Today we would like to touch on a topic that has seen multiple iterations of change, share our reasonings and intentions behind it.
Tools in The Settlers
The usage of tools is a staple in The Settlers. Since the early entries in the series, a variety of tools were needed for their specific jobs. Scythes, fishing rods, hammers, saws, axes and pickaxes were all employed. Later tools were also needed for some specialist units, namely the Geologist and the Builder. Our intention is to re-capture that feeling, and attack along the way the problems we found.
The all-purpose Toolbox
The first difference a lot of you have pointed out, is that we no longer differentiate individual tool types. We decided on this based on the increased burden it would put on players to micro-manage their tools.
First, individual tools would require a severe amount of pre-planning, or create frustration based on buildings not being operational. Additionally, excess tools would find no use whatsoever for the player due to their very narrow uses. This turns the possibility of over-planning into a penalty.
Both under- and/or overproduction would be severely punishing for players, a result we actively want to avoid.
Workers and Tools
We tried to add tools as a requirement for workers in early versions of the game. Unfortunately, this led to a complete halt of economic expansion when running out of tools. Tool production was by far one of the highest, most important objectives to any map, reducing possibilities for different strategies.
Our starting setup for skirmish had around 45 tools, and it still felt insufficient. Losing a single engineer also came as a severe drawback, as tool production took a long time from a map start. Once we loosened up the requirement of tools for workers, tool usage and need dropped drastically.
The economy immediately felt more fluid, and it liberated tools for research, building costs and recruiting.
We have recently decided to give tools a recipe based on lumber and stone. While iron-based tools were always a beloved element, early-game needs for tools were left unanswered. Replacing or recruiting engineers was costly, more so spending tools on Landmarks.
During mid- to late-game, early game materials would accumulate to extreme numbers. Matches would end with over 200 planks and stones stowed away in warehouses unused. Naturally, using those materials for Tools was something to try out.
Let us know your thoughts about tools and any question you have.
Your The Settlers Team