This update had the unfortunate effect of making AI city building even more spammy. I've seen 16+ cities by turn 150, from just one AI.
And that's not the game I want to play. I had no problems with resource scarcity before, it was always a problem in relation to the voracious AI. I found resource scarcity an interesting mechanic, when the AI wasn't running circles around you building stuff.
The game is not fun for me when I'm basically building a huge network of cities that have to be microed, and racing the AI to every revealed resource tile. 50+ cities? That's not fun to me at all, that's a poorly devised economy of scale. Didn't they say their goal was to avoid city spam on like, day 1? Maybe it's purely the AI not being properly tweaked to not spam its brains out, but put it this way....
On a 200~x145 map, with 5 opponents, it took me only 100 turns to find someone, and I traveled 1/3rd of the world to do it. That means the AI has completely colonized it's chunk of the world by turn 100. That's ridiculous. It's even more ridiculous when the AI uses every one of it's 20+ cities to produce pioneers and harassment forces.
So yeah. I didn't need more resources. I needed the AI to be willing to play like a person involved in an 800 to 1000 turn game. Instead if it sees a resource, JUST ONE resource, it builds a city to capture it. *I* require at least two resources to justify building a city.
Honestly, new cities should cost everything: Gold to pay the workers, materials to build the settlement and food to get them started. The reason the AI throws down cities is because it costs them 5 gold and 15 materials to do so. If cities cost 100 gold, 300 materials and 5 food just to build, everyone, AI and players, would slow down. Of course, with some people saying resource distribution is a problem, that might cock block some people. But in 8 games from V1.0 to now, I've never had a food problem. I'm floating 20 food units easily with 5 cities.
So why not this. You can build an OUTPOST for nothing. It claims resource tiles, but the Outpost cannot grow, cannot build buildings, and cannot produce troops.It's basically a fortified territory marker that adds resources to your resource pool.
Only after you pay the cost to UPGRADE an outpost to a settlement does it become a normal city. I'd even be ok with the cost of city building SCALING UP the more you build. We need stuff to do with our resources, if we're not just going to kick the AI's teeth in and win.
I think that makes sense. I'd be ok with a lot of non-troop producing outposts so the AI and myself can still capture territory, but not get bogged down in managing 50+ cities, having 50+ cities producing troops and having to destroy 50+ cities to claim victory over your opponent. It'd mean players would actually care WHERE they put their city, and what places they choose to grow into cities and which they choose to leave as outposts. Because honestly, no one NEEDS more than 10 cities with good resources. They probably don't even need that many. I get to 6 or 7 cities before I usually go "what's the point? I don't need more."
As for monsters: I think they're much better now. They're there, but in reasonable numbers, and you're not looking at 8 + monster units just in your area anymore. Now if we could make our caravans defensible, I would be set as far as they are concerned.
this is exactly how you go about the resource economy in the current version of the game. and it's exactly the wrong way to how it should be done. it goes against the lore and it contradicts the battle for resources the game was supposed to be about. you need some resources, but you don't need to actually control any in the world to survive. just survive to the midgame when you can spawn them with techs, spam settlements and build caravans, and you will be able to build a sufficient military. summons and the poor ai will do the rest.
I'm going to quibble a little bit. You DO need resources. You need AT least 1 Gold Mine, 1 Materials and 1 Metal. Crystal is optional, at least for now against the AI who doesn't build anything better than mid-grade troops. Food...you can get away with about ~5.
If you don't have any of these things, then the mills and the production and all that jazz don't do you any good, because they only modify the base 1 or 2 or 3 you're getting.
So you do need to control some of the world. Just not that much. Unless you're really unlucky, you can find all that within a few dozen tiles of your starting location. That's 3 - 5 cities to get everything you need. Tech and Arcane are just bonus perks, as are wargs, horses, refugees and the like.
The problem simply is that, once you hit the critical threshold of "enough to get started", research, city stacking and bonus stacking take those values to unsane levels. Sure, dudes in full plate with magic everything eat up a lot of resources, but you can BURY the AI in cheaper units to the same effect.
So really the game needs to rebalanced to eat up these ballooning resource counts mid to late game, and it needs to restrain city growth so that players and the AI can't research production x3, build three cities and get 30 additional food units in 10 turns from three separate food nodes.
So yeah. New cities need to cost more each time you build one, and if the price is too demanding on low level players, people need to be able to build outposts to claim resources, that don't grow, until the cost is paid. As for the AI, it needs to not be as damn greedy UNLESS it's bumping borders up against you. When it's all alone on its side of the world, it shouldn't be doing the land grab thing. If I look at the resource chart comparisons, the AI is always x3 to x4 higher pop count than my empire. Because it just figures hey, build 30 cities, wait 500 turns, and they'll all be Level 4! Shouldn't there be some sort of increasing administration costs as you build more cities and create an empire? Guys to move resources around, collect the gold, yadda yadda. There is no negative gain on cities. Even if they cost you food units, that ultimately just stops the growth of your empire if you run out. And all you need to do is nuke one structure and you've got the food you need, to grow the city, to build granaries and what not, to get the bonus, to inflate your food count....
It's just a cycle of excess and needs to be reigned in. I give all my cities individual, flavorful names, By my 7th city, I stop, because I just don't care anymore and they've lost all meaning when the jewel of your empire is now just City #4 in Chain 1 - 8.