Dev Blog #56: Progress Update - Attached Locations
Previously we’ve talked about how settlements work once you’ve entered them (Dev Blog #53). This week we talk about how settlements will work on the new worldmap based on an entirely new concept: attached locations. These are special locations that belong to a nearby settlement and influence it in various ways. Let’s dig deeper!
Did you know that all villages currently in the game have a wealth rating that increases as caravans reach it, and decreases as it is raided and militia units die? And did you know that this wealth rating determines the selection and prices of items in the shop, and the strength of militia it can spawn? Many players don't, and that's an issue.
We want the world of Battle Brothers to feel dynamic, and the player to feel that they have an impact on the world. An abstract wealth rating, unfortunately, often isn't transparent enough to explain why a settlement is doing poorly, why certain items are or are not available, and what can be done about it. To achieve where we want to go with Battle Brothers, we're therefore replacing the wealth rating with the concept of attached locations.
Attached locations are small specialized locations outside a settlement that influence heavily the available goods, services and recruitment options of that settlement. For example, outlying wheat fields will not only make food more readily available and cheaper in the nearby settlement, but also have more farmhands volunteer for your mercenary company. Iron mines, on the other hand, will increase the selection of metal-based weapons and armor in the settlement, and will bring a larger population of miners looking to take up the mercenary profession. A stone watch tower will have a look out for bandits and beasts, and may spawn militia to help out any caravans, while adding militia to the recruitment options. There are no less than 30 different attached locations on their way into the game, and they all have different effects.
In medieval times, settlements did not just randomly pop up. There was usually a pretty good reason for them being there. This reason may have been rich soil, good hunting grounds or other valuable resources like ores, wood or gems. By adding specialized attached locations we represent this in the game; settlements both look and are very different from one another based on their specialization, and as a player you'll have a pretty good idea on what to expect in terms of item selection, prices and the kind of recruits you'll be able to get just from looking at it on the worldmap.
Attached locations can also be attacked, raided and burned to the ground independently of the settlements they belong to. There will even be contracts for the player to raid these or burn them down. Once an attached location is destroyed its benefits are lost for the according settlement. As a settlement has its outlying farms in ashes and the farmhands dead, there can be shortages of food and other goods, and fewer people will be available to join you. Unlike with the abstract wealth rating from before, however, this is something easy to see and understand just from looking at the worldmap; if everything around a settlement is burned to the ground, that settlement is obviously doing poorly, whereas a settlement with all kinds of farms and workshops active will be flourishing. If a city's barracks are burned to the ground, it should be intuitively understandable that their defensive capabilities are significantly lowered. Attached locations, once burned down, are not lost forever. They can be rebuilt, and there'll also be contracts that have the player be a part of this.