What we would like to see changed about combat. (discussion)

I personally feel that combat should be a big part of this game, and given my 6 or so hours of play and time on the forums, I think the developers and players agree with me.

As it is, combat is very straightforward, you point, your footmen/knights/archers drop whatever they’re doing and attack as quick as possible. You can get the raw materials for weaponry fairly easily, the main challenge of gear production is getting your blacksmith to a high level. Enemies come in small, generally manageable numbers, and once you’ve walled off your city they do much but groan and bark at you. Finally, and worst of all, I don’t get much anything but exp for killing them. Sure, we get a bit of ore, but I want the famous sword of king rotface the zombie, that infects living enemies, or at the least has a cool glowing effect.

Stonehearth would be greatly improved if the developers add:

Varied weapon/armor, types and tiers: This is a fantasy game, there is no reason we can’t have powerful golden weapons, another couple of ore types for unique weapon types, different types of weapons at the same tier to suit our preference (dagger, sword, longsword, mace, spear, to name a few). Moreover, high tier weapons right now are very easy to make, negligibly harder than the low tier weapons once you have an appropriately leveled blacksmith. Epic (expensive) weapons we cannot make ourselves should be available from merchants. Non-weapon/armor clothing would be cool too, maybe boots of speed, or a standard that improves morale?

Enemies: They’re just aren’t enough for me! I recommend 5 tiers of difficulty, with higher difficulty increasing the quantity, not just the quality, of enemies. I know this could be resource intensive, but an “invasion” of four goblins just doesn’t have the same effect as even just 20 goblins banging on your walls. Also, all enemies of a type are more or less the same, adding ranks (goblin sergeant, goblin commander, goblin juggernaught, goblin archer), could help vary combat a bit more, and maybe even how you respond.

The walls: they should come down. I don’t know if they can, and my goblins just aren’t trying hard enough, but if you can’t defend your city, goblins and undead at the least should be a little more forceful.

Combat dynamics: Combat at the moment if very unsatisfying. My hearthling storm troopers (knights all the way boys) run to the enemy and cut them down. If I am feeling particularly tactful, I might put them at the outskirts of my city, and let them group up before crushing the enemy. We should be able to establish rudimentary tactics (knights in front, then footmen, then archers), and be able to force them to group up before joining combat. Furthermore, my darned soldiers should be able to carry potions into battle and drink them when they think it neccessary. I have lost many a foolhardly footmen because he thought he could 1v1 a varanaus irl, with only 1/4 health, which is very frustrating. On the opposite side, enemies should be able to be routed. A lowly goblin fighting my knight squad should run, and eventually my slow knights should give up if they can’t catch him.

Loot: The most important part of any combat is the reward. Sure safety is all nice and good, but there is so much more that goblin slaying could offer than just a few measly bits of ore and jerky. Enemies should drop 1. money/ore, 2. food/consumables, 3. rare/unique items for other purposes (vague, but something cool could be done), and 4. EPIC HAXOR weapons and armor. Money, ore, and food are just filler so we don’t feel too bad when we don’t get the cool stuff. Most of the time, all we should get is a few rusted swords, and a few pieces of jerky. However, very rarely, we should get a powerful piece of weaponry or armor we could not manufacture ourselves, corresponding to the power level of what we killed.

Now, I introduced a lot of ways we could improve the game. Fellow players, please let us know what you like, don’t like, and think needs to be added. If a developer comes across this page, I’d appreciate feedback on the ideas, even if it’s just to tell me “that’s a terrible idea, and would never work”.

tl;dr moar stabbies and shinies!


Although I agree, I think the real issue is that until recently, end-game and high-level stuff wasn’t even a consideration with the bugs and the performance issues. Only now are reaching the point where we can think about it and I’m excited to see what they implement for end-game. :slight_smile:

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Hmm idk, I had the same feeling with the combat being way to easy before the combat overhaul. but after a game on hard with the children of Rayya I found my self in a new challenge. And I was able to out level my blacksmith over my army units too. Mostly because my army died a lot an I had to have low level items to set up my army. Big part of this sandboxy game is to set your self a challenge.

On weapons, Its kind of counter intuitive to find the game already to easy and waned to have more powerful weapons. But I agree more variation is always nice. And I think they are planning on enchanting… trou the weaver…(don’t ask where I have read that.)

Enemies in my game I had 2 waves that made short wok of my army. 1 was 3 kobold wolfs with 5 kobold archers, and the other was an massive army of zombies and skeletons. (I think it might have been 20 of them idk for sure most of them where clipping)

The walls. Some build walls to keep others out, some build to keep others in. XD
Yea you can seal your self in rather easily, but there is no fun in that. would be the same as playing fallout and never leave the vault. personally I like a main entrance to be an opening in my walls. But I think they are planning on something to make the mobs bypass walls. Might be with ladders or so.

I agree it could use some more fine tuning. Like group movement, disengage/flee options. But I have routed loads of (living) enemies when they are low in health especially goblins.

I agree on the gold, that would be something useful, but I doubt goblins will be using it since they are mostly are trying to steal from me. On weapons. Its a bit say too think goblins and other lowlifes are better ad getting cooler more powerful weapons than my black smith. I rather have unique weapons and armour from more complex quest.
Maybe some kind of trophy item that is mob specific (zombie drops a black heart, goblins a broken flute etc) that is used in enchanting.

I need more coffee now XD


I am very new to the community, so I have known nothing other than this test build and the current stable build.

I understand what you’re saying, but I feel I should clarify something on my end. I play on hardmode and I have lost combat hearthlings, but once I have as many soldiers as I would want (6 knights in a village of 20, I like soldiers), I will be able to dispatch any enemy I have seen with impunity, with just a third of my force.

People are gonna want different levels of combat, and we have 3, but I feel that stratifying it further wouldn’t be too complicated, and would help the people who like having a rough time all the time, have that rough time.

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Love the idea of cooler looking weapons… however would cause a simple problem:

The problem with creating all sorts of visuals and effects means the system is much more complicated.

How does the AI know which weapon is better?
Are some weapons better sometimes but not others?
Why would the AI use one weapon over another?
Would an ‘epic dagger of stabbing + 2’ that has glowy blue flames and swings fast but only does 5 damage per swing be better than a ‘singing long sword of wales’ that drips water and swings very slow but does 20 damage per swing?

The point I’m making is that a lot of this is choice - player choice, not AI. So to do a system like this, it would require a much more robust way to tell the Hearthlings what to wear.

Not sure if I agree with this… I think ‘easy/medium/hard’ should be enough, but there could be a Diablo 3 style level of exponentially increasing difficulty. Shrug, would depend how long it takes vs. what features they would be giving up to make this. I think it’d be easier to make “hard mode” really hard and be done with it : /.

I believe this is planned already… think I saw that somewhere.

I agree this could be a little more interesting, but the things you suggested would really be decisions you make before battle, and again just let them do their thing - i.e. setting up marching orders and carrying potions. Something a little more dynamic and driving could be that each type of combat unit would have an ability (or two) with cooldown. That way the player has something to do during fights. However, it would also make it (at some point) that the player is required to be there for combat - which I think is somewhat against the spirit of the game? Not sure, they do have the herbalist potions… would have to see what the devs think.

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Id would be nice if we could choose which Weapon or Armor they take. So we could add new sets as Mod, or TR as content, And we could make a great looking army :slight_smile: Also the Enchant problem were solved, becouse our Soldiers take the best sword, or we tell them that this +2 armor-Penetration dagger is a better idea :).

Enemies: I think in the Future there will be a remake of the Quest system. So we are able to mod them better. At this Moment we will have a lot of fun with Hardcore Military quests :).

The walls: Pro destroy them, i want to see how the large golem punish it down!

Combat dynamics. Pro formations. But at this time i like it. A battle is normaly 2 groups which attack each other- Archer on range, the rest in fighting range. we have to do there only the micro to tell them they should go or not. A good Soldier die for his city to protect them, and no he is not able to see in this moment, if its nessasary or not, he is a HERO! (at least my Soldiers are Heroes :smiley: )


I mean they could start with orcs/goblins just being able to scale the walls?

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I think you’ve nailed it, Wharp – this is just the first real pass at combat.

Overall I think it’s a pretty good first pass. It needs tweaks rather than major changes.

I like the archer/knight/footman triangle but footmen still seem a little weak vs. archers (they may need some boosted arrow resistance; perhaps bronze chainmail and iron chainmail that have increased resistance vs. arrows).

There does need to be a slightly greater diversity of weapons and gear (and enemies!) but I expect a lot of that will get implemented over time. The Knight and Cleric especially seem lacking in gear choices.

Walls do need to be destructible but I expect this is also something being worked on (maybe we’ll get seige engines at some point too).

The bigger issue is combat dynamics. A few things would be useful here:

  • Formations. Let me set a given party to move in a particular formation, have them get in formation first, then move to the attack point, staying in formation.

  • The AI engagement radius needs to be tweaked. Too often when I tell a footman to disengage because he’s about to die, he’ll move five steps away then immediately re-engage because his AI has taken back over.

  • Potions are confusing to use and their interface needs to be reworked so it’s more intuitive mid-combat. Maybe an onscreen potion button you can just slam if you have them (perhaps with # in stock counter).

  • intelligent patrolling routes. (ideally in formation as per #1). Need to be able to set patrol routes for specific soldiers, have them take breaks intelligently so they don’t starve (but also know when not to take a break if combat is ongoing, etc.).

  • peripherally but related, auto-pause-on-alert option so I can go afk until a combat is imminent.

  • Might want to reconsider how enemies enter the map and just have them poof in on the map edge then path inwards (at least for some enemy types, i.e., wandering ones not ones with fixed campsites). Get that sense of an invading army approaching. There’s a reason that both Rimworld and Dwarf Fortress do it this way – it’s more narratively engaging and avoids some (though admittedly not all) of the problems with unpathable enemies.

  • On Hard difficulty the ramp-up seems weird. The first couple days (especially as Rayya’s) are CRAZY hard, after that you’re basically fine until you hit 25+ hearthlings (I didn’t see an enemy archer or orc for months), then it gets megahard again once kobold archers and the like show up. Making footmen a little more survivable vs. arrows might help this.


Goblins riding on Wolves!!!

Wolves both mounted and not should be able to jump 2-3 squares up and 2-3 squares forward to get around fences and such.

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I just encountered my first kobolds, I honestly didn’t realize it got harder than goblins and ents and such.

Kobolds are very tough on hardmode, I think this is the highest difficulty I could reasonably play at without reloading saves every 5 minutes. This difficulty is significantly more entertaining for me.

I am now on day 40 or so, with 23 hearthlings. I have a decent accumulation of resources, but I am finding my biggest difficulty to be training my footman to become knights, as they start very weak. I have several sets of top tier knight armor only 1 guy can wear right now. Not a complaint, just a comment.

So, all in all I stand by my initial comments, especially in regards to better gear.

I’ve just seen my first orc (ogre?), let’s see how this goes!

I have noticed this as well - I think the best way to fix this would be some sort of training functionality which works for ‘end game’ content to create soldiers who can tough it in the world you’re actually living in. I dropped the suggestion in a target dummy thread: Target Dummy object - #10 by Zardimooo

Exactly. Picking items based on item level is good but too straightforward. If you want to customize your footman making him a berseker wearing leather and carrying an axe, there is no way to do it. He’ll change his equipment as soon as there is a better one, and even if there are several items with the same item level, we have no way to show him we’d like him to take something particular.


especially if you think about weapon types, i mean a spear and an axe are two different weapons, both should have a pro and contra aspect not only about pure dmg…


Hmm, when personalities get developed more, it’d be nice to see favorite weapons for hearthlings (could even expand to favorite tools for civilian jobs) and expanded arsenal. They’d get bonus to damage, more exp or some minor, but singificiant bonus when they get to pick their favorite weapon.

Sure, some weapon types would be naturally class restricted, making you take the decision whetever to have this hearthling be a class suitable for a weapon he prefers or fill in that class you need more at the moment and hope someone else comes next day to fill the needed role.


On the topic of weapon types, Pikes should be two handed weapons and have double the reach of other weapons. Also need to use a thrusting animation. But these are all detail-pass issues.


I agree, but I think combat should be a much more challenging and important thing. Right now, in all stages of the game, I find combat to be a fairly simple thing that I can just throw some knights at and will go away after a while. I know that they are adding many new enemies, and if you want to go test some of those out, you can opt into the beta, so that’s not what I’d really like to see.
I feel like, when an enemy attacks, you should be (at least in the hard mode, (thank you devs)) scrambling to send your villagers into their homes and putting everything on lock-down. Right now, when I see some entlings or something, I don’t even sound the alarm, because there’s basically no stakes. It would be much more exciting and rewarding if when an enemy attacked, it would be like actual bandits attacking a village, a much more frightening, and fun experience.

I’d love to be able to assign archers as wall defenders, e.g. build up a little block so they can see over the wall and assign or place a special building as a “defence post” or similar.


I’ve enjoyed the hard mode and the new combat. I don’t think its that ‘new content smell’ ™ or new tactical choices that have made it more enjoyable, but how the pressure to invest in your military colors all the other decisions you’re making.

“Can we hold out long enough to let this guy become a blacksmith, or do we need him as a footman right now?”

There are a million variations on that decision that have made the sandbox more enjoyable. I feel more pride building a neat town than I did before. Whenever I opt for pretty curtains over armor I’m thinking “what are you fighting for, if not a nice place for your hearthlings?”. A few nights ago I crafted a leather-bound chest instead of a helmet because I needed it to keep the house symmetrical. I decided my soldier’s new battle cry would be “for strong design sensibilities!!!”

As long as that sense is maintained, I’m find with relatively simple tactics. I’d definitely prefer it to feature creep pushing back other features - ones that are more unique to this game. Mod support being what it is, I think most people will find some solution to add additional difficulty and complexity.

So the changes I’d like to see to the combat are more about refinement and clarification on existing concepts than the introduction of anything new. I’d like Tighter controls on the power curve, and some minor adjustments to the tech tree. Also a more central and intuitive role for the rock paper scissor mechanic (Are knights supposed to trump archers or the other way around?). My last change would probably be content to highlight that mechanic - monsters, campaign arcs, and encounter compositions that spell out the strengths and weaknesses of the various classes.