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Caravans need serious help 1.6.5 (Dear Devs) Post #3 29 days later

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Flesson19

Not a Cookie
Knight
This time instead of text I made my caravan video showing data I collected to show how bad caravans are, also what needs to be fixed and suggestions on how to fix them. I know the video is long but I wanted to get everything from data to suggestions all in one video so I hope the appropriate dev who works on caravans can find the time to see what I have put together
thank you
@SadShogun only tagging you since you responded to my last post

 

Hexnibbler

Recruit
It's interresting data. But I think you are mistakenly reducing it to profit.

The caravan XP your companion which in turns allow them to solve issues for you.
Caravans raises scouting, riding and trading.
Positioning in a settlement raise charm, party role raise stewardships/medecine/scouting and engineering.
Leading a party raise leadership & tactics and roguery (aside from martial skills).

The competition between workshop & caravans do not exists : you do not share limited slots for both. You can have both and workshop are useless for developping companions.

The trade skill will only improves a proportion of the potential profit. But that potential profit is totally linked to what good is available and at what price, which is very dependent on which factions own which fiefs, and luck.

So I have to strongly disagree : caravans are not useless.
They turn capital into income that in turns allow you to stay in the green. They stock towns and they level trade,riding,scouting without taking neither a workshop slot, a party slot or a party role slot.

Finally, the survivability issue.

As it is designed, caravans survivability comes from it ability to dodge and outrun. It gets destroyed when it takes a wrong turn and get trapped. If you ever tried to play a raider playstyle attacking caravans, you know their speed is what allows them to get out of tricky situation versus a party that simpl is set to "attack" and doesn't try to out maneuver them.
More men will only turn "borderline" cases into "trapped cases" because they will always be weaker than full parties.
Even IF the caravan survive a fight, it now risks being burdened (they won't throw away their good, and they carry in proportion to their roster in town). And so it is now easier to catch, while not being stronger than what the current caravan are.
I believe that's why developpers said that it was the issue with your suggestion. It's a logical conclusion.

Your comparison of day 150 to day 750 forget one very important factor : bandits growth over time (as well as with player level).
For time only, it maxed out at day 900 (If I'm correct).
So the caravans surviving 87.5% over 150 days can probably be maintained by tuning the way bandits & looters forces grows overtime but that is tied to lots of other mechanics. If that's correct, modifying \modules\sandbox\ModuleData\partyTemplates.xml to get looters & bandits to have min=1 max=1 might show (by comparisons with the normal behavior) how much the survivability loss is impacted by bandits/looters growth compared to warring parties ?

It still will most probably be tuned and the caravan survivability will therefore be tuned as consequence. There is a similar issue with peasants parties being more and more often destroyed by bandits because of that issue. It comes from bandits parties of varying size "ganging up" : a small party runs fast enough to catch a group bigger than his, and the bigger, slower bandit group gets dragged into the fight, making it a win.
So the bigger the "range" of size for the bandits (I.E. instead of 4-> 10 it becomes 4 -> 50), the more those cases occurs. There are ideas how to go about solving that (my favourite : make it so that bandits "merge" parties. It remove their "speed" advantage, while making big bandits parties available for leveling lord's troops.)

---

That being said, if you find a modder willing to try :
LordConversationCampaignBehavior class, method conversation_magistrate_form_a_caravan_accept_on_consequence shows the process of upgrading a caravan into a "bigger" caravan, where the property "_selectedCaravanType" is set to 0 for a normal caravan and 1 for a bigger one. Adding code to manage a case where it is set to 2 and dialog to set it to 2 shouldn't be overly complicated rocket science.

--
it's good to see someone else trying to pin points complex issues about the simulation :smile:
 
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Flesson19

Not a Cookie
Knight
It's interresting data. But I think you are mistakenly reducing it to profit.

The caravan XP your companion which in turns allow them to solve issues for you.
Caravans raises scouting, riding and trading.
Positioning in a settlement raise charm, party role raise stewardships/medecine/scouting and engineering.
Leading a party raise leadership & tactics and roguery (aside from martial skills).

The competition between workshop & caravans do not exists : you do not share limited slots for both. You can have both and workshop are useless for developping companions.

The trade skill will only improves a proportion of the potential profit. But that potential profit is totally linked to what good is available and at what price, which is very dependent on which factions own which fiefs, and luck.

So I have to strongly disagree : caravans are not useless.
They turn capital into income that in turns allow you to stay in the green. They stock towns and they level trade,riding,scouting without taking neither a workshop slot, a party slot or a party role slot.

Finally, the survivability issue.

As it is designed, caravans survivability comes from it ability to dodge and outrun. It gets destroyed when it takes a wrong turn and get trapped. If you ever tried to play a raider playstyle attacking caravans, you know their speed is what allows them to get out of tricky situation versus a party that simpl is set to "attack" and doesn't try to out maneuver them.
More men will only turn "borderline" cases into "trapped cases" because they will always be weaker than full parties.
Even IF the caravan survive a fight, it now risks being burdened (they won't throw away their good, and they carry in proportion to their roster in town). And so it is now easier to catch, while not being stronger than what the current caravan are.
I believe that's why developpers said that it was the issue with your suggestion. It's a logical conclusion.

Your comparison of day 150 to day 750 forget one very important factor : bandits growth over time (as well as with player level).
For time only, it maxed out at day 900 (If I'm correct).
So the caravans surviving 87.5% over 150 days can probably be maintained by tuning the way bandits & looters forces grows overtime but that is tied to lots of other mechanics. If that's correct, modifying \modules\sandbox\ModuleData\partyTemplates.xml to get looters & bandits to have min=1 max=1 might show (by comparisons with the normal behavior) how much the survivability loss is impacted by bandits/looters growth compared to warring parties ?

It still will most probably be tuned and the caravan survivability will therefore be tuned as consequence. There is a similar issue with peasants parties being more and more often destroyed by bandits because of that issue. It comes from bandits parties of varying size "ganging up" : a small party runs fast enough to catch a group bigger than his, and the bigger, slower bandit group gets dragged into the fight, making it a win.
So the bigger the "range" of size for the bandits (I.E. instead of 4-> 10 it becomes 4 -> 50), the more those cases occurs. There are ideas how to go about solving that (my favourite : make it so that bandits "merge" parties. It remove their "speed" advantage, while making big bandits parties available for leveling lord's troops.)

---

That being said, if you find a modder willing to try :
LordConversationCampaignBehavior class, method conversation_magistrate_form_a_caravan_accept_on_consequence shows the process of upgrading a caravan into a "bigger" caravan, where the property "_selectedCaravanType" is set to 0 for a normal caravan and 1 for a bigger one. Adding code to manage a case where it is set to 2 and dialog to set it to 2 shouldn't be overly complicated rocket science.

--
it's good to see someone else trying to pin points complex issues about the simulation :smile:
thank you, with companions being emissaries nd now clan leaders it makes running caravans even less viable and what I try to stress is with perks you should always try to have a tough choice to make, and while some stuff might be off a bit the "pure profit" and "survivability" is definitely something that needs to be tweaked. I do appreciate the feedback
 

SadShogun

A Furtherer of the Calradic Cause
Developer
This time instead of text I made my caravan video showing data I collected to show how bad caravans are, also what needs to be fixed and suggestions on how to fix them. I know the video is long but I wanted to get everything from data to suggestions all in one video so I hope the appropriate dev who works on caravans can find the time to see what I have put together
thank you
@SadShogun only tagging you since you responded to my last post

Thank you for your detailed analyses and your dedication as a fan!
We're actively investigating the issues with the caravans. Currently one major issue is, as you stated in your video, that the caravans get captured by the lord parties.

As I said, I implemented some trackers for caravans in our automatic campaign tests. For example, on our development branch we record that approximately 80% of the caravans are killed by the lord parties (mostly minor factions). Also has a quite low lifetime (i.e. they're not worth their investment in the late game) We will probably try out several things to mitigate this problem.

First is to increase the party speeds of the caravans a bit, this would both increase their survivability and their profitability (because of the speed).

Other solutions we'd like to explore is the amount items available in towns. Currently, there is an excess of goods in all towns and caravans can not utilize their full capacity (since the profitability drops as they buy more and more).
Perhaps the production consumption balance of some late game towns are out of balance and this affects the profitability of the caravans a lot. As I gather more information I will try to share it with the community.
 

Flesson19

Not a Cookie
Knight
Thank you for your detailed analyses and your dedication as a fan!
We're actively investigating the issues with the caravans. Currently one major issue is, as you stated in your video, that the caravans get captured by the lord parties.

As I said, I implemented some trackers for caravans in our automatic campaign tests. For example, on our development branch we record that approximately 80% of the caravans are killed by the lord parties (mostly minor factions). Also has a quite low lifetime (i.e. they're not worth their investment in the late game) We will probably try out several things to mitigate this problem.

First is to increase the party speeds of the caravans a bit, this would both increase their survivability and their profitability (because of the speed).

Other solutions we'd like to explore is the amount items available in towns. Currently, there is an excess of goods in all towns and caravans can not utilize their full capacity (since the profitability drops as they buy more and more).
Perhaps the production consumption balance of some late game towns are out of balance and this affects the profitability of the caravans a lot. As I gather more information I will try to share it with the community.
thank you for your response, I would like to say that in my testing of survivability I was not at war with anyone, even minor factions, that under 20% survivability rate was all from bandits. I do appreciate your response and it makes me feel better than I know you guys are taking it serious. And as I said, if you need anything done, contact me and I am more than happy to test anything you guys want. I'm here for ya, use me, I love the game and only want what is best, If you do plan on making changes I would ask to inform me as I know sometimes changes are made and not included it patch notes, that way I can test them right away. Thank you again for your time <bow>
 
, I would like to say that in my testing of survivability I was not at war with anyone, even minor factions, that under 20% survivability rate was all from bandits
This matches my experience over a few long campaigns (though I've not been taking detailed statistics like yourself). Caravans being captured by lords certainly becomes a much more noticeable issue as you enter the late game (as your faction tends to always be at war with multiple factions, so more enemy lords roaming around), but in my experience the main culprit is the looter spam + looter party size (needlessly) scaling up with the player's clan rank. The two combined are why caravans have such a short lifespan in the late game.

I find it a bit odd that Shogan has made no mention of looters in their comment, and they find that 80% of captures is because of enemy lords. I'm interested in knowing if they have taken these statistics based on early game situations or late game when the player clan rank is high and looters are everywhere & with much larger parties as it's linked to the player clan rank. If a simulation has just been ran from early game without the player clan rank rising up, that won't be capturing the real late game problem.
 

SadShogun

A Furtherer of the Calradic Cause
Developer
This matches my experience over a few long campaigns (though I've not been taking detailed statistics like yourself). Caravans being captured by lords certainly becomes a much more noticeable issue as you enter the late game (as your faction tends to always be at war with multiple factions, so more enemy lords roaming around), but in my experience the main culprit is the looter spam + looter party size (needlessly) scaling up with the player's clan rank. The two combined are why caravans have such a short lifespan in the late game.

I find it a bit odd that Shogan has made no mention of looters in their comment, and they find that 80% of captures is because of enemy lords. I'm interested in knowing if they have taken these statistics based on early game situations or late game when the player clan rank is high and looters are everywhere & with much larger parties as it's linked to the player clan rank. If a simulation has just been ran from early game without the player clan rank rising up, that won't be capturing the real late game problem.
The statistics are based on only using the NPC clans. In our automated tests, the player is non-existent and do not act at all. So it is possible that the large looter blobs forming in the late game (because of the clan tier) is an additional culprit. We will run multiple tests with different "bandit spawn rates".
 
The statistics are based on only using the NPC clans. In our automated tests, the player is non-existent and do not act at all. So it is possible that the large looter blobs forming in the late game (because of the clan tier) is an additional culprit
Thanks for clarifying on your testing methods, but yes you should really take the late game looter spam & party size into account for an accurate picture of the problem. It's a certainty that it's major culprit, in my experience even more so than enemy lords (though it does even out at times with multiple wars going on).

If you could simulate a late game situation, i.e max player clan rank & max number of looter parties - It would be really interesting to see your findings at that point. With that said, the bandit problem doesn't even require max rank, it's noticeable from the mid-game but just gets continually worse from there (for caravans and villagers).

Thanks very much for looking into this - some of us have been posting about this for months with no feedback.
 

Flesson19

Not a Cookie
Knight
The statistics are based on only using the NPC clans. In our automated tests, the player is non-existent and do not act at all. So it is possible that the large looter blobs forming in the late game (because of the clan tier) is an additional culprit. We will run multiple tests with different "bandit spawn rates".
let me add also, your are testing the economy, as (former) Dev mexxico and I discovered when you make one small change to the economy it can have a ripple effect on others. I really feel that increasing caravan profit with higher trade skill level is the way to go. You won't have to touch the economy and it rewards people who spend valuable focus points into trade, as those points aren't really impactful and it should be one of the top priorities for a caravan master. Doing that would leave the economy alone and make people like swift and spicevendors very valuable.
 

Bannerman Man

C# Sleuth
Knight
@SadShogun, have you investigated the fleeing behavior of caravans at all? I am a couple patches behind right now, but I've often seen caravans run directly past hostile parties which are moving to engage them, which causes them to be caught (see my comment here for screenshots). Once they're caught, nearby bandit parties will pour into the battle which leads to the caravan's destruction. This can also happen when a caravan passes by several small parties of bandits grouped together that would otherwise not attack/engage if it were only a lone party.

Might be worth it to record the last behavior of caravans (e.g. "Travelling to Car Banseth" or "Fleeing from Looters") before they get into a battle in your tests to see if there's a pattern of caravans getting attacked by parties that they are ignoring. Just something to keep in mind.
 

SadShogun

A Furtherer of the Calradic Cause
Developer
@SadShogun, have you investigated the fleeing behavior of caravans at all? I am a couple patches behind right now, but I've often seen caravans run directly past hostile parties which are moving to engage them, which causes them to be caught (see my comment here for screenshots). Once they're caught, nearby bandit parties will pour into the battle which leads to the caravan's destruction. This can also happen when a caravan passes by several small parties of bandits grouped together that would otherwise not attack/engage if it were only a lone party.

Might be worth it to record the last behavior of caravans (e.g. "Travelling to Car Banseth" or "Fleeing from Looters") before they get into a battle in your tests to see if there's a pattern of caravans getting attacked by parties that they are ignoring. Just something to keep in mind.
Thank you for providing this info, it is very useful additional information.
 

AngryPanCake

Regular
Hello,
In my very limited experience with Caravans, the profit return to investment ration is just too low. I had stated in my other post (not knowing @Flesson19 had already broached the very subject here) that it too around 50-60 games days for a Caravan to turn profit. I understand some people indicated the role the Caravan plays in improving the Companions' stats, but making the Caravan a little more profitable would be a good start. Which I assume might be somewhat an easy thing to do.
Thank you,
APC
 

Flesson19

Not a Cookie
Knight
Hello,
In my very limited experience with Caravans, the profit return to investment ration is just too low. I had stated in my other post (not knowing @Flesson19 had already broached the very subject here) that it too around 50-60 games days for a Caravan to turn profit. I understand some people indicated the role the Caravan plays in improving the Companions' stats, but making the Caravan a little more profitable would be a good start. Which I assume might be somewhat an easy thing to do.
Thank you,
APC
+1
 

Flesson19

Not a Cookie
Knight
Thank you for your detailed analyses and your dedication as a fan!
We're actively investigating the issues with the caravans. Currently one major issue is, as you stated in your video, that the caravans get captured by the lord parties.

As I said, I implemented some trackers for caravans in our automatic campaign tests. For example, on our development branch we record that approximately 80% of the caravans are killed by the lord parties (mostly minor factions). Also has a quite low lifetime (i.e. they're not worth their investment in the late game) We will probably try out several things to mitigate this problem.

First is to increase the party speeds of the caravans a bit, this would both increase their survivability and their profitability (because of the speed).

Other solutions we'd like to explore is the amount items available in towns. Currently, there is an excess of goods in all towns and caravans can not utilize their full capacity (since the profitability drops as they buy more and more).
Perhaps the production consumption balance of some late game towns are out of balance and this affects the profitability of the caravans a lot. As I gather more information I will try to share it with the community.
Sorry to message ya but I wanted to ask do you know how village tax is paid, I cant nail down the formula and think there is some random to it, would love to know for sure, not town but village taxes, it varies so greatly and not close to what hearth is
 

Dogacan

Regular
WB
Thank you for your detailed analyses and your dedication as a fan!
We're actively investigating the issues with the caravans. Currently one major issue is, as you stated in your video, that the caravans get captured by the lord parties.

As I said, I implemented some trackers for caravans in our automatic campaign tests. For example, on our development branch we record that approximately 80% of the caravans are killed by the lord parties (mostly minor factions). Also has a quite low lifetime (i.e. they're not worth their investment in the late game) We will probably try out several things to mitigate this problem.

First is to increase the party speeds of the caravans a bit, this would both increase their survivability and their profitability (because of the speed).

Other solutions we'd like to explore is the amount items available in towns. Currently, there is an excess of goods in all towns and caravans can not utilize their full capacity (since the profitability drops as they buy more and more).
Perhaps the production consumption balance of some late game towns are out of balance and this affects the profitability of the caravans a lot. As I gather more information I will try to share it with the community.
Isn't there a way to make the caravans stop going for a certain path? For instance: if there is a bridge and they are not able to pass it for X amount of seconds, they then choose a different path? As @Bannerman Man mentioned, the caravans can also just get attacked by a bandit party and get overrun by other parties if the fight takes too long. Maybe the caravans could run around any enemy parties, no matter the size? I've seen caravans get sandwiched a lot of times as well (they weren't mine, but still the issue remains). This includes being pinned down against impassable terrain, basically nullifying their superior movement in that scenario. I can imagine the risk vs. reward will be an issue if they are too "smart". Good luck finding the answer in any case! :mrgreen:
 

Flesson19

Not a Cookie
Knight
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