I Love This Game, But Spearmen/Polearm Units In General Need Reworking

DD44

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Okay.

I love this game.

I only played about half an hour of Warband, but I love love love Bannerlord.

Just bought a new graphics card and PSU just for this game.

Already sunk 74 hours into the campaign in less than a week.

Posted about how great it is on Facebook.

Told my friends to buy it.

Made an account here just to post this.

Whole nine yards.

This is the best early access game I have ever played period. I'm thrilled. The game pushes all my buttons: the RPG and unit skill/inventory management, the RTS, the medieval feel, the open world, the city management, the awesome combat and intuitive parry system, it's like all my favorite games rolled into one. I only wish I could tweak the inventory of my soldiers beyond my companions, but I realize that may be asking too much. And I do wish there was some low-mid fantasy elements - I want a unit of wizards and clerics dangit, maybe Dwarven and Elven factions if I'm feeling spicy - but that's just me and my taste and heck that'd make it a pretty different game so not really a real complaint. Kudos and well done. I already paid for it but when the full game comes out I'd buy it again if I had to.

However some criticisms:

Spearmen/Pikemen/etc. BADLY need reworking. They're near-useless. Most of the time they keep their polearms on their backs and roll in with their shortswords and no shield. We badly badly badly need a spearwall formation option. We have a shield wall, but no spear wall. Hell even if the shield wall formation allowed spearmen to support people with shields in front of them it'd be better but as it is now the AI does nearly nothing with them. I worked hard to build up a battalion of voulgiers and pikemen to support my archers and they do not help nearly as much as even lower-tier units with shields.

What we need is for units with polearms but no shields to be able to set stationary spears in a two-deep spearwall against charging units, especially cavalry. Similar to couched lances for charging cavalry. But as it is now spearmen don't even target horses in melee, shieldless units get wrecked by archers and throwing weapons, and there's really there's no reason not to have every unit you have carry shields.

While we're on the subject, cavalry could use some love too. Cavalry charges aren't nearly as devastating as they really should be. They don't charge in any kind of formation half the time, and I don't even think they couch spears properly. We need at least tier 5 and up cavalry to be able to charge in a wedge and mow through dudes, UNLESS they have spears.

Medieval combat was a rock>paper>scissors of cavalry>archer>pike and right now the game is just "shields in front of a ****-ton of arrows for everyone!" Which gets repetitive fast. Never boring, but repetitive.

Those are the big ones. I'm posting this specifically as a single-player issue because after in-game - especially early-game - weeks of investing in a modern pike battalion, to see them be totally ineffectual is DOUBLY frustrating and represents wasted time and effort and money.

Couple other suggestions/thoughts:

It's REAL hard to claim your first territories beyond the mission when you have to have a small army, and when you do it's completely impossible for vy for peace when your power and wallet is still so pathetically weak. Then again, perhaps that's the point.

Flaming arrows maybe? Ditches of pitch perhaps? Fire is already in the game after all so I'm hoping I'm not asking too much.

Smithing is wonderful, love it, but I'd really love to be able to smith armor or shields.

And I'd love to have more reason to walk around the cities beyond looking for the Family Feud quest. The fast travel is great but sometimes - at least when you first enter the city - you need to have a reason to walk around your beautiful maps. Maybe you should only be able to fast-travel to someone or someplace once you've been there once/met the person?

And shields feel a little too essential. Even besides the aforementioned two-handed spear issue. I love a two-handed sword, but I feel like I can't afford to use one since shields are so necessary in certain situations. Perhaps dropping/putting away your shield can let you use bastard swords two handed? As it is now they still use a one-handed animation even with your shield on your back.

Since axes get a shield damage bonus, maces need similar. Either for heavy armor or shields if that's not codable or something.

And long as I'm getting greedy, maybe a corps-a-corps system or sword binds or grapples or something. Ok I know I'm getting greedy now, I'll stop.

But I cannot stress enough how much I adore this game. Make a few fixes and maybe give the modding community six months to dig their claws into it and this is easily going to crack my top 5 games of all time.

Can't wait for more. ...And for my graphics card to arrive.

EDIT: I now realize I in no way looked at the formatting guidelines before posting this and I am sorry. I came here looking for a like early access feedback email and didn't think of this as a forum.
 
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Caps

Knight at Arms
WBWF&SNWVC
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Its more of an AI problem than anything else dont expect it to be fixed soon
 

HalfMetalJacket

Regular
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As spears are, you really don't want your troops to be using them. Only recruits seem to do good with them, and that's because the alternative sucks worse.
 

Dr-Shinobi

Sergeant
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Well i see Ai work those spears all the time but yeah sometimes they could need some work in switching em on the right time. However its gonna be funny later when people start complaining about their cavalry is gonna be annihilated even if they now are pretty OP in armor and health...perhaps they gonna be boofed much more who knows.

In other words i hope they are not just gonna quick patch it in to then realize a lot of other balancing issues
 
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Rhyuus

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Agree on the pikes, I recently posted some suggestions inspired by the Battle of Rocroi (great excample for a historical pike fight) there is also a battle scene showing details which should be implemented:


In conclusion:
-> AI-change: no one runs into a wall of pikes, horses and troops slow down change direction
-> running into a pike = damage, running further = more damage / death,
-> a pike wall holds opponents in a distance that can only be overcome by a longer pike or agility
-> a moving pike wall pushes opponents back / has a chance to damage
-> pike man change to a close combat weapon if an enemy gets to close or it get's too crowded

You’re right, aiming is also an important AI change for them
 

DD44

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Well i see Ai work those spears all the time but yeah sometimes they could need some work in switching em on the right time. However its gonna be funny later when people start complaining about their cavalry is gonna be annihilated even if they now are pretty OP in armor and health...perhaps they gonna be boofed much more who knows.

In other words i hope they are not just gonna quick patch it in to then realize a lot of other balancing issues
You shouldn't be cavalry charging into pikes ever anyway!

The way to avoid balancing issues there is to make it so at minimum two handed swords or axes can smack pikes out of the way. Like a good Germanic zweihander charge.

A good western-style open-field pre-gunpowder army should have to field a number of archers, a pike wall to protect them from cavalry, a shield wall to protect THEM, shock troops with anti-pike weapons like two handed swords or throwing weapons etc to handle opposing pike walls, and your own cavalry for cleanup and to handle opposing archers. And skirmishers/horse archers as harassment bonus if you can spare the troops.

Imagine it, having to have an actual reason for a well-rounded army.
 

DD44

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Agree on the pikes, I recently posted some suggestions inspired by the Battle of Rocroi (great excample for a historical pike fight) there is also a battle scene showing details which should be implemented:


In conclusion:
-> AI-change: no one runs into a wall of pikes, horses and troops slow down change direction
-> running into a pike = damage, running further = more damage / death,
-> a pike wall holds opponents in a distance that can only be overcome by a longer pike or agility
-> a moving pike wall pushes opponents back / has a chance to damage
-> pike man change to a close combat weapon if an enemy gets to close or it get's too crowded

You’re right, aiming is also an important AI change for them
I saw your thread and commented on it. Totally agreed.
 

Dr-Shinobi

Sergeant
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You shouldn't be cavalry charging into pikes ever anyway!

The way to avoid balancing issues there is to make it so at minimum two handed swords or axes can smack pikes out of the way. Like a good Germanic zweihander charge.

A good western-style open-field pre-gunpowder army should have to field a number of archers, a pike wall to protect them from cavalry, a shield wall to protect THEM, shock troops with anti-pike weapons like two handed swords or throwing weapons etc to handle opposing pike walls, and your own cavalry for cleanup and to handle opposing archers. And skirmishers/horse archers as harassment bonus if you can spare the troops.

Imagine it, having to have an actual reason for a well-rounded army.
But ofc and it would be cool :smile: Think a simple spear wall formation (or spear activation in formation) would solve this issue and is something we all been requesting for quite some time now. However going in to details about combat situations is to deep to sink in to this type of a game in my opinion since its not an medieval combat simulator..when it instead requires more fixes, developments and tweaks on its core mechanics at first. I would love more formations implemented to the game though... Also youre right about horses that tends to singular charge in to tighter formations at times and dies which also should be fixed. However having em skirmish in looser formations or "weaker spots" shouldn't be a problem since it adds tension for your troops as an diversion with their infantry and archers moving up...Just some 5 cents on the subject
 

DD44

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I would consider using history's primary military weapon properly a core mechanics issue, but I hear you
 

DD44

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I just had a realization.

Some have said things akin to "won't spear or pike walls render cavalry useless?" To which I have said "that's the point of a spear wall" but also consider:

There is already a "dismount" command that never ever gets used.

Boom.
 

Eugene Shutto

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Firs step is create new category - spearman. All the flaxmans , berserkers , voulgiers should be in category "spearman" not the "infantry" .
Only by doing that they will get own use on the battlefield . Right now I dont even hire them .
 

Mastigos

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620+ hours into Bannerlord here, spearmen are far from useless and actually do counter mounted units quite well. One thing that needs to be understood is that most cavalry units are considered "advanced" or non-fodder, while there are MANY units that use spears which are tier 1/2.

That said, running a few mounted units into a wall of pikes is a way to get your mounted units dominated in a mixed army. One does need to realize that glaives are actually the best mounted unit killers; spears are the only weapon that can stop a horse in full charge, though. So a mix of spears and glaives work the best. However, spears alone are better than any other weapon alone for stopping cav.
 

froggyluv

Master Knight
NW
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God no. Spears have been used for millennia. They predate swords and even at the peak of the sword were used more than swords.
Debatable which caused the most deaths - 108 million died in 20th century wars alone
 

DD44

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I'd call that a scale-of population issue, not a usage issue. Guns have only been used for 250 years tops and weren't viable en masse for most of it. There have just been wildly more PEOPLE in the world for those 250 years., and thus, more people killing each other on a much larger scale.

But that's not the point, guns don't exist at all in this game's era, so spears definitely are the primary option.
 
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King Yngvar

Squire
WBVC
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And I do wish there was some low-mid fantasy elements - I want a unit of wizards and clerics dangit, maybe Dwarven and Elven factions'
The moment TW does like CA and switches to fantasy crap is the moment I stop buying their games.

Medieval combat was a rock>paper>scissors of cavalry>archer>pike
Not that simple but I get your point about spears. To make spears work they need to become a physical object and exist in the game not just when releasing left click. They need to give damage to incoming enemies based on speed, sort of like a reversed couched lance damage.

And shields feel a little too essential. Even besides the aforementioned two-handed spear issue. I love a two-handed sword, but I feel like I can't afford to use one since shields are so necessary in certain situations.
Shields should be essential unless you're wearing heavy armor. Unfortunately heavy armor doesn't work properly to protect you against arrows in Bannerlord so you would have to find a mod that fixes this.
 
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askarmc

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I do agree. Love the game and always did and it reaaly needs a lot of emprovements. Actually spearmen for now as on my oppinion almost useles. And the main reason is the main function of them to rpevent desastrous cavalry charge. They realy should be a serious danger but without falanx formation it is almost impossible. We have shield wall but I mean that cavalry should suffer of front charge against spears falanx. Actually cavalry charge in the game is really something meaningless. There is not so many damage for the troops during the cavalry charge. Hope that it will be more meaningful.
 

DD44

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Yeah, they need to buff cavalry charges and add a spear wall formation to counter it.

And whether you like a fantasy setting or not, you gotta admit the fusion of battlefield strategy and RPG would lend itself to a Warhammer-esque setting really well. That's a different game though, never mind.