Has great potential. I have already spent 145 hours playing the game and I am not likely to stop. However there are things that can be improved and should be improved. Some things that need to be reworked and some that need to be added. I see flaws in it, it is a bit of a unpolished diamond as they say.
I have done a lot of thinking how to solve some of the problems I see, and how I would have solved them if it were my choice. This has mostly to do with the flow of the game making it more fluid, some bug fixing and some small changes, that should impact the game in a positive fashion.
- The default -starting- profession, a “Jack-of-all” trades. Better for shorter distance transfers and movement of materials. Helps out digging foundation and building unless there is a builder and does the general harvesting/mining/woodcutting. - Think of it as a profession that keeps your inner city working.
The Shepherd is currently a very weak profession with the exception of it mostly being the only way to get a hold of some items like feathers and different materials for the cook profession.
Currently it needs constant micro management, having to manually make the Shepherd slay the animals making for a very inconsistent income of resources for your cooks and other professions needing the resources it provides. What I would suggest would be population control that you can enable or disable by your choice. If enabled the Shepherd will automatically slay any animals that goes over the population cap for the enclosure, providing resources for your other professions. If disabled, the population cap stops producing more new animals until manually slain, and will not produce new animals if at the cap.
- A more specialized type of worker that tries to solve long-distance loot transfers by moving the materials needed closer to the crafters needing them.
Herbalist lives on the opposite side of the town, far away from any herbalist materials, meaning it is a very long distance to walk for crafting a single thing. There is a nearby storage area, it has a lot of space for materials and is not full. The carrier does a check on where the materials is needed, and for what crafter that is most likely going to need it. It then decides on moving a bulk of it, but not all of it over to that location. Just to make sure that the original storage area does not go completely empty of the material in case some other crafter or worker nearby needs it.
The carrier also does the long-distance and bulk restocking of items. Transporting the building materials to large scale building projects, but only does the building materials for these, not the smalller items like rugs, chests, chairs.
Lvl 1 – Speed up – Long distances has increased the Carrier’s traveling speed.
Lvl 2 – A good sign – Your crafters become happier if they see the carrier carrying materials they need. Giving them +5 happiness!
Lvl 3 – Backpack size +6 – Having traveled long-distances with a heavy inventory has made the carrier strong enough to carry even more!
Lvl 4 – Which way was it again? – When not on a road the carrier walks faster then it normally would. Increases traveling speed.
Lvl 5 – What’s this? - Has a rare chance to find rare materials and coins while traveling, and has also a chance to find rare Merchants if outside of the city. - Changed the name from ‘Lucky roads’ to ‘What’s this?’
Lvl 6 – Pack Mule – If your Shepherd has a Horse/Llama/Camel/Yak/Buffalo/Donkey/Mule/Reindeer/Ox it can requisition one for better carrying abilities. It also needs a saddlebag from your Weaver, and animal food from the cook. - It is a very strong perk, which should have a lot of requirements
You can choose to make way-points between different storage areas which the carrier will move between, prioritizing it above the other storage locations.
Saddlebag: Has multiple versions, one for increased chance of finding rare materials. One for faster movement speed, one for more storage and one for slight increase to finding rare Merchants.
New encounter: Rare Merchant encounter, which has a chance to sell very rare schematics, seeds and other rare items.
Builder: A specialized builder to help build your greatest monuments and biggest achievments.
Lvl 1 – A new beginning – Can build Tier 1 standard buildings and has a slighly faster speed when going to a build site.
Lvl 2 – All roads lead to… – Increases the efficiencty of material use and speed of building roads.
Lvl 3 – The builder has learned how to build wooden buildings more efficiently, reducing the build time and material costs.
Lvl 4 – Going up – Uses less time to build ladders, and has a reduced material cost for ladders.
Lvl 5 – The builder has learned how to build stone buildings more efficiently reducing the build time and material costs.
Lvl 6 – Can now construct the most elaborate buildings around using schematics sold by merchants or earned through challenges.
Profession quests to unlock Masterwork item, Legendary items and earning more building schematics.
Challenges to get bonus buffs to crafting, building, farming, trading, unlocking items.
Challenges can be things like:
Completing a building in X amount of days:
In effect the game does a check for amount of beds per Heartling or amount of dining seats per Hearthling to make you build a building to help towards giving access to all your Heartling a bed/place to dine)
Create a road that reduces the time spent between storage depots:
Has some requirements, like if there is a house between the storage areas, it might ask you to connect to it. Making it help branch out the feel of you making an actual town/city. Having a minimum distance would of course be needed so you don’t just have to make a road that is only 5x1 in size and prevent you from making a single-block road just because it is easy. - Could give you speed increase while on roads, or even off the road if some requirements are met
Create a “Starter pack” for fellow settlers traveling through your town/city. Basic crafting materials, some tools like a wooden sword, farming tools and food.
Said group of Hearthlings should appear in your town around your banner, and might walk around exploring it looking for inspiration as to how they can make a town of their own. If you have some features that is very well developed like: roads, farming, animal care, defensive walls. It might give you an extra bonus that you will get later down the road when your fellow settlers have made their new home.
Problems, Gripes & Bug solving:
Town/City building is mostly a impossible thing to do unless you have a very strong computer.
For reference I personaly would say I have very good specs.
i-5 4670K running at 4.6GHz, 16GB 2133MHz RAM, GTX 1070 being the most noteworthy hardware to mention.
- This results in me being able to have 13 buildings + 1 defensive wall, some organic shaped farmland and some outdoor non-chest storage, with the framerate dropping to 10 at night, and to around 20-40 if I pan away from the city varying wildly. - On mostly the lowest settings and draw distance.
- Considering the style of choice, more on the stylized, simplistic (But still very good looking) it should not be able to drop that much in frames as there really is not that much going on. And at this point it randomly crashes the game
- Inventory cap hinders the ability to build an actual city without having a lot of Hearthlings. Having it bound to Hearthlings does harm to people wanting to create a beautiful town or city. More then 20 Hearthlings severely decreases the frame rate and reaction of the UI. (Ever tried dragging the crafting items in a workshop while having 25+ Hearthlings?)
I think a lot of the problems with the games consistency is related to the complexity of the AI, an AI that is flawed in it’s scope.
- Hearthling collecting food from a farm → Becomes hungry → Drops food item → Heads over to the same resource storage as the food would need to go to → Picks up food (Which it already was carrying before it got hungry) → Eats the food → Goes off on a quest to talk to a chicken on the other side of the city → Rinse repeat
Hearthling goes to collect loot from a killed opponent (Which is normally far away from the actual village/city) → Becomes hungry → Either drops the item it was supposed to get or just turns around if the Hearthling has gotten the loot yet → Walks ALL the way back to the city to get food → Meaning 2x distance with 0 results to boot → Rinse repeat
This all sums up as a very inefficient way to build a city or anything bigger then a couple of houses. As this applies to a lot of other things.
This also often results in a random block of building material on top of houses that has been left there by a Hearthling that suddenly got hungry, which is an annoyance.
Make sure that the Hearthling goes to the storage/destination with their current inventory. That should make the consistency of the game have much less problems when it comes to waiting on materials you need and the efficiency of carriers and workers.
Make sure the Hearthling finishes it’s action unless it is at harm of killing itself in the process. This should help the flow of building, especially if it is some distance away from the storage depot.
- I’ve noticed that in the latest unstable build, it seems that the AI for the wolves have taken up the AI of the ‘Thieves’ goblins. They seem to be not interested in fighting, instead going directly to my storage area wanting to eat up all my ores and other items there. Not quite sure that is intended.
- Having the ability to have more dynamic farm size and shape. Having the ability to ‘link’ farm plots of the same type to make a dynamic shape instead of having to make a lot of square shapes that makes the farmland itself look weird because the lines don’t align properly.
- Currently the Zoning tool both for farmland and for animal zones is very hard to work with. It does not allow for organic looking areas and does not allow you to have a more relaxed organic design to make it look better. I would suggest as I did in the farming section, that you could 'link" zones together as long as it is of the same kind. Sheep to sheep and corn to corn sections making it ‘fake’ that it is one big zone instead of a lot of smaller zones so that it can get to the harder-to-reach places giving it a more organic look.
Having built a lot in this game, I have noticed that a lot of the time I have already built items like wooden wall lanterns, doors, chairs, beds, windows. And the builders don’t actually use them. Even if a crafter has made new ones via the auto-queue system and made new ones to use, which they don’t use either. I think there is a bug in it where it tries to not use higher rarity items? Or forgets to do a check on the inventory, leaving them more or less in a void not being used.
I normally sell off any items that has been leftover after a building project is done. To make sure I only make the amount needed, not impacting the town inventory cap as much. It is often that I need to re-make new windows as an example, because they won’t use what is already made, or is being made by the crafter.
- The game has some weird lighting system, currently showing a lot of things as blinding bright.
- Another problem is trying to build buildings, or edit them before building. Where first of all, you are simply blinded by it for some reason. Another problem is that if you use the custom blocks, where you shape a building yourself you can no longer attach a floor on top of it, but can however add it to the sides of the shape. As seen in this super bright picture.
I hope all of this has been of some use. And I would like to thank you for reading my thoughts on a otherwise great game. I do really love it. And I think that if some changes would be made to the game, even just some minor things like the zoning change it might make the game feel much better to work with then it has been.
On a minor side note, it would have been really nice to just be able to tweet some small things to Stonehearth on twitter. Let people post their towns and cities, and show off to the world. I would have loved to just scroll through tweets of different builds and smart solutions and designs there.
- Added more content to flesh out the building section more
- Added some small changes to classes
- Fixed wording on a lot of the content
- Fixed typing errors