Boring city building is boring?
TL;DR: Dude, where are my choices? City cloning is boring!
City building in 2-A is nothing but a step more in Stardock plans but if I were to evaluate current city building based on what we got, and being very partial...
- One 2-A game played (lasted a few hours until an Out of Memory error hit and made me realize it was almost 2am)
- Playing Tarth
- Diplomacy tree blocked
- Adventuring tree blocked
- Magic tree blocked
- Hardcoded map
- Dumby Dumb AI
Previously on Elemental: before I could have a choice about gardens and houses. I could choose about if I wanted a city to reach a higher level or not, and I could choose how much food produce and where due to multiple gardens. Altough the system could drag in uber maps, I had lots more options for buildings in each level and I could actually specialize (at leaast partially) my cities (I'd have a farming city while leaving other cities with 2 gardens at max, and only because of sieges, and with extra room for gildar and/or research producing facilities).
Now on Elemental: now I barely have buildings at the very start. If I want to be able to improve my cities (like getting research buildings to help me research faster, gildar buildings to actually fund champion hiring, army funding or city building...) then I'm forced to focus on the Civics branch for quite a while. Not that it doesn't make sense but to have a couple of Level 3 cities with just a garden, a "barracks" (forget the real name), a workshop and some houses just because I had to spend some turns to get some extra Warfare techs... Yes, with not so many things to build, I can save money for troops and stuff but hell, what will happen when I have all the research trees and decide to go researching the cheapest things to save turns or my strategy is based on another research tree? Will it be a no go because you must maximize Civics as much as possible until you get farming (of various kinds), research building, housing (, mines) and gildar production before I even consider seriously to research other things?
That said, with all its (my argument's) flaws that I alread know, once you research civics (that give buildings because if you start picking refining...) the cities start getting interesting to a point. Oh yes, I can build more stuff and depending of the Civics, there is actually some really interesting things to build (that Hosten's Library is awesome!). But unfortunately, now every city is a clone of each other (except for the possible resources the city could have and that would give them some extra building). That I don't want to build a garden in City 4? Sorry but I'm forced to do so because I can only have a garden in each city and the rest of food depends on finding fertile lands, bees, orchards or fishing. Yes, it can make sense but it seems that now to have an specialist farmer city, that city must be close to a fertile land/bees/orchards/coast, and if possible to more than one of those. Now my cities all have a garden, "barracks", workshop, libraries,... and the only differences is that city 2 has fertile land, city 3 (conquered to Altar) has a mine and city 5 has some bees and fertile land (pioneer), with their exclusive resource building.
Next on Elemental: we will get more building types and more research trees to give stuff. Right now food matters more than before, which is good, but I really hope that at higher levels of Civics/Magic/Whatever it can actually slowly change and go back to develop farming cities. Just specialist cities in general, and as a choice, woud be nice. I know this is temporal and a step in the right direction but evaluated as is now, man, it lacks. Or maybe I should try to appreciate more all those turns without absolutely nothing to build for the resources they save me and the possibility that more stuff added to the game (quests, more active AI...) can distract me from a bunch of level 3 cities that are basically in their bones (which seems contradictory to being higher level) just because I dabbled in other research trees to get some needed techs.
I give myself a 2/10 for this post. Not my best but wanted to share.