Melee cavalry (especially with spears) is too weak right now yeah. I think mainly because they miss too often and are way too inaccurate. Obviously there should be some inaccuracy but not this much.There is one thing that really frustrates me in this game (even though I love Bannerlord) and those are Cavalry Charges.
My preffered combat style has always been on horseback as a shock cavalry.
Cavarly was supposed to charge in a tight formation to deal massive damage into enemy lines, from the powerful Macedonian Companions to the legendary Medieval Knights with their couched lances.
Now I know Total War and Bannerlord are two completely different type of games, but sadly in Bannerlord you just don't get the feeling of a cavalry charge, at all.
I try to micro my army (composed of infantry, archers and shock cavalry mostly) in order to face the enemy at a certain angles so when I order the charge they just don't randomly go wherever they want, but it doesn't matter and still happens that when I order my cavalry to charge it is infuriating to see they break formation and follow single cavalry archers instead of charging as a pack to the rear or flank of the enemy line rendering the charge completely useless and dying to stray arrows.
To make matters worse, they sometimes do go and attack the enemy line from an angle I want but most of them just freeze when they crash against a foot soldier as if they were a wall.
Does anybody else feels the same way about it?
The game should ultimately be balanced so that:
- Two-handed long polearms can be braced in the ground (I know this is on their list of things to do) to stop cavalry charges in a 90° radius in front, while shorter one-handed polearms, the sort you can use with a shield, cannot.
- Large shields are counted as anti-cavalry charge shields that can stop cavalry charges while in shieldwall formation. Small shields cannot.
- Melee cavalry charging any equal-tier infantry formation which does not have braced polearms or a shieldwall to act as a defense will inflict massive damage. The infantry formation can counter this by standing on unfavourable ground for a cavalry charge, or hiding behind an allied formation, or hoping for a lucky swing and for the couch to miss, or (if archers) shooting them down on the approach.
- Melee cavalry charging an equal shieldwall formation gets stopped/reared up, inflicts shield damage, but takes no damage and deals no damage in the charge (unless they broke through a shield).
- Melee cavalry charging an equal infantry formation with braced two-handed pikes gets reared up and takes massive damage. The melee cavalry can counter this by using allies as a distraction and charging from the side or rear, the "hammer and anvil" tactic.
I wound up in a very lengthy argument on the topic here https://forums.taleworlds.com/index...ggestions-updated.433527/page-18#post-9574723 and did a fair bit of research into it, reading primary sources of various battles from the 1000s time period, and also university papers/articles written on the topic of Byzantine, Norman and Frankish cavalry.There is some evidence suggesting cavalry charges never worked the way we think they might have (smashing horses galloping at full speed vs masses of armed men) but instead they might have nudged and probed their way into formations (at a walking speed) until gaps appeared and then ran through those gaps until all cohesion on the other side broke.
I wonder what the physics and mechanics of real ancient/medieval battles actually looked like.. I guess we’ll never truly know.
To save you going through the whole mess, the overall conclusion I came to was that charging couched lance cavalry could indeed frontally gallop at full speed at masses of well-trained, well-disciplined, armed men and smash through (example: Battle of Dyrrhachium and Siege of Dorostolon), so long as the infantry formation didn't have long braced pikes that outreached the lances of the cavalry, or a solid shieldwall of big shields. In the case of a solid shieldwall, the cavalry would sometimes need to employ the gap-finding tactic you talked about (example: Battle of Hastings) or sometimes they could even break through (example: Siege of Dorostolon again where the Byzantine cataphracts literally rode down the shieldwall).
You're right that we'll never know the exact physics of real life medieval battles. Ultimately the goal for the purposes of gameplay should be something that looks believable at face value.