So the status quo seems to be, boats and water are hard or I don't personally care so lets not add them.
Is that really the reason against this? This reminds me of the multiplayer debate where people saying just because they personally don't play multiplayer, the game shouldn't ever have multiplayer. Right.
Okay, so let's take this one at a time:
The is the Groundhog's Day of Elemental Forum Post. We've talked about it and talked about it, and there is nothing new here.
There's nothing new because nothing has been done about it. And the very fact that it is brought up repeatedly is because it is a feature people want. Passing it off as something marginal that won't add anything to a strategy game is ignoring what a strategy game is meant to be, a game about options. What are our options currently if we're locked in around water? Control+N until you're not? Mad dash to explore and hope you're not boxed in by a player or strong/deadly/epic creep? It makes no sense to argue against freedom of movement when it fits within the context of gameplay and Civilization does this quite well while still limiting the player by having different depths of water your ships can traverse, not to mention having other natural barriers like mountains.
In Civilization, with the way that the game is structured, boats and port cities play a crucial role in trade routes, naval warfare, and transportation. This just isn't the case in Elemental, and I don't even know if it should be. Boats aren't critical to transport, as there are always overland alternatives, and adding in boats and port city mechanics (and no doubt special buildings that would have to be associated with them) seems unnecessary unless you can come up with a legitimate reason as to why exactly boats are needed in the first place.
Legitimate reasons why boats and usage of water are needed:
- Freedom of strategic planning.
- Alternative means of exploration.
- Alternative means of trade.
- Alternative means of settlements.
- Alternative means of warfare.
- The ability to break out of bad starting locations that lock you around water (a not so uncommon situation).
- Opening up new map type possibilities.
- Making use of unused areas in pre-existing maps (such as the official maps of the world of Elemental where roughly 30% or more is sea).
And that's just off the top of my head. If water tiles aren't needed for anything, why have them? If you're not going to use water tiles at all for any benefit, why have rivers?
I think those against this idea are overthinking the concept too radically and therefore are against it. As for the whole mentality of others of 'just wait for another expansion' are ignoring the fact we're on the third Elemental game with no change to this gameplay (or its lack) mechanic that most other games of this type already possess and have made work.