Hi there, I have some "issues" with the way cities play in the game at the moment, and some of the UI in the game, especially around cities.
I am going to post in sections, so please keep a cool head, and sorry about it getting "abit" long .
--== Wall of Text Warning!==--
1: City level up interface:
The city levelup interface is... Dull at best, but secondly it is not very informative, at all!
So I was putting my mind to some ideas and even created a prototype for you guys to use, though I must admit I didn't finish it completely, I left room (Big red and black infinite symbol) In which I thought would be a fantastic place to put in some lore/fluff, something that tells a little story, just for the sake of getting "into the mood", meaby a larger picture or other pictures too.
Of course that is a "rough draft" of what I would like to see when completed (some more space between, some fancy lines, some interesting UI)
Anyways, wanted to put that out, that when my cities level up, I at least want to know basics like how many grains and/or materials the city is overseeing, as to know if the "Merchant" is worth anything.
2: City level up choices:
I would really like to see these make more sense, also to future choices, I am not really a fan of the choices available, and the randomness makes me annoyed when I am trying to make a "troop producing" city, and only end up with "Training Grounds" which boost accuracy by a meager 5.
I would love to see 6 choices too, since 6 is a nice number compared to 5 . also 6 would leave room for better choice selection, that is a minor detail though, and would require for more level up buildings.
Also It would be very cool if you had something like a "Level Up Tree", so you knew what you were going to select from, depending on what you selected in the previous Level up, here is a crude attempt at making such a tree as example:
That would make you plan ahead, find a few builds you like, sometimes experiment (This tree should be viewable through the hiergamenon).
And I think that would improve how cities play.
3: Level ups compared to common buildings:
I think right now there is a lot of common "infrastructure" buildings, and too few "level up" buildings, which kind of helps remove the focus that the leveling up >should< give In My Opinion.
So I think it would be nice to at least try to remove (put them into the leveling system of course) half of the buildings, and then add another 4 or 5 levels to the availability to cities, that would also help fill in the gaps between the current levels, as non civilized races only really gets to level 2 cities... (That is a huge problem to me!!) not even nearing level 4 or 5...
This would also help against some of that HUGE city sprawl, meaby reduce the cities by 20% in size, I wouldn't mind that.
4: Material compared to Grain...:
Right now, material seems to me, to be the dumb stat of cities, seemingly around mid-game, grain becomes so much more worth it due to grain giving population, and population grants you research, gildar and... PRODUCTION! Dadadadaaaa.
This city is a 6 grain and 4 materials, although rather lategame (some 3XX turns) the material takes quite a backhand compared to the population also grants research and gildar (at this point I am running "High" taxes).
This seems really odd to me, and I think material should be granting more production as a base, and meaby remove population's ability to produce production until after some specific building have been build (another idea for a level up building)
5: Grain, before civilized technology:
The amount of food that grain gives you is 15 before you research anything (as gilden, so with no racial bonuses), and the first couple of researches adds a whopping 10 per grain, this fact cripples non-civilized races totally (well IMO), I think the base value for Grain should be higher, and the upgrades should award less, since right now If I start researching warfare, my starting city will cap out at 60 population, (with one civ upgrade its 100, a whopping difference of +66%, holy moly!) and this happens quite fast, especially if your sovereign quickly rises to level 4. (raising prestige to 2).
Meaby reconsider what "Civilized" tech should really do, cause right now without it, you are crippling the other tech tree's from valuable city levels, and infrastructure, but meaby I feel its the city levels / city specialization that is the, uh, bad part, putting a whole new game-play depth into only high civilized cultures.
That said, For this part I am kind of hoping for another update on technology, but that part for another time.
6: Rivers and Forests:
Right now it seems too crucial to get a city near a river, it grants a huge bonus to food (15 per grain), a +2 production per material, and a +10% to Gildar earned, while I agree that rivers where the best places to construct cities before well digging tech and advanced farming, this makes for ridiculous imbalance unless you automatically pump a river into each player's starting location, especially compared to a forest only gives "+3 production per material"... while nice it is sooo little compared to what a river grants .
7: Starting gold income, research income, and construction times:
I feel the first city should start out bigger, because right now you are going into a very slow start, where you cannot sustain the maintenance of a simple Pioneer, let alone if you are a "Bandit Lord" you will be red on Gildar instantly. I think this could be deterred in some ways, meaby it should be considered anyways, because this part of the game makes the sovereign's ability to do combat much more important, and making high level guards near your city way way harder, a lot could be done to modify game balance up to late game if one could assume a more powerful starting city.
I can only come on 2 way's to accomplish this though, a boost to how many citizens the first city grants, or a special one-off building that grants a bonus to the city value of the first city.
Think this is all for now