Hi, everyone. I made an account a while back, but I don't think I have actually ever posted anything. In any case, after having played about 200 hours of Depths of Peril and Din's Curse, I was getting a little annoyed with some aspects of DC. Don't get me wrong, I still think that DC is the more enjoyable game and of course the great Hybrid-system is something that DoP simply lacks. However, I sometimes really hated these randomly generated, flimsy villages that couldn't do anything on their own and couldn't really defend themselves, even against weak attacks. Jorvik by comparison ideally always had some surviving Covenants to defend the town. A less elegantly handled aspect of why I prefer Jorvik is of course that the characters cannot die. It may not be an elegant solution, but it worked. Town invasions never felt like an interesting or exciting event to me in DC. The only question usually is, if there is a boss involved and how strong it is. From DoP on the other hand I remember a number of instances in which bigger invasions happened. Especially once, when I actually had a town-wide battle happen with maybe four or five separate engagements and all the surviving Covenants taking part in the defense.
I suppose an easy thing that could be done to make the DC-villages more resilient, would be to simply add dedicated guards and organize the villagers somehow. It always feels a bit silly that monsters will just slowly move among the houses murdering everyone and nobody but the player reacting. Imagine instead if the villagers would flee to the town centre and the War Master plus the guards would converge on the invader/s. At least personally I think it would really improve the feel of the settlements in DC.
But of course, while that would be a nice and simple thing to do, part of the problem is that these villages are isolated from each other and have no place in any kind of world. So I had some ideas on what could be done about that. Again, I'll first present the simple version: Have the randomly created villages situated on a world map and make it matter long-term if villages are saved or lost. After all, ruined villages might very well become a source of invasions or might provide an opportunity to free prisoners or even find replacement "personnel" for another village. Not matter the exact details it should help provide a better sense of progression and a definite end to the playthrough in question: Either save or lose all of them.
And now the more complex version. It's probably too much to ask, but it doesn't hurt posting it. I'm quite a big fan of the A-Life-system as implemented in "S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky". In this system the AI is usually "offline" and only goes "online" when the player is close enough. In Shadow of Chernobyl the AI did not fight each other in Offline-mode, but since Clear Sky is built around a faction war-system, it was necessary to have some kind of system to resolve combat even when the player is not around. Something like this could be used to create a full dynamic world which would be built around the basic mechanics of Din's Curse. What I mean by this, is, that one of my personal dream games would be an ARPG organized around some kind of capital city or town as big as or bigger than Jorvik, with a few other towns and maybe two dozen villages scattered around it. In between would be dungeons and other dangerous areas. The dungeons would now create invasions and other problems and send them towards villages and towns. In turn the towns would send out patrols to protect the villages or even send out bigger attacks to attack the dungeons. They would also give out quests based on whatever is happening at the moment. All of this would be happening irregardless of whatever the player might be doing at the time. S/he might still be too weak to get involved in some of the bigger happenings anyway. Sooner or later the player would be able to leave the starting areas and venture into more dangerous missions. Maybe that would mean that the player could take part in a dungeon invasion with some other adventurers or he might help out some soldiers defending an outlying village. Maybe we'll meet other more powerful heroes: "Witness the story of Onslog the Greater as he saved the world!" Meanwhile Player Character was getting his ass handed to him in some other dungeon, but when he got back to the nearby village, people already were talking about Onslog's latest victory. As you might imagine, it would be important that the player would actually hear about what is happening in the world. Otherwise it would hard to appreciate all the intricate systems. A map showing the various developments and movements might be something very helpful in that regard, but people talking about what is happening would certainly be immersive as well. So, maybe the world would actually be able to defend itself, depending on how world generation turned out, completely irrespective of what the player was or was not doing. Or perhaps s/he might show up too late, only to witness the last battle for the capital, having no choice but to eventually flee to the last surviving town.
I know, it's a stretch to expect something this big and ambitious from a very small studio like Soldak, but hey, it's not like anyone else is making games even anywhere close to what I'm imagining. As said, it doesn't hurt to just post it