Companions availability

Currently viewing this thread:

Getting into Bannerlord again recently, and I'm recalling my frustrations with the companions and their availability. For example, very often there is not a single smith or trader in the entire continent willing to join your party. Yet there are smithys and caravans all over the place. Not to mention, even if I have the good fortune of spawning a wanderer with one of these skills, their perk distribution is most likely undesirable. Meaning if I want a smith, I probably shouldn't look for a smith. Instead, I should find someone who isn't a smith and level them up to then train them to be a smith. Which I will usually have to do anyway with the general unavailability of certain roles. I'll say it again though, if a wanderer comes in at 60 skill let's say, that's a 25% chance it'll actually have the desired perks. It's just really counter intuitive that if you want a smith, you're likely better off NOT recruiting a smith and training someone who's not one to become one.

This also gets trickier because although we CAN see what skills a potential companion specializes in, we CANNOT see what their current learning limits/focus points are at. Usually I'll hire someone just to see they'll have to have to undergo quite a bit of training before I can unlock more focus points and then I can start training them in the role I desire for them. I haven't been so unlucky with some key party roles like scout/engineer/surgeon to get 0 wanderers spawn in. But again, I often run into the problem of their perk allocation being undesirable. The absolute RNG of this system seems more fitting of a roguelike. Not a game you could sink dozens of hours into for a single campaign.

If I were to rework companion recruitment as it stands...
  • Smiths could be hired/bartered from smithys in towns.
  • Traders could be hired/bartered from market places in towns.
  • Scouts/Warriors could be hired from mercenary captains in taverns in towns.
  • Rogues could be hired/bartered out of the criminal underworlds of towns.
  • Surgeons/Engineers are more specialized roles likely to be found in the service of nobles. They could be hired/bartered out of keeps. Engineers could plausibly be recruited out of wood workshops too. I suppose they were making wagons or something.
Basically you could talk to an NPC at these locales and get options for companions at level 5, 10 or 15 for increasing increments of denars. Say 500, 5000 and 30 000. Once you decide how much money you're spending, you'd enter a character building screen with attribute points and focus points available based on what level companion you're buying, so you can truly customize you're new friend. Depending on what kind of companion you're recruiting, it will also have a set amount in the relevant skill (again based on how much you paid for it), so a level 15 trader for 30,000 denars may have 75 Trade skill while a level 5 trader for 500 would have 25 trade skill. You could of course pick the perks you'd like as well.

Although this does streamline the companion process, we don't have to get rid of tavern travelling companions either. Although I would make the new tavern travelling companions quite rad. These would be epic party leading companions with high tactics, leadership, steward and combat prowess. Requiring a lot of gold or a quest to recruit, or possibly both. Practically hireable nobles you could eventually one day recruit into your clan. These new tavern travelling companions would be like level 25 or something crazy and totally badass. These new tavern travelling companions would be iconic and available in each playthrough with their own backstories and dialogue to add like the old Heroes of Warband.

But having the customizability for some generic companions would just be huge QOL for players. If you actually wanted to play a merchant prince and have all your companions running caravans, it would be nice to get companions who are even mildly competent for that role. Instead we are just left frustrated that our seed has 0 "Swift" or "Spicevendor" companions over and over again. Or if you just want to have a well-balanced party with desirable perks, you don't have to worry about rerolling seeds until the stars align.
 
Surgeons/Engineers are more specialized roles likely to be found in the service of nobles. They could be hired/bartered out of keeps.
If they added a sort of meeting place for the poor, canteens, city clinics, or small churches for some god, maybe even surgeons could be recruited in the city and not necessarily inside the fortresses of the nobles.
 
If they added a sort of meeting place for the poor, canteens, city clinics, or small churches for some god, maybe even surgeons could be recruited in the city and not necessarily inside the fortresses of the nobles.
Indeed! That did occur to me, although I figured using locations already in towns with an NPC is easier than adding new locales into every city in the game. The inconveniences of how Wanderers and party building works right now is just one of several systems that dissuades me from making Bannerlord an easy recommend to my friends. The Companion system is certainly not the only offender in that regard, but it is one that irks me greatly.
 
Indeed! That did occur to me, although I figured using locations already in towns with an NPC is easier than adding new locales into every city in the game. The inconveniences of how Wanderers and party building works right now is just one of several systems that dissuades me from making Bannerlord an easy recommend to my friends. The Companion system is certainly not the only offender in that regard, but it is one that irks me greatly.
I agree on everything, both about using assets already present in the game (perhaps opening parts of the city blocked by wagons and using some of the buildings, although I suppose they will do it for some future dlc), and about the condition in which we fans find ourselves with this game.
We would like to see it improve and maybe get to know friends to play together or discuss the various singleplayer runs that are played, but we realize how it needs so many improvements that we are afraid that presenting its will not make a good impression.
 
I agree, you need to remove the same companions and give players the opportunity to choose companion perks.
Getting into Bannerlord again recently, and I'm recalling my frustrations with the companions and their availability. For example, very often there is not a single smith or trader in the entire continent willing to join your party. Yet there are smithys and caravans all over the place. Not to mention, even if I have the good fortune of spawning a wanderer with one of these skills, their perk distribution is most likely undesirable. Meaning if I want a smith, I probably shouldn't look for a smith. Instead, I should find someone who isn't a smith and level them up to then train them to be a smith. Which I will usually have to do anyway with the general unavailability of certain roles. I'll say it again though, if a wanderer comes in at 60 skill let's say, that's a 25% chance it'll actually have the desired perks. It's just really counter intuitive that if you want a smith, you're likely better off NOT recruiting a smith and training someone who's not one to become one.
 
I agree, you need to remove the same companions and give players the opportunity to choose companion perks.
A simple change like that would be better than nothing. However, the reason I suggest a more complete overhaul of the system is that one of the great joys of party based RPGs is the customizability of your party and getting it to operate in the way you'd like. A classic critique of party based RPGs is that premade companions (which is what Bannerlord effectively has) are woefully unoptimized and can never reach their full potential. It's a critique that goes back decades, and it's just a shame to see another developer fall down this pitfall of giving the player less freedom in who they can bring into the party, and less agency in how that person develops as a party member. The fact that you can't even reliably get premades for the different skills makes the whole companion system worse. But I want to continue to highlight the importance of letting us allocate not just perks, but also focuses and attributes ourselves. As I described in my original post.

There's a lot of potential in the current character development system in how players could mentor and train companions into being vital party members that I'm happy to have in the clan. But so much of this potential can never be realized with companions having so many of their attributes/focuses/perks/skill points already being allocated. I don't think there's a single companion preset in the game that at level 15 looks even close to how I would have a level 15 companion built. There's this whole potential gameplay loop of training up companions as valuable clan members that could exist. But it can't because of the frankly undesirable presets.

When the player character at 20 years old enters the game, they have 18 attributes (2 baseline in all + 6), 12 focus points, and 100 skill points. Recruiting custom companions could work like the player character creation works. So a custom trader for caravans would have 50 skill in trading with 5 focus points invested, and +3 social. A second skill could be chosen to start with 50 skill points, 5 focus points invested, as well as +3 to its relevant attribute. And they'd have a couple of focus points left over. I'm not sure if this is initial pool is true for NPCs across the board, but even just letting us a recruit a level 1 companion starting with this approximate framework would be preferable to the current system. Because this companion has their whole development ahead of them. So in my initial post, I should have started with just custom level 1 companions.

Things would get a lot more complicated if we could recruit custom level 15 companions like I initially suggested, so I'm not really saying we need get rid of the current companion system entirely. I'm sure there's plenty of people who are mostly fine with getting a current preset at level 15 and making do with it. Even if it's a terribly built preset in my opinion. But I just can't help but notice there's a whole additional gameplay loop here that could be in the game, if we could actually just customize our companions better and from level 1.
 

anoddhermit

Sergeant
I am in general agreement, and just throwing my bump support behind changing wanderer generation, it's my main reason for restarting campaign generation multiple times for every new game. Waiting for RNG Gods to produce good wanderers over many in game days per single wander...yeah no thanks.

I understand being able to customize wanderers feels "gamey" to some people, but I think the current wanderers are worse since they pick attribute/focuspoint/perk combinations that don't synergize at all and this also breaks immersion on top of adding frustration and limiting strategy.

I think a way to hire wanderers would be great, and village quests to acquire them would also be nice - the daughter rescuing quest currently gives you access to a buggy wanderer with 0 in all stats but this could be changed so that if I want to generate wanderers associated with a culture I can check their villages as an option.

I also think we should be able to use the barber, at least, on companions - if not full customization of appearance, it would be neat for themed games to have custom ones that all have the same tattoo for example. Currently many of them also look silly level unrealistic due to extreme nose/face asymmetry as well as other "slider RNG gone awry" though, would be nice if that got tweaked.
 
Top Bottom