I understand the desire for competitive starting locations, but I prefer the randomness of the starts. ...
o o o
The idea of standardizing the starting locations, leaves me with fewer options of gameplay. I'd prefer if they didn't limit my gameplay. I like starting the game with no shards nearby or other resources. It leaves me to explore to find the resource and then compete with the AI to get that resource quickly. Sometimes my capital city is not my biggest city or the most productive, feels more realistic. I enjoy playing the game where I have no essence for my first city.
I agree completely with the above. But, in particular, I believe in preserving Choice ...
On this issue of "Balanced" starting positions, versus (completely) "Random" starting positions, I would like to see an OPTION, whereby both styles of play (both sets of preferences) can be accomodated. In this regard, I have previously advocated the availability (in the player-choices/option screens at the start of each game) of a:
Selectable Switch to chose between "Balanced" starting positions, and Random starting positions .
I can't see why this would be difficult to program; and it would maximize player choice, and Replay-ability. Balanced Starting Locations (for both the human players and the AI) could be 3,3,2's (or better); with some additional resources nearby such as (two of the following) iron ore, shards, grain (or apiaries) and a recruitable champion; no overwhelmingly powerful monsters within X number of tiles; and non-cul-de-sac starting locations, not hemmed in by mountains or seas. Obviously, the formula/template for Balanced Starting Locations could be further defined/refined, however Stardock chooses. By contrast, Random Starting Locations would be exactly that; and they can be chosen by the human player for variety (and subject to how many times you want to use the Cntl-N feature).
Having variety, and Meaningful Choices, are hall-marks of great 4X games, and great Strategy games. Adding the Selectable Switch would solve this issue for both camps, and increase E:FE Replay-ability.
[ Final Note: I apologize for having addressed this issue in at least 3 discussion threads, in the last couple months; but I am constantly amazed by seeing new replies, every few days, in which someone INSISTS that either Balanced Starting Positions, or Random Starting Positions are best; and no one else, who favors the opposite, should have the ability to choose between the two. People should have choice; and not have their favored style of play forbidden by others ... ]