Organic sandbox (companions, trading, economy, unit upgrades, items, money sinks)

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TexasPower

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Here are some thoughts on how to make the game feel more balanced, organic, and sandboxy. I do want to preface with: I love this game.

Problems:
  1. Companion: Why look at the conversation to recruit when the traits are already shown in the encyclopedia?
  2. Companion: Limited number and too easily attained.
  3. Companion: Not organic
  4. Companion: Far too powerful, cheap, and not macro-useful early game
  5. Trading/Companion: only relevant in the early to mid game until money doesn't become an issue
  6. Trading: not dynamic
  7. Trading and Items: Stagnant inventory and no armor
  8. Economy: no clear value-add item tree. IE flax goes to a xyz workshop and comes out as cvb which can be used to craft a GLOVES?! You have to buy the blueprints/hire someone who knows how to make it or practice.
  9. Unit Upgrades/Money sinks: Wwwwaaaay too cheap to upgrade units
  10. Money sink: buildings

Solution:
  • Companion: Decrease companion pool EARLY and make the pool organic based on how the hero is playing. The pool will be much greater later in the game, but should start small, low skill, and generic. Increase the price in general, and DRASTICALLY increase the price for out of faction recruiting or war-time recruiting.
  • Companion: Generate a fighting-centric companion when a max tier unit get the "next level" of experience. So if you want a cavalry companion, level up a cavalry unit, pole-man...etc.
  • Companion: Generate trading companions when you trade with a certain trader a lot. IE if a town has a workshop, which is a butcher and you buy and sell a lot of meat with them and they are in your faction, you get a relationship bonus to better deals and bulk deals. When you level up enough, the artisan/trader lets you recruit their apprentice.
  • Trading: Better and more transparent modifiers. IE +1 In faction, -5 no previous trading done with trader, +1 hero perk, etc.
  • Trading: More dynamic trading based around trader relationships and market forces. The price of something shouldn't go up the more you buy it! IT SHOULD BE THE OPPOSITE (selling has it right, price goes down the more volume you sell). To combat buying all the supplies from a city to starve them, have a threshold where the city has "reserves" set by the governor. Peacetime could have low reserves and wartime could have high reserves.
  • Trading and Items: Take hints from EVE or any other crafting game! be able to build armor, use fur, cotton, leather.... Blueprints, tiers of the same item (rusty, old, new, LEGENDARY, etc.)
  • Unit Upgrades/Money sink: not punitive enough. There isn't ever a, "should I upgrade this unit because of cost." Poor clans shouldn't be able to pimp out their units. The unit upgrades should be relative to the market prices of the new equipment they are getting. OR if you are a poor or small clan, you can buy a workshop and set up a smithy, and train a companion to pump out awesome pikes or something. You'll have the best pike-man in the game!
  • Unit Upgrades: once a unit gets to a certain tier, be able to upgrade their equipment with something you make or buy. To add on to the previous comment, if you get a Vandal Pike-men and you have the best pike-making-smithy in the land, you should be able to equip your Pike-man with your pike!
  • Money sink: Buildings should cost money as others have mentioned.
Hope these comments resonate with people and we can collectively make this game better than it already is!


*Edit. Thanks to u/Shadows I added clarifying remarks to the first companion solution bullet point
 
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Yangbang

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WBWF&SVC
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I like the idea of raising the initial cost of upgrading troops, as well as upping the upkeep cost a little.

There's an old saying that having a store of weapons is useless if you dont have anyone to use them. The troops should be what the investments and values are in, not the over priced weapons and armor.
 

Shadows

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I agree with nearly all the suggested solutions above.

The only one I disagree with is the “Decrease companion pool”.

I think the available companions needs to increase greatly. Even if most of them start as generic and relatively low skilled (few steps up from a base village recruit).

Would be good to be able to have more companions even as a lower tier clan, +1-2 extra per clan level (maybe also as leadership perk or from some other bonus to raise the cap). Thinking governors and caravan leaders.

Also increase the diversity greatly.

I have seen 1 engineer companion and about 4 medics, the rest (10-20) are combat and/or rogues.

Can’t find any potential companions with Trade or Leadership (although lone wanderer misfits loitering in taverns might not be the best target demographic for recruiting good leaders)

Would be good to see potential companions more active in the game. Hired by NPC nobles, working for minor factions, or leading non-aligned parties (whether they be leading bandits, caravans, militia or small adventuring parties). Plenty of scope then for recruiting (talent poaching) companions in the field.

Keen to see more upkeep cost for companions, both in terms of money but also loyalty and clashes between your actions and their personality (seen a tiny bit of this but no meaningful consequences yet). Adopting companions as formal members of your clan should also be an option with a large cost (maybe influence and relation loss with other nobles).
 

TexasPower

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Thanks for looking.

The only one I disagree with is the “Decrease companion pool”.

I think the available companions needs to increase greatly. Even if most of them start as generic and relatively low skilled (few steps up from a base village recruit).
I think you are 100% right that the companion pool needs to be bigger later in the game and start with a small generic pool with low skills. I should rephrase my "problem." I think the companion pool can be much more organic and can the pool size and companion skill diversity can as well.

For instance: If you play the game as a trader, then more companions that have trader focused skills should be attracted to working with you. Same goes that if you are a trader, battle lord companions will NOT be attracted to work with you and you would have to pay X% more to hire them and your access to them should be harder to come by.