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Cavalry - health, speed bonus and other suggestions to balance it

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Silen

Duke
This is mostly based around PvP and my own observations. At the moment, hitting a horse when standing near you or moving slowly is ineffective and not worth the effort, this is for multiple reasons — arcs of swings and damage curves make it difficult to deal any reasonable damage, and often cavalry can thrust faster than you can pull off an attack — even when landing good hits with good weapons however, especially on heavily armoured horses, you might deal around 20 damage which is absolutely negligible compared to the horse's total health pool (generally 200+). At the same time, if the health of horses were simply lowered, while damage would feel better when they're up close or moving slowly, horses would also feel paper thin when hitting them at high speed — for example when charging at you. This is due to the speed bonus to damage. The current disparity between damage with low speed bonus and high speed bonus is too wide and renders it generally inconsistent, making damage only adequate when striking at high speed and too low when at low speed. You could stand near an enemy and use your horse as a shield while trying to hit them for a prolonged time simply due to the amount of hits you could tank when moving slowly, or not at all.

My current suggestions to address this issue:
  • Reduce the speed bonus or the effect of speed bonus on damage, so that it's not so high when striking at high speed.
  • Generally reduce the health pool of horses (obviously to a lesser degree for light horses). Combined with the above, damage should feel adequate both at low speed — allowing cavalry to be punished for staying too close — and at high speed, this way horses shouldn't feel fragile upon lowering health.

Reducing the speed bonus could have side effects on other areas of combat, for instance damage dealt by projectiles, however I imagine that could be changed by tweaking the damage of each individual item or modifying the effect for projectiles exclusively. Moreover, I feel like regardless the effect of speed bonus is generally too prominent in any melee situation, which contributes to make damage inconsistent and sometimes too high, particularly with spears. I would appreciate a developer response to understand whether this is technically feasible or not, what side effects it could have, and if there is any better solution to the problem. Aside from that, I wish to also reiterate a few more suggestions to balance cavalry made in the past which are now sadly buried in the old beta board, again from my own experience:

  • Generally increase the maneuverability of horses. At the moment riding a horse, especially those with the lowest maneuverability, feels like trying to turn a Panzer IV at full speed. This doesn't only make it feel wholly unpleasant, but transforms cavalry combat into a succession of moving in and out of the fight repeatedly, since it becomes too difficult to keep up with enemies. I don't think this playstyle is necessarily wrong, but I would prefer if cavalry played a bigger role in close combat.
  • Hitting with a sidearm on horseback needs to be more practical. The above would improve it, however currently trying to swing at a target at the sides of the horse requires too large mouse movements to hit at a reasonable angle rather than going over the opponent's head, forcing you to turn the camera completely to the side and below, rendering it unnecessarily difficult.
  • While on horseback, moving near anyone on foot will make them gently slide away. This should be minimized, as it makes it extremely difficult to deal bumps, and mini-bumps especially, as well as sometimes simply hitting the target. It can also make it very frustrating for allied infantry to be moved around while fighting.
  • The horses' rearing angle was recently reduced in a beta patch to about 45°, in my opinion this made it too difficult to rear a horse even when being fairly in front of it, which is counter-intuitive. Especially with higher maneuverability the rearing angle should be increased.
  • Cavalry should be stunned for running into obstacles, again especially with increased maneuverability, to make it easier to punish reckless riding and force the horseman to pay more attention to their surroundings.
  • It shouldn't be possible to double tap W after being reared, quickly accelerating out of danger is easily done unless multiple enemies are nearby and prepared (it would be your fault for charging into half their team).
  • Riding into a teammate should severely slow you down rather than shoving them aside.
  • Currently holding a couched lance for too long will make it gradually sway until it becomes totally inaccurate, however this is pointless since you're able to simply tap RMB and X again to restart it with perfect accuracy. Couched lances need a cooldown, not as long as Warband's since they're certainly worse, but a small cooldown is necessary nonetheless.
  • Couched lance activation time is too short, it can be active while the animation has barely even started, it needs to be slightly longer.
  • Couched lance stays active even at extremely low speeds, I'm not necessarily against it since it would be frustrating to restart it for every minor speed loss, especially with a cooldown, but it should at least deal a lot less damage.
  • Some of the heavier knockdowns dealt by horses last way too long, allowing even the horseman to slow down, turn around, move back to the enemy and stab him multiple times while he's on the ground. Even worse if there's a single infantry nearby. This is way too punishing and shouldn't happen. Some of the charge values are also poorly balanced allowing some horses to knockdown at low speeds.
  • Animation for being dismounted lasts too little and sometimes even allows the rider to block while standing up. Again, I don't think this should happen, the rider should be vulnerable after being dismounted and for a duration similar to an infantry knockdown. Considering that cavalry can pick their fights, this is more than fair.
 
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Caps

Knight at Arms
WBWF&SNWVC
You can run fullspeed into a wall and it doesnt matter. They are already mobile af. just braindead

Cav in close combat is a poke fiesta on the horse, Weapons are too short for that aswell for both sides. Bumping does more dmg than melee weapons.
 
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MiguelSnake

Sergeant
WBWF&SM&BNWVC
+1 to some things.

I don't see the maneuverability problem, in a lot of matches we are using it in close combat (but it is much more effective to run in and out of course).

And about health, I really like the difference with warband, so maybe with being able to hit them on close combat and actually cause damage the problem with their durability may fade away
 

๖Kern

Grandmaster Knight
WBNW
I totally agree with what you brought up, the only thing I don't agree with you on is the problem with horse survivability - indeed, armoured horses survive an extreme amount of hits and I can't even count how many times I was using my horse to stop incoming attacks and return some of my own, often killing other players while my horse still had 70% of health after 5 hits. The thing is, if you compare this to Warband, even in Warband, the armoured cavalry had pretty disgusting survivability against melee hits from 1h weapons - it took a lot of bounces and low damage hits to kill the horse (it's 14 upper swings with 28c sword, tested it).

I think there are several problems with horse survivability in BL, but these are not actually problems caused by a large hp pool of horses. I think they derive more from the fact, that the damage calculation together with damage mitigation, speed bonus and weapon arches simply do not work. If you take a mace, you can kill the horse in 6 or so hits (+-), if you take a sword, you will hardly take half of its hp with swings even in 10 hits. When it comes to unarmoured horses, it's definitely better though you can still feel it. What I'd propose is to fix the mentioned problems - weapon arches, broken damage mitigation and different variables that cause the clunkiness of hits instead of straight-up changing the hp pool of horses. If the problems persist after, sure, nerf the hp of horses.

EDIT:

Also, the class system and perks are overall bad. You shouldn't be able to just go and take armoured horse straight up, that's also one of the reasons that make this problem stick out. The armoured horse in Bannerlord is free, which obviously gives cavalry another advantage right at the start of the game.

Additionally, it takes 4-5 upperswings with a sword to kill an unarmoured horse in Bannerlord.
 
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Silen

Duke
Hey, yeah I mentioned arcs of swings and damage curve, however even when dealing best dmg hits the problem persists (I tested modifying the damage curve back when we could host private servers which have been disabled, sadly), which is not to say that the horses' health amount is problematic per se, as depending on the weapon and horse damage can be adequate from up close. I believe the issue is more the disparity in damage between low and high speed bonus which is quite large, hence speed bonus and horses' health should be tweaked in conjunction. I understand that armoured horses had similar survivability in Warband, however as you mentioned armoured horses are immediately available in Bannerlord and can often be taken twice, which is the same issue with heavy infantry time to kill.
 

MiguelSnake

Sergeant
WBWF&SM&BNWVC
Right now what is truly broken is cavalry with two handed weapons, such as the Menavlion of the Empire and the Glaive in Khuzait...
Being on a horse static you can instakill almost any class with any armor.

What is that about? those slash arcs are infinite and the damage is too high. It seems to be the new trend right now on skirmish.
 

EbdanianAdmiral

Knight at Arms
+111111

Heavy cav should not be able to do 20 damage consistently while standing still right on top of you. They also are not hard enough to punish between taking no damage themselves and also being able to respawn a second time as the same class after the first round. They need to cost 200 across the board and have more counterplay.
 

Gibby Jr

Marquis
+111111

Heavy cav should not be able to do 20 damage consistently while standing still right on top of you. They also are not hard enough to punish between taking no damage themselves and also being able to respawn a second time as the same class after the first round. They need to cost 200 across the board and have more counterplay.

20 while standing still? you mean more like 40
 

Mabons

Sergeant Knight
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
Right now what is truly broken is cavalry with two handed weapons, such as the Menavlion of the Empire and the Glaive in Khuzait...
Being on a horse static you can instakill almost any class with any armor.

What is that about? those slash arcs are infinite and the damage is too high. It seems to be the new trend right now on skirmish.

Yeah has there been some weird change to these weapons? I don't recall them ever doing this much damage before?
 

MiguelSnake

Sergeant
WBWF&SM&BNWVC
Yeah has there been some weird change to these weapons? I don't recall them ever doing this much damage before?

I remember some match in the beta where they could kill you, but it wasn't that easy to hit. But I'm not really sure...
 

Sylvanaz

Recruit
+1!!!! It need attention because it makes mp matches really frustrating and unpleasant. Another thing (but that's entirely different topic) is people leaving the match when on losing side without penalties.
 

부부를 넘어서 가자

Grandmaster Knight
WBWF&S
Just make horses not act like a shield. On warband even with a tank horse i can't just stand infront of an infantry with a spear and trade hits.
Stabbing the horse hit the riders leg which did a pretty good amount of damage since leg armour was rare. In bannerlord everyone has the same armour stats on every bodypart which makes these kind of hits only bounce or do very low damage.

Ageee with rest of the points. It's been said countless times now.
Spears not really being a counter to cav is a huge problem.
Can just hope some things will be considered.
 
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