Information about developments at snowballing problem

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mexxico

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I want to give some information about upcoming developments about snowballing problem. All these developments are already done and will be ready at 1.5.6 beta. Unfortunately next beta 1.5.5 (which will be uploaded next monday or tuesday) will not have these changes.

Firstly lets determine problem :
In Bannerlord some kingdoms (usually Khuzait and Battania) get stronger and stronger each year and one or two factions can easily occupy 50% of map in late gameplay. In first 20 years usually 2 or 3 kingdoms be eliminated (usually N.Empire, S.Empire and Sturgia). It was worse in previous versions (1.5.0 and previous) and even in first 10 years 2 or 3 kingdoms were being eliminated. After developments at war / peace / tribute systems weakened factions can stay 10-15 years more by making more logical peaces and paying tributes to strong enemies and not facing with 2+ enemies mostly. However it was not enough to fix problem completely. Then with help of some of our players we realized problem is also related Khuzait's overpowered culture bonus. These upcoming developments for fixing snowball problem will not change faction bonuses. It is another issue. Even faction bonuses are still same and unbalanced after developments any kingdom cannot occupy 30-40% of map in first 40 years without player interaction.

When Bannerlord first released as EA late game was not well balanced. We and most players usually played first 10-20 years. However we have a feature in Bannerlord which you can continue playing from your adult children. So actually game should be balanced for centuries. We know 90% of players are playing at first 10-20 years but a good sandbox game could save its inside balance for 100+ years. There can be some surprising things like one faction getting half of world of course but they should be rare.

Secondly lets examine our current situation :
Last week several players (@Apocal, @Blood Gryphon) made their own tests to see situation at 1.5.4. They run game 20 years (without player interaction) and give us some tables. You can see these tables as below (here control points mean : 2 for town 1 for castle) :

In my tests I got similar results too. Khuzait and Battania got more than 60% of map at the end of first 20 years and 2-3 factions be eliminated or left with only 1-2 fiefs.

Then you can see 2 problems here. 1-There are so many defections. 2-Minor factions are not joining weakened factions as much as it should be. When a faction lost their territories they should offer higher amounts to mercenary minor factions and recruit them to take lost settlements back. However if weakened factions are having financial difficulties they cannot offer high amounts to mercenary minor faction leaders. Then I made a detailed clan by clan examination to see also financial situation of clans. Because financial difficulties are also one of the biggest reason of defections. Then here is the result :

Clan datas in first 20 years for 1.5.4 (before developments) :
Every clan has 4 datas for each year :
1st data is leader gold as 1000 (if <15 it has red font)
2nd/3th datas : towns / castles clan have
4th data : party size usage ratio (how much full their parties are as %, as example if clan can has 3 parties with 100 party size limit but they have 2 parties on map with 75 men this ratio is 50% (75+75 / 100 x 3))) :


As you see some factions have lots of defected clans (background colors are indicating faction clan belong to, change of background color means defection). When we examine factions of these defected clans (w.empire, s.empire, n.empire, sturgia and vlandia) they generally have several clans having financial difficulties. Defections usually happen because of combination of 2 main reasons : 1-Low relation with king 2-Losing all fiefs and having financial difficulties

If you examine above tables you can see there are two problems related to financial situations of clans. First is cumulative total of money in all clans are getting more and more each year. There is a money inflation however even there is a money inflation some clans are so poor and they are having difficulties in even recruiting men to their parties (they have less party usage ratios). Also probably some clans even have problems at feeding their men. Finally these clans defect to another kingdom. Also even some clans have nearly no money some clans have 1M+ money in same kingdom. There is a huge difference between clans as terms of financial situation even inside same kingdom. This happens because of several reasons but main reason is some clans remain without fief / income and there is no mechanism / feature for fief redistirbution. This shows our first and biggest problem. Money should distributed more equally among clans in same kingdom. Then several developments are done to fix this issue. Created a kingdom budget and any clan having 100K+ money start to give 0.5% of their (money - 100K) to kingdom wallet daily. For example if a clan leader has 200K he paid 500 denars daily to kingdom budget (200K - 100K) x 0.5 = 500. This collected money is used to help poor clans in same kingdom if any exists. Each day 500 gold money is given to any clan having less than 30K money, 1000 gold is given to any clan having less than 15K gold. Player is out of these calculations for now. Maybe later we can include player also. We are trying to create more balanced financial situations among clans in same kingdom. Also because there is a high money inflation loot gain of npc lords is decreased. For the ones who does not know they have a different mechanic, they are getting money rather than items when a battle ends. There were no trade penalty applied to these instant loot->money conversations. However as you know there is high trade penalty at weapons / armors, as player if you try to sell or buy same item you can see high price difference. When trade penalty added to this loot->money conversation money inflation is decreased and total clan leader money at mid/late game in all world is decreased. Unfortunately because of reduce in loot income of npc lords number of poor clans are increased first. With the help of kingdom budget addition I mentioned above these poor clans are then reduced. Then we get healthier and more balanced financial situations. Still of course we have poor clans but their number is decreased overall.

To make minor factions to join weaker factions more several formula changes are also applied. Now weak factions with less fiefs / lords / strength offer more money per influence compared to 1.5.4. So minor factions join weak factions more now. After first changes I collected data again to see effects of first developments, this time I made a 43 year test to see bigger picture with more data :

As you see from chart and graph Khuzait still get 40% of world at some point however they lost their areas after. Only 1 faction is eliminated at first 20 years. 2 factions are eliminated at first 43 years also 1 faction remained with only 1 fief. We still have one big problem. Weakened factions cannot make comebacks, you can see this from graph and datas. This make OP factions work easier when conquering half of world. When a faction go below 10 control points (something like 3 towns and 4 castles (3 x 2 + 4 x 1 = 10)) they cannot go up 15 again. This make game also a bit boring because you know that a weakened faction cannot save themselves from that bad situation. This is a bit related to financial problems they are having however when I deeply examined I see they also cannot form even armies. Because influence incomes are nearly all related to settlements they have. When a kingdom lose their settlements they also remain without influence. Then they cannot form even armies. To fix this problem I removed one condition at influence gain from supporter notables. Now supporter notables of a clan give influence to clans even owner of their settlement is another clan. So this is a good passive influence income for NPC clans. Even they lose their settlements they can gain influence from their supporters. After this change weakened factions become more resistant, they started to form armies and started to take get back their lost settlements.

Also some settlements were having prosperity penalties from issues not fixed. When I examine the code I see only npc clan leaders were solving issues with 10% probability when they enter settlements. However some clan leaders were not able to form a party for long times if they were get prisoned and released and if during that time another party is formed from that clan. Then clan leader wait any of these actual parties to be destroyed. During that time some unresolved issues were decreasing prosperity of some settlements to a very low level like 1000-. Especially negative effect of clear bandit hideout issue was very high. Owner of these towns cannot get enough tax and having also financial difficulties. These problems are also fixed. Now all npc lords can resolve issues when they enter a settlement with 5%. Also if a town has very less prosperity like 1000- now they get a small daily prosperity bonus. This helps balancing game a bit.

Then while testing situation after first developments I see another problem which usually weak factions suffer from. Some armies were not buying food even they are starving. After examining this problem I see this was happening when an army is far from all settlements they can buy food from. This problem also fixed. So even an army is far to all neutral towns they stop what they are doing and return one of closest town when they start to have foods problems. Also sometimes I see some lords in weak factions which are forming army even they have so less troops like 10-20 men and success ratio of these armies were low. As you know lords only join armies when they have at least 40% of their party size is full. This condition was not applied to army leaders. Now it is also applied (except player). These small fixes started to make thing better for weaker factions.

One more development is clans do not care only king relation now while defecting they also care how is their relation with other clans inside that kingdom.

After all these developments (actually there are more but I am not mentioning half of developments / bugfixes, next week I can add more changes) I got below results :

As you see from above data, any kingdom did not be eliminated in first 43 years. Also Vlandia goes below 10 control points at some years then they make a come back and reach 20 control points at the end of 43 years test. So there will be more surprise come backs when you play 1.5.6.

If you examine clan tables shared above you can see party usage ratio data (4th data for each clan) is getting less and less every year. Party usage ratio is 100 if all parties in a clan uses all party size limits completely (fe, if clan can have 3 party however if they have 2 party on map with 75% of party size usage clan's party size ratio become 50% because (75+75) / (3 x 100) is 0.5) This ratio starts with 70-80% average for all kingdoms and it become 50-60% average at 20th year of tests. I examined its reason and see that if a lord escape from prison as wounded they are not healed entire game (except player, because player get its party right after escaping). Healing system were only applied to heroes in parties. If a hero is even a prisoner in a dungeon healing is applied but if he escapes when he is wounded he cannot be healthy again. This bug was one reason of this party usage ratio reduce over years. Also new born heroes were not being active when they reach 18 years. They were not forming armies. This bug is also fixed. This problem also effect weak factions more. Because they lost more heroes compared to strong factions and after a point they have so less parties on map. Game should continue with same 70+% party size usage ratio all time. After fixing these bugs this problem is also fixed. You can compare before fixes and after fixes :


As you see after these 2 bug fixes we have higher party size usage ratio averages at late game. In this table there are datas (not per 1 year but per 5 years). I want to spend less time so collected data once per 5 years. Here are control point datas and graph after these bug fixes :

As summary :
There are much more bug fixes and developments to fix this issue but I could give details from some of them. Next week I can give more data and tables. This is a bit huge issue. Now kingdoms are more balanced, there are less poor clans, there are less defections, there is no big money inflation, even weak factions can make come backs and at late game there is not less parties on map. With more balanced kingdoms and even comebacks of weakened factions gameplay will be probably better. Also another team member is working on rebellions currently, we are in coordination with him. When rebellions are added game will be hopefully more balanced, because rebellions will happen in mostly captured towns with low loyality and new rebel clans will want to join previous kingdom (which has same culture with settlement) mostly.

Sorry for my English if I used wrong in some parts, because I am not good at English maybe I selected wrong words in some sentences. Again I need to underline that these developments will take place at 1.5.6 not one next one. Have a good weekend. I will answer all questions and discuss with you at a spare time in weekend. Now need to go dinner.

And here is world situation from final situation :

Clan datas in first 20 years for 1.5.6 (after all developments) :
Every clan has 4 datas for each year :
1st data is leader gold as 1000 (if <15 it has red font)
2nd/3th datas : towns / castles clan have
4th data : party size usage ratio (how much full their parties are as %, as example if clan can has 3 parties with 100 party size limit but they have 2 parties on map with 75 men this ratio is 50% (75+75 / 100 x 3))) :

 
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Jur

Sergeant Knight
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This is great post, it describes the problem and solution. There should be more posts like this from @Callum . They don't need to be so long, but it's nice to hear what is going on.
And don't worry about your English it is fine for non native speaker.
 

nereid

Sergeant
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@mexxico thanks for the information. But regarding your last data Sturgia seems to be on the loosing side. Is this always the case or simply just in your example?
 

Blood Gryphon

Sergeant Knight
WBVC
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@mexxico awesome update, can't wait to start testing these fixes.

Obviously this is just a single run that we are observing, but the thing that sticks out to me the most, that might be a next step to help with balancing, is that once a Kingdom starts to have clans defect they don't seem to get them back (clearly making them defect less has made a big improvement, good job). Is there something you could add that helps a kingdom focus on recruiting clans if they start to lose them? Maybe focusing on saving and using the kingdom funds to do it?

Observing Battania go down to 3 towns and then make a major comeback is exactly what I want to see, but I noticed they didn't lose any of their clans when they got down to 3 towns so they technically still had the same fighting force which makes their comeback even easier. You can see in Sturgia case once they lose their clans they are essentially dead.
 

Hans 77

Sergeant at Arms
WBWF&SVC
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Great stuff here.

I appreciate all the time and effort that went into these tests and analysis.

Thank you
 

Itisausername

Sergeant Knight at Arms
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I think something that also needs to be addressed is not just factions surviving longer and comebacks but them knowing how to fight you can see in your tests that factions make comebacks thats amazing but Ive seen 2 weakened factions end up in a state of constant war or one weakened keep all their clans while the other loses them you can see this in your tests too as @Blood Gryphon said battania does not lose their clans are you planning to fix this since it could cause issues
 

tlowey

Veteran
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Wow @mexxico that is real in depth analysis. I am sure many people on here agree that your work and forum explanations are deeply appreciated.
 

Oakenlix

Regular
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I imagine when the devs manage to balance the game perfectly, the same changes should be applied IRL to make our world a better place.

Great job!
 

Lesbosisles

Squire
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I like your detailed approach. Much gratitude, mexxico!

P.S. Finally, we know when the new update is going to be released :grin: Thank you for this info too, mexxico!
 

Medivhtratos

Sergeant
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Yeah, very good analysis.

But the kingdom budget is something i struggle with. A healthy clan want normaly 3 Towns and 2M denars for joining me. A poor clan is happy that he get at least something. If a Clan can´t get poor, it will be alot harder to get vassals.