Damage/protection conception: the elephant in the room

Do you like the armour protection/infliction damage calculations currently applied in SP Bannerlord


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JunKeteer

Regular
But should they really? In real life good quality armour, even just mail and not plate, was certainly good enough to get you across a field under arrow fire without dying, or even necessarily being seriously injured.

Just because troops don't have a shield doesn't mean archers should be OP to them. It should just mean that archers can wound them as they charge into melee range, and once they get into melee, the full-health archer who is worse at close combat can have a roughly even chance of winning the fight against the injured soldier who is better at close combat.
Not disagreeing with this point, only in reference to the rock>paper>scissors example and how archers don't necessarily 'follow' that pattern (given they can be >2 types) is that a more effective armor on those types of shield-less troops can counterbalance that.
My stance is that archers should be powerful during sieges, when positioned on a hard to reach area like a cliff, when properly protected by infantry, or having an advantage fighting against horse archers; but they should otherwise go 50/50 with most other troop types in a straight fight (usually wounding them enough to have a good chance to beat them in melee), and be weak against shield infantry.
As they should be, but archers as they are currently (foot or HA) are just a bit too 'easy' to take advantage with in comparison to melee at the moment.
Ie. In a 'balanced' party of cavalry (+HA), archers, and infantry, it's only the infantry that needs constant replenishing. Which may be true realistically but, for a game, it's only by the player's own intentional 'handicap' (whether for roleplay or otherwise) if they use a party of 100 infantry vs 100 archers (80:20 ratio, etc...). I know it's SP and all that, but IMO, archers still need to be nerfed a bit; however that comes about, for now, we can only discuss until actual tweaks/adjustments do happen.
Hmm, I like the first one obviously, the second one might not be necessary except on troops who have 2 quivers, and the third one I would disagree. Accuracy is already in a decent place, some horse archers and lower tier archers can be ridiculously inaccurate (unable to hit a stationary target at 30 meters in many shots). Hop into custom battle yourself against a low tier archer and see. When I was testing hits to kill it could be annoying waiting for militia archers to roll good enough RNG to actually kill me. Accuracy doesn't need to be lower, otherwise militia archers would never hit anything.

However, fire rate could stand to be lower and more realistic, as some have said in this thread.
Agree fire-rate needs to be reduced, quiver quantity is just another 'fine-tuning' element to give a wider range of variety between troop tiers. I have to partially disagree on the point on accuracy; agree that lower tier archers shouldn't be nerfed but Fian champions (or players) should not have the accuracy that they do. I think the main issue with horse archers has more to do with the AI targeting than equipment balancing (same as we have with cavalry in close combat 'wonkiness'); but also the fact that there's only ~4-5 bows to template off of for all faction horse+/archers currently limits any variety between them.
But it feels ridiculous when I'm getting sniped easily through those arrow-loops from an archer ~150 meters away; or that I can reliably and easily headshot troops on battlements ~150 meters. Either the top-tier bow accuracy needs to be toned down slightly a point or two or the AI 'targeting' calculations need adjusting.
 
Because archers also counter horse archers in real life. Being on foot allows you to use more powerful bows, nock, aim and draw faster, and fire much more accurately when you're not firing from the back of a galloping horse. All these things combined - half of which Bannerlord already simulates - make crossbowmen and archers the real-life counter to horse archers, and the Bannerlord counter as well. If you match 50 Khan's Guard against 50 Fian Champions, the Fians win.
Well in fairness, I don't really consider foot archers to be an actual counter to horse archers, so much as a necessity to stand a fighting chance against them. From what I know in real life, the only truly effective counter for horse archers was more horse archers. Otherwise its having a lot spearmen and archers capable of holding ground and keeping it.

Then again, I don't really see spearmen as a hard counter to cavalry- again, I consider them the bare minimum to fighting them off. Pikemen are the guys you want for that- either that or having your own cavalry.

So if we want to take a realistic perspective, archers should not be countering shock troops and pikemen in a normal situation (charge on open ground), unless they are doing something stupid like standing still and waiting for the archers to shoot them to death.
Its pretty bold of you to assume that shock troops and pikemen will always be heavily armoured. And even if they are... well that's not because being a shock troop or pikeman makes you a non counter. Its the armour, and really armour just counters a lot of ****, so its not even relevant to this discussion of counters.

You're not wrong - from a realism perspective, it's not exactly that simple; but from a game perspective I think we want all troops to have a purpose as you said, and counter systems that are an abstraction of real life "counters" can do that well. They also introduce tactical depth/skill by creating right and wrong decisions for players to make.

I do want to clarify that I'm not exactly advocating rock paper scissors. I want to see soft counters rather than hard counters. With soft counters, a cavalryman can still defeat a pikeman (his intended counter) if he is a couple of tiers higher (representing better training/equipment), or hits him from the flank, or uses terrain to his advantage, etc.
No, I want hard counters too. Only difference is no clean rock paper scissors- I want **** going all sorts of directions.
 

Damnas

Regular
But on the point with the archers being OP, besides upcoming tweaks most of us desire, the fact that they have a finite amount of arrows should balance that out? Archers should be OP to unarmored horses and all shield-less troops, few solutions to counter balance is:
  • TBD damage/armor protection improvements;
  • quantity of arrows adjusted;
  • and/or accuracy toned down slightly (even just 3 or 4 points vs 100 acc. on noble bows - a la Fians and AI computing 'aim' accuracy

I like the damage reduction best, perhaps with some reduced accuracy thrown in. I'm no expert on balance, but what about increasing costs across the board for archers? Historically, training and equipping archers was notorious for being lengthy, expensive, and difficult, but worth it due to the incredible advantage they brought to the battlefield. It's also what made crossbows so popular in some countries like France due to the relatively shorter training times for large units, and from what I understand, bolts tend to be less expensive to make due to them requiring less materials. Perhaps that could be translated into game terms?

Also, correct me if I'm wrong (can't be bothered to launch the game to check), but I think cavalry units have the same cost and wages as infantry units of the same tier. I don't understand that. I think cavalry should be paid higher wages, if only to simulate the maintenance of the horse.

Well in fairness, I don't really consider foot archers to be an actual counter to horse archers, so much as a necessity to stand a fighting chance against them. From what I know in real life, the only truly effective counter for horse archers was more horse archers. Otherwise its having a lot spearmen and archers capable of holding ground and keeping it.

Technically, foot archers wouldn't have met horse archers on open fields. Or at least not if they had the option not to. The idea was to use archers, combined with fortifications, to counter the horse archers. Foot archers have an advantage, as was mentioned previously, when it comes to range, accuracy, reload speed, stronger bows, and so on. The only advantage the horse archer has, is his speed and mobility. Throw in a fortified position to the mix, and the foot archers win.

Problem is that from a gaming perspective, it means that foot archers would only be useful against mounted archers during sieges. Unless we were able to set up palisades, or some other form of obstacles and defenses onto the battlefield prior to field battles.

That said, horse archer-heavy armies would rarely just meet someone on an open field either. They had a clear preference for running battles and making their enemies chase them across the countryside for days in order to spread them out before going on a killing spree. Which the game doesn't let you reproduce either, unless you stupidly decide to retreat and re-engage every five minutes after a battle starts. So... yeah...

Reading this thread I'm starting to think that perhaps a rock-paper-scissors formula is the lesser evil. Can't say I'm a fan, though.
 
LOL. True. True. I say the same thing all the time. People in the modding discord have got to stop inflating their egos everyday and attacking anyone not in their boyz club. They can have all the cool and best looking assets in the world, but at the end of the day their soldiers will just clusterf_ck on the battlefield.

Formation attacks and complex ai tactics are possible. Its just not on taleworld's list of things to do. Think about it. TW was able to change the ai behavior and allowed them to march forward cohesively. Then allow the infantry to engage the enemy while the cavalry does a perfect flank. RBM was able to make the two sides keep a distance while engaged. Enhanced Battle Test was able to allow one to select which unit to attack.

In all fairness to tw, polearms have been improved since release. They just need to keep working at it and they will get it eventually. They would get more done if they made a team that focused on such. Only a few people are needed in such team.
I think main problem with BL modders ATM is that lot of them are self thought, which worked well enough in WB, it works well enough if you stick to making weapons, armors, xml edits etc. However more complex stuff requires coding and in case of Bannerlord we are talking C# which pretty much requires the modder to be legit coder not just enthusiast. So you end up with large pool of people that can make assets but olny a handful of people that can code.
 
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five bucks

Knight
Well in fairness, I don't really consider foot archers to be an actual counter to horse archers, so much as a necessity to stand a fighting chance against them. From what I know in real life, the only truly effective counter for horse archers was more horse archers.
In addition to the practical advantages (much more accuracy, more powerful bows, faster firing and reloading, being a smaller target) that ranged infantry have over ranged cavalry, I'll give some historical examples.

The ancient Persians used archers behind shields to very effectively deal with horse archers. Song and Ming dynasties of China used the crossbow in enormous numbers to repel horse archers, and wrote positively of its effectiveness in military manuals; and Hungary noted the effectiveness of their small numbers of crossbowmen the first time the Mongols invaded them and ravaged their country - so, they hired many crossbowmen (in addition to better armoured knights and more stone castles, which also played a big role) and successfully repelled the invasion the second time around.
Its pretty bold of you to assume that shock troops and pikemen will always be heavily armoured.
Look at the vanilla troop trees, they are usually well armoured in mail. Veteran Falxmen used to be shirtless but TW changed it due to them dying too easily.
And even if they are... well that's not because being a shock troop or pikeman makes you a non counter. Its the armour, and really armour just counters a lot of ****, so its not even relevant to this discussion of counters.
For clarification, I am talking about a scenario where the archer is the same tier as the shock troop. So the archer has a T4 equivalent bow, and the shock troop will have T4 equivalent armour - good padded mail.

In real life padded mail allows you to survive a run across a field under arrow fire, so if armour is changed to work correctly, the shock troop will be able to reach the archer with only minor/medium wounds, and fight him in melee, and have a good chance of winning. If he can do this, he isn't countered.

That's why armour is relevant to the discussion of counters.
I want **** going all sorts of directions.
In practice it probably will. It probably won't be a super clear cut case of every troop matchup that isn't a counter being a 50/50 matchup. There will be minor advantages and disadvantages.

But I think that fixing armour, fixing cav AI, and making a few other minor changes will create a simple counter system of cav>shock>shield>ranged>ranged cav>pikes>cav that provides a starting point for balance and ensures every troop type has a useful role. Then things can get more complex as necessary from there.
As they should be, but archers as they are currently (foot or HA) are just a bit too 'easy' to take advantage with in comparison to melee at the moment.
Ie. In a 'balanced' party of cavalry (+HA), archers, and infantry, it's only the infantry that needs constant replenishing. Which may be true realistically but, for a game, it's only by the player's own intentional 'handicap' (whether for roleplay or otherwise) if they use a party of 100 infantry vs 100 archers (80:20 ratio, etc...). I know it's SP and all that, but IMO, archers still need to be nerfed a bit; however that comes about, for now, we can only discuss until actual tweaks/adjustments do happen.
Agreed.
Agree fire-rate needs to be reduced, quiver quantity is just another 'fine-tuning' element to give a wider range of variety between troop tiers. I have to partially disagree on the point on accuracy; agree that lower tier archers shouldn't be nerfed but Fian champions (or players) should not have the accuracy that they do. I think the main issue with horse archers has more to do with the AI targeting than equipment balancing (same as we have with cavalry in close combat 'wonkiness'); but also the fact that there's only ~4-5 bows to template off of for all faction horse+/archers currently limits any variety between them.
But it feels ridiculous when I'm getting sniped easily through those arrow-loops from an archer ~150 meters away; or that I can reliably and easily headshot troops on battlements ~150 meters. Either the top-tier bow accuracy needs to be toned down slightly a point or two or the AI 'targeting' calculations need adjusting.
Perhaps the issue here is that the archer skill value or bow quality jumps pretty drastically in some cases.
 
In real life padded mail allows you to survive a run across a field under arrow fire, so if armour is changed to work correctly, the shock troop will be able to reach the archer with only minor/medium wounds, and fight him in melee, and have a good chance of winning. If he can do this, he isn't countered.

That's why armour is relevant to the discussion of counters.
Don't the guys in your padded mail source usually have shields and maybe a few visored helmets? If so then yeah, I see why they don't necessarily struggle. I imagine without that sort of protection, you'd get more Harold Godwinsson type scenarios than not.

Still, isn't your little paradigm just going to result in archers being countered by almost everything? Melee cavalry, shield infantry, your shock infantry and pike infantry will more or less have comparable levels of armour. All of them will just straight up run up to an archer and end up killing them with ease more or less.

And then your horse archers aren't really doing much damage either, considering smaller numbers, weaker bows and less accuracy. And considering melee cavalry tends to end up doing quite enough to contend with horse archers, they're just going to be even less useful. So why even bother with a counter to something that's that weak?

I'm all for knocking ranged combat down a notch, but not to the point of uselessness.
 

five bucks

Knight
Don't the guys in your padded mail source usually have shields and maybe a few visored helmets? If so then yeah, I see why they don't necessarily struggle.
Yep, but the source does actually specify that it was the hauberk that was taking arrows without injury. "I saw some with from one to ten arrows sticking in them, and still advancing at their ordinary pace without leaving the ranks."

Also refer to another account from the same source for more confirmation: "...and whilst the Turks were fleeing before him, they (who shoot as well backwards as forwards) would cover him with darts. When he had driven them out of the village, he would pick out the darts that were sticking all over him; and put on his coat-of-arms again..."
I imagine without that sort of protection, you'd get more Harold Godwinsson type scenarios than not.
An off-topic fun fact to interject, modern historians have gone off the "arrow in the eye" story a bit, as it wasn't in the earliest sources recounting the Battle of Hastings (only turning up in versions of the story 200 years later). I learnt this a while ago when discussing cavalry charges here.
Still, isn't your little paradigm just going to result in archers being countered by almost everything? Melee cavalry, shield infantry, your shock infantry and pike infantry will more or less have comparable levels of armour. All of them will just straight up run up to an archer and end up killing them with ease more or less.
For melee cavalry, horse armour should be weaker/less common, to give the archers an opportunity to shoot down the horses while they cycle charge around, as was a major role of theirs in real life. It isn't realistic for the time period to have so much common heavy horse armour anyway. In addition, the way speed bonus works in Bannerlord gives archers a damage bonus against cavalry that are charging directly at them. I'm not a huge fan of this due to its violation of physics, but it does help balance things out as it stands.

For shield infantry, them countering ranged infantry is obviously good. I do think that it would be worth making shields a tiny bit more vulnerable to arrows, to make shield infantry less of a hard counter and be more realistic- I think I've said this in the past. I have also previously suggested reducing the amount of shielded troops in the troop trees and increasing the number of pikemen, to give archers more unshielded targets to shoot at.

For shock infantry and pike infantry, the idea is that armour is balanced so that it is roughly twice as effective as it is now - see my earlier posts in this thread and other threads. The current situation is that a T5 bow takes 4 chest hits to kill T5 armour, which is enough to murder a shieldless troop before he can charge across a field to reach an archer. My proposed change is to roughly double the chest hits to kill, so that a T5 bow would take 7-9 chest hits to kill T5 armour.

This means that by the time shieldless shock/pike infantry reach the archers, depending on how accurate the archers were, they should be still alive, but injured. Somewhere between 25-75% health.

So then you have a fight between a good melee fighter who is injured (shock/pike infantry), and a bad melee fighter who is at full health (archer). Archers would thus neither counter, nor be countered by shieldless troops. They do not counter/be countered by melee cavalry. They only counter horse archers and get countered by shield infantry.
And then your horse archers aren't really doing much damage either, considering smaller numbers, weaker bows and less accuracy
The above mentioned changes in favour of archers will also help horse archers.

The main advantage of ranged cav over ranged inf is that you can charge into melee against ranged inf, but you can't charge into melee against ranged cav. That leaves your only options as "shoot them with ranged weapon", "chase them down", or "hide behind shield until their arrows run out and they have to charge into melee".

Pikemen don't have shields, don't have bows, and can't catch them to force them into melee, so their only option is to hope the horse archers miss enough arrows so they can survive, making horse archers the best counter to pikemen.
And considering melee cavalry tends to end up doing quite enough to contend with horse archers, they're just going to be even less useful.
The solution here is make ranged cavalry less stupid. Currently they are prone to directly charging into melee-based threats they can avoid, unless you tell them to follow you, and circle around the enemy, which makes them get much better results.
 
Yep, but the source does actually specify that it was the hauberk that was taking arrows without injury. "I saw some with from one to ten arrows sticking in them, and still advancing at their ordinary pace without leaving the ranks."

Also refer to another account from the same source for more confirmation: "...and whilst the Turks were fleeing before him, they (who shoot as well backwards as forwards) would cover him with darts. When he had driven them out of the village, he would pick out the darts that were sticking all over him; and put on his coat-of-arms again..."
Again, I imagine that would be because that mailed man's first priority was to hide his head behind a shield.

For melee cavalry, horse armour should be weaker/less common, to give the archers an opportunity to shoot down the horses while they cycle charge around, as was a major role of theirs in real life. It isn't realistic for the time period to have so much common heavy horse armour anyway. In addition, the way speed bonus works in Bannerlord gives archers a damage bonus against cavalry that are charging directly at them. I'm not a huge fan of this due to its violation of physics, but it does help balance things out as it stands.
Look, it isn't realistic to have as many mailed troops as you do in BL, but here we are. And we're talking about changing the game's thing up. No reason to keep the physics nonsense.

For shield infantry, them countering ranged infantry is obviously good. I do think that it would be worth making shields a tiny bit more vulnerable to arrows, to make shield infantry less of a hard counter and be more realistic- I think I've said this in the past. I have also previously suggested reducing the amount of shielded troops in the troop trees and increasing the number of pikemen, to give archers more unshielded targets to shoot at.
Can't say I like the idea of reducing the amount of shield infantry around at all, since that's entirely inauthentic to the period Bannerlord is trying to go for. If I were to take liberties with 'realism', I would rather let archers do decent hurting than to just reduce shielded infantry. That being said I like making shields weaker and actually break, even if it makes them less of a counter.

For shock infantry and pike infantry, the idea is that armour is balanced so that it is roughly twice as effective as it is now - see my earlier posts in this thread and other threads. The current situation is that a T5 bow takes 4 chest hits to kill T5 armour, which is enough to murder a shieldless troop before he can charge across a field to reach an archer. My proposed change is to roughly double the chest hits to kill, so that a T5 bow would take 7-9 chest hits to kill T5 armour.

This means that by the time shieldless shock/pike infantry reach the archers, depending on how accurate the archers were, they should be still alive, but injured. Somewhere between 25-75% health.

So then you have a fight between a good melee fighter who is injured (shock/pike infantry), and a bad melee fighter who is at full health (archer). Archers would thus neither counter, nor be countered by shieldless troops.
Pike infantry suck in actual melee though.

They do not counter/be countered by melee cavalry. They only counter horse archers and get countered by shield infantry.
I really don't see the sense in that. Shielded troops should be relatively safe from archers, but they shouldn't be all that good at actually killing them unless they do happen to get into chopping range... which again is easier said than done since a shieldwall formation makes them slow as molasses.

Melee cavalry on the other hand have speed, impact and whole of killing power. They're practically perfect for running down archers and outright annihilating them. How aren't these guys a hard counter to archers is beyond me.

The solution here is make ranged cavalry less stupid. Currently they are prone to directly charging into melee-based threats they can avoid, unless you tell them to follow you, and circle around the enemy, which makes them get much better results.
I had good success with just throwing melee cavalry against enemy horse archers even when they were crazy smart. Again, they couldn't exactly fight well, but melee cavalry do enough to straight up nullify horse archers while the rest of the army is freer to fight back. Not a hard counter at all, and I do lose the ability to use heavy cavalry, but then they don't get horse archers.
 

five bucks

Knight
Again, I imagine that would be because that mailed man's first priority was to hide his head behind a shield.
Both sources are pretty unambiguous. The men involved have multiple arrows sticking out of their padded mail hauberks, without serious injury. This means they were hit on the body repeatedly.
Look, it isn't realistic to have as many mailed troops as you do in BL, but here we are.
You are correct. But in that instance it's just a question of distribution of tiers (there should be more T2/T3 and less T6), as opposed to what the tiers are equipped with. It's fine that high tier troops wear quality mail, the only issue is that there's a lot of high tier troops.

But with the horse armour it's wrong on both counts. There are both too many high tier troops and in addition, those high tier troops shouldn't even have full horse armour. What I mean by this is that if you look at the Bayeux Tapestry, you'll see lots of unarmoured horses, even for Odo and William. But in Bannerlord, full horse mail shows up at around T4.
And we're talking about changing the game's thing up. No reason to keep the physics nonsense.
I do agree. My point by mentioning that was to show that archers already do fairly well against cav in the current situation. So a buff and a nerf to effectiveness should come close to evening out to what we have now.
Can't say I like the idea of reducing the amount of shield infantry around at all, since that's entirely inauthentic to the period Bannerlord is trying to go for.
https://forums.taleworlds.com/index.php?threads/problems-with-bannerlords-troop-trees-and-solutions well here you can see how I'd do it, I would make a distinction between "proper" shield infantry (large strong shield) and other infantry with smaller backup shields. So shields would still be very common, as accurate to time period, but *good, well protective* shields would be rarer.

One example is the Empire troop tree. Their main infantry unit would change to a pikeman with javelins and a small backup shield (representing the Byzantines' use of the Peltast, who comprised a large part of their armies, and the Kontarion pike). The peltast would diverge to a "proper" shield infantry unit at T3. So still representative of the time period, but less *good* shields.
If I were to take liberties with 'realism', I would rather let archers do decent hurting than to just reduce shielded infantry. That being said I like making shields weaker and actually break, even if it makes them less of a counter.
Yeah it is definitely more realistic for shields to be more easily breakable, considering a handful of arrows sticking out of the front IRL would make them very awkward to use. Right now it takes like 30 arrows to break a shield, I would make it around 25.
Pike infantry suck in actual melee though.
You're right. I've complained about this before. It's due to the fact that AI is bugged attacking with spears/pikes to hit people behind them in their formation interrupting their attack, and also tends to use their ****ty sidearm to fight infantry. Just two of the many things that needs to be fixed. Though their recent armour buffs to Vlandian Pikeman have at least helped a little.
I really don't see the sense in that. Shielded troops should be relatively safe from archers, but they shouldn't be all that good at actually killing them unless they do happen to get into chopping range... which again is easier said than done since a shieldwall formation makes them slow as molasses.

Melee cavalry on the other hand have speed, impact and whole of killing power. They're practically perfect for running down archers and outright annihilating them. How aren't these guys a hard counter to archers is beyond me.
I think it makes logical sense for shield infantry to be the counter to ranged infantry, because out of all troop types they're the best protected, can reach archers almost without injury, and then beat them in melee - unlike every other troop type, who has to take injury on the approach. Shieldwalls are slow, but it's not like field battles have a timer ticking down or anything, so if the archers are unable to injure you on your inoxerable approach to kill them, the speed isn't a big issue.
 
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Ananda_The_Destroyer

Master Knight
I think both melee Cav and shield infantry should be good at anti ranged. I think an actual shield wall should be high protection but rushing shield infantry should still use thier shield better then they do to defend themselves. That said, obviously out positioning should still be an advantage and getting ranged units on 2 or more sides should be trouble for shield units if they aren't in a circle or something. Also it's just plan crap that Cavalry trots slow in SW+charge/advance, we just want them to use their shield and not bob it up and down, come on TW. All this tinkery stuff makes even more convenient to use mostly ranged because just moving infantry and Cav around without them dying is so finicky, you have to put them in lose the move to position then SW or they get shot to death, then loose again if they need to move and so on, it really sucks. Oh di slightly click the wrong spot and they moved too close before putting shields back up? Oh you lost like 10 troops then because they don't know hot to raise thier shield on their own.
 
Both sources are pretty unambiguous. The men involved have multiple arrows sticking out of their padded mail hauberks, without serious injury. This means they were hit on the body repeatedly.
Again, I'm more worried about how they protected their faces. In that era, visored helmets were not all that common, shields were. Shieldless troops running around without visors are in a lot of trouble. Their mailed bodies will be relatively unharmed, but their face will look like a dart board.

You are correct. But in that instance it's just a question of distribution of tiers (there should be more T2/T3 and less T6), as opposed to what the tiers are equipped with. It's fine that high tier troops wear quality mail, the only issue is that there's a lot of high tier troops.
The only way to really solve this is to go the VC route of making troops REALLY hard to actually upgrade. Either that, or De Ri Militari styled troops.

But with the horse armour it's wrong on both counts. There are both too many high tier troops and in addition, those high tier troops shouldn't even have full horse armour. What I mean by this is that if you look at the Bayeux Tapestry, you'll see lots of unarmoured horses, even for Odo and William. But in Bannerlord, full horse mail shows up at around T4.
Sure. I could be wrong though, but I can't help but think that horses aren't so fragile, and they aren't entirely easy to hit. And by the time they are, archers are usually ****ed.

https://forums.taleworlds.com/index...roop-trees-and-solutions.448355/#post-9768096 well here you can see how I'd do it, I would make a distinction between "proper" shield infantry (large strong shield) and other infantry with smaller backup shields. So shields would still be very common, as accurate to time period, but *good, well protective* shields would be rarer.
Maybe, but I really can't help but think that the predominant style of shield of this era were pretty much big protective ones. That's ignoring

One example is the Empire troop tree. Their main infantry unit would change to a pikeman with javelins and a small backup shield (representing the Byzantines' use of the Peltast, who comprised a large part of their armies, and the Kontarion pike). The peltast would diverge to a "proper" shield infantry unit at T3. So still representative of the time period, but less *good* shields.
Pike and javelin really doesn't work with me at all, they both come across as weapons at odds with one another. A pike is for tight, relatively static formations while javelins are more of a thing for skirmishers and shock troops. But that's nitpicking, and I still can't jive with the idea of reducing the overall amount of shields in the game for something that looks really wrong in my eyes.

You're right. I've complained about this before. It's due to the fact that AI is bugged attacking with spears/pikes to hit people behind them in their formation interrupting their attack, and also tends to use their ****ty sidearm to fight infantry. Just two of the many things that needs to be fixed. Though their recent armour buffs to Vlandian Pikeman have at least helped a little.
I mean there's all sorts of things going into it, but I don't recall pike infantry were necessarily good at actually killing other infantry. Their main tool is defence and being really hard to budge or kill, not actually doing any killing. In pike and shot warfare, they had gunners and arbalests for that. What usually happened otherwise was pikemen were just one element of a combined arms affair.

And pikes are not as dominant as spears in a duelling stand point. Nowhere near as quick or nimble, and its not nearly as easy to shorten the point. They reach for sure... but so do archers.

I think it makes logical sense for shield infantry to be the counter to ranged infantry, because out of all troop types they're the best protected, can reach archers almost without injury, and then beat them in melee - unlike every other troop type, who has to take injury on the approach. Shieldwalls are slow, but it's not like field battles have a timer ticking down or anything, so if the archers are unable to injure you on your inoxerable approach to kill them, the speed isn't a big issue.
Gonna have to agree to disagree then. I'm never ever worried about shield troops for my archers. Cavalry are the always the biggest threat to them.
 

five bucks

Knight
Again, I'm more worried about how they protected their faces. In that era, visored helmets were not all that common, shields were. Shieldless troops running around without visors are in a lot of trouble. Their mailed bodies will be relatively unharmed, but their face will look like a dart board.
Right, I see. In that instance, the actual face was quite a small target. You could be hit on the top of your head on the helmet, or on the side of your head on the coif. Bannerlord deals with this by abstraction, counting the protected and unprotected areas of the head as the same and giving armour bonus for head area but also giving a damage bonus for headshots. Most shots land on the body, I'd say about 1 in 6 shots (that don't miss entirely) are headshots at T5-T6 accuracy.
The only way to really solve this is to go the VC route of making troops REALLY hard to actually upgrade.
I'd be happy enough reducing the number of elite recruit-giving notables in castle villages.
Pike and javelin really doesn't work with me at all, they both come across as weapons at odds with one another. A pike is for tight, relatively static formations while javelins are more of a thing for skirmishers and shock troops. But that's nitpicking, and I still can't jive with the idea of reducing the overall amount of shields in the game for something that looks really wrong in my eyes.
It was a real thing - Byzantine peltasts carried a spear of over 2.4m length, as well as javelins. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peltast#Medieval_Byzantine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_army_(Komnenian_era)#Peltasts
I mean there's all sorts of things going into it, but I don't recall pike infantry were necessarily good at actually killing other infantry. Their main tool is defence and being really hard to budge or kill, not actually doing any killing. In pike and shot warfare, they had gunners and arbalests for that. What usually happened otherwise was pikemen were just one element of a combined arms affair.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Push_of_pike Pikemen were used offensively to great effect. They could charge enemy infantry with pikes leveled. And kill them. Even in very close quarters one could use one's sidearm, which Bannerlord pikemen have. William Wallace used the pike schiltron offensively, sometimes to great effect against English cavalry.

Particularly notable was the Swiss pike square, which defeated competent combined arms forces in an offensive role, despite being only made up of pikemen who were only armed with pikes, with no archer support.

In addition, you can look at Alexander the Great's army, who had no gunners or arbalests. Although they were supported by cavalry and peltasts, the main fighting unit was the phalangite, who used the long sarissa pike in phalanx formation, definitely for killing and attacking.

Even if you aren't convinced by all this, at the very least it should be reasonable to say that pikemen should have better armour and melee fighting skills than ranged infantry, and so have a good advantage there.
Gonna have to agree to disagree then. I'm never ever worried about shield troops for my archers. Cavalry are the always the biggest threat to them.

Sure. I could be wrong though, but I can't help but think that horses aren't so fragile, and they aren't entirely easy to hit. And by the time they are, archers are usually ****ed.
Well, after this productive discussion and thinking about it more, you're beginning to change my mind. It takes a lot to justify archers not dying when charged by cav without someone to defend them, if we work under the assumption that Taleworlds fixes cavalry AI, and makes the speed bonus not defy physics. I guess melee cavalry could be a soft counter to ranged infantry in addition to shock infantry, and ranged cavalry could be a soft counter to shock infantry in addition to pike infantry.

After all, both types of cavalry are rarer and more expensive than other troop types, which means that ranged/pike/shock infantry will not face them *too* often, so being countered twice is not as bad; and their higher cost justifies countering two different things where other troop types only counter one.

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Right, I see. In that instance, the actual face was quite a small target. You could be hit on the top of your head on the helmet, or on the side of your head on the coif. Bannerlord deals with this by abstraction, counting the protected and unprotected areas of the head as the same and giving armour bonus for head area but also giving a damage bonus for headshots. Most shots land on the body, I'd say about 1 in 6 shots (that don't miss entirely) are headshots at T5-T6 accuracy.
Its the further away you are, but when you start getting closer and closer the odds get worse. And well, I'd be pretty damn sad if an arrow punched right through my mouth. So yeah it probably won't happen as much as you'd think, but I don't think anyone is going to be happy to run into volleys without a shield or visor. All in all, a bad time for your given early medieval warrior without their shield.

I'd be happy enough reducing the number of elite recruit-giving notables in castle villages.
Yeah, too many damn noble troops around, its stupid. Never understood the complaints about not having enough of them. Now they're everywhere and they end up becoming mainstay troops as opposed to an elite reserve.

But to me that's not even enough. I want to go as far as to make Imperial Legionaries rare. If I had my way, the majority of the average player's army would be T3, and they will weep at the loss of even a single T5.

It was a real thing - Byzantine peltasts carried a spear of over 2.4m length, as well as javelins. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peltast#Medieval_Byzantine https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_army_(Komnenian_era)#Peltasts
Reading your sources and they do mention that 'peltasts' did run around with shorter versions of 2.4m kontarion spears. Emphasis on shorter though, so I'm not seeing pikemen but rather your dime in a dozen javelineer. Longer spears than usual maybe, but not pikes.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_army_(Komnenian_era)#Peltasts
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Push_of_pike Pikemen were used offensively to great effect. They could charge enemy infantry with pikes leveled. And kill them. Even in very close quarters one could use one's sidearm, which Bannerlord pikemen have. William Wallace used the pike schiltron offensively, sometimes to great effect against English cavalry.

Particularly notable was the Swiss pike square, which defeated competent combined arms forces in an offensive role, despite being only made up of pikemen who were only armed with pikes, with no archer support.
Well there are exceptions of course, the majority of the time, pikes did not really operate that way. But I'll tell you what, I would be amused to see charging pikemen be a thing for troops with enough athletics now lol. Especially for Battania.

In addition, you can look at Alexander the Great's army, who had no gunners or arbalests. Although they were supported by cavalry and peltasts, the main fighting unit was the phalangite, who used the long sarissa pike in phalanx formation, definitely for killing and attacking.
Not the way I understood it. Phalanx guys can kill dudes, but that wasn't their job at all. Their job was to pin the enemy formation down and keep them in place for Alexander's cavalry, the real killers. Hence the 'hammer and anvil' expression. Pikes were the anvil, cavalry the hammer.

Even if you aren't convinced by all this, at the very least it should be reasonable to say that pikemen should have better armour and melee fighting skills than ranged infantry, and so have a good advantage there.
I'll admit this much yes, unless the archers are uniquely capable of melee combat due to shields, skills or armour.

Well, after this productive discussion and thinking about it more, you're beginning to change my mind. It takes a lot to justify archers not dying when charged by cav without someone to defend them, if we work under the assumption that Taleworlds fixes cavalry AI, and makes the speed bonus not defy physics. I guess melee cavalry could be a soft counter to ranged infantry in addition to shock infantry, and ranged cavalry could be a soft counter to shock infantry in addition to pike infantry.

After all, both types of cavalry are rarer and more expensive than other troop types, which means that ranged/pike/shock infantry will not face them *too* often, so being countered twice is not as bad; and their higher cost justifies countering two different things where other troop types only counter one.

QplZzr5.jpg
I'll be content with this much, so long as its not absolute (which tbf you don't want it to be). Again, shock/pikes will not have much fun going after archers, melee cav can absolutely get splattered if they get tied up in one place and hit by shock troops and etc etc. Good chart though otherwise.

I suppose more troop types can be fitted in. Not too sure which. And it gets messier when you talk about hybrid troops too.
 
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