Building your empire
Along with your Sovereign being the focal point of your heroic RPG characters, he or she builds your first city at the start of the game. The original game merely had you plop a city down wherever you felt like, but Fallen Enchantress takes from Civilization the mechanic of having each tile contain a different value. The two values you concern yourself with in city-building are Materials and Food. Materials decrease the amount of time it takes to produce something whilst Food increases the population of your city and therefore its level and taxable income. So location is very important. Some tiles may have higher values than others but they may also be near enemies, with little space, or not a whole lot of special resources around. Likewise, it may be surrounded in resources and in a great location but without any value to the tiles. FE no longer encourages city spamming as the original game did.
As mentioned before, some tiles contain special resources, like an elemental shard of magic, fertile land, an iron node, an ancient temple, etc. When these are captured they impart significant bonuses to your empire and are necessary for certain units, such as a tile with horses or wargs in order to build mounts. Because you’re no longer able to plop a city down wherever you please, settlers can construct outposts. Outposts are static structures that merely increase your area of control to help capture resources or contain your rivals’ borders. This is a humongous improvement over spamming cities everywhere and then having to manage said cities.
Instead of being a defenseless jumble of buildings, cities now automatically contain some defenders to ward off the occasional stray bandit that you may have missed. It was incredibly frustrating to be occupied on one side of the world only to have a giant spider destroy your entire civilization back home because you forgot to place some defenders. These city militiamen also upgrade as the city grows so unless you’re in an all-out war against another player, each city should be self-sustaining. Monsters also come from pre-designated spawn points that can be destroyed, so you’ll never be hit by a totally random encounter.
The game is still in beta and a lot of things are subject to change. One of them is the act of “snaking” your city. Unlike Civilization
, every improvement that you build in a city takes up a surrounding tile versus merely enhancing the one tile that the city is in. There are no limitations to the number of improvements that you can build so you end up with sprawling metropolises. Elemental
allows your units to instantly warp from one end of your zone of control to the other in one turn, so building these sprawling cities in a snake-like fashion can act like a superconductor for unit movements.
The developers are experimenting with adding limitations to the number of buildings you can put in each city or the number of tiles that you can build on. On one side, city-building becomes a lot more strategic than merely adding every conceivable building. On the other, it makes it so that you have to build several cities versus sticking with one megalopolis. If they go through with that, I hope it becomes an optional mode of play rather than a permanent change, though. In addition, each city used to have two different build queues: one for buildings and the other for units. Fallen Enchantress
now combines the two into a single queue, meaning you can’t churn out an army whilst you’re also building up your city. I’m not entirely a fan of this, going with the same several cities versus one city argument, but again, I would hope the developers make it optional. I certainly see how it adds a greater strategic element to the game, however more choices are always better.
Like with leveling up your hero characters, leveling up a city provides you a choice of perks. These perks are actually just a choice between five constructable buildings, each imparting a different bonus. Before when a city leveled, you selected one of three general bonuses to either production, income, or research. Cities level up according to population, which is influenced by both food and prestige. Prestige is generated by simply playing the game: conquering territory, creating new cities, hiring Champions, being liked by your subjects, etc. Each level of city comes with a new tier of improvements and increased income, production, and research up to a maximum of level 5.