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Where am I to go, M’Johnnies?

You may have noticed that this week we didn’t have our regular fortnightly public beta update. Fear not because after our quarterly ‘office week’ ends, we’re ready to drop some big changes to fort battles! Unlike past updates focused on team balancing, these changes primarily focus on the user interface and battle tactics.

Sector labels screenshot
A large fort with the English sector labels enabled.

Sector Labels

The first change we made is adding sector labels to the battle map. These labels will adapt based on the size of the fort and the level of its buildings, translated by your local community manager with the different names used by our various communities. The labels will start hidden by default but you can toggle them by clicking the ‘1234’ button above the battle map.

Leader Mode

The second change we made is allowing generals to draw their own arrows on the battle map, supplementing the battle chat to guide their troops. By clicking middle mouse button, you can draw a silver ⛨ arrow between any two cells, and right click will draw a gold ⚔ arrow. Generals playing on trackpads and touchscreens can also cycle between the three modes for the left mouse button by clicking the ‘mouse pointer’ button above the battle map. These arrows are automatically erased after the next round is processed or can be manually removed the same way as movement arrows, drawing one that starts and ends in the same cell. Other fighters can also toggle their visibility by clicking the ‘hand pointing’ button above the battle map. One caveat is for now we don’t store generals’ visual arrows on the server, so you won’t see arrows drawn earlier if you connect to the battle mid-fight (but remember they only last for a single round anyway).

Leader arrows screenshot
Tanks: mount the south east wall, duellers: go out the gate to die?
Retarget offliners screenshot
It’s probably a better idea to save this order for if/when the attackers rush the flag…

Experimental: Retarget Offliners

The third change we made is the most impactful: once per battle, generals can change the target cell of all offline teammates. As we collect your feedback, this change will be limited to the public beta only. By clicking the old ‘toggle fog of war’ or ‘eye’ button (new graphic pending), you will see thin black arrows pointing from all offline teammates to the cell under your cursor. Once you click to confirm a cell, the target of all currently offline teammates will be immediately changed to that cell, and the button is disabled for all generals. The order only affects teammates offline at the moment the order is given, online teammates who later close the battle screen are unaffected. Similarly, offline teammates who open the battle screen afterwards may still freely change their target. Use this option wisely because once this order is confirmed, no further orders for offline players can be given by your team’s generals.

We believe this change represents a fair balance between the experience for online and offline players. We want to continue providing a tactical advantage for online players, while punishing them less for the activity status of their teammates. Likewise, we want to avoid stripping the player agency of offline players, while giving them more utility in the fight. We are not considering any possibility of moving online players, moving individual players or moving players each round. We will continue to monitor the change on the public beta and read your respectful feedback.

Wishlist: An Eighth Rank?

Two of the changes discussed in this post can only be used by generals. We are actively considering whether the game would benefit from an eighth rank, for example a lieutenant general between captain and general that can also use these features, as well as whether any changes are necessary for the default ranks assigned to town founders and councillors. We are also seeking your feedback on this topic.

Enjoy 🙂


  1. Goober Pyle
    Goober Pyle March 7, 2024

    It would be great if there was a “specialist” rank — shoots before generals, moves after generals.

    This would avoid the trend of giving a black hat to every damager in town, consolidating damagers into the towns that dig, and the complaints about digging towns with non-damagers with black hats.

  2. przemko
    przemko March 7, 2024

    To be honest “eighth rank” doesn’t make sense, it would be better if the “generals” rank could be edited/demoted like other ranks, it will limit the number of generals for instance to 1-3 ( will not be “mess”).

  3. Sanidh
    Sanidh March 8, 2024

    Diggo the GOAT, finally

  4. Eyes from the shadow
    Eyes from the shadow March 8, 2024

    i personally think moving the offies, while certainly a good idea, could be counterproductive in more than one way.

    a good example would be people complaining about being controlled cuz not everyone is willing to sacrifice for the cause and they strategically start somewhere to not die. you’ll have those on your heads. that’s why a ranking system exists

    and also, i am 100% sure that you need a very very good leader for that mechanic to work as intended otherwise you might end up doing even worse than them offliners sitting where they intended. the right way to use this mechanic is with micromanaging one SINGLE offliner at a time.

    general ranks for hats is to be eliminated…give general rank only to the attacker who digs and in defenses for a black hat that claims it. i think that’s the best way. also, it would be nice for the claimer/digger l to be able to choose his own order of movement/shooting. for example if he’s an advent, it would be nice to let a dueler shooting and moving before him, and it’s not possible in the current ranking system. 🙂

    i’d say the ranking system needs a rehaul not an 8th rank.

    please, add all features from the scripts to the game. it’s necessary right now, especially the fort related ones

  5. Mrs Sam COlt
    Mrs Sam COlt March 8, 2024

    Can you add a button to toggle the LOS shadow on and off? I have been reloading my battle screen nearly every round due to the difficulty in seeing the battle when the LOS shadow covers most of the map.

  6. Mrs Sam COlt
    Mrs Sam COlt March 8, 2024

    The new rank should be COLONEL.

  7. Diggo11
    Diggo11 March 8, 2024

    Thanks for everyone’s feedback so far. With our follow-up changes we will look to reduce the number of players given the rank of [four star] general as well as remove game incentives to have excessive generals. Only the founders of the attacking and owner town will receive the rank of general, and councillors of the attacking and owner town will receive a lesser major general rank that they can be demoted from by generals. (It is undecided whether we also assign this rank to the founders and councillors of member towns.) We are also considering changes such as giving all commissioned officer ranks the same turn precedence and removing the ability of captains to rank enlisted fighters. This means anyone given the rank of captain would have the same shooting and movement precedence as all generals but may no longer lead the team, since they could not assign ranks or access leader mode.

  8. Goober Pyle
    Goober Pyle March 8, 2024

    “and removing the ability of captains to rank enlisted fighters. ”

    please no.

    The instances of captains abusing their ranking power is quite small and FAR outweighed by the instances of generals or what would be “lesser major generals” failing to do the last-minute ranking and having a previously ranked captain step up to finish the job

  9. Tony Suttles
    Tony Suttles March 8, 2024

    I will try the changes first and give feedback after a few battles

  10. linusvanpelt
    linusvanpelt March 8, 2024

    What do you mean by “Other fighters can also toggle their visibility by clicking the ‘hand pointing’ button above the battle map” – which visibility, that of the arrows (if yes, why?) or their own or …? I’m the German translation guy, that’s why I’m askinig.

    And which of the currently three (?) buttons is “the old ‘toggle fog of war’ button”, the third one (to remove the background colors)?

  11. Diggo11
    Diggo11 March 8, 2024

    The new icons left to right are: toggle sector numbers visibility (default off), toggle leader arrows visibility (default on), cycle left click action and finally retarget offliners.

  12. linusvanpelt
    linusvanpelt March 8, 2024

    Thanks, Diggo, for your quick answer. So one button will be replaced by new function and graphic and three will be added. The replaced one is the one where until now the background colors/graphics of the forts could be toggled?

    Btw shouldn’t the labels of the buildings on the right be the other way around: above are the barracks and below is the resort stock?

    (Love your comments to the pictures!)

  13. Frontier Psychiatrist
    Frontier Psychiatrist March 8, 2024

    I second Goober’s comment! If anything, not only should Captains still be able to rank they should also be allowed to also offer Captain rank and below like a General. As Goob stated, it’s rather common for Generals to not appear for ranking or the battle itself. Typically, gray hats are there to act as leaders or as such are active town/alliance members there to help lead. Many times gray (or black hats) are awarded for that person’s fort activity especially in towns that value fort fighting. So I think this is something to consider.

    It would be even better if this “8th rank” was a Colonel or Specialist, as was suggested, could also rank up to Captain, etc.

    Thank you!

  14. Henry Higgins
    Henry Higgins March 8, 2024

    How might one counter the abuse of this feature? Say for example, a pessimistic, narcissistic battle leader that in-turn, drives players into a less than advantageous outcome/scenario, thus lowering the outcome/results of those offliners?

    Would it make sense to have an opt-out feature or would that detract too much from the intended outcome of implementing it?

    All said though, I think these feature(s) are quite nice in updating or at least freshening a somewhat stale game aspect that could possibly allow for more enhanced and strategically advanced gameplay. Cheers

  15. Sancho
    Sancho March 8, 2024

    Thank you for the insights. I think it would be better if the general could define the battle-leader (if none defined it will be the general itself), before the fortbattle, and this leader can use the features. Its not good that only a general can use these features or even a second rank between general or captain. I dont want to have Healthpoint-players ranked that high, they need to draw after damagers. If you dont find a solution for that, it would mean HP-Players could not use the features, even if they are leading the battle, because they should not be general or above captains…

    Thank you for considering 🙂

  16. Hoss Sacket
    Hoss Sacket March 8, 2024

    I agree with Mrs Sam Colt that the new rank should be a Colonel.
    (for those of you not familiar with the US Military rank of Colonel it is pronounced KER-NAL)
    I agree with Goober that the Captain (and new Colonel) ranks should be able to rank up to a captain level (in the absence of the original fort digger).

  17. JoLando
    JoLando March 9, 2024

    The expected improvement is very interesting, I hope it will bring more fun.
    I would like to urge you to propose what could be the MOTHER OF ALL REVISIONS:
    – completely format class bonuses.
    They are old, unbalanced and unfair, especially for some classes.
    Propose a reset and that users can choose the bonuses for their characters.
    Thank you

  18. thepeople
    thepeople March 10, 2024

    Bring in features from the scripts bc the .net CMs are banning everyone. You can do as many updates as you want, but with no players left, you’ll be developing for yourself.

  19. Daarzyn
    Daarzyn March 10, 2024

    Moving offliners should be a bit more reduced, especially currently it seems like one player ordering the move in early rounds would ruin it for everyone .

    Also good point about the sign-up; in Awesomia it would be good to actually have generals on defense (or if npc digs offense).

  20. Leones
    Leones March 10, 2024

    Sector labels – amazing
    Leader mode – amazing

    Will have to wait and see how the offline retarget will work in practice, but that’s what beta is for.

    Overall, looking good and amazing that fort battles are getting an update!

  21. Foggy
    Foggy March 12, 2024

    I’ll be happy if you just fix the blasted chat window so it doesn’t stop scrolling and need to constantly be reloaded, tyvm.

  22. BaggyBlue
    BaggyBlue March 13, 2024

    The problem was not thought of. There is Fort Battle where the city founders are missing to give a rank and there is no city council. Where a rank can give

  23. Fort Focus
    Fort Focus March 18, 2024

    Retarget Offliners – very good thing. But i agree with Sancho, generals should define the battle-leader.

  24. Goober Pyle
    Goober Pyle April 4, 2024

    I’ll add an additional suggestion that is a modification of the some of above:
    allow generals to “hand the battle flag” to a single player who will appear in the chat-list with a “flag” in place of their rank, and automatically chat in a special color like GM characters do (so they don’t have to set their chat color, especially useful if leading from a phone/tablet)

    That is, add a chat command, active only in fort chats, “/hand-flag” that any general (or anyone currently holding the flag) can use with a username. Once executed that player is given a special ~”hidden” rank that is equivalent to General but
    1) has a special icon (a flag)
    2) has a special treatment (equivalent if not identical to) that causes their chats to automatically be colored; preferably /990 but the GM blue is OK too

  25. Goober Pyle
    Goober Pyle May 1, 2024

    Could we add some interactive feedback to the offie-reset command?

    That is, an announcement in the chat when it is executed, and by whom.
    e.g. “”Adri ordered offliners to SW2 at the start of round 18”

  26. Goober Pyle
    Goober Pyle May 1, 2024

    somewhat relatedly, could we name the inside sectors as well?
    eg, in a large:

    I1 I2 I3 I4 I5 I6
    I7 I8 I9 UL- UR- I10 I11 I12
    LL- FG LR-
    I13 I14 I15
    I16 I17 I18 I19 I20 I21

  27. Goober Pyle
    Goober Pyle May 6, 2024

    While I understant that multiple orders based on ranks would be too prone to abuse, what about having multiple orders based on class or HP?

    so, for example:
    Class: at some point in a battle the commander may select a class from a dropdown, then draw an arrow directing all of their players of that class to one target, then select a different class from the dropdown and set a target for that class, for each of the 5 classes (including greenhorns).

    ThresholdHP: at some point in a battle the commander may set a threshold HP in an integer field then draw an arrow directing all of their players with that amount of HP or more to one target, then draw a second arrow directing all players with less than that amount of HP to a different target.

    10kMaxHP: at some point in a battle the commander may draw an arrow directing all of their players with >=10k MaxHP to one target, then draw a second arrow directing all players with =4k CurrentHP to one target, then draw a second arrow directing all players with <4k CurrentHP to a different target.

    In each case, after setting the target for any group, as soon as the next round starts the targeting ability is lost (so you best start the process at the beginning of a round if you want a chance to set all groups' targets)

  28. Goober Pyle
    Goober Pyle May 6, 2024

    well, boo… that comment got mangled….

    10kMaxHP: at some point in a battle the commander may draw an arrow directing all of their players with >=10k MaxHP to one target, then draw a second arrow directing all players with =4k CurrentHP to one target, then draw a second arrow directing all players with <4k CurrentHP to a different target.

  29. Goober Pyle
    Goober Pyle May 6, 2024

    arg… one more try without less-than/greater-than symbols

    10kMaxHP: at some point in a battle the commander may draw an arrow directing all of their players with 10k MaxHP or more to one target, then draw a second arrow directing all players with less than 10k MaxHP to a different target

    4kCurrentHP: at some point in a battle the commander may draw an arrow directing all of their players with 4k CurrentHP or more to one target, then draw a second arrow directing all players with less than 4k CurrentHP to a different target

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