Late Game Blues

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qmax

Regular
This complaint is similar to the "Endless War" item. At some point in the game when you own perhaps half the map, you tend to become an observer instead of a player, and half the game disappears. By that I mean that everyone declares war on you, there is never any peace to do anything but fight, and most decisions are made by AI clans via the council, and most future success depends on how well the AI clans fight for you. It is amazing how well they do sometimes but they can also be very stupid. But the main complaint is that the player is really no longer playing the game. You don't assign fiefs, you can't direct clan armies, you can't decide where to defend or attack, fief management by AI clans is dubious or non-existent, and the game sort of plays itself. I understand the need for play balance and I don't really have any miracle suggestions but it is a shame the late game play sort of disappears.
 
You can at least give broad directives (whether to be "Offensive, Defensive, or Neutral" in terms of aggression) and take the lead with an army of your own, or hang behind your own battle lines to clean up your vassals' mistakes, but it is certainly a hands-off experience by then outside of personally leading troops to take cities and castles.

Personally, I've only done one playthrough to unification thus far, and I must say my biggest complaints are the incessant crashing (mainly during and after transitioning to the "scenes" to besiege cities/castles--note, I'm playing on PS4) and the lack of challenge beyond a certain point. The latter is kind of inevitable since it's really just cleaning up the remnants once you're overwhelmingly powerful, but the former is something I hope can be cleaned up with patches.

Overall, I had a rather euphoric time with Bannerlord over a 50-odd year adventure spanning two generations, but I am inclined to complain about the inability to separate archers from crossbowmen (crucial since the latter has such little ammo by comparison yet tend to carry shields, so they are good secondary infantrymen but mixed with archers they're squandered) and the way reinforcements is handled (thankfully, this issue is said to be fixed by the 1.1.0 beta patch, so I'm patiently awaiting this issue getting fixed). I went into as somebody who played a few unification playthroughs of Warband and thus expected something similar; I'm happy to say Bannerlord appears to be largely an upgrade off its predecessor since it appeals to numerous different gameplay genres simultaneously and thus seems to really match my niches of taste. If these issues can be solved, I can tolerate a boring final phase of gameplay since everything up the point where victory is inevitable is very exciting and tumultuous. Stability is this game's (on PS4 at least) biggest issue; once that's fixed, I'd then like to see crossbowmen and archers separable since, otherwise, it's best to have either only-archers or only-crossbows.
 

Cullam

NotBlunted
Regular
You can at least give broad directives (whether to be "Offensive, Defensive, or Neutral" in terms of aggression) and take the lead with an army of your own, or hang behind your own battle lines to clean up your vassals' mistakes, but it is certainly a hands-off experience by then outside of personally leading troops to take cities and castles.
The problem is that we can lead one army and have to defend against like ~8 armies while in war with several kingdoms. But I also consider the game "won" when I´ve conquered half the map. It´s just a boring grind after that to conquer the rest.

Also I don´t really notice a huge difference between "defensive/neutral/offensive" stance if at all. It would be better if we could assign our parties and vassals different objectives like "defend area X / raid area X / patrol for enemies / train and/or build up your party".
 

JunKeteer

Veteran
This complaint is similar to the "Endless War" item. At some point in the game when you own perhaps half the map, you tend to become an observer instead of a player, and half the game disappears. By that I mean that everyone declares war on you, there is never any peace to do anything but fight, and most decisions are made by AI clans via the council, and most future success depends on how well the AI clans fight for you. It is amazing how well they do sometimes but they can also be very stupid. But the main complaint is that the player is really no longer playing the game. You don't assign fiefs, you can't direct clan armies, you can't decide where to defend or attack, fief management by AI clans is dubious or non-existent, and the game sort of plays itself. I understand the need for play balance and I don't really have any miracle suggestions but it is a shame the late game play sort of disappears.
Yep, after a certain point, it's just repeated army v army bash. To even have those large number engagements be enjoyable, you need to be able to control it closer to what it's like in Total War games (there's a mod currently for that) to play just the strategist.
There's barely/rarely any smaller engagements at that point that make the basic/type of FPS tactics control scheme in BL fun to direct.
Once a war is dec'd, almost every lord is insta-gibbed into an army (influence inflation) for their braindead AI decisions with absolutely no player agency unless they create their own army which will always steamroll (hence easily owning more and more of the whole map within a year).
Other than that, those AI parties that don't meet the army-criteria ratio (still a weird bandaid solution implementation) just stay in town or that one nearby village to just vacuum instant recruits until they can join (usually see 5+ lords doing exact same thing).

There's nothing past owning that first town or so that is worthwhile or within the player agency or challenge to really continue if that is considered 'late-game'.
 
The problem is that we can lead one army and have to defend against like ~8 armies while in war with several kingdoms. But I also consider the game "won" when I´ve conquered half the map. It´s just a boring grind after that to conquer the rest.

Also I don´t really notice a huge difference between "defensive/neutral/offensive" stance if at all. It would be better if we could assign our parties and vassals different objectives like "defend area X / raid area X / patrol for enemies / train and/or build up your party".
I think the key is to either not be at war with a half dozen plus armies, or to win defensively until they can't keep going and then counter-invade. I've only played a single playthrough to unification thus far, so I'm a newbie with a very small sample size that could be the exception to how the game normally plays than the current norm, but that general patten was true to how it played for me, especially as my country started snowballing. To be frank, I really enjoy the part where you're given the impossible task of being multiple places at once and have to make sacrifices in order to achieve long term objectives, since while it was definitely painful to have to look at cities/castles too far away to continually rescue from their invaders, it was also a natural consequence of my country being too wide and once it was the strongest by a fair margin, I could no longer just deal with one kingdom at a time (it was war with just about everybody from then on). That, and I had become strong enough that winning battles wasn't a big deal anymore since I could bring a huge 2,500 troop army to stomp aside nearly all enemies, so the difficulty was strategic far more than tactical.

Still, I don't know if I'll want to unite Calradia 100% again lol, I might do as you do and just settle for half unless the other half's been united (in which case, maybe 75% or something) or something. It's just grindy clean-up once you're unstoppable and vetoing votes for peace because a weakened enemy kingdom at war is a kingdom that can't rebuilt itself to remain a meaningful threat anymore lol, especially for the homeless kingdoms.

I notice a small change; on Offensive the A.I.'s more likely to pursue and engage the small parties while on Defensive they're more likely to leave them alone. I don't know how much it affects a small unit pinning down a larger army for reinforcements to join in and clean up, but I did notice this much of a difference at the least.

However, I do agree it'd be better if we could give more concrete objectives (heck, a little system could be built around this like offering monetary or Influence rewards for obedience). At the very least, Warband's system of chatting with a guy and politely asking him to go do XYZ was make this phase of the game vastly more manageable and less RNG dependent. It'd also be a great use of clan relations (and/or possibly Influence, money, etc. to push their decision).
 
Yep, after a certain point, it's just repeated army v army bash. To even have those large number engagements be enjoyable, you need to be able to control it closer to what it's like in Total War games (there's a mod currently for that) to play just the strategist.
There's barely/rarely any smaller engagements at that point that make the basic/type of FPS tactics control scheme in BL fun to direct.
Once a war is dec'd, almost every lord is insta-gibbed into an army (influence inflation) for their braindead AI decisions with absolutely no player agency unless they create their own army which will always steamroll (hence easily owning more and more of the whole map within a year).
Other than that, those AI parties that don't meet the army-criteria ratio (still a weird bandaid solution implementation) just stay in town or that one nearby village to just vacuum instant recruits until they can join (usually see 5+ lords doing exact same thing).

There's nothing past owning that first town or so that is worthwhile or within the player agency or challenge to really continue if that is considered 'late-game'.
I wouldn't go that far. Trying to secure a country of your own is a crazy challenge (I say, as a newbie, knowing it's probably a lot easier once you're sufficiently skilled) with no guarantees. Once it's secure, it does get much easier since losses, even big ones, are unlikely to permanently put you or your kingdom down, but I'd definitely say it's challenging for at least some point after taking your first city.

I don't know if things changed in recent patches or different versions of the game (I'm playing it on PS4), but I had quite a few large scale battles of sizes equal enough for auto-battling to be suicidal and also noticed a "trick" where it's easier to move an army by disbanding all but the leader and then reforming it when near whatever I want to use it on (and during that reforming phase, I was likely to encounter an enemy army sized similarly to my late-game unit to fight).

My biggest complaints for large scale battles were how reinforcement waves was determined (like seeing all the new infantry get merged with the archers because the original infantry groups were destroyed) but, apparently, the upcoming patch is supposed to fix that. The other is the inability to separate crossbows from bows, which I'd like because crossbowmen in Bannerlord have scarce ammo but carry shields, so they're good as reserve infantry but wasted hanging out doing nothing with archers who still have plenty of ammo to spare. Here's hoping there'll be a way to separate them from being in the same groups at some point... otherwise, my personal solution is to have only crossbowmen or only archers in a my own warband.
 
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