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I have always liked the resource production element of the game and I actually think the set up is pretty good with grades of building, two levels of building type, research to introduce improved efficiency, crafting to introduce enhanced techniques/ Historically feels comfortably accurate and from a game context it rewards hard work and commitment over time. It sad to see an important part of the game viewed as just irrelevant by an increasing number of players. There has always been a split on this in terms of differing approaches but given the way the book quests are structured it feels like to have no resource facilities when 4 seem to be the recommended minimum should be more of a disadvantage. Things like the banner achievements also seem a bit redundant which seems a shame.
I'd say looking at contests like the colossus that the looters have a huge advantage over more developed builders at present and I was just curious to know what other players and the designers thought.
My personal preference would be for a new event whereby the Kingdom goes to war and the King requires alliances to provide a range of resources / materials for the war effort. The alliance which produces most resources none of which are looted or won through events during the event wins. I understand the mechanics of that might be difficult but the economic power of an alliance in terms of raw material production and being able to turn the raw materials looted into something usable make sense. It does seem a bit daft that we currently have a situation where players can loot vast amounts of raw materials but lack the production facilities to do anything with them. Whilst I hesitate to suggest a penalty I don't think they should be able to build at the same rate as someone with all the facilities available.