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!