I'm very happy with this change obviously, I've been arguing for something like it ever since FE was announced. Honestly I had given up hope that citybuilding mechanics would change significantly, so this is just wonderful.
i enjoy it myself. however the only legitimate reason to do away with the on map city building is because it takes you away from the strategy game proper. making you enter a seperate screen in which you place buildings would seem to only exacerbate that problem.
Funny thing is, the whole on-map-city-building mechanic was an experiment to do just that; not take you away from the strategy game. It failed, horribly. It was an ok idea and Stardock did it's best to make it and its (afaik unintended) mechanics that you and others like fun. But in the end, it just wasn't.
As I have said in another post I hate this change. I believe we are losing three big strategic elements -
1) Ability to create chokepoints (well not entirely, but largely so...). This can be worked around and is not crucial but IMO is worth keeping.
Like you say, it is still possible. But now you can't turn just about everything into a chokepoint.
2) Ability to include terrain and resource tiles within the city.
Including resource tiles in a city reduces strategy. Instead of having to make a strategic choice where to build your city and which resource to possibly include within it and which to leave more vulnerable, you just build a city in the middle and include everything by snaking. No choice required, no danger from raiding parties, everything can be defended with the same stationary force, safe behind city walls.
3) Ability to manipulate the zone of influence for the city. Essential in my opinion. Really hope there is an innovative mechanism proposed here to keep this possibility because otherwise we are back to entirely square and predictable zones of influence. One of the things from the early days of WoM which was rightly improved is coming back... argh... heartburn...
This will likely still be possible by 1) leveling the city to increase it's area of influence, 2) building a new city (I think minimum distance can become smaller now), and 3) building outposts.
Concerns on scaling are also strange to find here: outposts gathering resources instantaneously from up to half a world away are much more remarkable. Even the closest outposts are usually a year or so travel away and yet they deliver their resources immediately without threat from all the monsters, bandits and enemy factions in the world, and without any pilfering, corruption, drowning of caravans in floods, etc.
Agreed, next change should be setting up a distribution network for all resources using caravans
But seriously, I realy don't understand how you and sweaty can just brush over the whole scale issue. In lategame WoM nearly a third of the map could be urbanised. FE did slightly better, but it still doesn't fit the setting. This isn't simcity or a settlers game. This is a game about rebuilding a civilization in a big, hostile world. The smaller the cities, the bigger the world seems. With one tile cities, a tile with trees will look like a small forest next to a city. With on map building, the same single tile of trees besides a city looks like someone thought it would be a good idea to have park for dogs to take a crap in.
Barring this, if you find it particularly gamey, don't use it. Remember it is a single player game... Stopping us all from doing something just because you do not want to (and are not forced to) is not good form.
Leaving huge exploits because a few people might like them is just bad game design. Telling people not to use it if they don't like it is even worse. It's like leaving a giant 'I win' button somewhere, and then telling people not to use it if they don't like to 'win' that way.
By the same criteria I guess you would have all the terraforming spells removed from the game. (Please no...)
Please yes. Maybe not remove them completely, but at the very least move them WAY up in the magic tree. Lowering mountains and raising seabeds should be epic late game spells, not your starting set of utility spells.