1.5.5 Balance and Further Changes

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Firunien

Grandmaster Knight
We are in process of bringing back Weekend Cups to Bannerlord. Rules are being worked on at the moment with first, exhibition, edition being planned for next weekend.
I can tell you already that we wont be having class limits.
This is taken from our rules:
"Throughout the duration of Bannerlord's Early Access stage Weekend Cup™️ will remain a tool for the developers, players and general competitive BL community to experiment and test game's classes, factions balancing, match formats, equipment and perks in the competitive environment."

So maybe this can help with testing classes bit more, without risking BEAST's class limits rule set (if the voting goes that way) that has been working nicely for that competition so far.
Thats great to hear, WWC was always a great short tournament. I loved it that you had such great map variety in Warband, cant wait to see WWC with custom servers ! :grin:
 

MP_Erik

Sergeant
M&BWBWF&SNW
If random skirmish is no fun, our competitive skirmish is wasted. No one will ever find interest in what we are doing. If someone likes random skirmish and plays alot of it, he will much more likely be interested in competitive play.
Talking about non competitive play: I would also like to see how the different factions are balanced in TDM or Siege.

The most hated class in TDM at the moment is currently Menavlion Cavalry and while it is not really viable in competitive skirmish I think it would be short sighted to attribute this only to skill difference:
1. TDM usually has 20v20+ players with random spawns compared to the 6v6 players with fixed and secured spawns in skirmish. This leads to more chaotic situations and gives roaming cavalry lots of opportunities to find disracted units.
2. (More important) Economic reasons: While you start every skirmish match with 200gold and can pick any class you like, TDM starts only with 120 gold and gives you only 100 standard gold per life. As a result you are often forced to play as a peasant class and unable to pick counters that a skirmish player would have available.
Battanians for example have no problem dealing with twohanded cavalry because their default class already has access to a pike to deal with it. For Sturgians on the other hand the cheapest infantry with an adequate spear to counter that would be the Varayg at 160gold who is usually not available for most players and Sturgians are usually stomped by the Empire for that reason.

I think that the finetuning for Bannerlord should concentrate on competitive play but if any mechanic is so imbalanced that it makes casual play unenjoyable it can only hurt the community as a whole.
 
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Roadpork

Regular
I fully second that as ex-Dota player.
Especially certain heroes/champs require a playstyle which might need to be mastered and just a few are good at this and that. To require everyone being able to play everything at any given time is just stupid, it's not working in any competitive team sport either.

Agree here. even though LOL or Dota is a game for "master every hero", However, M&B can't do it.
In League of Legends different heroes follows the same core play. Your training in LOL is at least transferable which is not likely between 3 main classes in Mount&Blade.
I am an inf main. I have the ability to master cav if I spend time, but why? I don't like it at all.
I bought a game, in order to win, I need to do something I don't like. It's not called a game, it's called a job.
 

Mushbeast

Knight
Talking about non competitive play: I would also like to see how the different factions are balanced in TDM or Siege.

The most hated class in TDM at the moment is currently Menavlion Cavalry and while it is not really viable in competitive skirmish I think it would be short sighted to attribute this only to skill difference:
1. TDM usually has 20v20+ players with random spawns compared to the 6v6 players with fixed and secured spawns in skirmish. This leads to more chaotic situations and gives roaming cavalry lots of opportunities to find disracted units.
2. (More important) Economic reasons: While you start every skirmish match with 200gold and can pick any class you like, TDM starts only with 120 gold and gives you only 100 standard gold per life. As a result you are often forced to play as a peasant class and unable to pick counters that would a skirmish player would have available.
Battanians for example have no problem dealing with twohanded cavalry because their default class already has access to a pike to deal with it. For Sturgians on the other hand the cheapest infantry with an adequate spear to counter that would be the Varayg at 160gold who is usually not available for most players and Sturgians are usually stomped by the Empire for that reason.

I think that the finetuning for Bannerlord should concentrate on competitive play but if any mechanic is so imbalanced that it makes casual play unenjoyable it can only hurt the community as a whole.
The other modes definitely need some love too seeing as Skirmish isn't even offered to most areas of the world. Creating a system where you're supposed to switch between inf/archer/cav for skirmish has completely ruined the balance for these other modes, and will likely seep in to the upcoming battle and duel modes too.

One thing I've wanted to see since the start of early access is TW's view on Menavlions. Do they consider them working as intended in their current state, or is it possibly something they will look to work on if they re-do the animations like NIN3 said they hope to do in the future?

Overall the game mechanics are getting better and more refined as time goes on, but I think design is headed in a strange direction from some of the developers comments on this thread.
 
One thing I've wanted to see since the start of early access is TW's view on Menavlions. Do they consider them working as intended in their current state, or is it possibly something they will look to work on if they re-do the animations like NIN3 said they hope to do in the future?

About those, I wonder myself. Historians describe them as a heavy spear used in the Byzanthine Empire for use against cavalry. A Menavion-armed soldier is standing behind the shield wall and only steps out when cav is incoming or he is at the flanks with javelinmen to protect those from CAV attacks. So much for the historical role and use of that weapon.

Yet in game it is swung mostly like a battleaxe, halberd or glaive in games I observe doing ridiculous amounts of damage like a "broadsword on a stick" and not a spear weapon. From the weapon design it looks like instant pikewall combines with small sideblades for pulling riders off their horses or a kind of measure to stop the weapon running through the target to better retrieve it after use. Why you should be able to swing it for 100+ dmg is beyond me.
 

Terco_Viejo

Spanish Gifquisition
Grandmaster Knight
About those, I wonder myself. Historians describe them as a heavy spear used in the Byzanthine Empire for use against cavalry. A Menavion-armed soldier is standing behind the shield wall and only steps out when cav is incoming or he is at the flanks with javelinmen to protect those from CAV attacks. So much for the historical role and use of that weapon.

Yet in game it is swung mostly like a battleaxe, halberd or glaive in games I observe doing ridiculous amounts of damage like a "broadsword on a stick" and not a spear weapon. From the weapon design it looks like instant pikewall combines with small sideblades for pulling riders off their horses or a kind of measure to stop the weapon running through the target to better retrieve it after use. Why you should be able to swing it for 100+ dmg is beyond me.
+5
I have held that exact same discourse to exhaustion since the beginning of the alpha-beta of 2019. A pikeman/ menavlatoi is not a shock troop but as you say a support troop against cavalry.

And as I have also commented (sorry I am too cumbersome, I know; fellows love me as I am :lol: ) the menavlion is not an a ****ing axe.

1 menavlion 2 uses; as a pike and as an axe

--
And the icing on the cake is to give it as gear to a troop on horseback; madness. 😤
 
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MP_Erik

Sergeant
M&BWBWF&SNW
I think they didn't have anything else to give to the Empire as a twohanded option. Maybe would be more immersive TW implemented an alternative swing animation with a smaller arc that is believable for a long polearm.
 
Since all the empire theme is somewhat influenced by the Byzantine Empire, I do not get, why they are not given 2-handed danish axes like the Varangians had. That would fit. So it is a heavy pikeman that behaves like someone swinging a polearm with a cutting/chopping blade on a stick - which this weapon is not.
 

Terco_Viejo

Spanish Gifquisition
Grandmaster Knight
I think they didn't have anything else to give to the Empire as a twohanded option. Maybe would be more immersive TW implemented an alternative swing animation with a smaller arc that is believable for a long polearm.
I bet for this. Keep the weapon, change animations, handling and use. Vertical strikes fits in a plausible way with a menavlion, however the current swings must be removed imo.
 

Ling*

Knight
This is a great list! I'm especially impressed with just how much Battania has improved as a viable faction in captain mode, it's refreshing to see that 50% winrate compared to the very low winrate Battania had only a few months ago. I am also very pleased with this data-driven approach to handling balancing issues, overall I would like to compliment your teams work on bringing these factions closer together in terms of balance and winrates. Although Aserai is not yet living up to expectations, however I am confident that if the team continues to make these good decisions, Aserai will soon be a competitive faction as well. Regarding Ai exploits, it will take me some time to upload any demonstration videos as I am currently working with a limited internet data plan until the end of the month, however I will work alongside some community members to get your team a video with a detailed look into the Ai exploits and what causes them as soon as possible.

A note on what I believe to be the root cause of many of these ai exploits: The individual Ai units targeting parameters and "self-preservation" allow the player to abuse the Ai's behavior with actions such as getting an entire group of enemy archers to stop firing by only using a single captain unit to get close enough to draw all of the archers into pulling out their melee weapons rendering them useless in a team fight. It seems to be the case that each individual Ai unit will choose to target and attack the closest unit within their detection range, this is also why you see instances of an entire group of archers shooting all of their arrows into a single shield unit captain who has positioned himself just close enough to the archers to draw their firing aggro, because he or she is the closest enemy unit detected by the archers. Another example of how this targeting system can be abused is: if you have a unit of shields properly lined up in shield wall facing a group of enemy archers blocking their shots, all the enemy has to do is take his single captain unit and position himself just behind the wall of shields and threaten the Ai with just being within striking distance, the Shield unit Ai will try to "self-preserve" and defend itself by turning around and either blocking or attempting to strike the enemy captain unit. This small opening is enough to allow the captains allied Archers to hit the Ai shield units who turn their backs in an attempt to defend themselves from the captain unit and if the captain is persistent this can lead to your shield units being wiped off the map entirely even while being in the correct defensive posture, due to the Ai deciding on its own that defending itself from a single unit is more important than following orders. Another, more subtle but crucial exploit is the Ai's deciding on its own when it should be appropriate to switch weapons during a fight. If a player knows the Ai is programmed to pull its spears out when an enemy cavalry unit is within striking distance, this allows players to exploit the Ai by sending a Cavalry unit to force the enemy into pulling out its spears when it is not exactly ideal for them to do so. For example if my team is about to clash in a melee fight, I can elect to bring in my cavalry units to force the enemy Ai troops to swap to spears, meaning they will not use their stronger anti-infantry weapons during the infantry fight thus causing them to lose the fight. This is a major reason as to why the community has requested the ability to manually command our troops to swap weapons and stay locked to a certain weapon unless we command them to do something different. If you allow the Ai to make these decisions, the player will always find a way to outsmart the Ai as the Ai doesn't have the ability to improvise on strategy like players are able to.

What to do about these issues?: A proposal that has the support of the vast majority of the community is to give the players more options to command our troops and to let us have more control, not delegate the decision making to the Ai, which itself can be outsmarted.
Orders:
1. "Hold your ground!" .... "At ease!" - This would be a single button toggle command that would disable the "Self-preservation" of the Ai, meaning that the Ai does not attempt to defend itself while in formations such as shield wall or any other formation even when a unit is attempting to strike them in the back the units will maintain their formation and not break it for anything. If the player wants to turn this command off and give the Ai its autonomy back, simply press the command button again and it will re-enable the self-defense feature.

2. "Target this Area!" - This would force archers to fire their arrows at a target location indicated by either a flag similar to how the old Face Direction command was displayed, or an Area of Effect indicator that would highlight the ground a different color where the Archers will start shooting their arrows. When given this command ,the archers would not be aiming at individual units, but rather they would attempt to essentially shoot the ground at the specified location, causing their arrows to rain down on any unlucky units that happen to be positioned within the Area of Effect. If you have ever played the game Warcraft 3 it would essentially work in the same way as a Siege unit being ordered to "attack the ground". The siege unit would fire its projectile to the specified location over and over again until ordered not to, and any unlucky units that wander into that area would get blasted by the projectile as it landed. Telling your units to "Hold Fire" would stop your units from firing at the targeted area and when "Fire at will" is toggled back on, they will return to their default untargeted firing style.

3. "Change Weapons!" - This would force your units to switch from their primary weapons to their secondary weapons, and remain locked on that weapon choice until told to "Change Weapons!" again, basically it would be functionally the same as the player using the scroll wheel to change weapons, the units would simply cycle to the next weapon in their inventory, eventually cycling back to their primary weapons if the "Change Weapons!" command was selected enough times. If this process becomes too tedious for the player, it can be toggled back to Automatic Mode by using an additional hotkey.


These commands would do wonders for solving many of the above mentioned issues with Ai exploits by giving the player direct control over their units, and can all be used as optional settings, meaning the player can always switch back to the standard Ai targeting, weapon selection, and self-defense at any time. Giving the player these options would be an incredible step towards making Bannerlord as a whole more strategic, and making Captain Mode a more exciting game mode for new players and old players alike.

Thank you for your time and I truly hope you seriously consider implementing these features as I honestly believe the game would be in a better state if we had these options.
 
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Terco_Viejo

Spanish Gifquisition
Grandmaster Knight

Every part is a weapon

Due to youtube restrictions I have not been able to watch the video directly. However, after a proxy trick, is this the one you are referring to?

The thing is that a menavlion is not the same type of weapon as a Guan dao-Naginata/different types of glaive. A menavlion like this heavy one (reproduced quite accurately according to Roman sources) would rather resemble a partisan by performance and type of weapon.

Just as this weapon is swinging from left to right on Bannerlord, you should have dorsal muscles and a lower body made of steel. I don't know, in my eyes it doesn't work; but hey...one more opinion.

@Ling* , totally agree. I would add at point 1; applicable to all formations.
 
Hey all,

I wanted to take a moment and give an update about the current balance situation and some of the changes we are planning.

SKIRMISH

FactionMatch Win RateRound Win Rate
aserai0.50.5
battania0.520.52
empire0.480.49
khuzait0.490.5
sturgia0.50.5
vlandia0.510.5

Since the update there have been roughly 5k matches and the baseline balance seems to be pretty good. Obviously these may be slightly different for varying skill levels but there is no outlying over/under powered faction as of now.

There are a few over performing and underperforming troops for which we are analyzing the analytics further. We will be addressing those with a near future hotfix most probably.

CAPTAIN

FactionMatch Win RateRound Win Rate
aserai0.410.43
battania0.520.51
empire0.480.49
khuzait0.480.49
sturgia0.580.55
vlandia0.530.52

Unfortunately Captain is not as solid as Skirmish at the moment after a similar number of matches. We are going over the analytics to pin point the problems. We are also working to identify issues with performance of AI troops.

A balance adjustment patch is being compiled and will be hotfixed as soon as we are done.

SOME UPCOMING STUFF
  • Troop balance changes - as mentioned above
  • Cavalry Perk changes and Horse adjustments - Similar to what we did with Ranged Units, giving them more troop type related Perks and removing unused perks
  • Captain - Reverting some of the Order Command key mappings
  • Captain - Adjusting Formation Walking Speeds
  • Captain - Slow Walking bug after death - Fixed
  • Adjusting swing speeds of melee weapons - Mainly slowing down maces slightly
  • Improving Spear-Mount interactions - Infantry is not effective enough vs Cav, we are working on adjustments to make Spears more effective against mounts.
  • Adjustments to Skirmishers - Most Skirmishers are still too weak and do not fill their role
  • Captain - Improvements to AI weapon selection
    Planned
  • Captain - Improvements to Cav AI
  • Captain - Improving AI abuse situations. Would be really helpful if we can get videos of these to forward to programmers. @Ling* and anyone else who can help.
This is not everything being worked on obviously, just some points I wanted to bring up related to balance.

Where do u get those numbers from? How does Khuzait have the same win rate as Empire? I actually hope this is a joke. I've been playing this game since the early phase of the Beta now, and Khuzait has ALWAYS been a trash faction... While Empire is probably the best faction in the game right now. In other words, what ur saying is simply not true.
 

hoonii

Sergeant at Arms
Where do u get those numbers from? How does Khuzait have the same win rate as Empire? I actually hope this is a joke. I've been playing this game since the early phase of the Beta now, and Khuzait has ALWAYS been a trash faction... While Empire is probably the best faction in the game right now. In other words, what ur saying is simply not true.
Well these are stats from all matches around so not just beast or pro games. If disorganized or against a 6 man stack, even battania and vlandia can lose against khuzait. I guess it happens a lot...
 

Younes

Master Knight
WBWF&SNWVC
Where do u get those numbers from? How does Khuzait have the same win rate as Empire? I actually hope this is a joke. I've been playing this game since the early phase of the Beta now, and Khuzait has ALWAYS been a trash faction... While Empire is probably the best faction in the game right now. In other words, what ur saying is simply not true.
They have tools on the servers to gather data. Been a long time already.


If the data is correct, then there is nothing to argue about. Unless there is some situation where it has been negatively influenced there isn't a more powerful or weaker faction right now.
 

Brandis.

Subforum Moderator
I wonder what the stats are for Clan Matches? There's hundreds of games there that are higher quality than random matches.

Regardless, the overall public winrates are important, but secondary to higher skill stats. I don't think there's any popular multiplayer game that balances around low skill games, except maybe Fortnite.
 

AVRC

MP Dev
Developer
Where do u get those numbers from? How does Khuzait have the same win rate as Empire? I actually hope this is a joke. I've been playing this game since the early phase of the Beta now, and Khuzait has ALWAYS been a trash faction... While Empire is probably the best faction in the game right now. In other words, what ur saying is simply not true.
For aserai and battania I rolled 5 d20s each, for empire and Khuzait I counted the different colored cats that passed the road across my window, and for the rest I counted the number of meaningful forum posts.

If you have more accurate numbers please share with us, this is the best I can do.
 
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