Once upon a time…
A city level in War of Magic had two key game mechanics attached to it.
First, it determined what improvements you could build. The higher the level, the more powerful improvements you could construct.
But secondly, it limited the number of improvements you could build as well.
Unfortunately, this had the effect of being very frustrating to users who quickly discovered that they couldn’t get their settlement to the next level without wrecking something which is highly annoying. So it was taken out.
In v1.3, it’s back. But with a twist. This time, housing improvements will always be available to construct. Thus, if you max out a settlement, you’re not stuck, you can still upgrade it with more housing.
This will add some teeth to crazy cities that have no local population but have immense numbers of studies and the like. While some users have expressed an interest in limiting what you can build based on the population of that settlement, I preferred to see this mechanic a bit more abstracted. After all, I live in Canton Michigan but work in Plymouth Michigan. But there should still be some rough correlation between city expanse and population.
When combined with the fact that repeatable improvements will cost increasing amounts and you bring the world back to having a smaller number of important cities without quite so much sprawl.
The beta process will let us do some rebalancing based on this sort of thing.