This suggestion is designed to expand on the ‘already existing’ sandstorms in the game. Currently, they can blind or nearly blind players. But in real life, sandstorms have multiple effects on people, objects, and the environment.
1. Movement and Combat. Sandstorms are generated by strong winds. Can we get some ‘wind effects’ to actually push the players, thralls, and animals? For example, if you are walking in the direction of an oncoming sandstorm, it slows movement. If walking away from the direction of the sandstorm’s winds, it may actually push (increase) movement a little. If walking perpendicular to the sandstorms’s winds, the winds may make walking in a straight line difficult. In some cases in real life, winds have been so strong that one had to crouch to make any forward movement to keep from being ‘blown over’ and ‘knocked’ off one’s feet. These winds may also carry debris such as small objects, broken tree branches and fronds. Getting hit by a tree branch in a strong sandstorm could cause damage. Furthermore, archers in a sandstorm would be relatively useless. Arrows would certainly not ‘fly straight’ with such strong winds blowing about.
2. Agriculture. Sandstorms strip the top layer of soil. This makes agriculture difficult unless one’s gardens are protected. Thus, it would be good to have some kind of effect like this on plant growth (or re-planting after a sandstorm). Plants may lose some of their leafiness (sandstorms can strip plants fiber and animal flesh) - reducing their ability to photosynthesize (and may need to be nurtured back to health). The soil itself can be stripped of its potassium and phosphorous nutrients by sandstorms.
3. Disease. When topsoil is removed and scattered as particulate matter, it frequently carries with them virus spores that interact with the air. Because of these sandstorms, diseases spread (such as silicosis - lung fibrosis caused by the inhalation of dust containing silica).
4. Crafting. Sandstorms also carry dust and silica into machinery. Thus, something like a Forge or Blacksmith working outside, unprotected (outdoors, not indoors), could have sand introduced into the smelting and smithing process. The corrosive silica would weaken (or at least, hinder) the crafting processes (as extra time would be needed to remove those undesired ‘extra’ elements).
5. Water Purity in Bases. Sandstorms also affect water quality in the same way. This doesn’t have much of an effect on large bodies of water such as rivers, but it would be important to cover water wells either with a wooden lid or housing them in some protected structure to limit sandstorm impacts.
6. Jungle Biome. The iron and phosphorus which is carried with the sand have helped compensate for the inadequate nutrient levels of rainforests and jungles; the frequent rain in these rainforests and jungles would normally have leached out their nutrients were it not for sandstorms. So having the sandstorms blowing in the direction of the new jungle biome would make geologic sense.
7. Graphic aesthetics. Sandstorms often leave silt behind. Having sand piled up next to walls, doors, and objects caught in the sandstorms would really look good. Also, it would be good have include tessalation - so that when a player walks through the recently collected silt, they leave footprints in the sand.
And as an interesting side note: Sandstorms make for very interesting sunrises.