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I hate to bring up Achaea, but I really think the Dawnstriders set an interesting and relevant precedent for this sort of thing. Who is willing to walk in the Shadows to uphold the Light, and can you keep yourself pure? This is your test, my child.
Just out of mild curiosity, and forgive me being a complete and total newbie, but wouldn't it make the game more strategic if not every city was able to maintain every single tree or every tech for every tree?I.e. you can essentially pick say three trees to fully max out or maybe two to fully max out and get a few techs into a couple other trees. Spinesreach might go hard to the paint over Espionage, and Enorian might go after Culture and Commerce, and Bloodloch might go after the Oh-So-Pretty Tech Tree and Durian will go with the Horticulture tech tree. It would be tough to balance to make sure that cities that don't have the population to support the same number of trees as other cities don't get left behind horribly because they can't compete. Maybe for that reason alone this is a god-awful idea.
Someone powerful says, "We're going to have to delete you."
"Oh my arms are suddenly lubed"
Is all this still in the works?