Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.

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.

Comments (Page 2)
on Jun 01, 2011

The citizen system is needed for town growth, and as a cap for infinite building.


I'm not sure what you mean by town growth. If you mean population, well we had that before we had the citizen system. The two are very different things. I've got no problem with population. Citizens are the number displayed in the building info as one of the costs of buildings.

The point is that citizens are almost NEVER a cap on buildings. in the early game gold maint is almost always more significant, and in the end game the tile limit is always more important. And now we're adding limits on buildings by city level AS WELL? Citizen costs were redundant before and they'll be even more redundant soon. Get rid of them.

You can only mae them relevant if you increase the citizen cost per building. You can't do that without making them unbuildable in the early game. The only other situation is something bizarre like increasing the citizen cost of each sunsequent building. At which point you just have to throw your hands up and say "what is this adding?" (unless you like going back every 4 turns to see if you have enough people to build yet another goddamn study).

what is the point in saying population > levels > buildings AND saying population > buildings? Why don't we just say "level 4 towns can have 8 buildings, level 5 can have 9" or whatever? It's effectively the same thing, and it means less micro (because i can just queue up all my buildings after level up, instead of building a new study every 5 turns), less clutter and better balance (because you can design the game knowing exactly what a settlement of a given level can have, because you're dealing with between 4 and 10 significant buildings, instead of between 0 and thirty goddamn studies.


I do think getting rid of human city-placement is a good thing, it adds very little and is micromanagey.  Unneeded feature.


On that I can agree.

on Jun 01, 2011


Quoting Trojasmic, reply 12


One of my favorite reasons to make sprawling snake cities is to provide visibility in my controlled area.  I would be very happy to shrink cities down, but it would be nice if there were some sort of lookout tower we could construct (it could be captured or destroyed) to enhance sight.  


the map looks atrocious with those things and really kills the fantasy factor with unrealistic aesthetics. though i do think that there should be an innate Line of sight from the city outward.



I do think getting rid of human city-placement is a good thing, it adds very little and is micromanagey.  Unneeded feature.



i agree on this as well

on Jun 01, 2011

I´m curious to test all the new and old (but new ) feature frogboy.

Thank you for don´t giving up on E:WoM.

on Jun 01, 2011

I for one like placing my buildings, but I wouldn't mind the buildings being automatically rotated.

on Jun 01, 2011

The problems that need solving are:

1. How do you make city spam a non-issue by making the game viable for players with just a few cities?

2. How do you stop micromanagement (deleting etc to make space)?

3. How do you make city specialisation a strategic element of the game?

4. How do you stop city sprawl on the world map?



I like the idea of 'free' housing that can be built but I can see that city spam (point 1 above) will become a big problem with this model. It does help with points 2 and 3 above, but fails again on point 4. So it is not an ideal solution.

Here is a possible solution:

Make city populations 'abstracted' rather than 'constructed'.

Civilisations have an overall Population Growth Factor based on global parameters such as number of cities, sovereign traits, at war, army size, merchant income, etc.

The fewer the cities the player controls the higher the Population Growth Factor. This way players who spam cities have slower population growth within those cities than players who concentrate on a handful of cities. Would also mean that players who lose cities would get a population growth boost to their remaining cities (refugees).

Cities also have their own Population Growth modifiers that are applied along with the global factor. Combined these give each city a unique prestige score which in turn gives an indication of population growth.

Pops are attracted to cities that have a high prestige and are not drawn to cities with low prestige.

All buildings add or subtract to the prestige of a city. Inns etc boost the prestige (and pop growth) but workshops for example may detract from the pop growth. Subsequent buildings of the same type would not affect the pop growth modifier to the same degree. Eg: Using a simple halving rule, 1 Inn boosts prestige by 10, 2 Inns boosts the prestige by 15, 3 Inns boost the prestige by 17.5 etc.

Cities that have been attacked and especially changed hands receive a massive hit to their prestige that slowly creeps back over time. Buildings that are not of your alignment could also negatively impact your prestige if they are left in cities.

Housing is built automatically by the pops as they require it and they build into any vacant tile.

Housing tiles are scaled to look small and can be built over the top - the game will then build new housing to replace any that needs replacing. Doesn't cost anything.

As cities rise in level there could be other levels of housing and a certain number of the housing tiles would show a visual upgrade. These can be used to show higher population factors so city sprawl is reduced.

Visually then each city would clearly show the special buildings while the smaller housing tiles would automatically grow around the edges or in gaps.

City walls ignore housing and are built around the special buildings.

Housing is no longer a selectable part of a city. If you enter or leave a city it is where the wall finishes (like the current game).

Housing ends up becoming a visual queue on the map to represent the population of the city but isn't controlled by the player.



Looking at the points above:

1. Does it solve city spam?
Yes. If you build more cities your population growth factor drops. If you conquer cities the new cities take even longer to recover.

2. Does it stop micromanagement (deleting etc to make space)?
Yes. Population for each city becomes a factor. The player can still strategically build the city to have high growth but it also works largely automatically.

3. Does it make city specialisation a strategic element of the game?
Yes. And by having housing like other terrain tiles, it highlights the other important buildings inside the city making it easier to see what is what.

4. Does it stop city sprawl on the world map?
Yes. Housing is now a growth of tiles around the edges of cities so players can only sprawl in a certain direction by using the specialisation buildings.


on Jun 01, 2011

I don't like the idea of having a cap on the number of buildings a city can have. If I want to make a research capital (lots of libraries) or a metropolis (with a little bit of everything), I should be able to do so. I don't want to run into a cap of buildings.

That said, I wouldn't mind having the population of a city be tied to only that city, and not usable by any other. I can handle the need to build more houses in my research capital so I can build more libraries. In fact, it might solve a few problems. In one of my previous games, I had conquered many enemy cities and had found myself short on population. In turn, I was unable to train any new units because I didn't have any population to spare. That really slowed down my advance as I couldn't advance without leaving some cities exposed to attack.

1. Don't make us choose our bonus immediately--let us come back to it after we've reviewed our city and the rest of our kingdom so that we can be sure to pick the right thing.

... Or let us pick the bonuses in advance. Simply put, I can't always remember what the role I've given a city is when the window asking for the next level of specialization pops up. If the role for a city is research capital, I want to set all specializations in advance to research.

on Jun 01, 2011

Has anyone picked the spawn random guardian option and not been really disappointed in what showed up?  I remember in one build I got a darkling shaman that could cast some spells and that was neat, but I think that was a bug...

on Jun 01, 2011

After all, I live in Canton Michigan but work in Plymouth Michigan.
Do you commute from one to the other using pre-industrial technology?

on Jun 01, 2011

After all, I live in Canton Michigan but work in Plymouth Michigan.

Do you commute from one to the other using pre-industrial technology?

Or do battle with any sort of hostile wildlife on your commute?

I'd prefer local population obviously, but I can live with global. I just wish people would stop talking about it like it actually makes sense.

on Jun 01, 2011

Why do we even bother with using city levels anymore?

on Jun 02, 2011

Can open....worms everywhere....


There are some great suggestions here. I for one would like to highlight my own city issues.


  1. Auto Leveling of Housing/Libraries. Instead, I would like to see it as an upgrade option. This way the player has the choice of say having 5 people for 5 materials (or whatever the library cost is) gaining 1 tech vs +10 people +5 materials to get 2 research.
  2. Locational Buildings- It would be cool if buildings mattered where they were placed. Maybe the Inn graints a prestige bonus based upon the number of huts it is adjacent too. There could be a "merchant quarter" which gives a guildar bonus to other guildar producing buildings.
  3. Volume- Cities are quite large. Maybe the time has come to scale everything up in pop cost and down in number. So say the total tile limit for a city is now 20 (at level 5). The current sprawling cities look rather odd sometimes and this would help this. Although this could create early balance problems with population cost on buildings.
on Jun 06, 2011

Anouther way to reduce the city footprint is to have the buildings allow you to assighn your population to working on different tasks.  Say that the study allows you to set up to 100 population (or a given % of total city pop) to research at the rate of X per person.  This makes the building of anouther study a loss of the building time/materials if the current one isnt fully used.  The building level upgrade could then cost but increase the research rate and or the amount of people that can be set to work at that building (say like 300 pop and X+0.5 rate).  Housing could also be abstracted a bit more for the amt of population that they support (so as to reduce the foot print further say like the starting hut able to represent up to 100 population for that city) and have cost for the upgrade of a plot but increase the population it supports and perhaps also add a bit of prestige or something else to indicate the higher standard of living the better housing indicates. It also feels more organic having different levels of housing quality in a city.

The main advantage to reducing the footprint that I see is making the world seem larger (as less of it is eaten by city plots).

I think the idea of computer constructed housing has some merit (using it more as a visual effect than actual representation) as it allows you to build all your special buildings close together without destroying things.  If you could build over a housing zone and it would either auto place or allow you to place the displaced tile(s) that would be neat. You could say have 3 hut types and one house type buildings in your city that the computer would plot on the borders of the city and then if one was built over it wouldnt displace any of the citizens but build another in an empty plot. Mostly i just dont like having my population disappear into the ether if I build over their homes- but if there are fewer overall housing plots to manage to support the improvements, the displacement may not be much of an issue since you could plot out another housing plot.

Im not sure how feasable it is but if the walls would stay where they are when built that could show some of the city's history of where its boarders where when each stage was built.  Im not sure if it would look good or not if they stayed the type they were or gave the option to be replaced with the newer construction type- might only apply to the more permanent structure types such as stone walls (using a tag to indicate to the engine to leave it so that each level could be indicated individually by its actual tile content), could alternatively have a 'replaced' tile type to go into effect after a newer wall type has been built. Unfortunately its also countering the idea of keeping city footprints down.

on Jun 06, 2011

ALL buildings ought to be upgradeable.  Upgrading an existing building costs:

1) More space.  a lvl 1 building takes 1 tile, a lvl 2 building requires 1 free tile in either of the 4 cardinal directions, a lvl 3 building requires 2 free adjacent tiles, etc.  This would require a certain amount of city planning.

2)Each upgrade would require a slightly higher resource cost than a new lvl 1 building would.  ie a library costs 5 mats and 5 gold at lvl 1, the upgrade to lvl 2 should costs 6 / 6.  Lvl 2 > lvl 3 costs 7 / 7 , etc.

3)Upkeep costs for upgraded buildings should increase at a much lower rate than building new buildings of the same type. ie each new library should cost 1 / 2 / 3 / 5 / 8 (first, second, third etc instance) , etc, while upgrading an existing building should cost 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 (lvl 1, lvl 2, lvl 3, etc.)

4)Citizen requirements for upgraded buildings should be much higher than building a new instance.  ie 5 / 15 / 30 / 50 / 75.

5)Upgrading should have a slightly higher build time than building a new instance: 5 turns / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9.

However, upgraded buildings should have much better output than having many unique instances.  ie 1 rp for each lvl 1 library, 3 rp for lvl 2, 6 rp for lvl 3, 10 / 15.  Also, higher level buildings should grant unique features, like spawning champions, free spells, allow to recruit magi, etc.  All library specific examples.

The numbers in these examples are used for demonstrative purposes only, and do not reflect actual game balance. 

on Jun 06, 2011

One thing Id forgotten to add to my last post is supporting the ability to build watch towers or some other destroyable structure to increase line of sight and or maintain surveilence of an area (such as trade routes or choke points).  As someone else said sometimes cities or improvements are placed just to increase the area you can watch (they could also be set up so that a stationed unit can put up an alert for when they see a monster or other faction in their range (perhaps with a cooldown for that unit so you dont get spammed with messages) or even just a general alert that something is in your area.

on Jun 06, 2011

The solution is to make it as it seems to be now, but isn't. I explain. Keep the system as it is now, but have the local population in each city determine how many buildings you can build, not the surplus population in the whole empire. For pop you need housing and food. If you want a really huge capital you will have to import alot of the food from the others cities, making their potential smaller again. This will balance itself out very good. Alot of small cities buildt tight together may not be the best way to go then.