Just took this pic before "finishing" a non-modded campaign yesterday(1.6.1) and I think it is somewhat related to this discussion.
I worked my way up until I became the main Southern Empire clan. Then, I had to (regretfully) execute every damn lord on my way, since peace was constantly being declared every time I was about to get the upper hand during any war. At the same time, more wars were declared to other factions, so basically a complete ****show.
Even though it was very tedious to eliminate the factions one by one, I've managed to do it, but before eliminating the very last one (Khuzaits), the result was just bizarre. Rhagaea accepted a (monopoly money?) 28 million tribute and refused to go to war permanently.
-Where was this money coming from? I waited for a while to see if they would run out of gold, they didn't
-Why the permanent peace, since it would be so easy to conquer the rest?
- Also, why the received tributes are a negative(overflown integer? Not a programmer, sorry if it ain't the appropriate name). I think I had to plunder a Khuzait village in order to re-start the war and finish them off.
Took me a while to accept that - apparently - your sovereign is actually hostile towards your world domination goals
, even if it's on behalf of his/her kingdom. The peace/war declarations seem to work as an artificial handicap, delaying the player conquests. That is very gamey, felt like an Atari game. I know devs put a lot of effort to sort the snowballing, but that's not working as it should toward the endgame. I definitely think other factions should join forces to stop your faction - but not your own ruler!
The irony is that money was the key element to prevent this last war to happen, and even though I am supposed to have an advantage, it actually worked against my goals and served no absolute purpose.
This is so detrimental to the gameplay...I think most people will agree the endgame needs to be redesigned, and one important step is having winners and losers.
As a medieval enthusiast, I totally support lance recruitment mentioned above.
It definitely could work. You'd just have your permanent retinue of followers at first, making bandit hunting much more challenging. In times of war, the lances(or better quality ones, if you will) would join your host if your relation with the notable is good; you are not reliant on that only though - if you have money, you could hire efficient (but expensive) mercenaries.
However, I think the casual prefers to manually recruit them, which is a shame. So I'm hoping for mods to address this, but other things can be reassessed in the vanilla regardless. I've mentioned the following regarding lords death rate:
-Settlements recruits need to take a much longer time to regenerate - currently resource attrition war is not an option
-Battles shouldn't be a carnage in most cases, fleeing and regrouping should be the norm
-Most sieges are supposed to won by starving out the opposition and not assaulting