LOL! But let’s be honest: Even the most advanced, most fancy modern military sniper rifle is still just the end of a line of incremental developments to fling rocks (or “rocklike, hard objects”) at your enemy.
I like the approach, but this doesn’t really solve the problem; it’s just another way of giving RC a free sword at the beginning, which the player could have done themselves by simply choosing one for the starter set (which in my opinion still makes most sense, as you then can also buy a farmers hoe, which is equally hard to get for RC)…
But to bring another idea to this storm (or rather extend on one briefly mentioned already): Why not merchants? RC is supposed to be the big trading faction, why not emphasize this? While it’s still a lot easier for RC to build market stalls (lvl 3 starting potter, only needs clay) compared to Asc (lvl 6 starting carpenter, needs wood and cloth), this doesn’t really help them, as a) a lvl 3 potter still takes some time, and the merchant is honestly borderline useless. Maybe this problem can be solved by an extension to the trading system. RC should be able to build market stalls even sooner, and players should have some degree of control, which merchant is going to arrive. After thinking about this a little, I came up with two variations:
I. There are several different market stalls, available at increasing levels with increasing resource requirements. E.g. the very basic booth is available for RC with a lvl 2, maybe lvl 1 potter and only requires clay, as it is right now, and higher level booths are available with higher levels of potter (maybe later even from other classes), and need more and more fancy equipment (maybe also some cloth, later some finished products like urns or crates, finally some metal bars and/or decorative things). Asc would go a similar way, but start later (so maybe their booths start at a lvl 5 carpenter, and then go through lvl 6 of carpenter, weaver, blacksmith and potter). All these booths have “quality levels” of their own, and the merchants you call with higher level booths have more variety of products, more stock of these products, higher quality items, and maybe even at some point more cash to buy stuff from you. For example the basic “lvl 1 merchant” is what we have now: only some 5-10 items of wood, stone and clay each, while a higher level merchant would easily have 30-50 items of these, refined metal bars, additionally things like fine furniture and high level weapons and armor. Also when you call a merchant by pressing the button, you don’t immediately get one and the same merchant, but different merchants. You could get a menu to specifically call a “stone mason” or a “wood dealer”, or you could just get one of them randomly, which then motivates to have several booths, so you can call multiple traders at once to increase the chances of getting the needed low level “arms dealer” to buy some wooden swords, shields, and maybe one leather armor from them.
II. A similar approach, but this time you don’t have multiple booths for the level (so all or at least half of the booths get unlocked with level 3 (2?) of potter for RC and level 6 of carpenter for Asc), but different booths for different merchants. The quality of the trader and their items increases either with your settlement value or simply but trading a lot with the individual traders, but you should again build a market place with several booths, so you can call all kinds of specialized traders. So in this variation you would specifically build an “arms dealer booth” (which might require some iron ore to craft), and after placement you can call a trader to buy all the required fighting equipment.
Wow, that derailed quite a bit… Anyway, opinions about this? I know that there’s already a mod out there for differently colored trading booths, but to my understanding, these are all mechanically the same, and only useful for decoration. The advantage of either of my suggested methods is, that it even makes sense from a gameplay point of view to build market places with multiple booths then.