Faction flavor (aesthetics and gameplay)

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CaNpoG

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I feel that on paper, the factions are very interesting in bannerlord. It IMO strikes a fine balance between having completely new factions and having something familiar from Warband (and naturally the original M&B, having the same factions apart from sarranids added in Warband). In multiplayer though, the flavor feels lacking. Of course there are issues on balancing that have to be adressed by the devs, and having similar troops across the board obviously makes it easier to balance factions.
Having that said, here are some faction changes I think would make the multiplayer more interesting:

- Aserai-
Aserai are about having effective archers and skirmishers and otherwise a strong, balanced army at the cost of having lighter armor.


- Make skirmishers better (I've made a thread about it recently)
- Make aserai troops faster to compensate for the lack of armor, and have the veteran class have less armor.

This would solidify the Aserai as being about ranged and mobility and having infantry and cavalry as a strong support role.

-Battania-

I feel like Battania would be very similar to Aserai, but focusing on infantry more than cavalry. Changes I would make would be:

- Replace heavier wildlings with something like woodrunners from SP. Lighter skirmisher troops for flanking. Battania already has Clan warriors, oathsworn and savages to fight in melee.
- Oathsworn armor doesn't need to be so tanky.
- Make the light troops (CW, savage, the new woodrunners) faster

Battania would have more flavor if it fit the celtic barbarian rush/flanking/ambush faction type described when the factions where announced.

- Empire-
Now the empire feels like it needs something more. They just need flavor and some changes to not be like every other faction in the game.

- Remove the recruits and make them something like the "Light infantry" there was in the earlier versions of MP. Give them a decent shield, swords, spears and a pilum. They would also have a very empire-y leather cuirass with straps with about 20 armor.
- Remove the palatine archers and instead move the "skirmisher role" from recruits to a new troop: Velite (I believe it was also earlier in the game). The velite would be a dedicated low armor javelineer class. The outfit would look a bit like *this* (which was a suggestion made on the recruit troop earlier.

Also make the menavlions overhead/thrust weapons. I've never kinda felt the need for a shock infantry troop for the empire. Especially if it had other strenghts.

-Khuzaits-
The Khuzaits are obviously a cavalry-focused faction. They don't need to have archers with heavy armor and 2-handed polearms that cleave the enemy heavy infantry into oblivion. Their infantry should be very mediocre at best.

- I kinda like what the spear inf is supposed to do, but they seem to go toe-to-toe with other cultures' heavy infantry troops which is rediculous. They should be the battle line that protects archers and is the anvil to the Khuzaits superior cavalry hammer. Now they have just way too much hitting power with their heavy armors.
- Rabble are too strong in melee with their clubs and shields, especially in captain where they have so many troops. Lower armor to maybe 3 and give them very short swords and spears/pikes to solidify them as cannonfodder and support inf.
- The khan's guard have too much armor and the glaives are rediculous. Nuff said.
I have very mixed feelings about the glaives on lancers. They make the lancers very powerful, which is good, but they feel a bit too strong. The horse archers need to be able to shoot accurately while moving. Otherwise they're just trash and the Khuzaits lose one of their key units.

-Sturgia-
Sturgia should be the strongest infantry faction head-on. Unlike the for example the empire, who's legionaries and light infantry would have throwing spears and other supporting units for them, Sturgian infantry should be just either heavy armored beasts with big shields and lots of hp or the quick berserkers who cleave apart the enemies with their 2 handers. I feel like it needs a more nordic vibe to it opposed by what feels like the predominantly slavic appearance now.

- Change the varyags back to look more nordic by giving them a "valsgarde" or "goggled" helmet and maybe change the name to something along the lines of Huscarl or skolderbrot (from SP). Give it high hp and very heavy armor. Give them a short, strong axe + big shield to make it dominate in a head-on fight. OR a 2 handed great axe. This would make them THE elite heavy infantry of the game. They could have fewer troops but would be so strong it wouldn't matter. In skirmish, make it a lot more expensive to compensate. Also this would be the only slow "shock" infantry in the game when using the 2-hander.
- Change the warriors to the spear wielding supporting light infantry of the Sturgians. They could have a more slavic feel along with the hunters.
- Take away the 2-handers from hunters.
- Maybe do something with the skirmisher class (can't even remember the name because it's so boring, outlaw?) it's clearly there so that all factions could have mostly the same troops. Just no.
- Make berserkers a bit faster, and make them swing faster.

Sturgia feels like it's lacking in the infantry game and revolves around using the warrior + improved armor + 2-hander combo (which feels unintended) to win with mass rush. It's just either rush with mass peasant infantry with 2-handers or lose miserably. No flavor.

-Vlandia-
They should be kinda like the reverse Aserai. Slower with more heavy armor, and strong all around. Also, having the infantry be defensive more than offensive feels right. Protecting crossbowmen and acting as an anvil to knights.

- Blood for the blood god, peasants for the harvesting season! Peasants are kinda ok IMO, but they kill the heavy infantry troops a bit too easily with the hammers. Maybe give them sicles and pichforks only to counter enemy cav in a mass wall and be good melee-fodder.
- I like sergeants, but maybe give them more of a close-quarters fighter/defender role. Maybe more armor but less damage. Remove spears from them.
- Convert voulgiers to pikemen. Why does every faction need a shock infantry troop? Doesn't fit the vlandians IMO. Pikemen could have heavier armor and long pikes, spears or awlpikes. Maybe add a perk to get a poleaxe or halberd. Also make the bots be able to brace pikes in say, the shield wall formation.
- The knights are problematic. They should be really strong, but I don't know how to make them stronger, especially in captain where the limitation seems to be AI. Don't get me wrong, they are quite strong already, but will lose to lancers with glaives. This is especially a problem if *deep inhale* ramboing isn't solved (many threads on it already pointing out it has been done in Warband/NW).

Closing words and an unpopular opinion:
I actually really like the class system, it just needs to have variety built in to differentiate the classes.
Tbh saying that "Warband had meaninful customization" in multiplayer is a bit of a stretch.
We literally just had a couple different armor and weapons to choose from, and 99% of the time if you were actually trying on a battle/siege server, you would choose the exact same ones always.
And for messing around in DM or duel you would have a 2-hander with no armor like any self-respecting Warband veteran would. When I want meaningful customization, I go to Mercenaries mod or cRPG, from which I know cRPG is being made for Bannerlord too.
With that being said, I would also be ok with having the Warband system for certain modes (like duel or dm), but for skirmish and especially captain I feel like the class system is better.
 
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