Couching should be kept in the game as a mechanic. It trades the freedom and reach of normal stabs for more "hard reads" and expands the toolkit of cav. M&B is already very minimalistic and taking away options doesn't sound like a great move.
That said, at the very least, there should be a cooldown after couching something. Right now you can often delete two enemies back-to-back and that feels very overtuned.
I'd also be okay with couches geting the "sweet spot" back, although widened and less harsh damage falloff. The first implementation felt quite artificial.
1v1 could be interesting, but I think there'd need to be some complex mechanics going on or the players would quickly "solve" the meta and just take the same army builds over and over. Then most outcomes would be determined by the blind pick at the start of the round when you're choosing troops and don't know what your opponent is using, instead of actual gameplay.
If I was TW, I would work with players and tournament staff to develop the "one-life" mode and release it as soon as possible to start gathering feedback and start the iterative design process with the whole competitive community. When crashes and backend stuff is acceptable (it's not), I would work to release the custom server files so that players can start building the game modes that will last years. If my "one-life" mode fails in competition to these player-modes, then I'd copy the dominant community standard and host it on premium servers for the MP community to use as a ranked environment.
And then hire myself to balance captain mode.
Also, as is tradition, I wouldn't listen to NA players.
Bannerlord has 16,428 players and estimated* 224 in MP (not counting BLO).
Total Current Players
*Estimated 9 players in NA matchmaking (one captain 6v6, one captain 3v3) and 60 players in EU matchmaking (1 skirmish 6v6, 1 skirmish 3v3, and 3 captain 6v6, one captain 3v3) and 146 in custom servers.
I'd be interested to see what percent of Bannerlord players have tried MP at some point, and feedback on why they didn't continue playing it. The vast majority are "casual" players and their thoughts might not align with the common statements on the forums from dedicated players.
I agree, especially for casual modes like Siege or TDM it would be an easy win. Considering how long it takes them to add battle and duel though, I imagine the class system is too integral and too inflexible for them to just add fun stuff like this unfortunately.
Class system could feel better if they added more classes (medium infantry, less generic troops such as unique minor factions, and “fun” classes such as peasants with meme perks or classes with siege in mind to enable specific playstyles). I don’t know the SP equipment but there should be a wealth of resources there.
That would cover a lot of bases for customization where even if people aren’t given full equipment freedom, they’re still able to find some unique ways to play.
TW seems opposed to a complete overhaul, but just adding some classes like this would go a long way.
I have a longer post elsewhere, but essentially if you’re designing a MP game to be easy to balance, the two factors you should be looking at are pick-rate and win-rate.
This is hard to do in skirmish because many times people are playing as classes for reasons other than because that class is strong. For example, if you end up with 100g left in a round, your decision making is nonexistent and there’s only one class you can play. Additionally, each faction has a different gold structure, so a 120g class pickrate for one faction will be different than a 120g class in another faction even though they cost the same. That’s not related to “what is strong?” and doesn’t tell the devs much on what to balance.
Unfortunately that’s just one example, there’s a lot more problems as well.
The asymmetrical class system is easier to make changes, but more difficult to know what the changes should be (at least in Skirmish).
I've ranted about that being near impossible in the past, but you COULD balance it from a data driven perspective. You'd need to consider each round as a state that needed to be balanced, and you'd have to pair up all possible class combinations within each faction. That would allow your data to scale with the gold economy between rounds and give you a clear representation of the class structures that players are using.
TW would have to start making dramatic improvements to rebuild the player base such as overhauling Skirmish to be more akin to battle.
It's possible that their "one life mode" can achieve this. We don't know who is designing it, but it has a reasonable chance to bring players back at least to try it out. If TW's version fails, it's also possible that TW adopts the competitive standard (when it is determined) and hosts the official ranked ladder on that format.
On the other hand, Captain queues are fine. They're faster than my Overwatch DPS/Support queues. But due to well over 50% of units needing balance changes, Captain isn't the most fun to play, but it's clear that TW has found the core of something with the player retention against BLO.
I've been on both sides of the argument regarding your proposal to introduce a "leash" or "distance limit" on a captains unit formations. At first when you proposed the idea I was vehemently against it as it would severely limit the overall freedom of movement that players have on the battlefield and I think any limits on player actions can negatively impact someone's overall gameplay experience. At one point I changed my stance on the subject and actually advocated for it's introduction as an attempt to stop the devolution of captain mode turning into skirmish mode with extra lives.
Captain Perks (Area of Effect, temporary bonus "abilities")
During the class selection phase each captain can choose a single perk or "ability" that grants a different temporary stat bonus to ai troops within a limited area of effect that is within the immediate area of the player captain unit. These unique abilities would ONLY be given to the captain unit that the player initially spawns into the game as, once that unit has died the captain no longer has access to the ability. Multiple instances of the same effect would not stack.
Examples of what bonuses could look like:
Resistance:When activated, friendly units surrounding the player captain gain 25% armor rating for 5-10 seconds. (25 second cooldown)
Bloodlust: When activated, friendly units surrounding the player captain gain 10% increased damage and 5% increased attack speed for 5-10 seconds. (25 second cooldown)
Field Medic: When activated, friendly units surrounding the player captain regenerate 1 hitpoint per second for 10-20 seconds. (1 minute cooldown)
Stampede: When activated, friendly units surrounding the player captain gain 20% movement speed for 5-10 seconds. (30 second cooldown)
Each of these abilities could be bound to a single hotkey in the F file, or if there are none left available, a simple combination such as F8-F8 could also be used.
These abilities could also just be passive bonuses in an area effect, the player unit would simply act as a beacon for these bonuses and any nearby ai units would receive the benefits.
Reminder that you would only have access to these abilities on your captain units first life and your captain must be within a close proximity to friendly ai troops in order for them to receive the bonus. Therefor if you die as a rambo before maximizing the usage of these ability bonuses, you would be missing out on a huge advantage for your team thus incentivizing players to stick near their units and not risk dying alone.
I think the "leash" could have a large radius. Having to move your parked cav halfway across the map would be a huge problem for rambo cav, and open up more reliable counter-play, while still allowing rambo cav to hover and poke enemies if the enemies just camp and don't do anything.
I like the idea of passive perks, but I think cooldown perks would feel out of place since it's not present in SP. The idea of perks working only if the original captain-unit was still alive is interesting, but it might lead to captains being too passive and the game mode becoming more boring since you just want to hide and stay alive as your captain.
Very informative post about the state of captains mode. Just wanted to let you know TW would never ever add tactical depth, they are aiming for casual players, everything in this game is dumbed down for the sake of accessibility.
I think most "new" captain players come from SP, which has a fair bit of complexity to it. There's various levels of resource management and I don't think adding a resource management element or two to captain (such as gold) would scare people away, if it was done right.
The money system would be terrible idea for captain. So instead of trying to predict what the other teams composition is now you also have to try and figure out if they want to spend more money this round? What's great about captain is that it is simplistic in that if you have played some single player you can be a contributing member to your team, unlike skirmish where it takes time to build up skill and knowledge to be contributing at all.
The gold system was a hypothetical example of adding depth to the pick stage of the game. I'm not satisfied with an identical blind pick 3-5 rounds in a row, followed by a near-identical side-swap and 3-5 more blind picks in a row.
That essentially is rock-paper-scissors. So far, we've had one dominant meta (such as if rock beat both paper and scissors) so this wasn't really a problem. In the future if there are several viable comps that counter each other, we'll be in a situation where the round is won or lost on blind picks at the start of the map.
What's great about captain is that it is simplistic in that if you have played some single player you can be a contributing member to your team, unlike skirmish where it takes time to build up skill and knowledge to be contributing at all.
EDIT/Summary: I think I used too many unclear terms, but this covers most of the issues in captain mode at the moment and addresses my interpretation of why the mode feels "too simple" and "too similar" round to round.
I have played Captain since it was released in alpha. There's been wildly...
We cant really know if their MMR system is working, like you said its 3v3 on peak time. I think we can resume why MP is horrendous with the following : Taleworlds is completely out of touch with what the players want in a game.
TaleWorlds is very lucky that they have community like this. Lots of feedback with top quality. I hope they will understand that. I just don't agree with "Always show names." thing because it will be distractive in my opinion. Also one addition for all of this, that camera problem when you close to the wall or grass, your whole screen nothing but wall or grass. You just can't see anything and it is very disgusting. I hope they will add all of this but, I don't think they will do it.