Author Topic: [VC][S] VC Balance Mod (saved game compatible)  (Read 45393 times)

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Tingyun

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Re: [VC][S] VC Balance Mod (saved game compatible)
« Reply #30 on: February 05, 2018, 03:59:36 AM »
Thanks Seconis. I mostly agree, except that undoing negative actions specifically is a bit too complicated (would have to remember pre contract relations). Instead I'm likely to just 0 out the relations at conclusion of the contract, or upon your faction making peace during the contract, which permits a bit of an exploit in that you could anger them before the contract is signed, but I'm more worried about making merc playstyle viable and strong than closing off every exploit, since it isn't used much currently.

If no one raises good objections, for 5.0 or 6.0 (depends if I do a quicker update with the stuff already mostly done), I will make the changes and have relations with enemies of current employer 0 out if contract concludes.

I will also look at how and when merc contracts are offered, to try to get them offered more frequently and widely to the player.

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Re: [VC][S] VC Balance Mod (saved game compatible)
« Reply #31 on: February 05, 2018, 04:25:52 AM »
5.0 changes already implemented in my test version (5.0 has 2-3x as many changes as below on the planning list, and won't be released for awhile, this is just the stuff already done)

Open for any feedback, suggestions, or criticism:

- masterless men parties free XP on creation divided by 20 from vanilla VC values. This means it is no longer possible to find 30+ member tier IV masterless men parties. This made no sense previously--even lords seldom have that many of a tier IV unit. It also encourages much more variety--you will find very small bands of high level units, or mid-sized bands of a mix of two different tiers of units. Much more fun. And less unbalancing to recruit such bands as well--no more getting tons of Tier IV units too easy.

- "first claim on all loot" (which as of Balance Mod 2.0 actually does exactly that, instead of magically multiplying loot by 4), now has an instant morale penalty of -20, instead of -2, but you can take up to a 1/2 share without further penalty (instead of prior 1/6). This frontloads half the -40 vanilla penalty for taking everything to the initial viewing, but allows you to make part of it back pretty easily, and achieves better results scaling with the size of the loot pile.

Most importantly, this balances the option against the way players actually use it--to save inventory space or grab the top gear for themselves, leaving their men with a mountain of bad stuff that while technically valuable in the aggregate, is a pain to haul and of little use to them. Now, if you want to always take the only actual great stuff from every loot pile, leaving the rejects and trash for your men, you will pay a little bit of morale for it, as you should. Should make the decision tree more complex than pretty much doing it in every decent battle.

- train units lord quest now requires tier IV units be trained (Vanilla VC used to always ask for tier V, because player level was added to random roll and vanilla VC required level 35 to do the quest, rendering the random check in the code irrelevant. Quest available via EvilSquid fix earlier in Balance Mod, but still basically always asked for tier V in practical circumstances). Much more reasonable to obtain Tier IV and measured against rewards of the quest (they are great, huge relations boost, but tier V units can be nearly impossible to train on many settings and the idea of training a raw recruit into it strains belief).

- The system for random bandit spawns added by Balance Mod 2.0 now rolls numbers over a wider range, but has checks that heavily weight the results to the low end. Combined with the preexisting vanilla system that blocks larger spawns when spawns already exist, this should result in a world with a bit more of the small parties, while adding a very rare chance of seeing the super massive spawns as well.

- crossbows made cutting damage instead of piercing, to balance with bows. Pictish elites have 200 WP and do 56-60 base damage, while the best archers in the mod only have 120-160 WP and do around 32-45 damage after powerdraw bonus. Having the crossbow do piercing while the bows do cutting made the crossbow a super weapon, probably unjustified by the kinds of crossbows the Picts were using, and at any rate doesn't fit with the balance of maintaining focus on the shieldwall. See more explanation here: https://steamcommunity.com/app/48700/discussions/6/1699415798772769131/

At 56-60c damage, the Pictish crossbowmen remain the best missle units in the mod, but they no longer shoot shields to kindling quite as fast while laughing at their poor archer counterparts.

- Irish short swords can now be used to parry. No reason for them to not be able to--hand axes and normal short swords can block in VC, the Irish shortsword treatment was inconsistent. However, seaxes still can't block, based on price, looks, and rarity the Irish shortswords are likely of better quality.

-  A major rework of throwing spears and javelins is being considered. Basically, get the different choices in line with each other as reasonable alternatives (even if the Irish and pict versions remains significantly better) in a formula that accounts for the way mount and blade throwing damage used shot speed (a hidden stat) and projectile weight (bundle weight divided by max ammo) to calculate damage.

A very rough version is mentioned here for discussion, but the final result will likely look very different, involve the contributions and ideas of at least one of the most frequent contributors for Balance Mod, and be extensively tested through lots of playtime before 5.0 release: https://www.reddit.com/r/mountandblade/comments/7uoduo/infantry_focused_mods/dtqnro3/

- Laufi made a bit better, +4 slashing, to account for by the time you could get it you could get widowmaker anyway, and give it some chance of being used.

- Ulfberht sword given +1 slashing. It is probably one of the hardest swords to acquire, after all, certainly harder than widowmaker or the unique swords, and the high thrust damage didn't quite make it competitive with the other swords. A little boost brings it into better line with the other top swords and it becomes the viable alternative it should be.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2018, 04:45:26 AM by Tingyun »

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Re: [VC][S] VC Balance Mod (saved game compatible)
« Reply #32 on: February 06, 2018, 02:36:11 AM »
5.0 changes Part 2 (all implemented as of tonight in my test version):

Disable second outfits affecting skill modifiers. They were bugged, with reversed modifiers (ie, if using a second outift, then when wearing the second outfit you would get the skill changes from the primary, and when wearing primary you would get skill changes from second outfit). This led to exploits, like you could put the pict ritual stuff in second outfit and get the skill boosts when wearing primary. This bug triggered upon entering a town: https://steamcommunity.com/app/48700/discussions/6/1699415798756888368/

Powerdraw no longer reduced by helmets. This was creating a weird affect of harming the higher level archer units, and it really doesn't make that much sense. You can handle the same drawweight with a helmet on. Instead, helmet now reduces athletics by 1. Should give some balance for norse bodyguards sometimes lacking a helmet actually, but mostly just fits with the theme of reducing better armored unit mobility. Powerdraw no longer reduced from having shield on back. Again, unit balance.

Spotting boost from scouts or on water reduced from +4 to +2. The prior implementation was encouraging the player to not progress past 6 in the skill. Also, from the comments it appears to have been based on a fundamental misunderstanding about how skill boosts work.

Missle and melee speed damage now reverted to logical 2.0 (ie, squared). Little effect in most circumstances.

Damage to interrupt attacks increased, more enemies will power through very light damage (now 6 instead of 3)

Bows buffed to better balance with slingers, see discussion with Windrider and tests here: https://steamcommunity.com/app/48700/discussions/6/1699415798772769131/

Bow accuracy increased 95 to 99. Bow reload speed increased (they were basically as slow as crossbows before). Bow damage increased +6 across board (but remains cutting), to better balance with slinger units and their armor piercing high blunt damage. Now a bow unit will actually do more damage to an unarmored peasant by impaling him with an arrow, than a sling does with a stone, as it should be. No units in VC have high powerdraw, so we are still looking at a very reasonable range of damage here. Basically, slingers and bowmen now both are reasonable supplementary choices, but archers remain largely ineffective against heavy armored opponents with shields, as they should be.

EDIT: Archery significantly changed in consultation with Tuidjy at steam. Now based on adjusting powerdraw requirements to fit AI skills. Details to follow shortly.

Ammo amounts for normal sling rocks tripled. They are rocks--not too hard to find I think. ;) This should make it impossible to really wait out slingers running out of ammo in most circumstances, and let them baically harrass a shieldwall with little fear of ammo loss. Sling lead amounts doubled (high level slingers could use the boost, given they don't have a skill to differentiate damage). Military slings given a damage boost (+2). They need to be susbtantially stronger because a major source of damage difference present among low and high tier archers (powerdraw) does not apply to slings. Accuracy also boosted for all one handed slings (+3). Staff sling accuracy nerfed (-5). So normal slings 95 accuracy, staff slings 85. Military and normal sling accuracy and speed differences brought into good consistent order (speed reduction for military versions resulted). military one hand sling shot speed slightly increased. General reload speed reduction (-20 one handed, -30 staff). Bows are now faster to shoot, as makes realistic sense. Military versions get +10 speed (often will be using lead not rocks).  Military versions get +2 accuracy.

Throwing weapons significantly changed per previous post. Here is the revised draft 5.0 version:

Throwing weapon changes in parenthesis. All weights are per projectile, with bundle weight following in parenthesis. Shot speed listed, hidden stat, very important for effectiveness.

    Throwing spears, 2 ammo, 40 damage (+13), 18 speed, 1 weight (2 bundle)

    Javilins, 4 ammo, 24 damage (+8), 28 speed, .375 weight (1.5 bundle) (weight x1.5 )

    Skirmish Javilins, 6 ammo, 20 damage (+2), 30 (+2) speed , .333 weight (2 bundle)

(begin superior irish and pict ones below)

    Heavy Javilins, 8 ammo, 22 damage (+2), 28 speed, .375 weight (3 bundle)

    Horsemen javilins, 12 ammo, 18 damage (unchanged), 30 (+2) speed, .333 weight (4 bundle)

Against the heaviest armored opponents, throwing spears are best if at close range. At medium range, heavy javilins are probably your best bet, though horsemen javilins huge ammo increase will make them deal similar total damage over an entire quiver. Against lightly armored opponents, horsemen javilins are best. In the hands of the AI, the higher ammo amounts are generally always better, as they often waste their initial throws, and the throwing spears with the huge damage increase somewhat makes up for the AI's trouble using them correctly.

Speeds of missles and weights now line up more logically. Damage amounts mostly track along weight, with the heavy and horsemen assumed less bulky and suffering a tiny bit in damage for it.

In player hands, the horsemen and heavy javilins are especially potent with balanced modifiers, but large bag of throwing spears works well for a player that likes to fight very close.

Partially to compensate for earlier changes to rationalize the velocity exponent for kinetic energy of melee weapons to real-world physics of 2.0, spears buffed in damage (+4). Should also help the tier II units compete better against the higher ones (assisting lord armies performance), help the mid range spearmen compete better against their swordsmen counterparts, ensuring the spear has its intended role in warfare. Before, it really took super elite units before spearmen were anything close to a match for their swordsmen counterparts in most battles.

Lord train unit quest range of target amount soldiers narrowed to high end (7-8) to balance against high rewards in relationship and make more consistent

Berserker recruiting now requires 1000 renown (was 150), but is significantly buffed. 70% chance 2 berserkers, 25% chance 1 berserker. Should be worth a trip now and then to a hoff, but only for famous people.

Credits so far (just noting so I don't forget later) (Windrider consulting ranged issues and second outfits, Eric consulting throwing issues and many other things, reporter of bug at steam for odin cave vanilla bugfix (need to add that when the upcoming sneaking changes are implemented)
« Last Edit: February 07, 2018, 09:15:11 PM by Tingyun »

Tingyun

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Re: [VC][S] VC Balance Mod (saved game compatible)
« Reply #33 on: February 06, 2018, 04:58:06 AM »
5.0 changes Part 3 (had time for a few final changes tonight):

Pagans can now interact with monasteries more, including giving them money. Monks aren't so picky when you come offering gold, and pagans needed a way to donate to placate christians. Christians can now donate to hoffs as well.

Prebattle duals improved (no more battles to the death between NPCs who don't exist and don't actually die, instead only the player has a chance of dualing, and no free cheat health added to player)

Event in town for getting +1 strength and intelligence no longer requires any gold--you can choose "build both" for free, and recieve both bonuses.

Why? Because it was a trap for new players. Experienced players would just walk around with gold, guaranteeing themselves +2 total attributes. New players might not, and happen to be carrying too little gold, guaranteeing a permanently weaker character.  I don't agree with that sort of game design, where players who don't look things up can end up permanently weaker for no real purpose. So assume you fund the buildings from general funds or collection--a few coins is far less important than not locking players out of +2 attributes. Combined with the druid changes, all players are now guranteed access to the +4 attribute points available within a game, no more randomness and accidents permanently making your character worse.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 05:40:15 AM by Tingyun »

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Re: [VC][S] VC Balance Mod (saved game compatible)
« Reply #34 on: February 06, 2018, 08:07:34 AM »
5.0 changes part 4 (That's probably it for 5.0--other planned things will likely wait for possible future versions) (pulled town recruiting changes out for now, will only add back in if I have time to exhaustively test it)

Strong shield taunt reduced to changing enemy damage to 97% instead of 95%. This balances its generally stronger power than inspiring (given likely armor values) and ability to overwrite the AI lord warcry damage bonus in many of the most important battles.

Sneaking skill is now capped at for 2 for most unique locations,instead of being equal to athletics with no cap. Three reasons:
- A vanilla VC bug resulted from high athletics in Odin's cave: https://forums.taleworlds.com/index.php/topic,348857.msg8354788.html#msg8354788
- It made 0 logical sense that you being 'sneaky' could work once the first enemy started shouting AARRRRGG and swinging his sword at you
- many of these locations should be difficult as they provide very powerful unique items

Odin's cave is capped at 0 instead of 2 to make absolutely sure the above vanilla bug doesn't arise.

A few left uncapped: the exceptions is the mercian forest infilitration and the ambush siege warfare missions. Given the nature of those, basically had to keep it for them, even given the flaws.

Some wage changes:
- Mercenaries now cost 2x wages normal value, instead of 1.2x, in upkeep.Should encourage their more time limited and targeted use. And if you want camp follower women to improve morale, you will have to pay for it more now, as seems right
- Mounted troops now cost 2x, EDIT: Now 1.5x instead of vanilla 1.25x wages. Should be one of the most effective ways of encouraging players to rely on infantry, and reflects the care and maintainence of the horse (or, given the way some players hurl their mounted troops around, the purchasing of very expensive replacement mounts). Despite rumors to the contrary, VC has extremely powerful cavalry, lets make them expensive to keep them on the periphary.

With the above two changes, Frankish horsemen should no longer be the instant cheap powerful army they were. Instead, you'll have to think about whether you can afford it.

Also, will do a great deal to improve the viability of strategic alternatives in several troops trees with mounted units (briton horsemen vs archers, frisian horsemen vs warriors, etc)

- Lvl 26 moved to 27 as cutoff for midrange wages. Vanila cutoff created illogical jump in some faction troop trees with a favored lvl 27 unit (ie, saxon tier IV spearmen vs swordsmen, Norse the reverse)
- Very minor shift, but Tier IV and V wages increased by 4, ensuring linear increase difference with tier III at least covers persuasion difference given only to them, keeping the multiplied the ultimate determiner of difference (beyond level itself).

Defender accuracy boosts in sieges reduced from crazy magical heatseeking javilin 300% vanilla values to a believable 150% reflecting knowledge of home terrain to judge distance, see: https://www.reddit.com/r/mountandblade/comments/7uoduo/infantry_focused_mods/dtn5oz9/

No more immersion breaking 50% accuracy for attackers in siege. Let the walls and battles speak for themselves.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2018, 10:45:58 AM by Tingyun »

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Re: [VC][S] VC Balance Mod (saved game compatible)
« Reply #35 on: February 07, 2018, 08:25:53 PM »
Tingyun,

Thanks for the great work on this. I can't wait to see 5.0! I was wondering if you had put any more thought into having villages defend against raids by something other than faction peasant recruits? I saw it mentioned earlier on a reddit thread, and I saw that it already exists as a change in the giant tweak thread.

Really looking forward to 5.0, all the changes look great, and if you want anyone else to give thoughts on what you have so far I'd be very happy to help!

Regards,
Zeqe

Edit for clarification: It makes sense given the fyrd style armies of the time to have Tier 1-2 spear/axe units

Tingyun

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Re: [VC][S] VC Balance Mod (saved game compatible)
« Reply #36 on: February 07, 2018, 09:04:56 PM »
Hi Zeqe!

I'll look into it, possibly for a future version since I'm in the final play testing and editing of this one (I'll make a post on changes from testing and feedback when I release--archery changes listed above have changed significantly now through the expertise and feedback of Tuidjy over at steam, an expert archer both in the game and in real life). And yes, please offer any feedback you have.

Also, just to note that I always put my changes up for download in module file form as well under optional files, so you can drop whatever you like of my changes into your own personal version, by downloading:

Kalarhan and Kraggrim's amazing Tweaks Tool 1.2: https://forums.taleworlds.com/index.php/topic,348186.0.html

The Tweaks Tool 1.2 is such a wonderful gift to the VC community, and Kalarhan's philosophy of providing an easy entry point for people to engage in their own modding of VC is truly generous.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2018, 09:13:53 PM by Tingyun »

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Re: [VC][S] VC Balance Mod (saved game compatible)
« Reply #37 on: February 08, 2018, 10:41:12 AM »
5.0 changes part 5

Well, opened up to new changes to look into Zeqe's request, and that led me to start doing 20 other things...

10 hours later and it's only a couple of hours before dawn, so no release tonight. I will try to finish up tomorrow, in the meantime, here is the 5th edition of the evergrowing changelog for 5.0:


1) Archery changes (which benefited a great deal from Tuidjy's feedback over at the Steam forums)

- Slight boost to damage, but remains cutting to keep ineffective against armored troops. 30c/31c/32c across the three bows.

Archers should now be balanced with slingers--better against unarmored troops, worse against armored ones.

- Bow PowerDraw requirements lowered from 2/3/4 to 0/1/2. The AI has about 4 in PD in the best archers. There are accuracy penalties if you do not exceed the PD requirements by 3.

This is both more realistic and more balanced--the AI troops will no longer be using bows that are too strong for them, but instead have drawweights that match their own limited skills.

- Masterwork is enabled as a modifier for bows. This means the player can get a masterwork featured longbow with a PD requirement of 6, allowing him to make full use of 10 in powerdraw (since bonuses for damage stop at +4). Featured Longbow is enabled for shop sales.

No other accuracy or speed boosts for bows. The PD lowering should help the AI, while not making player archery overpowered.

2) Rolled back all previous town recruiting changes. Instead,

- a modifier to number of recruits if the 3rd tier is rolled, based on relationship. So now, you will either get a large number of lower level troops, or a smaller number of higher level troops, with the reduction based on how high your relationship is.

- Recruits start lower in number

- Min result is now 0 troops instead of 1

- smaller growth from renown

- prosperity provides a boost to the random roll, not absolute amount, and is adjusted by religion, but the boost is slightly higher

- Charisma and leadership boosts are adjusted by religion

Several boosts to recruiting:

- High center relations provides double the number of bonus recruits as before

- chance of negative relations blocking normal recruiting lowered to 90% from 100%

- Much higher bonus for being lord of the town (x5 vanilla value, 0-10 extra instead of 0-2 extra, and applies after religious modifier, meaning a lord can recruit well even if he doesn't share the town's region)

This should result in a much more logical recruiting structure overall, and make relations much more important in getting high level troops (rather than having a hard cap of 30 after which it doesn't matter)

The value of higher relations and being a lord to recruiting has increased substantially. This is realistic, and encourages developing good core recruiting centers, rather than around-the-world type circuits of recruiting.

3) A tournament balancing change--ponies instead of horses as a reward.

This is the same issue as the earlier switch for norse armor to a generic armor--many cultures in Viking Conquest do not use the full-sized horses, and would not give them as rewards (not even their lords have them).

With this, tournament rewards should now be balanced--a reasonably expensive and useful sword, armor, mount, and the useful cow--but not the potentially best armor in the game and a full horse, right from the beginning, as a skilled player can win tournaments with a starting character.

4) Previous change of x2 cost for mounted unit wages changed to 1.5x. Still more expensive than vanilla, and offering more strategic tradeoff in lines like the Frisians and Britons where the mounted units are low tier and compete with underwhelming units.

5) Merc changes:

Dorested now gets full chance of all mercs for tavern recruits. The limitied list seemed motivated by storyline, but wasn't limitied to it, and wasn't needed in any event. Norse towns can now attract the full range of recruits, including frankish cavalry.

Sailors no longer appear as tavern mercs. They were 10x too expensive (over 400 vs 40 from old captain by docks), and they are now replaced by spearmen, making spearmen more common than the fancier mercs (as is realistic)

Meanwhile, frankish cavalry is now 1/4 as common as other mercs. and is otherwise replaced with the spearmen.

So we have

Spearmen, 2.75x as common as other mercs.
Frankish cavalry, 0.25x as common as other mercs

Should be a more sensible system, better fitting the rarity of high level cavalry in VC. Combined with the merc wage changes especially, it no longer strains belief all the AI lords aren't running around with frankish cavalry as well, and no more instant, cheap 300WP player armies wearing heavy mail.

7) Player leadership skill no longer magically makes more mercs available in tavern. Instead, they simply roll over a larger random range. (ie, rather than 3-9+ leadership, it rolls 3-19, giving same avg results as 5 leadership)

8 ) Village recruitment now generates very large numbers of troops if you are a lord:

- doubled growth by relations, halved growth by renown. Villagers care more about your local rep, they don't read newspapers.

- charisma and leadership bonus now are modified by faith

- charisma and leadership are now about 2.5x as effective at increasing recruits

- base recruits start lower

- Rolling a tier II recruiting session now gives about 1/2 as many total recruits. Vanilla was about 3/4. They don't have many experienced men--but a lot of men you can train.

- Higher tier recruits become available for a player much earlier, 30 rather than 60, but have a 50 percent fail rate on that (they still get another check after though)

- Being lord of a village gives +0-60 extra recruits, not reduced by religious diffeences,. Vanilla was basically +0-2 extra guys.  The lord now has a 70% chance of upgraded tier even if the peasants dislike him

So there is a serious advantage to keeping a village under your control--huge numbers of men can be pressed into your service rapidly. May be a viable strategic choice despite the lower money now.

9) Per Zeqe's request, some faction troops will now defend villages.

It will be about 1/3 each of basic farmers and 2 kinds better troops.

Also changed how number of defenders are determined, instead of adding a number to low prosperity (which in vanilla meant you would get a discrete cutoff where increasing prosperity suddenly dropped number of defenders by 20), a min is just set.

10) Fix for vanilla VC bug reported by Maluxorath--hardcore finance used to actually reduce upgrade costs compared to normal. Now hardcore is the same as normal

Now, hardcore is +25% normal costs.

11) The final tier is no longer such a huge discrete jump in upgrade costs, instead is just a 1.5x modifier over normal cost from being the final tier. The old huge jump was making it a seriously questionable move to upgrade to the last tier--they were stronger, but not quite warranting the close to 2-3000 peningas it could get to, especially when top tier mercs hire for much less, prisoners hire for much less, etc, and you are essentially paying 2500 pengingas + a tier IV unit in exchange for a tier 5.

Note that hardcore finance setting will see a net very slight increase in final tier upgrade costs, because of bugfix plus this

12) Major change to upgrade costs for mounted units.

If the prior troop is level 23 or below, ie you are upgrading to a tier IV or below mounted unit, the cost is now 2x normal price

Why? First, because of realism--horses and ponies cost a lot in VC.

Second, because of troop tree strategic alternatives. Most mounted units of a low level compete with a very underwhelming, low level unit for upgrades (briton horsemen vs briton archers, frisian horsemen vs frisian warriors, etc). The mounted line often has much better skils, equipment, everything.

So let's make it cost something to pursue that line.

13) However--if the troop is upgrading to a final tier horsemen, then the cost is only increased by 25% (less than vanilla VC 33% increase).

This is because final upgrades are already very expensive, and frankly the horse units at the tops of those tiers are not really that much better, or better at all, than the extremely well equipped foot top tier units. If you decided to forgo just hiring frankish cavalry and train your own, no need to punish you with a huge cost increase. It isn't justified by realism much anyway, as if you look at the equipment upgrades hapening along those lines, even with the mount included there isn't much of a difference in tier iv to tier v jump compared to some f the infantry lines of other factions. Note that since base upgrade costs are doubled here and level is higher, often you will end up paying around the same premium as at lower tiers.

14) Some very slight reductions in ai lord troop wages at the high end, and additional 500 penningas per week given to npc lords as part of their base income, to support:

15) Improved reinforcement templates for NPC Lords.

Vanilla VC wanted to feel historical, so NPC lords walk around with tons of tier I peasants.

The problem is the player doesn't generally do that. And the NPC lords suffer hugely for it.

We don't have to have an army of elites for NPC lords, but we can and should shift their recruiting to better resemble what the player gets--Much less Tier I, more Tier II and III units.

Elites remain rare, but competent fighters for the npc lord shieldwall are now the general rule, with a few skirmisher peasants in much lower numbers.

The historical feeling of mixed peasant armies is still present, but with the greater number of tier II and III the ai lords will pose a much better chance of challanging players and their more elite armies.

It will take awhile for your saved game to adjust to this.

16) Campaign AI level changes now affects player kingdom AI lords as well as other AI lords (thus ensuring consistent realism in how the world operates). Thus the setting determines the player's position vs the world, and AI lords don't become worse just by joining the player. This will slightly buff player kingdom ai lord armies

EDIT Leaving this unfixed for now, not enough playtesting time so reverted changes to hard

This is especially important because the AI behavior code for collecting rents added by VC did not take account of this distinctions.. Meaning player kingdom AI lords were making their finance decisions on the basis of incorrect costs before, so this also counts as a bug fix for a vanilla bug.

17) AI Kings now get 2000 instead of 1000 additional base income, which should be closer to matching what the player can achieve from a midsized kingdom tribute.

AI marshalls no longer recieve free money.

18) No more cheating in favor of player marshalls on normal difficulty, forcing AI lords to join their campaigns even if they wouldn't have joined an NPC martial. The prior script to do this was justified by this comment to the code: "#Because players become confused when they see very less participation from AI lords to their campaigns."

I will leave it on for "easy", but if you are playing "normal" I assume you want a fair game and won't be confused when things don't go your way.

19) tax efficiency no longer has a maximum. No more gamey keep taking centers until you hit the limit--this is the dark ages, you are a feudal lord, not an emperor. Well, it will cap at 99, but that won't help you.

20) merc contracts now pay about 6 times as much (should cover close to your wages plus some profit). I didn't have time to deal with the relationship issues of all your faction enemies hating you after contract concludes yet, but at least you'll be sufficiently compensated if you decide to explore this oft-neglected aspect of Viking Conquest.

21) Special tournament participant chance of joining reduced. They were traveling the world just a little too fast at 50%

22) No more "camp defender" female npc tournament participants.

Hordes of female tournament fighters never fit into the spirit of a realistic look at the dark ages.

What was worse is that the camp defenders had terrible stats, so Vanilla VC wasn't throwing great female fighters into the mix, it was instead using them as low-skilled filler troops to be soundly beaten by the male troops tournament after tournament.

Female heroes should be special in the 9th century--rare, but very powerful. As they were in the sagas, and as represented by Brunhild, Solveig, the female tournament special fighter "the pict", and the female player character.

23) Slightly less reductions to tax inefficiency available.

In vanilla VC, you could get bonuses to fiefs without inefficiency really easily--+2 if your minister likes you, +6 for hiring tax collectors, meaning even on the hardest difficulty you could have 10 center points without inefficiency.

So 5 towns or 10 castles without any tax inefficiency on the hardest difficulty in vanilla.

They in combination would also reduce inefficiency rate to (x-2)/2, meaning you could get it a point below native.

The end result was far less inefficiency than other mods, and the costs of increasing relationship with minister and hiring the tax collectors wasn't really high enough to justify this, especially in a player kingdom (where the tax collectors also double tribute)

So, let's separate it out both game mechanics wise and conceptually.

The tax collectors already double tribute, so let's make them have the scaling effect only here as well, leaving in place them multiplying inefficiency by 1/2, while reducing their straight bonus down to 2/3 the vanilla value, making it +4 center points.

The minister liking you bonus one can understand as them not skimming off the top from wherever they happen to be located, probably a town, worth 2 center points. So let's leave them with their vanilla +2 to center points without inefficiency, and remove their reduction of -2 to the magnitude of inefficiency per center. Added back since normal is going up to base hard levels

Now the player can get +6 center points, and subtract 2 and then divide his inefficiency by 2 (bringing it down 1 below native rate).

That means with both the player can hold 3 towns and 1 village and 1 castle without any inefficiency on the hardest difficulty level, which basically entails controlling a region of the game. That seems about as powerful as these should be (remember, in a player kingdom , the tax collectors fee will be in large part covered by the doubling of tribute payments as the kingdom gets larger---and the hiring decision should require weighing some things).

This may still be too powerful. Let me know if you think so, and we can examine nerfing it further.

24) Player religion no longer reduces tax income. I can think of a number of ways a pagan lord could ensure his christian subjects pay their taxes, and in-game dialogue from Frisia seems to confirm this is the general order of things. Besides, it only applied to the player, which is the sort of mechanic best removed.

25) Campaign ai setting no longer reduces tax income. Too important to keep it as a balanced source of income vs other sources.

EDIT: removed some of the above to save playtesting time

Some credits so far (if I'm missing you, please let me know, I am falling asleep at this point:

Steam users Windrider and Pode for consultation on second outfit vanilla VC bug (fixed in prior portion of the 5.0 changelog)

Steam user Adabr Brcol for bringing my attention to the vanilla issue with Odin's cave and high athletics (fixed in prior portion of the 5.0 changelog)

Taleworlds user Zeqe for requesting village defense changes

Talewords and Reddit user Maluxorath for reporting the bug about hardcore finance

Reddit user EricAKAPode for frequent consultations on a range of topics, including throwing weapons

Taleworlds user Cokjan, Reddit user Peppiping, and Steam user Windrider for discusion on archer issues.

Steam user Tuidjy for lending his expertise as both a real-world and in-game archer to the bow rebalance

Taleworlds user EvilSquid for Vikingr upgrading to danish and norwegion elites
« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 09:05:57 AM by Tingyun »

Tingyun

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Re: [VC][S] VC Balance Mod (saved game compatible)
« Reply #38 on: February 09, 2018, 02:10:22 AM »
To be able to (hopefully) finish playtesting and release tonight, I am reverting the partially completed changes to Hard campaign AI.

I highly recommend all players of this mod select Normal Campaign AI. I've always played Hard in the past, but this mod will be balanced around Normal going forward, and in particular will ensure that that level represents a a very difficult but balanced setting:

- Normal Campaign AI will have the tax inefficiency limit of Hard (base 2 points). Even with the nerfs I did to vanilla VC "minister likes you" and "tax collectors" mechanics, you will still get +6 from those, and be able to have 4 towns or 8 castles with 0 inefficiency, and only minor growth in inefficiency after that. 4 towns is plenty rule yourself.

- All ways the game cheats in favor of the player on Normal Campaign AI will be removed.

- Many changes have occurred to allow the AI lords to compete on a more even footing with the player, including increases to their base finances, increased king simulated tribute to match what the player gets, and much better army templates.

In the aggregate, Normal Campaign AI using 5.0 should pose as much or more challenge to the player than Hard Campaign AI used to, in all the right aspects of difficulty.

You can continue to use Hard, but I won't be fixing it in 5.0 to save playtesting time (I will save my current fixes and might look at it for a future version). So expect the following weirdness if you use it:

- On Hard, expect lords within the player kingdom to make decisions on some matters using a set of costs that don't apply to them.

- On Hard, expect some enemy lords to allow excess rents to accumulate as they have more than they need, accruing to the benefit of the player when he eventually conquers the center

- On Hard, expect lords to be a bit too cooperative in campaigns, and the campaign map changes as AI kingdoms fight each other to happen unduly rapidly.

So, I recommend Normal, and rest assured it will be made plenty difficult, especially with the changes to AI lord party templates.

In VC, if you want difficulty, you want better parity between player and AI lord army composition. That means better party templates for AI lords (added in 5.0), and the option of turning on hardcore finance setting (vanilla bug fixed so it works as it should in 5.0), and possiblly hardcore leveling. Hard Campaign AI is not the best way to achieve challange here, and most every mechanic tied to it fails to create the right kind of difficulty.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 03:04:22 AM by Tingyun »

Tingyun

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Re: [VC][S] VC Balance Mod (saved game compatible)
« Reply #39 on: February 09, 2018, 08:54:14 AM »
Well, not going to finish tonight. ;) Aiming for tomorrow though, in time for the weekend.

Today was mostly proofreading and testing, but here's tonight's new additions, Part 6 of the 5.0 changelog:

- finished getting all town, castle, and village recruiting code consistent to the earlier described changes

- should now be possible to actually engage in sustained religious conversion. If you have either a mead hall (village) or a scriptorium prisoner tower (town) the symbols of your authority are now strong enough that the villagers will not tear down your temple (they block the rioting from occurring). There really needed to be a way of doing this--building temples had turned into nothing more than a path to ruining relations with a fief.

- scriptorium now grants rent bonus (400, half the boost of the slave market) and very small prosperity boost (0-2) occasionally. The prior renown bonus was worthless--by the time a player had a town to build one, they would often never get a single point of renown from it.

- schools also give a small 0-1 prosperity boost. Same for mead halls.

- religious buildings have their bonus to prosperity reduced to keep overall bonuses around equal

- added upgrade from basic Vikingr to danish and Norwegian elites (thanks to EvilSquid for contributing this)

- Norse recruiting templates made generally more elite than other cultures. Few basic recruits, more swordsmen, but still keeping an eye on financial pressures. Let's make them feared, as they were at the time.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 12:39:39 PM by Tingyun »

Pode

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Re: [VC][S] VC Balance Mod (saved game compatible)
« Reply #40 on: February 09, 2018, 04:03:46 PM »
Late with this comment, but I think the reason for the cost jump between lvl 26 and 27 units, at least for the Anglo-Saxons, was to encourage the creation of Saxon swordsmen and Angle spearmen by giving them some reason to exist. If the cost is competitive, why wouldn't I promote only Saxon spearmen and Angle swordsmen instead for the better eventual tier 5 units?

Somewhat concerned that there may be hidden engine effects of campaign AI setting, but agree you've got to pick one to save testing.

I'm Eric on reddit and Pode on Steam, so that should save you a line in any future credits

You're doing the Lord's work here.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 04:05:53 PM by Pode »

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Re: [VC][S] VC Balance Mod (saved game compatible)
« Reply #41 on: February 09, 2018, 05:24:48 PM »
I thought I would mention it in case there were any other interested parties, but I plan on sitting down tonight with WinMerge and integrating the "Dark Age" visual mod by ha3481 with the 5.0 version of the balance mod. I like the grittier and somewhat more realistic armors for that visual mod, but hate the balance changes he includes with it, and much prefer the work that Tingyun has done.

The work will mostly involve going line-by-line in itemkinds and updating the texture fields to use the DA version, and I hope to finish it in time to still have some playing time tonight.

If anyone else is interested at all, let me know, and we can dm e-mails so I can send you the merged files.

ha3481

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Re: [VC][S] VC Balance Mod (saved game compatible)
« Reply #42 on: February 09, 2018, 07:06:29 PM »
but hate the balance changes he includes with it
it's a vanilla balance.. in the latest versions on 99%

Tingyun

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Re: [VC][S] VC Balance Mod (saved game compatible)
« Reply #43 on: February 09, 2018, 08:28:09 PM »
cost jump between lvl 26 and 27 units, at least for the Anglo-Saxons, was to encourage the creation of Saxon swordsmen and Angle spearmen by giving them some reason to exist. If the cost is competitive, why wouldn't I promote only Saxon spearmen and Angle swordsmen instead for the better eventual tier 5 units?

Hmm, this is a good point. I did it mainly for the AI (it was hammering their finances a bit too much, because the jump is fairly severe, especially given how autocalc works). I will take a look at their unit stats and the cost differences, and think about what needs to be and can be done.

Absent other ideas, I might restore it as player only, as much as I am usually against those differences. I had to leave the AI premium for mounted/mercs at 1.2x or so, despite the player going up to 1.5x and 2x, for similar reasons of not having certain units be a drain on their finances in a way that doesn't help them enough.

I do have some thoughts on why it might be ok, let me know if either is convincing:

1) the tier IV unit isn't that much better than its counterpart, the real difference is at tier V, and those units cost the same anyway, and by being a lower level, the level 26 worse unit will be able to promote to the higher tier in larger numbers as a consolation (not much though, about 1.2x I think).

2) In other changes I'm trying to reduce incentives for "around the world" recruiting tours more generally:

- once you have a fief you get serious bonuses to recruiting within it. So if you are an Angle and have an angle fief, you will find it much easier to simply recruit them. The bonus is dramatic, +0-60 for village, + 0-10 for town castle to base numbers (base number reduced if getting higher tier, though at villages that still means +0-30 extra units of tier II, hopefully making villages compete for possible player control as a great source of peasants for your armies). Not reduced by religious differences. Vanilla was +0-2, so it is now 30x or 5x as influential being a lord to recruiting compared to vanilla.

- local relations are much more influential in recruiting success, and the jump to higher tier base is also much more tied to high relationship, with only a few recruits of higher tier at low relationship, so if you build up with a city, you will get their spearmen and swordsmen. Though even at max, it is slightly above 1/2 base recruit numbers if getting the higher tier (there has to be some reduction in numbers if rolling tier III direct, vanilla was giving you the same exact number for towns and castles). Still with relations giving much faster bonus to base numbers, that will compensate a great deal. Villages always give 1/2 base if upgraded tier, because the difference between tier I and II is far less dramatic than II and III.

- religious differences kill recruiting much more effectively, with all sorts of modifiers reduced by local faith. Now, the only way you can overcome religious difference and get some recruit is local relations to the center (this mostly targets Norse bodyguards/Saxon noble silly armies, if someone wants to do that they are going to at least need very high relations.)

- you now have to actually work for your local relations more. Before tournaments gave +6 per win up to 30, now it is the reasonable +1 (no cap) and you have to do quests the rest of the way

I'm hoping this leads to less pick and choose in general, especially as keeping a village allows a player lord to opt into the ability to swell their ranks with troops of a culture at the financial costs of the better fiefs. But maybe players are just going to keep 1 each of Saxon and Angle towns and villages, and pump relations with each. Though maybe then they are expressly opting into that kind of army distinction and working hard for it, and would probably do the same even if the costs were a bit higher, and might as well let them.

Please do give any further thoughts on this, and I'll look into reverting that further as well.

Somewhat concerned that there may be hidden engine effects of campaign AI setting, but agree you've got to pick one to save testing.

It is possible, but I have reason to think it isn't so.

The campaign AI effects I have seen have been terribly structured. Things like: let's cheat for the player kingdom on information radius for campaigns, whether on normal or hard, just slightly less pro player cheating on hard. Let's make the AI other kingdom lords more willing to join campaigns on hard, exclude the player kingdom, but then give a huge bonus only if the player is the martial.

Basically, it was often working out to--make the player kingdom lords more useless, often still help the player himself, and so make campaign AI a distinction in whether you are actually going to play a cooperative victory with your lords or are going to become even more the star.

The fact that I'm seeing so much AI decision influencing aspects makes me think there aren't a bunch of hidden engine ones,

Basically, I see how Warband makes the AI "smarter" on higher difficulty (expands their information, helps them join the marshall), which makes me think there aren't a lot of hidden influences doing the same.

Btw, the new normal should often be harder, since I am removing pro player cheating that even occurred on hard.

But really difficulty is about army composition more than anything. The recruiting costs for normal will mean they are building back up a more slowly (but that is more about how many times you beat them, less about whether you can beat them), but I am helping their finances enough to compensate, and they should often just let less rents accumulate this way to be taken by the player.

It should take a couple months for AI lord armies to get on board with the new recruiting templates fully, but once they do there should be a great deal more challenge. Let me know if it doesn't work out that way and we can even consider switching the recruiting costs down or something.

But in general I expect 5.0 on Normal to be much harder than vanilla on Hard, as the armies you face will be geared to stand a chance.

Notably, the real difficulty settings in the game are the VC added ones, now that I have bugfixed hardcore finance to work correctly. Strategic difficulty in Warband is about the comparison of armies, and hardcore finance and leveling turned on will do much to keep the player closer to AI army composition, especially combined with the buffs I did to their army templates and the increased cost and rarity of the better mercs. So players who want a more difficult game should use those options, and let the resulting less elite player army create the difficulty.

I'm Eric on reddit and Pode on Steam, so that should save you a line in any future credits

Yes, thank you! I did realize, I just try to be careful not to "out" people's identities on different forums, even when obvious like this,

You're doing the Lord's work here.

Ah, well YOU will be doing the lord's work, a bit faster, as I am going to slightly alter the conversion balance in favor of christians. They already get the occasional bonus from close by monasteries, but I think I will increase their conversion effect form buildings to happen a bit more frequently than pagan shrines.

It is pretty clear that Christianity is much more effective at spreading itself than Norse paganism in the real world. I'll start with a very small +0-1 increase in Christian conversion building effects, and that might be all that is needed. Oh, I also might go ahead and make conversions from Christian to pagan much less common for lords than the reverse--I don't know that we even have many examples of that occurring.

Combined with the army template changes to make the Norse more fierce, should lead to an interesting and realistic dynamic--feared pagan armies but a Christian religion that can potentially conquer them even as they conquer Christian lands.


In general, anyone who has read the changelog and has feedback, please raise your thoughts as Pode did--now is the absolute best time to complain of things, as it is very easy for me to change.

A release tonight, probably, but my wife has been a bit neglected in these recent 10 hour modding sessions of late, so tomorrow is also possible. Sorry guys, on the plus side, the delay is only because more things are getting improved, I am commmited to testing extensively to ensure everything works right. :)
« Last Edit: February 09, 2018, 08:48:25 PM by Tingyun »

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Re: [VC][S] VC Balance Mod (saved game compatible)
« Reply #44 on: February 10, 2018, 04:45:07 AM »
Pode:

Looked into it, here are the tier IV spearmen:

Saxon, 245 polearms, 215 one handed, 5 powerstrike

angle, 250 polearms, 210 one handed, 5 powerstrike

Same spear quality (heavy long and long war spears)

For Tier IV Swordsmen, both Saxon and Angle vets are similar, 235 one handed

So the Level 27 vs Level 26 distinctions seem only geared towards reducing the promotion rate into the Tier V units, where there is actually a difference between the troop quality. There is a level diffeence there to create a pay difference, though the gap is small because it lacks the hardline formula difference cutoff that occurs at level 26 (vanilla) or 27 (Balance Mod 5.0).

Accordingly, I think the change to level 27 as the cutoff point is warranted to get the saxon and angle versions more similar in troop cost at tier IV, since their quality about matches.


However, we could consider making the pay difference at Tier V bigger going forward. I know your concerns were based on the hope for eventual Tier V units making each better, but I think that is best dealt with as a pay difference at Tier V, rather than at the Tier IV level.

Let me know if you still disagree, and if so we can discuss further!
« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 04:49:42 AM by Tingyun »