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Impressions from a new player

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KalbMurrah

Recruit
Somehow I managed to ignore mount and blade for over 10 years although I'm a big fan of similar games. A few days ago I downloaded Bannerlord and I've been getting pretty hooked since. Great game so far, but clearly some work remains to be done.

To me the thing that stood out the most is how overpowered archers are. This has two parts to it: first, as the player it is easy to cheese the game with a bow. From the start of the game you have the ability to perform horse archery and take out 5 or more looters on your own. If you don't do archery your progress in the game is slowed dow a lot. Of course in real life archery is one of the hardest forms of combat and it requires great skill and training, but never mind that for now.

This results in archer players gaining levels quickly, and if the devs balance the game to accommodate these guys, it will be unbalanced for everyone else.

Second, more generally archery is too deadly in this game. I suspect people have talked about this already so I won't repeat.

In my game I tried something different, I went with a setup of spear/sword on horse back. Played the 'commander' game, where I scout around with my horse and give orders to the foot soldiers. As a newbie I really suck at combat, so my role is restricted to low-risk cav charges to the back of the enemy line and chasing routers. Occasionally I fight other cav.

My stats are slowly building up, so is my skill at combat in the game. However, it is a bit strange that my character is so much behind in level from almost everyone else. My own soldiers have a much higher level. They wear their fancy armor and equipment, meanwhile, me, their commander, have crappy cheap armour and equipment. This kind of ruins the 'immersion', or 'suspension of disbelief' or whatever you wanna call it.

I wonder if the reason for this is that the game is balanced to accommodate veteran players and those who heavily use archery to advance their level.
 
Somehow I managed to ignore mount and blade for over 10 years although I'm a big fan of similar games. A few days ago I downloaded Bannerlord and I've been getting pretty hooked since. Great game so far, but clearly some work remains to be done.

To me the thing that stood out the most is how overpowered archers are. This has two parts to it: first, as the player it is easy to cheese the game with a bow. From the start of the game you have the ability to perform horse archery and take out 5 or more looters on your own. If you don't do archery your progress in the game is slowed dow a lot. Of course in real life archery is one of the hardest forms of combat and it requires great skill and training, but never mind that for now.

This results in archer players gaining levels quickly, and if the devs balance the game to accommodate these guys, it will be unbalanced for everyone else.

Second, more generally archery is too deadly in this game. I suspect people have talked about this already so I won't repeat.

In my game I tried something different, I went with a setup of spear/sword on horse back. Played the 'commander' game, where I scout around with my horse and give orders to the foot soldiers. As a newbie I really suck at combat, so my role is restricted to low-risk cav charges to the back of the enemy line and chasing routers. Occasionally I fight other cav.

My stats are slowly building up, so is my skill at combat in the game. However, it is a bit strange that my character is so much behind in level from almost everyone else. My own soldiers have a much higher level. They wear their fancy armor and equipment, meanwhile, me, their commander, have crappy cheap armour and equipment. This kind of ruins the 'immersion', or 'suspension of disbelief' or whatever you wanna call it.

I wonder if the reason for this is that the game is balanced to accommodate veteran players and those who heavily use archery to advance their level.

Keep in mind that player stats for melee only affect things very minimally, but are actually required so the AI functions semi-capable.

I can jump into a New game and beat lvl 26+ Opponents in 1v1s in Tournaments, naked, with 10 into Onehanded, and they have 110+.

So comparing yourself Statwise to the AI Lords or Troops is some what pointless. Especially since the AI "Cheats" to maintain gold etc (as they don't operate in the same intelligent manner the player can). The rest of the difference is Gear, which comes down to money. Quite a few ways to make money, but even if you just keep killing and selling looter gear you'll get there.

A lot of players fall into the trap of always upgrading your units. I tend to keep my units stuck at Tier 3 depending on the faction. Which saves me money, keeps my commander looking like I belong in the unit, and allows me to build up a larger - decently trained army, rather than one with a few elite troops and no money.

The archer bit is entirely AI intelligence issues, the AI doesn't competently know how to use its own Archers, or Melee to guard them, but it is being worked on. They are doing much better in 1.5.1 utilizing shield walls etc. So there is some hope that it will get better.

As for Horse archery being too powerful for the player, thats entirely up to the player to decide. Most of my field battles I use a Spear/Shield/Sword on horseback. Then for Seiges I will switch to Sword/Shield and Bow. You don't have to use just one load out the entire game, and although there is some skill ceiling for using a 1 handed weapon on Horseback, you will eventually learn. I can safely take on Looter packs of 15 with just a Horse, a 65 Length Axe, and a Shield -- You only really need the shield for if they mostly have rocks anyway, and if you have a Length 130+ Spear you're golden.
 

Meaning481

Recruit
This breaking of the suspension of disbelief is actually something common to both this and the original game. Often times troops magically get equipment that the game design declares would be massively expensive for you to buy personally. The way the in game economy is balanced right now, The highest tier equipment almost never appears for general purchase. We're hoping the upcoming crafting overhaul will let players design more of their own gear. After that we hope that item prices will get rebalanced.

As for Archery, I find that big shields, heavy cavalry, and counter archery negate a lot of the damage archers can do. Horse archery is the best option against low level looters and most types of bandits. Archery is also good in sieges. However, melee characters are definitely viable. Couched lance damage can kill any unit if your horse is going top speed. Two handed glaives are super overpowered right now because there's no penalty to using them from horseback at the moment.

The biggest weakness of ranged characters is that they either have to use a bow and forego a shield, or they use throwing which has very limited ammo and requires you getting dangerously close. Characters that use shields are way less likely to get random rocks in the face.

To get better at the combat, I would suggest doing practice fights in the towns. It runs no risk of getting killed or captured, and it levels up your character's skills, and you can win some mid tier armor. If you spend the early game as a lone wanderer like I do, there's no downside to just moving from town to town fighting in the different cultures' tournaments and getting a feel of what melee combat style you prefer.
 
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Apocal

Grandmaster Knight
However, it is a bit strange that my character is so much behind in level from almost everyone else. My own soldiers have a much higher level. They wear their fancy armor and equipment, meanwhile, me, their commander, have crappy cheap armour and equipment. This kind of ruins the 'immersion', or 'suspension of disbelief' or whatever you wanna call it.

Yeah, it's always been faster, easier and cheaper to recruit/train a top-tier troop with high quality gear than acquire that gear for yourself.

I wonder if the reason for this is that the game is balanced to accommodate veteran players and those who heavily use archery to advance their level.

It is, yeah. The game in general wants player progression from the absolute bottom rung of the ladder.
 

KalbMurrah

Recruit
I can safely take on Looter packs of 15 with just a Horse, a 65 Length Axe, and a Shield -- You only really need the shield for if they mostly have rocks anyway, and if you have a Length 130+ Spear you're golden.

What. No. How. Going solo on even 5 looters without bow always gets me killed.
 

Apocal

Grandmaster Knight
What. No. How. Going solo on even 5 looters without bow always gets me killed.

You can ride and thrust or swing in such a way their attacks can't reach (other than pitchforks, looters' weapons have short reach) while you can connect. I'm not sure about a 65 length axe, but definitely spears of 145 or longer can handle it, no problem.

This is what you were talking about the game being balanced around veteran players though.
 
You can ride and thrust or swing in such a way their attacks can't reach (other than pitchforks, looters' weapons have short reach) while you can connect. I'm not sure about a 65 length axe, but definitely spears of 145 or longer can handle it, no problem.

This is what you were talking about the game being balanced around veteran players though.

What. No. How. Going solo on even 5 looters without bow always gets me killed.

The trick with the axe is to come up along them so they are horizontal to you so you only face 1-2 enemies, And release the swing earlier. Your swing should be at the top of its ark IE 90 degrees from your body, Basically your weapon will be 100% horizontal to your body upon contact, and because the "stun" animation happens when you hit someone, you can kill them before their swing hits you. The axe head is larger than the swords so hits better in my experience. The swing gets most of its speed from horse back. This can be done either the left or right side of the horse, but swinging to the right is easier timing wise, and risk wise. Since you have slightly better reach.

If you face multiple opponents, you just pull off to the left as you release the swing so the 2nd person can't hit you. It requires some timing, but basically you just need to release your swing before they do, and you'll be fine. Unless of course they have a pitchfork, but thats what the spear is for, or bow/throwing weapon.

Ultimately my preferred weapon is a custom Axe 75 length, Bearded axe. (Woodland Axe basically, but it's 65-68 length).

Id make a Video but have zero idea how to do that. Spears are also super easy, the Menavilon being my favourite, it is 150 range so more than enough to out range a pitchfork. Hold at 75 degree angle ish outward, release before you think you need to, so that you are at full thrust when you hit and the horses speed gives you the damage.

Edit : I also Watched Halcylion use a 1 Handed Mallet which is like... 40 reach. To effectively kill people. Which is something I had thought not possible. He did it with extreme accuracy during his stream today. The Mallet basic looters use.
 

cyresdog

Banned
They should drastically raise the price to upgrade from tier 3 upwards. The price should somewhat reflect the price for the gear you have to pay.

Or make it so that when you upgrade a unit items should be taken out of your inventory. In like you can select the weapons you wanna give them.

That would also counter the market inflation. And gives waaaaaaaaay more fluff to the game than there is right now. Basically saying generic troops should be somewhat treated like companions do right now. But more simplistic.
And since the items in the game have tiers aswell it could be limited by that. A tier 3 soldier can only use tier 3 equipment or below

Right now troops have slime to none weight to them. When they die, they die. I don't care since I can replace them for almost no cost in just a few minutes. The equipment of them never really belonged to me anyways so meh.
And I can't even really give my crafted weapons to anyone but myself, companions or a random market who pays me the entire city weight in gold for a javelin
 
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cyresdog

Banned
What inflation? What do you mean?

Just in case i misjudge here and this is not meant as sarcasm, the fact that you become the richest character in the game in less than 5 minutes if you know how. My personal record was 4 1/2 minutes till i made my first million gold
 

svelok

Sergeant
The price should somewhat reflect the price for the gear you have to pay.

Or make it so that when you upgrade a unit items should be taken out of your inventory.

For what it's worth, it's not hard to mod it so the cost of unit promotion is equal to the cost of the next tier's equipment - it reaches, like, 50k gold per unit very very quickly.
 

cyresdog

Banned
For what it's worth, it's not hard to mod it so the cost of unit promotion is equal to the cost of the next tier's equipment - it reaches, like, 50k gold per unit very very quickly.
Thats why i said it would be nice to have to purchase the Tiered armor for them by myself. That way i could for one, choose how my army looks and how much they are worth to me, second i finally have something to do with my money and third would be a nice way to give the entire game more of a roleplay aspect.

Maybe even tie it to the armor shop, where you can order large bulks of those armor pieces for a reduced price, then have to wait a few ingame days and boom. You fitted out your army, you gave the town more gold, and you have a customizable army.
 

Apocal

Grandmaster Knight
Just in case i misjudge here and this is not meant as sarcasm, the fact that you become the richest character in the game in less than 5 minutes if you know how. My personal record was 4 1/2 minutes till i made my first million gold

But how would your idea stop market inflation? There would still be plenty of raw materials for smithing even if you had to give up lots of relatively high-tier weapons to upgrade troops. It would probably do more to encourage a player to abuse smithing as their primary (or only) income source if they need tier 5 weapons and armor for every tier 5 troop upgrade.
 
Second, more generally archery is too deadly in this game. I suspect people have talked about this already so I won't repeat.

  • That's because armor doesn't work how it should;
  • Archers have way too much accuracy
  • The firing rate of the bows is too fast for the damage they deliver. They deal damage like a 180lb warbow with a 50lb bow;
 
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