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Feedback on the stronghold

stronghold hirelings

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#1
fmatthew5876

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The stronghold is a nice idea, but honestly it feels incomplete or even rushed. This post might be somewhat spoilerific to people who want to discover what the stronghold offers on their own first.

 

A few suggestions I would make on the stronghold. Some of them minor, others major and could be part of an expansion.

 

1) I find it very strange that I have my own city which is completely devoid of life. As we repair things, add more NPCs to the stronghold. I should see guards standing by the gates and villagers walking around the city. The closer I get to full repairs, the more populated my city gets. These NPCs don't need to have any unique dialogue so it shouldn't be too much work to add them. When I build the forum I should see people there talking to one another. When I build the training center, I should see guards there training. Seriously this breaks immersion. Who is building all of my structures? Why would any of the visitors (good or bad) want to come visit my stronghold just to sit alone in the keep? Basically now I'm forced imagine that my stronghold is a city with people that I just can't see in the game for whatever reason.

 

2) Allow resting from the stronghold button when anywhere on the stronghold map. Having to walk into my house and then again to the 2nd floor is tedious and pointless. I should be able to enter the stronghold map, build something, rest right there, and then leave without needing to walk to the house for the 100th time.

 

3) There needs to be more rewards for investing the time, money, and effort into building the stronghold. Currently you get very little return for sinking so much cash into the repairs. After completing the stronghold I was very underwhelmed with the result. The money from taxes is minimal and will take forever to cover the costs of repairs. The advertised incentive for the stronghold is earning income, but it fails miserably at that goal. If we aren't building it for the tax income, than there should be other incentives. Going back to (1), it would be cool if some unique NPCs starting showing up after you do a lot of repairs. These NPCs could be quest givers or even add a new party member whom you can only get when you fully repair the stronghold. Another cool way to do it could be to have a unique hireling who randomly appears after a certain prestige who if you hire and then go talk to offers you a quest or becomes a party member. Right now the stronghold is more of a liability than anything else because I have to run back and take care of bandit attacks from time to time.

 

4) The prisoner system doesn't make sense. The gold rewards are very small. Its much better to just kill the guy and loot him for any unique gear he might have than to put him in jail. Also it seems like a lot of people are having trouble with prisoners escaping even with high security. Maybe this feature is bugged? At minimum, it would be good if there was at least a little more transparency with how the prisoner thing is supposed to work. A long form text description for each upgrade would go a long way here.

 

5) The merchants don't really offer too much value. One option could be to upgrade the merchants via quests and/or additional repairs to improve trade routes etc.. With the end result being that each merchant will sell some unique powerful loot at the end, making your investment in the stronghold all the more worthwhile.

 

6) Other RPGs with strongholds allowed the player to recruit NPCs from the world to live in their stronghold. Examples from the SNES era include JRPGs like Breath of Fire 2 and Secret of the Stars. This provides yet another incentive. Build the stronghold and then you can go out and get people to come live there, offering further benefits in terms of additional quests, merchants, prestige, security, etc..


Edited by fmatthew5876, 08 April 2015 - 02:10 PM.

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#2
Dee-Jay

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I agree that the stronghold feels a bit like an afterthought. It was a stretch-goal iirc, which explains why it feels that way. That's one of the reasons I don't like games adding content as stretch-goals because they always end up feeling "tacked on".

 

To be honest, I think the game could easily do without the stronghold. Being a lord of a castle would really change the way people interact with you, but it doesn't. Generally the life of a lord is very different from your typical RPG protagonist. Even Dragon Age: Inquisition, where the castle was always a central concept, has you doing a lot of mundane stuff and travelling the world with a "rag-tag" band of followers. Yeah, it doesn't make sense.

 

If they want to expand on it, there are some things they could do. Just look at some old Facebook or browser games for inspiration. Building soldiers, RTS battles, attacking other castles, consolidated vendors etc. could all be potential ideas.

 

But really, if they're going to stick with the classic RPG formula of "Protagonist from humble origins bands together with rag-tag band of followers to defeat evil" then I'd rather they'd leave any "grand strategy" elements out of it. Even in Dragon Age, the "management" stuff was really boring.



#3
Penchant

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I agree with the points stated Matt. The stronghold feels a little lifeless even after completed upgrades, visitors, and a fully recruited hireling party. I was hoping for a bustling domain, filled with training soldiers, researchers at the library, a cook (and possibly servants) in your home, dignitaries from all corners of the world at your hospitality, soldiers/guards in ranks training etc. Something similar but not as detailed and grand as suikoden 2's castle dynamics.

 

Instead we see small number of guards scattered around various fixtures such as an empty chapel (save for the priest), the forum, training grounds, maze etc. Even the barracks is completely devoid of life (no sleeping guards).

 

What I'd like to see would be a forum with seated spectators watching a single lecturer, or a performing theatre troupe (maybe something similar to copperlane's ampitheater), visiting nobles and ladies in the main castle, researchers at the library that could provide small hints to certain quests in play, locals and internationals of various peregnations, a cook! etc.

 

Overall, more NPCS would make the stronghold seem more like a nexus of trade and security as I imagined it to be. At the moment when I return from adventuring, it feels more like an empty oversized house.



#4
LadyCrimson

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The best thing about the Stronghold is what's underneath it.

 

It's a nice idea and I do like the way they integrated the Endless Paths into it, but I really don't like micro-managing the raids, escorting/paying off visitors, or how I can miss the special vendors coming to offer me sales goods via the Stronghold menu because they apparently come and then depart during that "22 hours" of me transitioning from one map to another. :getlost: I'm hardly ever there/go back there anyway, because I'm out...adventuring. :biggrin:


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#5
Katarack21

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I was really hoping for more out of it. I wanted to do things like send a certain quest character who has to leave town to my chapel. I actually *expected* the bonus's in Brighthollow to stack and was angry when they didn't I feel like I wasted a ton of money for nothing. The merchants, other than the curio shop and the general goods, also seem pointless and like a waste of time and effort.

I *really* like the idea of recruiting NPC's in the world to work at your stronghold, providing various bonuses and extra merchants and things like that. It can provide for some interesting quests in addition to making the stronghold itself more interesting and engaging. You could even link it into the prestige system--transparently and in a way that's easy to understand--so that you can get get quests from certain NPC's based on your prestige, and then maybe join your stronghold under your protection afterwards.


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#6
crunchynut

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The best thing about the Stronghold is what's underneath it.

 

It's a nice idea and I do like the way they integrated the Endless Paths into it, but I really don't like micro-managing the raids, escorting/paying off visitors, or how I can miss the special vendors coming to offer me sales goods via the Stronghold menu because they apparently come and then depart during that "22 hours" of me transitioning from one map to another. :getlost: I'm hardly ever there/go back there anyway, because I'm out...adventuring. :biggrin:

 

This probably is my biggest concern about strongholds. Apart from the rather emptiness of if all, by the time you transition to the stronghold to meet said NPC, he's already departed. Can't they stay longer than a few hours? I mean, I spend a fair bit of time in Guilded Vale, surely other would love to stay at my beautiful bed-and-breakfast, stroll the lush gardens and contemplate life at the forums - all the while feeling forever alone due to the lack of any social life around the area.


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#7
LadyCrimson

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by the time you transition to the stronghold to meet said NPC, he's already departed. Can't they stay longer than a few hours?

Just in case...in terms of traveling merchants you can look at/purchase their item directly from the Stronghold menu, from anywhere. No need to travel back to Stronghold to shop him personally.

But even that doesn't help when I travel and arrive in a map only to immediately get 2 green Stronghold messages - one that tells me a merchant arrived to sell me an item, the other saying he left. Pretty useless. :lol:
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#8
Sabin Stargem

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At the very least, Obsidian ought to make it so that characters arrive at the stronghold after you finish a transition, not before.  Short of developing psychic powers or savescumming, the player's only choice is to transition into every location between point A and B.
 


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#9
FootDive

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I noticed not many refer to the most wonderfully designed Stronghold system in a cRPG which was created none other than Obsidian themselves:

Neverwinter Nights 2 Original Campaign's Crossroad Keep.

 

If any of you have played that campaign then you would know that CK blows PoE's stronghold out of the water. The stronghold in PoE feels poorly tacked on and is absolutely not integral to the plot. There aren't any special sequences (special visitors or dealing with land tax), stronghold improvement quests (such as finding special captains) or extensive stronghold management (assigning captains to certain tasks).

 

If there's one thing Obsidian needs to do for the expansion, a patch or a sequel, it's that they need to improve the stronghold.


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#10
Luckmann

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I noticed not many refer to the most wonderfully designed Stronghold system in a cRPG which was created none other than Obsidian themselves:

Neverwinter Nights 2 Original Campaign's Crossroad Keep.
 
If any of you have played that campaign then you would know that CK blows PoE's stronghold out of the water. The stronghold in PoE feels poorly tacked on and is absolutely not integral to the plot. There aren't any special sequences (special visitors or dealing with land tax), stronghold improvement quests (such as finding special captains) or extensive stronghold management (assigning captains to certain tasks).
 
If there's one thing Obsidian needs to do for the expansion, a patch or a sequel, it's that they need to improve the stronghold.


While I think that it's a terrible expansion in itself, I want to give honourable mention to Dragon Age: Origins: Awakening in regards to stronghold ownership/land management.

I was really expecting something along the lines of NWN2:s Crossroad Keep and the DA:O:A:s Vigil's Keep, taking the best things and making something stellar out of it.


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#11
Mungri

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I wish all the resting bonuses stacked. Cant think of anything else I don't like about it, but I'll sure take any improvements.

#12
draek

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6) Other RPGs with strongholds allowed the player to recruit NPCs from the world to live in their stronghold. Examples from the SNES era include JRPGs like Breath of Fire 2 and Secret of the Stars. This provides yet another incentive. Build the stronghold and then you can go out and get people to come live there, offering further benefits in terms of additional quests, merchants, prestige, security, etc..

 

 

sukoiden probably had one of the best strongholds in gaming history.

With more than 100 recruitable characters each with his or her own personality trait that will leave and join based on the decisions you make.


Edited by draek, 09 April 2015 - 01:05 AM.


#13
DrBrian

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I find it mildly disturbing how in an interview I read one of the devs was so hyped up (I had another less correct term in mind) by that "fantastical addition" that was the stronghold and how when they would make a sequel there was no question there would be the return of a stronghold, if in another shape of form.
Should they do so they'd better take account of anything the OP said, because in my opinion it is the more shallow and uninspired feature of the game, even surpassing the rather simplisitic (though functional) crafting system. At the moment that stronghold is a wart of coal on the uncut diamond that is this game.

Edited by DrBrian, 09 April 2015 - 02:24 AM.

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#14
Katarack21

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Yeah, honestly the stronghold is pretty terrible. The game is great and I love it, but if I had to pick one thing about it that is not very good, it would be the stronghold.


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#15
fmatthew5876

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sukoiden probably had one of the best strongholds in gaming history.

With more than 100 recruitable characters each with his or her own personality trait that will leave and join based on the decisions you make.

 

 

Wow super fail. How could I have forgotten about Suikoden (and Suikoden 2)! Thats the model for what a stronghold system can really be.

 

The prestige and security thing we have already would tie nicely into recruiting NPCs. Each NPC would have a minimum prestige and security requirement (and also some of them requirements on specific structures existing) before offering to go and live in your stronghold and offer their services there.

 

I'm also not a huge fan of the statue that manages the stronghold for us. It really doesn't make any sense. If it were me, I'd probably have added a new humanoid NPC to be the point of contact. Someone with a personality can provide banter. How is this statue thing organizing the workers to make the repairs? The stronghold is already empty and lifeless as it is. The manager of it being a statue and not a person contributes to that empty feeling even more.

 

A good stronghold system (just like any game system) needs a lot of work to get right. I agree with the second poster that as an add-on stretch goal its somewhat lacking. Good games with good systems tend to do a few things really well instead of trying to add a little bit of everything. Better to either do it right or not do it at all. It might have been better instead to just add more content (maps to explore, quests, party members, etc...) to the core game with those stretch goal resources. I know the stronghold thing is a trend in RPGs nowadays, but nobody would have noticed or cared if this game did not have one.


Edited by fmatthew5876, 09 April 2015 - 07:15 AM.


#16
draek

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sukoiden probably had one of the best strongholds in gaming history.

With more than 100 recruitable characters each with his or her own personality trait that will leave and join based on the decisions you make.

 

 

Wow super fail. How could I have forgotten about Suikoden (and Suikoden 2)! Thats the model for what a stronghold system can really be.

 

 

 

Its not really a common game played in the west. Though it beats a vast majority of RPG's released. 

A shame really - because if you go to these classic game forums you will hear so many talking about cRPG's like baulders gate.  But there are so many great rpgs not made state side that really should be given a shot.

 

With that said - people ( especially obsidian dev's ) go play Sukoiden 2  and see how to make a great stronghold. The entire game you wander around the world recruiting people to your stronghold. Certain things can only filled by one person so you need to decide who you want to invite to do it [ Merchants \ Inn keeper \ Support Staff ] Each character requires prerequistes before they will join you in the keep. Anyway great RpG people should go check it out. 



#17
RottenBrain

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If it were me, I'd probably have added a new humanoid NPC to be the point of contact. 

"Ooh! Shiny ones!"

They should totally add Cespenar to the keep instead of the statue.


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#18
Merina

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Eeeewwww....

 

This stronghold thingy interrupts my current game so much ... ;(

 

I was in Defiance Bay catacombs when I received notification about a major adventure. No way I could do anything about it or travel back. The hirelings cannot do anything either. My single hired adventure was busy escorting an earlier visitor ... no hints about what that is about and why it needs to be done... uh?

 

I was still in Defiance Bay when I hear about another visitor with a name colored in green who wants to be hired. No other details about him? Am I too dumb to find them? What can he do? Why hire a stranger?

 

I was on the way out into the wilderness when I hear about an attack of the great hall. Shadows and Forest Lurkers. WTF? I hear about those things, via invisible one-way pigeons or what? Why can't I send back a pigeon or messenger to deliver my commands? :w00t: The two options about how to resolve the attack, I need to find out in trial and error. How many attackers? No info?

 

So, I travel back with my party, have just 22 hours left and choose to resolve the attack "manually". A larger group of Shades and 2-3 forest lurkers finished off the hirelings ... no idea whether the hired priest even did anything .. he stood kinda hidden near the right wall with a talk symbol when moving the mouse over him. How to find out how many hirelings I need to let them defend automatically?

 

I feel I'm being forced into this stronghold stuff too early ... how can I continue with my explorations in and around Defiance Bay without having to wait at the stronghold to counter attacks?



#19
Junker

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Funny, I was referencing Suikoden in another suggestions thread without realizing it was being talked about here. Part 1 and 2 of that series really opened my eyes up to the vast scale a single player RPG could recreate and the castle system was divine. Here is what I posted over there:

 

Stronghold needed to be like Suikoden. Currently, it's just a horrible thing represented by a list of upgrades.

 

All over the land there should be talented individuals, perhaps lost or disillusioned with the world around them, that can somehow be convinced to join your cause and reside at your stronghold. Convincing them may, in some cases, might be a conversation choice away but it should require thought and commitment to attain a certain number of characters.  Recruitment may be impossible in some cases based on moral standing. Anyway, these characters will provide their services while bringing life and character to your stronghold,  making it seem more like a developed community that you worked hard to achieve. Community members may provide rare item sales, unique crafting opportunities, attract certain crowds of people if they happed to be popular with a group, etc. You could even take it a step further and let the player assign titles to community members they have recruited and, based on their talents and personality traits, their performance will influence the progress/random events of your stronghold.



#20
HozzM

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I agree with the general sentiment of the OP.  Stronghold concept is great, execution was poor.

 

Aside from the Endless Paths dungeon and the warden that gives bounties (both of which could be located anywhere in the game world), there is nothing worth going to CN for.  In fact its all sort of tedious and a quite a money sink.

 

The buildings are cool to look at once.  But the rest benefits are not worth traveling there for, the vendors are generally terrible and don't give you a discount?  No unique items.  Does their stock change?  I thought maybe Chapel might have rare scrolls, didn't look like it.  Same with Curio shop, thought it might be a way to get rare crafting mats, didn't seem like it though.  I would say that as a collective, these vendors that you *pay* to come to you are the worst in the game.

 

The house is the same way no upside...hitting the closest inn is going to get you a better rest bonus, especially later in the game, and the cost is trivial AND you dont have to deal with the loading screens. Definitely need to allow resting with the bonuses without having to go through all the loading screens.  It would also be nice if you could initiate travel from anywhere in the larger CN area, without having to run to a transition point at the edge of the map.

 

What exactly are Prestige and Security supposed to do?  I guess I get more 'tax' revenue now than when I used to but bandits still take money from me even with every building built and 8/8 hirelings.

 

Hireling concept needs to be streamlined.  The UI is not very intuitive.  They always say not paid or whatever, even when they just got paid or hired.  I don't understand what drives their costs either...some of the random hirelings are super expensive with, in some cases, negatives to prestige.  Why would you want that?  Also I saw one that said 'quest' next to him but I could not figure out what to do with him.

 

The random attacks are the worst.  When I auto-resolve I lose buildings (lost 3 buildings...over 6000cp in a Drake attack last night) and get 100 cp debt?  What?  Thats fine that there is a 'risk' element to these random events but there does not seem to be a reward element to them.  When you manually resolve them and wipe the floor (why are bandits attacking me that get 1 shotted?) you sometimes get nothing, not even a body to loot in some cases.


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