We've dropped a few hints so far at some of the resource changes in Rome, but today we're going to dig into some details. On the surface, we've got a new wood resource that you'll be harvesting and spending to build some of those engineering marvels Caesar was famous for. But, there's also a lot of subtler changes we've made to improve the strategy in the game and we're going to look at some of those as well.
But first off, here are the basics on wood: it's produced at logging camps, transported via supply lines, stored in forts/cities, and consumed to construct walls, upgrades, ships and siege equipment. It's something of a combination between food and recruits and its purpose is to support a new stage of development once you've satisfied your basic needs for food, gold and units. In other words, once you've captured a position, wood will let you fortify it, customize its strengths with upgrades, and build more powerful units to let you take on tougher enemy positions.
That said, gathering wood can't always be an afterthought - defending a city with walls, for example, is usually more cost effective than training a similar number of units, and constructing an upgrade that reduces rebellions might be the best option to maintain control over a hostile city.
New logging camps require workers or slaves to produce wood
And it's obviously those kind of decisions that are really at the core of any strategy game and that's what we try to encourage whenever we make design changes. Which is why we weren't really satisfied with the mechanics for collecting resources in the earlier games. Whenever you'd capture a new city in Gold, you'd immediately capture all of the nearby farms, connect them up to your city, and then you were done. To borrow a line from another game designer, there really were no “interesting choices” to be made.
Our solution to this was to make all resources in Rome more like mines. Rather than just producing food automatically, farms (and also logging camps) now require that you assign workers or slaves to operate them. While this was something a lot of our testers intuitively tried to do anyways, the major advantage for gameplay is that players can no longer have everything and you've got to decide, for example, to spend those precious few recruits on new combat units or for workers to harvest food, wood or gold.
Farmers will stop production when enemy units get too close
Raid and Pillage
To further increase your options, we've also carried over the ability to disrupt and raid farms to all other resource buildings so that those pesky raiders will also be burning your mines and logging camps as well. And for consistency, mines will no longer be exempt from lengthy supply lines – all resource production is now penalized based on the length of the supply line. We've also eliminated the limit on the number of supply lines you can connect and gotten rid of their construction time since neither really added anything strategic to the game and we prefer a simpler ruleset whenever possible.
Some of the other changes you'll notice are that the mobile sheep flocks have been replaced with a fixed cattle farm (no more AI sheep wars), farms no longer have their own supply radius, and workers and slaves no longer carry food. But the resupply changes are probably a topic all by themselves so we'll leave that for a later date (or for the forums if you can't wait).
Stay tuned for next week - we'll be doing things a little differently. There won't be a regular blog post since Rick, Philippe and I are heading over to Germany to take in GamesCom, but we're still hoping to have some news to post for you.
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