1.58 Game balance thoughs

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Hello, Taleworlds community. I've been streaming Bannerlord for the last 2 weeks on twitch, and I wanted to share some of my observations in the hope that they can help further the development of Bannerlord. I'm a big fan of what this game is trying to do, and hopefully the missing parts can be completed. What follows are my opinions and experiences with Vanilla Bannerlord gameplay (ignoring stability/optimization issues). I'm not claiming to be the world's best Bannerlord player or the #1 expert on the game. I've also seen the vast majority of the below sentiments on this forum before, so I doubt that any of the below is new.

I. Game Pacing
A. Early game: The early game 'small mercenary band' part of the game feels quite well developed. It's easy to make money, and there's a good variety of quests/fights. Trading, workshops, and fighting all give good income.

B. Mid-game: The game starts to unravel, let's get into some details:
1. Trading doesn't scale--the player's available income is based on buy/sell spread of trade goods around the map. This spread actually DECREASES as the player hires more caravan groups. Trade skill has no influence on the profitability of player-owned workshops/caravans, and the player can't level trade by managing a fleet of caravans or a franchise of workshops.
2. Player-faction parties led by NPCs are completely non-functional. The player has zero control over the region the parties play in or their objectives. Want your 2nd party to train a bunch of archers, develop goodwill in the east, and stockpile horses? I should be able to give my brother those commands, right? If you are winning a war they can be a very small source of income. If you are on the losing side in a war they will just die within 5-10 days even if you give them 80+ tier 4+ troops. There's no way that Bannerlord can be a strategic game if you can't issue basic commands to your alternate parties. These problems extend to caravans.
3. Levelling grinds to a halt as soon as your party starts to scale. Why can I get a level every day or two killing looters, but when I'm commanding an army I 'learn' nothing?
4. The loot system doesn't scale. I saw that Mexxico was working on this issue in another thread, so I won't belabor the point.
5. Sieges are non-functional: The attacker AI has perfect knowledge over the power of the defenders and will almost never lose. AI in sieges is still awful, and often 100+ units will just sit idle and die.
6. Raiding is absurdly slow and a almost always a money-loser.
7. Joining a lord's army rarely results in an interesting fight and is less profitable than killing looters.
8. Companions do not level/develop at all.


What's left to do? I have two options: I can try to keep my companions and expensive troops out of my party on missions while I chase bandits around, but this is just extending the early game. My other option is to play behind enemy lines slaughtering militias and weak straggler lords. It never really feels like I'm actively participating in the war effort, because joining a lord's army and losing money for 30 days for a 25% chance that I get to fight 1 interesting battle before the war ends is a poor risk-reward for my in and out of game resources.

All of these mid-game problems continue to get worse as the game goes on, and in my opinion the late game is totally unplayable/uninteresting in its current state.

II. Combat balance/mechanics
A. Tactics: Ranged attackers do FAR to much damage to armored units. This problem encourages the player to mass archers and 'just enough' melee units to finish off stragglers. Poor unit balance means that fights are not tactically complex. Mass archers on high ground, wait for enemy to charge, eat popcorn.
B. Ranged attackers do FAR to much damage to armored units, resulting in poor performance of non-horse archer builds. The player isn't able to armor himself against ranged attackers, and so if he wants to have an impact in battle as a fighter he needs to prioritize being evasive. HA is the only build that can consistently output damage while still being evasive.
C. Cavalry upgrades are generally non-profitable, further reducing the opportunities to play tactically with mixed units. Having to commit a horse AND a warhorse to upgrade a unit is too much of an investment. Would I rather have 1.5k gold and a knight or an archer? Easy, give me the gold and the archer. Then, once you actually start fighting aggressively it's very hard to keep up with horse-losses (if the fights are actually challenging. More encouragement for the player to just clean up weak/straggler lords?).

III. Player skill builds
I. Melee skills- the melee skills are well designed/balanced. 1h weapons are niche, but the perks are generally very good. 2h weapons are very good on foot, and polearms are good on horseback and have good applications on foot as well.
II. Ranged skills: bows shoot faster, have more range, and do more damage than crossbows? I believe I read that crossbows are getting reworked. Throwing weapon perks need to be generally strong so that levelling throwing is viable (like the movement speed, HP, and party size boosts from levelling one-handed). No reason to use xbow or bow in my experience, although with xbows you can meme-solo most hideouts. Shooting bandit-leaders in the face on the 'duel' is extra-hilarious.
III. Endurance skills: Riding campaign speed perks (nomadic traditions, sweeping wind) make it almost mandatory. The problem with athletics isn't levelling speed. There are a few tricks where you can level athletics very quickly. The problem with athletics is that you aren't able to avoid ranged fire and be combat-effective at the same time. The design/balance issues here are actually related to the armor/projectile problems. IIRC smithing is getting reworked. In my opinion smithing/crafting is boring and doesn't fit the concept of bannerlord, but I'm aware that some players enjoy crafting. Maybe I'm just not the audience.
IV. Control skills: Scouting seems good. To the best of my understanding roguery is mostly non-fictional in 1.58 due to problems with the looting system that is currently getting looked at. Tactics: In my opinion tactics should have impacts not related to auto-resolve. Having a full skill tree that is nearly irrelevant on the player seems like poor design to me.
V. Social skills: Charm and leadership are good. Trade needs to interact with caravans/workshops (level from 'managing' and contribute to profit). Trade needs to have perks that allow for more workshops. If trade is a governer perk it also needs to level when the NPC is assigned to govern.
VI. INT skills: Steward is good. Sieges are non-functional, so engineering is also non-functional. Medicine levelling speed is absurdly slow and basically makes the skill non-functional. If engineering impacts governing, then governing should improve engineering.


I'm hoping that I can put bannerlord down for another 6 months and come back to see some interesting solutions to the above problems!
 

Fate

Recruit
You have a lot of really great feedback and I do hope they use it!

This statement
I'm hoping that I can put bannerlord down for another 6 months and come back to see some interesting solutions to the above problems!
is what most of us have been feeling since launch and have been extremely disappointed every time we check back in. I hope it's different this time, but at this point a lot of us are just hoping mods can fix the things you listed and more
 

Midnitewolf

Sergeant
I'm hoping that I can put bannerlord down for another 6 months and come back to see some interesting solutions to the above problems!
I would add a few things such as War Frequency and such but for the most part this list covers most of my gripes as well. I am also in the same boat as you. I left for 9 month and came back expecting big changes but nope. Now due to war frequency issues looks like I am going to be putting the game down for another 6 months and hope it gets better.
 

Kyias

Recruit
I think this feedback hits to the core of what is missing in Bannerlord. I like the game, loved warband, but this feedback articulated well exactly how I feel
 

Senko

Sergeant
Cavalry upgrades are generally non-profitable
Yeah, at the moment it's just more efficient to recruit prisoners like Banner Knights, because apparently their horse also got taken prisoner ;3

I think there is a perk now where you have a 50% chance to get the horse back when on of your cav units die, but even then...

1 Forest Bandit with his bow has the same killing power as a heavy armored knight on a warhorse right now, so why bother.
 

Because

Sergeant
Yeah, at the moment it's just more efficient to recruit prisoners like Banner Knights, because apparently their horse also got taken prisoner ;3

I think there is a perk now where you have a 50% chance to get the horse back when on of your cav units die, but even then...

1 Forest Bandit with his bow has the same killing power as a heavy armored knight on a warhorse right now, so why bother.
Although that may be as much about the awful cavalry melee AI than just an armour issue.
 
yes I agree with your well put feedback.
especially the lack of ability to play strategically with your other clans en directives. I now TW is planning small changes to it, but for me "party ai overhaul and commands" is excential.

Trading should level with a well run trading empire.

AI caravans should immediately avoid enemy territory. and a lost caravan leader should rejoin your party upon escape/release.

Tactics should definitely impact more then auto-resolve. for instance te ability to use formations and tactical retreat.
In general perks should impact gameplay to be interesting. an extra modifier is boring.

impactful perks for a trader could be:
- upgradable workshops
- upgradable caravans, more guards, set a preference for a route
- ability to hire extra caravans/build workshops above the clan tier threshold

impactful perks for tactics could be:
- unlocking formations
- tactical retreat
- set ambushes (wishful thinking)
- top perk: RTS mod style unlock

impactful perks for roguary could be:
- ability to have ai bandit parties follow you
- ability to take over a hide-out
- ability to take over a street bank.

impactful steward/governor perks:
- automatic resolving of issues
- hiring patrols (I would prefer through NPC dialoque)
- automatic recruiting to garrison (I would prefer through NPC dialoque)

And yes the end game is totally lacking. Becoming a king and fighting to survive the early days of slowly expanding are interesting. After taking over a few towns I find that I no longer haven any goals te set for my self.
The endgame needs better diplomacy, more court intrigue, kingdom politics though gathering of nobles (doesn't have to be feasts :smile:) possible random threats to your kingdom like an invasion, a populair uprising, assassinations attempts, civil wars.

There should also be a messenger system. As a king it is ridiculous that you have to personally go to someone. This messenger system could be in the form of sending a physical messenger on the map ,through a court system (also a traveling camp) or through a dove/crow netwerk accessible in castles and towns.
 
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Midnitewolf

Sergeant
And yes the end game is totally lacking. Becoming a king and fighting to survive the early days of slowly expanding are interesting. After taking over a few towns I find that I no longer haven any goals te set for my self.
The endgame needs better diplomacy, more court intrigue, kingdom politics though gathering of nobles (doesn't have to be feasts :smile:) possible random threats to your kingdom like an invasion, a populair uprising, assassinations attempts, civil wars.

Yeah I got to admit that at a certain point, the game just fizzles out and you become starved for things to do. I mean whether it is a vassal play through or King play through, eventually everything stabilizes and it is just don't to trying to take/re-take territory over and over, nothing dramatic happens, ever.

However, Warband and even many of its total conversions mods felt the same way at one point or another. The one standout mod I played was Nova Aetas and I wish upon wishes Bannerlord would have tried to mimic this mod.

In Nova Aetas you had to work your way up the class system and struggle to break into the nobility. There would tons of trade skill activities you could do including things like actually taking up a pick to mine or a hoe to garden or an axe to get wood. You could literally build yourself a castle anywhere on the map and it required actually gathering the 100s of units of raw material to do it. City management was so deep that you could spend hours just trying to get your city into a good state and actively had to manage it throughout your game play. You could choose to donate to the church and Crusade in the holy land or take up the Holy War and defend against the infidels. You also had the lost world you could discover, colonize and conquer. You even had religion related politics to deal with. It was a truly revolutionary mod that add so much gameplay to Warband it wasn't even funny.

I seriously don't know why Taleworlds didn't take a look at this Mod and model Bannerlord on it.

Here is a link to all the features Nova Aetas had if anyone is interested:

Nova Aetas Warband Mod Info
 
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AnandaShanti

Sergeant Knight at Arms
It's like a greatest hits of stuff people have been saying for 10 months now.
Missing a few classics like "armor doesn't work ""I smithed now I can't learn nothing" "I smithed now Ihave too much money"and "I had to save scum 20 times to get married".
And who could forget "I tried to do the main quest and my PC exploded"-Bannerlord LIVE!
 
1. Trading doesn't scale--the player's available income is based on buy/sell spread of trade goods around the map. This spread actually DECREASES as the player hires more caravan groups. Trade skill has no influence on the profitability of player-owned workshops/caravans, and the player can't level trade by managing a fleet of caravans or a franchise of workshops.

I though that the trade skill of the companion you hire to be the trader influences the profitability of the caravan?.. Which makes sense.
 

MakinTorf

Veteran
thats a wonderfull summary of the hole game. i also never played the endgame because i saw no reason for it because of lack of anything beside war.

thank you for your streams. i enjoyed it.
greetings oneballimann
 
I think the OP pretty much nails most of the main issues with the game, the problem isn't that these issues exists it's that TW either can't or won't address them.

I though that the trade skill of the companion you hire to be the trader influences the profitability of the caravan?.. Which makes sense.
Yes that's why if you want to run the profitable caravan you can you either find someone whose a very high trade skill and hopefully high scouting and tactics too.
 
I think the OP pretty much nails most of the main issues with the game, the problem isn't that these issues exists it's that TW either can't or won't address them.


Yes that's why if you want to run the profitable caravan you can you either find someone whose a very high trade skill and hopefully high scouting and tactics too.
That is what I usually do. In fact, I get a "spicetrader" character to lead their own party for a while (So their scouting and tactics increase) before sending them off as a caravan. It takes a while but it is worth it - although, not as much now that they can die in battle haha.
 

Figulus

Regular
Hello, Taleworlds community. I've been streaming Bannerlord for the last 2 weeks on twitch, and I wanted to share some of my observations in the hope that they can help further the development of Bannerlord. I'm a big fan of what this game is trying to do, and hopefully the missing parts can be completed. What follows are my opinions and experiences with Vanilla Bannerlord gameplay (ignoring stability/optimization issues). I'm not claiming to be the world's best Bannerlord player or the #1 expert on the game. I've also seen the vast majority of the below sentiments on this forum before, so I doubt that any of the below is new.

I. Game Pacing
A. Early game: The early game 'small mercenary band' part of the game feels quite well developed. It's easy to make money, and there's a good variety of quests/fights. Trading, workshops, and fighting all give good income.

B. Mid-game: The game starts to unravel, let's get into some details:
1. Trading doesn't scale--the player's available income is based on buy/sell spread of trade goods around the map. This spread actually DECREASES as the player hires more caravan groups. Trade skill has no influence on the profitability of player-owned workshops/caravans, and the player can't level trade by managing a fleet of caravans or a franchise of workshops.
2. Player-faction parties led by NPCs are completely non-functional. The player has zero control over the region the parties play in or their objectives. Want your 2nd party to train a bunch of archers, develop goodwill in the east, and stockpile horses? I should be able to give my brother those commands, right? If you are winning a war they can be a very small source of income. If you are on the losing side in a war they will just die within 5-10 days even if you give them 80+ tier 4+ troops. There's no way that Bannerlord can be a strategic game if you can't issue basic commands to your alternate parties. These problems extend to caravans.
3. Levelling grinds to a halt as soon as your party starts to scale. Why can I get a level every day or two killing looters, but when I'm commanding an army I 'learn' nothing?
4. The loot system doesn't scale. I saw that Mexxico was working on this issue in another thread, so I won't belabor the point.
5. Sieges are non-functional: The attacker AI has perfect knowledge over the power of the defenders and will almost never lose. AI in sieges is still awful, and often 100+ units will just sit idle and die.
6. Raiding is absurdly slow and a almost always a money-loser.
7. Joining a lord's army rarely results in an interesting fight and is less profitable than killing looters.
8. Companions do not level/develop at all.


What's left to do? I have two options: I can try to keep my companions and expensive troops out of my party on missions while I chase bandits around, but this is just extending the early game. My other option is to play behind enemy lines slaughtering militias and weak straggler lords. It never really feels like I'm actively participating in the war effort, because joining a lord's army and losing money for 30 days for a 25% chance that I get to fight 1 interesting battle before the war ends is a poor risk-reward for my in and out of game resources.

All of these mid-game problems continue to get worse as the game goes on, and in my opinion the late game is totally unplayable/uninteresting in its current state.

II. Combat balance/mechanics
A. Tactics: Ranged attackers do FAR to much damage to armored units. This problem encourages the player to mass archers and 'just enough' melee units to finish off stragglers. Poor unit balance means that fights are not tactically complex. Mass archers on high ground, wait for enemy to charge, eat popcorn.
B. Ranged attackers do FAR to much damage to armored units, resulting in poor performance of non-horse archer builds. The player isn't able to armor himself against ranged attackers, and so if he wants to have an impact in battle as a fighter he needs to prioritize being evasive. HA is the only build that can consistently output damage while still being evasive.
C. Cavalry upgrades are generally non-profitable, further reducing the opportunities to play tactically with mixed units. Having to commit a horse AND a warhorse to upgrade a unit is too much of an investment. Would I rather have 1.5k gold and a knight or an archer? Easy, give me the gold and the archer. Then, once you actually start fighting aggressively it's very hard to keep up with horse-losses (if the fights are actually challenging. More encouragement for the player to just clean up weak/straggler lords?).

III. Player skill builds
I. Melee skills- the melee skills are well designed/balanced. 1h weapons are niche, but the perks are generally very good. 2h weapons are very good on foot, and polearms are good on horseback and have good applications on foot as well.
II. Ranged skills: bows shoot faster, have more range, and do more damage than crossbows? I believe I read that crossbows are getting reworked. Throwing weapon perks need to be generally strong so that levelling throwing is viable (like the movement speed, HP, and party size boosts from levelling one-handed). No reason to use xbow or bow in my experience, although with xbows you can meme-solo most hideouts. Shooting bandit-leaders in the face on the 'duel' is extra-hilarious.
III. Endurance skills: Riding campaign speed perks (nomadic traditions, sweeping wind) make it almost mandatory. The problem with athletics isn't levelling speed. There are a few tricks where you can level athletics very quickly. The problem with athletics is that you aren't able to avoid ranged fire and be combat-effective at the same time. The design/balance issues here are actually related to the armor/projectile problems. IIRC smithing is getting reworked. In my opinion smithing/crafting is boring and doesn't fit the concept of bannerlord, but I'm aware that some players enjoy crafting. Maybe I'm just not the audience.
IV. Control skills: Scouting seems good. To the best of my understanding roguery is mostly non-fictional in 1.58 due to problems with the looting system that is currently getting looked at. Tactics: In my opinion tactics should have impacts not related to auto-resolve. Having a full skill tree that is nearly irrelevant on the player seems like poor design to me.
V. Social skills: Charm and leadership are good. Trade needs to interact with caravans/workshops (level from 'managing' and contribute to profit). Trade needs to have perks that allow for more workshops. If trade is a governer perk it also needs to level when the NPC is assigned to govern.
VI. INT skills: Steward is good. Sieges are non-functional, so engineering is also non-functional. Medicine levelling speed is absurdly slow and basically makes the skill non-functional. If engineering impacts governing, then governing should improve engineering.


I'm hoping that I can put bannerlord down for another 6 months and come back to see some interesting solutions to the above problems!
Agree..I put a heavily modded 1.5.6 down for five or six weeks..came back , up(heh)graded to 1.5.8 and it's worse not better. Seriously thinking of looong term absence and diving deeper into Medieval dynasty.
 
That is what I usually do. In fact, I get a "spicetrader" character to lead their own party for a while (So their scouting and tactics increase) before sending them off as a caravan. It takes a while but it is worth it - although, not as much now that they can die in battle haha.
1. Managing a network of businesses and traders should increase the character's business acumen (trade skill). A percentage of the player's trade skill should be used as a 'bonus' to the caravanner's trade buy/sell and the player should get some trade EXP from his caravan's profits. This would represent increased profits from being in a franchise/network of caravans led by an influential/successful businessman. I'm sure that Amazon can buy widgets cheaper than a country store can.
2. Caravans do not function correctly in 1.5.8 due to bugs with NPC-led player faction armies. It's pretty tough to set up a profitable caravan in 1.5.8 once you account for all the factors. In previous patches I could set up 6 caravans, leave the game running overnight, and wake up with 3 million gold. Clearly a middle ground would be ideal.
3. Even if caravans did function correctly they aren't a strategy you can 'all in' as the available trade-profit on the map is relatively set. Each caravan will become less profitable (including the player's), as they all work to even out the buy-sell spreads on the map. There are, of course, ways to cheese this system (using crafted javelins of course).
 
What do mean with the sieges? Should AI lords just suicide against the walls? Is a dumb AI a functional one?
On siege towers some of the ladders are impassable. The AI has three ladders but only one or two work depending on the siege tower (I tried as the player and I could not climb up many of the ladders either) . They end up just clustering up around the bottom and dying. Sometimes even if you use siege engines to break holes in the walls the attackers refuse to go through the breaches. If there is a battering ram and it gets killed before it destroys the main gate the AI attackers will just stand still in a square, not even use shield wall, and die. The player literally has to run up to the front gate and kill it with a melee weapon, but thankfully the AI defender will generally not have a line of sight onto the front gate, so you can take 5 minutes to break the gate with a 1 handed mace if you want.


On siege defense once the walls are breached the defenders continue to shoot enemies 100M away on the ground while they get freely slaughtered by the attackers on the walls. Defenders behind the gate in the 'main square' generally just mill around and die once the gate is breached.
 
1. Managing a network of businesses and traders should increase the character's business acumen (trade skill). A percentage of the player's trade skill should be used as a 'bonus' to the caravanner's trade buy/sell and the player should get some trade EXP from his caravan's profits. This would represent increased profits from being in a franchise/network of caravans led by an influential/successful businessman. I'm sure that Amazon can buy widgets cheaper than a country store can.
Can definitely get on-board with that - I'm actually surprised it isn't already a perk or something.
 

redmark

Squire
Hello, Taleworlds community. I've been streaming Bannerlord for the last 2 weeks on twitch, and I wanted to share some of my observations in the hope that they can help further the development of Bannerlord. I'm a big fan of what this game is trying to do, and hopefully the missing parts can be completed. What follows are my opinions and experiences with Vanilla Bannerlord gameplay (ignoring stability/optimization issues). I'm not claiming to be the world's best Bannerlord player or the #1 expert on the game. I've also seen the vast majority of the below sentiments on this forum before, so I doubt that any of the below is new.

I. Game Pacing
A. Early game: The early game 'small mercenary band' part of the game feels quite well developed. It's easy to make money, and there's a good variety of quests/fights. Trading, workshops, and fighting all give good income.

B. Mid-game: The game starts to unravel, let's get into some details:
1. Trading doesn't scale--the player's available income is based on buy/sell spread of trade goods around the map. This spread actually DECREASES as the player hires more caravan groups. Trade skill has no influence on the profitability of player-owned workshops/caravans, and the player can't level trade by managing a fleet of caravans or a franchise of workshops.
2. Player-faction parties led by NPCs are completely non-functional. The player has zero control over the region the parties play in or their objectives. Want your 2nd party to train a bunch of archers, develop goodwill in the east, and stockpile horses? I should be able to give my brother those commands, right? If you are winning a war they can be a very small source of income. If you are on the losing side in a war they will just die within 5-10 days even if you give them 80+ tier 4+ troops. There's no way that Bannerlord can be a strategic game if you can't issue basic commands to your alternate parties. These problems extend to caravans.
3. Levelling grinds to a halt as soon as your party starts to scale. Why can I get a level every day or two killing looters, but when I'm commanding an army I 'learn' nothing?
4. The loot system doesn't scale. I saw that Mexxico was working on this issue in another thread, so I won't belabor the point.
5. Sieges are non-functional: The attacker AI has perfect knowledge over the power of the defenders and will almost never lose. AI in sieges is still awful, and often 100+ units will just sit idle and die.
6. Raiding is absurdly slow and a almost always a money-loser.
7. Joining a lord's army rarely results in an interesting fight and is less profitable than killing looters.
8. Companions do not level/develop at all.


What's left to do? I have two options: I can try to keep my companions and expensive troops out of my party on missions while I chase bandits around, but this is just extending the early game. My other option is to play behind enemy lines slaughtering militias and weak straggler lords. It never really feels like I'm actively participating in the war effort, because joining a lord's army and losing money for 30 days for a 25% chance that I get to fight 1 interesting battle before the war ends is a poor risk-reward for my in and out of game resources.

All of these mid-game problems continue to get worse as the game goes on, and in my opinion the late game is totally unplayable/uninteresting in its current state.

II. Combat balance/mechanics
A. Tactics: Ranged attackers do FAR to much damage to armored units. This problem encourages the player to mass archers and 'just enough' melee units to finish off stragglers. Poor unit balance means that fights are not tactically complex. Mass archers on high ground, wait for enemy to charge, eat popcorn.
B. Ranged attackers do FAR to much damage to armored units, resulting in poor performance of non-horse archer builds. The player isn't able to armor himself against ranged attackers, and so if he wants to have an impact in battle as a fighter he needs to prioritize being evasive. HA is the only build that can consistently output damage while still being evasive.
C. Cavalry upgrades are generally non-profitable, further reducing the opportunities to play tactically with mixed units. Having to commit a horse AND a warhorse to upgrade a unit is too much of an investment. Would I rather have 1.5k gold and a knight or an archer? Easy, give me the gold and the archer. Then, once you actually start fighting aggressively it's very hard to keep up with horse-losses (if the fights are actually challenging. More encouragement for the player to just clean up weak/straggler lords?).

III. Player skill builds
I. Melee skills- the melee skills are well designed/balanced. 1h weapons are niche, but the perks are generally very good. 2h weapons are very good on foot, and polearms are good on horseback and have good applications on foot as well.
II. Ranged skills: bows shoot faster, have more range, and do more damage than crossbows? I believe I read that crossbows are getting reworked. Throwing weapon perks need to be generally strong so that levelling throwing is viable (like the movement speed, HP, and party size boosts from levelling one-handed). No reason to use xbow or bow in my experience, although with xbows you can meme-solo most hideouts. Shooting bandit-leaders in the face on the 'duel' is extra-hilarious.
III. Endurance skills: Riding campaign speed perks (nomadic traditions, sweeping wind) make it almost mandatory. The problem with athletics isn't levelling speed. There are a few tricks where you can level athletics very quickly. The problem with athletics is that you aren't able to avoid ranged fire and be combat-effective at the same time. The design/balance issues here are actually related to the armor/projectile problems. IIRC smithing is getting reworked. In my opinion smithing/crafting is boring and doesn't fit the concept of bannerlord, but I'm aware that some players enjoy crafting. Maybe I'm just not the audience.
IV. Control skills: Scouting seems good. To the best of my understanding roguery is mostly non-fictional in 1.58 due to problems with the looting system that is currently getting looked at. Tactics: In my opinion tactics should have impacts not related to auto-resolve. Having a full skill tree that is nearly irrelevant on the player seems like poor design to me.
V. Social skills: Charm and leadership are good. Trade needs to interact with caravans/workshops (level from 'managing' and contribute to profit). Trade needs to have perks that allow for more workshops. If trade is a governer perk it also needs to level when the NPC is assigned to govern.
VI. INT skills: Steward is good. Sieges are non-functional, so engineering is also non-functional. Medicine levelling speed is absurdly slow and basically makes the skill non-functional. If engineering impacts governing, then governing should improve engineering.


I'm hoping that I can put bannerlord down for another 6 months and come back to see some interesting solutions to the above problems!
I agree with lots of bits of this, most of which are commonly aired points (like armour needing to be more effective), so I want to focus on a few where I disagree, partly. Threads can be more interesting and come to better/more nuanced suggestions if there's a bit of constructive disagreement :smile:.

B2 - player clan NPC parties are as functional as any other AI party. If you're at peace, they'll patrol, beat up bandits, train some troops and lose a bit of money. They're pretty useful for levelling up your younger siblings; at least if you're happy for them to learn certain skills party leaders learn. If you're at war, they can join an NPC army - or if you want to keep an eye on them (if they have valuable troops), bring them into your own - even if you have to dismiss them just as they get close, if you don't actually want to be in an army with slower party speed, and then invite them again as you move away. They're also useful for recruiting when you're busy and need to stock up on troops generally.

B3 - the two things aren't directly related of course. You're a blank slate at the point you're killing looters, so are learning quickly. By the time you've got 200+ troops and are at level 20+, progression is much slower. TW have said levelling and skill progression balancing and tweaks are in the pipeline; personally I think some of the issues with it are overstated - or are being compared to the speed at which your clan levels up/becomes a superpower kingdom, which is ridiculously fast (and my biggest gripe with the game as a whole, as I think it has an insidious effect on many other elements). There's a change in which skills will progress when you get into the mid-late game; leadership, in particularly and engineering to a lesser extent if you don't hire an engineer.

B5 - I really don't seem to experience the 'standing still' / unable to use towers AI as often as some do (or say they do); but if there is a pause at times, it can be overcome by giving an order. I do sometimes see a group stop at the top of a siege tower when they've dispatched the initial defenders. Order them to charge, and they charge. Obviously, can still be improved, but 'non-functional' is hyperbole.

B7 - True enough, but there is a 3rd way between idly being at the whim of an army leader or beating up soft targets: patrol alongside the army and try to force those interesting battles you want. Armies will often get fairly close, before one retreats or they pass by ignoring each other; a quicker party with the thought process of the player can usually manufacture a battle out of it if you want to.

B8 - Again I think, hyperbole. They do level; slowly. Initial companion creation (skills-attributes match up) had seemed to improve, but last couple of playthroughs I've noticed some badly imbalanced companions; maybe RNG. In my last game, my surgeon/healers (one died) made decent progress improving their medicine skill. In ~1200-1500 days I probably got starting level 14-16 characters to level up three or four times each. Not great, but reasonable if they're specialists not exposed to too much risk of death in battle. If they're front line infantry then yeah, until death rate is lowered, they'll die before they level up much. Caravaners I've got from 0 trade skill to 50+ (the useful perks for a caravaner are at 25, 50 then not again until 150 or 175, I forget which) relatively quickly, with minimal necessary attribute/focus points (2 and 1 respectively; some of those I've done it with I needed to level up once to reach even that minimum).

IIC - When you reach a certain point (certain quests, then battles vs lords), you should be capturing enough horses in loot to more than manage troop upgrades.

Completely agree that the trade skill needs linking better to running caravans, both in terms of caravans providing skill progression, and skill progression providing greater profit (even the trade skill of the companion running the caravan doesn't have much influence on profit). Leadership and steward need some rework; after a certain point, morale becomes almost impossible to drop below 100, while leadership takes too long to get started. Tactics could also be quickened up a little and some non-simulated battle perks given (but not all; I suspect quite a lot of players simulate encounters with bandit parties, etc. - particularly while death rates are so high).
 
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