Frostpunk

Design oversights in laws and tech?

The game is a lot of fun, but playing it a lot I start to wonder about some things design wise.

Generator range upgrade – It's less efficient than Steam hubs, and doesn't adress a few other issues; you can't just try to balance the squares heated/coal/hour ratios, because many players aren't going to be able to get solid rings of buildings to fully benefit. If you're only heating the outer layers part of the time you're better off with one steam hub you set on a timer. Weirdly, there's no operational timers for the generator itself, so it's more micro intensive to do what a steam hub can passively do all along. Steam hub range upgrade is similarly questionable. My hypothesis for this weirdness is that I think the devs initially planned to have steam hubs cost steam coreswhich would have limited them a lot more. It would make more sense to take the range upgrades if you literally couldn't build more steam hubs.

Heater upgrades– when you upgrade the generator heat levels, the game lets you toggle the level. However, when you go from a +1 heater to a +2 heater, you can't adjust it. In some scenarios like Arks it can be a waste of coal to use the higher tier heaters when you really only need the +1 heat setting. I get that the premium in coal is due to the ability to stack with generator/steam hub heat effects, but I wish it were a little more flexible. For warmth dependent buildings you can save coal by heating them just enough to stay functional.

Cookhouse insulation– Why a standalone upgrade? Sure the Cookhouse needs a minimum temp to work, but it doesn't need to be functional for long based on how fast it converts food. I don't think it would be terribly game breaking to just lump Cookhouse insulation with the hothouse insulation tech.

Order/Faith insulation– It's odd that there is NO upgrade for insulation for buildings like Faith Keepers, Propiganda, Watch towers, etc. In fact these are the only structures in the game that don't get access to improved insulation. For things like watch towers it becomes an annoying oversight since they can end up being 3 tiers colder than the fully upgraded houses next to them. It would have made sense to have a "municipal insulation" upgrade adjacent to the House insulation upgrade just to address this. I don't think it would be terribly broken since you'd have to go all the way down the tech tree to access it.

Cemetary vs Snow Pit– I think most people assumed Organ transplants would require corpses. Since it doesn't, it's a straight upgrade to medical facilities which usually puts it ahead of Cemetaries. Now Cemetaries aren't a total waste when going deathless because they do give a nice nudge to hope when you build them, but you'll always have the opportunity cost of not having that +20% medical performance of organ transplants law. I wonder if the organ transplant law was initially intended to require corpses to use; the human fertilizer law certainly does (and that limitation combined with the buff being meh hurts its usability). Maybe if they were a little more balanced it could make abilities like Triage more interesting; with funerals it would supposedly offset the hope loss by a lot, and with organ transplants+human fertilizer would give you more uses of those abilities.

Child Labor Safe Jobs vs Child Centers– My issue with this is that they made the former a LOT more useful than the latter. Child centers seems like the more 'ethical' choice and they do give you extra hope for having the kids in them. But I don't think the utility of the apprentice law comes close to even child labor safe jobs. And I think this is because gathering stations are considered a 'safe job'. So early game this law lets you use kids immediately by accessing gathering piles and setting up coal thumpers. If you go hothouse, kids can also work there big win. Not to mention the little Doogie housers running the houses of healing. I don't think apprentices come close to matching the equivalent savings in manpower. And while every scenario (that gives you the choice, anyway) is certainly winnable with apprentices, it seems more a handicap. Now if gathering stations weren't considered 'safe job' and only a single full child center could give apprentice bonus to unlimited med/workshops then it would be more of a toss up, as safe jobs would still be rather limiting. All jobs is meanwhile a little risky and overkill in its current state-your kids are already freeing up a lot of jobs so using them for coal mines, Wall drills etc is probably not necessary and comes with bigger downsides.

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