My Analysis of the Class System

To begin, I really like Stonehearth a lot. It’s a fun, enjoyable game that I like the look and feel of. It’s charming and overall I like it. However, after my first few restarts I started to notice something that I felt is deeply flawed in this game and needs to be properly addressed before any more is added to it. That, in my opinion, is the class system.

As anyone who has played the game knows, there are different classes your hearthlings can become by fulfilling certain criteria. When you start out, everyone is a Worker. They have no level ups and gain no experience. All hearthlings promote upwards from here. For the “first” classes (as I’m calling them; please blame Ragnarok Online for this) you generally just need to get the right tool for the job. What you can initially promote to, as far as I know, changes depending on if you’re using the Ascendancy or Rayya’s Children. I generally play as the Ascendancy, so this will be described from their perspective. If that isn’t the case, oh well.

Class promotion usually involves crafting the tool and having someone promote into the job. Footman, Carpenter, Mason, Farmer, Trapper, Blacksmith, Weaver, and Herbalist are the initial classes to pick from. From there, the hearthlings will earn experience with their job and then after reaching a certain level, they can advance to the next job in their branch. Footmen can become Archers or Knights. Masons can become Potters. Farmers become Cooks. Blacksmiths move up to Engineer. Herbalists turn into Clerics. Trappers become Shepherd. That much works well enough as things are. Unfortunately, promotion to second classes is exactly where I feel the problem begins and doesn’t stop.

Experience is a collective pool for a given hearthling that spans across all of their jobs. Let’s say… Mel is a hearthling that I make a Herbalist. When she becomes level 2 Herbalist and then becomes a Cleric, she is still considered level 2. To earn a level in Cleric, she needs to earn enough experience equivalent to level 3 Herbalist. The problem compounds over time. The problem becomes time with just this alone. You have to weigh the time it would take to, say… have Mel take Herbalist to max, then change to Cleric and gain any further levels VERY slowly versus simply taking Herbalist to 2 and changing to Cleric immediately. It puts more value into streamlining the growth of your Hearthlings as opposed to taking them to their highest potential. At the same time, this chains into another problem.

What I feel is the second problem starts when a hearthling levels up and gains perks from doing so. Let’s say… Betty is a Footman that you plan on being a Knight. Let’s say you’re streamlining her, so when she hits level 2 Footman, you bump her up to Knight. Along the way, Betty unlocked the job abilities “Damage Up 20%” and “First Responder.” Unfortunately, when she promotes to Knight, poof! Suddenly those perks don’t exist to Betty as a Knight, which makes no sense. Why does her previous experience (in the form of Job Abilities) as a Footman suddenly go away when she becomes a Knight? If anything, those abilities should be retained so she can do her job as a knight better. The same thing goes for the crafting classes. They even forget how to do their previous job. Unless it’s changed and I haven’t seen it, Cooks can even do proper farming any more; they just do half the job. Even only some of the the abilities would be helpful. This feeds into the first problem and they just loop into each other.

Now, my suggestions for these two things that I feel are problems. First, experience for classes should be kept within those classes. If you need 100 exp to level a Footman to level 1, then swap them to a Herbalist for some reason, it takes 100 exp to get to level 1. Doing it this way can encourage the player to put more time into a hearthling and give them more staying power. It also allows for more beneficial class swapping if for some reason you’re short handed or you just need that extra healer to put a couple hearthlings back on their feet instead of just one. It also lets players who play with smaller towns make each hearthling that much more valuable to the community.

The second suggestion I have is to allow abilities from other classes to remain in effect through class changes. It doesn’t even need to be every ability. To go back to my examples, it would be nice to have Betty do a little Herbalist work and earn that HP regeneration passive, then become a Footman to train up and then become a Knight after maxing out Footman, maybe keeping the first damage bonus and the speed bonus. Both of these would allow a hearthling to become more valuable, especially in smaller towns.

Well, that’s just how I feel about the class system. No where in this do I mean that these are, for a fact, a problem. I’m expressing my opinion on the matter and my suggestions on how to fix the perceived problems. If you disagree, that’s fine and I’d be open to some civil chatting. However, please do not attack me as if I said these are factually problems.


First off, welcome to the Discourse and thanks for sharing your opinion! :jubilant: While it would be nice to have shared perks and the experience limit relaxed this could potentially break certain aspects of the game.

The problem with allowing hearthlings to keep some of their perks and not having a “penalty” for experience is that we get super hearthlings. You’d end up with a town full of hearthlings that are max level on every class, have a ridiculous amount of hp (currently you DO keep the bonus HP you get for leveling up in different classes), be able to carry more, move faster, regen health, etc. Players would feel they’re doing their hearthlings a disservice by NOT going out of their way to level up each one to nab the extra perks. This diminishes the unique qualifications of individual hearthlings and the classes themselves as you’d end up with a town of cookie cutter hearthlings. Everyone regenerating health would be great, but would minimize the need for clerics. They’d have to make sure that they’re not diminishing the value of the clerics themselves, or any class for that matter, taking each combination of perks into account.

Like you said some of the perks could be off limits, but which ones? Are those going to be agreed upon universally by players? Are we allowing the speed boost from farmers and the speed boost from footmen? Can they stack? Are they going to have to classify perks and limit the number of a particular type?

Allowing a free for all perk grab so you can create a town of godlike hearthlings would trivialize combat . If all hearthlings have this potential then why are goblins, orcs, wolves, or undead even an issue? Why should my fighting force disengage and rush back to town to protect everyone else when everyone in town can regen health, have astronomical amounts of hp, and potentially do decent damage by slapping some combat damage+ perks on em? This creates a balancing nightmare, as enemies would need to be stronger to compensate for the added hearthling potential to keep combat relevant, potentially negating the benefits of even having the added perks. It also punishes players that don’t grind all their hearthlings up and could make it easier for early game mobs to wreck fledgling settlements. They would have to adjust the system that evaluates the town’s military might to take cross class perks into account.

What is the associated risk for such a reward? I could understand a unique, rare, hard monster camp spawning and potentially dropping an item that allows a hearthling to “equip” a perk from another class, but just allowing a free for all comes with no risk for an incredible amount of power.

In your example Betty loses Damage up 20% and First Responder upon promoting to Knight. Knights wear heavier armor and shields she’s not gonna be zipping across the map with the added weight. The added weight is also gonna slow her swings, plus she’s focusing more on defense and less on offense, so there goes the Damage up 20%. Perhaps the Natural Regeneration perk from herbalist only works because of the herbalist’s constant handling of herbs. She didn’t really care about herbalism she just wanted the perk to make her a better fighter. Why should the nature spirits favor Betty when she’s obviously more concerned with running around beatin’ stuff up than working in harmony with nature? I understand this is a fantasy game, but we still need to be practical about some things or things get out of control.

I love games like Final Fantasy Tactics that allow cross class abilities, but even there once you’ve gotten the best possible combination of abilities/gear it’s pretty much gg unless you’re all about the story (amazing story I might add lol). If they were to consider having shared perks I’d highly recommend a similar system that limits the number of perks that can be equipped from other classes in this case 1 or 2. It could just be way too overpowered by allowing more without having to rebalance the perks to avoid game breaking issues. Any rebalancing for shared status would likely mean the value of said perks to the original class would suffer unless they made each buff have a lesser secondary effect when used as a shared perk.


I really would like to see this, it seems more natural.

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True, there might be “super hearthlings” created, but there are easy ways to mitigate that. There’s also the fact I didn’t articulate that in my post, so the worry is legitimate.

One solution is going through and hand picking what can be cross class and what can’t. That cuts such an issue down considerably. From there you could even reduce the effectiveness of abilities when you aren’t using their associated class. I’d say… 50% reduction would be a good place to start. It would allow for the job abilities to still be effective and desired, but keep them from being too much. Going in and stacking the same type of abilities (like movement speed up, to use one of your example) would be out the window; I agree that would be too much. Having only one of those being cross class would be best.

The idea you have Logo, would be another wonderful solution. Have one or two job ability slots that would allow the player to assign job abilities from other classes. It would force you to think about what you want, either due to personal preference or whatever is “the best” for that class.