First, congrats to the designers for a good game. I moved over from Lords Mobile which was a horrendous grind because this is far more interesting of a game. You’ve got a lot of stuff right, well done!
I also appreciate seeing an active forum thread for suggestions – great to see game designers engaging with their community. Whenever I’m playing games, I think “what would I do differently” – so here are my suggestions:
Real world cities are active hubs of trade and commerce. In the real world, people join guilds and associations because of the benefits they enjoy from trade. Why not allow players to trade with each other by creating “Contracts” for X goods, it would read something like:
The first player to deliver 2000 gold to Highburn will receive 2500 elixir.
I will pay 1.5 gold for each elixir, up to 10,000 delivered to Highburn in the next 20 minutes.
Rather than creating an auction house (yawn) you would be creating real time trade networks – using the caravan system you’ve already created. Deliveries (and payments) would be done through caravans, so they take time and they could be robbed along the way (see escorting below). If a contract is complete before my caravan arrives, it just returns or fulfills another contract (or an NPC contract) with some reserve prices. In implementing this relatively simple mechanism, you’d be two things: 1) allowing for trade between players and 2) creating entirely new PVE content (see escorting below).
I really have no idea what I am supposed to be doing with the 150 shiny helms I’ve accumulated. Surely someone in our Kingdom knows how to turn them into elixir or mithril or something. You’ll need crafting of some sort to both clean out these items from our item stashes and to help resolve the end game resource drought. It would also facilitate trade above with more liquidity in the six commodities you have.
I really like the raidable caravans idea – but escorting is a drag. Who wants to watch their lord crawl across the screen for 2 minutes? We’ve got real life for mundane tasks like that. Can’t we just assign some of our hundreds of troops to escort a caravan? And/or hire mobs to do it? There must be a bunch of out of work myrmidons and dwarven miners out there that want to escort my mithril for a few gold. Why not allow players to assign or hire mobs to escort caravans? Then you’ve effectively (and very simply) created an entirely new PVE experience in the game. If they are our own troops, of course, we'll need a way to heal them more quickly.
Not sure why cities started with all the resource bonus spots. If I were designing the game, I’d have made those all unlockable/buildable. As a city levels up, it could open new spots and improve spots. There could also be new unlockable positions in cities – not just governor. There needs to be a trade-off between becoming a city lord and staying in a city and helping it to grow – right now with the army capacity bonus from rank, becoming a lord is too good and there isn’t enough incentive to take on a job as: Governor or Mayor or Dean of the University or Warden of the Forest (bonus to wood production) or Captain of the Guard (+ army cap) or Doctor (+healing) or all the myriad other cool positions you could unlock as cities are improved. These positions would also be elders, so you can reconcile the Guild management/leadership problem with an in game solution.
When a city is attacked and turns over, some or all of the improvements described above could be destroyed.
Big Monsters and Resets
I agree with a number of other posters, you need the option for resets and/or mergers. Why not having massive monsters that tear through the map every once in awhile to help reset? If a city is defended well enough, it could survive, but I think you’ll need this sort of creative destruction to get rid of inactive players and single person cities.
Looking forward to seeing what the next update brings and hope these suggestions are useful.