Concerning the way one advances in the Conquest game mode, I have taken the following notes in regards to certain Conquest game mechanics that I have found a bit laking.
These seem to happen way too often at the beginning of the game resulting in the formation of one huge faction with many resources early on, resulting in a quick defeat (a bit too punishing for new players). Solution to this? Having the parameters changed so that alliances only form between weak kingdoms with low resources could be a nice start while larger kingdoms could join forces only in the mid to late stages of your game.
If you manage to find these early in your game or some where in the midway point, these basically become an "I win button". Basically hold off as much money as you can while you gain your first four of these units to later engage in a dragonraider blitzkrieg. How to fix this? Possibly limit the acquisition of dragonraiders to only dragon nests. Another fix could be changing the way dragons attack from a constant stream of flames o rather an upgraded version of the flame thrower (in that it lasts longer before having to "reload".)
• Technology acquisition
Many a time have I found my self missing tech due to the map not having cities with tech resulting in a some what limited end game. Solution to this? Have designated "monster" nests a chance to drop specific tech. Mad Scientists could have a chance to drop all sorts of technology and upgrades found on cities (excluding dragonraiders and dragon skin) that you may not have already acquired. Pirates (not Brigands) could have a low chance of dropping telescopes, Clockwork Wasps could have a chance to drop Steel related tech (from the defensive bonuses to heavy steel, in addition to the aerial torpedoes.) This one may be dubious but Spider legs could be obtained from defeating spiders (a 1% chance since there is a Heraldry symbol that gives this bonus) with the logic behind it stemming from your scientist taking inspiration from the large creatures.
Just my $0.02 on the subject.
Dragons aren't as be-all-end-all as you'd think, as they are incredibly frail. Bonuses? Well, yeah, that could use a little looking into.
Frail against a competent player sure, but against the AI? It doesn't stand a chance.
The only thing that I have come across that completely shreds Dragons/Dragonraiders is either heavy cannons or Fleshcrackers in equal numbers and even then if you outsmart them by going behind them they get melted, even on Very Hard Difficulty.
Reason why I suggested to make the flames have a "reload" timer similar to flamethrowers. Just to nerf the DPS a bit.
Another point I forgot to mention when playing in the "Very Hard" difficulty. Some times you are at the mercy of pure luck when given your starter city and or ship (or lack there of).
Some times you get an OK building and tank that works OK'ish against the enemy who is just starting, but at other times you are dealt such a bad hand that you are left defenseless against the enemy. Case and point: Spawning with almost no credits to build another defensive structure only to be invaded in less than a minute in to the game. Either the amount of money you start with or starter structures needs to be revised during this difficulty level so its consistent.
the game can be beaten at very hard difficulty no matter what you spawn with, you just have to think strategically. (however theres some mod, i forgot which one, one of cataclysm's i think, which adds more difficulties and farming and stuff and THAT is difficult)
Yes, it can be beaten on Very Hard,already done so. The issue I find that's broken are in instances where you are spawned in with nearly no credits to even build a new fort/ship and the one you have at that precise game (no vehicle and a bad building) is practically useless against an invasion of enemies who wield suspendium cannons,heavy guns, other advance tech, etc. barely two minutes in to the game.
That's what I think needs to be looked at in this instance.