers under his control?
I believe in this game, I want to see it in it’s glory and I want you not to look at multiplayer like it’s your weird third cousin who picks his nose and puts boogers everywhere he goes. You guys got yourself a nice team, nice offices and everything, so use them please.