I think I've found the root cause of faction imbalance

Users who are viewing this thread

xdj1nn

Knight at Arms
WBWF&S
So, yesterday I decided to start trying to mod the game (no can do with 1.9 due to TW not sharing the required files into the kit build for one of the key "test" changes I wanted to make are on the campaign map). And as such I've started taking notes and gathering overall info on all non-empire settlements (because I intend to balance emp later when all other factions are realistically able to survive a unified empire).

Than I've noticed the blatant discrepancy and total lack of reason with the entirety of the distribution of both lands and how many clans each faction had, here's how it looks:

Sturgia
  • 32 vil
  • 7 towns
  • 9 clans
Khuzait
  • 35 vil
  • 6 towns
  • 9 clans
Aserai
  • 40 vil
  • 8 towns
  • 9 clans
Vlandia
  • 40 vil
  • 8 towns
  • 11 clans
Battania
  • 33 vil
  • 5 towns
  • 8 clans

Clearly the weakest faction in total number's Battania, yet it does carry a massive advantage with geographical choke-points, packed settlements with the caveat of being reasonably surrounded by forests which improves their overall mobility within their lands. Their only weakness? Vlandia - that because both their choke points towards Vlandia are wide open without forests and their overall army compositions bring them handicapped towards most army vs army battles due to the high % of cavalry that vlandian's tend to field. Than there are minor details like their northern territory lacking forests (region shared with Vlandia and Sturgia at the beginning of the game) and they gain significant economical strength in case they manage to capture Nevyansk castle (which to me is deliberately made as a guaranteed perma-loss to Sturgia 100% of the time due to location and surrounding borders)
If you pay attention you'll also notice that Batt has less clans than all others, which may be the reason why they don't collapse as often and as fast - that because their overall territory must only feed 8 clans. I've even came up with a weird "meta score" taking consideration of fiefs that provide both income and troops at which Battania isn't in the worst position. Their relative score's 4.75

Now the elephant in the room which's Sturgia, and the visual reason as to why they've struggled since the beginning of EA and still struggles to survive even now, so many patches later:
Sturiga's score's the lowest among all 4.33 - with a relative number of villages per clan at 3.5 - they are by far the most disadvantaged both mathematically and geographically (wide realm with bad terrain with multiple INTERNAL choke points, yet totally open to Khuzait / North Empire at the east - Battania / North Empire to the west). Their long winters also do more harm to them than to their foes.
All their starting settlements begin with the lowest overall prosperity combined with a low hearth to all villages - this means they are economically broke and rely on their starter spawned troops much more than any other faction. When compared to Vlandia which fields 2 extra clans than the average or Battania which rocks a solid prosperity average and have 1 less clan to share their overall economy + recruitment slots, or when considering FOOD production with both, you can see why they fare so badly so often.

What I'm aiming to test is if I rebalance their fiefs (and re-purpose their noble troops) if the same effect will repeat itself. My current predicted solution's to improve both Omor and Tyal, Omor's intented to gain one extra forester village to both better accommodate their geographical position with more logical settlements while strengthening it's overall relative strength, while Tyal to gain 2 extra villages, 1 to strengthen it's economy with iron and the other to fit TW's own lore (they say Tyal has horse breeders and they even have horses named after it, yet there's not a single village not even close that produces horses for them) - At the same time outside changes are, however, simpler, which's morphing the terrain around Balgard to turn their iron village into a fishing one, move Varcheg to the northern shore past the mountain pass, and change the horse village from Ustokol into a fishing village (according to lore)
After these changes are properly applied and tested, if I still think there's room to further strengthen them I'll add an extra castle in their forests between Sibir and Vladiv representing a foothold where lore dictates the Vakken are from, intented as a overlooking fortification on their most sensitive choke point - that due to the fact that if they lose Tyal to the Khuzaits, it's always a matter of time until the entire Tyal region's completely taken, and making it way too easy for AI to take over Sibir - I'm not amused by that at all considering logic when building fortifications and with the fact that both Sibir and Varnovapol have zero trade bound villages outside their natural villages.

I believe such changes will automatically rescue the Sturgians from total obliteration, and the consideration of the extra castle's due to how easily they've ALWAYS lost Nevyansk Caslte. This should make their foothold much more stable and their economy improve properly overtime (it's the single culture that is unable to sustain any town with 10k+ prosperity without cheating.)

----

The second wave of changes I want to test is trying to properly approximate the entire map to the OG "lore canon" we got back in WB - this obsly means restoring sargot to it's geographical position - which in turn will make for a top target to both Battanians and Sturgians, but the caveat is: If I do that, I'll certainly give more "oomph" to Vlandia with an extra castle where the "now empty" slot of Sargot used to be.
The Vlandian testing will be done until I decide if it's viable to give them their missing 2 villages (Usanc Castle and Ormafard Castle both have only a single village - which strikes me as stupid, and was probably shoehorned to allow them to have 2 extra clans above the average of 9 per faction) - I still think it'll work well because all the changes will probably turn the northwestern region of the map into a clusterfk where sargot nevyansk and caleus should be shifting factions quite often.

----

Than the final adjustment I'm considering regards the Khuzaits - to me their southern border makes no sense - as such I'm considering 3 choices:
  1. expanding their overall fiefs with a new castle to overlook the region properly (I mean, fortified buildings are meant to watch over vulnerable places, specially BORDERS - yet they have a DOUBLE BORDER WITH NO PROPER OVERLOOKING CASTLE NEARBY)
  2. packing their southern border more closely together (villages nearer the castle - doesn't matter if I move the castle, the villages or both)
  3. filling the entire region with either a brand new faction meant to die-out as a "rebellious nomadic clan" or with equally distributed castles between Southern Emp, Aserai and Khuzait.
----

After that it'll be about reviewing a few minor changes towards imperial factions and keep in mind the possible need of slightly expanding Battania to accommodate 1 extra clan.
I believe that such changes will make a drastic impact on the overall performance of AI and to be potentially powerful enough to actually end the imbalance among them making the results of AI vs AI much less predictable.

The changes to Sturgian troops will only come with a thorough review of all noble troops from all factions, though. The intention's to make them own the single specialized heavy infantry with the Druhzina, which to me makes way more sense than what we currently have - the current noble one won't be killed off, though, and instead I intend to create 1 extra path for the Sturgian Archers to give them HA units that work closer to what we see in RBM changes, but being deliberately weaker than noble troops. The logic behind this line of thinking's simple, though, and it's due to how the Lore and Geography tells us about the mingling of Eastern Sturgians with the Khuzaits over many generations, as such one would expect them to absorb part of the Khuzait culture, so to me it's obvious that they'd develop their own version of Horse Archers overtime...

After receiving such a "massive buff" on both territory and troops I strongly believe that Sturgia will be finally fixed for vanilla standards, and the work after that will be to level possible advantages they may pick-up with the changes on other factions by strengthening them, if needed expanding their own troop trees.

The ideas I've had please me a lot because it'll make the entire setting of BL feel more structured and consistent, considering that Sturgian's are supposed to become both the Vaegir and the Nords in WB, I never really felt comfortable with their illogical troop lines and weakness compared to all other factions;

Just felt like sharing. by all means if you have any ideas just tell me before i start this endeavor (which'll only really begin after the official release in a few days, apparently)
 
Last edited:

AoC

Master Knight
They share weakness of both Vaegir and Nords, that's something!

Also, check their equipment and stats. that might be real root of the problem.
 

anoddhermit

Sergeant at Arms
Considering the work they've done to have battlefield scenes reflect the map, I think it's likely too late for big changes to where things are. Calculated changes for maximum impact, maybe, but can't see any overhauls at this point.

IMHO they need to have reduced movement speed penalty in snow, equivalent to Battania's forest one. Would go a long way - helps them deal with the wide, snowy, forested stretches of land better. Their mobility is the worst in the game, in the worst territory to have bad mobility in.

As for troops, their archer needs a buff, for sure, then the heavy axeman needs to perform its function properly which it really just doesn't at all since shields basically aren't ever worth breaking except in niche circumstances in sieges where you really need 2h axes for it - so it's a T5 shield infantry with a mediocre weapon and useless throwing axes for tickling things at range and no good options for anti-cav.

Then some their cav need longer one handers - anything sub 100 length should be replaced on most high tier cav in general, it just cripples them for no reason and doesn't make sense for the unit. A 62 length 1h Axe is not cutting it.

That would fix their basic options currently, but I'm not against revamping things to make them more interesting.

Lastly, the ratio of nobles to non-nobles should probably be glanced at. If Sturgia favors melee heavy army comps(they seem to), they may be getting hit by two major penalties - cav bias in calculations, and lower average tier due to fewer nobles since their nobles are cav. Vlandia and Empire are often coming at you with serious numbers of Cataphracts and Banner Knights, which are even more powerful with the new cav AI buffs. Facing masses of Sturgian infantry is relatively trivial to deal with.
 

xdj1nn

Knight at Arms
WBWF&S
Considering the work they've done to have battlefield scenes reflect the map, I think it's likely too late for big changes to where things are. Calculated changes for maximum impact, maybe, but can't see any overhauls at this point.

IMHO they need to have reduced movement speed penalty in snow, equivalent to Battania's forest one. Would go a long way - helps them deal with the wide, snowy, forested stretches of land better. Their mobility is the worst in the game, in the worst territory to have bad mobility in.

As for troops, their archer needs a buff, for sure, then the heavy axeman needs to perform its function properly which it really just doesn't at all since shields basically aren't ever worth breaking except in niche circumstances in sieges where you really need 2h axes for it - so it's a T5 shield infantry with a mediocre weapon and useless throwing axes for tickling things at range and no good options for anti-cav.

Then some their cav need longer one handers - anything sub 100 length should be replaced on most high tier cav in general, it just cripples them for no reason and doesn't make sense for the unit. A 62 length 1h Axe is not cutting it.

That would fix their basic options currently, but I'm not against revamping things to make them more interesting.

Lastly, the ratio of nobles to non-nobles should probably be glanced at. If Sturgia favors melee heavy army comps(they seem to), they may be getting hit by two major penalties - cav bias in calculations, and lower average tier due to fewer nobles since their nobles are cav. Vlandia and Empire are often coming at you with serious numbers of Cataphracts and Banner Knights, which are even more powerful with the new cav AI buffs. Facing masses of Sturgian infantry is relatively trivial to deal with.
the idea is giving them HA and turning their nobles into the best inf with no competition to be seen.
The "overhauling" is meant to prove a point, but it is ultimately a mod - don't care if TW brings the changes or not, I care if what I warned them about back in 2020 is actually the root cause. If I'm correct that means the point I've repeatedly made while giving feedback since EA started shouldn't have been ignored by them repeatedly.

Scenery and other shenanigans, as long as meant as small adjustments like adding couple villages or moving some towns doesn't translate into a "impossible amount of work" - it can in fact be much faster than you think - depends on how they've structured their source files more than anything else. I have to revise which towns they've shaped into a "exclusive" so far and adjust accordingly - "generic" varcheg version's actually a port town - so if they didn't change it yet I won't even have to change the internal scene.

===

As for troops / euqip that both of you mentioned is ultimately irrelevant to the case because the entirety of the "rebalance" is meant for AI vs AI so sturgia doesn't get eaten up - the only one focused on us would be the noble treeline being introduced as a inf one (this way completing the circle - we got archers with Bat, HA with Khuz, Skirm cav with Aserai, and double heavy cav with Emp and Vland)

Done correctly it'll complement the competitivity of noble troops, and it may as well put a stop on early game frequent Vlandian and Khuzait stomp over Sturgia - that because by introducing a cheaper than their nobles cav as HA while keeping their light skirmisher cav can go lengths due to them being able to field higher numbers of mounted troops in general while still keeping their inf as primary.

Equip changes I'll consider once the campaign map balance turns out good - this mod will probably wind up as a vanilla flavored total overhaul once I'm done, after all it's meant to be a "fix" under my visions for the base game - there's a secondary project that's meant to flush out late-game and the lore they've introduced with some creative liberties, but that will take longer and will use this one as a base-line. It is, however, very likely that once I'm finished I'll just OST it and leave it so others do whatever they like - I'm not a fan of supporting mods, never was.

The other project's much more tricky because I'd like to try and create cultural mechanics like conversion and merging, while also providing footholds to all cultures seen in game (Vakken / Nords / Darshi) and flare it up with a few independent clans from each on otherwise empty lands.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom