Low Tier units vs High Tier units

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It should always be a no-brainer to upgrade your troops if you can afford it - that's why it's called an "upgrade" and not a sidegrade.

I disagree to be honest. If the result of battles is this easy to determine then it might as well be autoresolved.

I've said this a trillion times elsewhere but my favourite battle system is Rome 2 Total War. The expensive units in that game are extremely good, but only when supported by cheap light units. The cheapest spearmen can out-manouevre and javelin elite cataphracts to death, and the cheapest slingers can beat the most expensive infantry. You end up with about 20-30% of the army being heavy infantry, with maybe just one unit of elite infantry.

The problem is that battles in bannerlord are mostly just doing as much damage as quickly as possible. Flanking does almost nothing and wastes valuable grinding time, rear charges just get your own cavalry killed, the only tactic that reliably works is to mass archers and kite the enemy in front of them.
 

geala

Sergeant at Arms
Yes, it's really sad that the M + B combat is so simple and restricted. The equation "top tier = big armor and heavy = autowin because of invulnerability" is a fat oversimplification. While many times heavier troops prevailed against badly organized light troops, on many real history occasions heavy infantry without support of lighter troops were beaten and on many occasions unarmored soldiers beat professional armored soldiers. A lot depended on the circumstances when, where and how the combat started.

In the M + B system however I agree with the saying that T5 units should beat many T1 units. Recruits are mostly unreliable, in reality they would probably lose even if clad in the best armor while the professionals fought naked. While in Bannerlord they would profit greatly from better equipment. Strange.

I'd wish for a different recruitment system.
 
I disagree to be honest. If the result of battles is this easy to determine then it might as well be autoresolved.

I've said this a trillion times elsewhere but my favourite battle system is Rome 2 Total War. The expensive units in that game are extremely good, but only when supported by cheap light units. The cheapest spearmen can out-manouevre and javelin elite cataphracts to death, and the cheapest slingers can beat the most expensive infantry. You end up with about 20-30% of the army being heavy infantry, with maybe just one unit of elite infantry.

The problem is that battles in bannerlord are mostly just doing as much damage as quickly as possible. Flanking does almost nothing and wastes valuable grinding time, rear charges just get your own cavalry killed, the only tactic that reliably works is to mass archers and kite the enemy in front of them.
Rome 2 is one of the worst TW ever. Its significantly better with Devide et Impera but its still a ****ty game (at least if you are into complex gameplay). It really shows that by the time of R2 they focused on magic abilities and WC3 / moba like cooldowns on units instead of strategy and tactics. Units dont (or at least did not have) any weight so they could not prevent other units from running through them. Everything was made out of glass so forget about formations or hammer and anvil because battles between two units vere literally decided in 45 seconds (even faster than in vanilla BL!!), shield wall, pike wall literally did not work and testudo resulted in more casualities from ranged units than loose formation. R2 actually reminds of BL a lot (half baked, cashing on nostalgia, fast paced because thats better for E-sport).
 
About a year after release (late 2014) they completely overhauled the combat to what I think was originally intended, and removed almost all of the stupid clickable abilities. It currently has the slowest melee combat in the series besides Medieval 2, which doesn't count because that is technically a bug. Besides warhammer it's currently the most active multiplayer game because of how varied the battles are.
 

five bucks

Squire
I disagree to be honest. If the result of battles is this easy to determine then it might as well be autoresolved.
I did say "guess" and "rough guide". There would still be the existing RNG involved in the battles between the troops, and unless balancing was done really obsessively, it would only ever be a rough guide, as opposed to a hard rule.

The thing is, it wouldn't just be tier of troops and quantity of troops you'd need to take into account, in my ideal world. You would also have to consider unit counters (not really a thing right now), global morale (not really a thing right now), individual morale (with its own RNG factor), formations, flanking/encircling, and terrain, plus your own impact in combat.
My favourite battle system is Rome 2 Total War. The expensive units in that game are extremely good, but only when supported by cheap light units. The cheapest spearmen can out-manouevre and javelin elite cataphracts to death, and the cheapest slingers can beat the most expensive infantry. You end up with about 20-30% of the army being heavy infantry, with maybe just one unit of elite infantry.
That seems to be the same as what I proposed in my post, a soft-counter system, where lower-tier units can defeat higher-tier units if they counter them.

Unless... is the difference that you're saying that the cheapest spearmen should be better at countering elite cataphracts than the most expensive spearmen? Because in that case (not having played TW Rome 2 myself), I don't see what role the expensive spearmanii would even have.

Why is it so important that cheaper units need to be kept just as good in a fight as their more expensive counterparts? The advantage of cheap units is that they're cheap, and so you can mass them.

The way I see it, with upgraded units being straight up better but a soft counter system, the T3 Pikeman's role is to counter T3/T4 cav, and go even in a fight with T5 cav.
But against every other T4 unit, the T3 Pikeman will lose.
So a T5 Pikeman does his job better in every way, but is more expensive. The money you spend on upgrading to a T5 Pikeman could be spent instead on upgrading two recruits to T4 Pikeman and T4 Heavy Infantry, to provide protection from arrows which you wouldn't get if you upgraded to T5.
That way everything has its role in a limited army budget.
Low-tier cheap units provide numbers.
Mid-tier units provide versatility, to protect against being countered and increase the opportunity for countering enemy army compositions.
High-tier units are the best fighters, but by upgrading to them, you lose funds for army diversity and run the risk of being countered.
The problem is that battles in bannerlord are mostly just doing as much damage as quickly as possible. Flanking does almost nothing and wastes valuable grinding time, rear charges just get your own cavalry killed, the only tactic that reliably works is to mass archers and kite the enemy in front of them.
Agreed. Armor weakness, combat AI being superhuman in some instances and moronic in others (e.g. infantry whipping around at lightspeed to use their dagger to perfectly stab the charging cav that just flanked them, while said cav are unable to hit anything with their lances), and morale mechanics (basically not existing above T3 and having no global element during battle) seem to be the main issues.
 
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Unless... is the difference that you're saying that the cheapest spearmen should be better at countering elite cataphracts than the most expensive spearmen? Because in that case (not having played TW Rome 2 myself), I don't see what role the expensive spearmanii would even have.

Why is it so important that cheaper units need to be kept just as good in a fight as their more expensive counterparts? The advantage of cheap units is that they're cheap, and so you can mass them.

I've simped for Rome 2's combat system a lot so I didn't go into more detail, but what I mean is that Rome 2 doesn't have any hard counters really. It's all situational. The most expensive units are specialists, the mid-tier units are generalists, and the low tier units are generally terrible but with some wildcard that allows them to punch well above their weight, like javelins or a high charge bonus. Even supposed hard counters like light cavalry vs elite spearmen can be turned on their head if you get a good engagement, but in controlled or "balanced" engagements the more expensive units win. Here is a good example of what I mean, if you're interested:


A lot of this only applies to Multiplayer because the AI is fairly easy to outsmart, and by the midgame you can afford to throw elite units at the enemy without caring how much the lower tier units are shredding your own. But what I like about the game is that low tier units never become obsolete, they have a role alongside the elite praetorian guards with 1000000 damage or whatever. Compare that to the original Rome Total War where anything lower than the best elite units was completely useless in multiplayer.

I feel that fundamentally this is slightly different from this system:

Low-tier cheap units provide numbers.
Mid-tier units provide versatility, to protect against being countered and increase the opportunity for countering enemy army compositions.
High-tier units are the best fighters, but by upgrading to them, you lose funds for army diversity and run the risk of being countered.

Because in Rome 2 even in the highest fund battles you see light or cheap units. Just limiting elite units by funds means that the moment the player gets enough money, they just steamroll with unimaginative homogenous armies. I think army diversity should always be 2-dimensional: there should be a variety of unit roles and of mobility/weight/price, rather than just role variety. In fact in competitive Rome 2 multiplayer you never see an army without cheap light infantry or cheap skirmishers.
 
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five bucks

Squire
I've simped for Rome 2's combat system a lot so I didn't go into more detail, but what I mean is that Rome 2 doesn't have any hard counters really. It's all situational.
I definitely wouldn't be advocating hard counters. I want to see soft counters (which are significant advantages, but don't guarantee a win if other factors such as tier/terrain/formations/morale come into play).
The most expensive units are specialists, the mid-tier units are generalists, and the low tier units are generally terrible but with some wildcard that allows them to punch well above their weight, like javelins or a high charge bonus. Even supposed hard counters like light cavalry vs elite spearmen can be turned on their head if you get a good engagement, but in controlled or "balanced" engagements the more expensive units win. Here is a good example of what I mean, if you're interested:


A lot of this only applies to Multiplayer because the AI is fairly easy to outsmart, and by the midgame you can afford to throw elite units at the enemy without caring how much the lower tier units are shredding your own. But what I like about the game is that low tier units never become obsolete, they have a role alongside the elite praetorian guards with 1000000 damage or whatever.
I feel that fundamentally this is slightly different from this system: (low tier = quantity, mid tier = versatility, high tier = quality).

Because in Rome 2 even in the highest fund battles you see light or cheap units. Just limiting elite units by funds means that the moment the player gets enough money, they just steamroll with unimaginative homogenous armies.

I think army diversity should always be 2-dimensional: there should be a variety of unit roles and of mobility/weight/price, rather than just role variety. In fact in competitive Rome 2 multiplayer you never see an army without cheap light infantry or cheap skirmishers.
Thanks for the video. Okay, so I get what you're saying, that low tier units have situationally useful abilities which make them worth keeping in your army unupgraded, even if you can afford to upgrade them.

The questions are: How do you propose it be implemented in Bannerlord? And is it actually needed enough to be worth the effort?

I can definitely agree with a desire for variety. But I would argue that singleplayer's mechanics already kind of naturally provide tier variety, and so it's not necessary to create new mechanics to try and force it.
Assuming TW eventually fixes all the exploits, then in the early and mid-game, players won't be rich enough to field an all top-tier army at party capacity. So for most of the game, the player's army contains variety of tiers. And even in the late-game, they will still have some troops die and need to train recruits up to replace them.

With all that said, I'm still interested to hear what you would implement.
 
The questions are: How do you propose it be implemented in Bannerlord?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I think the entire design philosophy would have to be changed, and massive portions of the game ripped up and redone before we can even start to talk about a system like this. The whole "spawn in a closed arena 200m from your enemy" thing was just whatever was easiest for Armagan in 2005, but even in Warband it was archaic. It took me 2 whole years of overhauling warband to come up with a combat system that wasn't just about infantry moshing, and I had to add guns, deliberately overpowered pikes, glass cannon horses, a morale system, and a completely different AI. There is no way Taleworlds is going to do that.


Assuming TW eventually fixes all the exploits, then in the early and mid-game, players won't be rich enough to field an all top-tier army at party capacity. So for most of the game, the player's army contains variety of tiers. And even in the late-game, they will still have some troops die and need to train recruits up to replace them.

This is actually a lot harder than it seems. Trying to naturally restrict the amount of money the player can have in an open system (with no inflation) is mathematically impossible, there is just too much entropy and players are too shrewd with money to limit that way. Most games will have some other limit like manpower which grows more slowly the more you take from it, and/or have money just be one resource among many.

I also really hate the idea of having a constant conveyor belt of crappy recruits in your army. It's tedious and grindy, and you feel like a mobile daycare centre taking care of these braindead idiots who can somehow afford brand new swords but not shields or spears or helmets. They're completely useless against anything except other recruits, and an actual liability when they create shieldless gaps in your infantry formation. You're always just waiting for them to upgrade.
A Low Tier Only run of Rome 2 is a fun twitchy skill-based challenge where you can obliterate expensive armies for a fraction of the cost. A Low Tier Only run in Warband or Bannerlord is just 1-dimensional pain.
 
Well esentially this would require terrain / weather modifiers to units in the field (doable), and again generally longer battles (at least partially doable) ideally by having bigger maps, more efficient armor and more units on the map. Until you can throw 1000 units in a real time at 300 elite units to grind them down / weaken them enough for your 100 elites to finish them of we can speculate and dream at best. Or harsh army size caps or huge upkeep for units so player and AI is forced to have few units. As long as units magically appear in the middle of the battle (happens a lot on certain maps) and as long as entire army reforms anytime this happens any kind of complex strategy goes out of window.
 

hruza

Knight at Arms
We're talking about a game where there's no cooperation between units. Each one of them just tries to hit from one of 4 possible directions so there's no space for taking out a outnumbered warrior. They just spam attacks.

So does the "outnumbered warrior". At the end of the day, result is fairly realistic.

For reference, this is one of the most realistic depictions of formation vs "horde" (looters, recruits, whatever) in television and probably the type of combat people are referencing to when they mention few skilled soldiers vs unskilled mass that outnumbers them.


That scene is pure speculation and fiction. There's nothing realistic about it. Newer mistake films and computer games for historical sources.
 
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Terco_Viejo

Spanish Gifquisition
Grandmaster Knight
So you say.
Peace brother it's too hot to argue about this now... all I want is for Bannerlord to entertain and amuse me... at the moment I can't say that it does so to my satisfaction :iamamoron: .

On a more serious note, that kind of rank rotation seen from a gameplay point of view and not from the armchair of the academy, I think would be interesting if they were brought into the game itself.
 

Apocal

Grandmaster Knight
On a more serious note, that kind of rank rotation seen from a gameplay point of view and not from the armchair of the academy, I think would be interesting if they were brought into the game itself.
Why?

There's no reason to rotate troops out, they don't get tired.
 

hruza

Knight at Arms
On a more serious note, that kind of rank rotation seen from a gameplay point of view and not from the armchair of the academy, I think would be interesting if they were brought into the game itself.

What exactly would that add to the game expect making things even more complicated for the AI that already struggles with complexities of the existing combat system?

BTW.: It's funny how so many people insist on Romans "rotating" their men in combat while at the same time not bothering with the question why nobody else in known history found that necessary. It's not like Anglo-Saxons standing in the shieldwall at Hastings, Athenians at Marathon or Spanish tercios fought in principally different way then Roman legionaries.
 

Apocal

Grandmaster Knight
BTW.: It's funny how so many people insist on Romans "rotating" their men in combat while at the same time not bothering with the question why nobody else in known history found that necessary. It's not like Anglo-Saxons standing in the shieldwall at Hastings, Athenians at Marathon or Spanish tercios fought in principally different way then Roman legionaries.
Well, the Romans IRL did relief by cohort, not by ranks. Or at least every surviving source points to whole cohorts being relieved and the timing on that being a decision made at a higher level than centurion. Other forces did reliefs in that same manner, unit-replacing-unit, but it was less common most likely because of the other concern: to match the enemy's front in order to prevent an easy envelopment. Romans made do (usually) by having gaps between each unit, anchoring their formation against impassible terrain, or sometimes both.
 

hruza

Knight at Arms
Well, the Romans IRL did relief by cohort, not by ranks. Or at least every surviving source points to whole cohorts being relieved and the timing on that being a decision made at a higher level than centurion. Other forces did reliefs in that same manner, unit-replacing-unit, but it was less common most likely because of the other concern: to match the enemy's front in order to prevent an easy envelopment.

Except we don't really know what those sources talk about. These are all just interpretations. I have posted video above where whole thing is been discussed from the point of our current knowledge. Nobody knows how it was done and if it was done at all to begin with, that is when Tacitus and Polybius talk about it, we don't know what exactly they talk about.

We don't even know how actually fights happened. We have no idea what people were doing in the first ranks during clash and what was going on there.

Romans made do (usually) by having gaps between each unit, anchoring their formation against impassible terrain, or sometimes both.

And that's pure speculation. We don't know if Romans had gaps between the units during actual fight.

As strange as it might be, we don't actually know how exactly fighting happened up until the Napoleonic wars. See for example dispute about what happened when two pike formations clashed together. And even from Napoleonic era our knowledge is very vague. First of all we are in the firearm era and second of all, when hand to hand fighting happened, for example during bayonet attacks, it seems to have been much less climactic then we tend to assume. Usually one side broke out before actual contact. That is if defenders see that attackers are determined, they broke. On the other hand when attackers saw that defenders are determined, they broke charge off.

When looked at the data we have from another angle, it's clear that combat must have been way less intensive then we usually assume. I have already posted statistic from classical Greek wars that shows that casualties during actual fighting were in range of 3-5%. And that is during battles that lasted hours and in some cases days. That's impossible if armies have clashed in a way shown for example in that scene from Rome series above. If armies have fought in such a way, battles would only last minutes and casualties during combat would be 30-50%.

To sum it up, I think that battles must have been much less violent and intensive (that's what overall data suggest) and fighting was more of a test of nerves then muscles (that's what early modern data shows and also some anecdotical ancient evidence). In such case there would not be general need to rotate anybody and in case there was, it would not have been any problem because opposing formations were not in direct contact most of the time.

But that's my speculation. At the end what we know is that we don't know almost anything.
 
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