Current Problem: Zombie intel is extremely short-term, when it’s available at all. Zombie movements are only revealed for the next league. If the zombies aren’t moving, there is no indication when/where they’ll start moving (or how many reinforcements they’ll pick up first).
Current Solution: Brute force recon- check the game as often as possible. Check the game when zombies reach the end of their path. Check the game just before your forces assault a graveyard.
Ultimate Goal: Make it possible to play Blight to nearly optimal levels simply by checking in every 8 hours.
Gameplay Debate: I can see people arguing the current lack of intel on zombies is useful for keeping the game difficult through unpredictability. While technically true, I believe this is the wrong type of difficulty because it lets constant check-ins influence the game more than actual strategy. Let me use an example from one of my current matches:
A large horde is heading for my settlements. Either of those 2 adjacent settlements could be its target. I have a Mountain King in my army, so I can reach Quietspire in time if the zombies head there. The zombies have enough strength that I’m nervous about splitting my army; I want to focus all my defenses on one city. Unfortunately, I won’t know which city they’re targeting until they reach the next league in 4 hours.
The problem? I checked this at 10 PM; I would need to check the game again at 2 AM to know where it’s heading. This leaves me with 2 options:
- Choose a city to defend and go to sleep at a decent time, but have a 50/50 chance of losing a city.
- Stay up until 2 AM solely to get accurate intel on their target. I’m guaranteed to defend successfully, at the cost of losing sleep.
It’s not a question of strategy; I already know how to guarantee a defense and what steps I would have to take. It’s a question of how much I’m willing to let the game interfere with my schedule. (A friend likened the current state of the game to “constantly being on-call”.)
The randomness of the graveyard spawns (and when the zombies choose to leave) is another ornery thorn best dealt with by brute force recon. You can either send an overwhelming force at it to guarantee victory… or check in just before a smaller force reaches the graveyard and pull them back if the zombies have gotten too powerful. Any threat from the unknown randomness is easily defeated by brute force recon, thus that is the type of play it’ll encourage. This is bad for the game because not only does it drive off potential players who don’t want to devote that much attention to the game, but constantly refreshing the game when something interesting only happens once every few hours is tedious.
- Zombies lumbering towards a settlement have their entire path to it revealed, not just the next league. This removes the need to check in every time a threatening horde reaches a travel node. (Zombies affected by move compulsions only have their next league of movement revealed, since their next destination can change based on the compulsor’s movements.)
- Display when a graveyard’s next spawn will be, and how large it could be. (Don’t need an exact number, just a maximum possible value.)
- If a horde’s gathering at graveyard, display when they’ll start moving, what target they’ll head towards, and what path they’ll take to it.
These 3 changes should give players enough information about zombies to accurately plan ahead 8-12 hours.