Faction Troop Trees - an analysis as of 1.5

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Anushtegin

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this thread is supposed to compare and contrast the various troop trees and how they work. the aim is to improve the logic and consistency of troop upgrades and balancign within and between factions.

first off, the aserai:

general outline:
the aserai begin with the recruit. it then branches off into two near-identical footsoldiers with shields. the tribesman in turn branches off into a ranged and a melee footsoldiers, the mameluke soldier branches off into a horse and foot branch with 2-handed poleaxe(?). the noble line is a horse lancer/javelin skirmisher.

the good:
  • the aserai can get a horseman by tier 3 (mameluke regular). their noble unit also starts out mounted. their armies generally never lack horsemen.
the bad:
  • as said, the two tier 2 upgrades are near identical in equipment, givign them less variation early on. also, without checking the encyclopedia first, you will have no idea which one branches off into a ranged unit and which one branches off into a horseman
  • the aserai, like the khuzaites, only have four different tier 5 troops in the regular branch as opposed to five for all other factions
  • the aserai are the only faction not to get missile troops with tier 2, and only get a long-ranged missile unit with their tier 4 foot and horse archers
the ugly:
  • the ranged footmen starts out with javelins, but further upgrades make them archers. conversely, the melee footmen get javelins upon reaching tier 5. this is inconsistent
  • similarly, the tier 3 horseman starts out a lancer, but the upgrades make them horse archers and losign their lances. this is also inconsistent

battania:

general outline:
the battanians begin with the volunteer. it then branches out into a heavy footman and a light footman, i suppose. the heavy footman then branches into a spear & shield footman and a horseman. the light footman branches into a polesword footman and a javelin skirmisher, which in turn branches into a foot and horse variant. the noble line is a foot archer/2H footman.

the good:
  • the battanians have five different types of tier 5 regular troops
  • the battanians get horsemen by tier 4 and can get a horse skirmisher by tier 5 as well. their armies generally have more horsemen than you would expect
  • the battanians get the cheapest noble line, as they do not require a war horse to upgrade to tier 6.
the bad:
  • the battanian armies generally have very few archers, due to them beign locked into their noble line. their noble line is also the only one that is not eventually mounted.
the ugly:
  • the tier 5 heavy spearman with shield gets javelins, making them near identical to the tier 5 foot skirmisher

the empire:

general outline:
the empire starts out with the recruit. it then branches off into a melee and ranged footman. the melee footman branches off into a swordsman with shield and javelin/spear and a poleswordsman. the ranged footman branches into an archer and a crossbowman. the archer finally branches into a foot archer and horse archer. their noble line is a heavy lancer.

the good:
  • the empire gets five different tier 5 regular troops
the bad:
  • their noble line starts out on foot and only gets a horse by tier 3. outside of their noble line, the empire factions can only get horsemen by reachign tier 5(!). consequently, their armies have significantly less horsemen than they should have
  • the empire as well as sturgia have the most expensive noble line, requiring both a horse as well as a war horse to upgrade to tier 6
the ugly:
  • the empire has both archers and crossbowmen, givign their armies more firepower than say the battanians.

khuzaites:

general outline:
the khuzaites start out with the nomad. it then immediately branches out radically into a horse archer and footman. the horse archer in turn branches into further horse archers and lancer line. the footman branches into archers and heavy foot. their noble line is a horse archer with glaive.

the good:
  • the khuzaites get horsemen earlier than anyone else, save for noble troops, and half their regular troops plus their noble line is mounted. their armies consequently have the most horsemen and are also the fastest.
the bad:
  • the khuzaites, like the aserai, only have four different regular tier 5 troops.
the ugly:
  • the tier 2 ranged/mounted upgrade is significantly better than the tier 2 foot.

sturgia:

general outline:
the sturgians start out with the recruit. it then branches off into a melee and a ranged footman. the melee footman branches off into a spear and shield-armed footman and a 2 handed axeman. the spear and shield footman further branches off to a poleswordsman(?) and a final spear and shield footman. the ranged footman branches into a javelin skirmisher and an archer line. the noble line is a heavy spearman/lancer with shield.

the good:
  • the sturgians get five different tier 5 regular troops
the bad:
  • the sturgians get horsemen no sonner than tier 4 in their regular branch, and tier 5 in their noble line.
  • sturgia like the empire have the most expensive noble line, requiring both a horse as well as a war horse to upgrade to tier 6
the ugly:
  • the final skirmisher (javelin) upgrade is exclusively mounted. the heaviest footman with javelins is in an entirely different branch (melee -> spear & shield). this is better solved in the battanian troop tree, where the final skirmisher upgrade lets you decide between a footman and a horseman.
  • sturgia get their first long-ranged missile unit with tier 3 (foot archer)

finally, vlandia:

general outline:
the vlandians recruit branches off into a ranged (crossboman) and a melee footman. the melee footman branches off into a spearman and a swordsman. the spearman ultimately branches off into a billman and a pikeman. the swordsman branches off into a cavalryman and a footman with sword. their noble line is a heavy lancer.

the good:
  • their noble line starts out on horse
  • they have five different tier 5 regular troops
the ugly:
  • the vlandians get horsemen by tier 2 in their noble line but only by tier 4 in their regular line. this seems slightly inconsistent.

bonus! mercenaries:

general outline:
the mercenaries start out with the watchman. the watchman branches off into footmen and horsemen. the footmen further branch into melee (swordsmen with shield) and ranged (crossbowmen). there is obviously no noble line.


conclusions and recommendations:

the aserai and khuzaites are limited by havign only five final upgrades as opposed to six for everyoen else. the aserai's troop tree needs soem significant love. the branching off into the aserai tribesman and the mameluk soldier is arbitrary and limits gameplay. there should be five branches + noble line: foot archer, foot skirmisher, horse skirmisher, lancer, horse archer and spearman. currently, the noble line already doubles as lancer and skirmisher, which is perhaps a bit unfortunate.

for the battanians, the radical thing to do would be to make the noble line 2H swordsmen/heavy cavalrymen, and the archers move into the regular troop tree. i know this will be unpopular, but it doesn't make much sense for noblemen to be archers and not horsemen who can only afford horses. at least the tier 5 spearman with shield and javelin skirmisher should be more different.

the empire is seriously lackign in cavalry, period. for one, there's no reason the vigla recruit starts on foot. second, there's no real reason to have near identical archers and crossbowmen. it would be best if the archers already get a horse by tier 4, not tier 5.

the khuzaites have only two shortcomings: they have only five different final upgrades (incl noble line) and the difference in quality between the two tier 2 upgrades. they should ultimately have the followign setup: horse archer, lancer/glaive?, spearman, skirmisher, foot archer, horse skrimisher. i'm, not sure how to retool the troop tree, but getting from raw recruit to horse archer with one upgrade, jumping perhaps a foot archer upgrade seems excessive. plus they already can get a tier 2 horse archer with their noble troop tree right now.

sturgians, i don't really have much to say. their noble line should maybe get a horse with tier 4 already, or even earlier than that. maybe also look into switchign up the foot skirmisher/mounted skirmisher upgrade that is better done in the battanian troop tree.

vlandians seem alright. they could maybe look into givign the regular troops a tier 3 horseman already.

mercenaries are too "western", which is in itself not an issue. but right now, there are no mercenary horse archers, even though they were common mercenaries in the middle ages. it would also add some flavor to add black (nubian) spearman, archers, maybe light horsemen exclusively to spawn in aserai town taverns. also, maybe too radical of a change, but i'd also like to see mameluks not in the regular aserai troop tree but recruitable as mercenaries in taverns. turkish mameluks were obviously not recruited from north african and levantine towns and villages but from captured slaves that were sold on slave markets in egypt. so havign mameluks recruited from slavers in taverns makes the most sense. generally, westerners were not the only mercenaries on the market and the current mercenaries don't fit in well with aserai and khuzaites.

bonus suggestion: vlandian and empire ranged militia troops should have crossbows, not bows. the crossbow was easier to handle than bows and required less training, more fittign of militias.

thoughts and further suggestions are welcome!
 
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Slithy

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Going to go through more thoroughly later.

Initial thoughts after a partial read:

Good to see in depth analysis.

I somewhat disagree on Aserai. I think their troops tree is quite good with the big handicap being the skirmisher -> archer upgrade. Khuzaits I think are in a great place in terms of troop tree.

I also would like to challenge the premise of making the trees too similar. I think stuff like bottlenecks at certain points and different t5 counts change army compositions a good deal in a way that is good. That isn't to say that stuff doesn't need fixing or balancing.

Oh and Vlandian militia already had crossbows in 1.5 AFAIK.
 

NLCRich

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Yea.. If anything I think the Sturgians could use an upgrade somewhere in their tree, but other than that I Iike the differences in the trees.

I definitely would be against changing the battanian noble troop. The lack of noble horsemen is made up for by both the skirmisher and an infantry tree being able to end in horseman. Sometimes in a well upgraded battanian army I have faced as many horses as I'd normally see in Khuzaits for this reason. Other than that, Battanian noble archers pwn and honestly are more effective even than the noble cavalry. This is an advantage for battanians, not a disadvantage. However, I do feel like they could still use an archer somewhere in their tree other than the noble troop.

Other than that, honestly I think the other trees are very good and I like the differences and personally, I don't think they need many changes. I am against changing the Khuzait troop tree to make them less OP. Instead, a balance should be made elsewhere, such as starting upgrades to the castles bordering them and/or changes to how mounted troops affect the auto-calc situation. Also, their equipment as you mentioned in some cases, can be altered to provide better balance.

But as far as the types of troops honestly I like them all except Sturgia. I just don't feel like they have a strong enough infantry unit to make up for the lack of cavalry. They should have an infantry unit in my opinion, that is OP compared to other factions, and they just don't. There are really no bonuses to Sturgia, or in using their troops.
 

nereid

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Yea.. If anything I think the Sturgians could use an upgrade somewhere in their tree, but other than that I Iike the differences in the trees.

I definitely would be against changing the battanian noble troop. The lack of noble horsemen is made up for by both the skirmisher and an infantry tree being able to end in horseman. Sometimes in a well upgraded battanian army I have faced as many horses as I'd normally see in Khuzaits for this reason. Other than that, Battanian noble archers pwn and honestly are more effective even than the noble cavalry. This is an advantage for battanians, not a disadvantage. However, I do feel like they could still use an archer somewhere in their tree other than the noble troop.

Other than that, honestly I think the other trees are very good and I like the differences and personally, I don't think they need many changes. I am against changing the Khuzait troop tree to make them less OP. Instead, a balance should be made elsewhere, such as starting upgrades to the castles bordering them and/or changes to how mounted troops affect the auto-calc situation. Also, their equipment as you mentioned in some cases, can be altered to provide better balance.

But as far as the types of troops honestly I like them all except Sturgia. I just don't feel like they have a strong enough infantry unit to make up for the lack of cavalry. They should have an infantry unit in my opinion, that is OP compared to other factions, and they just don't. There are really no bonuses to Sturgia, or in using their troops.
Although I have the feeling that Fians are more available than Cataphracts or Druzhinik for example. It may also be that the Battanian area is quite condensed and you can quickly gather a lot of them without any problems.
 

Anushtegin

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i made a small update to my OP above to further illustrate my issues with the aserai and added a similar bullet point to sturgia.

to quickly summarize my issues with the aserai again:
  • their two tier 2 units are nearly identical (their recruit and tier 2 tribesman also look virtually identical for soem reason)
  • they get their first long-ranged missile troops no sooner than tier 4 for both foot and horse archer. an unlike sturgia, they don't even get a javelin skirmisher with tier 2.
  • the aserai have a weird, non-linear upgrade progression (skirmisher to archer, melee foot to javelin, melee horse to ranged horse)
  • (subjective) the aserai are too similar to sarranids and mamelukes are too prominent and should not be recruitable from aserai villages
about battania: my idea is precisely to make archers more common and horsemen less common. so i don't propose a nerf but quiet the contrary. i also personally think a heavy horseman wieldign a two handed sword from horseback would be cool.

about khuzaites: i don't really want to nerf them. i also think they should not lose their general characteristic as horse (archer) heavy armies. i also think they're better nerfed by either removing a clan or two (the opposite of what they did with vlandia) or makign them suck in sieges, both offensively and defensively. they should absolutely dominate the battlefield in non-wooded areas.

that said, their regular tier 2 horse archers is significantly better than any other tier 2 troops save for noble troops, of whcih they also get yet another tier 2 horse archer. the khuzaite nomad should perhaps either upgrade to foot archer and melee foot, or melee horseman and melee footman with the first regular horse archer only comign in at tier 3. note taht they would still get their tier 2 horse archer via the noble line.

about buffing sturgia. i thought about this too, but i'm not yet sure which way to go. i'm toying with the idea of giving them a tier 5 horse archer as final archer upgrade, or addign bow and arrow to the tier 5 and 6 druzhinnik. however, adding a bow would inevitably come at the cost of their effectiveness in the cavalry charge, assumign they'd lose their lance and not the sword, which would make them suck too much when dismounted, like in sieges.

i'm not sure when exactly crossbows were used in scandinavia and eastern europe, and i don't think that would really make much of a difference to their effectiveness anyways. but maybe crossbows for their ranged milita could be an option.
 

Olympeus

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battania:

general outline:
the battanians begin with the volunteer. it then branches out into a heavy footman and a light footman, i suppose. the heavy footman then branches into a spear & shield footman and a horseman. the light footman branches into a polesword footman and a javelin skirmisher, which in turn branches into a foot and horse variant. the noble line is a foot archer/2H footman.

the good:
  • the battanians have five different types of tier 5 regular troops
  • the battanians get horsemen by tier 4 and can get a horse skirmisher by tier 5 as well. their armies generally have more horsemen than you would expect
the bad:
  • the battanian armies generally have very few archers, due to them beign locked into their noble line. their noble line is also the only one that is not eventually mounted.
Battanian NPC armies may contain very few archers because of how the troop tree is structured. However for player-led armies the evaluation of the troop tree starts and ends with the Battanian Fian Champion which is easily the strongest unit in the game.

The only archer I carry in any of my armies is the Fian Champion. I donate the rest of the archers out to my allies.

My usual army comp is around 40% archers 40% infantry and 20% cavalry. I keep the cavalry for speed bonus. I keep the infantry so I don't feel like I'm cheesing the game too hard (and for sieges). The archers do all the heavy lifting and even at only 40% of my total troop count the Fian Champions wreck everything in the game.

I find the troop tree diverse but horribly bloated because some troops are so vastly superior to others. You don't really need to invest in any other kind of troops unless it's just for fun or for role playing reasons, both of which are perfectly valid reasons to do so. But using troops other than archers doesn't convey any in-game benefit.

Also Infantry without a shield is a joke compared to any type or tier of Infantry with a shield (probably because archers are so OP).

And Infantry with a shield and javelin or shield and pila are vastly superior to any other type or tier of infantry.

And all melee cavalry is generally useless except as a clean-up crew.

Javelin cav is good (Aseri Nobles?) in some sense because they will ride up to the infantry and decimate them with javelins and then ride away. After that they become melee cav and are garbo.

I've heard horse archers are good but I don't bother with them because their AI behavior is to ride into the enemy and die. I'd rather not micromanage them (I play Starcraft 2 competitively if I want to micro units with no brain of their own).

If they can get a paper, rock, scissors type of balance into their troop tree it will be great because it has the potential to be very diverse and would be fun to have equally viable and powerful types of armies. Right now the archers are the rock and everything else is a pair of scissors.
 

nereid

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I've heard horse archers are good but I don't bother with them because their AI behavior is to ride into the enemy and die. I'd rather not micromanage them (I play Starcraft 2 competitively if I want to micro units with no brain of their own).
Why do you have to micro manage the horse archers? Usually just pressing "charge" is enough that they will circle the enemy troops and do their thing without any hassle.
 

Olympeus

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Here is what some of the diversity I would like to see in the troop tiers.

Battania
Archers - leave as is (confined to nobles)
Infantry - Only 1 troop (Falxman) advance to tier 6. The reset are capped at tier 5.
Horse - they get a tier 2 and 3 horse. That's it.

Sturgia
Archers - capped at tier 4.
Infantry - leave as is. All 3 lines can advance to tier 6.
Horse - capped at tier 5.

Empire
Archers - 2 lines and both capped at tier 5
Infantry - 2 lines and both capped at tier 5
Horse - 2 lines and both capped at tier 6 (leave as is).

Khuzait
Archers - 1 line and capped at 3
Infantry - 2 lines and capped at 4
Horse - 3 lies and capped at 6

Anyway you get the idea. Every faction should have access to 6 or 7 troop types, but there is no reason that every troop type for every faction should advance to tier 6.

Each faction would have 2 or 3 at most troop types that advance to tier 6. (Hell you can even make a tier 7 troop type for each faction). Every other troop type would be capped at tier 2 or 3 or 4 (maybe 5).

This will give the factions much more distinct flavor than what we have today where every faction has a tier 6 troop of every type and they are all basically the same.
 

Olympeus

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Why do you have to micro manage the horse archers? Usually just pressing "charge" is enough that they will circle the enemy troops and do their thing without any hassle.
your horse archers are smarter than mine. I press charge and they run into spear lines. You must have an upgraded account
 

AnandaShanti

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Why do you have to micro manage the horse archers? Usually just pressing "charge" is enough that they will circle the enemy troops and do their thing without any hassle.
in 1.4.3 and earlier version charging Horse archer worked perfectly, they circled wide and avoided enemies until out of arrows.

in 1.5 and 1.5.1 they don't go as wide and some time change directions at bad times. In short they are more risky on charge and get killed more. Their general performance is worse too, but still good (better then Cav).
 

svelok

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If they can get a paper, rock, scissors type of balance into their troop tree it will be great because it has the potential to be very diverse and would be fun to have equally viable and powerful types of armies. Right now the archers are the rock and everything else is a pair of scissors.
I don't disagree about archers (esp fians) overshadowing everything in SP, but the AI doesn't build the sort of monotype armies players tend towards. If the counter to archers was, ex, heavy cavalry; that wouldn't super matter because the player would still pick up 40% archers while the AI runs their usual mishmash of units with 5-10% heavy cav tops - it's not as though you run the risk of hitting an oops all heavy cav AI party, forcing you to build more diverse forces.

I'd like to see that expanded - it could be cool to have AI traits influence their preferred army structure, and at a basic level should be easy to do (just manipulate their promotion odds away from a dice roll based on unit type of promotion targets). But unless taken to the absolute extreme, at which point it becomes self defeating, it wouldn't really do anything to reign in the player from monobuilding.
 

HalfMetalJacket

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I don’t think every faction in the game needs five common end units in total. Narrower troop trees can make for a good weakness in factions. Less for the Aserai since their troops are versatile, more so for the Khuzaits who are the best faction.

I don’t think limited access to foot/mounted archers for the Aserai is particular, so long as their t5 is worth it. Which they sort of are? With how strong Palatine Guards can be now, Aserai Master Archers aren’t as desirable. Mameluke Heavy Cavalry on the other hand were great units, even with the loss of their OP noble bows. With how poorly cavalry fight now though, not so much.

I definitely would be against changing the battanian noble troop. The lack of noble horsemen is made up for by both the skirmisher and an infantry tree being able to end in horseman. Sometimes in a well upgraded battanian army I have faced as many horses as I'd normally see in Khuzaits for this reason. Other than that, Battanian noble archers pwn and honestly are more effective even than the noble cavalry. This is an advantage for battanians, not a disadvantage. However, I do feel like they could still use an archer somewhere in their tree other than the noble troop.
See, I am quite against this personally. Nothing about Battanian lore states that they should have as many cavalry as they do, while having so few archers. Its supposed to be the other way around. And Battanian cavalry suck, so that hurts them against players. Their Fian Champs are strong, and I kind of dislike that they're the obvious best archer. There's no room for any other ranged unit in the game, at least so long as the castle forest bandit exploit exists. I do wish there were common archers too though.

I find the troop tree diverse but horribly bloated because some troops are so vastly superior to others. You don't really need to invest in any other kind of troops unless it's just for fun or for role playing reasons, both of which are perfectly valid reasons to do so. But using troops other than archers doesn't convey any in-game benefit.

Also Infantry without a shield is a joke compared to any type or tier of Infantry with a shield (probably because archers are so OP).

And Infantry with a shield and javelin or shield and pila are vastly superior to any other type or tier of infantry.

And all melee cavalry is generally useless except as a clean-up crew.

Javelin cav is good (Aseri Nobles?) in some sense because they will ride up to the infantry and decimate them with javelins and then ride away. After that they become melee cav and are garbo.

I've heard horse archers are good but I don't bother with them because their AI behavior is to ride into the enemy and die. I'd rather not micromanage them (I play Starcraft 2 competitively if I want to micro units with no brain of their own).

If they can get a paper, rock, scissors type of balance into their troop tree it will be great because it has the potential to be very diverse and would be fun to have equally viable and powerful types of armies. Right now the archers are the rock and everything else is a pair of scissors.
I hope TW can figure out a way to make all the units useful and effective. As things are now though, there are some obvious best units, which is something I don't like about Warband.

Infantry without shields can be horrifically good though. For what its worth, they completely tear everything up in melee- so long as you can protect them from the ranged threats.

I haven't played around with them lately, but horse archers have always been OP as ****. They're literally as good as an archer, except on horse back. Simply selecting them and going f6 is basically cheating. f1-f3 works too. Dunno if their AI just got ruined though. Probably has.
 

nereid

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in 1.4.3 and earlier version charging Horse archer worked perfectly, they circled wide and avoided enemies until out of arrows.

in 1.5 and 1.5.1 they don't go as wide and some time change directions at bad times. In short they are more risky on charge and get killed more. Their general performance is worse too, but still good (better then Cav).
I didn't really notice that. I tend to use only single faction armies and currently I've only played as a Battanian in 1.5.0-1.

I don't disagree about archers (esp fians) overshadowing everything in SP, but the AI doesn't build the sort of monotype armies players tend towards. If the counter to archers was, ex, heavy cavalry; that wouldn't super matter because the player would still pick up 40% archers while the AI runs their usual mishmash of units with 5-10% heavy cav tops - it's not as though you run the risk of hitting an oops all heavy cav AI party, forcing you to build more diverse forces.

I'd like to see that expanded - it could be cool to have AI traits influence their preferred army structure, and at a basic level should be easy to do (just manipulate their promotion odds away from a dice roll based on unit type of promotion targets). But unless taken to the absolute extreme, at which point it becomes self defeating, it wouldn't really do anything to reign in the player from monobuilding.
AFAIK the different factions have armies a little bit based on the culture, which is also pronounced by the unit trees. For example the Empire prefers infantry.
 

lukkyb

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i kind of feel that sturgias noble line should be some rearly good heavy infantry as i feel it would stop making the noble lines feel samey (all cav except for battania)
 

AnandaShanti

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i kind of feel that sturgias noble line should be some rearly good heavy infantry as i feel it would stop making the noble lines feel samey (all cav except for battania)
Something needs an elite infantry anyways. I mean I guess I could just make the elite Cav dismount.
 

PCDug

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One of the reasons I made this mod is to make some "missing" troops available for the AI in taverns, instead of the usual watchmen.
For example, the main branch of the battanian mercenaries is an archer one, increasing the chances that the AI will get non noble archers when they recruit from taverns ( they do that).
The sturgians for example can get tier 6 infantry with this mod from taverns. I know they have Druzhinniks but they are not even part of their default army template, so good luck finding a sturgian army with noble cav.
 

Anushtegin

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i updated my OP with new bullet points i forgot related to my argument about the upgrade costs of noble troops.

the battanian noble line is not only inherently strong (maybe the strognest outside of khuzaites), it is also the cheapest to upgrade, as you don't have additional costs from buying war horses, which all other factions need to upgrade their noble line to tier 6.

the empire and sturgia even need an additional horse on top of the later war horse, making them the most expensive to fully upgrade. this is also why i suggested to make the vigla soldier start out with a horse. sturgia's progression kind of makes sense though, but they're not the best noble troops even though they're fairly good at what they do, making them unfairly expensive for no real payoff.


One of the reasons I made this mod is to make some "missing" troops available for the AI in taverns, instead of the usual watchmen.
For example, the main branch of the battanian mercenaries is an archer one, increasing the chances that the AI will get non noble archers when they recruit from taverns ( they do that).
The sturgians for example can get tier 6 infantry with this mod from taverns. I know they have Druzhinniks but they are not even part of their default army template, so good luck finding a sturgian army with noble cav.
this is pretty much exactly what i'm thinking off! also thanks for confirmign AI recruits from taverns, soemthign i was unsure off (i sometimes see AI armies with mercenaries, unsure how they got them). this is exactly how aserai should access 'nubian' troops and mamelukes, and how the empire should get access to varangian guardsmen.
 
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PCDug

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i updated my OP with new bullet points i forgot related to my argument about the upgrade costs of noble troops.

the battanian noble line is not only inherently strong (maybe the strognest outside of khuzaites), it is also the cheapest to upgrade, as you don't have additional costs from buying war horses, which all other factions need to upgrade their noble line to tier 6.

the empire and sturgia even need an additional horse on top of the later war horse, making them the most expensive to fully upgrade. this is also why i suggested to make the vigla soldier start out with a horse. sturgia's progression kind of makes sense though, but they're not the best noble troops even though they're fairly good at what they do, making them unfairly expensive for no real payoff.



this is pretty much exactly what i'm thinking off! also thanks for confirmign AI recruits from taverns, soemthign i was unsure off (i sometimes see AI armies with mercenaries, unsure how they got them). this is exactly how aserai should access 'nubian' troops and mamelukes, and how the empire should get access to varangian guardsmen.
Yes,my mercenaries that spawn in imperial taverns have heavy nord/sturgian infantry called "guards" that are inspired by the varangians.Incidentally since they are nord/sturgian they can branch off and loop back into the Nord tree and become huscarls.
Nothing ruins your day like seing an heavily armored axe wielding nord charging at you while fighting imperials. Expecially when the guy who just axed you is your own creation.
EDIT:also, to clarify, lords will hire only stuff they see as upgrades of the mercenary_1 unit, meaning the watchmen. They don't seem to hire armed traders. The way I make the hire my troops is by making my basic mercenaries "fake" upgrades of the watchmen. I say fake because those upgrades require an un-obtainable custom item. This way the game "sees" all of my troops as part of the possible upgrade pool for the watchmen and since the tavern can spawn the watchmen OR any of the upgrades, my mercs will spawn.
Furthermore, the AI seems to hire from the taverns only after they hire from the notables and given that any of my mercs can spawn they might not be able to afford them. The game auto-calculates the cost of mercs based on their level and their mount. So if the tavern rolls some tier 5 cavalry they may only be able to hire on or 2 troops.
 
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Apocal

Sergeant Knight
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I haven't played around with them lately, but horse archers have always been OP as ****. They're literally as good as an archer, except on horse back. Simply selecting them and going f6 is basically cheating. f1-f3 works too. Dunno if their AI just got ruined though. Probably has.
"Ruined" is putting it quite a bit more strongly than I would, but their AI has had a noticeable decline since 1.5 dropped. I don't know if it is the bow aim changes or if their improved avoidance AI has had something backfire but horse archers are also doing incredibly dumb things whereas in 1.4 they were fine.

i kind of feel that sturgias noble line should be some rearly good heavy infantry as i feel it would stop making the noble lines feel samey (all cav except for battania)
I feel like really good heavy infantry is a booby prize when the fictional Sturgians are not in the position of the historical Norse, protected as they were from the overwhelming power of much stronger sedentary states and nomadic steppe confederations by virtue of being across a sea. Instead, the Sturgians are crammed right up next to them and at risk of invasion right from the start. @Dabos37 has done a lot of good testing on how shieldwalls can help greatly against archers but those were always foot archers. Against horse archers, in Bannerlord, a shieldwall is going to take serious losses without cavalry of its own -- preferably well-armored cavalry. Druzhinniks are that well-armored cavalry.

They did pretty well in Bannerlord to make it so certain factions didn't have gaping holes in their troop tree and it would suck if the Sturgians became the most lop-sided faction (debatable) in Bannerlord just so people could say they have Huscarls again.