HotM:City Supply Chain

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Q: Does the city have an internal supply chain? Like if you went around razing all the farms, will it effect things?

The Lore Answer

The city, like most cities, is not remotely self-sustaining. If you shut off imports to New York, Beijing, London, or whatever, they'd be dead in weeks.

There are two kinds of farms in the city. One is owned by the corpos, and it's for feeding the rich. The smaller ones are mostly owned by semi-banned religions, and they go to much nicer causes.

The government here has already been through world war 3, and is highly resistant to causal tampering. So there is no way for you to just go around blowing up random stuff and win the game by collapsing a supply chain on accident.

The proper way to do that is more missions-based, and the sort of thing you get into in chapter two, after the demo. If you wanted to target part of the supply chain, it would be a multi-mission thing that you undertake with interesting choices as you go.

The Design Mechanics Answer

In general, from a design perspective nothing should happen' when you attack a farm, and nothing does. In a broader sense. I'll get to why in a minute, and you'll like it, after your initial reaction to that statement wears off.

From a lore perspective, violence and vandalism is constant. So rebel groups are always making some rich dude miss a meal; it happens. Most likely the richest of the rich keep a buffer that largely rots, just to avoid that normal cost of doing business.

So just messing with people by doing stuff like that which is ultimately minor has no impact on those in power. You CAN make things absolutely more awful for the people who are already being shit on in this society, which is basically the entire middle class on down. But that's not usually a goal people aspire to.

Why on earth should "nothing happen?" That seems like the opposite of correct.

Mechanically speaking, this would encourage grinding, and also provide ways to trivialize actual missions. It's something seen a lot in The Last Federation. Just sit on some planet, and spam the RCI mission to tank someone's economy, or something like that. It doesn't add anything strategic, and it encourages players to waste their own time for a small or large advantage.

It also then separates players into two groups. The first group, who grind, and now everything is too easy. And the second group, who don't, and now things might be too hard if I balance for the first group.

The Solution

So I've taken to a more mission-style approach, which you get to choose starting in chapter two, where you do things that have major impacts -- not incremental -- and there are both good and bad consequences to most things.

If you have disrupted things by 5%, or an enemy is now 10% stronger, these are not things our brains are good at understanding. By structuring things in a mission format, I can make it so that there's a massive 50% disruption, for example, and now the status quo is just different. But it's not the sort of thing you can just spam over and over again.

And in that new status quo, new options open or close. This is the general ethos of the game when it comes to things like the human economy and society.