Today I am going to delve a bit into city building and try to explain an aspect of the game that guilds who own land, or seek to own land, will no doubt be investing some time in. I'm not going to pretend that I know everything, but what I have seen so far I will share with you as the leader of a guild that currently owns real estate in Agon.
The first step to city building is claiming your piece of land. Darkfall supposedly has somewhere around 97 plots of claimable land that come in assorted varieties, such as hamlets and cities. In order to claim a piece of land, you will first need to farm up 10,000 gold for a clanstone. Once you have the stone, you need to take it to an unclaimed piece of land and you will be able to claim it for your guild.
If you are still reeling from that 10,000 gold, then grab your ankles because we are just warming up. Next you will need to scrape up another 5000 gold to purchase the construction skill for one of your guild members. With the construction skill, this guild member will be able to start crafting that basic building blocks that comprise all of the structures on your land. These building blocks are called "modules".
In order to craft a single module, your crafter will need 250 gold, 50 stone, and 20 wood (50 timber). This often times means that your guild will need to do a great deal of harvesting to gather the stone and wood, but also the farming of gold. This means that depending on the size of your guild and the dedication of its members, this can become a very time consuming venture.
The very first building that you are forced to build before anything else can be done is the bank, which costs 10 modules to build. When you do the math with the above numbers, it translates out into 2500 gold, 500 stone, and 200 wood (500 timber). One annoying part about building the bank is the fact that these 10 modules you need weigh a ton, and we found that one of our members really were unable to carry more than 2 modules per person due to encumbrance. This can be a frustrating step if the location of your clan city is far from the nearest bank because you will have to carry these all the way to your towns location. We are fortunate enough to have our city not more than a few minutes from bank access, so 5 of us were able to carry the 10 modules to the building site without any interference from enemy players. Once the bank is built, you can simply pick up all future modules at the city from your bank without transporting them manually.
Now that you have all your modules at the build site, you need to have your city mayor erect the structure. This person can be selected via the guild interface, and does not need to be the same person who has the construction skill. The mayor has access to build menu at the bindstone that puts him in an aerial view with a menu detailing all of the various types of structures types. Each of the buttons opens up a new screen showing the structures relating to that type, although for some reason the palisades (walls) icon looked bugged to me.
These are the basic wall structures that surround your city. If you have ever played Age of Conan, the building of walls is done in a similar fashion. The wall is chopped up into segments which must be built individually. My guild has a hamlet, and in our situation the wall was chopped into 13 segments. The number below each item in the building menu represents the number of modules needed to construct the item, so with each wall costing 1 module, you are looking at 13 modules to complete all walls . Again we can put this into a cost perspective and it comes up to 3250 gold, 650 stone, and 260 wood (650 timber).
The walls themselves are pretty impressive in the fact that they come complete with an inner hallway with ramps leading to a second level. We did not see any option for a gate or door, which has us concerned that the usefulness of the walls themselves in our particular situation could be questionable. Another issue to us is that after building all of the wall segments, there are still several openings. We are hoping that some of the other structures we have not built will fill in these holes, but since we are not that far along I can't say for sure if that will be the case. Also since we own a hamlet, I do not know if these issues also apply to those with cities or other locations. I think we all would like to see a door like Age of Conan's cities had that could only be accessed by the guild and our friends.
Housing involves the creation of structures with an interior for your guild to hang out. In addition to the fluff value, adding these structures is supposed to increase the number of people in your guild who are allowed to bind themselves to the guild's bindstone. Initially, only 10 members can bind to the city, but with the addition of housing structures the number goes up by a certain number per building. The bad news is that the number of these buildings you can erect is predetermined to your city type or piece of land. The hamlet seems to allow 2 of these buildings, and they cost 10 modules each (5000 gold for both).
The houses themselves are quite impressive looking, and I can only assume that each race will have a different style to them given the label of the building when you target over it says "Clan House Mahirim". While we haven't built our houses yet, I was able to take a walk into the houses from the Exodus Syndicate guild, which has opted to build the buildings before the walls. The first floor of the clan house was a large room with assorted tables and decorations, and a flight of stairs leading up to second level. The second level is more of a balcony level, and has another flight of stairs leading to a very small 3rd floor area. One final note about houses that I find annoying, is that while inside you are always targeting it, so you have the label with the life bar in the way often as can bee seen in the screenshots.
Resources are one of the main reasons players are supposed to want to have a city and control a certain piece of land. Every location seems to have access to one resource that can be built. The game does not tell you what that resource is before you claim your plot of land, but by looking at the general area where your city is, it is usually pretty easy to figure out. For example, if your city is located in a mountainous or cave area, then you would expect there to be a mine. These resources are supposed to act a source to obtaining rare materials that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to get by other means.
Developing these resources into something tangible that can be used by your city is costly. The plot of land Inquisition has at the moment has a farm as its special resource. For us to develop this would cost our guild 50 modules! That's right, 50. That means 12,500 gold in modules alone just for the farm, and this does not even factor in the massive amounts of stone and wood. As much as I was blown away by this, I suddenly felt a lot better when I found out how much Exodus Syndicate's harbor is going to cost them upwards of 250 modules (62,500 gold not counting materials).
Trade and Extras
Trade seems to be pretty self explanatory. When you click on the structures for this option you are shown a general store with a cost of 10 modules. I can only assume this place a merchant who can sell crafting supplies and hopefully some of the work stations certain crafts require to be used, although I can't confirm this personally.
The extras are the thing that I really don't understand at this point. These consist of various things like barrels, crates, and scaffhold. The good news is that they are relatively inexpensive at only 2 modules each, but at this point I don't really know what purpose they serve. It is possible that they could just be fluff to decorate the town and make it look built up and alive, or there could possibly be some sort of bonus associated with it. At this stage however, nobody is willing to blow modules on these when other things clearly take priority.
I think at this point my biggest concern as a hamlet owner is a lack of defenses or defendability for our plot of land. We have walls that don't seem to encase the perimeter of our property, which sort of defeats the purpose of having a wall if someone can just walk around it. Perhaps the missing buildings will fill in the holes, but the fact remains that even if they do, there does not seem to be a gate. In the event of an attack, enemies would be able to easily enter the property unless there was some sort of door with a friendly switch to set who is allowed to come and go.
Hamlets do not seem to have guard towers either, at least mine doesn't. This only makes it that much easier for unwanted visitors to travel into our land, hell I got ganked while I was taking the screenshots for this article right in the center of my guilds property. There does seem to be some sort of guard tower control for people who are lucky enough to have them, it would be nice is they could do something like that with a door to set access. I have also heard some of the cities have cannons that are not positioned as well as they could be to make them useful. Some people may be put off by the fact that you can't build anywhere you want, or place your buildings where you want. I think the fact that there are a limited number of set locations does increase the value of having one and gives people a reason to fight, and the fact that there is a money sink here is probably a good thing for the game's economy. Having gone back over the article and added up just the gold needed in modules to build our hamlet (not counting the extras), the total comes to around 40,000+ gold, and that isn't counting the stone and wood (or the guilds that have more expensive resources like harbors). This definitely is one of those MMOs where your money is always worth something.
The good thing about the entire concept of city building in this game compared to other MMOs is that there is a real sense of satisfaction when you start putting up structures because it is not instanced. Everyone in the world who comes by your spot will be able to see the work you have done, unlike in AoC where everything was instanced. They definitely have a solid and interesting foundation for their city building system, despite the fact that I think some tweaks would go a long ways. This aspect of the game really adds another layer to the gameplay, and reinforces what I originally said about being in a guild to fully experience all that Darkfall has to offer.
Co-Leader of Inquisition