View Full Version : The Settlers: Heritage of Kings

05-04-2005, 22:23:50
I've been playing this, on and off, for a few weeks now. I'm about half way through the campaign. Thought I'd post my thoughts about this game.

First off, it doesn't play like the older settlers. The main reason is that they've gone with a simpler economy/resource system. Wood, Clay, Stone, Iron, Sulpher, and Money are the resources. You get everything but money by having your serfs go out and collect it. Chop down trees, or dig at shallow deposits or mine locations. Serfs don't need anything, so they are your basic villager, there to let you gather resources for free. But they are slow at it.

If you want money, then you got to build something that employs some manner of non-serf worker. For instance, mine shafts employ miners. Those miners will gather more resources, faster (4x to start with, can be improved with research and upgrades) then serfs. But to keep them working at optimal speed, you have to have a farm building (they farm mushrooms, grown on the floor of the house) that they can go to eat at. And you have to provide them a house. Otherwise, they pick a spot to goof off until they feel like working again. And they'll go to that spot whenever it is raining, or you are upgrading their buildings.

So... farm and housing needed for everyone. No biggie, helps give your various outposts a "town" feel.

Anyways, the game provides buildings that take some resource, and increases it. Sawmills take wood, and make more wood. Smithies take iron and make more, Brickmakers take clay and make more clay, etc etc etc. The fun thing about this is that some resources are "tracked", but not very well, and others are never tracked. A tracked resource can only go through their reproducer once. To get more, you got to go find it's source. I say they are tracked "not well", because if you can get your stock big enough, then it will stop tracking if it was "new" or "already multiplied". Some resources are never tracked, so as long as you have at least 1 unit in stock, you can let your multiplier operate, and you'll have a sizable stock in not too long a wait.

To people used to having to the old settler economy, it is very simple, and definately not a "Settler" style system. But it does make for easy management of economy.

Your total allowed pop is tied to the number of village centers you control. I really don't like the "village center" feature. The main reason is that every map has pre-generated VCs on them. You take an empty one, and build it. Then it's yours. If you want an enemy's vc, you beat it down, then rebuild. No biggie, just an irritation in a system that has simplified it's economy. It does force you to go out and find a few spare ones, so you can build up a sizable army. Having an army is the only reason you need more then one VC, as a fully upgraded VC can handle enough peeps for a sizable city.

Speaking of the fighting units... Fighters take up a pop slot, mounted fighters take up 2, so if you need sizable armies, you need a good bit of iron and some VCs. Each unit requires a bit of gold every paycycle, but that's very cheap, and the only recurring cost in the game. More workers means more units you can have in your army. Heroes are always free.

The combat system and unit type itself is all standard stuff. It's meant to be the standard rock/paper/scissors, but it fails the balance when you get upgraded enough to get horse mounted troopers. But, since the game features heroes, and an average hero can beat down 3 full top fighting units by himself, units aren't important if heroes are around. BTW, heroes are the only units that heal. A very big sign the units are there only to be cut down by heroes.

The SP campaign itself suffers from a lot of LotR jargon bleed over. It's slow. It features lots of the hero (and accompanying other heroes and their army) running, running, running. You do a lot of gopher and message boy tasks in the campaign. It's below par. But, once you get the only girl in the entire world (a royal princess abandoned in the woods as a babe, making her living as a robin hood and the top whore of the land), you can watch her chest bounce. Well, you can't, because they didn't include that animation. But I'm sure some of the nork obsessed here will be imagining it as your fellowship and their band of brothers cross the map for the 18th time to bring a set of tweezers to the bishop of asshatte to pull out the splinter he got from the ancient wooden carving of the first Alpha Male to be created, well... your mind wanders.

I'd like to think this game was designed with MP in mind, since the SP is boring and the combat system is so fantasy/medieval MP RTS standard based. But seeing that Horses and Heroes tear up everything and there isn't anything to stop them, other then other Horses and Heroes or, if you are very, very determined, some serious masses of pike pushers. I doubt it would be very fun.

Overall, I find this game a little below average for "fantasy city building". I find it a very slow game in SP, which makes for a relaxing few hours of low and infrequent thought combined with slow clicking. However, I believe many people are going to miss the pacing of a real MP RTS game. The campaign included is incredibly boring. On the plus side, the occasional snow falling effect is acceptable.

Slow game, low thought quotient, low strategy quotient, low replay value for SP, and doesn't suggest it has any serious MP potiental for me to even try. I doubt most people here would be interested. If you are interested, I'd suggest trying a full featured demo out first, or only picking it up in from a bargain bin. That way, you won't feel like you wasted anything if you find I've over-hyped this game.