Big Ol' Weapon Crafting, Aesthetics and Balance Thread

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Scarf Ace

Sergeant Knight at Arms
WBWF&SNWVCM&B
I've noticed a lot of issues with the crafting system, and the stats that weapons have. In this thread, I'd like to address both of these, as the issues are intertwined.
The goal of weapon balance in Bannerlord is a bit different I think from how it might work in other games, including Warband. This is because weapons are made up of components, and the attributes of the weapon depends on what these components are, and how they are scaled. This means it's less about "nerf this thing, buff this thing", and more about making sure results are interesting and sensible, with clear advantages, disadvantages, and niches.

Anyhoo, first off, the crafting, which has many problems as of the making of this post:

The method of unlocking is utterly random. This is boring, tedious, illogical and just altogether a bad idea.
Unlocking weapon components should function in three ways, fundamentally:
1. By taking weapons apart/smelting them. This should give you a chance to unlock a component from this weapon, not a chance to unlock a random component. Taking a pitchfork apart currently can give you a sword blade, and that's just absurd. The more times you smelt a component, the greater the chance should be that you unlock it. It could even be completely non-random, with your skill level determining how many times you need to smelt a part before you can make it yourself.
2. By making weapons. Again, you can already unlock like this, but the parts you get seem to bear no relation to the weapon you made. Weapon parts already have a set tier, and culture. The components you should therefore unlock should be of the same type and culture, and of a similar tier, either the same, one up, or one down. If you keep making nothing but Sturgian-style axes, then you should eventually stop unlocking axe pieces if you don't start using some from other cultures.
3. By purchasing "blueprints". You could have master smiths in taverns selling "blueprints" or schematics for rare, Tier V parts at high prices.

By setting things up this way, the pursuit of weapon smithing would be a much more interesting, and adventurous affair, requiring the player to travel the lands to get the pieces they want.
Currently, being a weapon smith in SP is kind of a suboptimal choice, a waste of good stats and time.
Smithing needs to be more beneficial, both in giving clearer advantages to smith characters, like giving a better combat stat boost. Smithing must also progress faster and be less of a money pit, so that making your own weapons becomes the most effective way to get the absolute best ones.
Now, it's obvious why Stamina exists, it stops you from making a gazillion things without ingame time passing.
However, in practice, it's currently extremely irritating to use, forcing you to always check the active Smith's stamina, clicking out to wait, then entering the smithy again to check the stamina, and so on.
A much more effective system would be to cue up various tasks. So, let's say you want to make 3 bits of Charcoal, then make some metal, then smith a weapon. Once you've done all your actions, the amount of ingame time to do all these things is shown somewhere, and when you click "Forge", all these actions would then be done as time passes on the world map. Having multiple smiths would let them work on different things simultaneously, inactive smiths would speed up other smiths' actions.

So basically, you would have a queue of actions, and the actions you can do take into account what's already been queued up. An example one would be:
1. Make Charcoal
2. Smelt Weapon
3. Make Charcoal (using wood from smelted weapon)
4. Make Weapon (using materials gained by previous actions)
Time needed: 14 Hours

This would be a much smoother way to solve this whole issue.

Alternative suggestion by RPGArcher

Weapon Aesthetics

Basically, all one-handed grips are too long. This is a common thing in fantasy swords, but with the generally realistic appearance of weapons in this game, the results just look either a bit off, or just outright ugly or derpy.
Most cultures' real life equivalents preferred compact hilts. In extreme cases like the Sturgians, with their "Viking" weapons, the hilts are meant to really squeeze your hand into place.
While long-ish grips are correct and good looking for some one-handed swords, and so shouldn't be removed, the game must allow you to make them much shorter, and the default size for most grips should be shorter too. Likewise, many default weapons should have substantially shorter grips, as it would result in much better looking proportions. I know for a fact that this takes nothing but adjusting parameters in an .xml file.
Quite simply, you can make identical swords in the one- and two-handed category, and if it's one-handed it will result in a pure 1h sword, while in the 2h category, you'll get a sort of bastard sword.
I think the more logical and intuitive thing would be if either these grips weren't included in this category, or if swords made in the one-handed menu could be bastard swords too. Either way, if a grip is long enough for two hands, then you should be able to use two hands.
The manner in which swords are held seems to be inconsistent, depending on the grip the hands are placed in totally different ways, including some that are so messed up that the right hand clips inside the guard, or even holds the blade! Some swords are held really in really dumb looking ways as a result, especially in two handed swords, where I managed to accidentally make one where the character's left hand just held nothing at all! I think for two-handed swords especially, it might make more sense to pose the hands based on the location and type of guard and pommel, rather than the grip itself.
This is quite nit-picky, but polearm shafts are all cylindrical. If you're meant to cut with a blade or hit with a hammer head or so, that's much easier with an oval, or more angular-shaped shaft, which better allows you to feel where the blade is facing. Such shafts should be added, and you could even have them give bonuses to cut damage and nerf thrust or so.
As one-handed and two-handed swords mostly have the same available components, this means that many of the guards can't be scaled up to proportions that look good on a two-handed sword. Either more dedicated two-handed guards should be added, or perhaps a multiplier that lets you go bigger (at least on some guards) could do the trick. Many guards look comically undersized even at max scale on a two-handed sword right now, as do some pommels.

Weapon Balance
To preface this, I think that the goal of balance should be to allow many different builds and niches to be viable, with clear drawbacks fro going too far in one direction, for example. In addition, the balance must be intuitive - with this I mean that just looking at a weapon should give you a decent idea of what it's like, before reading the stats.
Just clicking around the various sword blades, it's pretty clear something's wrong. Many blades just don't have the stats you expect.
For example, let's look at the Fine Steel Paramerion Blade, which is a fairly curved, completely single-edge design. With the random other components I selected, it has 49 Thrust Pierce, and 67 Swing Cut damage.
Let's compare it to an other Tier IV design, the Ridged Arming Sword Blade, which as the name implies is double-edged with a reinforcing central ridge towards the point. 42 Pierce, 73 Cut.
Wait, what? So the pointy, very thrusty-looking blade cuts better and pierces worse than a curved, very slicey looking blade. This can't be right.
This trend continues. Generally, straight, even narrow, pointly blades often have perplexingly high cut and low thrust damage, a total inversion compared to their appearance. Often, thick, rounded tips, and even some curved blades somehow are better at piercing than those that resemble real-life thrusting swords.
I haven't inspected other weapon types for now, but I'm sure there must be perplexing results there too.

It's clear that proper standards must be established that are based on the appearance of blades, as currently this all seems rather haphazard.
Here's a quick attempt at some guidelines on how blades should be balanced based on shape:
Broader blade = More cut, less thrust dmg
Pointier/narrower blade = More thrust, less cut dmg
More curvature = More cut, less thrust dmg
Thicker blade, and/or more pronounced/longer ridge = More thrust, less cut dmg
Flatter blade, and/or more pronounced/longer fuller = More cut, less thrust dmg
Long, narrow, and flat blade = Lower overall damage, but lighter and faster (The Thameskene Steel Kaskara Blade is a good example of these attributes)
Single edge = more cut, less thrust dmg, better thrust stats but more weight if there's a yelman/false edge
Tip heavy design = more cut, less thrust dmg, worse handling
Heavily tapering design = less cut, more thrust dmg, better handling
Currently, increasing the length of a weapon component generally increases both cut and thrust damage.
For cut, this is understandable - the tip moves faster, and you have more overall mass. Generally, the more percussive-looking a weapon is, the more sensible that is. However, there are lots of short swords and even knives IRL that are terrifyingly powerful cutters, so powerful short weapons must exist too, for both realism and gameplay purposes.

Currently, some very long weapons have totally absurd damage because of this. When we think of real life, then the longer a weapon, the more difficult it is to handle.
This I think is a good argument to give longer weapons diminishing returns on cutting damage. Past a certain length, they should be no deadlier than a shorter, otherwise similar weapon.
Another downside to making a weapon longer is that it generally results in it becoming less stiff. This means that edge alignment is going to be harder/less consistent, further providing a reason to nerf their cutting damage, but more importantly, excessively long weapons should have fairly low thrust damage.
Currently, it's a bit strange, as a longer polearm shaft will give you less thrust damage than a short one, but setting the part size to maximum will give you a minor increase in thrust damage. That's weird inconsistency.
Generally, increasing length of blades and shafts should reduce thrust damage.
Shortening your weapon should give you both more speed and piercing damage.
Limiting the cut damage increase on crazy long weapons would give players more reasons not to just make things as big as possible, which is generally the best option at the moment, especially on horseback.

If this thread lives, I'll add more suggestions over time, and include what others post.

Finally:
Why'd you leave such an awesome capability out of MP? Any developer with brains would see the huge replayability potential, at least for casual modes.
Just further proof that the current class system sucks :smile:
 
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RPGArcher

Recruit
I'm not the sort to particularly care about the aesthetics/design of things, but I read the entire post and agree with most of it. I did want to throw one mention on smithing stamina:
I think a queue would add a lot more complexity to the UI, and the programming, which are both bad things. I think the way to make smithing less onerous is to make refining faster, in particular make charcoal much easier to get, and have perks unlock bulk refining of lower tier bars. The reason smithing is frustratingly slow is that right now, even with the charcoal perk it's still 23 smithing actions required to make 1 ingot of thalmaskene (30 if you don't have the charcoal perk)

I made a thread about this if you want to see my opinions in more detail
 

Scarf Ace

Sergeant Knight at Arms
WBWF&SNWVCM&B
I'm not the sort to particularly care about the aesthetics/design of things, but I read the entire post and agree with most of it. I did want to throw one mention on smithing stamina:
I think a queue would add a lot more complexity to the UI, and the programming, which are both bad things. I think the way to make smithing less onerous is to make refining faster, in particular make charcoal much easier to get, and have perks unlock bulk refining of lower tier bars. The reason smithing is frustratingly slow is that right now, even with the charcoal perk it's still 23 smithing actions required to make 1 ingot of thalmaskene (30 if you don't have the charcoal perk)

I made a thread about this if you want to see my opinions in more detail
Thanks, I've decided to link your thread in that section, if that's okay with you.
 

Gustaff

Recruit
I'd also prefer if you could specify how a polearm is meant to attack. Maybe include options for specifying between spears/pikes/lances and weapons like glaives, voulges and other polearms that can do cutting damage?
 
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