Let's talk about sieges

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I recently purchased Bannerlord and while I really like many aspects of the game, some of them are a little disappointing, or I feel they could be even better. There are a number of issues with siege warfare in particular, some of them I hope are already being improved upon. Here's some feedback from my own observations so far.

AI on the Campaign Map
One of the biggest issues with sieges is getting to take part in one. And part of that is due to how sieges operated on the campaign map, how do you make the AI not suicide it's army to a dynamically changes map (reinforcement armies) while also making sure they also commit to a siege?

Perhaps once maps for sallying out are introduced. The same maps can be used for the defence of siege camps from behind. Allowing the AI (or player) to use siege engines against the encroaching army. And perhaps giving the siege camp a terrain advantage, allowing them to have some holding power for sieges. The AI as far as I'm aware also tend not to break through siege camps to join defenders.

The other issue of course is; when a player breaks through to defend a castle/town, if the AI doesn't heavily outnumber the defenders, they simply break off. I think redesigning the way sieges work with regard to soldier count could be part of a solution to this. What do I mean? In-map Field hospitals of course; wounded soldiers respawning after a set time (and perhaps to a lesser degree the same for defenders, which could also tie into "waypoint capture points").

Campaign Siege Engines
First of all; AI siege engine defences should be more varied. Additionally, if the player controls a castle/town and is part of that siege, they should be able to choose the type of engines that are built.
I also think there should be an additional siege engine "slot" that allows construction of siege engines without them being attacked; this is more for the AI since as far as I'm aware they don't reserve siege engines until they've built on every slot.

Waypoint Capture
Sieges do sort of have what seems to be soft-waypoints, which is fine when the AI works properly. However, due to certain castle designed, once a wall has been "captured" some of the defenders are cut off and they tend to try to retreat through the opposing force. Honestly, these castles either need to be redesigned to allow defenders to safely retreat OR the AI needs to be smarter and either not bother retreating or group up on that part of the castle before trying to make a break through/counter-attack.
The other problem of course is with a lot of the castles, there are no retreatable and defendable positions, at least none that the AI identifies. Maybe there are on some castles, but from experience I've not seen any (although this could also be due to routing).

One of my biggest gripes with sieges for both attackers and defenders are formations, they don't work. And I don't mean they literally don't work, but they don't work in the siege format. Especially when the type of units available are lob sided (too many archers for example). Additionally, when you don't have enough group types, the game just makes more and splits your troops up, sometimes randomly, mixing archers and infantry.

I honestly think siege formations needs a redesign. Perhaps instead of commanding squads, the player would command sections of the siege battlefield, with each section having a certain amount of "slots" (which already seems to be the case for archer slots).
Some examples could be:
1/3 Archers - Left outer wall, Right outer wall, Centre wall, Left inner defence, Attack/Defend (all walls), Fall Back to keep/camp (not retreat).
1/2 Archers - ""
All Archers - ""

I don't know if this would be feasible, but from how it looks like the AI is coded, it doesn't seems like it shouldn't be. This could also give the player a simpler and less finicky strategic control without requiring a RTS cam mod in my opinion. I also think redesigning the way formations work could also fix the "clumping" of units that the AI tends to do.

Longer Sieges
One other issue of course is that sieges tend to be over fairly quickly once the attacker breaks through the first line of defence, everything else just crumbles after that. Part of this is due to defenders front loading onto the walls/gate and not retreating until they route (having all soldiers on the map at the start of battle tend to make this a bigger problem), and defenders not regrouping for 2nd and 3rd line defences (some castles just don't have that layout option, which is a mistake in design imo).

Not all castles of course have to be fortresses, but I think some should have a second layer of walls or strategically defendable positions inside the walls. Additionally, allowing medical hospitals to allow wounded soldiers to "respawn" further inside the walls/siege camp would aid in making sieges last longer. But I think the AI should also not stream it's forces in (which can be observed when you set the battle-size lower than the army size).

The other issue with sieges is battle-sizes. Having a large army on the walls can and does clog them, I've seen on multiple siege battles where the AI just gets stuck because two separate groups are trying to go opposite directions. And a lot of the time, the walls simply can't hold such large forces. But not all castles are the same, some can hold house more soldiers than others. I think there should be a dynamic battle-size cap for each castle so units don't bug out and sieges can flow more naturally.
Additionally, A player should be able to choose what units to start a battle with if they have a bigger army than the current battle-size allows. And they should be able to choose to maintain a certain % of those unit types (if possible) when reinforcements arrive. This goes for all battles, not just sieges.

As a side note, I'd like to see reinforcements spawn in more logical positions, like the edge of the map, the barracks, or keep. Too often I've seen units just spawn in on top of my face or in the middle of enemy/my units only to get slaughtered; why?

Defender Exploit
Small thing, a player shouldn't be able to retreat and attack constantly to reset the siege engines. If the option to do it is there, it's pretty hard to justify not using it. Maybe that's just my lack of self control, but I'm not going to have an attacking army just auto win when there are very limit strategic options for defenders, especially when the attacking force tends to only commit to sieges it can win.

Defender Archers
I can't help but wonder whether archers on walls are actually at a disadvantage or not. There are a lot of variables, but from what I've seen, archers on walls don't perform all that well. They technically do more damage due to the height difference, however, defending archers stand far to close to the walls/arrow slits and are just easier to hit by more enemy archers because of that (from what I know, it's also historically inaccurate the way they stand). I've also seen archers at walls and arrow slits simply not be in the correct position, resulting in them taking up an "archer slot" and not firing arrows at anything.

In-Map Siege Engines
I think siege engines in map should be buildable and ammo be restock-able, for both defenders and attackers. Of course the disadvantage with that would be time, time to restock and time to build/rebuild. I also think siege engines should be rotatable even further to hit targets adjacent to walls, catapults and ballista given less HP, with rams and towers given more HP. This of course is more of a personal preference than something that I think needs addressing.

This is just my view on the current state of sieges. I think sieges are a lot better than in Warband, but that's not to say they can't be improved. I also think siege warfare should be and remain a priority (along with game economy) for improvements, as it's a major part of the core gameplay. That's my 2 cent.
I think it should be tougher for attackers to take walls - takes longer - tougher doors, slower towers.

We also need a second defense line. Some settlements have places where a second defense can take place, but are never used. Retreaters keep running to the keep. Large stair cases can be defended, HI in shieldwall at the base and skirmishers further up. This would be far better than Keep defense, which is ..... needs fixing or removing.

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