Really need to be fixed NOW: pioneer spam, tile yields and population

Bring back population as primary resource.

By on September 1, 2012 4:17:04 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

kwm1800

Join Date 03/2008
+24

 

Pioneer spam is the biggest problem of this game at current version. I really don't think forcing AI to build less pioneers is the solution to this problem; it will only makes game easier since spamming pioneer no tomorrow is literally only viable tactic for early to mid game.

 

I thought about it, and thought about solutions like making pioneers expensive (like 150 gold per pioneers), unkeep or hard-coded limit on the number of pioneers and other things.

 

Then, when I was searching for position for creating city (good food with prod/essence), I realized the real problem lies on population being completely irrelevant resource in this game.

 

Currently, this game defies common sense. Only because of based on tile yield and buildings, a city with population of 10 can make things and train units much faster than a city with population of 200. This happens because MAYBE (yes, big maybe here) other than gold, pretty much all resource generation is decided by largely tile yields and buildings.

And because resources are mostly generated by yields and buildings, having 'more' of them is only viable way to increase resource generation, that means... more cities to build more buildings and take tile yields.

Thus having 4 cities with 10 population each is FAR better than having just 1 city with, say, 400 population with exception of gold production. But alas, since things take SO MUCH TIME to build stuffs, players normally play this game with 'none' tax, completely eliminating the population advantage.

These facts above heavily favors pioneer/city spam, even more so than Civ 5 (the game witch I absolutely hate due to city spam and stupid 1tpu). This really needs to be fixed because the game is not fun at all to anyone trying to compete with AIs. Here are suggestions.

 

 

1.) Get rid of 'tile yield' and bring back population as primary resource. With magical(?) yield number, the game defiles common sense. We are talking about civ-game, so for basic stuff, the game at least to follow real-life example (like.... more people working things create in faster phase... just how easy to understand and implemented?)

 

2.) Improvements from buildings should be all percentage-based from populations except food and rare resources. Primary resources growth, production, research and gold should be completely percentage-based, not hard-coded number. So actually a city with 400 population can outproduce 4 cities with 10 population.

 

3.) Keep the prestige as main initial factor for growth and keep it as global. This means, a number of cities should not affect the overall population growth AT ALL. In 4x games, 'positioning' alone is a huge incentive for spamming multiple cities already, there is no more need for more advantages for having multiple cities.

 

4.) Other than min-distance requirement, players should be able to build cities anywhere. Finding a good position is really annoying/stressful and sway the game difficulty too much just based on starting position. With a game using randomly-generated map, this is just bad idea. That said, there should be some penalties for cities built on harsh terrain, but other than minimum-distance requirement, please bring back the flexibility. With three suggestions above, there would be not much incentive for making multiple cities other than positioning factor, which will be also diluted by outposts.

 

 5.) And please, separate unit production and building production. With recent add-ons, cities are already chocking up with making buildings all the time.

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September 1, 2012 5:03:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Sounds like you should be playing WoM.

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September 1, 2012 5:09:24 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

the solution is easy

right now 2 problems are live

1) unrest is totally useless, no one ever has unrest, no one ever need to build antiunrest improvements

2)  cities need to be reduced DRAMATICALLY

 

combine them et voilta'

just make every new city add+ X% unrest it will stop the city spam and give a meaning to unrest reducing buildings

 

still need to address pioneers spam for outpost though

 

 

as for population there are already many other thread and the problem is that changing again it would break lot of settings

but yeah i agree population NEED to matter again, dont care how exactly but it has to in some way

 

 

as for

4) i totally agree its too random, i rather build cities wherever accepting having a small penalty

5) i disagree, at least in the actual stage of the game, ofc if we get finaly an acceptable number of cities maybe sharing queue can be changed but right now with hundreds of cities at least a bit of specialization is ok

 

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September 1, 2012 5:47:52 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'll just quote myself:

 

Population being a completely worthless resource is one of the biggest disappointments so far in the beta. Why do the devs hate it so much? It can fix a lot of problems the game struggles with, and fits the setting nicely. What's more important in a post-apocalyptic world than getting the most people around?

I really hate the fact that currently positioning defines both food (which I can explain to a point, obviously terrain plains a big role in farming and herding, but it still needs people to do it), production (which is bogus, a settlement with one villager on a 4 resource tile works much faster than 100 people on a 2-resource one) *and* magic affinity (this is currently broken, upkeep-less enchantments coupled with high energy=instant research/development/production). Even taxes depend more on buildings than population. Now, because city position is so important, rolling a good starting position is absolutly crucial. Having your capital on a bad spot will cripple your early game. You can always restart the game if you want in single player, but in multi, it's impossible. I'm not saying that terrain stats are bad in general (War of Magic shows why they aren't), they just have to be toned down a bit. Look, as always, on Master of Magic. City positioning was very important, landscape influenced max city population, gold and production boni among other things, but these benefits were added to what the town population had done. Even a all-mountain town with coal and iron with +50% production, but small, was building slower than a thriving metropolis without any productivity perks. Balance is the key word; balance between what terrain and population does.

Keeping population a critical resource has another benefit: it directly influences your military output, or unit output overally. Settler spam is a big problem right now, but it can be countered easily. If a settler unit costs 20 citizens, and each one vastly contributes to food, tax, and production, training several units from the get-go is not only costly, it outright breaks your starting city. And if the monsters are more aggresive, you can't churn out settlers any more, it has to be a careful, well-thought out decision. This also applies to military units, if on a lesser scale. Every soldier is one citizen less, and going to an all-out war could cripple your economy. A quick idea: one faction could have more population growth than others, but weaker units and/or penalties to production, so the armies it will field will be vastly different than others', more hordish.

 

There are so many things you can do with population, please don't make it useless.

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September 1, 2012 6:01:58 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think that you can use both systems.

 

For example, you could make it that a city gets 1 production per material for each city level, and generates 1 research for each city level. This means that a level 5 city could be just as good as 5 level 1 cities. There might be some of this going on right now but they could accentuate it perhaps to balance things a bit more. 

 

I don't really really get bothered by your points # 3, 4 and 5, I don't think they should be changed.

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September 1, 2012 6:57:46 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Honestly, I agree with a lot of this. I've only been playing for a few days, and it's taken me a while to start realizing that, frankly, I have no reason to really focus on making a better city. Especially since outposts are so much easier to get instead of growing a city's zone of control. I do wish that the tiles would be a bonus to production and growth, and not the only determining factor. Although maybe it might be easier, since we're so close to release, to make populations give a bonus based on their size. Let the determining factor be the tile, but for say, every 10 population you get an increase of percentage or .1 to production. This is one of the things that I'm finding kinda weird about the game.

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September 1, 2012 7:19:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think the issue they wanted to avoid by switching from pop->production is how it devalues materials and made it so that you wouldn't really need to care about the place you settle. Personally, I think they should try to go back to the older system and perhaps try to implement an exponential increase in production based on materials multiplied by population and a percentage of production value. i.e. Go back to the 0.01 production (or whatever it was) per population but also have either a building or natural bonus of Materials Squared multiplying that amount. So a Material 2 City would bring 0.04 production per pop, a Material 3 City would bring 0.09 production per pop, a Material 4 City brings 0.16 per pop, and the incredibly rare Material 5 city brings 0.25 production per pop. After all, it makes more sense that your population can be productive if they've got materials and industry to work with. It's possible this can get really crazy when combined with Clay Pits, but since their nerf I think it'd be hard to get above Material 7 (0.49 per pop) unless you were both lucky and keeping your cities to an absolute minimum. Change the base value depending on balance, as I don't recall proper costs off-hand.

 

Oh, and remove the 3 minimum turn thing. That's one of the biggest drawbacks to limiting city numbers since you end up needing extra queues to handle outpost upgrades and other immediate needs of state.

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September 1, 2012 12:05:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The population issue has been discussed in this thread:  Population: the forgotten resource

Here I began to discuss the idea of Handling unrest I suppose like MOM, AC and many other games do in terms of Happy, Content, and Unhappy population, each with different levels of productivity.  Then have the productivity of the population affect the various types of production.  Explained further here.

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September 1, 2012 12:21:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting DexCisco,
The population issue has been discussed in this thread:  Population: the forgotten resource

Here I began to discuss the idea of Handling unrest I suppose like MOM, AC and many other games do in terms of Happy, Content, and Unhappy population, each with different levels of productivity.  Then have the productivity of the population affect the various types of production.

And thank you for that, a little stimulation for the mind is nice, I do want population to be at least slightly more important early game too. (I use it plenty mid-game).

Sincerely
~ Kongdej

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September 1, 2012 12:25:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The current design scheme is to have population benefit you on a per level basis. That is fine, but city levels are nigh irrelevant. You can bet the devs are not going to switch back to a population based economy this close to lockdown. What we can hope for is that city levels do more to affect your economy. Right now each city level adds research on this scale: 1, 2, 4, 8, 14. We get no extra production, no real bonuses to strategic resources, too few trained unit bonuses and some gildar bonuses. All of those are irrelevant because we all only go for +1 Essence. Conclaves are always the best choices for any city that has at least one Essence. The 3/4/0 is always a Fortress. The 6/2/0 is always a Town. Those two never amount to much. 

 

Here people are saying we should bring back the old production and research from population. We don't need that. It was decided balance would be made easier by adding the bonus at the city level. Fine, but we do need that balance added. I want each city level to offer a bonus to the city. Not a generic amount of production and research, but something tied to the city's specialization. Then I want a meaningful city levelup choice. I could go on about specifics, but this general concept works very well:

Conclave Level 2-5: +3 Research, +1 Essence, +25% Mana, +10% Research in all cities

Archivist: +25% Research
Oracle: +50% Mana
Scroll Scribe: +20 Spell Resistance

Crystal Vault: -50% Crystal Cost For Trained Units
Academy: +5 Research
Tower Of The Magi: +3 Levels to Summons

Pyre of Anniellum: +1 Fire Power, +1 Fire Attack, +20% Fire Resistance
Hedigah Bathhouse: +1 Water Power, +1 Frost Attack, +20% Frost Resistance
Tenfell University: +1 Air Power, +1 Earth Power

Town Level 2-5: +1 Materials, +2 PPM, +10% Gildar, +1% Taxes,

Guild Grocer: +1Hp per Grain
Wharehouse: +50% Growth
Farmers Market: +1 Gildar Per Grain

Slums +25% Food, +2 Growth
Almshouse: +2 Influence, +2 Prestige
Hall of Defense: +10 Defense when defending

Guild Lendinghouse: +15 Food per Grain in all cities
Guild Tribunal: +1Hp per Grain
Mint of Ruvenna: +3 Gildar per Material

Fortress Level 2-5: +1 Level +1 Level, +1 Level, +2 Levels

Gallows: +25% Production
Drillmaster: +1 Moves
Watchtower: +3 Initiative

Strike Garrison: Impulsive
Prison: -10% Unrest in all cities
Mining Guild: +50% Metal per season.

Onyx Throne: -30% Wage costs
Underforge: -50% labor and metal costs for units
Great Arena: +3 Attack and Defense

 

There is no exponential resource increase problem like we had in beta 3. Each bonus is linear and fairly well balanced against the other choices at that level. Now, I am not so arrogant to think my specific numbers are perfect, but the design scheme is much better than what we currently have. 

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September 1, 2012 1:48:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree that level up buildings are a bit limp, especially some of the fortress ones.  Also, this all works in theory until population suddenly goes backwards, as it does when you conquer a city.  Then it kind of falls apart.  Your population has dropped significantly, delaying your next city level (if it is even attainable with the food cap), but there are very few other consequences.   Further, unrest is really rather static and bland, being applied at a constant level across the board, regardless of overpopulation.  Why is it easier to drop unrest by 10% in a large city than it is in a new village?  The large city can produce the unrest building a little faster.  Why does the new village have 22% unrest right from the start?  It just doesn't make sense.

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September 1, 2012 2:45:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,


Pioneer spam is the biggest problem of this game at current version. I really don't think forcing AI to build less pioneers is the solution to this problem; it will only makes game easier since spamming pioneer no tomorrow is literally only viable tactic for early to mid game.

I thought about it, and thought about solutions like making pioneers expensive (like 150 gold per pioneers), unkeep or hard-coded limit on the number of pioneers and other things.

 

Leaving aside the rest of your points, Brad has mentioned refining the current system so that the AI for different opponents chooses different--well, pioneer spamming strategies, if I understood him correctly.  Like you, I favor doing away with the spam, though I'd think the AI would manage better if it didn't need to look simply at a cost-per-unit basis.  The AI doesn't reason like us, and cost in and of itself won't make a pioneer more or less likely to be chosen for the AI build queue at any given time.  I'm wondering--perhaps a timer with ranges for the likelihood of producing a pioneer X many turns after the last one?  Overly simplified, I know, but if this is outside any weighted AI judgements, it'll probably work better.

 

 

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September 1, 2012 5:45:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Love the idea of making the city levels much more to dramatic as to the bonuses they provide and the type of settlement it is. The differences really need to be more dramatic,  and this also makes population more relevant via the leveling system.

As to pioneer spam, this is my idea: Outposts require 50 population to build. This way, outposts cannot be rushed. A town with 200 population can manage 4 outposts. If the population drops, control of outposts are lost the reverse order they were built. Once populationyou rises, you would have to ride out and reclaim them.

City spam can also be easily controlled by making them more expensive to operate at first until they grow to a larger size. For example,  after the first city (the capital), each new city costs 3 gildar to exist. Adding too many new cities at once would put you in the red.

Pioneer spam solved!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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September 1, 2012 6:57:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

In going over your list seanw3, I really like the fact that your cities should NEVER be idle.

I would definately be in favor of Stardock seriously considering this balancing proposal.

 

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September 1, 2012 7:13:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting CHiZZoPs,
As to pioneer spam, this is my idea: Outposts require 50 population to build. This way, outposts cannot be rushed.

I too would like to see Pioneers cost population, but then having the same unit also build outposts seems too expensive.  Having a different unit that cost less population would be nice.

If course, it is all moot if losing population doesn't do anything important.  If your level 4 city is capped, then spam it down to nothing.  It doesn't matter.  It will still be a level 4 city and keep its level 4 buildings and its output will not change.

Edit: I think you meant that outposts are limited by the population of the city they are attached to.  This could be difficult to manage, especially since we have no control over which outpost is attached to what city.

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September 1, 2012 7:23:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

No, rather than a build cost of population, I'm saying that in order to build and operate an outpost a city needs to have 50 population for each outpost that the city controls.

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September 1, 2012 10:36:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would have added some logic about population based things to add realistic immersion to the game, but I am trying to keep the non-expert players in mind. A system that is too complex will be thrown out by the devs since they are trying to appeal to a portion of casual gamers. We don't want to go Crusader Kings, but we do want some level of CivIV:BtS. I specifically set all of the bonuses to be good, even if a mentally challenged person was choosing them. Not optimal, but not detrimental. Mostly your choices depend on tile yields and local resources. 

If you noticed, one of my endgame design concepts is increased money from a larger city's population. The devs could use similar devices to make population matter more in large amounts, other than taxes. Some production boosts or even Unrest penalties could use the same concept. I only used it for level 5 Towns because my design wants to add some incentive for level 5 Towns over Fortress and Conclave. It can be used in other ways too. I would even like to see factions have unique buildings that utilize population in the endgame. At that point population could become the main motivation for wars, instead of territory. 

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September 1, 2012 11:08:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,

 

1.) Get rid of 'tile yield' and bring back population as primary resource. With magical(?) yield number, the game defiles common sense. We are talking about civ-game, so for basic stuff, the game at least to follow real-life example (like.... more people working things create in faster phase... just how easy to understand and implemented?)

 

2.) Improvements from buildings should be all percentage-based from populations except food and rare resources. Primary resources growth, production, research and gold should be completely percentage-based, not hard-coded number. So actually a city with 400 population can outproduce 4 cities with 10 population.

 

3.) Keep the prestige as main initial factor for growth and keep it as global. This means, a number of cities should not affect the overall population growth AT ALL. In 4x games, 'positioning' alone is a huge incentive for spamming multiple cities already, there is no more need for more advantages for having multiple cities.

 

4.) Other than min-distance requirement, players should be able to build cities anywhere. Finding a good position is really annoying/stressful and sway the game difficulty too much just based on starting position. With a game using randomly-generated map, this is just bad idea. That said, there should be some penalties for cities built on harsh terrain, but other than minimum-distance requirement, please bring back the flexibility. With three suggestions above, there would be not much incentive for making multiple cities other than positioning factor, which will be also diluted by outposts.

 

 5.) And please, separate unit production and building production. With recent add-ons, cities are already chocking up with making buildings all the time.

 

I agree, while the tile yield idea worked to keep the amount of cities low, it also made my main focus of the game to build as many cities as i can before the land runs out. Population being used as a requirement to be able to build settlers and even outpost having some sort of pop dependency would slow city spam. Making unrest give more of a gold flow penalty until certain techs or pop-requirements where met would also have an effect. The game shouldn't be about grab as much good land as you can it should be: "My capitol is growing to big, maybe I should build a new one", or "I need more horses let me build a outpost".

 

Also, I would suggest that maybe instead of founding villages make outposts upgrade to colonies then villages after its parent city gains a certain pop size, that would slow city spam but allow for more cities without rushing settlers, but by building big cities and letting them grow

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September 1, 2012 11:55:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Population size could be a factor in available unit sizes.

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September 2, 2012 12:15:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Again, city spam would be mitigated by an upkeep for new settlements. If it puts you in the red to make three cities right off the bat, it wouldn't be viable.  This also makes population more important in order to increase revenue.

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September 2, 2012 12:17:34 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree with Sean that at this point of the game development the devs probably won't change the current system that much. I agree that city level ups need to be much better and more focused then they are and Sean's suggestions in that area sound both feasible and meaningful.

As for the pioneer spamming issue I will just copy and paste my response to another thread that brought up this same problem.

"...Give monster lairs a zone of control(ZOC). Make it so that cities and outposts can not be built within a monster lairs ZOC. The monster lair must be eliminated before cities and outposts can be built there. The game should start out with a monster protecting the lair and every x turns the monster lair would spon a new monster. The newly sponned monster will wonder within the monster lairs ZOC and will attack anyone that enters the ZOC. The original monster would always protect the lair until killed and the lair destroyed.

If this was implemented the beginning city and outpost spam would stop. The AI could make as many pioneers as they wanted and unless they have already cleared the land of monster lairs it would do them no good at all.

This would also make the initial adventuring/rpg element of the game much more meaningful.

Finally it would give players a real sense of a dangerous world that must be tamed before you can settle it. Every city and outpost you build would be an accomplishment that has its own story to tell. "I was forced to clear out two bands of trolls and then face a small army of the bastards before I could take out their lair. But it was worth it. I was able to establish this fortress in a key location. I am able to produce experienced armies right on Yithril's door step now. And to make things better Yithril has to go through this fortress of mine since there isn't any other way through short of creating a land bridge using earth magic." "You see this outpost..." Each game would become more memorable and interesting.

Since players choose monster density at world creation players would already have control over how much of the world would be covered in monster lairs and thus how much clearing would need to be done before cities and outpost would start popping up everywhere. In a real since player will be able to decide when the initial adventuring/rpg phase ends and the empire building phase gets into high gear."

 

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September 2, 2012 3:07:09 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

+1 karma, friend. That is an excellent idea regarding monster ZOC. Coupled with my suggestions,  I think we have a simple and depth -adding solution to pioneer spam!I sure hope Kael is reading this thread.

 

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September 2, 2012 7:46:49 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

My opinion is that good city places should be guarded. You need to build an army to expand.

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September 2, 2012 9:20:20 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting CHiZZoPs,
Love the idea of making the city levels much more to dramatic as to the bonuses they provide and the type of settlement it is. The differences really need to be more dramatic,  and this also makes population more relevant via the leveling system.

As to pioneer spam, this is my idea: Outposts require 50 population to build. This way, outposts cannot be rushed. A town with 200 population can manage 4 outposts. If the population drops, control of outposts are lost the reverse order they were built. Once populationyou rises, you would have to ride out and reclaim them.

 

While 50 population might be too high of a number (and the fact that cities cannot "de-level" after they reach a population threshold), I am starting to warm up to this idea. 

 

Still, I think that outpost spam might be better countered by a "maximum distance from city" scheme. Basically, your outposts must be within X number of tiles from your nearest city, and outposts cannot be within X number of tiles from another outpost.

OR

Outpost zone of control must overlap your nearest city's zone of control. 

 


City spam can also be easily controlled by making them more expensive to operate at first until they grow to a larger size. For example,  after the first city (the capital), each new city costs 3 gildar to exist. Adding too many new cities at once would put you in the red.

Pioneer spam solved!

 

I think that this is the most reasonable and balanced solution. Make under-leveled cities cost gildar to maintain. Again, the gildar cost is a bit much (1 gildar is more reasonable in the early game), but this is probably the best solution. Both sins of a solar empire and Civ IV:BTS have come up with the same solution to rapid development. 

 

Couple this with some population-based gildar production mechanism (production and research should stay at the "city-level" based scale) and I think that the game just needs some tactical combat balance.

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September 2, 2012 10:15:01 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting mqpiffle,
Sounds like you should be playing WoM.

With respect to the OP, this is exactly what I thought as well. Lots of mechanics have been replaced, for the better according to almost everyone. And now you want to turn back the clock ~4 months? That's not something the devs are going to listen to.

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September 2, 2012 11:19:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting seanw3,
The current design scheme is to have population benefit you on a per level basis. That is fine, but city levels are nigh irrelevant.

 

In complete accord with you.  I love the city leveling mechanic (that is what pop is for now, aside from a couple of spells), but the rewards need to be tweaked.

 

A while back I suggested trade-off buildings; an Enclave may be able to get that +1 Essence building, but it will penalize the city in production or something.  That would Achieve the goal of forcing more specialization.  Right now I do everything everywhere

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