Armour. Why it doesn't work and how to make it work

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Lord Bryggan

Knight
WB
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Probably lot of mistakes here but this is what I think.
All weapons should deal blunt damage depending on weapon speed, weight and balancing. If transfered energy is not fully absorbed by armor it should do damage to the body.
Besides, those weapons that penetrate armor should do cut damage on top of blunt damage. Just because it penetrated it doesn't mean it didn't transfer energy to the body.
Only high velocity projectiles could be piercing, but they would deal blunt damage and cut damage if penetrating.
The formula for penetration should be based on impact area, speed and resistance of material.

In short, the idea of different damage for different weapons is meh, but it works ok. However I really don't understand those damages and prices based on weapon tiers. And the differences based on weapon types doesn't make sense either. As someone pointed out, some polearms, 2H weapons, maces... are way too easy to handle.
I think I agree. An arrow to the head won't pierce, but it will make your ears ring. A slashed sword won't cut through steel, but it will still hurt. Isn't that what the Armoured Combat League is all about?

So every weapon should have its pierce/cut damage plus blunt damage. Then the armour would soak it accordingly. Cloth would get full damage, a gambesson would absorb some blunt and some cut damage, whereas leather would absorb cut damage but not blunt.

And the rest of the armour will have to be figured out by someone smarter than me.
 

Ichon

Sergeant
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All armor should have two ratings: one for its ability to deflect, the other for its ability to absorb. The first, deflection, is mostly important against cutting weapons and to some degree against piercing, where it stops all cutting damage below some threshold, stops piercing damage below some lower threshold, and reduces damage from both cutting and piercing weapons by some percentage rate. The second rating, absorption, is important against blunt weapons, and again stops all blunt damage below its threshold, and reduces blunt and piercing damage by some percentage. Piercing attacks that exceed the threshold would be affected by both armor types, and therefore deal reduced damage (as in half) ABOVE the thresholds, so while it would excel at doing SOME damage in almost any situation, it would potentially do less total damage, particularly against lightly armored targets. A cutting sword is likely to slide across the armor without doing damage, unless it hits with sufficient force to cut the armor, in which case it inflicts serious injury by slicing skin and muscle. A thrown rock is still going to bounce off of a suit of thick plate armor, unless thrown by someone with a lot of strength (using bigger rocks), in which case it dents and crushes the armor into the skin and muscle beneath. An arrow or spear point is more likely than a rock to pierce a suit of armor, but deals further injury only in a single narrow point.

Fighting lightly armored or unarmored bandits and peasants? Use cutting weapons like sabers and rapiers to inflict maximum damage above the low or absent threshold. Fighting heavily armored knights with your strong companions? Switch to maces and hammers, because those sabers won't have nearly as much effect. Spears, short swords, and arrows would be reasonably effective in the hands of the regular troops for damaging heavily armored targets as well as bandits, but not for killing quickly.

There should be a lot more to choosing a suit of armor than just a larger single protection rating. As I noted, having two different effects gives some reason to use different tools and tactics, and having a percentage of coverage (along with less weight for pieces not covering fully) would depict things like open-faced helmets, armored cuirasses without pauldrons, or other "partial armor" situations. As it stands, all armor covers 100% of the upper body (except the head), and the helmet and greaves/boots/smelly socks cover 100% of their respective locations. Real armor COULD cover close to 100% (aside from eye slits), but was too unwieldy, heavy, and expensive for most troops to use. A small reduction in movement speed for higher encumbrance should make lightly armored skirmishers viable, so they can run and maintain their range from heavily armored troops. In M&B, Nord foot troops (and Sea Raiders) with heavy chain mail typically outpaced light troops, and could almost keep up with the slower breeds of horses, which is just silly.

It's undoubtedly too late to change this for Bannerlord, but the ideas for a more realistic and complex armor system should be debated well BEFORE the next installment in the series. Note that "complexity" under the hood can be used to make things more realistic and intuitive, as opposed to being more "complicated" for the player and LESS intuitive, which in my opinion is the worst of both worlds (reality and fantasy). Things that behave as you expect that they would in reality can be "fun", where things that behave other than how one expects (without some reason behind that behavior) often seem unrealistic and just plain stupid. The one exception is "magic", where one obviously does not want it to behave "realistically", but it is not included in the M&B games.

"Fun > Realism" is inaccurate; more like "Realism - Tedium = Fun". Adding in things like bathroom breaks is just "tedium", and does not make "realism" enjoyable. People call for things like dismemberment as an example of "Fun > Realism", yet shooting a bandit with a BB gun in Bethesda's Fallout 3 and having body parts fly off was not "realism" in the least, was so stupid that it ceased to be "funny" after the first time it happened, then became annoyingly immersion-breaking every time it happened from there on. Adding the little nuances that make things behave rationally adds to enjoyment, in my opinion.
+1
 

WhiteEyedSh4rk

Knight at Arms
WBWF&SVC
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I highly support that idea! It would be kind of like Kingdom Come did it, wouldn't it? They did a pretty good job on giving armor types actual meaning and realistic demage vulnerability. Something like that would bring so much more debth and dynamic into the armor part of Bannerlord.
 

wurmo

Recruit
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Probably lot of mistakes here but this is what I think.
All weapons should deal blunt damage depending on weapon speed, weight and balancing. If transfered energy is not fully absorbed by armor it should do damage to the body.
Besides, those weapons that penetrate armor should do cut damage on top of blunt damage. Just because it penetrated it doesn't mean it didn't transfer energy to the body.
Only high velocity projectiles could be piercing, but they would deal blunt damage and cut damage if penetrating.
The formula for penetration should be based on impact area, speed and resistance of material.

In short, the idea of different damage for different weapons is meh, but it works ok. However I really don't understand those damages and prices based on weapon tiers. And the differences based on weapon types doesn't make sense either. As someone pointed out, some polearms, 2H weapons, maces... are way too easy to handle.
I think that all-weapons-do-blunt is right, so for cut and pierce there should be a multiplier for that damage wich penetrated armor.
So if one compares an axe to a sword, the sword should get a better handling (and more expensive, and not for recruits).
But the axe should deal more damage. Basically...until that damage penetrates the armor, then the sword should get the higher multiplier,
for having the longer cutting area.
Well, and to calculate this damage the armor-rating gets substracted from the damage done.

And maybe the absorbed damage isn't just gone, instead it gets divided by an armor value, and this just simulates blunt.

I think different armor types would become too complicated, due to overlapping armor-pieces.
And there isn't plate-armor, both lamellar and scales are still flexy, and chain mostly comes along with padding...
so i think different armor-types aren't that interested, maybe exept : for the head !
This could be collusion-based. Wich would result in a vlandian advantage.
Wich on the other hand could balance out the lack of shoulder-armor.
And it could restrict ranged combat.

I think hit-locations could be more detailed, with neck, shoulder, chest, abdomen, and maybe front/back...
and then pierce is specially good at chest-hits, and cut at limbs...
 

ppga

Sergeant
M&BWBVC
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Is anyone familiar with Kenshi? Here's a quick summary of the applicable mechanics as food for thought.

The armour mechanics include the notion of coverage (i.e. what % of the head a helmet covers) which would get to the point of gaps in the armour where no or reduced armour resistences apply. There is also the notion of layered coverage, so that if the arm coverage from my body armour is bypassed, then my gloves could stop it.

All weapons deal both cut and blunt damage, and all armour has cut and blunt resistance ratings. So armour with a 50% resistance negates 50% of that damage type. Blunt resistances are generally lower than cut on armour, especially light armour. Blunt weapons tend to do less overall damage but overcome resistance more easily.

In addition, the cut damage that is not resisted can be converted to blunt damage, because your helmet may have resisted the cut, but you still got your bell rung by something heavy. So armour has two cut modifiers, resistance (negates x% of cut damage) and efficiency (how efficiently it blocks the blunt conversion). So lighter armour may have decent cut resistance, but compared to heavy armour it doesn't absorb as much of the power of the blow and has much poorer cut efficiency. Also, the layered armour again applies, so the damage that made it through your main armour gets impacted by secondary or under armour.

The trade-off is that heavier armour impacts your combat stats, because it's harder to move around in or see in. There is also a weight encumbrance effect.

Weapons also have required abilities and skill levels to use properly, so you aren't using that big freaking two-hander to full effect if your strength is 3 and your two-hander skill is 10.
 

Honved

Knight
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Nobody is going to open their inventory and swap a sword in to fight looters, they're just going to have a mace equipped 24/7 because the mace will work well enough against bandits and peasants, because they're bandits and peasants. You know I'm right.

If you're proposing people carry a sword and a mace at the same time, did that happen at any point in history? I'm no military history expert. Also please don't make swords and maces mandatory.
A mace will typically have a shorter range, and often a lower base damage value, so it's not the ideal solution against lightly armored OR unarmored opponents. Strength would come into play, where a cutting weapon in the hands of a weak wielder might not do much of anything against a heavily armored opponent, but a mace wouldn't be sufficient to one-shot looters. You and your companions might end up armed differently, with some optimized to take on the masses, others optimized against strong opponents, and possibly one or two with "general purpose" piercing weapons that are moderately effective at either, but ideal for neither. The main effect would be how the regular troops perform against different enemies.

At low level, while Strength might not be adequate to overcome armor effects without modifiers, you'd typically avoid taking on fully armored knights, unless you were specifically prepared and equipped to engage them. Fully armored knights should be rare enough that you generally wouldn't carry specialized weapons to deal with them, at least until your regular troops were trained up to the point where they could deal with the opposing regular troops without massive player assistance, so you could concentrate on taking out the opposing leaders.

At high level, your strength would probably be adequate to overcome armor deflection and absorption with plenty to spare, regardless of what you use, although it might mean not "one-shotting" an opponent that your current weapon isn't ideal against. That doesn't mean having to equip two weapons in every battle, but in the early game you might want a couple of spare weapons in inventory to equip before engaging a different class of opponent that you're not currently set to deal with. The current mechanic of having everything "general purpose" and interchangeable makes it almost irrelevant as to what you use. Choices with no consequences are merely the "illusion" of control.

Historically, some companies of knights were armed with lances and swords, while the officers were armed with either axes or maces. The group of knights would charge an enemy formation, but its officers would primarily engage the opposing leaders, where their weapons were more effective than the usual swords. There were also weapons (1 handed or polearm) with a hammer on one side and a spike or axe blade on the other, which don't work well with M&B's weapons system.
 
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wurmo

Recruit
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A mace will typically have a shorter range, and often a lower base damage value, so it's not the ideal solution against lightly armored OR unarmored opponents.
I think it would make more sense if it would be the other way :
a top-heavy weapon like a mace would do more damage than a sword of the same size.
And because the mace does more damage it's more effective against armor.
But : that damage wich gets through gets multiplied for cutting weapons.
So let's say i have 60 damage, the armor substracts 50, now i'm at 10,
but it's cut so it gets multiplied by, let's say 1,3, so it's 13 points now.
And that 50 absorbed point's stay blunt, so let's say the 50-armor substracts 50%,
so there are still 25 points, so total damage would be 13+25=38 now.

And for calculating bash the total unmodified damage should be relevant,
and cutting could even take away from this, so in the given example where the cut does finally 3 extra-damage,
these 3 point could get substracted from the original 60, turning them into 57,
for calculating bash (or shecking against pushback-treshholds).

Edit :
And for swords it could make sense if the (base)damage gets higher the closer the impact-zone is towards the tip,
because the acceleration would be higher - wich would make it more effective against armor.
On the other hand the cut-multiplier should get higher the closer the impact-zone is towards the hilt,
because this would mean that more of the lenght of the blade gets in contact - wich would be most effective against weak armor.
( and for calculating stun-effects the penetrated damage could get used, but without cut-multiplier )
 
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Aggrobiscuit

Recruit
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The current mechanic of having everything "general purpose" and interchangeable makes it almost irrelevant as to what you use. Choices with no consequences are merely the "illusion" of control.

Illusion of control is also when there is an obvious best weapon. Do you gimp yourself or go for the best damage? That's not really a choice.

Weapons should be distinct in their length, speed and function rather than RPG style damage numbers. So players can choose the weapon that suits their playstyle, rather than picking the sword of looter slaying, or the mace or noble vanquishing.

I'm in favour of switching weapons for a specific scenario, if supported by the game, like having a sieging loadout where you can ditch a lance or other unwieldy weapon in favour of a crossbow. This also makes real world sense. But the mace/sword argument runs into problems due to how the game works. For example, you decide you want your guy to be the one that fights the armoured guys and headhunts nobles, so you'll be wanting a horse then, meaning there's already a lot better options than the sword or mace. Say you're on foot, the sword or mace become a lot more useful, but you end up with far less choice in who you'll be fighting. I like that you referenced real world stuff, which gives a nice idea of how things could work, but I doubt this game will ever be like that. The moshpit combined with facing completely random armies of local recruits and recruited prisoners of varying tiers make a lot of these ideas about how weapons should work fairly moot.
 
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Skatan

Recruit
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There were also weapons (1 handed or polearm) with a hammer on one side and a spike or axe blade on the other, which don't work well with M&B's weapons system.
Could be solved with the "x" button potentially, switching the side you use to strike with.
 

Piconi

Fashionista
Subforum Moderator
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
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I know this has the "forwarded to the developers" tag, but as this was some time ago, people have been voicing their concerns about this issue most recently.

Sifting through .xml files, and specificaly through spitems.xml back in the closed veta period, i noticed that every piece of clothes and armour had it's own modifier group, tied to the material out which the item is made of (cloth, leather, chain, plate etc):

I always tought this would have a meaning, and maybe it will, but not yet implemented, however i believe the ground is set to distinguish armour parts per materials and thus the damage taken/absorbed tweaked according to the damage type.
I would like to have some light shed on this, if these modifier groups have, or will have a purpose and what will it be, by a dev if possible.

Such a quality thread, both in presentation and suggestions deserves not to sink to the depths of The Citadel, i'm moving it to the Suggestions board and will be adding it to the Singleplayer Top Suggestions, under Player, NPCs and Troops for now, but leaving the thread itself in the general SP Suggestions area, because this is a very important matter that affects both SP and MP.

 

Ling*

Sergeant at Arms
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Sifting through .xml files, and specificaly through spitems.xml back in the closed veta period, i noticed that every piece of clothes and armour had it's own modifier group, tied to the material out which the item is made of (cloth, leather, chain, plate etc):

I always tought this would have a meaning, and maybe it will, but not yet implemented, however i believe the ground is set to distinguish armour parts per materials and thus the damage taken/absorbed tweaked according to the damage type.
I would like to have some light shed on this, if these modifier groups have, or will have a purpose and what will it be, by a dev if possible.
These factors that currently do not apply to damage calculation, (Cloth, leather, chain, plate etc) should be given simplified categories that indicate the level of protection each armor type provides. For example: Cloth would be considered "Light Armor", Leather+Chain could be considered "Medium Armor", and Plate could be considered "Heavy Armor".

With these newly established categories, we can apply the following rules to damage calculation:

Blunt damage is strong against "Heavy Armor" and would receive a damage multiplier upon making contact with a piece of this armor type.
Piercing damage is strong against "Medium Armor" and would receive a damage multiplier when an arrow, or a spear, makes contact with with this armor type.
Cut
damage is strong against "Light Armor" and would receive a damage multiplier when a sword or axe cuts and makes contact with this armor type.

You could take this one step further and make damage types weak against certain armor types as well. For example:

Blunt damage is weak against "Medium Armor" and would receive a damage penalty upon making contact with a piece of this armor type.
Piercing damage is weak against "Heavy Armor" and would receive a damage penalty upon making contact with a piece of this armor type.
Cut damage is weak against both "Medium Armor" and "Heavy Armor" and would receive a damage penalty upon making contact with both armor types.

Damage calculation is already applied to individual limbs and body parts, so by simply adding these categorical classifications to the armor sets and applying the appropriate damage multiplier or penalty to each hit, weapons and armor would have unique functionality and more specialized uses making for a much more immersive and realistic experience.
 
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