Time for a Rant.
Have played several games to Tier 4, have built the walls and towers, and even built a hilltop defense on a terraformed sheer-sided hill.
And have finally realized that I really hate the whole defense-raider system as it is currently implemented.
First, because there is no end to it. The entire mechanic just keeps going on and on with no change except growth in the number of ‘raiders’. Unless you do a complete fail and let the raiders wipe the map clean, nothing you do makes the slightest difference: massacre all the Raiders, the next raid comes in at the same time with the same increase. It becomes both mind-numbingly boring and a distraction from everything else in the game.
Second, because it is, from first to last, a complete Fantasy.
*Raiders did not keep raiding towns with fortifications, towers, keeps, soldiers: raiders were out for Easy Loot, not full scale battles with people trying to (and too often succeeding at) killing them.
*Nobody with clubs, knives, ‘crude weapons’ or even swords and axes chopped their way through a stone curtain wall: they went over it on ladders, or under it in tunnels (reason for moats full of water, by the way) or used Big Weapons like Trebuchets, Battering Rams or Bombards to break the wall down, because nothing smaller would do it. And
- Raiders did not come with Big Weapons. Those (especially Trebuchets, Catapults, Bombards and such ‘machines’) required Experts to build and were used only by regular Armies with hundreds, not dozens of men.
*A bunch of compost-covered peasants did not build a stone wall with stone towers without some expert help and guidance: they needed a Mason, Master Mason, or Engineer in charge, or the stone wall was liable to fall down in the first stiff breeze.
- Fortifications from the earliest types (like, 6500 - 2500 BCE) were concentrated at Gates - places where there was a necessary Hole In The Wall that had to be defended - and the defense was something considerably more elaborate than a simple wooden gate.
- Stone Walls were not thicker than they were tall - unlike our in-game 4 or 5-deep stone walls, that look more like Chinese Rammed Earth walls (typically, 30 meters wide by 20 meters tall, solid compacted earth all the way through). And anyone trying to build such walls would have taken years to do it and used up every rock for miles and miles in all directions - and it would have cost a bundle in Gold and Labor.
Now, ideally the game could use a whole new set of combat, defensive structure, defender and attacker mechanics, but that ain’t going to happen in the foreseeable (before Release) future.
So, what could be done to make the entire ‘military’ part of the game less of a drag and result in fortifications around the city that don’t look like an asinine fantasy of a stonemason’s dream job?
Provide some relationship between what happens in a ‘raid’ and future Raids. As in, a raid loses over 90% of the raiders, and it will be a longer time before someone else tries raiding that town. As in, several raids in a row get hammered with 90%+ casualties, and your town gets a reputation as a Safe Place and attracts more Immigrants, and, perhaps, you get a several-year respite from raids of any kind. As in, buy off a raiding force, and the next raid will possibly arrive a bit earlier, asking, of course, for even more. Some feedback between in-game events and the raiders would be a major advantage to game play, and a positive result from having a really good defense would give us some positive reason to build really good defenses in the game, instead of just covering the map with brobdinagian walls to avoid catastrophe.
Revise the walls. Make damage from all hand weapons about 1/4 as effective as now against all stone walls/towers, but only 1/2 as effective against wooden palisades or Gates or all kinds. A double stone wall then, with any amount of defensive fire, would protect against most Raids, not requiring the ridiculously wide stone mazes we construct now - but you would need extra defense around gates, like more Towers or extra walls/multiple gates. But to compensate:
All stone walls and towers require twice as much stone to build.
Revise the Raiders’ Goals. All the stuff outside the walls: food from the fields, cattle, tools and weapons in work camps, hunter’s huts, fishing shacks, etc. should be Fair Game. And if the Raiders pick up enough ‘loot’, they may not bother even attacking the town itself - but then more of them will be back sooner, because you are providing Easy Pickings. Again, some feedback/consequences from our actions vis-a-vis the raids would be nice, instead of the same/same actions over and over again regardless of individual raid outcomes.
In the future it would be nice to add the ability to Lower the ground level to make moats (dry or wet), and even require another trained/educated Specialist to build stone fortifications (right now, Healers and Teachers seem to be the only educated workers required: adding Master Mason to that educational requirements list could be used to make a major revision of the defensive systems). I’ve already posted about potential Upper Tier additions to the defensive/wall systems, like hoardings and Gate Towers/Gatehuses but, as stated, I don’t see them being added until after release, if ever.
I still love the game - just starting another map later today, but now, sorry to say, will do it in Pacifist mode to avoid the mind-numbing boredom of the defense/raid mechanics - but I’ll “play the game” by building walls around my town, and up-grading them to stone and adding stone towers and all the fixings - just NOT any ugly and ridiculous 4-deep Megalithic Wall Monuments