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Blacksmith Issues and Possible Improvements

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The blacksmith upgrades seem rather meaningless to me for a number of reasons.  First, they affect things too universally.  Compare things to Age of Empires II, and the difference is stark.  In 0 AD, there is a distinction given in attack upgrades but not defence in the case of ranged versus melee.  Also, the technology cost seems outrageous in the case of the wood necessary to research the armour upgrades.  Last, only two upgrades make concern of teching into a specific unit combination practically a nonexistent other than worrying about the cost.  My proposal is to have three upgrades that are cheaper but have a less wide range of effect:

A line of melee armour that would primarily affect infantry but also cavalry to a small degree.

A line of armour upgrades for horses that only affect cavalry.  These upgrades would be a bit more expensive than the former.

A line of armour for ranged units.

Lines of separate attack upgrades for melee and ranged units.

There could be armour upgrades for elephants specifically, but that might be too situational.

All of these upgrades would also operate under further limitations.  Basic experience level infantry would only benefit from tier 1 upgrades, advanced could enjoy the benefits of tier 2 as well, and elite and champion units could work with the tier three upgrades.

Ranged units would have fewer available armour upgrades since armour was less prevalent for them, and the upgrades available would probably only affect advanced, elite, and champion units.

The reasons for using this system to me would be that the experience system would fit more organically into the game design and veterans would matter more.  The third tier for armour might also, with a benefit, have a tantalising choice such as what was originally hoped for like heavier armour at the cost of movement speed.

Edited by Thorfinn the Shallow Minded
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I like the concept of "You can't have all upgrades" like what Delenda Est did to the Blacksmith. It forces you to choose between Upgrade Paths rather than clicking everything until it's all gone.

I have a similar idea of a time-based upgrade: You can only upgrade 5 or 10 minutes after your previous chosen upgrade.

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I think that Delenda Est's model is a good idea, but I'm not sure about how intuitive it is.  Choices are good, but overloading a player with too many is a substantial risk.  Clicking everything until it's all gone is a problem more for the player than the system in my opinion.  When it comes to these technologies, timing is key, and resource efficiency is important to effective build orders.  When a player chooses a melee armour upgrade, they are making their melee infantry better, which in turn encourages them to train more.  They could try to balance the unit composition with a ranged attack upgrade, but that would divert resources from unit production or other critical technologies.  Obviously the blacksmith wouldn't be the only building for unit upgrades ideally speaking.  There could be ones that focus on improving the training of units at the barracks.  All of these work into establishing a tempo to the game.  

I don't mean to act as if I don't appreciate a lot of the ways Delenda Est has changed the game; it's a great labour of love, but at the same time, the more choices, the less meaningful they become to me. Thus,  I think that restricting choices to tier three would make for more engaging options.  Furthermore, a faction such as Sparta might have great infantry, but since their cavalry and ranged units were rather subpar, probably the only tier three upgrades they would have would be for melee armour and melee attack.  

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