Tweaking the Dominion King death system

So I was watching some FFA Dominion matches on twitch and youtube, and came up with a possible idea to mitigate king donation cheese/suicides. I have no idea if this is possible to code in Aoe4, it was just a shower thought.

While there are many times the 50 pop swing in Dominion games is unused due to timing and/or resources, when it does happen (usually in mid-late imperial) it can be quite devastating. It’s fun if it feels earned, but if one is killing a player and they just run the king into an opponent, it feels a bit cheap. Whether this is morally acceptable behavior I am not here to debate, but I want to propose an idea to mitigate this negative feeling of king donations. I also feel like the 50 pop limit increase (while again, admittedly not always relevant, especially in hard fought feudal/castle games when one doesn’t even reach the original 200 pop limit sometimes) is simply too much of a possible swing. The goal is for the game to move swiftly to a conclusion like a tournament bracket, but this push feels a bit too strong when you can simply (granted in late imp only) queue up an extra 16 mangonels and unleash devastation. For those familiar with the Aoe2 scene, it’s a bit too much like the earlier versions of the Burgundian revolution tech, which was just an “I win” button if the game got to a certain point. So I would propose the following changes:

-Halve the population gain upon a king death to 25 (this reduces the edge-case of a sudden siege ball push increase from 16 to 8).

-Add a resource “tribute” (from a pool dependent upon the killed king’s age (dark/feu/cast/imp)) to be divided out to players based upon some kind of aggregate “destroyed value” stat.

This resource tribute would be something like 500/1000/1500/2000 of each resource (per age of the killed king, not the victorious player) with maybe stone being half that (so 250/500/750/1000). The game would look at a player’s king who died, examine how much of their kingdom was destroyed by whom, and send out a tribute accordingly say to the nearest 20% margin. Let me give some examples to demonstrate.

All players in Imperial: Yellow player is being killed by Blue player. Red player is turtling in their walls for a possible wonder attempt later. Yellow player after losing 2 landmarks runs their king out the back gate to spite Blue Player and heads to Red base. Red’s units/defences kill the Yellow King. Red is awarded 25 population gain, but Blue is rewarded for 2000 gold/food/wood 1000 stone for being the only player who has a destroyed value claim against Yellow.

In another situation let’s say Yellow had 10000 resources destroyed in the game. Let’s say Blue was pushing strongly and had destroyed 8400 of those 10000 resources with red the other 1600. In this case Red fails to meet a 20% minimum (and gets nothing) and Blue receives 80% tribute (so 1600 f/w/g 800s) when Yellow donates the king to Red. I propose the claims under 20% simply get nothing. So most likely yes, a very strong, but not elite, killing player would only get 80% tribute under 99% of circumstances because it’s very likely the killed player had other conflicts. A “give all” limit could be implemented like 95% of destroyed value would award 100% and nothing to anyone else other than to that one player. I feel it is fair, however, for there to be resources “lost” in this tribute system, because honestly, this is just a mechanic for compensation, and should not reinforce 100% gameplay desires and outcomes. If red poked the bear a little bit, and blue was not decisive enough in a destructive victory, I think it’s fair that there’s some “potential loss” due to gameplay variance.

Let’s say instead that Blue had destroyed 6800 of those 10000 resources, Red 2000, and Green 1200. The same king donation happens. Red is awarded the population. Blue gets a 60% tribute (again from a standard value, not the player’s resource bank) so 1200 f/w/g 600s. Red gets a 20% tribute so 400 f/w/g 200s. Green gets nothing for failing to contribute at least 20% and the remaining tribute pool simply is thrown out.

What about king suicides/weird things? I say deal with nobody getting the population gain, but unless it’s really early in the game, a player who went to war with someone who got their king killed somehow would still get a resource tribute for their conflict with the player. Anyway, these are my thoughts. I’ve always thought that 50 pop was too large of a swing under certain circumstances and I’ve tried to come up with a way to mitigate it. Does it slow the game down too much, or hurt the desired push of the “dominion” mode towards an inevitable conclusion? I don’t know…I don’t think so. Anyway, here’s my idea. Thanks.