Battle and Siege AI issues

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Norcaine

Recruit
While I really like Bannerlord's battles and sieges, there are some issues with the AI (and some other small things) that keep occuring that I find somewhat annoying. Understandably for Early Access of course - so I thought I'd put together a small collection here for the devs to fix (or disregard :wink: ).


Battle AI:
  • The AI is withdrawing some troop parts while the rest remains comitted - leading to completely unnecessary losses (especially when the player as a commander goes down while his troops are charging and after his death when the AI takes over suddenly 2/3 of his army pull back without any reason - leaving the rest to die)
  • The AI generally doesn't "press the advantage" - instead suddenly pulling out of the fight when enemy reinforcements spawn. Instead of deciding on the calculated strength of the armies alone (which is what I assume leads to these strange withdrawels) I think the AI should also take the recent kill-ratio or something similar into account before pulling pack. If your troops are currently cutting down the enemy by the dozen while taking only light losses - don't withdraw but press on - you seem to have the upper hand (for now).
  • When two AI armies fight that have more or less the same strength sometimes weird situations occur where no commander on either side actually works up the courage to attack. Both sides advance and then pull back repeatedly - without getting into combat - leading to some strange "dance" that can last forever.
  • AI armies don't cooperate well with formations commanded by the player - the same holds true for combat with allies that are not in the same army. I have seen it dozens of times that you come to the aid of an AI lord on the map - and then in the battle they just leave you to fend for yourself while they crawl up some hill. Allied AI should somehow react to what the player does. So if you manage to lead a cavalry formation around the enemy and fall into their back this would be a great time for them to attack as well. When the enemy closes into combat with your troops - your ally should attack too instead of waiting - so the enemy doesn't have the chance to take you out one by one. Currently, the AI isn't very adapting. If they think they are inferior they just won't move at all.


Siege AI:

  • Attackers are not using siege towers or ladders efficiently - they just trickle into the battle on the walls - usually without any real chance of achieving anything but being cut down. Also you should probably keep defenders from charging onto the towers themselves - it just feels "wrong" as it tends to create killing zones that any attacker would simply avoid. But instead they just walk/climb like lambs to the slaughter - it's painful to watch, really.
  • Often troops that break through the outer gate will just stand two steps away from the inner gate without attacking it. If the player isn't alive anymore at this point to break down the inner gate themselves this attack path just remains locked.
  • Marksman formations usually stay outside during sieges even if there are no longer enemies on the walls. I'd suggest marksmen move onto the walls themselves when the walls are breached and they have no more targets at their current position. They could try to move onto the towers themselves (ideally behind the current battlelines - as much as possible) and use them to fight the enemy. Marksmen without ammo should join melee formations if they have at least some armor.
  • On some maps, attackers from siege towers or ladders will not move on from the section of the wall they arrive at. They will stay there for the rest of the battle and not help.
  • There are still many attackers that run around aimlessly, seemingly changing their decision whether to go to the gate or the walls all the time. I think, since the attack on walls via ladder or siege tower is always more risky, once the gate is broken the majority of the attacking force should go there.
  • If troops have lost a battleground (like the ground by the gate for example), the reinforcements should gather some numbers first before attacking it again - so they don't run into overwhelming numbers one by one.

Besides the decision making (and pathfinding) of the AI, there are some other issues in Battles that I think need a redesign.


Reinforcement spawning:

During Sieges:
  • On many siege maps the defender's reinforcements spawn directly at the gate - often right in the battle giving them a significant advantage on this battleground. This is especially annoying for the player - because the spawn of a large group of defenders usually leads to stuttering of the game (for me at least) making combat rather difficult - AND you're suddenly completly surrounded by hostiles that appear out of thin air. I'd suggest spawning the defenders where they run to when they withdraw or at a point at a similar distance so they have to make their way to the battle first. The time for them to go where they are needed would still be a lot shorter than for the attacking side.
During Battles:
  • Like with sieges, reinforcements can spawn directly "in" the battle if one side has been pushed back too far. That should be avoided - for example by creating additional spawn points along the border of the map and choosing one away from hostile forces. A flanking attack by the enemies reinforcements would also prove to be an interesting challenge for the side that has currently the upper hand.


General issues/suggestions:

  • Melee battle in "formations" can be rather frustrating since you can barely attack. This is especially annoying during sieges. Maybe you should be a bit more generous with the "attack blocked by an ally's silly head" mechanism. But then again it was the same in Warband - so it seems intended. Personally, I would still find it more fun if you could actually fight when there is limited space. Right now, I avoid situations like that completely and stay out of group melee. Even if it means running alone into another bunch of enemies. Not very realistic. But then again maybe I'm just to dumb to do it correctly.
  • After duelling a bandit hideout leader - shouldn't his last cronies surrender (meaning shouldn't they just end up in the prisoner pool)? Why would I let them walk away? I wouldn't. To make it more interesting, you could add a chance that these guys don't feel like adhering to the rules of the duel and surrendering and attack after their boss is cut down instead (they are bandits after all) - in which case your troops would also join the fight after a short delay ("reaction time").
  • During sieges on the campaign map it is practically impossible to get more than one siege engine at the same time. Why have 4 slots if you only ever have one active and the one you're currently building? Maybe make the trebuchet a seperate siege engine category that can be build once and out of range of the defenders (after all trebuchets did have significantly higher ranges than catapults or ballistae)? Not sure how that would work out balance wise - might be overpowered. Should have high requirements for the engineering skill at least. But the current system seems kind of half-baked.
  • There is practically no useful way to join a defensive siege. If you attack the attacking force the defenders have to leave behind their fortifications and thus their greatest advantage. If you "break in" you have to sacrifice a large amount of troops. I'd suggest an infiltration option. After all, fortresses and especially cities have more than one entrance. The larger the attackers force, the better they could cover them all. But it might still be possible for someone who knows their way around to move a few troops at a time inside the fortifications. In the game, this could result in a slow build-up process, transferring a small portion of you troops inside the battlements per time. For the attackers, this would be an incentive to attack sooner before the build-up is complete (the time until detection of the process could be the result of a skill check of the attackers scouting skill vs. the infiltrators rougery skill). In that case only the troops that are already inside would participate in the siege battle and the rest would be captured without their leader if the battle is lost. Bottom line: you could fight sieges for the defenders side more often. I have played more than 200 hours of Bannerlord by now - and I have only taken part in two(!) defensive sieges. If you make it inside the fortifications ahead of the attackers, they usually don't dare to attack anymore - or they wait so long that they run out of food and break up. And if the siege is already in progress you either have to waste a lot of troops to break in (if only they got captured at least so you could win them back...) or you have to fight a normal field battle.
  • Often, especially if there is a high number of defenders in a siege battle, some of them end up stuck in places where they can't leave and can't be reached (under stairs, behind buildings or walls, etc.) - meaning the attacker can't win anymore.
 

Grumpy181155

Sergeant at Arms
WBVCWF&S
+1 to all of the above. I am putting the game down for a little while until these pathfinding issues in sieges are addressed.
 

Bonethor

Recruit
I'll just leave this here. There was a perfectly good hole in the wall, but my guys insisted on using the ladders and trying to go through the gate once someone opened it for a sec. The game slowed to a snails pace for about 5 minutes when my soldiers tried to walk through the gate somehow.
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I've also had enemy soldiers fall inside the ground so I've had to retreat from the battle and fight again.
 
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