We are well aware that in current state of the game defense of your country is quite troublesome when you are offline because you have multiple towns that you need to defend, but attacker attacks only 1 town with all his army. You will need to defend with your whole army, but how can you guess which town will be attacked? When you are online, you can move troops from other towns when you see incoming attack, but what can you do when you are offline? Splitting army into parts and put parts in different towns is not an option because army parts alone can be defeated quite easily - divide and conquer. This situation forces people who are being attacked to be online whole day and night. Sure, there is a truce items that grant you temporary invulnerability, but what if you can't afford it or if you don't want to show your weakness, you just want to fight, but without requirement of being online 24/7?
Now as there are active wars happening in the game right now the issue is as imporant as ever, so:
"We need an ability which allow players to defend with their whole army when they are offline"
Now this got me thinking how can we do that. My first idea was to allow some option of armies auto-move into other town when that town is about to be attacked. We could have added ability to set filters which troops are movable and which are not and so on. This would have allowed you to leave your town and make sure that when enemy attacks, your troops will group as a whole to fight together. However when we discussed this with the team we figured out that this won't help, because attacker can easily fool this system. Attacker could send a small squad earlier attacking one town, to trigger defense movement and then a bit later the full army to another town which will be defenseless. Sure we could add some checks which will measure the size of incoming troops to send only part of defense, but this system would eventually be to complicated and obscure, hard to understand for players and still with loopholes because players will find a way to outsmart such a defense AI.
We came to the conclusion we need something simplier and reliable and we came with the concept of Catacombs. What is catacomb? Basically it is the Shelter but the other way around. You load troops into catacombs and when there is the attack happens at any of your towns that have catacombs, all troops from other towns loaded into catacombs will instantly be teleported into battle. This will allow you to split your army into parts, load it into catacombs in each town which in turn will allow the army to fight as a whole when enemy attacks any of your towns. You still need to unpgrade wall and towers in each town because you don't know which town will be attacked as well as you will have to upgrade catacombs building to fit more troops in there.
At first you might think that with this concept you MUST keep all your troops in them at all times, but we can make some limitations which will add the drawbacks to make them so desirable at all times. For example:
- Catacombs function only agast other player attacks, units there don't fight against monsters.
- Loading and unloading times very long so you can't put troops in and out fast.
- Catacombs cannot teleport more troops that target town food income can support (food income cannot become negative value).
- They cannot teleport into town not connected by domain (I know this is not very important at current state of the game, but later in Medieval Age when you will be able to capture towns of other players and settle towns over the sea this will be significant).
- Ships and Planes cannot be loaded for obvious reasons.
All those limitations will make the Catacombs useful only when you go away from the game for a long time (i.e. go to sleep or to work) - you load all your spare troops into catacombs and move away. Later you extract them and play (attack others or play quests/fight monsters, etc.)
Being said that it is time to ask for feedback, criticism and counter-ideas. Perhaps there are some moments which we missed which will make this thing to be not as good as expected? Maybe you see some flaws? Or perhaps you have something better that you want to propose which solves the problem above quoted in bold? Speak up! This issue is a priority one and we are going to solve it in alpha 4 launch at most one way or another so here is your chance to influence final decision.