Okay, I posted some of this already in the Roadmap Part 1 update last week, but as someone said, it would be a better idea to make one big post to put here in the forums. I figured “Community Feedback” would probably be the best place, although Suggestions would work as well.
I’ll put my TL;DR at the top, because this will get lengthy… simply put, a great “starter” that would satisfy many is a 2-player, co-op experience where nothing changes except perhaps enemy difficulty. It would solve a lot of complaints that multiplayer seems like it will never happen, because something will actually exist that proves you guys are still interested in making this a social experience.
Why multiplayer would be fun
There are a lot of reasons that multiple players existing in the same map add to the experience. For one, there is the simple joy of showing off one’s creations to others and getting feedback, in real time. Secondly, there’s the aspect of helping the other player survive, whether that be sending your army to their doorstep to fight off a monster invasion, or sending them resources to help them achieve some goal (a more advanced feature).
Quite a few of my friends have told me that they’re waiting for some form of this to appear before they buy Stonehearth. Until they can play with me or other people, they simply do not see the joy of playing this game… and I want to play with them. I can only build the same town with the same features so many times… playing with friends increases the randomness and uniqueness of the experience. It allows multiple people to share in something… whether that be the groans of defeat or some hilarious last-minute defense, multiplayer will make Stonehearth continuously fun, for much longer than a singleplayer experience.
Types of multiplayer
The most basic gameplay goal, the “alpha” of multiplayer, as I see it, is to allow two players to either synchronously or asynchronously interact. In other words, you could either have a way for say, two players to exist on the same map, or have a trading system with a player in a different “zone”.
Personally, I would prefer the synchronous route. The simple “two players existing in the same area” idea wouldn’t have any advanced features, like trading resources/hearthings or cooperating on building/quest projects… it would be two players, both in the same area, building their own towns. Of course, you could start simple by making both players forced allies. Then, you’d simply duplicate the monsters/challenges they will face, making both players have the single-player experience while allowing the other player to assist, if they can.
What we’re talking about might have to be balanced later, there’s no denying that. We’re stripping away the features that many expect with a multiplayer game, such as forming/breaking alliances, trading resources (and again, maybe hearthlings?), cooperating in quests or competing in challenges, and so forth. These are advanced features that would be implemented much later in development. Not to mention whether simply doubling the monsters in the area would be balanced enough for two players to deal with… but it would be a start.
If you wanted to go the “asynchronous” route, you could allow players to “gift” other players resources, or allow them to trade resources/hearthlings with each other, or something similar. Personally, I think that the synchronous route would be MUCH more enjoyable.
We appreciate what you do
You guys are awesome. I don’t think I’ve ever checked in on any game’s progress more than this one. Every update you have brings a fresh new idea that I itch to try out. And no one is saying you guys can simply snap your fingers and spawn a 2-player, forced-co-op, synchronous experience. But if you were to do so, if you were to give us something so basic as this, with no crazy features like trading, or competition quests, or shared quests, or endgame, or any of it, you would help all of us understand how multiplayer fits and even suggest new ideas way better than if you take multiplayer completely off the map.
It will help the modders because they’ll be able to do things with a co-op experience. It will stop (or at least massively slow) the complaints that you’ve “given up” on multiplayer because players will have tangible evidence that you haven’t. You will placate the doubters, inspire the most imaginative among us, and interest players who haven’t jumped in this wonderful world you’ve created because they don’t want to play alone.
You might not read this, and that’s okay. But I hope your plea for our interest in multiplayer was sincere. You’ve been nothing but awesome in responding to our feedback so far, so I have little doubt that you’ll at least see this.
Also, anyone who wants to add why they want multiplayer, please post in the comments below. Or post whatever you feel like
Thanks for taking the time, Radiant! You guys are the best!!!